For the last two years I have said to myself I want to be published! I felt like my images were good, but when comparing them to everyone else, I didn’t feel like they were “publish worthy”. You see, that was the problem! I compared myself to other photographers out there in the world. People I don’t even know and I got my hopes up and just never bit the bullet to send my work anywhere.
I blogged on here and that was it. I featured my weddings on my website and I still do but there is something exciting to get an email stating that I was published on THEIR blog…. someone else’s wedding inspiration blog! I knew that one day, yes one day…. it would happen…but when!?
In 2017 right after I had Henry, I went full time photography/stay(work) from home mom. I worked hard to get my style to where I felt like I wanted it to be and I kept getting more and more confident in myself, my worth and my work. I still was hesitant of rejection when thinking about submitting a wedding… I kept working hard to get the images I took exactly where I wanted them to be. In 2019 I looked back at all of my 2018 weddings and engagement sessions. I loved each and every photo taken…. So much, I just knew this was the time to start submitting. There was no way I would get rejection emails! So, I joined Two Bright Lights- a place where you can submit your photos to hundreds of publications and get your wedding and lifestyle photography published in print magazines, websites and blogs. I submitted EVERY wedding and engagement session I shot in 2018.
Not even 2 hours later after submitting Jillian and Joe’s wedding I had gotten an email saying it was accepted! Guys….I was dancing in my kitchen with excitement! I couldn’t believe it! MY FIRST PUBLISHED WEDDING!!!
Special thank you to all these amazing vendors who made Jillian and Joe’s wedding oh so beautiful! Thank you to WEDDING BOSTON for accepting this publication! I am so honored and so thankful!!
Hi Friends! I have had so many people ask me about outfit choices for their family session, I decided a blog post would be a great way to share that information with you! These are just a few outfit coordinating tips that I have thought about through the years but the most important thing is that you are comfortable!
When thinking about what to wear and props to bring, just know that less is more. I do not provide props for sessions but I am happy to incorporate things that you may want to bring. One thing we can do would be styling to add a little something to your images. We do not need to have a ton of things to style with, maybe just a few.
Here are my tips and tricks for getting ready to have an amazing family session!
Styling your Session
Want your photos to look more editorial? Bring a little extra something with you! Fresh flowers bring an extra “wow” factor to just about everything, especially when they’re attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, even planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique.
Coordinating the Crew
you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your
outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color
palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.”
In fact, I recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what
“fits” together. This will create more
visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.
How to Mix Colors
The goal for coordinating a family is to visually
break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on
top and bottom. The more we can mix that up, the better. I encourage you to
think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors”
and “accent colors” in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see
the most in an outfit, while an accent has a smaller piece of visual real
estate. When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, if you can aim for
each person to have a different dominant color, and then tie in and vary the
accent colors, it’s going to look great all together.
For example, if you’re wearing a blush dress, soft
blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could
wear a navy coat with a white button-down and gray pants, paired with brown
leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square (making navy his dominant
color). Your daughter could wear a soft blue top with a white tulle skirt
(making a soft blue her dominant color) while your son wears light beige pants
with navy suspenders and a white button down (making white his dominant color).
Now each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few
touches of the others that will pull all the looks together. This will break up
the color visually and highlight each personality. Most of my moms choose their
dress first, and then build the rest of the family’s outfits based around that.
Remember, I recommend selecting those softer, lighter tones and avoiding those ultra-bright, bold colors. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too. That softer color palette fits beautifully into a natural environment, and can easily be paired in so many different ways.
Mixing Up the Pieces
If you have multiple children, don’t
feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one
of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt
and boots. One of your sons could wear a bowtie, while the other one wears
suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to
Prepping Your Little Ones
Before your session, pack a bag with
snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help me
get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. If they are
old enough to understand you, it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to
come before the session starts. Explain how much the photos mean to you so they
know to be on their best behavior. A lot of families discuss and pick something
fun in advance as a treat after the session if they’re good listeners, like an
ice cream cone, for example. It also helps if they’re bellies are full and they’ve
has some good rest beforehand. Once you prepare them
physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) grace! They’re
little, and I know that some days don’t always go as planned. I’ve seen it all
and will make sure to get you great photos, regardless of their moods. My goal
is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your
I hope this is a helpful guide when it comes to getting your family ready for your photography session! If you have any questions or more things to add, let me know, I would love to hear from you!
Can you believe it?! Our baby boy isn’t a baby anymore. He is a handsome little strong willed toddler that is so amazing in so many ways! Just like I was with Ethan, I am sad in a way that he is not a baby anymore but I am excited to see who he becomes. Everyday is so different- he says so many words and is so funny, each day we are surprised in one way or another with him. PJ and I always will say ” did you hear what he just said” “did you see that?!” He is so funny and pretty much everything he does just makes us laugh…. a lot! He is learning so much, he looks up to his best friend and brother Ethan and says new words and phrases daily. He knows all of the words to his favorite- The Wheels on the Bus and Baa Baa Black-sheep. He is starting to get the hang of the ABC’s and he can bust out the lyrics and moves to any song from the Greatest Showman and Moana. He is an amazing little boy who is so curious and always following Ethan around. We love him so much.
He makes the silliest faces and we cant get enough of them. He will squish his face together into this adorable little smile with his eyes closed- which we have named “Scrunch Face”, he will stick out his tongue and also do a really funny surprised face just to make you laugh. He expressed excitement with high energy screaming and chanting “yay, woohoo”!
He is a broad dude who weighs a whopping 30 lbs and he is wearing 2T/3T shirts and 2T pants. He loves to jump and throw himself down to the ground for fun! He will scream ” Cannonball” every time he does it. He loves to read books- his favorites are anything that has to do with trucks, and Goodnight Moon. He knows his colors and is starting to get the hang of counting! He started gymnastics in January and has been loving it! We go to the gym a lot a he loves that he gets to play there!
Henry loves trying new foods! He is a great eater ( for the most part) and his favorite foods are hummus and avocado! He knows a few words in sign language but he talks really well so he uses his voice more.
He is obsessed with his brother Ethan. I always say “ahh monkey see monkey do!!” He does whatever Ethan does! They have their moments where they fight a little but most of the time they are best friends and play together so nicely! It’s makes me so happy.
He rarely sits down unless Elmo, Super Wings, or Boss Baby is on the TV. If you ask him what his name is he will tell you “Boss Baby” and he will say it proudly! It’s true…. he really is a boss baby. He made his first build a bear for his birthday and that is something he loves to cuddle with at night when going to bed. He will say ” Ethie go night night? dada go night night? mama go night night?” Every time he goes down for a nap and/or bedtime just to be sure he isn’t missing anything!
I could go on and on and on about him (and his brother). Everyday he does something hilarious and says something new. As hard as tantrums are, he is still so fun to be around and I forgot that this age is really neat to watch as they learn and explore all around them. He is so interested in using the potty and has filled up a sticker chart with 50 spaces for using the potty! He is still in diapers but that is a big milestone for having the interest and actually trying. He will tell me “I go pee pee on potty!” and he will go and get the stool to do it.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Its’ a collection of images I took specifically for his 2nd birthday. He got his first hair cut the day before, and then we went outside where I followed him around catching his personality on camera for a few minutes. I started creating Family Year Books starting with 2014 and while I am still working on them to be caught up by the end of the year, I am excited to have nice photos of him to add to our 2019 book.
Sometimes I am feel like I struggle with what to write… What do brides want to know? I was a bride once…. what were some things I wanted to know when planning my own wedding? Today’s post I am going to be focusing on specifically what is going through my mind when the bride is getting in her dress!
During this time, I am looking for a few very important things:
Access to natural light. I do not like to use the lights in a room and typically you will see me turn them off. I want all the natural light I can get and it needs to be full length if possible. What I mean for this is that I do not want to use a small window that is high because that will only expose the brides torso properly when the full body/gown is what should be photographed.
I am looking for a clean space, neutral with zero distractions in the background! This means that I might ask the bridal party to clear out any clutter and trash from earlier in the day in one specific area of the getting ready space.
I need mom and bridesmaids to be dressed before the bride. I usually will begin to let them know they can start getting ready about 20 minutes before the bride gets in her gown.
So, once I have those things and the girls are changed and ready… now it’s time to process through all of the “must-have” shots that I want and need to capture.
In my head, this is what I am almost always thinking when the bride is about to get in her dress…. and I’m actually going to write it like I process it internally so that it really does show you how I work and achieve my end result :
-Okay soooo Let me just scope out the area to see where my best light is coming from… She’s going to get dressed over near the large window there but I will need to over-expose the background and if I don’t have any reflecting light inside the room to bounce back on to her, I am not going to want to stay in that spot for very long incase the back lighting is too strong and the photos do not come out. So I will do a few back light and then I can change my position over here but we will need to clean up the half of the room to get zero clutter in the background. hmmm I might be able to pull her veil around her to soften the light on her too so the light is not too harsh on her face.
– Next, I’m thinking about vertical and horizontal…. I always need some vertical shots of the “getting in the dress” process for blogging purposes. These vertical shots show the whole dress and once I take that vertical shot, I scoot in close for another vertical shot that is tighter. (I do this because I’m thinking of the blog post! I also want to capture one of two gorgeous horizontal shots of this part of the day too! Horizontal shots will break up the blog post AND give my couple get options for their album design!)
– After the bride is zipped, buttoned or laced into her dress, then I have a whole new list of things that I want to capture. I work hard to capture some vertical shots of JUST the bride acting like she’s putting her earrings in. I usually use my 50mm for these shots so that it’s focused just on the bride and the background is out of focus.
– Now is the time when I get to be creative because I’ve gotten my “must have” shots. Many brides will have their mom or MOH help them get ready, or even both! When its time for putting on shoes and the veil, I am more relaxed knowing I go those first initial important moments I can move around and get different angles and if I am in an angle I really like, I might stage a few of the getting ready ( zipper/button shots) again from a different view.
So before I go I should probably share that EVERY wedding is different and this is just ONE example to learn from!!! I hope that it was helpful walking through my thought process during this 10 min span of the wedding day!!! If you like hearing my thought process and my approach to certain parts of the day, let me know and I’ll keep doing them!!
Hi Friends! Happy…. Tuesday? I feel like I have no idea what day it is lately! I need to get better with that, so yes! Happy Tuesday! I asked over on my instagram for some blog post ideas that you may want to see in the upcoming posts, and today I am sharing one that a bride asked me about: Wedding Budget- Where to spend and where to splurge!
When it comes to a wedding budget, you might be feeling frustrated when searching for vendors and all the things for your wedding day. Planning your wedding comes with a lot of pressure and conversations about the things you should spend money on and what you should save on. While there are few right and wrong answers for an event like this, ( I say this because it is your event and your day, and you can plan it however you please.) there are some recommendations that I can provide to help you along the way.
In many cases, when it comes to certain things, I will search on how to save money but lets be real, I can be a bit of an over spender too when it comes to others. Budgets are different for everyone so this will be hard to share some advice, but it is something I recommend you to think about before starting your wedding planning process.
When thinking about this blog post and how to communicate my thoughts, I compiled a list based on what I did when planning my wedding day. The most important thing to remember when reading is that even if these prices are not your budget, the recommendations of what you could spend and/or save on will still stay the same. The prices below are a reference for you to see what you can expect to spend in certain circumstances, and what you could possibly save on if you went another route.
WHAT TO SAVE ON
Wedding Flowers: Savings $4,000+
I love flowers and I LOVE photographing them, but I am also a firm believer that a little can go a long way. First, decide on the overall look you want when it comes to your wedding flowers. Create a Pinterest board and pin like crazy and then seek out smaller florists whose work you don’t see everywhere. These vendors may be who are most likely looking to build their portfolio of clients and who not only have lower prices, but might be more open to negotiating. I personally am not a fan of negotiating someones work when it comes to the wedding industry, but if you want to make it work for your budget, there is no harm in asking. Another option is to DIY your wedding flowers with a retailer such as Costco, or go with a local grocery store who can create and deliver the arrangements for you. Many of my brides have used Whole Foods or Hannafords for their flowers and I was amazed when I heard that! I never would have thought to look at a grocery store for wedding flowers. (Mindblown!) My last idea would be to ditch the boutonnieres and use something meaningful. For my wedding the groomsmen each had a pink ribbon on their jackets in memory of my mother who passed away from breast cancer in 2002. You can also use the bridesmaid bouquets as your centerpiece flowers!
another option for the centerpiece is not having flowers. You can search a bunch of DIY centerpieces and you can most likely find the materials to make them from online yard sale sites like the Facebook Marketplace. There are great sites just for brides selling their details and the price of them can also be negotiated.
Wedding Cake: Savings $1,000.00+
Many venues will have a cake included in their wedding packages. If this is the case, when going to your testing, you have options to add on and upgrade to filling, layers, etc. You can choose to stay with the simple type of cake that the package included to stay within budget. The simple cake is always yummy and no one will remember what filling you had inside. Another way things add up here is having additional desserts. This can add up especially when you have a large wedding guest list. One idea I heard about from some of my brides is that you can get a small cake made just for the cake cutting ceremony of the night and then behind the scenes, a large sheet cake can be cut and given to guests. No one will know the difference.
Champagne Toast: Savings $600.00+
Having some bubbly at a party is always a good time, however, you can serve a champagne alternative instead and you will be able to enjoy the sparkles without feeling the guilt of being over budget. One idea you can utilize is, instead of having guests raise their champagne glasses, you can have them raise the drink they have in their hand instead of having a separate champagne pour. The reason I think this option ends up working so well is because chances are by the time the wedding toast comes around you’re already seated at the reception tables and drinking your beverage of choice for the evening. It will save you money and guests will never notice.
Wedding Favors: Savings $300.00 +
Thanking guests for coming to your wedding is an amazing thing to do (and you should!) but it’s easy to go overboard. This is something you can DIY an create something that is personal and homemade. Some ideas are: DIY sugar scrub, adult hot coco, chocolates… I am sure Pinterest has many more ideas for you. Also, if DIY isn’t your jam, you can search for wedding favors under $3.00 per person.
Wedding Invitations: Savings $600+
These days a simple way to send out an invitation is electronically. You can really save money this way, however I do think that you should spend time to create a gorgeous wedding invitation suite because not only do I love photographing them at the start of your day, I think they set the tone to tell your story and your wedding day. Some sites you can get beautiful invitations at a lower cost is Minted and Etsy. If you want to DIY you can always get a template from Etsy and create it on your own.
Wedding Coordinator/Planner: You can Splurge: 10%-20% of your budget for a wedding planner, and half that for a coordinator depending on amount of time you opt to have them for. OR you can Save and utilize the day of coordinator for your event.
Now I have met so many WONDERFUL wedding planners throughout the years and without them, I am sure everything wouldn’t have been as planned. They are amazing creatives and I have a huge respect for them to get it all right months leading up to the wedding and during. Many venues have their own wedding coordinators who you speak to many times before the wedding, communicating your vision and they are there on the day to be sure it is set up and the way you had hoped. This service is included in the package cost. Because many venues had a coordinator, it is not necessary to have a wedding planner separate from that which will save you a lot of money. However, Wedding planners do beautiful work and can ease from nerves so it is entirely up to you.
Wedding Food: Expect more modern catering to start at $90/pp and up to SAVE money you can choose a buffet style for about $30 + per person.
You don’t have to serve filet mignon or lobster at your wedding to have guests rave about the food. Many people will use a buffet style service for their wedding with lots of different options and the meal for this do not need to be extravagant. Buffet style will help to save on your budget and everyone will be happily fed.
Wedding Venue: Expect to pay, on average, $3,000 and up for a venue rental for at least 125 people.
This is a tough one to categorize… I mean, venues are not cheap. I wouldn’t want to spend a crazy amount on a rental fee depending on the location for your event and number of people attending. There are so many beautiful venues you can’t step foot in hearing their price is no less than $6,000, and that is okay! just know that there are other area’s you can look at to get the cost down. With the right venue then your flowers, lighting and linens become less expensive letting you now start with a clean canvas that could look amazing with minimal touches. Don’t be afraid to tell the venue your budget and see how they can make it work, especially for a dream venue. You can also eliminate the venue/rental fee and opt to have your wedding at a restaurant, like The Smithville Inn, where my wedding was and many of these things were already included in the package price.
Wedding Dress: Save $500.00 +
This could be in the spurge section too but I have it here because I know many people who have saved on their wedding dress, myself included! The experience of going to a dress shop with your girls is something that should not be skipped- do it! Book that appointment, but know that you do not need to say “YES” to the dress that day. You can always think about it and go back if needed. That being said, if you think you found THE ONE at a dress shop, there is a 90% chance you can find that dress at a lower cost. How? Well, you can check for a Sample Sale. You can also check online. When I purchased my Sophia Tolli Designer dress originally 1,450.00 I searched high and low looking for the cost to be a little lower than that. I KNEW that was THE ONE and I did not give up. I found it one night on ebay!! Who would have thought?! well, I did and I got my dress, in the right size (whattt) for $800.00. I couldn’t believe it. It was so perfect and to this day I would still choose that same dress, I love it so much! Another website you can check is www.preownedweddingdresses.com
WHAT TO SPLURGE ON
Wedding Photographer: Splurge: $3,500-$5,000+
There are definitely ways you can save once you have picked out your dream wedding photographer but the key is to choose a wedding photographer who does not market themselves as a “budget” photographer. These photographers are all starting out, and will work with you for whatever it is you are willing to pay. I remember.. I was there once. Now, while there are so many amazing photographers out there who are out of people’s budgets ( mine included to some), there are many outstanding ones too for half the price and they are worth it. Depending on the area you live/are getting married a great photographer might start their prices around $2,500.00. My personal experience and since I am a wedding photographer, I would aim to spend $3500-$5000 (starting) for wedding photography. If you do not have a high budget for Photography, I would consider cutting something else out to make it work. Now this doesn’t mean that if you don’t spend thousands on your wedding photographer you’re going to get mediocre photos. Just keep in mind the location and many bride favorites are in that higher range.
Wedding Musicians/DJs: Splurge: $1,000-$4,000+
When someone gets engaged, the first thing I tell them is- Book the big stuff first. Venue, Photographer and DJ. I have been to weddings with horrible DJ’s and I have been to weddings with amazing DJs. Meet with them first, share with them your music vision. Plan to choose a DJ with high recommendations on sites like The Knot. You can also ask your photographer or Venue for recommendations they have as well. For my wedding, I had THE BEST DJ in South Jersey. My wedding happened to be his first wedding and we still talk about how amazing the whole day was, and he went over and beyond our musical expectations. Since we were his first wedding, we saved on the DJ but not everyone will have that “luck”, if we call it that. Our DJ is no longer in business but since our wedding he was the DJ for many of our friends, and others! I felt like we helped jump kick his business and I love it. I was sad to hear they ended their business but they have 2 beautiful babies and have more time to spend with them. A way to save money on a DJ is to use a playlist and have a friend take over the music for the night however I don’t recommend this added stress. Invest in a great DJ.
There you have it. My save and splurge recommendations for your wedding day. Like I mentioned before, these are all my opinions when it comes to planning your wedding day. Many people are on a tight budget and I totally understand that. That is okay. There are ways to have the wedding of your dreams with the budget that you have! Have fun planning your big and and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Hi, I’m Alex. I am a lifestyle photographer who absolutely loves her job and everything that comes with it. I appreciate the people I meet, the places I go and everything there is to learn about photography.