the wedding experience | step-by-step
Below, you will find detailed information and timelines regarding your wedding photography experience and what you can expect before, during, and after your wedding day.
1. Do a happy Dance.
You've hired the best photographers for your big day and we are THRILLED to be a part of this journey with you! Take a moment and celebrate!
2. Initial timeline planning
One of the first things we will do is send you our initial timeline planning questionnaire. We know that you won't have all the answers right away, but it is important for us to start the conversation about the timing of the events of your big day. The first thing we will do is determine when sunset time is on your wedding day. This we do for an important reason: to determine when "golden hour" is! Which means, the prettiest, dreamiest sunset light of the day (roughly 1 hour before sunset). This is always our starting point, and we build the timeline for the day based off of when sunset occurs -- this will allow us to plan for the BEST light of the day and all the pretty photos we can take of you at that time!
We will also be able to help you determine when your ideal ceremony time will be (after we've determined when sunset is, and what other events are occurring during the day). This is a critical step especially for winter weddings, as the sun sets very early (4pm in some cases!) and any portraits with natural light must occur before we lose the sun for the day.
2. your engagement SESSION.
Your engagement session is a great way for us to get to know you as a couple and also gives you a great opportunity to practice in front of the camera. Not only will you shake the photo nerves, but we'll actually have a great time together... and we'll get you to stop "fake smiling" and dig out that real smile! Promise!
Engagement sessions are one hour and scheduled Monday through Thursday only, as we have many weddings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (and our rare, free weekend days we spend as a family!). We offer sunrise and sunset sessions, to utilize the best light of the day (sunrise + 1 hour or sunset minus 90 minutes).
To schedule and help you plan for your session, we will send you our "Engagement Session Planning" questionnaire, which will cover a small range of ideas for scheduling, locations, hair + makeup, etc. If you need outfit ideas, check out our "What to Wear" inspiration board on Pinterest as well as our Rent the Runway Favorites on Pinterest as well. We highly recommend getting professional hair + makeup for your session.
After your engagement session, you’ll receive a link to view your gallery within 3 weeks. You’ll be able to download the digital files and purchase prints directly from your online gallery. Many clients also use their engagement photos for "Save the Date" cards, holiday cards, wedding invitations or even showcase them in one of our custom photo guest books or signing canvasses.
If you're planning to send out Save the Date cards, please make sure to let us know, as you'll generally want to have those sent out 6 or more months in advance of your wedding date (longer if you will be inviting many out-of-town guests). To ensure your Save the Dates are sent in a timely manner, make sure to schedule your session AT LEAST 3 weeks in advance of when you'd like to have your cards sent out by; the earlier, the better!
6. wedding planning QUESTIONNAIREs.
As we head toward the wedding day, we want to be intimately involved in the details of the wedding day timeline. We want to know all the little details, everything from where everything is happening, all the way down to what type of fastening does your wedding dress have (since a zipper takes less time to fasten than a corset!). We will also go over who should be included in your family + group portraits. And certainly, we also want to know who all of the vendors are that will be involved on the wedding day, so that we can coordinate ahead of time, if need be.
7. planning your wedding day TIMELINE.
We have years of experience with weddings and creating custom timelines for our wedding couples! We prefer to create the timeline for you, to give to the venue, when possible. This is one of the most important details to complete as planning your photos around the best natural light is crucial to getting the most out of your photography experience!
We will help you plan out the ideal timeline for the day, which makes your day flow smoothly and stress-free! If you want to take photos at multiple locations, we have to plan for that. If you are getting ready 30 minutes from the venue, we need to plan for that! We are pros when it comes to making sure you have a great time AND we have enough time to create the amazing images you're hiring us for!
If you have a wedding planner or a day-of planner at the venue, please have them connect with us to discuss any time constraints. While a wedding planner might believe that 12pm at high noon is the best time for your couples photographs, we will recommend that we set aside most of our bride+groom portrait time in the late afternoon/early evening or closer to sunset to ensure the very best light for your images.
8. wedding day prep
The day before the wedding, we will pack all of our bags, charge our batteries, format our memory cards and load up the car. We will have all of your timelines, questionnaires and any other items we need in both printed form and electronically via the app for our studio management system. We come prepared, no matter what comes our way. Rain or shine, snow or humidity.... we're ready!
9. THE WEDDING.
We take photos. We laugh with the groomsmen and dance with Grandpa. We cry during the vows (ok, Laura cries...). We dance with you on the dance floor and can even take photos at the same time -- true fact!
We are hidden ninjas when it is appropriate and we are not afraid to get crazy close/high/far away to get "the shot". You are paying us to document the day the way it FEELS, not just how it looks. We might look silly or crazy, we might stand on chairs, lay on the ground, or hide in bushes.... but we promise you one thing -- beautiful, emotional, creative, AMAZING images!
11. after the wedding.
When we get home from a wedding day, we are TIRED! We've basically been running laps, doing squats, carrying heavy camera bags and there isn't much energy left... but we will always start uploading all of the photos from our memory cards onto 3 separate computer storage devices -- two external hard drives and a third backup to "the cloud" for safekeeping.
Next, we have to start going through the few THOUSAND images that we've captured of your amazing wedding day -- this does take some time!! We go through and "cull" down to our favorite 1000-1300 images... and from there, we will eventually narrow that down further to about 700-1000. We'll select only the BEST images from the day, so you won't have 5 of the exact same pose... but you might have two! Especially with family and group portraits, we want to ensure you have choices!
We do typically share a sneak peek on social media. If you're planning to use your images for Thank You cards, please let us know and we will get you a few images to use.
12. POST PRODUCTION & DELIVERY.
Since we generally have several weddings that are ready to be photographed and edited at any given time, your wedding might not be in our editing queue immediately after your wedding. We always edit in the order that we photograph weddings... and we definitely do not want to keep your images any longer than we have to!
Depending on the time of the year, it may take up to 12 weeks to finish hand-editing all of your images, and our contract allows for 90 days for delivery. Once the images are fully edited, we will create a custom photo slideshow set to music of our favorite 150+ images of your day -- the perfect way to experience your images for the first time! We will also upload them into an online gallery for your family, friends, and vendors to view. Our online galleries are online and available for 10 years from the date of upload. You will be responsible for downloading and storing your images safely -- we recommend backing them up in two locations, and at least one of them in another cloud-storage device, such as Dropbox or Amazon Photos or Google Drive.
12. Private Photo Reveal.
Our favorite part -- the REVEAL! You've been waiting patiently and now you get to see your stunning wedding images for the first time! To us, this is the most special part of this entire process (aside from the whole I Do part!). Once all the editing is complete, we finally get to invite you back to our studio to see your images for the first time. As you sip on some champagne, we will celebrate and relive the best day ever!! You will see a slideshow of our favorite images of the day, along with a pre-designed album draft. Your full gallery is also available (and you'll be able to look and enjoy them forever!). As you reminisce about this incredible day, we will also share our favorite moments with you and tell you more stories about what we saw and heard and experienced. We are storytellers at heart, and we want to bring your images to life by sharing these memories with you.
We will also be able to review sample albums and wall art as you discuss how to display your beautiful images for generations to come.
13. PRINTS & ALBUMS.
If your collection includes an album or if you'd like to add any canvas wall art, framed prints or other wall art, we will pre-design an album for you to see, taking all the guesswork out of "how on earth do we pick our favorites?!" About 80% of our clients make zero changes to their album draft, about 20% make one round of images swaps or adds.
The album design process generally takes about two weeks, depending on how quickly you choose your images and finalize any changes to a draft of your album design. Once the design is approved, it can take up to 6 weeks for us to receive your handcrafted Heirloom Album at our studio. After a final inspection, you can pick up your album at our studio or we will ship your album to you with a signature requirement; we do not allow your investment to be delivered to just anyone or left on a front porch in the rain! You may also opt to pick up the album directly from us -- we do LOVE to see our clients' faces when they see their first family heirloom in print!
If you'd like to order wall art, canvas, metal prints or any other artwork, we will happily design a mock up for you, with a generic wall or with a photo of the space in your own home that you want to fill.
14. and they lived happily ever after.
Because that's what this is all really about anyway... the legacy.