I am guilty. Guilty of not printing our photos out like I would hope to. When my husband and I bought our house, we said we did not want to have tons of frames all over the place, maybe just 1 or 2 photos would be nice but we wanted to keep it minimal. Well, we really only had 1 canvas print of a family photo that was taken at Thanksgiving in 2017. It is not my favorite photo I have ever taken, but it is the first full family photo we have had where we are all dressed nicely for the holiday.
When was the last time you printed your photos? Has it been way too long and you just realized you should probably back up your cell phone photos to your computer while we are thinking about this subject? You my friend, are not alone! Smart phone photos are so great that you can literally snap the photo, and share it with others on social media in seconds! I love taking photos on my phone… in fact…. my storage is almost full! See… you’re not alone!
SMART PHONE PRINTING-
Something I do is share my family photos on my PERSONAL instagram account. This account gets updated once a week usually ( or when I remember) and I upload many images at once. This is mainly for the purpose of printing through CHATBOOKS.
Chatbooks is a great way to have your cell phone photos printed. The books begin at $10 and once your instagram hits 60 photos, they create a book for you. You can use a consistent hashtag to keep the images you want printed all together and then the book is designed with that. These are a great way to never lose those precious moments you captured with your phone and a great way to have your photos displayed at home in a decor basket under or on a coffee table for guests to see!
To keep the budget on a lower side, I use the standard chatbook with a soft back and instagram photos.
I have seen so many blogs and pinterest photos of these GORGEOUS gallery photo walls! I am telling you, I am obsessed with how these look! You can use photos from your phone, and edit them to make them all consist in color, you can use professional photos as well knowing that when these are edited, the color will be consistent and all you have to do is select the frames!
Since we moved we now have beautiful wall space that having a gallery wall will look so nice! We just need to decide where we want to display it. I printed out 9 photos that I made all black and white since the photos were not from one session rather than from over the past few years so I knew the colors wouldn’t be consistent. I got 9 gold frames from Walmart- Better Homes and Garden 11×14 matted for 8×10 photos. I love how this looks and I can not wait to see it hanging on the wall all together.
The best thing about a gallery wall?? You can easily take the frames down and change out the photos when you want to!
Here are a few gallery wall inspirations I found online. **Note these are not my images but just images to give you an example of a gallery wall.
@ALSOPFAMILYADVENTURES- Katelyn James Photography
Once our gallery is hanging up, I will be sure to share how it came out! 🙂
FAMILY YEAR BOOK-
This is the same thing as a photo book only for me, I am creating this to be a yearly book where I have all our adventures captured and organized and at the end of each year I will place them into a book. My cousin, Jordan Brian Photography does something similar to this but instead of a printed book, he creates a slideshow with music and video. That is a wonderful Idea, however I am sticking to the hard back, paper pages and these books will be out all the time for us and guests to see!
Each year I take thousands and thousands of photos! I have been wanting to create these books since Ethan entered the world and I just kept putting it off. I never wanted to carry by “big” camera around because watching that and watching my live children run around in crowded places, I did not want to worry about my camera! So, here is something I realized I can do!
Use my cell phone. Edit the cell phone photos with my Ali B Preset that I use on all my photos in Lightroom Mobil. This will help them to look professional even when they are not. If you do not have Lightroom- I recommend the app PIC- TAP- GO. This app is $1.99 and has nice filters to help make your photos professional. ( My favorite filters are: Bright side and air)
Keep my FIRST “big” camera downstairs on a console table so that I can access it quickly while at home. Since I started doing this, I have taken more photos with a real camera than I usually do of my own kids and family! ( you have no idea how happy that makes me!)
I am using my FIRST big camera because then I am not stressed out and worried that something will happen to my work camera I use for clients. This takes a huge weight off my shoulders- I still am careful but knowing I do not need that one for work is kinda a big deal!
So, I finally made the time to go through folders and folders of images from 2014-2018 and I am starting to create the books! I edited the images pretty quickly since some were already edited from that time, and I am creating the year books through BLURB. These books will be HUGE. There are so many photos from the years and because they will be huge, I am using a hard cover with floppy pages like an actual year book so that I can fit as many photos and pages as I can inside.
Once these are printed and I get them in my hands, I can not wait so share them along with you on social media and this blog!
WEDDING GUEST BOOK-
I have had several brides print their own album from their engagement session which will be used as their wedding guest book! I love this idea…. now I may be biased because this is what my husband and I used for our wedding guestbook, but really its so fun getting to look back on your engagement sessions together and then reading all these nice things your guests have said to you on your wedding day! All of my wedding packages come with the rights to your photos which means you can print from anywhere you’d like! I have sugestions on where to print for the optimal quality photos but its totally up to you and your budget how much you want to spend. This year I am also offering album options printed from a professional printing lab. They are absolutely Ahhhhhmazing!
Are you planning your perfect beach front wedding? I have photographed many ceremonies and portraits on the beach for several years and now that I have established a business where I focused on serving clients on Cape Cod, I like to say that I now specialize in beach weddings!
Now, I know what you’re thinking- lets just got to the beach and get married…right? Well, there are a few things to consider logistically when planning to be married on the beach…unless you are using a privately owned beach or oceanfront venue.
A beach wedding may come with a few challenges so I put together a check list for you to make your toes in the sand, beach wedding a little easier.
BEACH WEDDING PERMITS
Having a permit is not always required if you have your wedding on a public beach, however if you have a large amount of guests attending, you may want to reserve a large space on the sand for as long as the ceremony will take place, a permit might be a good idea to look into. Before choosing the beach that your heart falls in love with, I have put together a list of questions to ask-
Does the beach require a permit to hold a wedding?Some beaches allow small weddings on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, many public beaches require a permit regardless of the guest count.
If the beach does require a permit, how much does it cost—and are there any other fees?Keep in mind that some permits have a nonrefundable application fee, and some charge additional fees if you have a larger number of guests.
How is the permit fee structured?Is it a “per hour” charge or a flat rate that covers the entire length of the event?
How far in advance does the permit need to be submitted for approval?Some beach locations issue permits as far as a year ahead, so start this process early!
How large of an area of the beach does the permit cover?If you weren’t required to map out your desired area during the application process, be sure to ask how much space you’ll have reserved (it usually depends on your guest count).
Will liability insurance be required?Some locations ask you to get liability insurance naming the city/county as an additional insured.
What is the maximum number of people allowed under the permit?This includes not only you and your guests, but your bridal party, officiant, photographer, and any other vendors.
BridalTIP: If all this permit talk makes your head spin, then we have 4 words for you: Hire. A. Wedding. Planner! They’ll do all the leg work for you in terms of permits and logistical planning so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
Beach Ceremony Logistics
If you are getting married on a public beach, having photobombs of beach goers is one thing to consider. There also may be beach cleaning scheduled, construction areas, public events, etc. These distractions could all be planned around the same time as your ceremony. Having this in mind, look into what else might be scheduled for that day and plan accordingly. This might mean the ceremony time will need to be bumped up a few hours or pushed back. Some questions you can ask are:
Are there any dates that are off-limits? Many beaches don’t allow weddings on holidays, like the July 4th weekend.
Can we reserve a specific time slot for our ceremony? If at all possible, schedule your beach wedding ceremony to take advantage of the best light for wedding photos.
Are delivery trucks allowed near the ceremony site? If not, are there loading/unloading zones close by? Vehicles are frequently not allowed on the beach, so all items may need to be hand-carried to your ceremony site.
Is there ample parking nearby for guests?
Are there public restrooms nearby?
Is the ceremony site handicap accessible? If not, see if they’ll allow golf cart rentals to transport any elderly or disabled relatives.
Can the site we plan to use be cordoned off? Beach weddings are pretty open to public viewing, so roping off an area might give you at least the illusion of privacy—and keep out any wedding crashers.
How early can we set up before the ceremony start time? Nothing like trying to give sunbathers the boot as the clock is ticking to ceremony time!
Beach Wedding Restrictions
Many public beaches have BEACH RULES when it comes to protecting the oceanside environment. Confetti, streamers, helium balloons, glass, styrofoam, rice and sometimes faux flowers are prohibited in many areas. Respect any signs that you see along the beach and be sure to find out a few this:
Are chairs, arches, aisle runners, or other decorative elements allowed?
Is amplified sound permitted? And is there a limit on the decibel level? Oftentimes beaches require speakers to face the ocean.
Are there electrical outlets nearby/available to use? If not, can we bring in a generator?
Is alcohol allowed? Note that most public beaches have open container laws that regulate or prohibit the consumption of alcohol.
What about pets? Many public beaches have a “No Pets” policy, so if you want Fido to be your ring bearer you better check into that.
Are bonfires or open flames allowed? If not, consider flameless LED lanterns to illuminate your event.
Are there size restrictions on tents or canopies? If your wedding is going to take place on a hot and sunny day, think about adding some shade with a wind-proof tent or canopy.
Life’s A Beach
We all know that Mother Nature can be a BEACH! so be sure to consider the following when planning your beach wedding:
When is high tide? You’ll want to avoid the possibility of your ceremony being dampened by waves.
What’s the forecast? If rain is predicted, you’ll need a contingency plan.
How windy will it be? You may need to windproof and weigh down some of your décor. (And rethink that cathedral-length veil!)
How noisy will our site be? Crashing waves, rustling breezes, and general beachgoer chit-chat can all add up to a pretty loud environment. Your sound system should be set up so that all your guests can hear your vows.
How hot will it be, and is there any shade? Wild guess, but you’re probably used to wearing a swimsuit on the beach. Now imagine being in a suit and tie, which is what your guy guests will likely be sporting… If there’s no shaded area, consider a canopy. But if that’s not allowed, giving out parasols can offer some protection from the sun.
How crowded will the beach be? Again, a beach wedding isn’t exactly private. If you really want to avoid the droves of summer bodies, consider an off-season wedding.
What’s the bug situation? There are some nasty insects that hover around seaweed, so try to situate your ceremony away from them.
Sand. Sand is a beach. Keep some towels and baby powder handy so you and your guests can dust off before the reception.
BRIDE TIP:Another thing that might need to be weather-proofed? Your bridal bouquet and other flowers. Many blooms don’t take kindly to direct sunlight, and the last thing you want is wilted wedding flowers in your photos.
Beach Wedding Receptions
Beach ceremonies are very popular, but if you are dreaming of having a sea side reception as well, this might be difficult to plan, you see… in many areas, partying on the beach is not allowed. I recommend that you have your ceremony on the beach and all your portraits on the beach too, then move the reception to an oceanfront venue. If you are really wanting to have it all in one place, and your heart is set on the beach front party, consider asking these questions:
Is a beach reception allowed? Many beaches will only accommodate wedding ceremonies.
Is cooking permitted on the beach? While you can eat on most beaches, cooking on the sand is oftentimes prohibited.
Can my caterer bring in food? They may be able to do so if they have a Special Event Permit, but keep in mind that there might not be a kitchen or prep space nearby.
Are there table décor restrictions? Many beaches don’t allow glass, so you may need to opt for plastic vases and cups.
Is live music allowed? Many beaches don’t allow amplified live music, but may allow some background music played via speakers.
One more time—is alcohol allowed? Probably not, but Google “Best U.S. Beaches to Legally Drink” if serving alcohol is high on your priority list.
Is there a curfew? Be sure to leave a cushion of time to gather your belongings and clean up all of your trash before the beach closes.
Prep Your Guests
High heels and sand don’t mix, right? Find creative ways to let your guests know not only what to wear at your wedding, but what else to expect.
Create a wedding website to highlight additional details about the day. Include a suggested dress code (e.g. “beach chic” or “smart casual”), along with a note about the anticipated weather. Depending on the forecast, mention bringing sunglasses, sunblock, paper fans, a hat, sweater, etc. You should also give your women attendees a heads-up about the sand situation so that they can opt for wedges or flats instead of stilettos!
Pick the perfect wedding save-the-dates and invitations to set the stage (and style) for your beach bash.
Consider giving out beach swag. A welcome basket at your ceremony entrance is a nice gesture. You may want to fill it with mini bottles of water, sunblock, bug spray, parasols, or anything else that might make your guests more comfortable in the beachy elements.
As a photographer, I do my best to capture those perfect moments in any lighting that I can. That being said, many beaches do not have an area that is shaded when the sun light is very harsh. The best way for me to capture your moments in the harsh sun light is to make sure that she sun us behind my subject. Depending on where the ocean is and the sun is at the time of day we are celebrating, consider the sun light being behind you to get the photos and backgrounds you are looking for.
I love my Ali B Brides!! To death! Everyday I’m reminded of how amazing it is to have friendships with my couples and families! They allow me to be creative and they give me time to shoot what I need to shoot. That’s why I am able to shoot SO many images! However, there’s always A LOT to think about on a wedding day! Many times I have arrived on the wedding day, and the invitations are not there, and the rings are with the groom. To help tie in your story of the day, the invitation and the rings are a few of the details I LOVE to shoot and style in many different ways! Now, its totally fine if you didn’t have your invite, I can always shoot that at home if you send it to me after the wedding day, however, to have those things with you on your wedding day, then we don’t have to think about it later.
Here are FIVE things that a lot of brides end up forgetting on their wedding day! It’s never intentional… these things just slip through the cracks and it’s totally understandable! A little reminder is always nice so enjoy!!
The top 5 things most brides forget!
1. Bouquets need to be delivered to YOU, not the church.
This is SO easy to forget and it’s totally fine if it happens! However, if you can remember to have your bouquets delivered to where you are getting ready, you’ll be able to have detail shots with your florals! I LOVE shooting the rings on flowers but I have to have the bouquets close by in order to make that happen! Even if you’re not sharing a first look, we still need your bouquets for bridesmaids portraits! Same for the bouts!
2. Don’t give the wedding bands to the best man! You’ll need ALL three for detail pictures. ( BRING YOUR WEDDING INVITATION SUITE!)
I know, every planning book says to give the best man the rings to hold onto before the ceremony but that actually isn’t ideal for your pictures! I can always shoot the ring shot during the reception but you’ll have more variety and natural light if I shoot them during your details in the morning!
3. Try sitting down in your dress before the wedding so that you’re aware of how hard that may be if your dress is tight!
This sounds dumb but it’s actually a real thing! I’ve had at least a dozen brides not be able to sit for dinner because of how tight their dress was! It was hard to BREATH when they sat down! So try your dress on beforehand and try sitting to make sure it’s possible! This is especially important if you’re having a sit down dinner!
4. If you want natural portraits, your heels are going to sink in the grass! Get heel stoppers!
Everyone LOVES those natural portraits in the field or under those gorgeous trees… but some brides forget that their precious heels are going to SINK on their walk out to the their portrait location. So, I recommend having a spare pair of flats or some HEEL STOPPERS to save the day!
5. You can’t see little imperfections in photos!
Brides, if you don’t remember any of these tips…. remember this one! Tiny imperfections do not show up in your portraits. If you have a little dirt on your dress, it’s really ok. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand wanting to be perfect going down the aisle! However, if something does happen and you have a little imperfection, don’t stress! I’ve had so many brides go down the aisle with a little spot here or there and I guarantee you can’t pick out those weddings on the blog! 🙂 So don’t let that stress you out. It’s ALL good! You’re going to look amazing!!!!
And here’s a little extra tip! ENJOY your day and stop every now and then to take in what’s happening! You’ll remember so much more of it if you STOP and enjoy specific moments throughout the celebration!!
The timeline. Ok you guys, I know this isn’t the most exciting part of wedding planning, but, it’s the one thing that will make or break your photography. You want to make sure that you are leaving your wedding with the photos that you want, so you need to plan the time to get them. After all, once the wedding is over, all you have left are the memories and the photos (and your spouse!).
Planning the timeline for the entire wedding day can be a daunting task. I love helping our brides create the perfect timeline to ensure they have enough time for all the different events of the day. I schedule a phone call about 2-3 weeks before your wedding day to help in creating your photography timeline. The phone call takes about 15-20 minutes and we will talk about all things wedding! I will answer any questions you may have, I will ask you a few questions as well and while we talk, I will be jotting down a bunch of notes to be sure when I create the final timeline, I do not miss anything.
And since I love helping my brides, I wanted to share a couple of tips with you. When planning your timeline, there are two major elements to keep in mind:
1. Your First Look
If you ARE planning on doing a first look at your wedding, you will get a lot of your photos done before the ceremony. This would be bridal party portraits (separate and combined) and bride and groom portraits. After the ceremony, all you would have left are family formals and a few “just married” photos. Plan on doing your first look two hours before your ceremony start time.
If you’re NOT doing a first look, this is where it gets tricky. You need to have ample time after the ceremony to get the bulk of your photos done. This includes family formals, combined bridal party, and bride and groom portraits. Depending on how large your families are, family formals can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The same goes with bridal party portraits. If you are not doing a first look, block out at least an hour and a half after the ceremony to have all these photos taken. If you are pressed for time, tell your family and bridal party not to go to the cocktail hour or the reception after the ceremony is over. It will be hard to take them away from congratulating friends and will take time to get them back for family pictures. Have everyone stay after the ceremony is over so you can knock out the photos as fast as possible. This way, you’re not wasting time or sunlight which brings me to my next point…
2. The Sunset
When it comes to picking your ceremony start time, you need to know when the sun will set. I consult SUNRISESUNSET.COM for all of our sessions and it’s AWESOME! I can look up the sunset for a specific day months in advance. Knowing the sunset time is crucial. If your ceremony is outdoors, you want to plan your ceremony start time about an hour and a half to two hours before the sunset time. For example, if the sun sets at 7:30pm, an ideal ceremony start time would be 5:30 or 6:00pm. This way, you don’t have the harsh afternoon sunlight beating down on you creating unflattering shadows and you won’t be squinting at each other. Even if you have trees or some shade for your ceremony site, the light will still streak through causing uneven and “speckled” light. This kind of light is very hard to photograph in and it’s just not flattering.
If you are NOT doing a first look, this is when you really need to pay attention to the sun set. If you plan your ceremony start time too close to sunset, you will not have enough time to get in all the family formals, bridal party and bride and groom portraits before the sun sets. Once the sun sets, you’ll be in the dark. Since I am a natural light photographer, once the sun has set, we are done with portraits. We move into the reception where I will use flash and having natural light doesn’t matter. If you want romantic portraits with soft, glowy light, make sure you have enough time after your ceremony to get them.
The last thing you want is to feel rushed on your wedding day. Add 10 minute buffers here and there just in case. This is one of the biggest days of your life and you can never get this day back! Make every moment and every minute count.
You can learn more about the wedding timeline in my Bridal Guide for all Ali B Brides! Contact me for more information!
I’ve been blogging for a long time… Ever since I started my business in 2012. Many of my blogs are based around my work- sharing with you the sessions I had with my amazing clients. I’ve broadened my posts from sessions to personal posts and now, some wedding wisdom! Wether you are an Ali B Bride….. or a bride looking for some guidance, I am here for you, girl!
If you book your wedding with me, I will provide you with an amazing guide that covers this topic! I am glad to get some info out to you on the blog so you can start planning now, because I know we can’t wait to pick out the clothes! 🙂
So, without further ado, here are a few tips and tricks to help prepare you for your engagement session!!
1. Many of my couples have two outfits for their engagement session. One outfit is normally on the dressier side and one outfit is more relaxed and casual. The more outfits you have, the fewer portraits you’ll receive but you will have more variety in your portraits.
2. Coordinating doesn’t mean “matching”. Wearing the same color in a different shade is actually more ideal than trying to find the EXACT color purple! For example, I would avoid both wearing navy tops and khaki bottoms because it could potentially come across as being very uniform-esque!
3. If one of you is wearing something with a lot of color and pattern, sometimes it’s best to have the other person wear a neutral to tone it down a bit.
4. This is just an idea! Take it or leave it! Some couples plan their attire to coordinate with their wedding day so that their Save The Dates match the wedding theme and decor!
5. Don’t over think it! Some of my favorite outfits have been when the guy is just wearing a simple colored v-neck! ( have you seen that SNL skit on the V-neck?? I laugh every time… but seriously! They look amazing in photos!)
6. Make sure you are equal when it comes to how formal your attire is. If the bride is wearing a little black dress…. the groom probably shouldn’t be in shorts and flip flops. 🙂
7. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and wear something that is unique to you! It’s great to wear a dress with a cardigan…. that’s probably what I would wear! however if you have a unique style, be sure to show it off! Some of my favorite engagement shoots have incorporated my couple’s unique style!
8. If you’re wearing plaid or other patterns, the bigger the better!! it is true that larger plaid photographs better than tiny little-checkered patterns. It would be better to have a solid dress shirt than a shirt with teeny tiny patterns. The camera can’t pick those tiny patterns up from far away and that can sometimes result in CHROMATIC ABERRATION.
9. Accessorize! Scarves, necklaces, belts…. I love them all! They can add so much to an outfit AND it gives you something to hold onto if you don’t have long hair!
10. Last but not least, this is a tip that I highly recommend paying attention to: Wear attire that is flattering to your figure and your skin tone. It seems like common sense but I’m guilty of this all of the time. We all know that everyone has certain things that look GREAT on them and certain things that aren’t really made for them. For example… I’m pale…. I’ve accepted it… I know that’s never going to change… and because of that, I also know that wearing a strapless, pale yellow sundress for a portrait session is NOT IDEAL! I also know that I personally never LOVE the way I look in pictures in sleeveless shirts. Why? I don’t know! I’m fine with my arms…. but I just don’t like that look! So if I were to have a portrait session with PJ… I wouldn’t wear a sleeveless shirt. It’s a compliment to say “Oh, well Alex will make it look amazing”…. but the truth is, if you don’t like the way you look in stripes on a normal, day-to-day basis, you’re not going to love the way you look in your images that I take. If you’re self conscious about your legs, don’t wear a mini-skirt. If you’re self-conscious about your arms, it’s probably not smart to wear a tube top…. not that those are even “in” anyway (thank goodness). Bottom line, make sure you wear something that you’re comfortable in. Sure, I’m going to teach you how to pose in super flattering ways, but you’ll love your images so much more if you wear an outfit that you’re comfortable and CONFIDENT in!! Confidence photographs well!! 😉
BONUS TIP!!! :
If you want extra ROMANTIC images, consider wearing something long and FLOWY! I absolutely love photographing fabric that flows in the wind! Also, light & neutral colors allow images to appear more light and airy no matter what the weather is like! Get ready because I will make you play with that flow!
This information is actually coming straight from my Bridal Guide! I love giving our brides resources to help them feel prepared and ready for their experience with us!!
Hi Friends! Awhile ago I posted the top 5 reasons to have an engagement session. you can see that post here. Now, I am listing out a few of my favorite Father/Daughter, Mother/Son dance songs! This part of the wedding is always just the sweetest! I love watching the parents of the bride and groom so in love with their “forever” baby. Now, you see, I am a mom of 2 boys. I can’t even think of them past the age of what they are in at this moment, so watching the parent dances at a wedding, you better believe I usually have waterworks happening behind my lens….!
The father/daughter dance is one of the most touching, and truly magical moments. I know that it might be hard to find the perfect song. I was once a bride looking for the song to dance with my dad to… The song you need must represent the unique bond you share with your dad. You need to be extra careful with the lyrics here. You don’t want that awkwardness, as it becomes obvious the song is about a more romantic relationship. What you need is a song about fatherly & motherly love, and it is not that simple to find. For my wedding, I was having a hard time choosing, so I reached out to my dad and asked him what he thought. Right away he said ” What a Wonderful World.” So, thats what it was.
Around the time of my wedding I remember dancing in my driveway with my dad during the summer to perfect our dance. ( I was a ballroom dance teacher then and I was trying to teach my dad the waltz…) but if your dad is anything like mine…. he already knows how to waltz, so teaching the steps for him wasn’t necessary! haha. This moment of our dance during my wedding day was special. He was so happy and I was so happy and it was just so nice to have a moment with him, together on the dance floor, dancing to the song he chose.
So if you are stuck on the song, just ask. Ask your mom or dad what song they might want to dance to when they have their moment with you. You can give your favorite 5 they can choose from, or you can let them completely change it.
Here is my list of songs that I have loved in my wedding photography experience. These songs can be used for either of the parent dances:
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.