Tips for a Smooth Group Session

DSC_0133Group shots can be some of the toughest things, for the photographer, for the bride, and the families.  Babies will be crying, toddlers are just done for the day, and Grandma and Grandpa are baking in the sun.

To ease this phase of your wedding day, I’ve compiled some tips and with my shot list so that you can make this run smoothly, and everyone, even those small babies, can be happy.

Tip #1. Ensure Your Group Knows They Will Have Their Picture Taken.

I will always shoot the main group, right after the grand exit and that first kiss as husband and wife.  This allows those who need to leave quickly to do so, while still having a token that they were present.

Tip #2. Color Coordination

Make sure everyone, who is supposed to be wearing the bridal colors KNOWS they are to wear them for the group photos.  It may seem silly, but it does happen.  People get rushing and forget what they are supposed to wear if it is not clear from the start.  So help your parents, siblings, and whoever is part of your special group, know what they are to wear on the day of your wedding.

Tip #3. Have Makeup Handy for Touch-ups.

After your first kiss, your lipstick may have smudged, so I would recommend having either your mother, your maid of honor, or some other trusted female to have makeup on hand so we can touch up any smudges or add a little powder to reduce shine if it is a hot day.  I would also suggest wearing waterproof mascara, as joyful tears tend to flow freely.

 

So that you can plan accordingly, here is what my general group shot list looks like:

  • The “Everyone” photo.  This is for everyone who attends your ceremony.
  • Grandma and Grandpa.  Most grandparents don’t do well in extreme temperatures and so I try to take their photos first to allow them to get where they are comfortable as soon as possible.
  • Siblings who have small children or those with special needs.  After grandparents, most young kids get cranky from having to sit still so long and usually missing a nap or lunch.  I will do my best to accommodate those with special needs so that we ensure they get to be part of the celebration.
  • Family shots.  Your families may need to help with preparations for the reception so we will help them get to where they need to be quicker.
  • Mom and Dad with couple and separately.
  • Siblings with couple and separately
  • Couple with nieces and nephews (if requested.)
  • Bridal party.  I like to save these for last because we can have a bit more fun with these.  This is your last hurrah with your friends on your wedding day so I will do my best to make it memorable (and possibly humorous).
  • Couple shots.  I will do the bulk of these the night before so we can have better lighting, but there is a special sparkle in the eyes of the couple on the actual day of the wedding that I want to help you remember.  After the huge list of photos you just went through though, we will only take a few.

 

From start for finish, your wedding day photos will be about an hour and a half, but could increase or decrease depending on the number of guests you have.

As an added bonus for you, I will provide a cooler of bottled water if we are shooting outdoors.

Keep on the lookout for more great tips to help your wedding day run smoothly and subscribe so that you can have the latest info.

Have a warm and happy week.

Vanessa

Your Bridal Shoot: Why it matters

When I got married, I did not choose to get specific bridal photos.  We were on a bit of a tight budget and wanted to make sure our wedding was the focus.  Our photographers did a superb job and captured everything I wanted.  They even snapped a quick bridal photo while they were doing our couple shots the night before (which I highly recommend).  The shot they captured was stunning.  Even now, eight years later, every time I see that photo I feel like a queen.

I wish I had more of those, especially with two extremely active boys running around, I don’t always feel beautiful.  I feel less like a queen and more like the scullery maid.  Yet when my oldest boy flips through our old wedding album and I see that picture, I remember how beautiful I felt.  I know that underneath my mom persona, I still am that queen who stole my husband’s heart and continue to hold it close.

Whether you choose to get them done as part of the couple’s shoot like I did or you choose to do a separate session, you need to remember how beautiful you are.  You need to remember who your husband fell in love with.  For those days when you feel so down, photos like these can make your day and remind you of the queen that you are.

Have a stellar week and remember that you are beautiful!

 

A Style Guide For Your Engagement Photo Session: To help you look and feel your best

Engagement sessions are some of my favorite things to shoot.  I get to interact one-on-one with my clients, and it is a fun and relaxed time.  To help you feel and look your most polished for these sessions, I wanted to provide some tips that I have found while working with clients.

Wear Your Best Attire

We all have varying degrees of what we consider dressed up.  However, what is important is that you choose an outfit that fits you well while making you feel great.  When you look polished and ready, it will give you confidence.  This will shine through in your photos.   

If you are the type that really likes bold colors or prints go ahead and wear the outfit.  I would recommend, though, that you also bring a simpler outfit as well so that we have some options.

Couple sitting on a boat dock near a river kissing

Wear What is Comfortable

If you are uncomfortable at all in your outfit, it will show.  You will have scrunched up eyes and a very self-conscious look on your face that will be hard to get rid of.  So, find what is comfortable, while keeping in mind the first tip.  Avoid wearing your workout attire.  If you plan to wear high heels, have an alternative pair of shoes as well.

Man and woman sitting together with heads close

Choose Clothing That Complements Each Other

I found a great infographic by Wedding Forward as I was going through my Pinterest feed a while back that depicted how to choose complementary colors for your session.  By wearing complementary colors, you will ensure that both of you will stand out in all the right ways.

Couple outdoors looking at camera

Consider Your Location

Think about the style you are looking for and how that plays into your surroundings.  If you are on a beach, high heels might not be the best option.  Also, if we need to do some hiking to reach the location, a tight dress would not be the best choice.  As a general rule, flip-flops are not advised as they aren’t easy to walk in, especially if we happen to get into thorny ground. 

Man and woman standing together kissing beneath a tree

Bring multiple outfits 

A change of clothes can bring in a fresh feel after doing some shooting.  Bring two to three outfits and we will photograph as much as we have time for.  Consider layering as well.  This can provide props later on as it warms up or cools down.

I hope these tips help you as you plan for your upcoming engagement session.  If you find there are other tips you would like to see, comment with them below.

Have a great week!

Three Tips for your Bridal Photos

Black and white headshot of bride

Good Afternoon Ladies!

Today I wish to cover some items you may want to consider for your upcoming bridal session.  Things can get crazy when you begin the wedding planning, so I hope these tips can help you stay relaxed and enjoy your engagement.

  1. The first thing I would recommend is to get plenty of sleep.  I know this can be challenging when all you want to do is be with your future Mr., but being groggy for photos can make your session hard for you and your photographer.  It’s hard to smile naturally when all you want to do is yawn.  Lack of sleep can also make your eyes look sunken, and we want to have our eyes full and glowing.  So get to bed on time and get that beauty rest.
  2. Stay hydrated.  Drinking plenty of water can provide your skin with that soft, silky look we all like.  It will also help you feel alert (which can help you in           tip #1).
  3. The final tip I’m going to give you today is be comfortable.  If you are uncomfortable in anything you are wearing, it will show up in your photos.  If your corset is just too tight, you will look like you are in pain and no amount of editing can change that.                                                                                                       

 You want to love the way you look, as this translates into confidence, and that confidence is what will give you that “WOW” to all your photos.

If you found these tips helpful, leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Have a Stellar Week!

A Ten Year Anniversary

This Fall marks the tenth anniversary I have been a photographer.  I am amazed to think it has been that long.  My first job I was ever hired for was an engagement shoot for the brother and his fiance of my then  boyfriend.  I was simply ecstatic for this couple to get married and even more so that I would get to capture those memories for them.   These photos are still some of my favorites.  You can’t replace the pure joy on a bride’s face as she takes that first walk with her new husband and the groom can’t tear his eyes away from the most beautiful woman he’s ever met.

 

Rings sitting in bouquet of flowers

As I peruse these photos, I am astonished to see just how far I’ve come.

Bride and groom with heads close together

(2017: Thurgood Wedding)

Ten years can change a person, but I am glad to say that in this case, it is for the better.  Since my first wedding, I have given others those precious memories, as well as explored other avenues of photography.  Yet I always come back to this. Weddings bring the most joy to a young couple and I love to be able to capture those moments.  So, here is to another ten years full of learning and growth for me, as well as helping others to remember the bliss of their special day.