your wedding day
Depending on your wedding package and location, we typically arrive in time to take photos of your details and you getting ready before putting your dress on. Abbi will capture those candid moments between you and your bridesmaids while Callen does the same with the groomsmen. Once you are ready we will begin taking portraits. If you are doing a first look (where you see each other before the ceremony), we will start with that to settle your nerves and give you some time together! When it is time for your ceremony, we will be sure to capture all of those nervous glances, happy tears, and emotional moments. Right after your ceremony, we will gather your familes for formal photos. We will have planned a list beforehand with names and special groupings so everything is smooth and timely. At this time we will steal you two away for a few portraits before your reception. This is your time to breathe and relax, enjoying those first few moments as husband and wife. Once your reception begins, we will spend the remainder of our time capturing the candid excitement, dancing, and activities like first dances and cutting the cake.
When we first arrive at your venue, we will collect all of your accessories like rings, jewelry, shoes, your dress, and any other significant items to take artful photos and document these important details before you put them on. Then, Callen will join the men and take some photos as they tie bow ties and shine shoes. I'll hang out with the ladies to capture those finishing touches of blush and last few curls. Here are a few tips to ensure your details and getting ready photos are gorgeous and timeless:
Location: You might not think much about your first look location, but this is the place you'll be spending your giddy moments with the girls you love most before becoming a wife! These memories might feel like a blur compared to other events on your wedding day, so these photos end up being some of our bride's most cherished shots. That being said, it's important to get ready in a beautiful, peaceful place! Most venues offer great bridal suits, but if you don't have that option I suggest renting a cabin on airbnb or borrowing a local friend's house for a few hours. A lot of our clients end up finding something nice to rent for two nights, the girls stay there the night before and get ready and then the bride and groom can stay there the night of their wedding - or if you have other plans your bridal party can crash there!
Lighting: If you can, try to get ready in a room with natural light. Not only will this help create a calm atmosphere for you and your ladies, but it will also mean beautiful getting ready photos. I will often turn off all of the inside lights when I arrive to get a few photos using just the natural light, so choosing a room with lots of windows will help your photos look stunning!
Details: We love to take photos of your details beforehand. It's a super special way to remember the work you put into creating the perfect invitations, highlight your jewelry, and have close-up photos of your rings. It's extremely helpful if all of the details that matter to you are in one place as soon as we arrive, as they're often some of the first photos we take! If you want photos of your dress before you put it on, consider investing in a pretty wooden hanger or metal hanger (like this). Other details include: your rings (engagement and both wedding bands), invitation suite, jewelry, perfume, shoes, veil, or any other little items that might be important to you (for instance - if you're getting married in a National Park, consider having a copy of the map!).
Timing: Always give yourself more time than you think you'll need. It's better to be ready early than to have hair/make-up cutting into your photo time! If all of your girls are doing hair/make-up, considering doing your hair and make-up first so we can start with your individual portraits or first look if they're running behind.
Cleanliness: This one is extremely important, especially in a room full of girls! It's important to keep your getting ready room free of clutter. Not only will this help you feel more calm, but it will also allow for less distractions in your photos! It's such a bummer when we capture a beautiful moment only to have sticky boobs or half-eaten lunch plates sitting on the table in the foreground :) You don't have to be crazy about it, and I'll do my best to move things around as needed, but try to remember to stash shoe boxes, food, and trash.
Getting Dressed: If your bridesmaids, mom, and anyone else helping you get ready are able to, have them get dressed before you. They'll likely be in the photos as you're putting your dress on, so it looks much better if everyone is fully dressed! If you'd like privacy, I am happy to leave the room or turn away as you get your dress on. I don't start taking photos until your undies are covered and your dress is being zipped or buttoned. During these moments, try to ignore that I'm here. Look at your dress, yourself in the mirror, and the people surrounding you. Do your best to think about what you're really doing - putting on your wedding dress! It is a surreal feeling and can be captured beautifully.
A first look, or "reveal," is when a bride and groom choose to see each other before the wedding ceremony in an intimate, secluded location followed by a few portraits. There are a lot of benefits to doing a first look, both photographically and for your own enjoyment, but I will never push you to do a first look. It is completely your decision! That being said, here are some perks of choosing to see each other before:
You get to chill together. You get to take time out of your wedding day to just relax with each other. Once the ceremony starts, it can feel like go-go-go until you exit the reception, but a first look is a special time to just look at each other and say "hey. we're doing this. I love you" without any pressure. Callen and I will hide out away from the two of you and while we will be taking photos, you'd have the intimacy and privacy to feel like it's just the two of you.
It will calm your nerves. If you're at all nervous about walking down the aisle or standing in front of a lot of people, this is such a special way to calm your nerves with your favorite person in the world! Some of our favorite memories from our wedding day are during and immediately after our first look, it helped us feel normal and remember why we were doing all of this in the first place!
More photos. One great thing about a first look is it opens up more time for photos! On average, weddings that do a first look get up to 10% more photos than wedding days without one. Since you have seen each other, we can now get all of the bridal party photos done before the ceremony. This means we get to use the available light to our advantage - which is extremely important if your ceremony is later in the day. that all you'll have to do after the ceremony is family portraits and a few bride + groom photos, so we're not trying to round up bridal party when everyone is hangry.
Lastly, doing this will in no way hinder the special moment of walking down the aisle. Believe me - nothing you do before could change the weight and emotion of the moment you lock eyes with each other in front of everyone you love! If you'd like to see evidence of this, I'll happily send you photos of Callen's face when I came down the aisle after doing a first look :)
Tip: Keep your first look private! Family members and bridal party will want to watch, but this might be the ONLY time you get alone together during your wedding, so embrace that. Callen and I have a lot of experience staying in the background so it truly feels like you're the only people in the world.
Family + Bridal Party Portraits
Family Portraits: For some reason, family portraits get a bad rep as being stressful and taking too long (honestly I think it's because everyone just gets hangry) but it's our mission to make family formals an enjoyable, painless experience! We love wrapping up family portraits and hearing dad say "wow, that was easier than I expected." The way we do this is by planning ahead. We go into family portraits with a game plan and a shot list so we don't make grandma stand around for an unnecessary amount of time. I strongly encourage you to think through which groupings are most important, and be sure to give me a good list in your questionnaire with names. Here are a few tips:
- Keep it simple. The longer (and more contrived) the list, the more time it will take.
- If you have a large extended family, consider keeping the formal portraits limited to immediate family members and grandparents, then you can always grab me for a large group photo during the reception!
- Consider assigning a sister or cousin (that knows everyones names) to help us keep everyone organized and coordinated.
- Once your list is finalized, be sure your parents know the plan too.
Tip: When it comes to these group photos, the point is to capture everyone in the photo as beautifully as possible. This sometimes means we'll go somewhere in the shade, or near some trees. When your ceremony takes place somewhere with a gorgeous backdrop, families often ask why we aren't taking photos with that background, but we always prioritize even lighting and a clean photo with focus on the people for formal portraits.
Bridal Party Portraits: We love bridal party portraits! They are such a special way to capture your favorite people and your relationship with them. Callen and I have so much fun with these and often make friends with the bridal party by the end of them. That being said, it's important that everyone is present (seems obvious but you'd be surprised...), relatively sober, and cooperative. One crazy person can really take away from and otherwise beautiful photo, so please encourage your wedding party to wait until their photos are over to hit the booze hard. Our order of photos varies on timing and whether or not you have a first look, but we will always get these groupings: bride + bridesmaids looking at the camera smiling, laughing together, and other fun shots, then the bride with each bridesmaid groom + groomsmen looking at the camera smiling, being serious/ties, and often a few other shenanigans, then the groom with each groomsmen, then a similar pattern of everyone together.
Tip: Much like family photos, the people matter more than the setting here. Also, if there are children involved in the bridal party (flower girls, ring barers) or members of the bridal party are parents, it's extremely important that someone else helps with the children during some of the photos. We do our best to capture group photos with the kiddos present, but if someone is having a meltdown and the only person there to help is a bridesmaid, it can put a halt on our photo schedule and add unnecessary stress! These photos are typically during a time when everyone else is chilling, so ask grandma or auntie to stand-by and be ready to help with the children when needed.
Your ceremony is truly the most important part of the day. It's why we're all here! If you're planning your wedding at a venue, they likely have a designated ceremony space or a few different options. I want to start this by saying, no matter where your ceremony is, we will capture gorgeous photos and you will love them. How's that for a guarantee? That being said, you can always do things to make photos even better! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing your ceremony space and planning your order of events:
Lighting: If you haven't yet picked up on it, lighting is everything when it comes to great photography. Simply facing a different way can turn a blah photo into an amazing photo! We always suggest you plan your ceremony at least 2 hours before sunset to give plenty of light and time for family photos and portraits afterwards. This means, given we have clear weather, the sun will be shining in some direction (science!). We want to use that direction to our advantage. If you can, try to put the sun directly behind you (the direction your guests will be facing - west in the afternoon and east in the evening). This will allow for beautiful back-lighting on you and your bridal party.
Timing: To allow for the best lighting, try to plan your ceremony to start two hours before sunset. This will allow for gorgeous ceremony lighting, but also gives us plenty of time for sunset portraits after you've enjoyed your cocktail hour and dinner with your guests. If you're expecting your ceremony to be longer than 45 minutes, plan for it to start a little earlier!
Ceremony Order: This is something that often gets overlooked until a few weeks before your wedding day when you realize you actually need a plan! Absolutely feel free to do whatever you choose, but we suggest keeping the entrance/processional short, meaning if you have a medium-large bridal party consider having just the bridesmaids come down the aisle and groomsmen enter as group from the side. If you have more than 6 bridesmaids, consider letting them walk down in twos with arms linked (this can also make for adorable photos since they'll be less nervous together!).
Tip: You know what photographers LOVE? A looooooong kiss! And two kisses, or three! Not only does this ensure we get the shot, it also allows us to get both a horizontal and vertical image of your kiss. Also, some of the best and most joyful photos are when you come down the aisle together as husband + wife, so take your time, hug your momma, and stop for one more celebratory kiss at the top of the aisle! One fun thing to consider is giving the people in the aisle seats something like lavender or flower petals to throw - it will make that moment feel so special!
Bride + Groom Portraits
Our favorite part of the day. The pressure is low and we get to hang out with each other making magical photos that will adorn your walls for decades. What could be better? First of all, there is no such thing as too much time for bride + groom portraits. The more time we have, the more we can relax and get a variety of photos! That being said, you invited all those people for a reason so your time with guests is extremely important. We value that too and are confident in our abilities to create beautiful portraits, whether we're allowed 10 minutes or 60 minutes. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning for bride + groom portraits:
Lighting: Are you even surprised at this point? Of all the events in the day, this is when lighting matters most! For us, the ideal wedding day allows for some portraits before the ceremony (if you do a first look), a few minutes of giddy portraits after your ceremony, and then 30 minutes of portraits right before sunset. This means if sunset is at 7pm, we need to start these photos by 6:40 to ensure we're embracing the most beautiful part of the day. Which brings me to my next point:
A break in your reception: 30 minutes before sunset often occurs mid-reception, which may feel like a strange time to go take more photos! I totally understand that, but I want you to trust me here. If you can plan your reception to start with dinner say, 1 hour before sunset, you'll have time to sit down and eat, and then while your guests are still eating you can run out with us for some photos and we'll have you back before anyone even notices you're gone. We've also had couples do their first dances prior to these photos, and then leave for a bit right when the dance floor opens. Whatever you do is fine with us, but we strongly urge you to communicate the importance of this timing with your coordinates if you have one!
If ever a time to get dirty: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you probably didn't hire us for our reception photos. While we absolutely rock receptions (Callen is wicked with a flash!), we probably connected in the first place because we're both adventure-minded people with a love for the outdoors. Now we realize not every wedding happens on top of a mountain, but we like to think we're pretty skilled at facilitating an adventurous photo session in any state, venue, or geographical location. That means you'll probably end up getting some dirt on your dress, you might decide to ditch your shoes and go barefoot, and you'll likely end up with messier hair than when you walked down the aisle. The thing is - that's 100% okay. In fact, it's encouraged! This is the moment for you two to really be yourselves. You could walk back into your reception with a potato cloth on and most people wouldn't notice, so it's time to forget any worries and embrace the adventure! All that being said - we promise to never ever make you do anything that feels uncomfortable for you! If you prefer to keep your dress in mint condition, we understand and will take beautiful photos wherever necessary!
Tip: If you haven't done an engagement session with us, we suggest reading our adventure session guide together a few days before your wedding day. This will give you an idea of our shooting style and what to expect when it's time for portraits! Find it here.
Scheduling: No matter how late you plan to go, we always suggest "front loading" your reception as much as possible, meaning having your important events like first dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc within the first hour or two. This will allow for us to capture main events before our time ends and it ensures your guests are still present before people start filing out or getting tired. This also allows for the dancing to be in one block, which helps facilitate a more rockin' dance floor!
Lighting: At this point you should be surprised lighting wasn't listed first. But seriously - reception lighting is so important! We use natural and ambient light (instead of flash) as much as possible for reception events because it's less distracting and more accurately captures how the moment feels. We love when we can rely on globe lights, string lights, or something similar to capture these sweet, romantic moments. That being said, we are well-versed and comfortable using flash and will absolutely break it out for the dance floor!
Tent or no tent: This is 100% up to you! We have found that the ideal reception scenario is a big white tent (white allows for flattering flash photos) and an outdoor area with string lights. This gives you a safety if the weather turns bad, but allows for the romantic outdoor reception vibe if the weather is great! We have experienced a few rainy wedding days that ended up being beautiful and wonderful because they had a back up plan. As much as we love to embrace the weather, grandma might not be as thrilled, so we always suggest having a tent as an option!
Dinner: Food is important for creativity!! It may seem silly, but nothing is more distracting than trying to do your job on an empty stomach. During dinner, it is best if we eat when you eat. While some venues prefer to feed vendors last, this can sometimes mean us scarfing food down trying to make sure we don't miss a shot. I always assume the ONE part of your wedding day that you don't want me to take photos of is you two eating :) so that is the best time for Callen and I to eat as well! That being said, if you do not plan to provide dinner please let us know beforehand so we can plan ahead.
One of the big things we will help you with leading up to your wedding day is planning a timeline. We will send your custom timeline 2-4 weeks before your wedding day for you to approve. Here are a few sample timelines to give you an idea of what to expect:
full wedding day (8 hours) with a first look
2:00 Details + Getting Ready
3:00 First look, a few portraits
3:30 Bridal party photos
4:00 Family portraits (optional before ceremony)
5:30 bride + groom photos, cocktail hour
6:30 Bride + groom sunset portraits
full wedding day (8 hours) without a first look
2:00 Details + Getting Ready
3:30 Bride + Bridesmaids photos
4:00 Groom + groomsmen photos
5:30 family photos, bride + groom photos, cocktail hour
6:30 Bride + groom sunset portraits
Frequently asked questions
When can I expect my photos? After your wedding, we’ll spend the next few weeks sorting through your photos, editing and curating them in a way that tells the story of your wedding day from beginning to end. You can expect a preview on Facebook within the week and your full gallery delivered to your e-mail inbox within 4 weeks.
Where can we buy prints? Our gallery service has a built-in shop that utilizes a high-quality, trusted print shop. If you want quality, this is the best way to ensure you're getting wonderful prints. I do give my clients a print release, so you are always welcome to use whatever print shop you typically use, but I strongly suggest printing through PASS to ensure the best quality!
Can I decide to order an album after the wedding day? Absolutely! You are always welcome to order an album. Due to the nature of design services I use, I can only guarantee the originally quoted pricing for 6 months after your wedding date. After that, the pricing is subject to change.
Can I share my photos with my mom, grandma, aunt, and best friend? Yes! The beauty of my online gallery service is that it is a sharable link that you can give anyone access to, and anyone with the link is welcome to order prints. This link can be password protected if you choose. Also, the gallery stays online for 10 years (and then you get the option to refresh for another 10), so if you ever lose your copies of the photos you can easily re-download them!
Do you have a guide for adventure sessions? Yes! It's just as helpful and way shorter than this ;)