My editing style

I have been a photographer for about 13 years. When I was first starting out, Photoshop was getting into mainstream photography, along with digital. This meant that people, myself included, were editing photos like it was going out of style.

And then, it went out of style.

Over editing photos is not something I do anymore. I stopped over processing photos about 4 years ago because I just felt like the smoothing of skin and over editing colors and adding filters was just TOO MUCH.

My editing style is pretty close to the original image! This is because it keeps the photo timeless.

My editing style is pretty close to the original image! This is because it keeps the photo timeless.

I also realized that filters are part of trends, and that means that when a trend goes out of style, that editing also goes out of style. And then you’re left with photos that are out of style.

Of course, to each their own. Each photographer has their own particular style and I’m not here to say that it’s wrong or out of date or anything, it just isn’t for me or my clients.

I like to stick to a nice elegant and timeless look with the photos that I create. I feel like editing this way means that your photos will never look dated or out of style.

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What do I do then? I color correct, bump up the warmth, take out blemishes, clean up the skin a bit and brighten and add contrast. It’s very minimal and takes me less time to edit which also means your photos get to you sooner.

Editing this way has revolutionized my time in front of the computer and lets me focus more on the creative part of my photography.

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I love letting my clients see exactly firsthand what they can expect to see when they get their final images. So, I’ve pulled together some before and after photos so you can see exactly how I edit the photos!

What do you think? What kind of look do you like to have for your photos?

What is the best time to schedule my beach portrait session

Beach portraits are wonderfully unique because of the location! The beaches here in Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta are breathtakingly beautiful and offer long stretches of beach and sunsets like no other.

However, because you’re on a beach there are a few things to consider when you’re having your portraits taken.

Sunset Golden Hour is the best time

The best time to schedule your session is about an hour to an hour and half before sunset. I’m sure that you’ve heard it as it’s the infamous “golden hour”. This is when the sun is going down, making it less harsh but giving it such a beautiful golden wash to the photos.

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The sun sets behind the beach here which makes any time between 11am and 4pm brutal to photograph in. The sun is still behind the water a bit however, the sand will reflect all of that light back onto you making it hard to see, often resulting in squinty or closed eyes.

Why start so early before sunset, isn’t it still too bright?

Having enough time to photograph your family fully is always the best bet. I want to make sure you have lots of photos that you can revisit time and time again. If we only photographed during sun set, we’d have only about 10 minutes to photograph your family.

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This way, we can also walk around, have fun, splash in the water, and get individual photos and candid photos of your family being themselves. It also gives me time to hang with you and get to know you better!

Don’t worry if we photograph at a different time than sunset!

Maybe you have a tour scheduled and won’t make it in time, or perhaps nap times have to be considered and I can definitely understand with my 2 year old!

Don’t worry, I got you covered. If we do photograph your session at a different time than sunset, we can still get absolutely stellar images that you’ll love for many years to come!

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The difference here is that there will be less posed photos and more interactive photos. This is because the sun is pretty bright any time after 9am and so rather than having you cringe and squint trying to look at the camera, I’ll have you play and interact with each other.

But don’t worry, if there is shade, we’ll definitely use it! If there isn’t, I’ll try and position you so that the sun isn’t so harsh.

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Keeping you comfortable while still photographing your family interacting make for the most emotive photos! These are my favorite type of photos to create!

Do what’s best for you and your family

Choosing the best time for your family is always the best way to schedule your session. I am comfortable and experienced in photographing at any time during the day so that you have the most beautiful photos of your family on vacation.

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So if we need to photograph at 10am because of a nap time, I’ve got you covered. After lunch time when tummies are full and every one has lots of energy, let’s do it.

The time that is best for you and your family is when I want to photograph you. This is a sure way to get the best expressions, energy, and have the most fun during a session that everyone will love!


Have you had a family vacation session before? Are you interested in scheduling your next session while in Puerto Vallarta? Contact me so I can send over all of the info and get your family photographed!



What you need to know about having your wedding in Puerto Vallarta

Are you ready for the mega huge post today? This is going to be a long one but I’ve gotten a few people asking me to help them with more info about having a destination wedding here in the Puerto Vallarta area.

I was thinking of putting all of this into a really nice PDF and sending it out into the world for all to have and share. But who am I kidding, that takes time and design and honestly, with a toddler and potty training and work, I just don’t have the time. Maybe in the future I’ll make a more comprehensive guide but for now, grab your coffee, tea, or whatever because this will be a long one!

Quick disclaimer: I’m only providing you with personal experience as a wedding photographer and by what I have noticed, learned, heard, and witnessed myself. So please leave a comment if I’ve gotten something wrong or am misinforming people! Other than that, enjoy!!!


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Okay, when it comes to destination weddings here in this area, there are really two main types of weddings to choose from. The first is having your wedding at a hotel. The second is having your wedding at a private location, be it a private villa, Airbnb home, or a specific wedding venue with no room accommodations.

I’m sure I’ll get some planners who will cringe at what I’ve just typed, but these are the two main options that I’ve personally photographed here in the area. Of course, you can always talk to a wedding planner or someone you know who can help you with more options if there are any.

Let’s dive into the hotel option.

Now, I don’t know much about the planning process since I usually show up to take photos, however, I do know that many hotels offer options where you can cut costs if you book a certain amount of rooms.

Photographed at  Sunset Plaza Resort , Puerto Vallarta

Photographed at Sunset Plaza Resort, Puerto Vallarta

Some include other upgrades and such, it just really depends on the hotel. There are hotels expanding a huge area, of which we’ll get into a little bit later, and so that can also determine what your wedding will look like.

Hotels have wedding coordinators that will help you to plan your wedding from afar. This is great because they have all of the options already set for you as far as linens, centerpieces, and food. They also have vendor lists where you can choose from your pick in dj, photographer, videographer, etc. Even Mariachis. These are people they have a long working relationship with and all of these vendors just know how things roll on the day of the event.

Photographed at  Costa Sur , Puerto Vallarta

Photographed at Costa Sur, Puerto Vallarta

However, you have to be watchful because sometimes the staff moves around or changes and this can leave some things by the wayside. But in my experience, every wedding I’ve photographed at a hotel always goes off without any problems! This is because no matter who is working your wedding, they all know how things work.

Another thing that the hotels have in their favor is that most have their own beach. This is especially important if you’re looking to have sunset photos or a ceremony on the sand.

Photographed at the  Hard Rock , Nuevo Vallarta

Photographed at the Hard Rock, Nuevo Vallarta

The best thing, but really this goes for any options, is that your guests will be able to book 3 days minimum at a hotel (which is the norm) and have a mini vacation. Or they can book the whole week and really go all out. Many hotels are all inclusive which also cuts down costs when you factor in food and other expenses. Essentially, you don’t even have to leave the resort.

And, depending on where you chose to have the wedding, if you’re closer or in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, everything like restaurants, nightlife, adventure, is literally walking distance. Or at least accessible close by, such as the tours to the Arcos or the famous hidden beach, Isla Marietas.

Taken at Sunset Plaza Resort, Puerto Vallarta

Taken at Sunset Plaza Resort, Puerto Vallarta

Word to the wise: Some hotels will charge you if you choose a vendor outside of the ones that they provide. This can include food, dj, or photographer. There is a loophole with photographers, as I have been known to use it ;). If you are serious about a destination wedding and would want to know the loophole, contact me and I’ll share the secret!

One con to hotel weddings: is that many have more than one wedding at a time. You may run into another bride or cross paths with other guests from another wedding. This isn’t really a problem but if you want exclusivity, private would be the better option. Or choosing a date that is not really popular.

Private destination wedding options

Ok, so the private options are very similar to a local wedding in your city. This means that you’re choosing the venue because you personally love the location or want something a little more exclusive and personalized.

This wedding was held at  Villa Paraiso , Puerto Vallarta coordination by  Beautiful Vallarta Weddings

This wedding was held at Villa Paraiso, Puerto Vallarta coordination by Beautiful Vallarta Weddings

For example, booking a private villa along the Conchas Chinas highway is very private and exclusive. You will be the only wedding there overlooking the ocean. It is not for large weddings, yet you will be able to enjoy your first dance around the pool, or if the villa has a private beach, on the sand.

Many villas have 6 or more rooms and can accomodate your family and closest guests. This can also lower the cost since you’re sharing the whole villa. Some have private wait staff and a chef. It all depends on the villa you choose, of which, there are many!

Another great advantage to going the private route, whether villa or at a private restaurant/venue, is that you are able to decorate as you wish! Have the centerpiece of your dreams, the dance floor you always envisioned, and catering the exact food you want your guests to enjoy.

Villa La Mansion,  Puerto Vallarta coordination and planning by  The Wedding Mexico

Villa La Mansion, Puerto Vallarta coordination and planning by The Wedding Mexico

However, your remaining guests will have to book a hotel nearby in order to attend and you’ll have to arrange transportation for them to arrive at the villa. This is where a wedding planner/coordinator comes in and can help exponentially with the logistics of your wedding day.

Not all private weddings have to be in a villa though, you also have the option of having your wedding at smaller wedding venues right on the beach. I’ve seen many rent an airbnb for the weekend and set up the ceremony right on the beach with the reception around the pool area or at a local restaurant. Definitely for smaller weddings with about 50 guests or less.

This wedding was held at  Le Kliff  in Puerto Vallarta. A small and intimate restaurant overlooking the ocean.

This wedding was held at Le Kliff in Puerto Vallarta. A small and intimate restaurant overlooking the ocean.

There are many venues that have beach front access and can provide catering for your wedding. These require more research on Google but they make for the most private and relaxed weddings.

For locations like Sayulita and San Pancho, including the town that I live in, Bucerias, the private home beachfront wedding is perfect. Some smaller bed and breakfast hotels can also accommodate your guests.

Hire a planner

As I said before, I would strongly advise that you get a local wedding planner to help you set up and create the most beautiful wedding of your dreams. They can help you from the most simple like renting chairs for the beach ceremony to hiring the best caterer in the area. Planners know their stuff and can really give you the best options depending on what you’re looking for.

Coordination by  The Wedding Mexico

Coordination by The Wedding Mexico

Planners also help you to set up meetings or get you in touch with vendors so that you can personally get a feel for who they are and how they work. And because they know that you are planning from afar, they are really great at moving things along and taking care of all the small details that arise during the planning process.

Honestly, they are worth gold and you’ll thank the stars that you hired someone to help you. Especially if you go the private route. Since you’ll have to essentially plan every single detail.

If you need referrals, email me and I’ll send you a list of planners that I have had the privilege of working with and are great people!

Best areas in Puerto Vallarta for weddings

Each hotel and venue is different and each of you are planning a different wedding. So rather than put the links to hotels and such, I think what serves you better is to get a better idea of the different areas in and around Puerto Vallarta so you can narrow down the look and feel of the wedding you are envisioning!

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You can choose the area that best speaks to your kind of wedding dream and you can start looking in those areas rather than searching the entire area and being overwhelmed.

Riviera Nayarita

The Riviera Nayarita is north of Puerto Vallarta. We’ll start here and work our way down. This area encompasses the following areas:

  • Punta Mita: This is semi private as it’s at the tip of the bay. It is also a little higher in pricing as far as I know. The most prominent hotels there are: St. Regis, the W, and Four Seasons. It also has lots of time shares and private villas inside of gated communities. There is one venue that I know of which sits on Destiladeras beach to the side of Punta Mita called Nahu’i. It’s absolutely gorgeous, private, and is used specifically for weddings.

  • Sayulita: This famous town is the epitome of surfer in the area. It is a little hippy mixed in with a little hipster. Lots of b&b’s and cool shops. It is what you would think of when in Mexico. Here there are lots of private options but definitely more options as far as accommodations for guests.

  • San Pancho: This is next to Sayulita and less famous and a bit more quiet. Lots of private options for weddings here and places to accommodate guests.

  • Bucerias: I love my little town! There are both hotel options and private options. Lots of private homes and condos with a beach front for weddings. It’s a small town but close enough to Puerto Vallarta so that you can get in a taxi, public transportation, or Uber and be there in less than 30 minutes. There are a couple of all inclusive hotels but mostly condos and homes for rent. There are plenty of restaurants and the beach is considered one of the cleanest in the entire area.

  • Nuevo Vallarta: This is closer to Puerto Vallarta’s airport but more secluded. There are many more hotel options here like the Hard Rock, The Grand Mayan, Vidanta Group, Marival, etc. It is modern and close to the marina as well. This is a great option for those who want to be a little removed from the hustle and bustle of a tourist town but still close enough to all the good stuff. You’ll also find big chain hotels that offer all inclusive and non all inclusive like the Marriot. Here you can rent condos as well to accommodate guests who want a different experience than staying at a hotel.

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Puerto Vallarta

Okay, so the zones in Puerto Vallarta include the following. All a little different depending on what you’re looking for.

  • Zona hotelera: This is the hotel zone. You will find a hotel probably every 10 steps, ha! But really this is the heart of Puerto Vallarta. Here you’ll be able to find a huge range of options from all inclusive, Airbnb, and large hotel chains. In this area, your options are pretty endless as far as price goes too. This area can accommodate any type, size, and budget for weddings. This area is also closer to the famous oceanside boardwalk and nightlife, restaurants, and shops.

  • Old Town/Barrio: This is the older part of Puerto Vallarta down by Los Muertos Beach and the huge spiral pier that is often seen online. Think of the historical district in your town and this is very similar. The buildings are a bit older, the streets a little more narrow, and lots of small shops and local restaurants mixed in with the modern. You’ll find lots of hotels and condo options here too.

  • Conchas Chinas: Going further south of Old Town, you’ll find yourself winding towards Conchas Chinas. This is probably my favorite area because of the jungle that surrounds both banks of the highway’s winding road. Lots of large hotel chains like the Hyatt, Costa Sur, Fiesta Americana, Grand Pelicanos, and more line the highway beachside. Here is where you’ll find all of the private villas too! I’ve photographed at a couple and they are absolutely beautiful!

  • Mismaloya: This is really the last point of the Puerto Vallarta map before going further south into another state. This is a rural town with private options like private homes. Really only one hotel, Hotel Barcelo, which sits at the bottom of the valley on a private beach. I believe it’s all inclusive. I’m not really sure of many more options but this is a great option for guests to stay at if you have your wedding at a private villa minutes down the road.

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Those are the main areas. Of course, if you research deeply into the area, there are lots of great options that I myself even aren’t aware of! But at least this can give you a bit more insight as to the areas and perhaps the look or feel you are going for for your wedding.

For example, if you want something more secluded out by the jungle with access to the beach, Conchas Chinas is perfect. If you’re looking for something closer to the boardwalk and nightlife and major points of interest, then the Hotel Zone is more for you. If you’re looking for something private but close enough to the city on the beach, maybe Sayulita and Bucerias are for you.

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By the way, Sayulita is not the same as Sayula. Different places. Just fyi when you’re doing your research.

Also, Nayarit and Jalisco are two different states but there is no problem going from one to the other. They are basically connected through tourism and so it’s not far nor a problem going either way.

Best time of the year to have your destination wedding

This should have been the first point because it can determine the entire outcome of your day! There is definitely a high season and a low season.

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High Season is between end of October to the end of May. These are the months after the rains and are usually the cooler months out of the year. Also, the most expensive as far as hotel pricing and hotels get booked really quickly.

If you are thinking of having your wedding during those months, plan at least a year in advanced as most venues and vendors will be booked.

Low season is between June and September. During these months it’s really hot and humid and rainy season begins around July. It rains every day which means you’ll have to speak with your venue about different options for your wedding.

Some hotels have indoor reception areas and some have tents for when the weather is not ideal. Ask before booking, you won’t want to be caught off guard if you book during rainy season and there is no indoor space or tent!

Can I still have a church wedding?

Of course! The process for church weddings is a bit different depending on which church you decide to get married in. I have photographed many Catholic ceremonies at churches that are both close to the wedding location and available to hold the wedding ceremony.

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Just like planning a wedding at home, it’s crucial to begin the process early, as in a year in advance because dates fill up pretty quickly and you may want to make sure you have the date and time the church can hold your ceremony available.

Having said that, I do know that Catholic churches also need some time for a transfer of the ceremony from the corresponding church to the new location which also takes time so just plan for that.


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That was a super long post but I hope that I covered most of the information! I get asked often about destination weddings and how to go about planning, having one, and other recommendations.

Puerto Vallarta is a top location for destination weddings in Mexico, and it truly is a one of kind experience to have your wedding set against the most beautiful backdrop of the pacific ocean. Even more magnificent during sunset ;).

Leave a comment below if you’ve had any experience with destination weddings, I’d love for more brides to have all the information out there available!


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.