I’m so glad you’re here! Your photography is possibly one of the biggest decisions you will make in the wedding planning process, and I’m honored to be the one you chose to tell this part of your story.
Planning a wedding can be an exciting and stressful time. It takes creativity, patience and teamwork. You have a lot of decisions ahead of you, not just for your wedding day, but for your future as a new family.
I’ll let my photographic work speak for itself, but there’s a lot more that goes into shooting your wedding than showing up with a camera. Great wedding photography happens when couples are at ease and having fun. From helping you schedule your day to helping you bustle your dress, I’m here to make sure you avoid stressful wedding day pitfalls and have the time of your life.
Included below are some tools to help you along in the planning process. I’ve also included a detailed list of what you can expect from me and when. My customer service and responsive communication are some of the things that set me apart in the industry, as well as my extensive experience in event planning and organizing. I hope you find this material helpful and can rest a little easier as you go forward with your plans.
Congratulations on your engagement, and I can’t wait to take your picture!
All the best,
I know there are a lot of priorities to sort out when planning and paying for a wedding. One of my biggest regrets from my own wedding was getting the cheapest photographer I could find and hoping for the best – which didn’t work out. I want to help the couples who love my work to get the wedding photography coverage of their dreams.
My wedding photography gift registry program is the perfect way to bridge that gap. Guests love to get couples gifts they will cherish for a lifetime, and what better gift than to remember your day with jaw-dropping images?
The registry works like pretty much any other online gift registry. It is fully customizable, but I’ve done my research and figured out how to help you get the most out of it. $25-$100 items, such as photography credits that can apply to anything, are the hottest sellers. But guests also like to see specifically what you’ll get from their gift, so I usually include items like hours of coverage, a second shooter, and albums.
The success of the gift registry is really up to you. Like any other gift registry, it depends on how much you promote it and how many other registries you have. I recommend for couples to book a service level that they can comfortably afford, and then add their “level up” service onto the registry. Once that next level of coverage is close to being fulfilled by guests, we can keep adding services and products until you have your dream package. This way, you’ll be sure to get the services and products you want in the order that makes the most sense.
If you plan to add more than $500 of photography services and products to your registry, I suggest that you promote this registry ahead of other registries and communicate to your guests that this is the gift you really want.
For couples who choose to take advantage of this service, we can get started as soon as you like, even right at booking. You can also add this to your list of registries to open and tackle it later. It takes about 10 minutes of your time, so don’t worry about spending eye-drying hours scrolling through an online store!
Who else will be with you at our wedding?
Depending on the package and add-ons you purchase, I may be solo, with an assistant or second shooter, or both. I will always let you know as soon as possible how many people will be accompanying me, but I can usually tell at booking what I will need for my team. I base my team on the bridal party size, number of guests, locations and timeline. I am very comfortable shooting a single location wedding on my own, but more elaborate events are very difficult without a second shooter and assistant.
Bottom line, I want to give you my very best, and sometimes my very best is working with a team.
Do you bring backup equipment?
YES! No true professional shoots without backups. And I don’t just mean a camera, I mean the whole bag of gear. While I take very good care of my equipment, technological mishaps and unforeseen circumstances are sometimes unavoidable. I have backup image files being created while I shoot, and I have backups for every piece of gear I use at a wedding, even the camera strap.
Do you want to see our Pinterest board?
Yes. Pinterest boards help me understand what your priorities are and the kind of imagery that moves you. It’s the closest I get to reading your mind. However, I am not here to cut and paste your faces onto other people’s photos. Your wedding, and your photography, are unique to you.
Why do you recommend a first look?
I recommend a first look because it helps couples relax, it really is a special moment, and it frees up a lot of your wedding day timeline.
Here are some things to consider if you’re on the fence:
- Does your timeline allow for 3-4 hours of photography after the ceremony?
- Do you love having emotional and somewhat stressful moments in front of large groups?
- Do you have strong religious or tradition-oriented feelings about avoiding a first look?
If your answer to some or all of these questions is no, then a first look is worth considering. Keep in mind, your first look can happen however you want. Some couples choose to make this a private moment, and I get as far away as I can and shoot with a long lens. Some couples do their first look in the chapel, walking down the aisle with wedding party and family looking on. I have more to say about the first look here.
Do we need a second shooter?
I recommend a second shooter if you have two or more of the following:
- 10 or more people in your wedding party
- 200 or more anticipated guests
- drive from ceremony to reception is more than 15 minutes
- you are getting ready in separate buildings and want getting ready images
- you want multiple angles of coverage of the first look and/or ceremony
It's more than a photo session
The engagement session is great for save-the-date cards, guest books and wedding decorations. But that’s not why it’s so valuable.
An engagement session is a lot like a first date. You’ve met me once or twice, you’ve done your research, you may even be sure it’s a good match, but we’re still pretty much strangers.
We’re going to spend a lot of time together on your wedding day. Could you imagine if we were meeting for the first time that day? The beauty and authenticity of your wedding photos has a lot to do with how much I understand about your personalities and chemistry as a couple and how much you trust me as a professional. That process starts with the engagement session.
It’s best not to think of it as a photo session. Think of it, instead, as a date. Plan something fun that resonates with who you are. Pick a favorite location or activity. Anywhere cameras are allowed, we can go there. I can provide a lot of recommendations, and sometimes couples want to go with something new instead of a place they’ve been many times.
Your engagement session can happen anywhere a camera is allowed. The best locations for you engagement session are ones you care about. Although my studio or a public park both work great, there are many more amazing possibilities. Here are some questions that may help you come up with some ideas:
What are your favorite haunts (park, coffee shop, bar, neighborhood)?
What is your favorite/ideal date?
How do you want to use these photos?
What are your preferences for the background/environment of your engagement photos?
Choosing a wardrobe
I always get asked about props and outfit changes. We’re only limited by time, but I recommend one casual outfit and one more dressy outfit. These don’t need to be complete outfit changes either. It could just be a change of shirt and shoes.
All rules can be broken, but these are some good wardrobe/session prep guidelines to follow:
- Don't make dramatic cosmetic changes the week before (new hair style/cut/color, sunburn, bronzer).
- Style hair and makeup in a way that fits the occasion and is true to your usual style & personality.
- Consider getting professional hair & makeup done before your session. I can give you some recommendations of great pros who have studios or will come to you. The cost is usually $150-$175.
- Coordinating (not matching) is the name of the game! Choose outfits for each of you that work together but aren't too similar. (My husband and I have the same Patagonia sweater. How awkward would that be in a photo!)
- Wear solid or very subtly patterned clothing, or keep patterned clothing under more subdued layers (floral shirt under a cardigan or blazer).
- Choose a color and texture theme to help you narrow down your wardrobe. Color themes could be pastels, fall colors, muted primaries, etc. Textures could be denim and flannel, lace and linen, floral prints and solids, etc.
- Avoid very bright colors as they can be distracting and have a weird affect on skin tone. Muted colors work best. Black shirts are always a solid choice.
Choose solids and subtle patterns over busy prints and stripes (scarves and base layers can be an exception here).
Choose clothing cuts and combinations that work with your body type.
Don’t forget the accessories, including hats, jewelry, jackets, scarves, and shoes.
- Bring 2-4 wardrobe options. It's better to have options you don't use than to be stuck with something that isn't working.
- Get a good night's sleep. Leave the extended happy hour for after the headshot.
Add a dash of personality
Think beyond the place and the outfit. Are you really into board games? Bring your favorite one! Do you both gush over your fur baby? Bring that puppy! Also think about how you want to use these photo (i.e. the Save theDate card). My couples often have a sign with their wedding date on it. One couple bought coffee at the cafe we ended up at and wrote “Mr” and “Mrs” on their cups. They actually ordered ceramic mugs and we recreated this shot during their wedding. It was really fun, and they later framed the photos side-by-side.
Think about the things in your life that you both love and that bring you together. Consider working those things into your engagement session.
The most important thing to do during your engagement session is to have fun!
What to expect
You’ll sign your contract and pay your deposit. I’ll give you a welcome packet, schedule your engagement session and send you a preliminary timeline (depending on the details you have worked out so far).
At the engagement session
We’ll have some fun and you’ll learn what it’s like to work with me and my camera.
2-3 weeks after the engagement session
I’ll send you a link to your engagement session gallery and instructions to download your complementary hi-res image files. If you’ve purchased a guest book, I’ll also send instructions on selecting your favorite photos. Photo book layout takes about 3 weeks, and the book will be delivered about 4 weeks after you approve your book design.
2 months before the wedding
I’ll send you a questionnaire to start your shot list and round out your wedding day timeline.
4 weeks before the wedding
Your final payment is due. We’ll have our final, 30-minute consultation to review your shot list and timeline.
2 weeks before the wedding
I’ll confirm your timeline and shot list and leave you alone to enjoy your last two weeks of engagement.
THE BIG DAY!
We’ll be ready to shoot at the start of your photography timeline. Get ready to have some fun!
1 week after the wedding
I’ll post a sneak peak photo on social media.
5 weeks after the wedding
If you’ve purchased an album, I’ll send you the digital proof of your wedding album.
6-8 weeks after the wedding
I’ll send the link to your full proof gallery. If you’ve purchased an album, we’ll schedule a review session. You will be able to download your hi-res images. You’ll also select any pre-purchased wall displays. For digital-only clients, your USB drive will be in the mail!
6 weeks after you approve your album design
I’ll deliver your album! You’ll get the USB drive with your album, too.
Wedding Day Timeline
Every wedding is different. A very simple civil ceremony may work with a 4 hour photography package, while a full Catholic mass and a plated meal for 300 guests may be best suited to all-day coverage. Either way, I want to help you have the best day of your life, and that starts with a good timeline.
Here is a breakdown of how long different photography segments should last in order for you to get the most of my time and skill. Just as important as leaving enough time for your photography is leaving enough time to rest. I recommend at least 45 minutes of down time before the ceremony, when you are just hanging out, eating a light meal, kicking off your shoes and waiting to get married. I also recommend 10-15 minutes after the ceremony to break from the crowd and freshen up.
Getting Ready: 1-2 hours
An hour can cover the basics of wardrobe & accessory details, putting on outfits and gussying up for the ceremony or first look. If documenting details and the full process of getting ready are a priority for you, plan for two hours.
First Look: 15 minutes
I give the first look a lot more time than most photographers. I believe first looks should be genuine, not staged. I give you space and time to truly have your moment. If you’re unsure about doing a first look, please read through the FAQs in the welcome packet. Most of the time, it’s a good choice.
Bride/Groom Portraits: 2-3 hours
Sounds like a lot of time, right? It’s rare for all of this time to happen at once. For most of the weddings I photograph, the Bride/Groom portraits are broken up into 2-4 segments throughout the day, ranging from 15 minutes to 1 hour. This includes individual portraits as well. Couples who want the dramatic, eye-catching portraits that dominate my portfolio should allow as much time as possible. These photos take a little more time to work through, but they are totally worth it. Don’t forget to plan time for dusk and night portraits if your timeline allows.
Bridal Party Portraits: 30-45 minutes
Once the bride and groom have their first stretch of couple’s portraits behind them, bridal party pictures tend to move quickly. The more time we have, the more creative we can be. Don’t forget that you can break up your bridal party portraits to accommodate different parts of your day or even different locations. Renting a limo or party bus? I can jump in for a few minutes to get some laughter-filled group shots.
Family & Wedding Party Formals: 20-40 minutes
If your ceremony is in a church, the chapel or parish yard are convenient spots to gather family members for group photos. And traditional altar photos, although not trendy, are absolutely timeless. Smaller families will take less time than larger ones, but I encourage all family portraits to be done in one session to avoid delays and frustration.
Ceremony: 30 minutes - 2 hours
The length of your ceremony can vary greatly. This is something you can work through with your officiant. Receiving lines usually add 15-20 minutes. They work best with weddings of under 150 guests. Remember to let me know about the traditions or unique things you will be doing for your ceremony. I want to be ready for all the special moments.
Reception: 1-4 hours
Reception times vary depending on the structure of your event and the different traditions and activities you choose to partake in. Cocktail hour, grand entrance, dance, cake cutting: All of these make memorable photos. I often take 15 minutes with my couples to do dusk or after dark portraits during the reception. This gives you a few minutes to escape the crowd, and you get amazing photos.
Vendors I Love
If you're still looking for amazingly talented people to team up with for your wedding day, consider the folks below. I have worked with all of these awesome vendors on many occasions. Tell them I sent you!
Please note: These are not paid advertisers and I get no kickbacks for recommending them (maybe a high-five). These are simply people in the industry who are really, really good at what they do and have earned my eternal respect through incredible customer care.
Josi, Sixpence Events
Nicole, Seasons of Dreams
Hair & Makeup
Heidi, 139 Hair by Heidi
Jody, Winter Artistry
Annie, SoCoJo Artistry
Myra, Rison Deisgns
Rental & Decor
Graphics & Stationary
Music & Entertainment
Leslie, Positively Charmed
Rev. Susan, Perfect Day Ceremonies
Heather, Enticing Icing
Venues & Caterers
Most couples already have a venue and caterer booked when they come my way. If you're still looking for one, I'd love to give you a recommendation based on your style and budget. Just let me know!