I am so excited you’re already in this stage of your wedding planning! You must have looked at my work and made a connection to it, and envisioned you and your love in my photos together. There is honestly no better compliment than I could get than a couple trusting me to capture their love story beautifully and fiercely. But first things first, we have to be a great fit because you deserve someone who is going to be there for you all throughout your planning process to the day of your wedding and even after your wedding is over. I want to be more than just a photographer for you.
What does this mean? It means you’ve got to be okay with me capturing all the real, authentic, and messy moments. That you’ll let me document the perfectly imperfect, the moment you’re there for and the ones you miss. I want to capture it all for you. I want to capture your crazy windblown hair across your face and tear drops as you say your vows, your first look reactions, your mother helping you get ready for your big day, your grandma getting it down on the dance floor, and so much more. I want to capture the big moments and the little ones.
I want to capture it all, and I want to be more than just a photographer or another vendor at your wedding. I want you to feel like I’m your BFF by the end of your biggest adventure so that I can capture you for who you really are and your love story from the outside in and the inside out. Thank you so much for choosing me to capture your love story!
I believe that the key to a successful professional relationship is communication. This guide to your wedding day photography has all the information you need to ensure a stress-free and fun experience! One of the most important documents you can read here is my FAQ page located at the bottom of this guide (along with your contract once you’re ready to book). This will ensure that all of your expectations are met and discussed BEFORE the wedding day. I am so happy to work with you and hope that this guide makes your experience as stress-free, fun, and enjoyable as possible! :)
What to expect
Booking Your Date
To officially book your day and time with me, a $500 retainer and a signed contract are required. Once your contract and retainer are received, we will plan the details and set the date for your engagement session as well (if you decide to have one).
Finalizing the Schedule
A few months before the big day arrives, I’d love to meet with you or hop on a phone call to discuss the wedding day, as it pertains to photography, in order to ensure that I will be able to capture the most important moments. I will help you organize your day so it flows easily, and so you may enjoy your perfect day without stress. I will send you a copy of your schedule so you can distribute it to your wedding party and to family members included in formal photos.
Post Processing (Editing)
I color-correct your images, crop, adjust exposure, and do a bit of minor retouching if necessary to get the best results in each of your photos. My edits are clean and natural, as I prefer to avoid trendy filters and edits that may date your photos.
Digital Images and Online Gallery
Within 72 hours after your wedding, I will post a sneak peek of your images to social media sites. Feel free to use them as profile pictures! If you would not prefer me posting any of your sneak peak images to social media, please let me know so I can make sure to only send you the images. Within a couple weeks after your wedding (5-6 weeks), you will receive all of your edited digital images in your online gallery and instructions on downloading them in high-resolution to your computer.
Printed Products and USB
Turnaround time for prints and products is based on the specific product you order. Once your final prints and products are ready, I will be ship them to you. Your custom USB flash drive will be delivered within 2 weeks after you have received your online gallery.
PREPARING FOR YOUR WEDDING DAY
In order to ensure that we can do the best job possible for you on your wedding day, we request that all of our couples set aside the following time increments for photography on their wedding day. If you do not have a wedding coordinator and would like help with creating a timeline for your wedding day, I’m more than happy to help with that!
Groom Preparation: 60 minutes (or less)
Bride Preparation: 90 minutes
First Look: 15 minutes
Family Portraits: 30 minutes
Bride & Groom Portraits: 30 minutes
Want to attend part of your cocktail hour?: Consider an extended cocktail (about 15 minutes).
Detail shots of the reception setup BEFORE guests are allowed to enter: 10 minutes
Sunset Portraits (optional): 10-15 minutes
Other things to consider:
Sunset: Make sure you check sunset times for your wedding day and how that will effect the timeline above. Click here to check the sunset time on your wedding day.
Portrait Hour: Portraits should be scheduled at optimum lighting time(s) whenever possible. Anytime after 2pm (as long as there is some shaded areas/trees to work with on the property), is the best time to plan your portrait hour. The most beautiful light occurs just 60-90 minutes before sunset.
Hair & Makeup: Hair and makeup artists will often give you an estimated completion time. Add 20-30 minutes to this time as a buffer, just in case you want something changed or re-done, or the schedule is running behind. Hair & Makeup should be complete 30 minutes after the time I arrive at the Bridal prep location.
Travel Time Between Locations: If the travel time is 15 minutes, add another 15-20 minute buffer in the event of traffic or delay.
TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
Tip #1: Please trust us
You've hired a professional and you have spent a significant amount of time researching your photographer and selecting your photographer based on a number of things (recommendations, reviews, personality, quality of work, professionalism). So I can't stress this enough...leave the photography to us. You can rest assured that we will select the best location (while considering lighting and background limitations) for your portraits. We will make sure we capture as many of those special moments that happen on your wedding day that we possibly can. We'll know exactly where to stand to get that perfect shot and chances are, we have anticipated that moment happening before you are even aware that it is happening. We are pretty confident in our ability to do an amazing job for you ... so relax, enjoy your wedding day and let us do our job for you. We do our best work when we know that you are enjoying yourself and that your have full trust in our abilities!
Tip #2: "Fun Bridal Party Photos" & Other Photo requests
I'm game for whatever photo requests you have on your big day. Our request is that when you ask… "Can we do a fun bridal party photo?", you follow it up with a specific request, because we aren't always sure what your idea of fun is and the last thing we want to do is make a suggestion that just creates an awkward moment for everyone. If you have any specific photo requests, please send those to me two weeks before the wedding day (ie. Night-time shots, sparkler exits, etc.). Some photos require planning and special lighting that we want to have prepared ahead of time.
Tip #3: Timeline or location changes
This is a BIG one. Please DO NOT change your timeline or portrait locations without giving us a heads-up first. Time and location are SO important when it comes to photography and we want you to make informed decisions so that you get the best photographs possible.
Tip #4: Unplugged Ceremony
I greatly encourage all of my clients to consider an unplugged ceremony. Guests standing in the aisle with their iPad and iPhones prevent us from capturing what would otherwise be a beautiful image and moment. Have your officiant announce/request at the beginning of the ceremony that all guests put their phones away for the ceremony. You have hired professionals to take these photographs for you!
Tip #5: Preparation Images (Things to prepare)
Wedding Rings & Other Details: I will gladly photograph just your engagement ring if that is all you have on hand during the preparation portion, but please try to have ALL of the wedding rings at the bridal preparation location where I will be photographing. These shots can sometimes take up to 10 minutes to complete, so I like to do these first thing in the day, so I have time on my side and the benefit of some natural light to work with. It also helps if you have something sparkly or glittery to add to the background, and/or a mirror/glass or reflective surface to add a reflection in the foreground. Also have the invitation, programs, shoes, garter, jewelry and any other significant details set out for when we arrive at the bridal prep location. We will photograph all details first before any hair/makeup or getting-ready shots.
Unique Detail Shots: Please let us know if there are any unique detail shots that we should photograph. For example, not every bride has special imprinting on the bottom of their shoes. If this is something you want photographed, please let us know about it before the wedding day so that we don't miss it!
The Dress: Something that is a huge time saver for me, is having the Bride and Bridesmaids dresses ready to go for when I arrive. If you have time, remove all of the cardboard and plastic for us and have a pretty hanger ready for me.
The Vibe: One of things you will want to decide before the big day, is whether you would like a quiet morning getting ready by yourself and/or with someone close to you, or if you want to get ready with a room full of people surrounding you. Either scenario depends on your personality and demeanor as each scenario results in an entirely different energy and environment.
Putting on Jewelry/Veil: We want to be able to photograph you putting on your jewelry and/or veil, so please wait for us to arrive before your put either on.
Putting the Dress On: We will never take nude or half-nude photographs or you while you are putting your dress on - we will always wait until your dress is on and ready to be buttoned or tied. We simply want to photograph the finishing touches. We will, however, have you stand in a very specific spot while you are dressing in order to take advantage of beautiful window light. Myself or my assistant will have already cleared the background of any distractions or clutter, so it is important that you stay in this spot during the whole process to ensure perfect exposures and clean backgrounds. During this time we will also turn off any overhead lights or lamps. It may seem very dark in the room when we do this, but it is exactly the type of lighting we need to create beautiful photos!
Special People Who Will Help You: Please ask that all special family members or friends who will be helping you get ready, are at the prep location when they need to be, but are also dressed before you. We will ask any bridesmaids and/or mom and/or dad to get ready approximately 30 minutes before you need to put your dress on
Bridal Portraits: Once you are fully dressed, we will want to take some bridal portraits next to a window. To put you at ease, we typically will ask all family members and friends to leave the room at this time.
Bride/Groom Letters or Gifts: We want to know ahead of time if there will be any special giving/receiving or Bride/Groom letters or gifts before the wedding day. Please note this is your questionnaire if this is going to take place. We want to make sure that you are fully dressed, seated and looking your best during this important moment. We will carve out time in the schedule specifically for this.
Tip #6: Reception Lighting
Good Reception Lighting: Many DJ's or event planners offer lighting packages with their services which can truly transform the simplest of spaces. We want to help you determine the good reception lighting vs. the bad, as either can really help or hurt your photographs. For up-lighting hues, we recommend selecting either red, purple, pink or blue accent lighting. Avoid orange or green hues!
Not-So-Great Reception Lighting: Avoid disco-lights, spot-lighting, or laser lights. You certainly can have anything you’d like for your wedding reception, but this is just what we recommend
Q & A
How do we begin the booking process?
To reserve your wedding date with me, I require a signed contract and a non-refundable $500 deposit. We will meet for coffee first to make sure we are a perfect fit for each other, and will go from there!
How do payment schedules work?
A $500 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking to hold your wedding date. The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to your wedding. I accept all major credit and debit cards, cash, checks, and Venmo. Payment plans can be arranged - just let me know if that’s something you’re interested in.
Do you help in the planning process?
Yes, of course! I book a limited number of wedding per month so I can dedicate all my time and attention to my couples and help with the planning process along the way. I send my brides a welcome magazine that includes all my recommendations with planning, preferred vendors, and more! It’s your day, and I am here every step of the way!
How many images are included? Do we receive all of them?
Of course! At a minimum for weddings, I deliver at least 400 images. The number of images you’ll receive will depend on how many hours you book me for. I include all the images for weddings, and don’t leave anything out besides the photos that are blurry, mid-blinking, or unflattering.
Can we receive the RAW images?
I do not give out RAW images because editing is half the process (and magic) that goes into images, and part of this process is my editing style and vision. When you hire me as your photographer, you’re trusting me with this process to deliver the best images to you!
When should we expect to receive our wedding gallery?
Final wedding galleries are delivered within 6 weeks. I do post a sneak peak of 10-20 images within 3 days of your wedding date so you have a little something while waiting on your final wedding gallery.
DO YOU TRAVEL?
YES YES YES! I’m a lover of travel and am always seeking my next adventure. Traveling anywhere worldwide to document your love story would be my honor, seriously. If you’re a few hundred miles away or even thousands, I’d love to capture your love story. Even if it means I have to travel halfway across the country or globe to get to you.
how much do you charge for TRAVEL?
Every wedding and session is different, which is why I give a custom quote for travel costs for every wedding outside of St. Louis, MO. I will travel up to 75 miles from St. Louis with no travel fees. Reach out to me and we can figure this thing out together! I will give you a custom quote for travel costs and will include it in your total package price.
What is a first look? What are the pros and cons to doing one?
A lot of our couples are on the fence about doing a first look and that is totally understandable. You want that first moment of seeing each other to be special, and that always means different things for different people. So what is a first look? A first look is a private moment/meeting between the couple before the wedding ceremony takes place. For starters, it helps with pre-wedding jitters. The experience of seeing each other for the first time is done alone and in private as opposed to in front of all of your guests. The other major benefit to doing a first look, is you then have the option of doing all of your family portraits before the ceremony. This not only ensures that your wedding party is attentive but also ensures that their makeup, hair and attire are still fresh and looking neat. You can then either take additional Bride/Groom or couple portraits after the ceremony, or attend your cocktail hour. Getting your portraits done early, will free up the rest of the evening for partying and spending time with your guests! There are also some cons to doing a first look. First, you are deciding to forego one of the more traditional aspects of a wedding day (which may or may not bother you). Second, when you do a First Look, often your portraits are taken earlier in the afternoon or morning which means that you aren't necessarily taking advantage of the best lighting possible for photography. If you are still on the fence and want to know what the best option is for you and your wedding day timeline, send me a note and I will be happy to help. All that said, I don't like to convince my clients either way, as I feel it is a very personal decision and really depends on your personality as a couple.
Need inspiration for your wedding?
CHECK OUT MY PINTEREST FOR 30+ WEDDING INSPO BOARDS!