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Brooklake Country Club Wedding – Mansi & Preeth

It’s kind of hard to believe that my very first Indian wedding was just two short years ago. Sarita and Chirag’s wedding opened my eyes to a whole new culture and what soon became an invitation to an entirely new family of clients. I feel very welcomed, and extremely lucky to have shot another five Indian weddings already this year alone!

I regretfully did not get to meet Mansi and Preeth prior to the night of their Garba, but I knew from the instant they introduced themselves it was going to be an especially fun couple of days. They are a beautiful, young, in love, and just all-around happy-go-lucky couple to be around. This was a no-reception wedding, but at least we managed a few fun dance shots on the first night!

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How to Get the Best Possible Wedding Day Photos

Once upon a time, we did a thing called Wedding Tip Wednesday, which used to be SUPER popular with brides. Unfortunately, the posts were too wordy, and only posted once a week, so the odds of a bride seeing the entire collection were slim to none. Fortunately, we've finally come up with a master list that includes all new tips and some old ones!

Check them out here, and, "Help us, help you, get the best possible photos on your day!"

 

Timeline

1.)  We’re not wedding planners and we REALLY don’t want to be… but that doesn’t mean we aren’t qualified for the job. We offer a 30-minute phone consultation to help you plan your timeline, obviously with the necessary time for photos in mind. Take advantage! :)

2.) Pad, pad, pad your timeline!

 

Getting Ready

1.) Get ready in a “clean-as-possible” space with at least SOME natural window light. The presence of window light is more important than the space itself or even the condition of the space.

2.) The first half hour of getting ready coverage is for introductions and wedding details, assuming you want them. Have all (limited number of) items gathered and ready to be photographed, have dress as “photo ready” as possible (aka, out of the bag, cardboard bodice removed if there is one, on custom or non-plastic hanger, and hung where you’d like it to be photographed. If you have no ideas of where to hang it, we will take a look when we get there.) Plan your timeline so that no important moments you want photographed are happening the minute we walk in the door so we aren’t torn between getting the details out of the way and capturing great moment shots.

3.) Have as many bridesmaids, moms, flower girl if possible, pets if they are a part of your day (we freakin’ love pets), present for getting ready. The more the merrier and more spontaneous things will be happening for us to capture.

4.) Groomsmen should be showered, shaved and ready to get ready when second photographer arrives. If the guys are shy about their shirts and pants, please tell them at the very least to not put on their jackets, ties, cufflinks, shoes, boutonnieres, etc., until the photographer arrives.

5.) Don’t stress if you are running late – all weddings do. Happy brides are what make amazing photos, and your face will tell the story if you are stressed. We are the ones MOST affected when this happens, but we don’t stress when things run late – neither should you. We shoot constantly, so less time for portraits is just more time for great moments... but if you're too stressed out, even the moments won't be anything you'll want pictures of.

 

First Look/B&G Photos

1.) We will select the exact location for the first look on the day based on the available light.

2.) Trust us in general and don’t get your heart set on any particular backgrounds. Light is the absolute MOST important thing in photography. It’s the FIRST thing they teach you in Photography 101, so while a background may be beautiful, bear in mind that if the light is bad, parts of your faces will be blacked out by shadows and the photos will look amateur. It’s our job to make sure the light is beautiful in every photo.

3.) We are very creative people in our own right, so we do not rip off the creative work of other photographers. Inspiration shots from our own website are accepted, but no Pinterest photos or links to photos from other photographers' blogs please. We hope you hired us, not them, for a reason, and the most unique photos are the ones that are entirely yours.

4.) If we give you crazy direction, just have as much fun with it as possible. We aren’t always looking for photos of the exact thing we are asking you to do at the time, but the reaction that we know will follow. We don’t always know what that reaction will be, but that’s what makes the photos all about who YOU are and not fitting you into a cookie cutter mold ;-)

 

Ceremony

1.) Try to face each other or the audience as much as possible during the ceremony, unless otherwise instructed by us or if your officiant is very set on having you positioned a certain way. We know you love the back of your dress, but you probably also don’t want 90% of your ceremony photos to be of just that ;-)

2.) Ask your guests to refrain from photographing for the ceremony only. Camera’s/cell phones (especially on selfie sticks/ipads block people’s faces who we want to capture, and studies have shown that devices separate people from actually experiencing the events they are present for/trying to document.

3.) Try not to look at any photographer as you are coming back down the aisle as official bride and groom.

 

Post Ceremony/Cocktail Hour

1.) The receiving line is basically a dead animal in modern photography (pardon my French) and can go on and on and on. So unless you have unlimited time for photos after the ceremony, there is time to greet the guests at the reception.

2.) I know this sounds silly, but do not serve the cocktail hour food anywhere near where you think the family formals might be happening. Guests have a tendency to wander into these pictures, want to take their own versions of each combo and generally hold things up. The more eyes we get NOT looking at our camera in the photos, the more photos we have to take to compensate, etc. People want to capture their own photos… but not as much as they want to eat your cocktail hour food ;-)

3.) Do not underestimate the value of having a helper to identify the guests who need to be in the photos to speed things along. We will have the list ready and they can help us follow it.

4.) Stick to the list. Your formal time can easily turn into a free-for-all with family members taking up valuable/limited photo time with shots you don’t even want, or shots that don’t even include you or your new hubby. If you see this start to happen, simply inform them that there is a pre-determined list that you would like to stick to.

5.) We require at least 20 minutes of the cocktail hour to set up our reception lighting and photograph reception details so we are ready to shoot the important events that follow; please keep this in mind as we’re shooting the formals or whatever photos you have left to take during that time in order to expedite things. This is also a great plan for you, because you will probably need a break from having a camera in your face as much as we need time to set up.

 

Reception

1.) Be open to leaving the reception area for a few minutes if we happen to see an awesome night shot. These tend to be client favorites and comprise a lot of our portraits portfolio. Worst-case scenario we can Photoshop your “messy dance hair” later, but there is nothing we can do for pictures we never took at all.

2.) If you only have one piece of reception décor, make it reception lighting. While your beautiful, tall, floral centerpieces will be the awe of your guests, they will only appear in a handful of photos, whereas your lighting will add an extra pop to almost ALL of your reception images.

 

Videographers

1.) PLEASE, there is never any reason to have more than one videographer present during the bride’s getting ready time. That’s two people on big tripods for us to try to work around in what is almost always a small space.

2.) We prefer to work with video people who shoot candidly as we do, as large amounts of direction from them on the day kills all the real-life moments. The bride gets so focused on doing things the way the videographer is telling them to, they feel like they’re acting for a movie instead of having an actual wedding. And let’s face it… I book very few actual actresses per year ;-)

3.) There can only be one vendor “running the show” so to speak; taking prime location for shooting from, and directing the portrait time, we obviously do our best work when that vendor is us. If the video crew is overly obtrusive or directive it could really negatively impact our work. If you would like us to take lead for the day to help ensure a strong product, please let your videographer know ASAP. If you place a higher priority on video, please let us know, and just be aware of the probable negative impact taking a backseat to the video crew will have on your final photo product. To avoid having to deal with this completely, ask us about videographers we prefer to work with :)

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The Manor in West Orange Wedding – Lindsey & Andrew

Since moving to New Jersey, this was our first time shooting at the Manor in West Orange. It turns out we have another wedding there in a couple of weeks, but it goes without mention that the place does A LOT of weddings and has A LOT going on in terms of indoor and outdoor features that might be attractive to brides.

We try to understand at every wedding, that couple’s have booked their venues for a reason, and it can be hard to let go of some of those shots they were picturing in front of the backgrounds that attracted them to the venue in the first place… but putting great light before great backgrounds is photography 101 and requires a tremendous amount of trust in the photographer to make the best possible photographs on the wedding day. We did our best to balance light and location for Andrew and Lindsey, who were quite smitten with the grounds at the Manor, and definitely came away with some good shots!

Big thanks to Jim Heine for second shooting this one with me!

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Brigantine Engagement Session – Allie and Gary

Allie and Gary are the kind of clients you dream about; totally comfortable in their own skin and super in love. The timing of my session with them also couldn’t have been better. Gary works on an oilrig and is gone for 28 days at a time, and I was lucky enough to be able to shoot this session with them the very day after he got home. The couple was so happy to be re-united and focused on each other that they almost seemed to forget I was there at times.

This was my first session down the Jersey shore since moving here in January, which seemed a bit overdue, but certainly worth the wait!

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Philadelphia Engagement Session – George & Reta

This past weekend in Philadelphia was a scorcher, but not as hot as George and Reta! Hehe; hopefully after the two hours we spent together on Saturday they are finally getting used to my lame jokes.

Anyway, we had lots of fun in the sun and I’m super excited for their unique Eqyptian/Coptic wedding coming up this September!

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