HOW TO: get the photos you dream of

So you just got engaged. So many details to plan, you have scoured instagram for hours and have finally found the perfect photographer to capture your day in style. GREAT. But that can only go so far. What you need are some good tips for your day to make sure your photographer can capture everything seamlessly, with those dreamy, creamy, sun soaked tones we all dream of.
Lighting. Is. Everything. And by everything, I mean yep, everything. You may have heard photographers talk about the golden hour. The time when everyone looks as handsome as George Clooney even if you are missing most of your teeth. The glorious golden hour is defined half an hour before and after sunrise and sunset. This is the perfect combination of soft light that allows you to look a million bucks. Not so much sun that the photos are blown out, and not too dark that the photos look grainy. Lighting makes a huge difference to the end product. Ever see a photo you adore on Instagram where the landscape and the subjects look spectacular? Almost guarantee you it was shot during these times for ultimate perfection.
So how does this relate to your wedding day? But most weddings are during a whole day, so will thinking about lighting really matter? The answer is yes! Here are our recommendations for a few stages of your day to significantly help with lighting.
Getting ready
People get ready inside. Obviously… well usually. The question to ask here is: which room in the house gets the most natural light. Turning on the lights in the house is a big no-no for natural looking photos. Don’t pick your getting ready room based on the room with the big wardrobe, and amount of mirrors. Pick your getting ready room based on the one with the biggest windows and most natural light. The sun room, the living room, wherever! As long as it brings in the light. That’s the best way to ensure you look natural and introduce those soft light tones! We have actually kicked every man out of the house once during a wedding so that the bride could get into her dress in the main living room next to the big French doors (she was getting ready in a very dark room upstairs, we decided to move her.) We can be the crowd control for you on this, but if you already planned it out, we can leave the pepper spray at home.
The Ceremony
The big moment! The first kiss! Now let’s get into the most important part and how a couples choice on location can improve your photos during the most exciting part of the day. Are you planning an outdoor wedding or an inside venue for the ceremony?
Let’s start with the indoor venue, not our favorite choice but we can make it work (unless you plan on getting married in a building with towering windows and high ceilings :). When looking for an indoor venue for your wedding, again, thinking about natural light and which one allows as much light in as possible. The less indoor lighting on the better. The advantage to an indoor wedding is you don’t have to deal with the chance of weather showing up or blasting sun, but often the old 1900’s church your great grandmother grew up in doesn’t have many windows. If you have a choice, go with the brightest space with loads of light streaming in. If you go the church option, tell everyone to leave the lights off if it’s not awkwardly dark. Indoor lighting gives a orange hue that is hard to remove
in editing and the goal is to not need to edit much at all.
For the outdoor venue, often people don’t understand that bright sun isn’t what you are after. A sun-soaked field will mean that a lot of photos from your ceremony will include hard shadows or washed out backgrounds, squinty eyes and harsh highlights. Maybe there’s a snow capped mountain in the background your mom wants us to capture. It won’t pop in photos if it is blasted with sun. Pick a spot that you know will get good shade when you’re ceremony will take place. Is there is a spot near some large trees to the south? Speckled shade/sun isn’t great either. If it is cloudy that day, it doesn’t matter but on a sunny summer wedding day, go for shade if you can (and your guests will thank you too).
TIP: Go to your ceremony location a week before at your exact ceremony time to scope out the best location.
If you want the ULTIMATE outdoor ceremony suggestion? Schedule your ceremony for golden ho
ur! Crazy I know, impossible you might say, great aunt Suzy will be in bed already so we can’t. But I say to you, did you really want her there anyway? Why don’t you be brave and be original? Ceremony photos on the beach at sunset? Worth it all!

Couples Photos:
What a whirlwind a wedding day is, it seems to go by so fast with so many things
to do starting from early morning and not stopping until you leave; get ready, make up, hair, getting dressed, first look, taking family photos,
 etc. and you’re not even married yet! We strongly suggest setting aside some time for just you and your bride/groom. Maybe pick a spot to go for an hour or so, a nature location that means something to you, and take time to breathe it all in together (and also get some fantastic shots of as a bonus). It could even be your favorite coffee shop (pictured to the right.)

After all, this is what it is all about! You’re the ones getting married. Often we cram the day with so much that there isn’t much time for photos of just you two, or if there is, it is at the ceremony location in direct sun. What about that golden hour we spoke about? Do you want to plan your day so you can take off before sunset and get some photos at your favorite lookout just you two? I promise it would be the best part of your wedding (or the second best 😉 if you know what I mean) and you will be your photographers favorite client too. Take some time. Breathe it in. And schedule some space for some photos with optimum background. Think mountains, cliffs, beaches, anything epic near you! Do a Champagne pop! Better yet, just get married at Yosemite! 😉


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