1. GETTING READY
Locations for getting ready that are always a great idea:
- Your parents home… Perfect for backyard and tented weddings
- Cottage, cabin or farm house… Perfect for rustic/natural/boho weddings
- AIRBNB rental… Perfect for city or town weddings with large groupings
As you know I am a natural-light photographer. This means that during the day I will only be using light from windows to light my subjects and scene. I recommend getting ready in a room that has large windows that fill the room with a nice amount of daytime sun.
If your hair and make-up artists arrive before I do, please ensure they place you in an area that has ample light. They most likely will as this is the best practice for hair and make-up lighting.
It is a shame when people rent a really beautiful space only to have it filled with luggage and food in their photographs. I recommend putting your suitcases in closets, out of view, and have somebody in charge to keep things as tidy as possible throughout the morning.
1. Have matching robes during this time instead of pj’s. The best material… Lace!
2. Have your wedding invitations to include in details shots of flowers, rings, jewellery, etc., You can also an invite to me and I will bring them to the wedding.
3. Have a plain wooden hanger for your dress to hang on.
THE FIRST LOOK
If spending time with family and friends is number one, than I highly recommend/encourage you to do a first look. A first look can be casual, intimate or however you make it to be.
The reason I encourage it so much is because it makes things go so much smoother once the the festivities and crowds start arriving. Not to mention allowing everyone to have an awesome time once you are married.
With a first look…
- Private first look (with family and wedding party nearby)
- Family formal portraits
- Wedding party portraits
- Bride and groom portraits
- A little break before the ceremony
- Cocktail hour WITH guests
Without a first look…
- Cocktail hour begins
- Round-up family members & wedding party that are socializing & enjoying themselves
- Family portraits
- Wedding party portraits
- Bride & groom portraits
- Cocktail hour ends
The best time to do these is before the ceremony. Everyone is ready to go and no one will miss mingling with friends and family. Like I mentioned above, first-looks make timelines stress-free and easy-going! 🙂
It is possible to do them after the ceremony, but be for-warned that gathering everyone afterwards when it is time to be social is always difficult and often a very time consuming task, creating stress for those involved.
With a handful of photos, I have broke down how much time I need for immediate family (parents, siblings, grandparents) and bridal party. If you plan to include more than your immediate family please set-up a time to talk with me as you will need more time to accommodate larger groups.
Tip: Inform all family members who will be on the portrait list that they will be needed for portraits before or after the ceremony!
- Immediate Family (parents, siblings, grandparents)… 15-20 minutes
2. Wedding Party… 10-15 minutes
If you have not yet received your portrait-list template, it will be sent to you in your questionnaire that is to be filled out before our pre-wedding phone conversation that will take place one month before the wedding. I recommend keeping this list short as smiling at the camera with several different groups and individuals’ can feel overwhelming and also results in people wandering off for drinks, etc., while they are waiting, resulting in it taking longer than planned.
BRIDE + GROOM PORTRAITS
1. Bride + Groom… 20 minutes before or after ceremony
2. Bride + Groom… 15-20 minutes at sunset
I suggest sneaking out with me in-between courses at sunset if you are concerned as to how you could fit that into your dinner. Often clients will just have me approach them when I think it is the best time to sneak off for sunset photos. If your ceremony is later in the day, closer to sunset, we will just merge these two into one, resulting in bride and groom portraits being 30 minutes total at sunset.
This ceremony took place two hours before sunset. as you can see, the sun is back-lighting the officiant and makes for a great lighting scenario.
For outdoor ceremonies, spotty sunlight and harsh uneven light are not ideal. If you are having your ceremony close to midday, try to always back light yourselves (bride and groom). This means, try to set up the ceremony so that the sun is behind your officiant, so the two of you are back lit, evenly. If this sounds really confusing, check-in with me and I will explain the why and how!
Another option is to plan your ceremony later in the day, so that the light is nicer, closer to sunset. Just be sure to leave enough time for any delays, as well as couple portraits around sunset! If your ceremony is later in the day, closer to sunset, we will merge the bride & groom portraits into one, resulting in bride & groom portraits being 30 minutes total at sunset.
Setting the mood properly for your event is very important. That is why I try my best (pending on the lighting) to not use flash for anything other than the dance party. For a romantic mood; several strings of market lights and candles are great, I have seen chandeliers work too, as they provide great light for photos as long as you use enough! Just try to stay away from using only candles or really dim lighting! If you are unsure about your set-up, just ask and I will be glad to help!
DJ Lights: They are extremely fun for the party and make awesome party photos, but please have them turned off for your first dances as they ruin the romantic mood we are going for!
Tip #1 : Don’t be afraid to sit close to your love at the dinner table… You should be able to EASILY lean in for a snuggle or kiss!
Tip #2 : I know EVERYONE sais this, but the day really does FLY BY… Take time to smell the roses and enjoy the little things!
Speeches / Toasts: Explain to whoever is doing a speech/toast, that they print it out on paper instead of using their iPad/iPhone. The reason I ask for the old-school method is because the light that comes off the iPad/iPhone projects a blue colour onto the face and creates shadowing around the mouth, nose, eyes, etc., It is very hard to make a nice photograph out of this lighting.
Feeding your photographer: Most photographers will go the entire day without eating, drinking, using the washroom or taking a break. For the most part, I can do that. But when it comes to food… I need my three meals a day! 🙂
At dinner, I do not have to sit near you to eat, but please do not seat me in a separate room to eat my food… With me sitting in the same room as you or at a table of guests, I am able to capture the mood, laughter, and details that I would not otherwise be able to. Things like mid-course toasts, kisses and laughter will go un-photographed if I am in a separate room for dinner and for me that is a big part to your story!
The most important thing to ensure we get great photos is trust. If you trust me to create the photos you’ll love, I’ll be able to do my thing and guide and direct you well. It’s all about collaboration and trust!
Please get in touch if you have any ideas or questions you would like to run by me! I cannot wait to work with you on the day of your wedding!
Lots of love,