I’ve shot sessions in unusual or cramped spaces but this was a first.
We recently made a trip to Denver to visit Julie’s sister and family; it’s our favorite “heat escape” during the summer PLUS they just had a beautiful baby girl, Madeline, 8 weeks ago. We shot several sessions over the course of the week and had a great variety of images from different indoor and outdoor scenes. The biggest challenge, however, was an improvised idea for a black-and-white family session. We needed a black backdrop and a dark room, neither of which we had. After much thought I decided we could make it work in their upstairs bedroom and we tacked a brown sheet to the wall. The bedroom was cramped and a mess after Dom’s birthday party but we made it work even though we were all exhausted. I had to shoot from down the hallway and had just enough room to keep the doorframe out of the shots. When you see what the room looked like it’s hard to imagine that we were able to pull this off; you’ll see what I mean in the last image of the slideshow.
Your ceremony site is a place where your vows are said and the beginning of the rest of your life is before you for the first time as a married couple. Why not use it as a backdrop for a few of your formal images? If photographed correctly, the images will turn out stunning and it will be a great way to commemorate your ceremony site.
Jordan and Kelcie (pictured above at The Legacy Ballroom in Scottsdale, Arizona) had a stunning ceremony set up. I am so happy we were able to capture a few images of them amongst the setting.
As a photographer progresses, it is easy to fall into a certain pattern of doing things. While it contributes to consistency it can sometimes mean doing the same things over and over; I often like to get away from that. Every couple and venue is different and that helps to inspire new ideas to break up the patterns. I’m lucky to have a great team with me and I encourage them to share ideas; 3 heads are always better than one. Michael and Lia have contributed some fantastic ideas which makes my job easier.
Thinking in a “new light” can be challenging at times and easy at others. The above image, taken at the Boojum Tree with Nick & Alexandra, is an image where we didn’t want to do the usual “getaway car” shot. It paid off and has created a monumental piece for from their big day. I often use back lighting and decided that the headlights would fill that need perfectly. After that it was just a matter of adding some subtle, off-camera fill flash from the front for a romantic shot to finish the story. If figured it would be a perfect “last-page” shot in their album.
These are moments where I truly get to create images, and not just take pictures….these are some of the things I cherish in my job.
Below are some simple rules to think about when preparing to speak at an upcoming wedding toast. I was able to capture some great shots of a toast at a recent wedding in Sedona, Arizona. The couple, Brandon and Vanessa, held their beautiful wedding and reception at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa. The two looked amazing and the toasts which were presented that evening were so thoughtful.
Practice Makes Perfect.
Avoid letting the Bride or Groom hear you, but practice in front of a mirror, a friend or a family member. Constructive criticism helps make the best of toasts. Other people may tell you to be louder, to slow down or to explain a joke you think is funny.
Avoid the Extra Alcohol.
You never want to be so intoxicated that nobody can understand you or that your toast lacks compassion. Chance for embarrassment of yourself, the bride or the groom is highened when you get too liquored up before grabbing that microphone.
Get to the Point.
The long-winded toasts are trying on the morale of the guests. People love to hear why those who are in the bridal party are standing up for the bride and groom, but do not care of the details that go along with each story. Nonetheless, but inside jokes and lengthy stories only annoy the room. An element of humor is always enjoyed, but don’t take it too far.
Be Brief—But Be Informative.
Everyone needs to learn about your relationship. Don’t be so brief that nobody understands why you are the one standing nearest to the bride and groom.
Congratulate the Couple!
The reason you are giving a toast is to ultimately congratulate the couple. It is easy to forget, but oh so important.
Photographers are hired for all reasons. Whether you are hiring them for a birthday bash, a wedding, a maternity session, a newborn session, a family portrait session or a corporate event, you need to like the photographer as much as their work.
Your photographer essentially must be “in your shoes” on the day of the event or session. They need to be able to understand what it is the client wants to have as keepsakes and wants to remember about the event. This takes experience, talent, focus and most of all, a fitting personality.
Derek & Heleana chose us to photograph their wedding day (wedding at Japanese Friendship Garden and reception at Irish Culture Center). Although I have done over 100 weddings, I still put a lot of effort into making sure I am grabbing details that matter to the Bride & Groom as well as details they may not think of in the moment, but want later. I also add in a few of my signature images. I consider my knowledge of Arizona sunsets to be my competitive advantage…and I use it whenever I can!
“Save The Date” cards are a great way to send out the first look into the style of your wedding. People also use them to get a feel for the number of people who will be in attendance. Then, when your invitations come to them, they have a good idea of the style of your wedding and will have all of the information they need.
I have enjoyed making some of the “Save The Date” cards and wedding invitations for some of my recent clients. Keep in mind that having your photographer design the items you send out to your guests is a lot less stress than adding the duty to your list of things to accomplish.
Your wedding day can be your best day, or be a day full of snags and hiccups. Nonetheless, you won’t know when something will need a quick fix–so prepare! One of the best ways to prepare for your day is to pack a kit which includes a variety of emergency items. Give this kit to a personal attendant, a bridesmaid or a someone responsible who can be wherever you are and FAST!
Emergency Kit Ideas:
Names and Phone Numbers of all wedding vendors
Needle and Thread (white/black/color of bridesmaids gowns)
Extra Panty Hose
Pain Reliever Pills
Slipper/Change of Shoes
Static Cling Spray
Contact Lens/Eye Drops/Glasses
Straws (sip your drinks to keep from smearing lipstick and creating stains on your teeth.)
Socks (Make sure they work with the Formal Wear.)
Extra Flowers (Hobby Lobby has a great selection of plastic flowers which look real.)
Many articles nowadays are stating how couples shouldn’t be pressured to follow the traditional rules when it comes to their floral arrangements. Instead, they are told to choose the style that is fitting for the venue, the dress and the bridal party. One point of interest is to stay “in season”. Arizona has the advantage of having a lengthy choice of “in-season” flowers.
I think that Craig and Leah (pictured) chose their floral perfectly. Clearly, I had a great time photographing their arrangements. The couple was wed at a home in Fountain Hills, AZ. They followed only the rules of their hearts when choosing the flowers for their big day. It was a stunning wedding with a vibrant color scheme.
As a side note, hiring a professional wedding florist is always a great choice. Your days details will never be a regret when you have a reputable vendor by your side. Contact me if you are in need of a floral professional for your upcoming big day in Arizona!
The art of photography is all about staying ahead and thinking outside the box. I have a fantastic team who loves to do just that! My assistant, Lia, took a few moments to get an image of each person in Kenny and Lorien’s bridal party while I and my lighting assistant were shooting the couple elsewhere. Believe it or not, the image above was NOT originally captured with all of the bridal party together, but rather it is a composite of many images.
We started with each of the individually captured images and used Photoshop to cut them out using the Magnetic Lasso Tool, a little feathering and the Background Eraser Tool. Once we had all of the images containing only the person in the bridal party, we needed to place them. Using another image of the bridal party, we resized each image based upon their appropriate height proportions.
The image with the bridesmaid hanging was used to rebuild the background. We did this by clicking the Spot Healing Brush tool over the dangling bridesmaid. Then, with a few copy and pasting tricks and another swipe of spot healing at the seams, we could place our bridal party.
This is good for our first time, but next time there are a few things to alter to make it better. We will be sure to capture each individual in the same lighting as well as make the distance from each person to their background the same. These two changes will eliminate editing time. In Photoshop, a higher feathering number would be best utilized around each “cut-out”. Plus, we hope to capture the Bride & Groom against the same background so we can add them in! As you can see from the image at the very top–a black and white effect really makes this line-up pop!
Below you will see some of the captured images from the Kenny and Lorien’s wedding festivities. Enjoy!
Brad & Jerren were married at Troon North, a spectacular venue. They took details into special consideration and it showed! When a couple puts their personal touch on the decor I think it is important to get those detail shots as much as the first kiss.
I love it when couples take the time to really personalize their wedding. It makes my job that much more exciting. From the perfect sparkle of the Jerren’s headpiece to the cowboy hats of Brad and his men, their wedding was perfect.
Ceremony Site & Reception:
10320 E Dynamite Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
Jon & Kelsey gave me so many opportunities to capture new images! They used a “knot tying” ceremony to represent their unity and later, the city lights were the perfect background for a unity shot under Kelsey’s veil.
Their ceremony and reception were held at Encanterra. It was my first opportunity to shoot there so I arrived extra early to scout all the great locations; what a gorgeous venue! Congrats Jon and Kelsey!
Encanterra Country Club: 36460 N Encanterra Dr San Tan Valley, AZ 85140