Bridals. To do or not to do?

Congratulations! You are now engaged and planning the wedding of your dreams. What fun! You are also probably still in the honeymoon phase of the planning where everything looks a million months away. Don’t blink! Time is going to get away from you a lot faster than you may think. Before you know it the big day will be here and everything is happening in a whirlwind. I do have one suggestion I would like to make that may take some of the stress of the wedding day away, BRIDALS!

What exactly is a bridal session? Its a photo session set aside for images to be taken of just the bride. Most bridals are scheduled several months before the wedding day. “But why would I even need bridals and can they really save time on my weddng day?” you might ask. In my experience, yes! Lets talk about why!

Having your bridal session months before your wedding can cut down on so much wedding day stress by eliminating the need for speed. No need to rush getting ready on your wedding day for bridals. You can spend that time with your bridesmaids and family getting the really important pictures… the memories of the day.

This is also a great time for brides to get a trial run on hair and make-up. Often times brides will find there is something they would like to change about their look for the big day. Don’t believe me just ask Anna. After her bridals she decided to go with a completely different hairstyle. She was so happy to have the opportunity to see final images of her completed look. It can also pinpoint any wardrobe malfunctions with your dress well ahead of time! That in itself will relieve so much anguish. Can you imagine putting your dress on at the final alterations appointment and it fits perfectly, but on the wedding day it doesn’t look the same due to imperfect alterations? Bridals will give you the perfect opportunity see exactly how it is going to look when you put it on yourself.

Bridals gives you flexibility on location and time of day in regards to lighting as well. Your venue may be absolutely stunning all decked out in wedding finery, but it may not be where you would like to have portraits taken. My daughter, for instance, was married in an airplane hangar. Until the day of the wedding, the hangar was used for its intended purpose. So we shopped around and found the perfect location for her bridals. Oak Crest Mansion Inn in Pass Christian, MS made for a beautiful backdrop for her portraits. There was a fee to shoot at this location, but it was well worth it! We were able to make magic there. She has so many beautiful portraits for my walls and hers. We were also able to choose the time of day we wanted for the optimal lighting conditions. In photography light is everything. If you have bad light at a location it can change the way your wedding bridals look. I can make images look great with my flashes and camera settings, but if you want beautiful sun flares in your bridals, you will have to schedule them for the evening. On the wedding day that time of day may not be possible for portraits. It also gives you another opportunity to wear your dress more than once. Who wants to feel like a princess for only one day when you can feel like one for two?!?

Having bridals made ahead of time also gives you images to print for display at your reception, to give as gifts for parents and grandparents, and to have thank you cards made in advance.

You are also so much more relaxed at bridals than you are on the big wedding day. It actually shows in the images! There is no need to feel rushed at your bridal session.

Can I choose to have bridals done after the wedding day? Absolutely! Tessa choose to have bridals done after her wedding. She wanted more creative images with the freedom to “destroy” her dress if she wanted to. Fortunately we did not damage the dress, but there was a lot less concern taken because the big day had already taken place. We were able to just have fun and get creative! I can’t tell you how much we laughed during this session.

Ultimately, in the end, the decision is up to you and how you would like for your day to go. As a mother to one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen I know I would choose bridals one hundred times over adding them to the stress of the wedding day. The picture below is on my nightstand to look at every day. I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide this for her and to help make her wedding day less stressful and more memorable.

So what are you waiting for? Call or email and lets get your session scheduled! I can’t wait to help all of you beautiful ladies capture amazing portraits while making your wedding day as stress free as possible.

Saying “Yes” to the dress.

There is something so surreal about making the appointment for your wedding dress shopping. Its such a happy day. You take your gaggle of bridesmaids, moms, sisters and/or brothers and let them all oooh and ahhh as you try each dress. After all, a girl needs her entourage. Dress after dress, you rifle through until…..That one.

The one that stops your heart for a split second the moment you see yourself in the mirror. The one that looks and feels like it was made for you. The one that will be immortalized in your wedding pictures forever and ever. It hugs just the right places, and relaxes in just the right ones too. As you stand there and look at yourself in this gorgeous fabric, you can imagine your entire future. This exact dress is everything you hoped it would be.

I had that feeling with my own dress, and I was blessed to be able to be there when my daughter slipped into hers for the first time. I was not only as a mother, but camera in hand to capture those special moments for her. The moment that all the emotions rushed over her and she felt beautiful, loved, and worthy.

These images may not end up in her wedding album, but she has them forever. She was able to see exactly how that dress was going to look on her in her wedding photos. That in itself gave her the opportunity to relax and carry one less worry into the best day of her life.

Do I really need a second photographer for my wedding day?

This is one of the questions I get asked most often during consultations with my couples. My answer is, and always will be, a loud YES! Can I talk about it?

What exactly is a 2nd photographer? Not a trick question! A 2nd photographer is hired by your main photographer to help cover the wedding day. Simple. They can assist the photographer with equipment setup, help the wedding party by answering some of their questions and dealing with problems as they pop up. They’ll even have portions of the day where they shoot photos solo. Beyond that, they’re there for security. What would happen if your main photographer were to fall into a pool, break a leg, or get sick just before your wedding!? Insurance.

They’re not only there as emotional support for or as a helper to the main photographer (I kid), but they also provide their own unique visions. For instance, during first looks we, as a team, are able to capture both parties’ reactions. These are some of the most emotional, loving, and unforgettable images from a wedding day. Take a look below to see what I’m talking about.

If those aren’t enough to convince you I don’t know what will! I’m literally crying!!!

Another reason I love to have a second is that I’m able to deliver very similar portraits from a different angle. Sometimes, one can shoot from above, and the other below. One from the front, and the other from the side. Whether it’s getting dressed, the portrait section, or the ceremony, we can capture all of the different emotions.

I mean… what’s not to love there?

Another thing to consider is that the main photographer cannot be in two places at once. If you dream of that walking down the aisle shot from the front and from the back, yep…you will need two. Also, one photographer will stay with one wedding party and the other with the other party. I like to call this “divide and conquer.”

The wedding day has its very own rhythm. It goes something like this- Arrive, linger, eat, hair and make up, mimosas (usually), linger some more, hurry and wait, someone is running late, (insert emergency here ie. forgot the dress, flowers are behind, ring bearer is sick. There is always an emergency no matter how well you plan.), then…BAM! The rush begins, putting on dresses, pictures with parents, attendants have 15 minutes to get dressed and have all images taken. “Wait, I wanted that one picture of popping the champagne… COME BACK YOU GUYS!” Then, before you know it, you are walking down the aisle, saying I do to the love of your life, cutting the cake, dancing the night away, and being whisked off into forever through a tunnel made of fire sticks held by 4 year-olds and tipsy cousins on one side, and college friends and grandmas on the other… whew! Just like that, the day is over. All that work, all that anticipation, all those beautiful decisions came together and the day was AMAZING. Having two photographers can guarantee you get twice the images squeezed into that already packed wedding timeline because we divide and conquer! Check it out-

See what I mean? It took two photographers to capture all of these priceless images.

Your 2nd shooter may also have a completely different style. Some photographers shoot moody, and rigid. Some shoot light and airy. Others mix it up based on each individual situation. Having that 2nd shooter helps ensure some diversity you wouldn’t otherwise see in your photos.

I could literally go on forever.

So, going back to the first question, should you? Some people worry about that added cost. Can you afford it? I say, can you afford NOT to with something as priceless as your wedding day memories?

Take a hike

Life is hard.  Sometimes it seems like each and every day is a struggle.  We wake up, drag groggy children out of bed, and shoo them off to school-  All the while trying to squeeze in coffee, get ourselves dressed to go to work and slave all day so we can ensure those same groggy kids, who we love so much, have food, electricity, iPads, or the latest, must-have toy.

But then there are some days that make it all worth it.

We woke up early on a Sunday, packed a picnic lunch of sandwiches and chips, grabbed a few cameras, and took off to find what we could discover along and just a little off of a well-beaten path.  Along the hiking trail we were able to snap a few pictures of a caterpillar, a flower here and there, and a few weeds. Turns out, we didn’t find anything very spectacular to photograph, but what we did find was far more precious.  We found time for one another. We talked, laughed, and learned together as we explored the world around us.  To be in the company of those you love and care the most about is far greater than anything that can be purchased.  That time together serves as a reminder of why we do all that we do for one another.  What I’m really trying to say is take the time.  Spend it with those you love before it runs out- Your significant other, your children, parents, grandparents, or even just your dog.  Save the money.  Take a hike.  Have an adventure.

You never know what you will find along the way.

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My First Kodak Moment

My very first photo shoot was…  unforgettable.  It was one of those super hot days over summer break that seem to last forever.  The one where none of the little millennials want to go outside for fear of sweating or getting dirty, but there is absolutely nothing to do inside.  Yeah, that was me.  I’m still the same girl, but without the guilt.  Anyways, I’m watching my kid cousin for whatever reason, and I get an idea.  I’d received a pink, 110 film camera for my 13th birthday that year, and I felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.

So, I dug out an old bed sheet, hung it over the back door, and closed the door so the sheet would stay pinned in place- a ready made backdrop.  I found some fake flowers for extra props, dressed my cousin up like Patrick Swayze in roadhouse, and it was on.  I proceeded to direct him to pose in every conceivable position.  Knowing what I know now, he really did great for a four year old.  He made it look so easy I even switched places and let him take a few of me.

After my mother got home from work, she took me straight to Wal-Mart to get the film developed.  I joyfully filled in all of the information on the drop-off envelope by myself, stuffed my film inside, licked the seal, and placed it in the bin.  I would have to wait ONE FRIGGIN’ WEEK!  It might as well be a century!  For a thirteen year old, it was at least a lifetime.  I’m pretty sure I called that photo lab every single day starting on the third day and at least twice a day thereafter-  just checking to make sure there hadn’t been some tragedy with the shipping, processing, or receiving.

Then, after a week, there they were.

I opened them with so much anticipation.  My hands shook, and my fingers didn’t want to listen.  I was almost immediately devastated.  Some of the film didn’t develop, my backdrop was wrinkled, my finger covered the the flash on a few, and more than half of them were blurrier than my eyes at the end of Titanic.  I put them away until I got home.

After some time though, I decided that I had never been more proud.  There were at least a couple that were truly high quality.  I was ecstatic, because I had captured that kid’s confidece and witty personality!  Of course, I immediately took them to my granny so she could do what good grannies do and boost my ego with unbiased compliments.  I never dreamed she would ask to keep them.  She took the pictures and placed them directly into the classiest brass frames she had available.  They are there even today twenty-four years later.  In that moment, my love for photography was realized.  I still get that same nervous excitement after every session.  Thankfully, though, we have digital cameras, and I don’t have to wait a whole stupid week to see them.

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