rise + shine
You want to start hair and makeup extra early, you would much rather have too much time with them than not enough. In order to relieve some of the wedding morning stress, have the hair and make-up team come to your house or hotel room the morning of the wedding if possible. It takes away the stress of traveling to or from the salon. Be sure to go first or second (especially if you have a large bridal party). The hair and make-up team will stick around to do finishing touches before you leave the salon or after you put your dress on if they are at your hotel. Going first allows you the opportunity to drink a mimosa, relax with your bridesmaids and have ample time for bridal portraits. Consider the location that you will be getting ready, the morning is best captured if you're in natural light. If your make-up artist is coming to you set up a table and chairs where there is lots of light, and plenty of room for you and your bridesmaids to prepare. Plan to dress near a bright window and have all accessories such as shoes, rings, jewelry, flowers and dresses available as early as possible for photos.
By doing a first look, you will be able to enjoy your moment alone together. Many couples ask their families and bridal parties to keep their distance for this moment. I use a long lens to give you ample privacy while capturing this experience. As a photographer, I want to create the best possible images. With a first look, I am able to have the amount of time I prefer with a bride and groom.
After your ceremony is complete and you make your way down the aisle remember to walk to the end of the aisle and stop for a few moments, a few kisses for an amazing post ceremony shot with all of your guests standing and cheering you on! Also remember to tell your bridal party to wait for you to be completely thru the aisle before they begin their walk down!
Remind your bridal party to really celebrate this moment! Tell them to throw their arms in the air and cheer loudly!
Everyone should be dressed and ready about a half hour before you, this allows for great photos of you getting into your dress.
boats + canoes
If your wedding will be on the water and you have access to a boat always consider this option for photos! If you have the luxury of having two boats it's ideal to have me in one and you and your partner in the other.
If possible order extra flower petals for photos, I typically find a balcony and ask someone to sprinkle them over you as I shoot.
If you plan on seeing each other for the first time at ceremony we will use your cocktail hour for photos of the wedding party, family photos, and photos of the bride and groom.
Select a close family member preferably one that is not in the wedding party to help round up family for photos, this is a huge help on your day. Click here to view a sample portrait list.
officiants - pastors - friends
Whoever it happens to be who will be presenting your ceremony please ask them to step away after pronouncing you're married, this will allow for optimal photos of your first kiss as newlyweds. Another important tip to remind them of is to tell your guests when they may be seated after your walk down the aisle, it's surprising how often it occurs where guests are not told to be seated creating an awkward few moments for guests.
additional sessions to consider
This is such an intimate and fun evening to capture with your closest friends and family.
A great idea is to give these photos to your groom at first look. This session can take place anytime up until the day before your wedding!
I love to photograph brides and grooms in their wedding day attire jumping into water, riding horses, or even just rolling around on the ground. These make for extremely fun sessions and amazing photos.
Outdoor weddings in the summer are stunning, scheduling your day around light is critical for these weddings! Try to avoid the mid-day sun during the time of your ceremony the best you can. The harsh light directly overhead during the afternoon hours will cause you to squint and guests to swelter in the heat. Instead, choose a ceremony just before sunset. This will create beautiful, much softer lighting, less heat for your guests, and more evenly lit photos with less harsh shadows. Make sure you have good light available outside at portrait time. One thing to keep in mind is what time the sun will be setting and if you plan to do photos before or after your ceremony. If you have an evening ceremony I suggest opting for a “first look” and doing couple, bridal party, and family photos before the ceremony to allow sufficient daylight photo opportunities. With that in mind, an exceptionally amazing time for photos is just before sunset, if you're able to sneak away with your groom for additional photos at this time you will love the outcome.
More often than not bridal parties as well as the bride and groom are not standing where they are supposed to. It makes it extremely difficult to get great photos. I strongly suggest placing tape or some type of marker on the ground for each person that will be involved in your ceremony.
This is something that is so often overlooked! Please remember to kiss for at least three seconds, it’s not a moment that you want to be missed in photos, yet so often couples have the shortest peck you’ve ever seen! Try to remember to count to three as a rule of thumb if not several times over!
soak it up
Nerves always seem to get the best of couples when they are standing in front of their family and friends, they race down the aisle, and have a short first kiss, this makes it extremely difficult to get a ton of great photos. Enjoy the moment, soak it in and take your time. Prevent this by assigning your escort to be in charge of making sure you walk slow, allowing sufficient time for photos. The same applies for your celebratory walk down the aisle post ceremony.
Here’s a rough and dirty guide to how much time we need
Getting Ready: At least 30-45 minutes with both the guys and the girls, but the more the better (see the F.A.Q.s below for how to figure out my start time)!
Bride + Bridesmaids: 30 minutes (before the ceremony is recommended)
Groom + Groomsmen: 30 minutes (before the ceremony is recommended)
Wedding Couple Together: 45 minutes-or-so. If you do a “first look,” that usually takes about 10 minutes and we usually recommend scheduling about 15 minutes right before sunset for the best light.
Whole Wedding Party: 20-30 minutes
Immediate Family: This is based on how many groups you want to do. I usually recommend about 1.5 minutes per small group (2-8 people) and about 5 minutes per large group (8+ people).
Extended Family: We usually recommend keeping family formals to immediate family and then doing less “formal” photos with extended family members as you see them during reception. But, if you would like to include extended family in the formals, then use the same timing calculations as for immediate family.
Ceremony Prep Time: 30-45 minutes. Don’t schedule any other photo sessions for the 30-45 minutes right before your ceremony so we can get set up, communicate with videographers about how I/they plan to shoot, etc.
You give us those chunks of time and we will give you some sweet, tasty wedding photos!
Q. When do I usually start shooting?
A. Typically I recommend deciding on my start time in one of two ways:
1) I can start getting ready photos right after the bride finishes hair and just before she starts makeup (that way she is somewhat done before we start shooting. I recommend having your hair done before makeup). Then, presuming that you have booked me for the base package of 8 hours, go forward 8 hours and make sure that we are at the reception late enough to capture all of the events you want captured and about 30 minutes-or-so of open dancing. If I won’t be there late enough, you can either adjust my start time or add time to your package. Keep in mind, if you are having a grand exit (sparklers, confetti, lavender, etc.) you may want to double check that I will be there until then!
2) Start with the last event at reception plus 30 minutes of open dancing and then look back 8 hours. If my start time gives us 30+ minutes of getting ready, then you are probably good! If not, we will have to either adjust the start/end time or add time to your package.
Q. How ready should we be when you get here/what should we have ready?
A. I usually recommend that I start when our brides have their hair close to completed and just before they are starting make-up. I recommend that our grooms be showered (because we are pretty confident that you don’t want photos of that…) and have their pants and undershirt on (no collared shirt, tie or jacket on). You will also want to plan on having any details you want photographed out and readily available (dress, shoes, invitations, rings, garter etc). That way I get to experience and capture all the parts of your day and really tell the full story.
Q. How long should we set aside for sunset photos in our wedding day photography timeline?
A. This will vary a little depending on your location/how much time I have already spent shooting with the two of you. If I have already gotten around 30-45 minutes of couples photo time then setting aside 10-15 minutes for a few sunset photos in gorgeous light should be perfect.
TIP: Sunset times change everyday and vary depending on where your wedding is located! So, look up the sunset time for your wedding day/location and schedule a little reception “down-time” (maybe during dinner or near the beginning of open dancing?) during the 15 minutes before sunset so that you don’t have to worry about missing anything important during your sunset photos.