Whenever I’m chatting with my couples during their initial consultation, I find that they’re either on the fence about sharing a first look or completely against it. Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph both traditional weddings and weddings where the couple chose to do a first look. While I would never expect all of my couples to go with the untraditional route, I DO think there are some benefits worth sharing!

Smooth Flow

With a traditional timeline, after the ceremony ends, we’ll have a two hour time block scheduled for family formals, bridal party portraits, and bride and groom photos. If the ceremony location is different than the reception location, guests will likely have to wait it out until cocktail hour begins. This can make the timeline start to feel a little choppy.

Ideally, with a first look, we would schedule:

  • 45 minutes of bride and groom portrait time
  • 45 minutes for bridal party portrait time
  • 30 minutes for family formal portrait time

 

With a first look timeline, we’re able to prioritize bride and groom portraits. Since they’re scheduled first, we can minimize of any feelings of being rushed or under pressure. With a traditional timeline, bride and groom portraits are always scheduled last. If the family formals and bridal party photos take longer than expected, I may not be able to deliver as many bride and groom photos as you had hoped, simply because the venue timeline might not allow for it.

On a related side note, you’ll look your best because I’ll be photographing you shortly after you’re done getting ready rather than after the ceremony & family formals!

More Portrait Time

As I mentioned above, first looks can take anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour. Think about ALL of the beautiful portraits that you can decorate your new home with! Usually, bride and groom portraits feel a bit like a race against the clock with a traditional timeline – literally and figuratively. We usually have only 20-30 minutes to take portraits before a) the sun sets and/or b) we need to get ready for grand entrances.

They Ease Nerves

Real talk: you’re going to be nervous for the sole reason that you’re getting married! Now, add in the fact that you’ll have 200+ pairs of eyes on you and your groom who are anxiously waiting to see your reactions. Cue all of the nerves! Doing a first look beforehand gets most of those jitters out of the way. They give you a chance to breathe, soak in the moment, and relax. Also, they’re the closest thing that you’re going to get to “alone time” on a wedding day.

One concern that I hear from my brides that are considering a first look is that they’re worried their groom won’t have a reaction when they walk down the aisle. I can say from experience that the grooms reaction is usually even MORE priceless when the ceremony starts. I think that’s because everything starts to become very real at that moment!

You Get to Enjoy Cocktail Hour

Doing a first look allows you to go and enjoy cocktail hour with all of your guests. You’ll be all done with taking photos after the ceremony is over. But that’s not including 5 minutes of sunset portraits during your reception, of course 🙂 Family and friends have travelled from all over the map to come see and celebrate alongside of you. You probably haven’t seen many of these people in while, and I’m sure you’d rather be enjoying their company instead of taking photos. Plus, cocktail hour food? Enough said.

So there you have it! With all of this said, you should decide whether or not to do a first look based on what feels right for you as a couple. It’s part of my job to give you all of the information I’ve learned from my experiences so that you can make the best possible decision for yourself on your wedding day. I hope this helps!

Click here to see photos from Krysti & Taylor’s first look!

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When I received my clients wedding album in the mail earlier today, I couldn’t wait to unwrap it. It feels a little bit like Christmas morning every time they’re delivered to my doorstep! As I opened the box and unwrapped the packaging I found a beautiful, hand-stitched album with thick matte pages inside of a linen wrap for safekeeping. It’s a work of art in and of itself — and I swear I’m not being dramatic. Below are the 5 main reasons why you should consider investing in a wedding album:

1. High Quality

I’m what is known as a shoot and share photographer, meaning that I deliver all of the edited images that I take to my clients. Their images are uploaded into an online gallery and are accessible for 10 years. They can download the images as much as they’d like without any additional cost. I also give my clients a print release. Could my clients technically create their own wedding albums? Sure. But I wouldn’t advise it! Over time, an inexpensive album will begin to deteriorate, become discolored, and fall apart. Furthermore, the image quality could print pixelated or otherwise distorted.

2. Tangible 

There’s something about being able to see photographs in print and physically flip through them that feels so different than clicking around and opening up JPEGS on a laptop screen. Maybe that’s because we live in such a digital age.

I might be biased, but I believe that photography is one of the most important investments on your wedding day! After the vows have been exchanged and the toasts have been given, all we have left are the photographs. On average, people will spend $2,000+ on a wedding photographer.  That’s a large chunk of change, and that’s not even taking into account all of the other wedding day expenses.  Saving money and forgoing the professional wedding album sounds like a great way to cut additional costs. Trust me, I get it! But is this something you’ll regret 10 or 20 years down the line? The additional one time expense may be well worth it when you think about a wedding album in terms of being a tangible keepsake showcasing your marriage.

3. Reliable

Technology is unreliable. I’m only in my 20’s and I’ve already seen the evolution from tapes, to CD’s, to iPods. Just when you think that technology is as advanced as its ever going to be, something new comes along and takes us all by surprise. CD’s get scratched, online galleries eventually expire, and USB’s easily get lost. Albums are forever.

4. Enduring

Albums will stay with you and your husband for the next 60 years, and will remain in your family for generations.  It’s hard to think about your children, grandchildren & even great grandchildren as someone who’s probably only in their 20’s or early 30’s, but think about how exciting it would be to find photographs of your great grandmother and to be able to piece together her story.  Your children and grandchildren will want to snuggle on your living room couch, flip through the photos, and hear stories about how you and your husband met — and I’m sure you’d love to tell them and be able to relive it!

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The getting ready portion of the wedding day has always been one of my favorites to photograph! It’s usually the first time that I get to see my bride and groom since their engagement session, and I love to capture all of the excitement happening around me! Choosing the perfect getting ready room might not seem that important during the wedding planning process, BUT, it actually plays a major role. This is especially true when it comes to having beautiful photographs of you and your girls getting ready that match the overall vibe of your wedding day! Below are four of my favorite tips to help you choose the perfect getting ready room for your wedding day.

Lighting is Everything | Choose a spacious getting ready room with large windows and plenty of natural light. Lighting is the most essential element to creating those soft, airy, and beautiful portraits. Natural light will ensure that you and your girls look your absolute best in all of the getting ready photographs. Plus, your makeup artist will thank you for the window light as well!

Size | Choose a getting ready location with enough space to spread out. Photographers, videographers, hair + makeup artists, bridesmaids, and family members will all be in the getting ready room at some point on the morning of your wedding day. A suite will give you and your girls plenty of getting ready + storage space (YES to clutter free portraits!), and the professionals a little extra elbow room.

Distance | The distance to your ceremony location from the getting ready venue shouldn’t exceed 15-20 minutes. Cutting down on travel time will help to decrease stress! If at all possible, consider getting ready in the bridal suite at the venue location itself. This will help to create a relaxed atmosphere through out the entire wedding day since travel is no longer a factor.

Overall Aesthetic | The getting ready venue should reflect the overall look and feel of your wedding day. For instance, getting ready in a hotel suite might not match the vibe of a rustic chic wedding. As I mentioned before, if possible, choose a getting ready location at the venue itself. Many venues have a bridal suite that will likely match the aesthetic of your wedding day. This will allow me as the photographer to tell the story of your wedding day seamlessly — especially when it comes to album design!

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There’s a reason why I include an engagement session in every one of my wedding photography packages, and it’s because I believe that they’re an essential part to your overall experience! Engagement sessions give us a chance to get to know each other and work together before the big day. When I know my couples, I can serve them well and tell their love story through my photographs in a genuine and authentic way.

After 4 years of business, I’ve learned that most of my clients are nervous to be in front of my camera during their engagement session. Having your photo taken can feel uncomfortable and awkward, especially if you’ve never been in front of a camera before. It’s my job to reassure my clients, teach them my posing style, and, ultimately, allow them to feel comfortable and have fun during their session. When my clients receive their final gallery of images, I want them to be relieved of any doubt they may have had about looking awkward in their photographs. Instead, I want them to be excited about their engagement gallery and feel equipped to take their future wedding photos!

When I don’t have a chance to work with couples before the big day, photographing their bride and groom portraits can feel a bit like starting from square one because they:

  • Haven’t worked with me before
  • Haven’t learned my posing style
  • Aren’t sure what to expect (missing that trust factor!)

 

This can be a little difficult when the timeline is running behind (which happens more often than not!) and I need to take bride and groom portraits in a shorter amount of time than originally planned. When this happens and my couples have had an engagement session with me, they’re already posing pros and know exactly what to do / expect because they’ve gone through it all before!

Having an engagement session helps me learn about you and who you are together as a couple. By the time your wedding day is finally here, we’ll be comfortable with each other and feel like old friends. Your wedding day should be as A. seamless, B. stress free, and C. as fun as possible – and having an engagement session beforehand help to ensure that your time spent taking photos with me is all of the above!

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