Posts Tagged ‘wedding photography’

Ten easy (free!) ways to make your wedding day photos better

July 28th, 2011

Hello from COOL Wisconsin! Yes, I’m on vacation this week, enjoying 8 days of camping under the wing of an airplane and flying out to some really cool destinations throughout Wisconsin and along Lake Michigan. Since I’ve got a couple of weekends without weddings, unfortunately my faithful blog-followers don’t have a usual Wedding Wednesday blog […]

 

Hello from COOL Wisconsin! Yes, I’m on vacation this week, enjoying 8 days of camping under the wing of an airplane and flying out to some really cool destinations throughout Wisconsin and along Lake Michigan. Since I’ve got a couple of weekends without weddings, unfortunately my faithful blog-followers don’t have a usual Wedding Wednesday blog highlight post to look forward to. Instead, I’ve taken the opportunity to write some posts that can help you make the most of your wedding and engagement photography. This week, we’ll take a look at some easy ways to make your wedding photography go even BETTER, and best of all, these don’t cost any extra money 😉 So, without further adieu, here they are:

10. Schedule “pad time” into your day.

I can’t stress this enough. When I receive a timeline from a bride and there is no breathing room in the schedule, from start to finish, it does admittedly make me a bit nervous. If you think something will take 30 minutes, schedule 45. If the minister/pastor/priest tells you the ceremony will be 20 minutes, plan 30. Why? First of all, sometimes ceremonies don’t start on time. Luckily, most do…but you never know when the father of the bride is nowhere to be found (and eventually located in the men’s room!). Secondly, some officiants get wordy. I can’t tell you the number of times a couple tells me they’ve been told to expect a 20 minute ceremony – then the officiant starts talking. And talking. And I look at my watch, and it’s been 20 minutes and the vow exchange hasn’t even started. Also, another time-killer can be the send-off – the bigger the guest list, the longer it takes the guests to vacate the church, especially if there’s a receiving line. Then, if family formals are being shot after the ceremony, expect it to take a good while for family to filter back in…which leads me to number nine.

9. Make sure family is briefed on the time for family formals.

Formals can be a time-eater for one reason: family isn’t where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be. Plan extra time, and tell everyone to be at the church 15 minutes before you actually need them to be there, if they are being shot before the ceremony. I tell clients to plan 30 minutes for family formals, with an average-sized family, but allow 45. I don’t like to shoot weddings off of a list (it gets me thinking too much about what I need to be shooting and not just seeing and working creatively), but I DO like to shoot the family formals off of a list. I have a flow that I use that minimizes sitting and standing and shuffling (especially on the part of the bride) – and it helps for everyone to be there on time to keep this flow going and minimize skipping around. Remind and re-remind family until you’re blue in the face! 🙂

8. Consider a creative approach to formals.

I realize many clients grew up in the church they are marrying in; so it can have some meaning when the family photos are shot. Many ceremonies take place in non-church settings, though, and this is a time that formals can be a little more creatively shot. If available, consider an outdoor setting, or an indoor setting in an elegant location. Chairs, settees and other pieces of furniture can allow for more creative arrangement of groups, and more relaxed, less stiffly-posed shots.

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formals shot in the hallway of a restaurant/reception facility with a “relocated” antique couch

7. Think hard about where you prep for the wedding.

Church basements are convenient, let’s face it. They’re right there at the ceremony. If possible, consider dressing elsewhere. Hotel rooms often have very nice natural light and uncluttered decor; if dressing in the church is a necessity, scout the church out for un-cluttered rooms or rooms with nice furniture and appointments; if possible. Natural light ALWAYS photographs better than flourescent lighting; in fact, flourescent light is at the bottom of the list of desireable types of light. Church nurseries or classrooms are the least desireable places to dress; they often have bright murals and children’s art or loud wall-hangings. Remember these are going to be in the background of your images! What if you have nothing but a basement room with flourescent lights, and NOTHING else is an option for dressing? Keep clutter to a minimum. Keep bags, hangars, shoes, and clothing in one small part of the room. You’ll want your shots to be devoid of background clutter so the images are neat, clean, and the focus is on YOU, your family, and wedding party.

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shoot for a clean, elegant prep location if possible

6. Allow enough time for bride/groom and wedding party portraiture.

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Not all wedding days enjoy an early ceremony with a three hour gap for photos before the reception. Many ceremonies that I shoot have back-to-back ceremonies and receptions. I tell couples that if we can have a half an hour at one GOOD location with the bride and groom and wedding party, we can get a wide variety of photos. Don’t try to cram three locations into a 45 minute schedule; driving time eats a major amount of time into the schedule. Instead, concentrate on one good location with varied landscape or architecture. If the ceremony or formals run late, consider cutting a location – the less driving that is done, the more shooting CAN be done! And that brings us to 5…

5. Consider a “first look” if you have a tight ceremony/reception schedule

I don’t EVER pressure couples into doing a first look. I realize some are set on seeing each other when the ceremony begins; this is tradition, after all, and I’m not going to stick my business in a very personal decision. It can, however, make for a more relaxed schedule if the wedding day timeline is fairly compressed. I usually do these in or around the church (or, if the couple is willing, a gorgeous, nearby location…see Jill and Joel’s recent wedding for a sample of a fantastic non-church first look!), and clear the area of everyone but the couple. I don’t direct first looks at all – I simply photograph them as they happen. With this done, we can then do family formals before the ceremony if time is too tight in between the ceremony and reception; then we can then concentrate on the more creative portraiture at an off-site location en route to the reception.

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first looks are completely candid and completely private

if you can’t swing a first look – I won’t ever push you for one! This couple didn’t see each other before the ceremony, and being a December wedding, it was dark when we did have time for portraiture. No sweat. The holiday lights and the couple’s elegant style made for some unforgettable shots.
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4. details, details, details!

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Details obviously are a big part of the wedding day and can really set your wedding apart as unique and personalized. I often concentrate on capturing as many of the details as possible; it not only helps tell the story of the day but really helps tie the colors and theme together in the wedding album. Allow time in your photography schedule for us to photograph your dress, shoes, and jewelry before dressing; we can find time to photograph bouquets/boutonnieres, rings and other details anywhere in the day if needed.

3. Reception scheduling

If you don’t have a full-day photography package, schedule the traditional reception events right after dinner so that they are sure to be covered. Generally, with an average-sized guest list, we don’t need a ton of time to get guest candids and dance/party shots after these events (such as the cake cutting, first dances, etc) are completed – an hour to hour and a half of general dance and candid photography usually garners a lot of images, especially with a two-photographer team.

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concentrate first on making sure the most important parts of your reception are fully covered

2. Ask questions!

I WANT to help you get the most out of your wedding photography and get the most comprehensive coverage that you can get. I am obviously pretty experienced at helping construct timelines and helping out with questions about scheduling formals, off-site portraiture, and even prep/getting ready shots. I’m just an email away and more than willing to help you any time you have questions. A well-planned, on-schedule wedding day allows photographers to get MORE coverage and MORE creativity wrapped into one as we have the time and aren’t rushing from one thing to another!

1. Have FUN.

The number one thing I want to give you in your wedding images is emotion. Sure, pretty pictures are always nice and I’ve explained above some easy ways to make various parts of your day photograph better. But emotion always is the most memorable element of an image and a relaxed, happy couple is going to really shine through in the images. Your wedding day only happens once and goes by in a FLASH (I speak from experience) – so enjoy it as it will be over before you know it. If something doesn’t go right, don’t sweat it. It’s water under the bridge. And it’s our job to give you great images no matter what happens with the schedule, timeline, or if the best man forgot his pants. Take it all in stride and enjoy it for all it is worth. One of my very favorite quotes is “if everything goes to plan, it’s not an adventure”. So party on, adventurers! 🙂

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snow or rain? No sweat. It’ll still be an amazing day!

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married: Emily and Tom | Kansas City wedding photography

May 3rd, 2010

Emily and Tom planned their wedding long-distance from Davenport, Iowa, and I’d say they did a marvelous job. The entire day went off flawlessly, and we even got some blue skies despite a forecast of potential rain. I’ve already shot Emily and Tom once; you may remember their engagement session last fall right here on […]

 

Emily and Tom planned their wedding long-distance from Davenport, Iowa, and I’d say they did a marvelous job. The entire day went off flawlessly, and we even got some blue skies despite a forecast of potential rain. I’ve already shot Emily and Tom once; you may remember their engagement session last fall right here on the blog. I spent the entire day with these two, their family, and friends…and to say I can’t fit the whole story here on the blog is an understatement. I feel like I am leaving SO much out! So, I’ll do the best I can without getting completely, obscenely carried away with images. It was way too hard to whittle these down.

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I started the morning off with the girls at the Sheraton on the Plaza for prep shots.
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Kansas City wedding photography

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Kansas City wedding photography

Kansas City wedding photographers

Kansas City wedding photographer

Kansas City wedding photography

Kansas City wedding Photographers

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Then it was off to the church to get dressed! The men were already gathered…
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Tom and Emily exchanged sweet notes.
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Missouri wedding photographers

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always, always love that first look in the mirror!
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mother and daughter.
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then it was ceremony time. father and son.
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Kansas City wedding photographers

Kansas City wedding photographer

Kansas City wedding photography

Kansas City wedding photos

Kansas City wedding images

…then it was time for the fun to begin. Many thanks to Bill at Custom Limousines for driving us around on the trolley all afternoon!
First stop was a sentimental locale for Emily and Tom – Jaywalkers Bar! (yeah, we got some funny looks when we pulled up…)
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Kansas City wedding photography

Kansas City wedding photographer

Off to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for wedding party photos!
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and bridal portraits.
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Emily, are you kidding me? Gorgeous.
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this one gets another “are you kidding me?”
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Kansas City wedding photographer

Kansas City wedding photographers

back on the trolley, and a toast on the way to the reception!
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…and a stolen kiss.
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Missouri wedding photographers

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Reception time. This has to be one of my most favorite un-choreographed photos of all time.
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Uptown Theater, Kansas City weddings

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..get this. The bouquet toss winner and garter toss recipient are a couple! Uh-oh…
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…a ca-RAZY party ensued!
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…all the best, Emily and Tom.
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Ceremony: Immanuel Lutheran Church
Reception: Uptown Theater (Broadway Room)
Transportation: Custom Limousines
Hair: Tiffany Franklin Makeup: CaraSue Hall, CH Makeup Artistry

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The Holiday Sale is here!!

November 27th, 2009

And it’s a good-‘un! 25% of ALL print products from now through December 10th. Which means, for all of you who have been saying “you know, there are still photos I want to order….” well, your procrastination has paid off! 🙂 How do you take advantage of the discount? Well, go to my main site […]

 

And it’s a good-‘un! 25% of ALL print products from now through December 10th. Which means, for all of you who have been saying “you know, there are still photos I want to order….” well, your procrastination has paid off! 🙂 How do you take advantage of the discount? Well, go to my main site and click “client proofing” – and browse through the event or shoot you’re interested in, select your items, and when you go to your cart, enter “SDPHolidaySale” into the coupon box and apply the discount. Voila, savings! 

A lot of you probably received this in an email. I DO NOT LIKE SPAMMING but I do send these holiday sale emails once per year. In the future, (like as soon as possible!) I’ll be creating a newsletter that you can sign up for at the top of this very blog, which will feature specials and news for those of you who wish to receive them. In the meantime, there are various news items in the sale ad below (same as was emailed out) – not only do we have the 25% off print sale, but I’m offering FREE ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS to those of you who book weddings by February 15th! Email for details! Also, I’m now offering gift cards starting at $25, which is great for those family members and friends who have been wanting a print, or even a shoot done.

SDP Holiday Sale

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Megan + Kyle: Married

September 21st, 2009

The forecast called for sun. Then the forecast called for rain. The weather wouldn’t make up its fickle mind. It didn’t matter. Megan and Kyle knew – knew they were meant for each other, knew they were meant to be married on a perfect day. So it came with no surprise that the weather was […]

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The forecast called for sun. Then the forecast called for rain. The weather wouldn’t make up its fickle mind. It didn’t matter. Megan and Kyle knew – knew they were meant for each other, knew they were meant to be married on a perfect day. So it came with no surprise that the weather was a typical stunning early-fall Missouri day complete with the obligatory incredible sunset – and yes, there even was a RAINBOW from a passing rainshower to the east. Immediately after the ceremony. Perfect. No surprise. This was one of the most fun weddings I’ve yet to have the honor of attending as photographer. And the Lone Summit Ranch, host to both the ceremony and reception, fit Megan and Kyle perfectly. It was gorgeous AND fun. As you scroll through the images below, I think you’ll agree as well that Megan is one incredibly hot bride. Yeah, she could work it. 🙂

Barring something last-minute, this was my last wedding of 2009! It left me super, super excited for 2010. Yay!!

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I seriously could not decide on a bouquet or dress shot. Too many choices. So you are getting two of each.
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The always super-sweet gift exchange
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love that smile when the dress goes on
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told ya she was adorable.
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told ya she was HOT! rawr.
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um, wow….
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ditto…
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gazebo+sunset+a little artificial backlight = win.
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COLLAGE copy

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just a brief reception recap – more to come – but the ring bearer had mad. dancing. skillz.
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congrats guys!!!!

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Margaret + David: Married

September 16th, 2009

Here’s a preview of last Saturday’s wedding. Margaret and David’s day was one filled full of emotion – as a photographer, I find myself grinning, getting choked up, experiencing perhaps the same emotions as the people I shoot on their wedding day – maybe just not to the same extent, of course. I think one […]

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Here’s a preview of last Saturday’s wedding. Margaret and David’s day was one filled full of emotion – as a photographer, I find myself grinning, getting choked up, experiencing perhaps the same emotions as the people I shoot on their wedding day – maybe just not to the same extent, of course. I think one of the most poignant moments I’ve ever shot at a wedding occurred when Margaret’s mom saw her for the first time in her wedding dress. I didn’t just get choked up – yeah, I had to hide some tears. Margaret and David, congratulations on your marriage and I hope your future is as golden as the sunlight we had for your bride and groom shots! 🙂 (ok, that was a bit of a stretch as an analogy, but I’m blogging after midnight, cut me a break, ok?)

Thanks goes to Brent Christopher (owner of Christopher Video) for assisting along with my husband Jim!

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Margaret’s mom, after seeing her with her hair and makeup done
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Married: Bev + Jason

August 27th, 2009

I’ve known Bev and Jason quite a while. In fact, Bev had the honor of being the second wedding I ever booked (although I’ve shot a lot in between!). They had it all last Saturday: one of the most gorgeous days of the summer (my brides have been sooo lucky this year!) for their outdoor […]

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I’ve known Bev and Jason quite a while. In fact, Bev had the honor of being the second wedding I ever booked (although I’ve shot a lot in between!). They had it all last Saturday: one of the most gorgeous days of the summer (my brides have been sooo lucky this year!) for their outdoor wedding, an incredible setting at Lake Shawnee in Topeka, Kansas, and of course each other. All the details fell into place, everything went like clockwork (or as much as a wedding day can go like clockwork – I think the clock approaches mach speed on wedding day, or at least it did on mine…) thanks to expert planner Lyn Scardina. Thanks, Bev, for trusting me to shoot your big day way back when I was first starting out – and I hope the images are all that you expected and much more.

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Bev made a stunning bride, no?
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this moment never gets old.
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aren’t they perfect together?
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Jason’s brother was very emotional during the toasts.
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what a gorgeous cake!
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Married: Briana + Dennis

August 19th, 2009

Briana and Dennis were the third of my weddings last weekend. They were married on Sunday at the Great Overland Station in Topeka, Kansas. Briana and Dennis are both in the Air Force and are presently based in Alaska. So they traveled a long way home for their wedding! Just like the entire weekend, they […]

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Briana and Dennis were the third of my weddings last weekend. They were married on Sunday at the Great Overland Station in Topeka, Kansas. Briana and Dennis are both in the Air Force and are presently based in Alaska. So they traveled a long way home for their wedding! Just like the entire weekend, they had beautiful sunny weather on their big day. Briana told me before the ceremony that she was told it is good luck if a train passes when you are getting married (the Great Overland Station being Topeka’s historic rail station with tracks passing immediately behind the building) – sure enough, right in the middle of the ceremony, a train rumbled by!

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Briana’s mother gave her pearls after she got her dress on
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This kid looooooved the camera. And wanted to see his pictures in the camera when I was done! 🙂
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…another evening of gorgeous light
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an appropriate backdrop for Briana and Dennis (have to give props to Lyn Scardina of Events! for this idea, though!)
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Whew! caught up on wedding blogging. Now to my mountains of editing for these three ladies! 🙂 Next up are some equine shoots at Oak Knoll Farm this weekend.

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Audrey + Jordan: sneak peek

August 19th, 2009

I’m in the process of narrowing down some favorites for the blog, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek from last Saturday….a shot of GORGEOUS Audrey! More to come… 🙂

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I’m in the process of narrowing down some favorites for the blog, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek from last Saturday….a shot of GORGEOUS Audrey! More to come… 🙂

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