From a Photographer to a Bride

After most weddings, we always say, “If she only knew.” Then, we realized that we should be the one to tell you. These aren’t rules; simply a list of ideas that we believe will make this moment in time less stressful and will garner breathtaking images that will last a lifetime.

  1. Figure out what is important to you. And, stand by your guns. This is your day; not your parents, your friends, the wedding coordinator or aunt Sally. Make it all yours.  

  2. First look. Consider seeing each other before the ceremony. Weddings are fast-paced events, and honestly, you won’t remember much of what happens until you get your images. The first look allows you both time to slow down and enjoy one another. It's just the two of you - intimate and quiet. We never coordinate this; we never prompt this. We allow the moment to unfold naturally. And afterward, you’ll be surprised how the nerves fade away. This is one of the most important decisions that you will make that will ensure you day will run smoothly.

  3. Personalize your wedding. Let your uniqueness shine. Be authentic to who you are as a couple. We have seen adorable koozies, favorite teas and cookies, and we’ve also seen personalized M & M’s. Shine!

  4. Think about the little things. Bring a wooden or stylized hanger for your dress portrait. Clean up the getting ready room or just put everything in another room to avoid unnecessary mess in the photos. For those attendant robes, iron them. Hold your bouquet at your belly-button (with both hands). An outside window in your ready room is the ideal light. Walk slowly. Look up. 

  5. Hire a day-of coordinator. Hire someone that is not involved in the wedding (i.e. bridesmaid, aunt, or parent) to help move the day along and stay on the timeline.

  6. Have an unplugged ceremony (or as much as possible). Let your guests be in the moment. We often fight with cell phones or video cameras at arm’s length in the aisle. Cell phones and other devices date  your professional images in the years to come, but more than that, they ruin photos. We do our best to avoid them but it isn’t always possible. Whatever you don’t want to see in your professional images, ask the officiant to have the guests put them away. We understand that they want to capture the moment, but we are curating your first heirloom. You don’t want Uncle Bob’s cell phone taking over a spectacular shot.

  7. Eat and drink during the day.  It's important to stay hydrated.

  8. Hair and make-up trial run.  The engagement session is the perfect time for a trial run with your hair and make-up specialist. When planning your hair and make-up on the wedding day, it always takes longer than you think. Build in time, at least an extra hour so that you can finish early and enjoy time with friends. Everyone goes before you. You’re the grand finale.

  9. Speaking of the engagement session. Engagement sessions are important. It documents your relationship but it also allows you to get to know us and us to know you. You'll know how we work, so on the wedding day, you're more relaxed with a camera pointed at your all day.

  10. Emergency kit. You will be surprised at the magic created by a piece of tape or bungee.

  11. Timeline. No matter which package you choose, we'll help you with the day's timeline. We reach out to you months in advance as you begin putting thins into place. Once we determine the photos you want, the group shots that are important to you, we'll put it all on paper. We know the time you will need to allot for portraits, group shots, and detail shots. We want you to be happy with the final product, and this it point we'll make suggestions that allow you to get everything you want. 

  12. Family portraits are hard. No matter how extensive and accurate the list, corralling a big group of people is difficult on a wedding day. Just be ready, for at that moment, you might not be the happiest of campers. We’ll take care of it, along with the coordinator or Aunt Sue. That’s why it’s important to have a coordinator or a family contact who will know faces. The photos will be worth it in the end. Make sure everyone knows when they should be there and the location. Don’t assume they know. Contact all family members to make sure everyone is included; don’t let the wedding day be the moment they complain that someone isn’t there. The list:  If you're not going to have all your group shots before the wedding (to us, it's the best time), group photos are best after the wedding ceremony. We start with everyone and whittle down, leaving only the bride and groom remaining. No matter when you have them, we'll ask for a list of family members, special friends - anyone you want group shots with. We'll make the list for you, and then send it back for your thoughts and edits.

  13. Don’t forget your portraits. Build in time for your intimate portraits, a minimum of 20 minutes. Ask that no one else accompany us or be around during this session. This is your time. And in the end when you only give us 5 minutes because time is tight, please understand you’ll get one location and one shot. We can’t manufacture time!

  14. You have that many friends! Excellent. Make sure they know where and when they need to be for group shots. And remind them to use their listening skills.

  15. How much time? Time is the greatest thing you can give your photographer. You don’t think about your photography on your wedding day; you will afterwards. So to make sure you have what you have asked for, give us the time. Here’s what we suggest:     Details: 60 minutes; Bride/Groom prep: 60 minutes: Bridal Party: 30 minutes; Bride + Groom Portraits: 30 minutes; Family and Group: 30 minutes (depending on number); Reception and Ceremony Decor, 20 minutes each. If you have a large party (4+ bridemaids/groomsmen) or large or extended families, add 20 minutes to the suggested time.

  16. Be comfortable in your dress. And, your dress will get dirty by the end of the day. And, we promise, you won’t care. Have a pair of flat shoes to wear during your reception especially if you’re wearing heels for the ceremony. Be willing to go to unthought-of locations for unique photos and wear those flats during portraits, too.

  17. Look for the light. If your venue is an extension of you as a couple, look for the light. Look for shaded areas These are the locations we will be seeking when taking your portraits and even group shots. Avoid mid-day start times; evenings are most comfortable for you and your guests. is a good resource. The best lighting, always one hour before sunset

  18. Guys, we can see your cell phones in your pockets. Leave them behind.

  19. Surprises planned? We need to know ahead of time. Gifts? Notes? We need to know it all.

  20. Shooting details. It’s the first thing we do when we arrive at the venue. We need at least an hour. Haveeverything ready: invitation suite, dress, shoes, sentimental items, jewelry, perfume, etc. We’ll take it and run!

  21. Ignore the camera! We are storytellers. We’re telling the story of your day. If you look at our portfolio and social media sites, our clients are rarely looking at the camera. We want you to enjoy each other and be in the moment. Our formal posing is infrequent, and besides, we’re looking for those in-between moments that take your breath away.

  22. Consider a faux exit. As odd as this might sound, it works fabulously and everyone enjoys it. Have an exit (sparklers, bubbles, streamers, etc.) about two-to-three hours (or less) into the reception, allowing older guests and others that might wish to leave the chance to experience every moment. Then, those that remain, can tear up the dance floor and stay as late as the venue allows. Guests do leave early whether you think they will or not; we see it every wedding.

  23. Most importantly, we’re here for the entire journey. With gratitude, L + J