YOU DESERVE AMAZING WEDDING PHOTOS.
In this guidebook, we’ll cover everything you need to know so you can feel confident that you’re setting up your wedding day and photographer (therefore, your wedding photos) for success. Whether you’re a bride-to-be, maid-of-honor, day-of coordinator or a momma looking to help the day go as smoothly as possible, feel free to use this information in order to help your photographer create beautiful wedding day images. So grab a cup of coffee (or let’s be real.. glass of wine) and let’s dig in together.
Getting ready photos are easily some of our favorite moments to capture, but sometimes the energy is ruined by the aesthetic and not-so-ideal lighting conditions. A cluttered, messy, and dark room takes away from the genuine moments happening and the beauty of the morning.
// HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND //
Clutter: Those beautiful, emotion-filled moments on the morning of a wedding day can be a little less beautiful with fast food leftovers, gym bags and a pile of shoes in the background. When it comes to making the most of your getting ready photos, it’s important that your getting ready location is as clean as possible when I arrive! Try your best to keep bags, suitcases, laundry, etc in a different room or the closet.
Lighting: Window light is our favorite light. If possible, get ready in a room with lots of window light, where we won’t need to use lamps or artificial light. We prefer to turn off all the lights in the space you’re getting ready. This may seem counterintuitive, but working with the cleanest lighting possible will make your photos turn out best! This means no orangey hues from lamps and room lighting.
Hair + Makeup: While most of the time we will arrive towards the end of hair + makeup, we still want these photos to look their best. If possible, try to get your hair + makeup done near a window. Natural light for both your photographer and your MUA is very important!
Consider getting ready together: Some of the sweetest moments we’ve captured on wedding and elopement days are when the couple chose to get ready together the morning of their wedding. Sharing all the laughs and excited anticipation of the day. Just the two of you in a beautiful space preparing to commit your lives together.
Details: While most of our work emphasizes the relationships and moments on your wedding day, we don’t want to leave out all the pretty details that help tell the story of your day. When we arrive where you are getting ready, it would be great to have some of those special touches ready to be photographed! You definitely don’t need to have a slew of details, but having some loose florals, the rings, an invitation or anything else you’d like documented ready will make it easy for us to capture the details along with all the excitement of the morning.
Don't forget about the groom, if there is one!
Don't forget about the groom, if there is one!
Sometimes the groom gets left with the dark tiny room. He is just as important, and his photos will look way better in a well lit room. Typical hotel rooms often don’t provide the best light or setting for prep. If you can, I recommend looking into other options, like a well lit Airbnb. There are tons of affordable cute ones out there, usually less expensive than a hotel! Groomsmen typically take a lot less time to get ready, so it's nice to send the second shooter (if you have one) along to any pre-wedding festivities: golf, to play pool, to a bar, etc.
A first look gives you and your love a chance to see each other in a private, intimate setting before the ceremony.
Many photographers will push first looks. While I prefer my couples do a first look for the reasons below, I will NEVER persuade you otherwise if you feel strongly about seeing your fiance for the first time during the ceremony. However, I highly recommend considering a first look for the following reasons:
It takes the pressure off. There’s often a LOT of nerves going into your ceremony. We believe much of that is the anticipation of seeing your soon-to-be spouse for the first time! But if you have a chance to see them for the first time in a quiet, intimate setting before the ceremony, chances are you’ll be MUCH more relaxed when ceremony time comes!
You’ll have better photos. While I do love the groom reaction shots while a bride walks down the aisle, it’s far less intimate than a first look and we aren’t able to capture the emotion as well as if you took some time aside for the two of you! It’s also a lot harder to take in the moment for yourselves when there’s dozens of people watching you!
It frees up your timeline. Yep! Usually after a first look, we’ll do family photos prior to the ceremony. This means you won’t have to spend time doing family photos after all the excitement of the ceremony and you’ll be able to spend even more time with family and friends during cocktail hour and the reception! We’ll still grab you for sunset portraits at some point depending on when your ceremony is, but more time at the reception is a win for everyone.
Estimated time needed: 15-20 minutes
BRIDAL PARTY + FAMILY PORTRAITS
BRIDAL PARTY + FAMILY PORTRAITS
While the majority of the day is focused on capturing emotion and unplanned moments, we realize that family photos are just as important and we take them very seriously.
We recommend limiting to 10 family formal groupings. We know it can sometimes be difficult to get your list down to 10 groups, however, we’d encourage you to think about which arrangements are most important to you and stick with no more than 10 groupings. Family photos are often the most exhausting portion of the day, and instead of tiring yourselves out with dozens of family groupings, we recommend allowing for more time with family during cocktail hour and reception while we capture all the candid moments along the way.
Group photos should be done prior to the ceremony (if a first look is involved) or immediately after the ceremony (get the officiant to make an announcement for all family + bridal party to stay put). Corralling everyone during cocktail hour is often difficult. Grandma is likely to get lost in the crowd and it’s easy for the best man to find himself at the bar instead of lining up for bridal party photos. This corralling can really eat into the time we have for portraits and for you to enjoy your reception!
When you send us your timeline and final payment one month prior,
please also send us a list for family photos including first names so that we can mark each grouping off the list.
You’ve spent hours planning the PERFECT ceremony. However, you may soon realize your planning efforts were a waste when your ceremony photos weren't how you imagined in your head. When planning your ceremony location, it’s easy to get caught up in the location and views and disregard the lighting, but the lighting will play the biggest role in how your photos will turn out!
Backlight: This is especially important if you must have a midday ceremony. This means setting up your ceremony so the sun is behind you, your fiance, and your officiant, and your guests are facing the sun. If your ceremony is in the afternoon or close to sunset, your guests should be facing West (towards the sunset). For morning ceremonies, your guests should be facing East (towards the sunrise).
Sunset is best: With few exceptions, we plan portrait sessions and bride and groom photos right before sunset because the lighting is most beautiful that time of day! It’s softer, golden and straight up gorgeous. That same light is just as important for your outdoor ceremony. We recommend doing outdoor ceremonies about 2 hours prior to sunset allowing time for bride + groom photos as well as potential delays + timeline emergencies.
GOOD CEREMONY LIGHTING
Everyone, including the guests, are evenly lit because the sun is lower.
BAD CEREMONY LIGHTING
Sadly: the groom's face is blown out and too bright while the bride's face is in even lighting. The background is spotty and uneven. At the alter, the groom was sweaty and squinting the entire time while the bride was in a shadow.
GETTING MARRIED INDOORS?
Try your best to find a venue with a lot of natural light.
When you depend on artificial lighting, it's often very uneven and creates very unflattering colors on your skin (making you either look very very pale or very orange).
Below is a great example of a well lit indoor ceremony.