I love it when couples bring something meaningful to their engagement session, whether that’s through choice of location or activity. Kiersten and Ben are semi-recent transplants to Boston, and enjoy exploring Boston and the northeast by bike and taking longer bike camping trips with friends. So bikes were a must at their Franklin Park engagement session last fall. We met up on a crisp October afternoon to make some portraits together. Cool weather is always good for snuggles, and I loved seeing the way these two leaned into each other and made each other laugh. I’m looking forward to their wedding this coming October at the Codman Estate, where they plan to celebrate with bbq and lawn games.
I recently shared 12 of my best tips for how to get the most out of your wedding photography. But once you have your beautiful images in hand, what to do? I’m guessing you didn’t make the investment in professional wedding photography so your images could sit on a USB drive in a drawer, or to live on your phone, until replaced by images of your new puppy and latest vacation. I know that spending money on an album is hard, but I firmly believe that unlike most things you choose to spend money on, printed photographs gain in value as time goes on. Imagine taking that trip down memory lane on each of your anniversaries, reminiscing with your parents when they visit, and perhaps someday sharing it with children.
I recently updated my album offerings to include a beautiful line of giclée albums. These albums feature vivid museum-quality giclée prints on fine art paper; the tones in the images come through beautifully. If you’re the type who can linger in a stationery store, you’ll love the feel of this matte paper. Layout options are endless, but I especially like the ability to feature panoramas that stretch seamlessly across two pages.
“My only regret is not spending a bit more time thinking about the images we were sure we wanted to capture sooner in the planning process. By the time we actually sat down to think about it, we were only a few weeks out and had so many other things on our mind that it became just another box to check off instead of something we actively reflected on. The only image I regret not having is one of all of our guests together in front of the mansion or somewhere on the grounds where it might have been feasible to pull off. I thought of this before the wedding but totally forgot to list it! Take some time as far in advance as you can to think about the images that will be most special to you. Also look at other weddings, including Kelly’s previous work at other weddings, for ideas.” – Amanda
Click to see more from Amanda & Andrew’s Lyman Estate wedding.
Words of Wisdom is an ongoing series in which recently married couples share their best bits of wedding advice.
A question that often comes up when I meet with potential couples is “what happens in case of an emergency?” Until this past year, I’d rely on stories of my wonderful photography community. Cases of photographers stepping up when our colleagues fell ill or got stuck in terrible Friday traffic south of Boston and the wedding they needed to be at was an hour north of the city. I feel so lucky to be a part of this community that has each other’s (and our couples’) backs, and lucky that I’ve never yet needed to call on it for this purpose.
This past summer, I stepped in twice for other photographers who faced medical emergencies. Beyond helping friends and making sure couples receive the beautiful, quality photos they expect, I figure I’m making deposits into the karma bank.
In late September, I found myself stepping in to photograph the Newport wedding of L and B. It was a beautiful sunny day when I arrived to document the bride getting ready, along with her mother, sister and bridesmaids.
Following the Catholic ceremony at the Saint Joseph’s Church, the wedding party headed to Gooseberry Beach for some portraits. These two were so at ease with each other and really lovely to photograph.
Their reception was held at The Bohlin, right on the water in Newport. The sun was sinking low in the sky as we arrived, and guests were enjoy their cocktails on the deck and taking in the views.
One of my favorite parts of the day was their first dance. I loved the way their fingers twined together and they leaned into each other. The toasts were also memorable for the copious amounts of laughter. During the toasts, we heard how much L likes to party, and the celebration lived up to the preview with lots of silly antics on the dance floor.
1. Make sure you like your wedding photographer. It’s important that you like your photographer’s style of work, because their images will be touchstones for your memories. But it’s equally important that you feel comfortable around them. They’ll be there when you put on your dress, while you tearfully exchange vows, and when you let loose on the dance floor. If your personalities complement each other and you feel at ease, it allows for more genuine moments to unfold in front of your photographer’s lens.
2. Do an engagement session. Take the opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera. Most people take a little but of time to warm up – better that to do that on a day other than your wedding. It also lets your photographer learn more about the two of you – how you interact, what angles are flattering, and the level of direction and collaboration that work best.
3. Build plenty of time into your timeline. If you want authentic, candid photos, the best way to get them is to have enough time that you feel present and relaxed. You don’t want spend your wedding day worrying about not having enough time. So tell your hair and makeup artists that you’d like to be finished 30 minutes earlier than you anticipate needing to be done. Pad your travel time, especially on Fridays in Boston, holiday weekends, around rush hour and anywhere on the Cape in the summer. A generous timeline allows for moments to happen – spontaneous toasts, hugs from family members, or stealing away for a few moments with your love to take it all in.
4. Consider where you’re getting ready. Chances are the aesthetics of your reception venue played into your choice, so give the same thought to where you’ll begin the day. Your childhood home is one option that would add an extra layer of meaning to your images. A rental home or large hotel suite are other good options. Lots of natural light and a clean, uncluttered space are always ideal.
5. Minimize the number of locations. Weddings always have a huge number of moving parts. When you add locations, you add complexity and increase the chance of delays. Keep things simple.
6. Know the photo regulations of your venues. And inform your photographer ahead of time. Some churches restrict where the photographer can be during the ceremony, and some reception venues have designated photo areas. These restrictions limit what your photographer is able to create.
7. Plan ahead for family photos. Make a list with your photographer of the groupings you’d like to photograph. Limit your list to those images you anticipate printing or including in your album. Allow three minutes per small group and five to ten minutes for large groups. Let folks know ahead of time when and where they need to be. For more information, check out this blog post on Planning for Formal Wedding Portraits.
8. Communicate what you like and dislike to your photographer, but skip the shot list. If you’ve hired a professional photographer whose work you like (see #1), then you should already be on the same page. In your pre-wedding meeting with your photographer, reiterate what you love – such as authentic moments, romantic portraits, or more artistic views of the day. But don’t get stuck on a specific set of images you’ve seen elsewhere. You don’t want your photographer double and triple checking the list you gave them, causing them to miss true moments or taking away their time to create something unique for you. A true moment will always be more significant than a recreation of some else’s.
9. Trust your photographer. If you have chosen your photographer with care, and have been open about what what you like and dislike, then trust your photographer to do what they do best. Some photographers want two hours for portraits of the bride and groom – some want twenty minutes. If you like the images in their portfolio, trust their advice. A professional photographer will be experienced at seeing light and location and possibility. Trust that they will guide you toward the best options when making images.
10. Let it go. Accept that something may go wrong. I’ve seen zippers break, cakes and chuppas not delivered, and rain during outdoor ceremonies. But how you react to those is more important than anything else. You’ve put so much time and effort into the planning, don’t let the things that don’t go exactly as planned affect how big your smile is, how happy you feel, or how excited you are to spend the day celebrating with those you love.
11. Take it in. Take a deep breath and look around you in wonderment and gratitude at the gathering of all the people you love in the world being with you. Center yourself in the experience.
12. Live it up. Give yourself permission to feel all the feels. It’s a big day and will be full of emotion. Hug people extra close, feel the weight of your vows as you say them, dance with abandon. The candid photos – of an embrace, a shared glance, a reaction – those are the images that will transport you back to how you felt.