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TIPS FOR YOUR WEDDING

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TIPS FOR YOUR WEDDING:

Over the years, I have made mental notes of things I saw happening at weddings that were not necessary and actually inadvertently caused photos to be less than they could be. Little things no one would think to tell you but happen all of the time. So in no particular order:

Getting ready rooms: I know not everyone gets ready in a beautiful hotel room or their childhood room with all their trophies still displayed proudly on a shelf. Wherever you are, keep it clean. I can tidy up the boxes the flowers came in, hang up everyone’s hanger, remove all the plastic bags from bridesmaids dresses, but the more you can do to keep clutter kept to a minimum, the less time we waste and the better the photos. Clutter is the first thing the eye is drawn to in a photo; clutter is very distracting. There is only so much time you want to pay me to clean up.

Microphone at the ceremony: Some really gorgeous venues are outdoors and require a microphone. When you put that microphone or pretty antique table in the center behind you—it will be a tall black line in all your photos and stick out. A lot of times, grooms can wear a mic and that looks so much better. I love the table that holds the box of wine or knot you’ve tied, but if you can place it to the side, it will be less distracting in the photo.

Music: I’m all for lights and a dynamic atmosphere, but for the sake of your photos, ask your DJ/musician to hold off on those lights that create dots and lines and colors (green in particular) splattered all over your bodies for just the first three major dances (if you are having them). A handful of times, DJs will ask me what my thoughts are, and every time I can tell they are a bit disappointed. Sometimes I ask the DJs/musicians politely and am always told that it is up to the couple — so heads up. These things don’t photograph well.

Toasts: Even if you don’t drink alcohol, keep water bottles out of toasts. It would look so much better to have a champagne glass of water than an Aquafina bottle. I’ve seen fathers standing up to give a toast with a water bottle and the photos, no matter how beautiful the location, will not look it.

Reception table: If I were planning a head table, the last place I would put it is in front of a window. Back lighting can be really harsh and cause less than ideal situations for photos, especially for toasts. Placing the windows to your side or even facing the windows–ideal.

And the flowers!!!! 80% of the time your flowers are placed in vases at the head table. When someone is giving a speech, they stand. The couple is always seated. The flowers usually block or cause a major disruption in the photo if they are placed right in front of you or between you. Find an awesome spot for your bridal bouquet to go–maybe on the cake table or the gift table? And if you have a choice, keep the head table at the same height as everyone else’s.

Food: Your vendors (myself included) will benefit greatly from eating AT THE SAME TIME as you. Some caterers make sure photographers eat immediately–others serve us last. Eating last means it is possible we miss speeches or sunset photos. It’s very beneficial that we’re eating at the same time you are because photos of you eating are probably least important on your list!

Last, but not least: UNPLUGGED. I have a cell phone in my pocket at. all. times. I get it. They have become extensions of our hands. Here’s the thing, they look HORRIBLE in photos. I have shot so many amazing venues but none of the photos are gorgeous when everyone there is trying to be a photographer. If you’ve chosen me as your photographer–there’s great news…. all of the photos are YOURS! So, it won’t cost you to pick and choose which photos you want to keep forever, you get them all. You’ve spent a good portion of your budget on a photographer—let people at your wedding relax. No hashtags, no facebook groups for photos, none of that. The most enjoyable wedding I’ve photographed was at Hilltop in Spring Green. The pastor entered before music began and before anyone walked down the aisle and said “As a gift to the bride and groom, please make your presence your present. Please take the time to fully enjoy the ceremony and reflect on what it means to not only {the couple} but yourself. The beautiful bride and handsome groom have asked that you leave your cell phones off, your cameras off, your ipads off, and completely unplug yourself for the next 30 minutes and just enjoy this beautiful day with them. They’ve hired a photographer to take photos and will make sure that everyone gets to see them when they are complete. Thank you.” And that was it. There were a few disappointed faces, but everyone put their cameras away and the result was me being able to capture emotion. I got to see reactions on people’s faces, not cameras in the way. It was amazing. No uncles in the aisle with their ipad and bright screen video taping the ceremony–just fantastic.

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