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What your wedding photographer wants you to know. Or at least me.

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Think of it as online dating. We want to make sure you’re a good fit for us just as much as you want to see if we’re a good fit for you.

Do what YOU want to do for your wedding. I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!!!!!!! Friendly reminder: It is YOUR wedding. Do what YOU want. Invite who YOU want. Don’t invite whoever you want. Want to elope, do it. Want to do a destination wedding, do it. Want to get married in a small church in your home town or your backyard, do it. I know it’s hard when everyone is throwing their opinions at you on what to do especially if they are a little more traditional BUT in the end it’s you and your significant other so do what fits your personality and your needs best. I’ll back you up 100%.

If we don’t book with you, it’s not because we don’t like you or don’t think you are ‘good enough’ it is because we honestly think you will have better results for your wedding with another photographer. It’s YOUR wedding day, so if I get an email saying we love bright images and sends me a list of 50 shots they MUST HAVE” ‘that’s a red flag for me. BUT I know quite a few photographers that would LOVE that, and I immediately refer that client to those photographers. The reason it’s a red flag for me is because I don’t want a shot list and bright images are not really my editing style and I want to make sure you get exactly what you want for your day. For me, shot lists don’t allow me to capture the true moments of the day. How I like to photograph your wedding is fluid. I want to literally creep around and get ALL of the moments that you don’t even realize are happening. Like when your mom is standing behind you and you are getting your hair done and all she can do is smile and try not to cry. That’s what I’m after.

We realize everyone has a budget and most of the time we’re willing to work with you to find something that works even if it’s not with us. At the same time PLEASE understand the value behind a quality photographer. You can have a $500 wedding and pay for an amazing photographer and make it look like a million dollars OR you can have a $25k wedding and a $500 photographer and it be one sad mac.

We realize photography isn’t everyone’s priority and that is OK. Maybe the venue of your dreams is the main goal and that’s where you’re putting all your money. And you know, that’s awesome and I bet you’re going to love it and that’s badass.

We like cloudy days, I promise. Every photographer is different and some really love to shoot in the sun, but I personally am hunting for shade the entire day. Trust me when I say it’s worth it. So, while you’re really hoping for a gorgeous sunny day, I’m secretly hoping for clouds. Sorry love you. Either way— we know what we are doing, and it’ll be great!

If rain is in your forecast and you’re a little adventurous, keep the ceremony outside anyway. Bring umbrellas for your guest. Whether or not it’s raining, your pictures will be better outside regardless. Natural light is your best friend. I have stood in the pouring rain with my couples so many times and those weddings have always been absolutely amazing and so memorable.

Where you get ready matters. Give us a window and we’ll be happy. Give us a massive window and we’ll be SUPER happy. An example of an area that isn’t the best would be a church basement with no windows and florescent lighting. We will shoot wherever you are getting ready, but your photos could be better depending on your location and the lighting. If you aren’t sure and need help finding a place, just ask us! We care about it and it makes our job easier and then you’ll be even happier with the results. It’s a win-win.

I am there for YOU. Not me. Whatever you need, I’m your girl. This is YOUR wedding day and I want to make sure you feel as special and loved as possible, so if there’s something I can do to make that experience better, just ask!

First looks, yay or nay. Almost all of my couples’ debate about whether or not to do a first look. And honestly it just depends on the couple. I actually got ready with my husband in our house on the day of our wedding and that’s what made the most sense for us. Here’s my thoughts. I personally LOVE first looks as a photographer. You get to experience that moment of seeing each other for the first time alone. It’s so intimate and such a special time that only the two of you can have on that day. Also, you can get ALL of your portraits done BEFORE the ceremony when you do a first look which allows you to spend more time together on your wedding day and more time with your guests. You’ll actually get to attend your cocktail hour—who knew! Now on the other side of this equation there is always that moment that has been in your mind since you were younger of seeing your groom/bride as soon as you head down the aisle. That moment is also amazing and very emotional most of the time, so I fully support the decision to wait. BUT if I had to pick between the two, I support the first look option more.

We don’t need to stay to the end of the reception. Believe me when I say, unless you’re doing an exit that you want photographed, we really don’t need to stay until the end. I know you’re probably worried we will miss something, but 2 hours of reception dancing is PLENTY of coverage.

Uncle Bob. Secrets out from the photog industry. So, let’s talk about ‘Uncle Bobs’ and who the hell that is. Uncle Bob is the one family member (almost always a middle-aged man with a camera). He follows you around. Sometimes steps infront of you. Tells you which shots to take or comes over and say there is something happening ‘over there’ and that would be a good photo. Now sometimes they’re just the sweetest ever, but mostly we are dodging them the entire day because they really just get in the way. They usually come up to us and ask, ‘what kind of camera and lens do you use’ and then immediately compare that to what they’re using and often chat about editing software and other photog lingo. Now I should say that I always support family and friends taking photos at the wedding but let us do our job.

Food. The ‘vendor’ meal. In some cases, we may be with you for 10-12 hours so when it comes time for us to eat dinner when you’re eating, we would love a hot meal. Better yet, we’d like what you’re eating. For some reason, I have found the nicer the venue the crappier the vendor meal has been haha! That makes no sense at all, but it has been true for the last several years. So, when you are given the choice to pick our meal and it’s not buffet, we want what you’re having or at least ask what they are feeding us and make sure it’s not a small cold cut sandwich and chips. Unless it’s a badass gourmet sandwich, then gimeeeeee

The ‘shotlist’. I mentioned this earlier, but I’ll mention it one more time. I promise I do not need one. If you want to give me a list of family members so I have an idea of who will be in family photos, that’s great, but that’s all I need. Let the day happen as it comes. I will get everything you want and then some because after all you are going to want the moments and not you with Aunt Sallie smiling at me.

YOU are who we have the contract with, and YOU are our clients. I love my clients and I love my client’s families, but MY COUPLES are my clients not their cousin, mom, maid of honor, or wedding guests. There are so many times when you get emails or texts or messages online from someone from the wedding asking for photos or special requests. I love that they love the pictures as much as you do and are invested in the day, but if they have any special request, they need to go through you. Or I get emails before the wedding from family members trying to plan things with me for the day of and that makes our job sooo hard and most of the time it contradicts what I already have planned with the couple. Now there are special cases when the bride/groom will ask if so-and-so can reach out and, in most cases, I’ll say yes, but at the end of the day ALL decisions need to be made between the couple and myself.

Turnaround time. Every photographer has a different turnaround time. In most cases, I take anywhere from 2000-5000 photos during a wedding. That takes a lot of time to go through, pick the keepers, and then edit them all! It takes time. We want to make sure they are absolutely perfect before we send them off to you, so please be patient. Especially if it is before the turnaround time please don’t’ text us every 2 days asking where your photos are. I promise as soon as they are done, we are sending that shit outtttttt! We can’t wait to get the photos to you just as much as you can’t wait to get them. Keep the faith.

Print your shit. This one is pretty basic. Don’t let your photos sit online or on a thumb drive. Download the pictures. Print them. Give them to your family members. Get them on your walls.

We can’t blog and post every picture from everyone’s day. It doesn’t mean we don’t love you. I promise I love you all equally. I choose my blog posts by selecting weddings that are different than weddings I’ve already posted or have posted recently. If I have a wedding on the beach and do a blog post and then two weeks later have another beach wedding; I’m probably going to hold off on posting that wedding for a while or altogether because it will be so similar to one I’ve already shared. It’s never personal for me, I just post what speaks to me at the time and what is best for my website or social media.

Travel costs. MAKE SURE TO GO OVER THIS WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER. Never assume there is no travel fee even if your photographer lives only 3 hours away. Most photogs put their travel information in their pricing guide, but if it’s not in there just ask. You don’t want to have extra fees that you may have not realized before.

Tell us what you like and don’t like. We’d rather know. Tell me more, tell me more. I promise the more we know the better. If you hate brick buildings, let us know. It will make our job easier and your experience so much better. WE want you to LOVE your photos so anything we can do to help, is appreciated. If you LOVE detail shots of decorations, let us know. I always capture some details shots, but if that is something you are specifically passionate about, just let me know.

If you’re unhappy with something especially during the engagement session, TELL US PLZ! Most of the time we take engagement photos before the big day. If we send a gallery over and you’re not happy with something we would much rather know then than after the wedding. I had one couple say they really didn’t like any close ups with her face and that was SOOO helpful. I made sure not to focus on that during their wedding portraits and she was SOOO happy with everything.

Clothing and colors matter! When you are picking out clothes for engagement photos, what you wear matters. We would love to help you pick outfits or give you opinions on what you’ve already picked out and what would work best. When in doubt, earth tones are your best friend. Keep it neutral. You can’t go wrong.

Location matters, but not as much as you think. Of course, the top of a mountain at sunset is an amazing setting to make a badass picture BUT that’s not the only place an awesome picture can be taken. Some of my favorite photos have been in an open field on the side of the road or a back side of a bar in the alley. We don’t want you to stress about whether or not the location is ‘good enough’. The best photos come from great people with genuine relationships and that’s all we care about.

We literally stare at our phones waiting to hear feedback after we deliver images. This is a big one, at least for me. We spend a lot of time investing in our couples and in most cases I become good friends with them. There is never a more stressful time than after we send that gallery and wait to hear back from you. What may be an hour seems like dayssssssss. We are dying to know how you feel about them and of course are hoping for rave reviews, but we’ll take anything as we wait haha. It’s so funny because it may say ‘thanks got the pictures. love them’. I will absolutely over analyze and be like do they love them? There wasn’t enough exclamation points hahahahaha. I know It’s crazy, but we just want to make sure you love your photos as much if not more than we do.

Have a beverage or two. Everyone can be awkward when there is a camera pointed at their face. I personally am not a fan of getting my photo taken so don’t think we’re assuming you’re a model. Our job is to make you feel comfortable, so you don’t even notice that the camera is there. Also, I strongly suggest having an alcoholic beverage or two before the shoot (as long as you don’t have to drive) that really helps loosen people up.

Unplug your wedding. Put those phones away during the ceremony. The whole reason I am there is to take photos, and nothing ruins a picture more than when I am at the back of the aisle and all the guests are leaning in front of me with their cell phones. More importantly, it takes away from the ceremony. When your guests aren’t on their phones trying to get a photo, they are actually enjoying the ceremony and aren’t distracted.

Allow enough time for the TWO OF YOU on your wedding day. That day GOES FASTTTTTT! I always encourage couples to put even 2-5 minutes where the couple can go off alone and just have a minute to take in the day. You will not regret it.

Tell us the family drama so we don’t look like idiots on the day of. I know this sounds a little silly, but if there are any divorces or a certain family member that doesn’t like another family member PLEASE TELL US. The last thing we want to do during family portraits is make someone uncomfortable or say the wrong thing.

We want major input on your timeline. Let’s be honest, photos are a major part of your wedding day and where and when they take place is very important. When you get close to trying to plan the timeline for your day, let us know. We want to help make sure everything is just how you want it while also making sure we aren’t rushing around.

Don’t say you want your pictures to look just like someone else’s. I realize that most of our couples find us online and see photos of other couples and sometimes we hear ‘we want our pictures to look just like these’. I totally get that, but at the same time we want your pictures to look just like YOU. Every relationship is different so try not to compare. My goal is for you to receive your pictures and think ‘wow this captures us so perfectly’.