Your wedding day isn't a photo shoot, it's real life, so not everything is going to be perfect and that's okay!
In fact, the raw, messy, natural moments are exactly the kind that you'll want to remember.
So we're not aiming for perfect but here are some helpful tips to get the most out of your wedding photography.

The morning of your wedding should be a fun, exciting time so here are some ways you can avoid a chaotic energy and create a more relaxed atmosphere. 
 
The Space 
Choose a getting ready location that is naturally well-lit. Think big windows and white walls! Try to avoid rooms with "moody" decor like wood paneling, artificial light and dark colored walls. You'll want your getting ready space to reflect the joy and excitement you feel, and dark rooms aren't ideal for capturing the emotion of this part of your day. Don't forget about your partner! Grooms often don't care as much where they get ready, but it's important that they also get ready in a well-lit space.

Clutter
The last thing you'll want are beer cans, catering trays or pizza boxes, curling irons and laundry in the background of your wedding images. We suggest that you ask one bridesmaid and groomsman or parent to be in charge of reducing clutter. They'll make sure items are organized, easily found when you need them, and out of sight. 

1. the morning

First Looks are the best way to banish those pre-ceremony nerves and anxiety so you can just be excited to get married. Seeing your person banishes the waiting-anxiety and allows you to enjoy the time before your wedding too. It gives you time to take it all in, have a moment alone, maybe exchange a few private words or a simple "I love you." Once you've seen each other, your timeline is much more flexible too. We can knock out family and wedding party portraits before the ceremony so you can all go party after! 
 
Privacy 
The First Look takes the pressure off the ceremony. It's an intimate, emotional moment of seeing your best friend for the first time on your wedding day. To ensure that this moment is for you two alone, communicate with your family and wedding party in advance by letting them know you'd like this part of your day to be a private one because it can be uncomfortable to have an audience. 

2. your
first look

We know that standing around and waiting to get your photo taken isn't the most fun way to spend your wedding day, for you or for your guests. Our goal is to snap these group photos as quickly as possible so that you can move on to the more exciting parts of your day. To do this as efficiently as possible:

The fewer, the better.
Keep the list of group photos as short as possible. Patience, especially with little ones and grandparents, are in short supply so we will do these photos first to release them as quickly as possible. 

Assign a wrangler.
We suggest assigning a wrangler. This is someone who is assertive and knows your family well. They will make sure all family members are present, accounted for and ready to have their photo taken. This reduces a lot of chaos and confusion! 

3. group photos

The most important part of your day! 

Lighting 
If you have a day-of coordinator or wedding planner, make sure to have this conversation with them. If your wedding is midday (between noon and 5pm), it'll be important that the sun is BEHIND your officiant. This is so that you and your partner are both evenly lit; avoiding split or harsh light on your faces. 

The Arch
Take a quick moment when you reach the officiant to make sure you and your partner are centered under your arch. Because the officiant does most of the talking, it's easy to look at him/her the whole time and forget to acknowledge your partner and your guests! Throughout the ceremony, remember to look at your partner, smile at your guests, look around at this incredible moment and all the people who are there to witness it. You might catch your Dad wiping away some tears! 

4. the ceremony

The Kiss
Give your guests a chance to cheer and applaud your new status as Mr. & Mrs.! You don't have to make out, but stay present in that sweet moment by holding that first kiss so we can make sure to capture it.

The Aisle
It's natural to walk quickly down the aisle when you're feeling nervous so remember to breathe and walk slowly, especially when the ceremony is finished. Stop at the end of the aisle, take a moment to look at each other, kiss one more time or fist pump—whatever feels most celebratory! 

5. the ceremony, cont'd

This might be the most important advice we could give for your wedding day. Ask your guests to kindly keep their phones out of sight and silent during your ceremony. Not only are they distracting, but if your guests are recording or taking photos, they're often experiencing your wedding through their screens instead of with their own eyes and hearts. Here are some ways you can make this request:

Officiant
Ask your officiant to make an announcement at the beginning of the ceremony. Example language:
"Sarah and David request an unplugged ceremony. They ask that you please refrain from taking photos or videos. Please be present with your eyes and hearts and keep cell phones silent and out of sight."

Signage
You can communicate your desire for an unplugged ceremony with a sign at the entrance to your ceremony location or on your ceremony program. However, we have found that people often miss these and having both your officiant make an announcement and signage is most effective. 

6. unplugged

If you dream of wedding day images that'll bring tears to your eyes for the rest of your life, you'll want to make time for sunset portraits. This usually takes place during golden hour, the hour leading up to sunset. It's the perfect opportunity to step away and have some alone time before your big day is almost over.  We'll likely find a secluded, quiet spot at your venue for these photos because we won't want to waste time traveling off-site.

Please make sure you reserve 20-30 min for this. It seems like a long time but it goes by in a blink. We know you'll be eager to get back to your guests, but remember to stay present during this time. No part of your wedding day should be rushed! Trust us to capture this time, and to get you back to your guests in a timely manner.  

6. sunset

Shannon & nick, 2019

Mike and Mandi were not just amazing on our wedding day, they were amazing throughout the entire wedding planning process. They met with me before the wedding to discuss our photography needs, and ended up helping me make a schedule for the wedding day. This changed me from nervous wreck to feeling in control. They gave me recommendations and kept in touch through the entire planning process. On the big day they were so professional and dealt with every emotion elegantly. At first my husband and I weren't really comfortable in front of a camera, but Mike and Mandi assured us the pictures would turn out great and to just be ourselves. They helped us relax, allowed us to goof around, and helped us pose when we needed it. The photos turned out incredible. They captured such genuine emotions, and when I look at our photos, I can say "this is us". 

Nicole & Matt, 2018

Mandi and Mike are the most personable, loving souls you will ever come across – they made the entire process, leading up to the wedding to the day of super easy for us and that’s truly important when you’re planning a wedding. Looking back at the day of our wedding, Mandi captured some truly precious moments of me getting ready at my parents’ house while Mike captured some great photos of my husband and his groomsmen fooling around and having a little too much fun! Our venue was in Saratoga – an outdoor venue in the mountains with lots of nature. A few of our favorite photos were captured with trees and water in the background – Mandi and Mike did an amazing job capturing the natural light coming through that day. While all the photos we received from them are very precious to us, the ones that made us the happiest were the photos of our friends and families having an amazing time.

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