Print your photos and display them all throughout your home

There is something deeply satisfying in seeing your beautiful portraits displayed through out your entire home. Creating wall galleries, having table albums, and beautifully framed photos make all the difference in appreciating your photos daily to forgetting you even paid for a portrait session.

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Here at my studio, we offer framing, albums, prints, wooden boxes for your loose prints and digital storage, as well as framed wall galleries. Because I believe you should display your photos, I’ve made it easy to order and these beautifully displays are shipped directly to you in the comfort of your home.

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Really enjoy your photos time and time again, don’t let them go to waste on your computer. Want the product pricing guide? Shoot me an email at hello@jackielamas.com and I’ll send it right over.

Historical Themes For A Gorgeous Wedding 

As a bride, sometimes it can be really hard to settle on just one theme or look for the wedding. I get it, the internet is so overfilled with ideas! Today’s guest post is going to talk about three distinct wedding themes and how you can incorporate each look into your wedding day!

Read on!


Victorian Era

This is one of the primary historical eras that comes to mind when people think of design aesthetics, simply because Victorian England is so often depicted in pop culture. Projects from television’s Sherlock to films like Mr. Turner and Sweeney Todd have all been set in this period; The Favourite, which is currently in theaters and possibly headed for Oscars glory, takes place in an era preceding the Victorian stage, yet will still showcase elements of the design that would become England’s prevailing aesthetic for a century.

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What it means for a wedding is essentially ornate, attractive, yet slightly old-fashioned décor. Think colorful cushions on seats, lace curtains on any windows in the venue, and decorative trinkets on surfaces (from tea sets to figurines). Table settings should be intricate, and antique lamps and chandeliers would do best for lighting. It’s all a bit pageant-like, but done properly it can make for a gorgeous and unusual setting.

 

El Dorado

 This is an entirely different idea, and really it’s pseudo-historical at best. As a reminder to those who are a bit fuzzy on their high school history texts, El Dorado was a mythical city of gold sought primarily by Spanish conquistadors during the Age of Exploration. It appears sporadically in pop culture these days, most notably in a 2000 animated film that many remember fondly, and in a video game that’s currently popular online. Gonzo’s Quest, which is one of the featured online games by the respected slot provider SlotSource, actually shows an animated conquistador on his journey toward the mythical city.

 The fact that we have only a few modern interpretations of El Dorado to consider, as well as that it almost certainly never existed, means this is more of a design concept than a defined aesthetic to follow. And the idea is simple: just have a wedding full of gold!

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It doesn’t have to be real gold of course, but there is a certain allure to the concept of having as many decorations as possible decked out in gold of one sort or another. You can throw in some Mayan- or Inca-style decorative pieces if you really want to sell the El Dorado idea specifically, or you could simply enjoy the inspiration to make the wedding feel royal with so much gold.

 Classical Antiquity 

Arguably one of the most gorgeous periods in history - at least as we perceive it now - was the era of Classical Antiquity, which essentially includes the heydays of both Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome It’s characterized by bronze and marble statues and reliefs, clean, open spaces, columns and carved facades, and the occasional accent in gold or living greenery. Chances are things were a little less impressive in actuality, 2,000 years ago, but our embellished perspective on the time makes for a gorgeous picture.

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 There were actually hints of this aesthetic in the much-publicized wedding of Serena Williams back in 2017. To be clear this wasn’t a fully classical wedding; it had a little bit of everything, to the point that you can look through the public photos and see Beyoncé on a merry-go-round horse. However, there was a vibe to the wedding - a wide aisle, guests seated comfortably on benches, tables for wine, etc. - that felt decidedly Greek or Roman. Embracing a similar concept, with some more specific classical elements here and there, could make for a gorgeous ceremony and reception.

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All of these eras make for great wedding themes and can even add some glam to your day! Whichever theme you decide to go with, we are sure that it’s going to be beautiful and elegant! Do you have a set theme for your wedding day?


Thank you for reading this post contributed by Kathy L. Martin. I am happy to get good quality content out your way and I do believe that if it benefits brides in some way, then it’s important to have it available for you!

Going Green - Your Perfect Guide for an Eco-Friendly Wedding | Guest Post by Harper Reid

Harper contacted me a few weeks ago to offer writing a guest post on such an important topic! Planning an eco-friendly wedding doesn’t have to be difficult, read on for tips to making your wedding a little more Earth friendly.


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If you and your partner try your best to be eco-conscious in every other area of your life, it only makes sense that you’d both want your wedding to reflect the ethical principles you hold dear. However, your typical wedding doesn’t tend to align with the values of an environmental warrior. What with the electricity used throughout the day, the paper and plastic in the decorations and catering materials, and emissions involved in traveling to the venue, the typical traditional wedding isn’t exactly eco-friendly. Check out some great tips and tricks below to achieve a green wedding.

Make it close

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As far as is possible, make your wedding site geographically close to those in your wedding party. Not only will a proximate venue guarantee that more of the important people in your life will be able to make it, but planning your wedding nearby will reduce the fuel emissions involved in taking the wedding out-of-state.  Plus, if your wedding location is near enough, you can ride to your ceremony in a horse-and-carriage, if you so wish!

Make it small

Fewer people usually means less collective waste, so it’s a no-brainer that having a smaller wedding will have less of an environmental impact.  In light of this, why not review your prospective guest list, and make sure that you are inviting only the most important people in your life? One way to curb guest numbers is to consider doing away with plus ones.

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Get rid of paper stationery

One of the least eco-friendly things about organizing a wedding is the stationery that’s involved – and, to some extent, expected. Rid your wedding of the dross of environmental damage by either taking things digital, or using recycled paper for your invites and placeholders.

 Choose an eco-friendly venue

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Choose beautiful, eco-friendly spaces or venues that will reduce energy consumption. One of the easiest ways to do this is to select a space that boasts many large windows to bring in natural light. Depending on your wedding theme, this could be a beautiful outdoor space like a local beach or botanic garden, or it might be a unique site like a gallery.

To further save on lighting, have both your ceremony and reception during the day. If you do go ahead and have your reception party at night, consider a candlelit setting for less cost – not to mention extra romance!

Build your menu from the grass up

Be a model to your wedding guests, and fix a menu for your wedding dinner that champions sustainability. Source locally-produced foods, and if you and your partners are vegan or vegetarian, have fun reflecting this through your favorite gourmet dishes in your wedding spread.

Greenify your wedding favors

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Leave your guests with the best possible impression of your wedding – and more than that, your values – by organizing eco-friendly wedding favors.  Little potted succulents or cacti are a sure crowd-pleaser, as are organically-made foodstuffs, or even a flower or two from the wedding bouquet. The truly philanthropic couples out there may even wish to donate to charity on behalf of each guest, and to let them know with a receipt or token.

Eschew the registry

The modern tradition of the requisite “wedding gift” is an eco-warrior’s nightmare. Not only does a registry put pressure on your guests to provide the goods, but the very notion of a registry promotes the very materialism you’re trying to push against.

You might opt to do away with a gift registry altogether, or to ask for something creative and different – such as some lovingly-chosen garden plants, or for money towards your favorite environmental cause or charity.

Capture Your Favorite Moments Digitally

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Last but not least, don’t forget to hire an excellent wedding photographer to capture all the lovely, solemn, sweet, fun, and silly moments from your eco-friendly wedding. Of course, you can print out some of your favorite pictures from your special day to hang on the wall or give to family, but the majority of your wedding photos can easily be stored on a USB drive or shared on from your online cloud storage system – saving paper in the meantime!


Author’s bio:

Auckland-based freelance writer Harper is passionate about responsible living and believes that even if you start small, simple changes can make a huge difference in our environment. Harper has previously written for local businesses who promote eco-friendly solutions such as Sea Containers. See more of her work here.

What to expect from your portrait photographer

There are so many wonderful and great photographers out in the world now. It’s amazing to see so much being created on a daily basis, especially through Instagram. Lots of inspiring work and even more self expression than ever before.

It’s important to note what separates a professional portrait photographer from someone who isn’t. There is a lot of great stuff out there and equally great people, but it’s a good idea to really know what they are best photographing.

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There are photographers who specialize in only newborn and maternity. Others who specialize in only weddings and engagements. And others who only do commercial work.

Then there are photographers like me who do both weddings and portraits and will also take on a special project, only if it truly aligns with my style and business goals.

So what can you expect from a professional photographer?

This is not an all encompassing list because each photographer does business differently and has different ways of doing things, however, I’m sure most would agree that they are basic expectations a professional photographer should meet.

  • They can match their experience with their passion. You want someone who has taken at least 100 high quality portraits because that experience will guarantee you have a great session as well.

  • Website or portfolio of some kind. Let’s include social media in this because sometimes that works best as a portfolio rather than an official website. However, a website will tell you much more about a photographer than social media.

  • They offer options and can answer all of your questions, no matter the question. They are the professional, not you so your questions must be answered with kindness and expertise.

  • They send out official contracts with terms and make sure to let you know of any policies they or their studio has.

  • They can clearly outline the experience they will give you and how you portrait session will be like. You can only expect this from a photographer that knows what they are doing and has enough experience to guide you through the process.

  • They know lighting and can suggest the best times for your session. If they are a studio photographer, they’ll know what lighting is best in order to create the best portrait for you.

  • They will be a little higher priced than the Craigslist photographer, Facebook photographer, or the photographer just starting out. This is because of their years of experience and many, many, years perfecting their craft.

Each photographer is different and has a different business, however, it’s important to know what to expect from a professional because they can make all the difference between having photos you absolutely love rather than absolutely cringe looking at.

When you’re looking for someone to photograph you, if they don’t check most of these off, then I would suggest moving along. If you really love their photos, then ask them directly and go with your gut feeling.

Have you had any great photographers take your portraits? Let me know in the comments below!

Your Mexican Beach Portrait Session Experience | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I photograph in many of the same locations again and again. Here in Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta, this means that I photograph many sessions at the same beach.

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However, it has always surprised me that I could photograph two sessions on the same day at the same location and each session will be SO different from the other. No two sessions are ever alike and this is because of YOU.

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You, my clients, are the ones that make each session unique and truly one of kind. Yeah, I know that sounds cheesy but it’s 100% honest truth. The way that you approach the session is what makes it YOURS AND ONLY YOURS.

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I’m using caps because I need to emphasize that each session is tailored to you and that each portrait experience is not like any other.

I never get tired of photographing portrait sessions at the beach. The sunset, sometimes at noon with the beautiful blue sky reflecting the blue water. The vastness of the shoreline and always, the fun that splashing in the warm water brings.

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Each portrait session experience depends on what you enjoy. Like to be romantic during engagement photos, we’ll be romantic. Like to be playful for family portraits, let’s have fun. Want to mix in a little bit of both for your anniversary session, we’ll do both.

Your experience in front of my camera is important to me and I hope that you enjoy it to the fullest because moments are fleeting and as cheesy as it sounds, photography is all that is left to remember your life by.

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So enjoy the session, don’t be nervous, I got you.

What happens now? My process after I photograph your wedding or portrait session

I have been a photographer for quite a long time (10+ years!) and my process and business is always evolving. When I first began, I remember editing photos, one by one, in Adobe Photoshop CS2. My computer would freeze and it used to take forever!

Thankfully, my process is a lot more streamlined and faster. Which means, you get your photos a lot faster and with better quality retouching.

My process

After I photograph your wedding or portrait session, I usually go home and upload the photos either that same night or the next day. Usually, I’ll send a sneak preview or two that same night to my clients edited slightly on my phone ;).

I then choose the best of the best photos in terms of exposure, expression, and important events. I try and put myself in your shoes and carefully choose the ones I believe are the winners. For portraits this can be anywhere from 60-100 photos or more depending on the size of the family. For weddings, it depends on how many hours of coverage that you had and on average, it will be between 400-1000 photos.

All of the blue photos are the chosen ones for final edits.

I know other photographers include many more photos however, I make sure not to overwhelm my clients because it can be a little excessive when you’re seeing 30 photos of the same pose, same light, same everything and you really don’t need to. You need a good solid 5 photos of each pose, if that. So I make sure to choose only the best as final images.

After I choose the photos that I’ll be editing, I then begin the process in Lightroom. If I need extra retouching done, I’ll open the photo in Photoshop. Both programs are really great for editing.

Once your photos are edited, I’ll upload them into your personalized online gallery and send you an invitation to view, share, download, and purchase products like albums and prints.

The whole process for portraits takes about two weeks and for weddings it takes me about 4 weeks (sometimes less if I don’t have other weddings waiting).

Editing / retouching

For my work, I don’t do much to the photos. I make sure to get the photos as close to perfect as I can in-camera so that I can spend more time actually photographing clients rather than sitting at my computer all day.

My editing style is simple: I add a little brightness, warmth, contrast, and take away any weird hair fly-aways, trash in the background, and maybe swap a head or two if I need to.

The photo on the right is the original. The one on the right got a boost in brightness, contrast, shadows, and warmth. Almost no difference.

The photo on the right is the original. The one on the right got a boost in brightness, contrast, shadows, and warmth. Almost no difference.

As for retouching, I will remove a blemish here and there or perhaps the linea nigra on a pregnant belly. Sometimes I’ll take out some sand on the face or weird fly-away hairs. However, I don’t overly retouch a client unless they have asked for it specifically. When I first began, I would smooth out skin, take out anything I considered a blemish, like moles, or even slim arms and waists. I do not do this anymore.

Very minimal editing done to the photo. Some brightness, contrast, warmth, and straightening of the horizon.

Very minimal editing done to the photo. Some brightness, contrast, warmth, and straightening of the horizon.

I don’t retouch like that because it is not a real representation of who you are. It is fake and I want your photos to be as real as they come. I also want you to look at your photos and recognize who you are and know that you are beautiful inside and out.

Because all of my clients are absolutely beautiful and that needs to be reflected in the photos.

I don’t outsource my workflow

I know a lot of photographers out there that outsource their editing and while that is a great option, it’s not something that I personally prefer.

I rather make sure to edit and retouch your photos personally. I want to make sure that they keep their quality and streamline the editing look so that they don’t look different from one photo to the next.

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I also photograph one wedding a weekend because I want to make sure to give my clients the best I can and doing two weddings in one weekend is so tiring! I have done it and on special requests or situations I will.

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This gives me more time to really focus my attention to each photo that goes into your gallery. To give it real thought and make sure that I pick the very best to deliver to you.

After I receive my photos what then?

When I send the invitation email to your online gallery, you have the option to view, choose favorites, and share your photos online. You also have the option to download high resolution images and print at a location that works best for you.

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Since I am a destination wedding and destination portrait photographer, I offer an array of products through the gallery that you can purchase and have shipped directly to you anywhere in the world. Choose from albums, photo prints, framed prints, small cards, USB with your photos and wooden box, and much more.

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Your photos are safe

I keep client photos for 10 years. Sometimes more! I have them on external hard drives and make sure to backup all of the photos.

I have had couples lose their photos because their laptops broke or got stolen. I’ve had portrait clients forget where they saved them or lost their USB where they had them saved.

This portrait is from more than 7 years ago. Still has my old website watermark on it.

This portrait is from more than 7 years ago. Still has my old website watermark on it.

Because I hold the copyright to your photos, I am able to keep them safe for a long time. Don’t worry, you have full permission to print and save your photos. The copyright also helps me to be able to use the photos on my websites and in the articles that I write. Which basically makes you famous ;).

Easy and simple

One thing I really like about my process is that it is easy and simple. I don’t over do the editing which takes time and can delay getting your photos to you.

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I make simple edits that make your photos pop without losing quality or authenticity. And the online gallery is simple and easy to use as well, which makes it easier on you.

That’s it

And that’s it. That is my process after the weddings or portrait sessions. It’s something that I get asked about often it’s great to let my client’s know what to expect after we have fun at their wedding or portrait session.

 

How to avoid meltdowns & have a great family portrait experience

Seriously, what could more intimidating than getting your portraits take, as a family?! Probably traveling with a baby comes close.  

I hear you, it can be really hard on parents who try to get their family portraits taken and suddenly you're dealing with a melt down because your toddler doesn't want to wear that dress and hates those shoes, on the day of your session.  Trust me, I've been there.  And it can be so stressful that you want to call your photographer and reschedule, which let me tell you, is completely in your right! 

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel! These quick and easy steps will all lead to a melt-down free session and lead to a happy post session!

DON'T SAY NO. 
This is really the only real rule that I have when I photograph families.  Especially out on the beach.  It's really easy to try and be on your best behavior as a family, but we all know that on the day of the session, your kid is gonna want to push their limits, set the new rules, and act a little goofy.  

I say, let them.  Let them get it all out of their system, let me take over and have fun.  The more they see this as a fun activity, the more willing they'll be to cooperate.  And this means, not saying "no" to running, climbing safely onto a tree, or even throwing sand and getting all wet.  Keeping things light and fun are going to change the whole experience for you!

BRING EXTRA CLOTHES
Being that we have just let these kids wild, you'll need to be prepared in bringing more outfits.  Always choose clothes that the kids feel most comfortable in.  And if that day they are particular about a shirt, bring it,  we'll use it and then I'll convince them to change later during the session.  Usually this works because I'm a stranger and they don't know that I'm a complete push over.  Plus, we're having fun and so they'll go along with it even more if we turn it into a game.

BRING SNACKS / TOYS
Kids are hungry all.the.time!  I'm sure that you are constantly bringing snacks and juices everywhere you go; sessions are no different.  Make sure you bring those favorite snacks and we'll give them to the kids through out the session so that they can keep their energy up and keep giving us those cute smiles!

Bringing toys is another great way to give your kids a break during the part of the session where we focus on mommy and daddy.  It's a great way to keep them entertained and sometimes, we can get cute photos like this one below; this photo captures who she truly is at 3 years.  

SMILING POSING MAY NOT HAPPEN
Just know that at your session, depending on your children's age, they may not be willing to be still enough for photos.  Take a 2 year old, they constantly run from the camera and don't like to sit still.  As where you have teens who don't like to smile at all but will stand there limp and bored.  So that's where we try to play, run, jump, through the baby in the air, maybe jump onto your teens back, or tell a funny joke - anything to get the energy flowing. 

I'll capture those interactions and sometimes, they make the best memories because they are natural, authentic, and real.  

DON'T BE AFRAID TO RESCHEDULE
Portrait sessions, thankfully, are always able to be rescheduled if your kid is having a really bad day or isn't up for anything.  Call me and we'll reschedule for a later date.  It's happened where we're in the middle of the session and we'll reschedule for a different day, and it's totally ok!  Sometimes this happens and it's quite alright.  I'd rather not force the session because we'll definitely see it in the photos.  

Having fun is always the best part of your portrait experience! Don't forget to bring on the bad dad jokes, run, jump, and be willing to play.  I guarantee everyone will have a wonderful time and we'll get the shots that you'll be able to treasure.  

Feature Article on Digital Photography School

Hey everyone!

I know there's been a little bit of silence over here on the blog since the new year has begun, and I'm hoping to get back into blogging more regularly now that we are done being sick!  Yep, my baby had a really bad ear infection and then he got me sick, and well, it's always a cycle of germs with kids, right? 

In December, I wrote an article for one of the best resources in the photography world: Digital Photography School, or DPS. When I first started learning photoshop, I was a regular at DPS.  We're talking, about 12 or 10 years ago, and I was working with Photoshop CS2! I remember staying up really late, following the tutorial videos in order to learn how to create layers, what the healing brush tool did, and yes, even the simple cropping tool.  I had taken courses in college but they were not as specific to what I wanted to learn.  I didn't want to create a brochure (although, now I could use that knowledge!) but rather how to cross process, use actions, and resize a photo.  DPS was always my handy resource.

Now, they've grown to include so many great articles and tutorials from seasoned and experienced experts from around the globe!  I still go back to the site when I have question or simply want to read how to do something new in photography.   That's the great thing about photography isn't it? The fact that you can always learn something new!

It's with great, great, excitement that I share with you that I was able to write a great and helpful tutorial: 6 Tips for Better Engagement Photos.  It's a great post for photographers of all levels! I'm also so excited that it's already been shared a good 395 times! I'm so happy!

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I am hoping to write more articles for photographers on DPS as I truly believe in their website and helping other photographers grow, learn, and create community.  

Head on over and check out the article, and many more great tips and tricks!!! 

Ideal Wedding Day Photography Time Line

Hey brides!  After choosing your photographer, you will most likely work alongside them to create the best timeline for photos on your big day.  This is really important because it will help the photographer to get an idea of where to be, what time the major events are happening through out the day, and carve out the best time for the portraits of you and your love!  It also helps us photographers with knowing where the light will be and how we have to adjust in case we need to take photos in bright noon sunlight or during sunset at the beach.  

I'm going to outline some of the more important photography moments that should be worked into your timeline.  However, take note that it all depends on how long you contracted your photographer for, where you are getting married, and other factors. 

Getting Ready 

Ah, the getting ready shots!  These are my favorite to start the day with.  If they can be worked in, I highly recommend it!  If you're pressed for time, shave off an hour of the reception coverage for these, trust me, you will not regret it!  It's a quiet time when you and your girls or perhaps just you are getting ready and can really soak in the day.  At this time, I usually take advantage of photographing the dress, shoes, jewelry,  and any other important detail the bride has chosen for her day.

I also love to get candid shots of the bride with her family and friends and allow things to flow and just happen.  Sometimes we get the best emotional photos out of these moments.  

This time also allows me to get photos of just the bride alone right after she's done getting ready.  It's such a special time to just breath and take a look in the mirror  and get excited! I love being with brides during this time.

Oh, sometimes we get shots of the grooms getting ready too ;)

Bride & Groom Portraits / First Look

I love to do have the bride and groom do a first look after the Getting Ready shots.  It makes for a more impactful surprise and during this time there are guests around which makes it truly special for the couple.  They are alone, together, for the first time the entire day.  After the portraits, the couple is surrounded by people the rest of the day.  So, I love it when we carve out enough time to take the portraits.  If your timeline allows you to do this before your ceremony, I recommend it! You'll also look fresh and excited.  

However, sometimes the bride and groom opt to see each other after the wedding ceremony, which is totally ok too! Just make sure you have enough time and a location away from your guests and bridal party so that you can have that time alone!

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Ceremony

This one is obvious! You must and should have at least 15 - 20 minutes buffer before your ceremony to relax, touch up make up, and allow your photographer to get the ceremony location with out anyone in it.  

All of the decor has to be photographed because it was chosen by you! And that makes it extra special.

Bridal Party / Family Formals

These are great to get done right after the ceremony when everyone is present and no one has disappeared to the cocktail hour yet. Also, I like to do these at the same time or one right before the other.  The reason being is because most of the time, the bridal party is made up of family! So rather than have two separate times, we do it all together.  You might not like the idea of having family wait for formals or vice versa, but it takes all about 30 minutes to get these out of the way.  

These are also when I take a more formal approach to the photos and allow different combinations to occur.  It all depends on how big or small your bridal party and families are!  

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Sunset Photos / Cocktail Hour

These can be done at the same time or scheduled so that you can enjoy the cocktail hour and then slip away for a bit for beautiful sunset photos.  These photos really offer beautiful golden light during one of the most sought after times for photography! 

If your photographer has an assistant photographer, they usually will have them taking candid photos of the cocktail hour and your guests.  This way you don't miss out on capturing some great moments of your guests :).

Party / Reception

This part of the day is usually more relaxed for us photographers.  I like to make sure I get to the reception venue a little early to get all the details of the decor, just like the ceremony.  Depending on how many hours you have your photographer for, make sure they get your grand entrance, if nothing else.  

I don't really have a set a timeline as most of the major events are announced by the DJ.  I do try and work with the DJ so that we're on the same page and he knows who I am and we'll check in with each other during the reception so we're both ready and don't miss anything important.  

The main events during the reception include: Grand Entrance, First Dance, Mother / Son and Father / Daughter dances, cake cutting, toasts, garter and bouquet toss, and lots of dancing!

Grand Exit

If you have a Grand Exit in mind make sure you speak to your photographer about the time and if you have anything special planned!  We'll need to be set up and ready to go before you actually exit and make sure we're in a good position so that people don't crowd us or we don't miss where you're going to be walking through.  And if there are sparklers, we love sparklers, we'll need to set up for that too! 

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