What to Wear for your Engagement Shoot

1)  Coordinate your clothing with your spouse, making sure you are complementary in style and color. Stick to the same color family, but don’t wear exactly the same thing.  For example, you could both wear fall colors or both wear different shades of blue.   Wear clothing that is the same level of dressiness as your partner.

2)  If you're particularly concerned about something, please tell me so that I can keep a watchful eye out for it. (i.e. that scar you've had since you were 5, a tattoo, more cleavage than Aunt Lucille would appreciate, etc.)

3)  Avoid spray on tans.  They can make your skin look quite orange, and can also “bleed” onto your clothing if you perspire, or get rained on.  (Not that we ever get rain in the Pacific Northwest!)

4)  Wear something you will be comfortable in, paying close attention to what the weather will be like.  If you’re freezing, soaking, sweating, or in anyway uncomfortable, it will show in the pictures.   Bring an umbrella just in case!

5)  I absolutely encourage outfit changes. So consider wearing something dressy and bringing along something more casual/everyday.

6)  It is best not to wear jeans/outfits that are overly tight and hard to move in, or show curves you don’t want shown.

7)  Darker colors are slimming and they are also easier to photograph. But if you have something in white or off white, don’t be afraid to wear it.

8)  Beware of words, logos, loud colors and patterns that might distract from the truly important aspect of the pictures… the two of you!

9)  Bring a pair of shoes that you can comfortably walk in.  If I’m your photographer we usually walk a fair bit, and I have been known to ask my clients to dance, dip, jump, balance on railroad tracks, unicycle and participate in other acrobatic activities!

10)  Leave your purse behind, unless you want it in the photos.  You can be more free and fun without it, and you will only wind up setting it down every five minutes if you are carrying it.  We can go back to the car for clothing changes or else you can change when we switch locations.

In the end, be true to yourself.  If these suggestions don't feel like you, break all the rules and show up in something that is completely and totally you.  Have fun, and don’t be afraid to be silly or corny…those are usually the best shots!

Wedding Day Tips

1) Stay hydrated. 

2) Plan for snacks.

3) Wear a button down shirt to your hair appt.

4) Avoid orange tanning products.

5) Break in your shoes.

6) Have an itinerary for your DJ & photographer.

7) Assign a point person & empower them to take charge!

8) Use the restroom before putting on your dress.

9) Have an emergency wedding kit.

10) Get a good night's sleep the night before.

Four Steps to a More Flattering Portrait

1)  Turn partly sideways to the camera, place your weight on your back foot & point your front foot to the camera.

2)  To minimize a double chin, pull your head slightly out & down.

3)  Hold your arms slightly away from your body to keep them from flattening out & seeming larger than they are.

4)  Pull your shoulders back & gently suck in your tummy to help straighten posture.

Tips For a Wedding Day Survival Kit

Help avoid a bridal meltdown by having a wedding day survival kit.  Here are a few of the things I had in mine:  A sewing kit (needles, thread, buttons, safety pins, scissors, hem tape), stain remove pen, clear nail polish, bandaids, pain reliever, antacids, bottle of water, protein bar, bobby pins, mirror, tweezors, tissue, hand lotion, breath mints and hairspray.

How Long Do Wedding Photos Take?

When I shoot a wedding, I take somewhere in the neirhborhood of 1000 photos which I end up narrowing down to around 700 (I take a lot of duplicates in an attempt to ensure everyone has their eyes open, and is focused on me).  That creates a lot of images to sort through, and once I have narrowed down my selection, I begin the photoshop process.  I make sure everyone's skin tones look okay, that all of the exposures are good, and that the colors and contrast are just right.  Anytime you photograph under flourescent lights, yellow walls, a cloudy day, etc, you must compensate for the color balance in your shooting environment.  (Have you ever taken a photo in a restaurant or church, and had everyone appear as though their skin is green?)  It's simple to process photos that are all taken in similar lighting conditions, but most weddings usually include a lot of different lighting conditions, exposure challenges, and color balancing that needs to happen for them to look good. 

Back in the day, photographers could just drop their film off at the lab, and the processing would occur in the darkroom.  Now, as digital photographers, the darkroom is our computer, and we have become the lab!  When you add in a blemish removal, tooth whitening or the occasional removal of an underarm bulge, it can add up.  I have spent a full hour or more on a single image, and I know some award winning photographers who have spent days working on just one photo.  (One really amazing work of art!)  Can you imagine the time it takes to do 800?  I know that I spend way more time on my digital images than I ever did with film but I am a perfectionist and I think the final product reflects my commitment to detail. 

Here's a great example of a simple touch up, which took about 10-15 minutes for this photo.  The model is a gorgeous teenage girl who, as most teens her age do, had some acne.  I helped erase her blemishes and did a little whitening on her teeth.  I think she would say that the final image was worth the time I took to photoshop it.  I threw in an extra ten minutes to give her a duplicate image with a "vintage" style treatment, to give her some variety.

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