Decide early on whether you’d prefer a peaceful morning of getting ready alone, getting ready with just a couple of your closest family and friends, or having a lively room full of people around you. Each option provides a very different energy. It’s important to know ahead of time how your feelings and needs will mix with each situation.
Hair and Makeup
As you’re putting together your wedding-day schedule, ask your hair and makeup artists for guidance on an estimated time for how long this process will take, and then add at least 30 minutes as a buffer.
Before you book your church, please be sure to ask whether photography is allowed and if there are any restrictions. I am happy to work with anything, but it’s important for your own peace of mind to have realistic expectations in advance. Some places of worship prohibit photographers from moving around or using flash. These limitations could have an impact on meaningful and creative photography of the most important part of a wedding day.
Generally, the best time for an outdoor ceremony is two to three hours before sunset. Selecting this later time ensures the sunlight falls more evenly on the skin tones offering the most flattering results with minimal harsh shadows both in photos and in person for your guests. This ideal lighting situation offers consistent results for both spouses so there isn't one person in the light and the other in shadow.
Cultural, Religious and Family Traditions
Multicultural weddings have become the norm for me and because backgrounds are being blended together, no two weddings are the same. Incorporating new and old traditions makes your wedding memorable for the newlyweds as well as their guests. Whether you plan on having a ceremony chock-full of colorful customs or are creating a new tradition, talking it over with your friends and family as well as with your photographer will keep all parties happy and will have more of the photos you want because your photographer will know what to look for.
It's a great idea to always have your photographer ride with you when possible. You will get some of the most memorable moments captured this way, and also some of the most fun.
One of the most important parts of your wedding day is taking the time to make creative portraits of the two of you as newlyweds. Make sure to allow 30 minutes to an hour for this. I will offer creative posing ideas and guide you so you are completely comfortable in front of the camera. Portraits require patience and plans for all sorts of weather to give you the most comfortable expressions.
I recommend setting aside time for group photos to take place right after the ceremony. Your parents, siblings, grandparents, and wedding party can be photographed efficiently by using a list, so that you can continue on celebrating sooner. I will help you estimate how much time will be needed to get quality photos that are keepsake worthy.
Include your photographer on the guest list
By adding me to your guest list, this accomplishes two important things. I will be seated with the guests, which ensures I am always with you and will never miss a moment of your reception. This also ensures I am fed in a timely manner (instead of a cold sandwich in a back office far, far away from you when speeches are happening). Food is energy, and an energetic, happy photographer is exactly what you want when you have dancing ahead of you!
The more lighting you can bring in, the better and the more unique your wedding will be. I love gobos and uplighting (amber, red, purple and pink look the best and it has been recommended to stay away from green). Candles, chandeliers and twinkle lights add a magical touch that looks phenomenal in photos.
I adore tent receptions, because the white canvas works really well with the way I use my flash. To make your tented reception even prettier, planners often help source lanterns or chandeliers, and lots of candles on the tables.
Outdoor Reception Lighting
If you’re having a completely open-air reception under the stars, I recommend adding as much extra lighting as possible. A popular option is to strands of twinkle lights and candles in hurricane vases. The extra lighting will help warm up your photos and add a prettier feel. Without added lighting, you will have a pure black background unless the reception takes place during the day.
Embracing the Unexpected
Being mentally prepared for inclement weather, and being okay with forgetting the necklace you hoped to wear will help you enjoy the day no matter what obstacles make themselves known. Even if events run way off schedule, keeping a positive attitude and an open mind will allow spontaneity and magic to delight and surprise you. I've photographed weddings where storm clouds rolled in during a beach ceremony resulting in a brief downpour. Moments later, the clouds gave way to a rainbow and I was able to get some fabulous portraits right down by the water.