You guys, I promise no one understands more than I do how overwhelming all of this wedding stuff is. And I don’t want you to have to be googling a million things or emailing back and forth trying to find out what type of photos you want to do before your wedding day.
Marriage has been the greatest blessing of my life, and it should start off on the right foot- with an amazing wedding day where you feel prepared and comfortable! I made this guide for you, and I am honestly here to serve, so don’t hesitate reaching out to me or asking questions!
Once he pops the question, the first thing you’re going to want to get out of the way when planning is the venue. Brides usually get this done first, because 1) It’s most likely going to be your biggest expense, and 2) It pretty much affects all the other details, such as where and when the wedding is going to be, as well as the type of style you’re going after.
The second thing is probably the photographer. Photographers can book up months or even years in advance, and since they are by your side basically your whole wedding day, it’s good to get to know them and develop a relationship before hand! You want an already established trust with your photographer, and personalities that click like friends! That way when you show up on your wedding day, you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying the moment.
Some brides don’t look past the wedding day when they’re thinking about photos, but the reality is, you’re going to share your life with this person forever. You want more than just one session or one day to capture it! You’ll probably see options for engagement photos, bridals, first look photos, or formals. You may not even know what some of these sessions are, or what they’re for. That’s totally okay! It’s not like you get married everyday! That’s why I’ve made this little mini guide- to explain some of the most popular requests I get from brides, so you can start thinking about which ones you want for you and your fiancee!
What are they: These are typically taken pretty soon after you get engaged, although I’ve had clients wait for the right time of year for the weather to match their vision! You and your fiancee get dressed in your best date outfit (I have a style guide to help you out with this), and we travel to somewhere epic and awesome with a great view. You guys have fun, while I catch all the bestest, cutest moments!
What’s it good for: Engagement photos showcase off the relationship, not just the wedding day. There’s a lot more to you guys than just one day! Engagements are a great chance for the two of you to get dressed up and feel gorgeous, plus they give us a chance to work together and get to be comfortable with each other! Here’s where I get a feel for you as a couple, so that way when I show up on your wedding day I already know you guys can nail that killer dip, and he’s got a gorgeous laugh I definitely need to focus on, or anything else that helps me capture you in the most genuine way possible! Most couples will even choose to have their engagement photos featured on their wedding invites as well to show their guests what they’re all about.
What are they: These are typically pictures just of the bride, usually the groom doesn’t even come to these. They’re taken at some point before the wedding day, as soon as you have everything in your beauty arsenal planned. The look you’re going for is the whole wedding shebang! Your wedding hair and makeup, your bridal bouquet, mom’s earrings, your something blue, the works. The idea is to look exactly how you would look on your wedding day!
What’s it good for: There is sooooo much that goes into a bride’s look. I could write a whole blog post on on the things the bride wears. Not to mention, you’ve spent months prepping and picking out every detail. Some of these items might have very sentimental and meaningful value. Bridal photos make sure that we have time to document all of that hard work and beauty! These are your princess pics. We get you as the bride in these photos so that way on your wedding day, you can relax and enjoy the time with your husband without worrying about setting aside a bunch of time to ditch him and get specific detail shots. Many brides, especially in the South, also follow the tradition of blowing up their favorite bridal portrait on a huge canvas or frame at the entrance to their reception!
What are they: This is the complete wedding look for both the bride and the groom. Sometimes these are done a few weeks before hand, sometimes a few days (or even a day) before the wedding, and some brides even want them done the morning of the wedding. First Look sessions capture the groom’s reaction to seeing his bride for the first time! Lots of photographers will call this a formal session, or maybe a wedding portrait session, so if you see that elsewhere, just know that this is what they’re talking about. I like to call it a “first look” since the formal portrait photos are included in the first look session. Plus, it’s the first time he’s seeing you in your dress like this regardless! The rest of the session is spent taking lovely photos of the two of you during a quiet, calm time where you can disconnect yourselves from the wedding stress. Some brides are worried about their groom’s reaction and don’t want to capture it. That’s totally cool. Even if you just want to take formal shots in wedding gear somewhere awesome, without getting a first look reaction, I personally still categorize it as a “first look” just to make things easier.
What’s it good for: If you get any pictures done before your wedding day, these are the ones to get! You guys, I’m going to say that again. If you get any photos done before your wedding day, I highly recommend doing a first look session. I cannot tell you how valuable it is to have “wedding pictures” when you don’t have to stress about a timeline, or whether the cake is going to the right place, or whether Uncle Bob is sparking up drama with your cousin. It’s just the two of you. No pressure. No rush. We get to choose the best light at the perfect time of day, at the perfect place where you don’t have to worry about guests at all. You have a ton more variety in your wedding photos, because you can choose anywhere with no restrictions! If you are doing a true “First Look” and are worried about his reaction, he’s going to be much more relaxed and genuine seeing you in a quiet, low-stress moment, and he will have a much easier time really seeing you without hundreds of eyes watching.
Bonus! You can actually chose to get a combined session that is half bridals, half first look. The best of both worlds!
What are they: These are here to document the happiest day of your life! Lots of candids, and capturing the moment as it is (especially if you got all of the formal shots out of the way at a first look)! If you’ve decided against a first look session, we’ll plan some time to get those perfect moments at your venue! I work with you to plan your timeline for your wedding day and make sure that you’ll have plenty of time for everything you want captured, without feeling rushed. Wedding photos preserve every detail, every decoration, but most importantly they preserve the emotion of the moment. You forever get to look back and see exactly how you felt the first time you kissed his handsome face when he said “I do”, or when your Dad started tearing up as he danced with you. All the happy faces who came to celebrate you. The main thing I can say about wedding photos is to always plan buffer time! The more wiggle room you can give yourself, the more relaxed you’ll feel.
What’s it good for: Your wedding pictures will be looked at for years to come. Most likely, they will be looked at more than any other photos you take, and could be passed down for generations, through albums, prints, or slideshows! And don’t forget the most important purpose of wedding day photos- getting blackmail material when your groomsmen start getting crazy! Haha, I’m just kidding (or am I…?).
Popular ways my brides and grooms like to use their wedding photos include prints, canvases, albums, profile pics, phone backgrounds, social media, slideshows, decorations, the list goes on and on…. These are the photos that are going to be TIMELESS, because they can’t be repeated.
I remember the type of stuff that stressed me out when I was getting married to AJ a little over two years ago. After getting into the wedding industry, I realized that I wasn’t alone! I wasn’t the only one who worried about picking the perfect place for bridal photos, or finding the perfect shoes for my engagements. I looked at some common stressors for my brides and grooms and anyyyyy way that I could potentially make those easier, and I came up with a couple of solutions.
The Engagement Session Style Guide: My style guide is mainly used for engagement sessions, but there are still a lots of tips that can be applied even to your wedding day! The guide gives some awesome ideas on how to look your best, what looks great in camera, and how to make your photos as epic and “wow” as possible! It has specific recommendations on style, color, and even shoes to make any shopping trip that much easier. Now these tips and recommendations are by no means “rules”- and you can truly wear whatever you’d like, but many of my couples have found this to be a valuable resource when choosing their engagement outfits!
My Utah Location Guide: I have spent hours searching for the perfect, most beautiful places in Utah Valley to take photos at. Location scouting is one of my favorite things to do, and when I have a vision for a photoshoot, I search until I find it. Basically, any kind of look you’re wanting, we can make it happen. You want a beach? Here in Utah? We have one. Lush gardens? Got it. I’ve compiled all of my favorite places onto one sheet to make it easy to find somewhere that calls to you so you can get somewhere awesome for your session.
Timeline Planning: I like to sit down with both of you and help you guys plan your wedding day in a way that is going to 1) Provide a smooth experience for you and your fiancee, and 2) Schedule enough time to get all of the photos you want so I can really capture your vision! I do this by looking at what time the sun is setting on your wedding day, where you’re having it, and by using my wedding experience to know how much time should be allotted for each event. Once you have it, you can use it as a reference to plan your perfect day!
Sneak Peek: All of my sessions AND weddings get a sneak peek within a week of their session! That’s right, one week!! This is one of my favorite features that my brides just loveeee. You get something good to post right after you get married to announce it! A sneak peek is 3-5 stunner images, edited and ready to go. Don’t be confused, this is not your full gallery, but I love delivering sneak peeks so my clients can celebrate in style right after their wedding!
Digital Gallery: You get all of your images delivered as high resolution JPGs in an online gallery. It’s as simple as that. No buying digitals separately, or choosing your favorite 10 to download, your online gallery is yours to keep forever and to share with whomever you want!
It can be difficult deciding where you put your priorities when it comes to your wedding day, but I encourage you to look at the “big picture” (haha, get it?). The most important thing is you and your future spouse! Whatever fits your needs, whatever makes you comfortable is going to be the best choice.
If you’re looking at this guide and thinking you honestly want everything The good news is, you can create a custom package that fits exactly what you need!
Booking me for a wedding already includes all of your basic necessities! This means right off the bat, you get 6 hours of wedding day coverage, all of your digital photos, sneak peeks, and a print release. I really believe in documenting your entire relationship, not just your wedding day! So, as an additional bonus, I’ve thrown in a free engagement session for you as a special gift! This also comes with my engagement session style guide, and a location guide so you’re fully prepared to get beautiful photos you can look back on forever.
While all of that is already included, you can also add on additional sessions (like a combined session!) or additional hours of coverage to fit your vision.
I hope this post helped y’all out and made the process a bit easier! I honestly love becoming friends with all my clients, and if you’d like to talk about your wedding day, just head over to my contact page and let me know! I would love to treat your out to some coffee or dessert so we can plan this together and check photographer off your list!
Happy planning you guys!!
A stunning elopement on enchanted grounds.