Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coming Up Roses: The Benefit of Leaving Time for Wedding Photos

August 31, 2011

Being a wedding professional, it's easy for me to wonder why people don't know this already. I tend to forget that not everyone in the world goes to 10-15 weddings a year. So I decided it might be a good idea to share some knowledge with friends, family, clients, whomever, about why it is SOOOO important to make sure you don't rush your wedding photographer on the big day!

From experience at over 40 different weddings (crazy, huh?), I've had my share of different schedules to work with. There are couple who don't mind doing a "first look," which is when the couple sees each other before the ceremony to make sure they have time for photos. There are couples who don't want to see each other before the ceremony as well. I don't mind this at all, especially since when I finally tie the knot, I would prefer to see that big, dopey smile on my almost-husband's face when he sees me coming down the aisle for the first time. But, if you aren't doing your ceremony and reception at the same location, not doing a first look can REALLY limit your time, unless you've already made sure to schedule a good amount of time for photos before the reception.

When I work with couples, whether they want to see each other beforehand or not, I make sure to get the separate groups, groom with groomsmen and bride with bridesmaids, out of the way first. This saves time later when we are really getting down to business to make sure to get to the reception on time.

After the ceremony, there's always your usual family portraits, where it's best to make sure everyone you want in them knows to stick around for a bit once the guests have been dismissed. This saves time in trying to hunt down Aunt Margarent or Grandpa Roger. I've gotten good at simplifying and quickly getting through the family portraits, but it's best to expect it to take at least 20 minutes to half an hour, just to be safe. And remember, if you do a receiving line after your ceremony, this takes up a LOT of time! Be sure to factor that into your scheduling!

It's best to leave AT LEAST 20 to 30 minutes to do the shots of the entire bridal party together, especially if you have a big group. And if you can, try to leave about 30 for just the couple, as they are the reason we are there in the first place. I promise you, if you allow me that amount of time, you will not be disappointed with your photos!

My last two weddings, Charles and Jenna, then Jon and Emily, were great to work with, and even better, they made sure to give me lots of time to get the photos done after the ceremony, even though they weren't seeing each other beforehand. Even better, they didn't mind being a little late for the reception, if that's what it took, although I always try my best to make sure not to make you TOO late. Remember, once you get to the reception (unless you are hoping for some sunset photos later), I will just be floating around, so you won't have to put up with me anymore :-)

Thanks for listening to me on my high horse about scheduling your wedding photos. As I said before, if you leave a little extra time for them, you will be very pleased in the end! It's all for you!

And I can't post without adding a photo... this is the beautiful, Emily, one of my brides who left lots of time for photos. Look for another preview of her and Jon's wedding on the blog tomorrow!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Charles & Jenna: A Wedding (Houghton Lake Wedding Photographer)

August 20, 2011

Just can't TELL you how excited I was to finally have a wedding of my own to do. For the past two months, I've been helping various other photographers out with their weddings (in June, July and August, I've second shot four!), while I waited (somewhat patiently) for my own to start up again. This was the longest break I've had during the summer months, but I was so ready to do when August 20th rolled around.

I did an engagement session for Jenna and Charles, a couple from back in the good old (home)town of Harrison. They brought their new addition to the family, Harper, along, and though it was a short session, we had a great time, and got some good shots as well. They are a photogenic couple, and though it was a long drive up to Houghton Lake on that cloudy afternoon, I couldn't have been more excited.

Though the sky was threatening rain, it turned out to be the most perfect day for photographing. We had some amazing detail available behind us after the ceremony got started, and it was gorgeous. Jenna and Charles had a few creative touches in their ceremony, such as releasing butterflies (who weren't being very cooperative), and afterwards, we took the bridal party out for a few shots. Charles was a great groom in making sure his guys were in line for photos. We got them done in record time. Finished with a few BEAUTIFUL ones of the couple before hitting the reception, where there was a firework show waiting for the guests. Way to plan a unique event, Charles and Jenna! The long months of planning definitely paid off.

Forgive me this LONG post... I am just so excited! This was one of my best weddings yet, and I want to share it with all of you! Thanks so much to Charles and Jenna, you guys were an amazing couple to work with. I am looking forward to your Trash the Dress session next month! Can't wait!
Second Photographer: Jess Furrow
Wedding and Reception: Comfort Suites Lakeside in Houghton Lake, MI
Cake: Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe (Midland, MI)
Flowers: Deb Niemi of Country Flowers (Harrison, MI)

^The girls of the bridal party, enjoying the hot tub!

^Lovely ladies, love this one!

^Jenna is a gorgeous bride. And I love the yellow roses, too.

^These are our very serious groomsmen. Great looking group, no?

^Charles just rocked that serious look. I took lots of him smiling too, but these are just so good!

^There's a smile! I got lots of him smiling at his new bride coming up...

^Seeing each other for the first time. The first look is always a good idea to save time for photos, but I just love it when the first time they see each other is when the bride comes down the aisle!

^Releasing the butterflies.

^Say their vows... also, Jenna's necklace is so cool.

^I think God is looking down on this ceremony and smiling :-)

^Yup, a very good bridal party!

^Okay, so I REALLY like the yellow roses... and the shoes!

^My favorite part of the day... getting Charles and Jenna together.

^So pretty!

^Absolutely love the dress. It was perfect for photos!

^Thanks to Jess for this great silhoette.

^Another quick, serious moment.

^Houghton Lake was a perfect location. I couldn't have asked for a better setting.

^Cupcakes and cake by The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe of Midland.

^Congrats to Jenna's grandparent's on their 60th wedding anniversary, also August 20!

^Love this candid moment... caught by Jess, I think?

^Despite the wrong version of their song being played, Jenna and Charles still enjoyed the moment. Thanks again for this one, Jess.

^And again, from Jess, I LOVE this interaction between the bride and groom. So cute!

^And a smooch from my side!

^What other way to end an amazing night than a big firework show???
^Congrats Charles and Jenna!
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Capturing moments, creating memories.