With the end of the year at hand, here is a look back on some of what REALLY happens behind the scenes on a wedding day! Most people would probably guess that a photographer is a photographer is a photographer… however, if you want to really love your wedding images and have a great experience on your wedding day, you need a wedding photographer who you connect with and could see yourself having drinks with. Seriously – here’s a slight peek at why that is my number one recommendation when hiring a wedding photographer!
When you meet us at an Open House (we were at 6 in 2017 as the preferred wedding photographers for various venues), you’ll probably see us as one of the images above. However, you have to like us enough to invite us into the sentimental moments of the day, like when your mom is buttoning up your wedding dress.
You have to trust us enough to catch the slight imperfections that may drive you crazy after the wedding day is over. You don’t have a mirror with you all day, so your wedding photographer needs to do that for you. Dylan is the absolute BEST at catching the small details that can be fixed! In this first image, you can see his hand fixing Evan’s jacket.
Here, he’s checking Ethan’s lapel that wasn’t sitting quite flat.
He’s straightening Carter’s tie.
He’s helping Eric into his jacket before groomsmen photos.
He’s straightening Chloe’s ring before he shoots a close up.
He can fix things before photos are taken, but he’s also all-around super helpful! He’s cutting a tag off of Jamie’s dad’s watch, that he received as a gift from his daughter, the bride, on her wedding day.
He can get animals to pose for pictures! If you’re getting married at Twisted Ranch, you’ll especially love this trait!
I can pin boutonnieres super fast. I’ve re-pinned entire bridal parties in less than two minutes! I also know which side they should go on and where they go (on the left lapel!)
Dylan is the best “wind” for veil in the wind shots! He has it down to a science!
Jamie is so cute! She finally learned how the magic really happens! :D
I love that Kyle is sweetly brushing Lindsey’s hair back in this one! So sweet!
Another reason you should really like your wedding photographer: they’ll be interacting with your best friends all day. Don’t you want your best friends to have fun and enjoy photos?!? Don’t you want it to be a quick process with clear direction?!
(Random fact: at the end of this wedding, the bride and I did a shot of Fireball! The groomsmen tried to get us to drink with them pre-wedding, which is a no-no for us. However, after the wedding was over, they still wanted to celebrate with us with a quick toast, so I did! I’ve only ever done that with three of our couples, but they’ll always be favorites of mine!)
One of my favorite things about Dylan is his willingness to help others. It never gets old to watch him help grandmothers when it’s their turn for family photos! It just melts my heart!
He helps our brides, too, of course, if the heels are high and the terrain isn’t quite level.
He helps fathers of the bride navigate their way into the bridal suite for their first peek at their baby girl on her wedding day.
He helps grooms calm down just before the first look, even if it’s a blind one.
Speaking of first looks, those are our favorite part of every wedding day! It’s such a special, private moment for the bride and groom. It’s also the part of the day we get the most questions about, so read this blog post about first looks, if you’re interested. We’ll give you a brief overview on the big day, so don’t worry!
This is one of my favorite first looks of 2017! I don’t know if Dylan and I forgot to give the overview, but Kyle turned around to see Lauren before we were officially ready. HA! He said he heard her voice and was just too excited, so he had to turn around! I love all the expressions in these next few shots. Also, that is the videographer running behind me, because we weren’t quite set up for the big reveal (you’ll see my camera is still on my elbow). Oops! It was a fun moment and will always be one of my favorite first looks because of Kyle’s pure joy to see Lauren!
I’ll help you carry your dress to your first look, so your mom and bridesmaids don’t have a reason to spy. :D Everyone wants to watch, but part of what makes the first look so great is that there is no pressure to act a certain way because no one is watching!
A secret for photographers: I usually photograph the groom (his boutonniere and headshot) before we bring out the bride, to make sure my camera settings are dialed in and we can start as soon as the bride is ready.
I get asked if our grooms like Dylan as much as our brides click with me. I’ll just leave this right here…. They’d met maybe 45 minutes prior to admiring each other’s facial hair and bow tie! It was a mutual affection!
If one of us is going to go for the “creative” angle, it will be Dylan. That’s one of the perks of having two photographers on your wedding day: one photographer will always get the safe, must-have shot (that’s me), while the other is free to be a bit more creative and get a different perspective (that’s Dylan). His favorite way is to usually climb on something to get a point of view no one else has.
It’s not always climbing above a point of view that will be the most creative. Sometimes, it’s looking at things from below the normal eye level.
In the shot above, we’re actually both shooting at an upward angle to include some of the beautiful chandeliers at The Milestone in Georgetown. The second shot Dylan is scootin’ his cute booty out of my image! HA! That’s a bonus of being a husband and wife team: you can give each other “the look” and the other one pretty much knows what you want without having to say “get out of my shot!”
In the image below, I’m not “resting” on a wedding day. I’m getting lower to include all the mirrors on the wall at Pecan Springs Ranch!
In the above images, I’m shooting from a lower perspective to change the horizon line during romantic portraits. It was an unplanned stop for Lauren and Kyle’s wedding day at their family ranch, but well worth it! I had to change shoes for this shot, from sandals to tennis shoes, to avoid ranch things… (like cow patties and stickers, which did get on the seam of my dress). You’ll see I was in such a rush to beat them into their wedding reception, that I kept my tennis shoes on. Dylan, of course, made fun of me. My bride, Lauren, however, was like “it’s totally cool – I’m glad you’re comfortable!” They had us for 12 hours that day, so my feet were appreciative!
I also get asked quite a bit where we stand for wedding ceremonies, as some people have been to weddings with super distracting photographers. You know, the ones who stand if front of the mother of the bride the entire ceremony… Yeah, we don’t do that. I’ll be in the front of the congregation for the walk down the aisle, then I head to the back and the sides. In this first shot, I got trapped up front, as there wasn’t any room for an aisle between the pews and the walls of the chapel. With this one, I did have to use the main aisle, but that is so rare and I don’t stay up front. You’ll see my face says “Uh-Oh! I’m trapped!”
After the bride is safely in the front, we stick to the sides and back of the aisle. You’ll see me all the way to the right in this shot at Lone Oak Barn. You’ll also notice that Dylan has a very different angle for this one. He ran (he’s fast!) into the venue, up the stairs, and shot this from the second story!
Another wedding where I had to get a different angle! Here, I sat as a guest, just behind the bridal party, as the wedding ceremony was a bit circular, so I couldn’t shoot from behind. The sides, too, were too high for me to see over. So, Dylan took the main shooter position, as he’s over a foot taller than me and had no troubles seeing over the railing from the ground.
After the ceremony, I stay to get the recessional photos of the bridal party and family members, as Dylan hangs out with the bride and groom. You can see in the next shot that I stay put as the bride and groom pass me. Dylan wanders with the couple (shot 2 with the carriage) to wherever they go to get the “we’re married” celebration!
We don’t mind holding things for our couples! Cell phones (so they’re not a weird lump in pockets), bouquets, heels, veils, or really whatever they need help with!
Here, I’m holding onto one of Stefanie and Riley’s props during their engagement session.
I start the day with bridal details. It’s a great way to get a feel for the style the bride and groom are going for and to figure out who the key players of the day are. I get to meet moms and bridesmaids and hear some pretty great stories about our brides. I don’t mind giving speech advice, if needed, either!
While I usually love to use natural light, that isn’t always an option. Here, I’m using flash for the only time in 2017 while shooting bridal details!
Also, I can pour you a mimosa or find your glass, if you need one!
While I’m photographing bridal prep, Dylan is usually photographing the venue. At some point, he’ll connect with the guys, but they don’t need nearly as much time as the girls do to get ready. He really only needs about 15 minutes with the groom to get all the prep they need.
Since he doesn’t need as much time, he’ll check in with me to see if I need help with the dress. His height really gives him an advantage with dress shots, as I can’t reach chandeliers to hang wedding gowns from. He can also carry the dress easily, without worrying about the train touching the ground.
He’s great for hanging dresses for the dress shot, but he’s also a master fluffer of dresses, too! He’s very detail oriented, so he makes sure those trains are perfect!
While Dylan is pretty awesome, he also earned the nickname “Sasquatch” or Big Foot – as you can see below. He just appears in random images every now and then and you don’t really know if that just happened or not…
Sasquatch tries to turn his head so you don’t “really see him” but you know… something isn’t right…
Sometimes, he does it on purpose, like these next two shots! We do like to have fun together, even if we’re working!
It’s almost like Where’s Waldo with Dylan. However, he is pretty good about looking up to see where I am to make sure he’s not in all of my shots.
Don’t think that Dylan is the only one who can wander into photos randomly… it’s a problem we both have! :D
It’s especially bad if there are mirrors, as we are twice as likely to pick each other up in photos if there is a mirror in the room.
Also, Dylan isn’t the only one who knows how to fluff a wedding dress on our team. He did learn that skill from me, after all!
I can also pin veils and tame unruly hair.
I can also help carry your dress, so it doesn’t drag the ground.
My answer when our brides (or maids of honor or mothers of the bride) ask if I know anything about bustles:
When a thread starts to unravel on your dress, Dylan can help you cut it. Pocket knives are more useful than scissors.
I won’t leave you to try to pose yourself, so don’t worry about that! I’ll talk you through it AND show you, if words fail me. It’s also great having my husband photograph weddings with me, as I can have you mirror us in various poses to really show you what I mean.
You’ll see me in the right of this image, telling Amanda and Bert to spin, as their Mariachi band plays from the porch. Some things may look candid, but I promise you in 90% of those beautiful portraits on wedding days that look candid, a photographer stepped in with a prompt to cue a desired action.
Dylan and I often serve as test subjects for various lighting scenarios throughout the wedding day. Dialing in your camera settings while the bride is walking down the aisle is not the right moment – so, we get everything tested on each other before any action of the day begins. We make BEAUTIFUL faces for each other during these moments…
I don’t know why, but Dylan is a magnet for children on wedding days. They just flock to him!
I can tell you how to cut a wedding cake, too!
Hopefully, you can now see why I believe it’s so important to love your wedding photographer as a person! They’re the one person that is with you more than your spouse on your wedding day! They’re with you in those sentimental moments (like your first look) and funny moments (like when your veil flies out of your hair and needs to be chased down). They’re with you when you’re putting on your wedding dress (when no one else is in the room) and when you’re crying because a loved one couldn’t make your wedding day (with a tissue ready). They need to be fun enough for your bridal party to have a blast with and calm enough to hold your dad’s hand before he sees you for the first time on your wedding day.
Wedding photography isn’t just pushing a button on a black box that makes a weird noise. It’s a real part of your day. Your wedding photographer is the person who will show future generations what the beginning of your love story looked like. They are the one person who’s talents will last beyond the wedding day and will show people that couldn’t make it how joyful your day was.
– Mylah Renae