Here are a few of my tips for nailing those engagement photos! If we aren’t doing engagement photos together, or if you live outside of Juneau, read through these just for tips to really make those wedding day photos of the two of you.
Be ready to play! If you have spent some time looking through my photos, you may have started to notice I don’t do a whole lot of posed photos. I have always believed that having me shift you around and tell you where and how to look won’t create a genuine photo that captures who you are as a couple. Don’t get me wrong, I may tell you to do some posing, but I can guarantee I’ll be making you do something ridiculous 75% of our time together.
Wear something that you are comfortable in! Check out my ‘What to Wear’ page for more information!
Get your hair and makeup done. Planning on looking for a hair stylist or makeup artist for your wedding day? Go pay some of these people a visit now and do a test run in a style different from what you expect for your wedding day!
I always suggest wearing a little more makeup than you would on a regular day. Taking photos in natural light as well as some post editing will diminish the look of the makeup. My suggestion, try fake eyelashes or extensions (you will have time to get used to these), and try some contouring!
Schedule your session around the sun. If you have questions on when the light will be best, ask me! I’ll nerd out about this. Throughout my wedding tips you will read this a TON, sorry ahead of time. Light is EVERYTHING. Maybe we wake up super early, or stay up late, maybe its winter and we go out in the middle of the day before the light goes away. Depending on the time of year we will plan around what the light is doing.
When in doubt, kiss! If you haven’t spent a lot of time in front of the camera, or your partner isn’t so sure about this whole photo thing, try giving a smooch on the forehead, cheek, lips, etc. Feel free to share this tips with your partner before the shoot. I also suggest, trying doing a long embrace, try out some of your wedding day dance moves, or get playful and just tackle the other person… not really, but that could be cute too.
Keep moving. The more you move the more variety of photos we will end up with! Swing each other around, spin in circles, play tag, just keep moving!
Finally, no need to memorize this. I’ll give you my ‘spiel’ again before the shoot, and advise you on what to do the entire shoot!
Wedding Day Timeline
I could probably go on for days in this section, and I’ll repeat myself a couple of times, and bring in information you’ll read elsewhere in this packet. If you have a wedding planner, don’t worry most of this will be familiar conversation to you. If you are planning your wedding yourself, PLEASE don’t hesitate to give me a call or ask how things might play into your day if you are trying to figure out your timeline.
Getting ready always takes so much longer than people expect it to. Have a huge wedding party? Give yourself a buffer of an hour. Need to be somewhere at 12? Tell everyone 11, but don’t mention it’s actually 12. This will give you some extra time to breathe. Maybe some fun extra photos of everyone enjoying a mimosa together makeup done before getting dresses on, laughing, more dress photos, some glamour shots, or a quick boudoir session in your wedding day undergarments (highly recommended). If you are the timeliest person ever, or if you have a small wedding party, take what I just wrote with a grain of salt, but consider it. I’d say 8/10 times we start running late during the getting ready part of your day.
If you haven’t thought about a first look here are the two scenarios to consider.
1. There are a couple perks to coordinating a first look. My personal favorite reason is that you guys have that time together and that first moment of seeing each other to yourselves (usually with the photographer lurking). Often these are some of the most genuine photos that you might have from your big day. The other reason I love a first look is that if it is an hour or two before the ceremony you can get all of your photos together completed. What this means is you can do all your couple photos and wedding party photos before the ceremony. Do your group and family shots after and then enjoy your reception for the rest of the day without having to worry about running off to snap some photos. However, I’ll bring up light yet again… if you are getting married in the summer, I may steal you late at night to get a couple shots in that perfect golden hour light.
2. The only real reason for not doing a first look? Because you’ve always dreamed of seeing your partner for the first time when you’re walking down the aisle. Don’t worry, I won’t try and convince you otherwise, we all have what we want planned out in our minds! We will just have to talk time frame after the ceremony and before the reception for figure out your photo timeline!
Here is my personal list of first look items that might help your discussion about it a bit more. In a first look you’ll:
a. Save time on the photos after the ceremony, you’ll be off to see your guests and enjoy your reception sooner.
b. You might have always dreamed of having that first look at the altar, and you might miss out on that.
c. You might not want that moment in front of everyone at the altar.
d. Might ease the nerves to see each other beforehand.
e. A first look might get some tears out of the way.
f. You’ll have to be ready a little bit earlier.
g. Your hair and makeup will be FRESH, as will all of your couple’s photos.
h. You’ll have the opportunity for more photos.
i. You will have a better chance of making your cocktail hour.
j. Walking down the aisle might be anticlimactic.
As I mentioned in the first look section, these photos will either be before or after the ceremony. If you are doing a first look, they will happen before. All times are approximate suggestions based off past experiences. What happens is:
You will do a first look (20 minutes)
Often do all your wedding party shots after the first look (15-25 minutes?) After these are done you can send them on their way. Choose your first look location in a place where you can take your group photos.
Couple shots (1-1.5 hours) depending on where we go and what locations we talk about prior, we will get most or all shots of the two of you done during this time. Tip! Don’t skimp on this time, you will appreciate these photos and most likely want these framed more than the rest on your special day.
Again, light is everything. Direct sunlight at 12pm is always a mood killer… That harsh light that leaves a shadow of your nose on the other side of your face does not make for the most flattering photo, or my shadow may end up right on the two of you. Although, 12pm light doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Be patient and I will make sure I get you in the perfect light, I may have to move you around a couple times to get it just right though!
Family and group photos
Believe it or not, this is usually the most stressful part of the day for couples. Here is what you can do to help make sure that it goes smoothly! Usually give these photos about 20-45 minutes depending on the size of your family.
1. Fill out the worksheet. I’ve included a worksheet at the bottom of this blog so you can make sure all the photo groupings are written down. In the past I have had family members ask in the middle of these photos for another grouping of people. Make sure if you have a family member such as a mother in law, grandma, or uncle who you think may ask for other group shots that you run it past them to get those important group shots written down. Often this is the first time some groups have been back together in a while and you might not want to miss those shots!
2. Assign your list reader! I can’t stress this enough! If you have a bridesmaid or groomsman that has a pretty good knowledge of both sides of the family and isn’t a part of the family or group shots, assign them to gather and call out all family groupings that we will take photos of. This will make sure things go smoothly and we will get through these photos much faster.
3. Don’t stress! An uncle is bound to not be paying attention after being called three times, or a kiddo might not be in the best mood. Don’t worry, we will get the shots and everyone who is doing their job will do the best to make everything happen so we can get through these as quick as possible.
Sparkler photos might be some of my all-time favorite. They are also some of the hardest to coordinate. Here are my tips for making successful sparkler photos.
1. Bring enough lighters or matches for every other person. Often everyone lights their sparklers at different times if everyone tries to share one lighter, and you’ll be running through half lite sparklers.
2. Be ready to do it more than once. Sometimes that first try may not have gone so well. Let’s do it again, everyone is enjoying their sparklers, so why not!
3. Assign one or two people to hand out and coordinate the sparkler send off. Make sure there is someone to help line people up, hand out sparklers, hand out lighters or matches, and make sure they have a loud voice so they can get everyone to pay attention (I can also help with this part ;)).
Other Sparkler Suggestions:
Recently I saw someone have everyone hold up sparklers while the couple did their first dance. SO DREAMY! This means that depending on your song, everyone will have about 2+ minutes to make sure they have their sparkler going! It won’t be an action shot, but everyone will be attentive during your first dance, and it’ll be beautiful. Everyone will need more than one sparkler though!
*this is just a sample timeline and probably won’t fit your event perfectly
9:00am- Hair and Makeup (depends on how many people are being serviced)
10:00am- Photographer shows up, to get the final shots of you getting ready
12:00pm- First Look
12:20pm- Wedding Party Photos
12:45pm- Couple Photos
2:00pm- Arrive at Ceremony site
3:00pm- Family/Group Photos
4:00–6:00pm- Guests arrive for reception, music/appetizers/drinks. if you didn’t do a first look this is when you will do your couple photos
5:45pm – Wedding Party line-up
6:00pm- Move guests into dinner
Introduction of Wedding Party
Introduction of Bride & Groom
6:05pm- First dance, Sometimes a welcome speech, or prayer before dinner
6:30pm- Dinner served
8:00pm – Cake Cutting/Toasts
8:15pm- Special Parent Dances (Father-Daughter & Mother-Son)
8:45pm- General dancing music starts
9:00pm- Garter/Bouquet Toss
10:00pm – Car arrives/Exit
If you would like to discuss how photos will work into your timeline please feel free to reach out to me with your questions, I’d be happy to help!
Where to get ready
This is another item that I must stress is not a requirement, just something I’ve observed over the years. Some of the best getting ready photos I have ever done are in spaces that are rented. The reason for this being the lack of clutter and personal items in the background allows for the space to photograph better. Some past couples have then used this space for their room after their wedding. I’ve also had some couples rent a whole house that their out of town family and friends stay at, this also makes a great place to get ready and even a rehearsal dinner.
If you’d like to look into spaces, I’d suggest well lit rental homes or Airbnb’s!
Boudoir sessions are becoming more and more popular. This is not a requirement, just an add-on that we can discuss for before or on your wedding day.
If you want to have a boudoir book or prints put together for your fiancé to gift to him on your wedding day we can have these done before. These must be done at least 6 weeks before, for editing and printing time.
If you are not using these photos as a gift the day of, but rather later on. Set some time aside after your hair and makeup is done on your wedding day before you put your dress on and we can do some shots then! These have always turned out so gorgeous in the past!
Delivery of photos
Photos are delivered on a password protected online link that will be emailed to you shortly after the wedding. I am the world’s biggest sucker for getting overly excited about photos and sending you a million sneak peeks. The private link will come to you via email. Make sure you specify which email(s) you would like for these to go to on the questionnaire I sent you. You may share this link and the password with anyone you like.
On that private link you will be able to download all the photos high resolution, there is also a feature where you can create your own favorites list and download from there!
suggestions of companies to print with
I do not require that any photos are printed with me, and there are no hidden costs, unless we decide on some package add on’s like extra shoots or you would like for me to do some printing for you.
Here are my favorite companies to print with if you would like to print on your own:
Parabo Press- LOVE, LOVE, LOVEEEE working with this company. You will always get 25 free prints, and it is an app on your photo, so you can print not only your favorites I took but any cell phone photos that might have been sent to you. My favorite has been the 5x7” classic prints with a white border. They have made for amazing gifts, they are large enough to frame, and the thick paper is just amazing. This one also has thank you and holiday cards! If you put this app on your cell phone, make sure to turn on notifications, they send out the best deals every so often.
Nations Photo Lab- I’ve created some really wonderful books through this company. Their shipping is reliable and on time, also the quality is great. You can also get really great deals on this site and coupons. For books I suggest the lay flat albums and ordering them in time so you don’t have to pay for rush shipping as this will bring the overall price up a lot.
Artifact Uprising- A more expensive company, but they do great work, and their quality is guaranteed.
Social Print Studio- Another favorite and app. They have a great lay flat album for a very reasonable price. You also can make ornaments to send off for Christmas gifts.
Me suggesting these in no way benefits me, and I do not personal guarantee that your products will show up undamaged or to the quality that you desire. I however have highly enjoyed working with all four of these companies.
What makes my job the best thing in the world is seeing how happy my clients are after the photos are delivered. Feel free to post these photos to your hearts content, after all they are all yours to post! Definitely crop the photo however you’d like! That being said, please do not add Instagram filters, or touch up the photo coloring.