after a long string of posts dedicated to wedding photography and other shoots, i’ve decided to post a blog or two to update everyone on what i’m up to personally, etc… you know, what’s been happening in the whirlwind that has been the past few weeks. :)

yesterday i took a day off editing. i had just finished nichole and kevin’s wedding and was about to start the con-way freight edits, so it’s nice to take a break in between large projects in order to refresh yourself. one can only spend so much time immersed in photoshop. that reminds me, a lot of people ask “what do you mean by ‘editing’?” editing simply means (in my business) color correcting, making little touches like blurring edges or making something black and white, fixing any blemishes requested by the client, etc. obviously a wedding is going to have more artistic touches than say, a banquet event, but most require some miniscule editing. some don’t. it just depends.

also – in other photography related rantings – i saw a post online the other day for a bride looking for a wedding photographer. she wanted the wedding photographer to take engagement shoots, bridal shoots, and shoot the 9 hour wedding for close to free because she didn’t want to pay “these insane prices professional photographers are asking.” she ranted for a while about how we shouldn’t charge anything because it doesn’t cost us anything to take pictures. really?


my first digital SLR…aww, the memories. now part of an extensive equipment backup team, just one of the many expenses of a photographer.

now i understand that wedding photography is expensive, but not only are you paying for the photographer to be there and work all day at your wedding (which involves posing people, gathering groups together, creatively framing shots, organizing formal shots, contacting your other vendors to make sure we understand the wedding timeline as to not miss anything, etc.), but you are also paying for editing time, wear and tear on camera equipment, assistant fees, travel fees, website fees, advertising fees and other micellaneous expenses (DVDs, CDs, labels, shipping fees, telephone bills, etc.). and this is just for the business. :) since most photographers support themselves through photography as their full time job, they also have bills of their own to pay. i believe that some photographers do charge ridiculous prices, as do a lot of professionals in every career imaginable. however, i’d like to think that most of us charge reasonable rates for all of the issues and expenses listed above.

none of my clients have ever complained about expenses and i believe that most brides are reasonable people and understand where the money is going. however, i just wanted to bring up the subject just so people know where their money is truly going because weddings really are expensive and most people are on a budget. it is completely different to try and book an affordable photographer and to try and make a deal with them due to budgetary constraints. most photographers will gladly work with you to compromise and meet everyone’s needs. i just wanted to put a good word out there for the photographers and try to justify our prices a little bit. :) i stayed out of this whole online conversation but did follow it out of curiosity. in short, several other photographers replied to her post and some nasty words were exchanged to which she retorted how she is “the bride and can’t believe anyone would treat a bride like this. everyone needs to be nice to the bride no matter what.” now… i’m a photographer and a bride, and i am totally on the photographers’ side on this one. :) woah.

um, anyway. :) yesterday, on my day between editing projects, i decided to get stuff together for our own wedding instead of someone else’s for once :). unfortunately my friend sent me links to a couple conspiracy theory websites that had me occupied for several hours and i got little to nothing accomplished. but it did feel good to relax… if you can call becoming increasingly paranoid via conspiracy theory websites relaxing. we are getting married in an art gallery (artspace!) in downtown raleigh in october 2010. all of the vendors i’m working with so far have been wonderful and super helpful. i’m grateful that all of the people are so nice. i will eventually be posting a master list of who we are working with in order to help their local businesses and give you recommendations. we’re excited!

so today i uploaded the pictures from the con-way freight banquet and discovered some ones i took of dolfy and buckles that i had forgotten about. the boys are doing fine and have recently discovered balls of yarn from my old school knitting days.



while dolfy played with yarn, buckles decided to show his unwaivering support for the team this past sunday. buckles shows his love, even when they lose:


well, maybe he was a little upset…


as i book more and more weddings, i gradually refine my photography skills and am able to make increasingly better decisions about lighting, composition, etc. photographers grow with their volume of work and should never stay stagnant, much like a good teacher. each client becomes so special to the wedding photographer as you’re part of the most important day in that person’s life. your goal is to get it right so that they can properly remember and cherish that day forever.

however, on the bride and groom’s end of things, they cannot refine their skills over a period of time or decide what they’d like to try differently next time. you only get one shot at your wedding day. you want to make things awesome and run smoothly. you can also do some things to make your photographs look even better for the photographer. thus begins part 1 of an unknown number of series i’m calling “tips for brides.” original, huh?

i plan to include several of these in the coming months and years. it not only helps you plan your day, it also helps your photographer make the most of your wedding day. i have a giant list of tips in my head, but we’ll go ahead and get started with a few now.


tip no.1: lay out your makeup, but go easy on the makeup.

laying out your makeup while you’re getting ready makes for some awesome detail pictures. yes, you can even include makeup in the picture that you rarely use or don’t use for your big day. this applies if you have a makeup artist or are doing it on your own. now for the second and controversial part – go easy on the makeup. your photographer will take very close-up headshot style pictures of you on your wedding day. you want your makeup to accent your features, bring out color in your face, but not be caked on or fake looking. if you’re worried it’s too much, it probably is.


tip no.2: get a mosquito net for your cake if you have an outdoor wedding.

this is especially true for mosquito season in the south, but it also works for all outdoor weddings any time of the year against bees, wasps, flies, etc. it also makes for some dreamy cake shots (obviously you’d want ones w/o the netting in the shot as well). it protects your cake from all sorts of outdoor stuff and looks pretty nifty. julie and evan, whose wedding this cake is, also used their excess cake butterflies to clip on and decorate the net (not pictured).


tip no.3: put someone in charge of your rings and put that person in your dressing room.

i love ring shots. i’d run around for hours before your wedding putting your rings in various poses if it was up to me. give your rings (wedding, engagement, or both) to someone who will be in your immediate vicinity while you’re getting ready. make sure your photographer knows who this person is so they can get the rings from her and take some creative shots. don’t get stuck giving the rings to the cousin who is already at the ceremony location. also – if you have any extra invitations, stickers, or anything with you and your groom’s name on it, keep some extra around in the dressing room! they make excellent settings for your ring photos.


tip no.4: put all your vendors in touch with each other.

make sure your vendors know each other. DJs are usually good at arranging schedules and can tell your photographer and caterer which comes first: bouquet toss, cutting the cake, newlywed dance, eating, etc. this can help the photographer by giving him or her time to scout out a great location to set up camp for your bouquet toss or cake cutting. it will also take some pressure of answering all the questions about the schedule off of you.


tip no.5: make your kid table fun.

the kid table doesn’t have to be like the adult tables! their wedding favors can be different, they can have different centerpieces, and even different food. your photographer can get some great shots of all the kids together as well, instead of little johnny falling asleep in his chair at the adult table. :)


tip no.6: don’t be afraid to get cake in your face.

the ceremony is over. it’s time to stop caring as much about your hair and makeup. it’s time to have fun and eat cake. or wear it. seriously, funny cake pictures are adorable. they’re also super spontaneous as opposed to the tons of posed shots you’ve had taken over the day. have a towel or some wet wipes handy and go for it. and besides, all of the guests are secretly looking forward to this moment.


tip no.7: kick off your shoes at the reception.

like i said, it’s time to have fun now! the reception is all about the crazy candid shots. kick off your shoes, change your dress, or do whatever it is to have a completely awesome time and not worry about being uncomfortable. this is much more for you than the photographer, but your pictures will come out tons better if you are being yourself and aren’t worrying about your corset crushing your insides.

that concludes this edition of tips for brides: part 1. :) in other news, the trash the dress session yesterday was fabulous and i am so excited to post pictures of that tomorrow. also, you can now find us on