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Bridal Advice | Engagement Photography Tips

Engagement Photography Tips and inspiration. Downtown Woodruff, SC Engagement Session.

Bridal Advice | Engagement Photography Tips

I have been writing a lot of posts on Bridal Advice for your wedding day and I just realized I really needed to put something together around Engagement Sessions because they get overlooked so often! If your reading this post and you have already committed to Engagement session YAY, and I hope you find this information and Engagement Photography tips helpful in your planning. If you have not booked an Engagement Session or you are not sure, I hope this inspires you to invest in one! Your engagement is a new chapter in your life and LOVE story and I believe it is just as important to document as your wedding day.  And since your wedding day is such a big day, your engagement session is great practice! I have listed some topics that I think are helpful engagement photography tips as well as some information on the importance of you session prior to your wedding day, ENJOY!


Picking the right Wedding Photographer is a big decision! Especially considering you probably spend the most time on your wedding day with your photographer! For me as a Wedding Photographer it is never just about a service and always about the EXPERIENCE. And one of the best ways to start the whole experience is with an Engagement Session! This is why I choose to include Engagement Sessions with my Wedding Collection. Unlike your Wedding Day, your Engagement Session is not restricted by locations and strict timelines so this gives us time to get to know our couples and sometimes even begin lifelong friendships! I always encourage my couples to just relax, have fun and be yourself. For many of our couples this is their first time working with a professional photographer and this is OK! It’s actually good when you have no experience because we will explain everything you need to do, your job is to just have fun and be yourself and we will create the story! And lastly, Engagement Sessions help build TRUST and relieve anxiety on your Wedding Day because you have now built a connection with your photographer and learned some great posing so it feels much more natural on your big day!

Autumn Engagement Session in Tully, New York.


So I mentioned this above Engagement Photography tips but I think its good to cover the importance of “Practice” in more detail! Most Brides-to-Be and Grooms-to-Be have never had a professional photo session prior to their Wedding, and this makes couple uncomfortable, nervous and very unsure of themselves. This is exactly what you do not want to happen on your Wedding Day! You have enough to worry about on your Wedding Day and your photos should not be one of those things! The best photos and moments happen when you are confident, relaxed and just having fun. When you choose to have an Engagement Session this is exactly the practice you need! Your photographer will teach you everything you need to know so when it comes to your Wedding Day you feel like a pro!

Downtown Woodruff, SC Engagement Session with mint colored walls.


So this one comes up over and over and I have to admit that even I am guilty of stressing over what to wear during a session. But what I find works best is when couples chose two outfits (one dressy and one casual) that fit their personality, and don’t be afraid to be creative! I also think its important to mention that you should be comfortable in whatever you choose, if you normally don’t like the way you like in a certain silhouette or color then you should avoid these for your session. If you don’t like the way you look in something normally you are not going to like the way you look in the photos no matter how good the photo. Avoid outfits that match and instead focus on coordinating. Also avoid anything with small patterns or logos … they do not photograph well. And don’t be afraid to accessorize! Think colorful shoes, necklaces and scarves for the ladies and ties, bow ties and belts for the gentlemen!

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Bridal Advice | Why a First Look can change your Wedding Day!

Colgate Inn Wedding First Look in Hamilton New York

Why a First Look can change your Wedding Day!

So I want to start out by saying I get why so many Brides immediately say they are not interested in a “First Look.” They want the first time their Groom sees them to be as they are walking down the aisle and they are just hoping this reaction is accompanied by tears! But what if I tell you that you can still get this type of reaction and much more with a First Look?

I have to admit I was just as skeptical when I was planning my own Wedding Photography and deciding whether I wanted to do a First Look and let me tell you it was one of the BEST decisions I made! So for all my Brides out there or future Brides, do me a favor and at least read my experience as a real Bride and Wedding Photographer  and have an open mind!


What if you could have two reactions on your wedding day … an intimate moment with your soon to be husband and the moment you walk down the aisle in front of all your best friends and family? Traditionally Brides are scared by the idea that they will lose the Grooms reaction as they walk down the aisle if they see each other before the ceremony. But speaking from my own experience as well as my husbands, this is definitely not the case!

Imagine your Groom waiting with his back to you  as you walk towards him and then slowly call out his name to turn. This simulates what it will be like as you are walking down the aisle and instead of your Groom worrying about his vows or all the people who are watching him, his attention is just on you and how gorgeous you look! You both can cry, embrace, hug, kiss and say whatever you want to say in that First Look instead of having to wait until after a ceremony!

And then comes the ceremony … and the butterflies all over again! You are separated again and waiting to walk down the aisle in front of all your family and friends. You are officially going to be MARRIED! This is a completely different and unreal feeling that no First Look can take away! When you see each other for the First Look you are experiencing that moment when you both see each other dressed as a Bride and a Groom and can focus on how amazing you both look and shake off any nerves you might have. But when you see each other walking down the aisle this moment is all about what is SHOULD be … your vows and becoming HUSBAND and WIFE!

After Kevin and I shared our First Look all I remember is being so much more excited to walk down the aisle and MARRY the love of my life. We both felt the butterflies all over again in anticipation of becoming MR + MRS. And best yet was that we already spent some amazing moments together on our wedding and were creating many more to remember our special day!


OK, so this may not always seem obvious but when you traditionally walk down the aisle and shock your husband to be with how beautiful you look he does not even have a chance to tell you how gorgeous you look, he can’t embrace you or talk to you! You will have to wait until the ceremony is over and sometimes longer before he can tell you how amazingly beautiful you look and by that time the First Look has long passed.

You’re wedding day is about you and your Groom so why wouldn’t you want to spend more time TOGETHER? Doing a First Look allows you to spend time together alone on your wedding day which is pretty rare. There was nothing I wanted more on my wedding day than to spend as much time with Kevin as I possibly could. And since you just experienced your First Look this puts you in the perfect mode for dreamy romantic portraits!


You are investing a lot of money into you’re wedding! You want to have gorgeous portraits to remember all the hard work and planning that went into your special day but you also want to be a part of the party and experience everything , like mingling and enjoying the amazing hors d’oeuvres you picked out! Choosing to do a First Look allows you to get almost all of your portraits done prior to your ceremony giving you the chance to mingle with guests during cocktail hour or capture additional family formals. With a First Look I am able to capture Bride and Groom photos , Bridal Party and even some family formals before the ceremony even begins!


If you are like me and my husband Kevin as well as most of my Brides and Grooms, you may be a little …. OK maybe more than a little nervous about the whole walking down the aisle or reading your vows! So from my own experience as well as my Brides and Grooms who did a First Look, it really helps you feel more relaxed and ready for the ceremony. No more sweaty palms!

Colgate Inn Wedding First Look in Hamilton New York

Greer South Carolina Cannon Centre Wedding First Look




Bridal Advice | Top 5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Getting Ready Location

Today’s post is all about picking the perfect getting ready location in order to capture those beautiful photos full of gorgeous light for you and your Bridesmaids/Groomsmen! Since my husband and I work as a team for all of our weddings we always split up and he captures the Groomsmen doing their thing while I am photographing the Bride and her Bridesmaids. But what a lot of people don’t realize is how important selecting your getting ready location is when it comes to the look of your photos. So I am going to share my top 5 tips for picking out the perfect location(s) for your getting ready photos on your wedding day and what to look for!!


1. Natural Light: Always pick a location with lots of natural light! Natural light will give your skin a nice glow and give your photos the beautiful light and airy look that I just love. With tons of natural light you can avoid those dark rooms that tend to have a yellow cast to them from the lighting. Picking a room with lots of natural light from windows will also help out your makeup artist and hair stylist to achieve a gorgeous natural look for your wedding day portraits! Not to mention, who doesn’t love those bridal portraits next to a window with that glow from natural light!!!



2. Distance: Pick a location either on site or within a few minutes drive from your ceremony location. This will help maximize the time you have with your family and friends before the ceremony and provide even more time to capture those moments just having fun. Remember you want to relax and enjoy the day as much as possible, not spend the time traveling to different locations!




3. Decor/Style: Make sure to pick a location that fits into your wedding theme and style. For example, I love to tell a story when photographing a wedding so if you have a vintage theme for your wedding consider getting ready in a cottage or bed and breakfast with tons of character. Also, consider Airbnb for unique homes to rent that complement your wedding style. Your location should match your vision for your day and this will open up tons of great options for photos and better tie together the story of your day!



4. Neutral: Choose rooms with neutral backgrounds or light colors that blend well with the colors and/or style of your wedding day. If you’re getting ready in a room with distracting wallpaper patterns or bright-colored paint this is going to be very distracting against your white dress or your bridesmaids dresses. Neutral wall colors give a nice airy look to your photos and allow your wedding colors to pop!!



5. Avoid Clutter: Make sure the room you choose to get ready in is tidy and uncluttered. Avoid having items hanging up all over the place, bags on the floor and food scattered across tables. I try to do my best to move things around when taking photos but if there is a candid moment that I need to capture quickly I can’t always clear the area first and there is nothing worse than having a gorgeous photo ruined because a pizza box is in the background!


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Bridal Advice | Top 8 bridal details to bring for your photographer to capture

I know wedding planning can be very stressful and there is always so much that a Bride has think about or remember for the big day so I wanted to start a series of blog posts that will help you when planning your photography for your wedding day. I know that my Brides put so much time into the planning and details of their wedding day so I want to make sure that it is all documented and most importantly that my Bride and Grooms get to enjoy their special day.


So my first post is all about the getting ready photos and what bridal details you should make sure to bring with you. Your photography should tell a story and what better way than if you showcase all the details you spent months if not years planning. So here are the eight things you should bring with you:


1. Rings: You would think this is a no brainer but it gets overlooked all the time since normally the best man has the rings. So make sure you have your engagement ring and wedding bands with you so you can ensure you get some great ring shots.

wedding rings


2. Invitation Suite: Many of my Brides completely forget this detail but this a huge part of your day. Your invitation is the first preview your guests receive for the big day and normally sets the tone for your colors/theme. Not to mention this is one of my favorite details to style and photograph with your other details (rings, jewelry …etc). Remember to bring one full invitation suite as well any other stationary details (save-the-dates, rehearsal dinner invites … etc). Also,  if you had beautiful calligraphy and/or special envelopes/liners bring two sets in order to capture the front and back in the same shot.

Invitation suite


3. Wedding Shoes: I have never had a Bride forget this but this is a good reminder if you have more than one set of wedding shoes! I actually had heels and a pretty pair of ballet flats for later in the night that I completely forget to bring with me for my bridal details.

Ivory Peep-toe Wedding Shoes


4. Bouquets/Boutonnieres: Make sure the bouquets are with the girls and the guys have the boutonnieres! Having the bouquets available while photographing bridal details is a great way to incorporate your wedding colors with all your other details. Something else to consider when talking with your florist is to ask for a couple extra scraps or loose flowers/greenery from the bouquets to incorporate with the wedding details. If you have ever seen all the gorgeous stylized wedding photos from rings to invitation suites you will notice that many of the photos incorporate small greenery or flowers that tie back to the bridal bouquets. (You can always snip a couple pieces from the bouquet as well if that does not bother you!)

Blue Bridesmaid Bouquets


5. Heirlooms/Sentimental Symbols: Whether its a locket with a photo or something that has been passed down from generations that you will be wearing on your wedding day this should definitely be part of your bridal details!

Bridal Bouquet with Locket


6. Jewelry/Hair Accessories: Earrings, necklace, bracelets, headbands, hair clip … anything you will be wearing.

Bridal Jewelry


7. Veil: I love to use the veil when styling bridal details. This is a great way tie your dress with other details from the day.


8. Bridesmaid Dresses/Accessories: This is another way to incorporate the color of your wedding day!