For Brides: Should We Do a First Look? | NC Wedding Photographer

This post is part of a series for brides (and grooms!) or for those who are helping someone plan a wedding. My goal for this series is to help you make informed and educated decisions about your wedding day so that it will be as beautiful as possible! If you're joining me for the first time, you can catch up here:

1. Should I Do an Engagement Session?
2. What Should I Wear for My Engagement Session?
3. Should I Do Bridal Portraits?

4. Making a Wedding Day Photography Timeline

5. How to Get Great Getting Ready Pictures
6. 6 Things Every Bride Should Get Ready for Her Photographer
7. Should We Do a First Look?

Should We Do a First Look

There are a lot of opinions on this topic! Before I share my thoughts with you, let me explain what a "First Look" is in case you haven't heard this term before:

What is a "First Look?" 
The first look is a special time when the bride and groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony. It's intimate and private with only your photographers (and videographer if you choose to have one) there to capture each moment as it unfolds.

Now, I want to preface my opinion but sharing that I think the decision on whether or not to do a "First Look" is 100% up to the bride and groom. Your wedding day is YOUR wedding day and not your mom's or your photographer's or anyone else's day. So ultimately, you and your fiancé need to decide together on what is best for you. Also, while I'm about to share my thoughts on all the benefits of doing a first look, I completely understand why people choose not to do a first look. Most of my couples decide to do a first look, but I have some that decide not do it and want to be more traditional. I completely understand that and I know there is definitely something special about your groom seeing you for the first time as you walk down the aisle!

First Look Picture

With all of that said, my opinion is that doing a "First Look" has many benefits and should seriously be considered as you're planning your wedding. Here's some of the main reasons I encourage couples to think about doing a "First Look":

1. You'll Get Intimate Time Together
Wedding days are a whirlwind and brides and grooms usually have no private time together to connect and take it all in. During the "First Look," I always tell the couple that I want them to enjoy the time together and not worry about me being there. I far stand back with a zoom lens and allow them to embrace and interact without any direction or posing. My goal and hope is that they'll forget I'm even there! I also think having some intimate time together before your ceremony can ease a lot of nerves and pressure. During my own first look, I found that it really helped me calm down and be a lot less nervous and it was such a sweet time to talk and interact with Alex before our ceremony. 

First Look_DiPrima Photography_NC Wedding Photographer

2. You'll Get More Pictures
You're investing a lot of money into your wedding photography and you want to maximize the amount of time you have for pictures! Doing a "First Look" gives you more time before the wedding for bridal party pictures and bride and groom pictures. Instead of trying to cram bridal party pictures, bride and groom pictures, and family formals into an hour after the ceremony, you will have a lot more time if you do a "First Look." In addition, couples who do a "First Look" get a lot more bride and groom portraits. And I promise you, those pictures are some of the most important ones you'll take on your wedding day because you will cherish them and they'll end up hanging all over your house (90% of the wedding pictures displayed in my house are portraits of me and Alex that we took before our ceremony!). 

First Look_DiPrima Photography_NC Wedding Photographer

3. You'll Get to Your Your Reception Faster
Let's be honest, no one really like waiting around after the ceremony to get all the pictures done before entering the reception. Everyone is ready to get to the reception and party! Doing a "First Look" cutsout most of the wait time for you and your wedding party so that everyone can get to the reception faster and enjoy it longer. 

First Look_DiPrima Photography_NC Wedding Photographer

From the Groom's Perspective
What is it like to do a "First Look" from the groom's perspective? Obviously every groom is different, but here's a quote from my husband, "We chose to do a first look, and boy am I glad we did! It made the day run so much smoother and gave us more time to get the shots we really wanted. Now some of those images are among our most cherished."

Here's a shot of my husband and I during our first look (captured by the amazing Naisang Photography):

If you found this post helpful or interesting please share it and leave your thoughts or feedback in the comments section below! Check back next Wednesday and I'll be sharing my next post in the "For Brides" series on how to get great "Bride and Groom Portraits."

For Brides: 6 Things Every Bride Should Get Ready for Her Photographer | NC Wedding Photographer

This post is part of a series for brides (and grooms!) or for those who are helping someone plan a wedding. My goal for this series is to help you make informed and educated decisions about your wedding day so that it will be as beautiful as possible! If you're joining me for the first time, you can catch up here:

1. Should I Do an Engagement Session?
2. What Should I Wear for My Engagement Session?
3. Should I Do Bridal Portraits?

4. Making a Wedding Day Photography Timeline

5. How to Get Great Getting Ready Pictures
6. 6 Things Every Bride Should Get Ready for Her Photographer

6 Things Every Bride Should Get Ready for Her Photographer

I have found that one of the things brides often forget about is getting their details together for their photographer. I completely understand because I know that as a bride you have about a million things going on in your head! However, it really helps to gather all of your details together before your photographer arrives. It's also really important to make sure all of your details are at either the "getting ready" location or the location where you and your photographer have agreed to shoot your details. As I mentioned in an earlier post, making sure your details are ready and that your photographer doesn't have to go searching for them could mean that you get hundreds and maybe even thousands more pictures on your wedding day!

I love taking detail shots and I think they're really important! Details shots add dimension and variety to your photos and to your album. Your details tie the theme and colors of your wedding day together beautifully and create lasting memories of all the beautiful elements that went into your day.

Here's a few of the important details you need to remember to get ready for your photographer:

1. Wedding Dress and Veil
I highly recommend having your wedding hang on a wooden hanger and also consider getting a customized hanger. You've spent a lot of money on your dress and so you want it to be displayed beautifully in your pictures! A nice hanger will look WAY better than  plastic hanger in your pictures! Also be sure not to forget your veil. Detail pictures can look really beautiful placed against a wedding veil.

2. Shoes
Make sure you have your shoes! Pictures of your shoes always look great in albums and they really give a sense of the style and color of your wedding day.

Detail Shot_NC Wedding Photographer

3. Wedding Rings and Other Jewelry
I've found that when I get ready to shoot details, the groom or best man almost always has part or all of the wedding rings. You definitely want to make sure that the bride or one of the bridesmaids has all 3 of the rings for the beginning part of the day so your photographer can get beautiful shots of all three rings together! Also, if you're wearing a necklace, bracelet, earrings or other jewelry have those ready for your photographer. In addition, be sure to include any other keepsakes or family heirlooms you want photographed.

Bridal Details_NC Wedding Photographer

4. Complete Invitation Set
Your invitation set really sets the tone and theme for your wedding. Be sure to have your save the date, invitation set, programs, and any other paper products or textures (like ribbons from your invitation or vintage stamps) you want photographed. I recommend putting all of these details in a zip lock bag or manilla envelope. 

Getting Ready_NC Wedding Photographer

5. The Bouquets and Boutonnières
Most brides have their flowers brought to their wedding venue. If possible, I recommend having them brought to your "getting ready" location or location where you've agreed to have your details shots. I love to incorporate flowers into detail shots and flowers always make gorgeous pictures!

6. Bridesmaid Dresses
I love taking pictures of all the bridesmaids dresses hanging up next to the wedding dress! If possible, I also recommend putting bridesmaid dresses on wooden hangers or personalized hangers. Bridesmaid dresses also make great backgrounds for some of your detail shots because they tie your color scheme together. 

Bridal Details_NC Wedding Photographer

I hope you found this post helpful! Check back next Wednesday for my next post in the "For Brides" series. I'll be answering the question: "Should We Do a First Look?"

Amanda & Keith's Wedding Featured on Rustic Wedding Chic | NC Wedding Photographer

I am so excited to announce that Amanda and Keith's lovely wedding I shot this past December was featured on Rustic Wedding Chic today! Amanda and Keith's cotton, barn wedding was absolutely beautiful! Not only because of the details and decorations, but more importantly because of Amanda and Keith's love for Christ and love for one another. See the full feature on Rustic Wedding Chic here. See their full wedding post here.

Rustic_Wedding_Chic_Feature_NC_Photographer

For Brides: How to Get Great Getting Ready Pictures | NC Wedding Photographer

This post is part of a series for brides (and grooms!) or for those who are helping someone plan a wedding. My goal for this series is to help you make informed and educated decisions about your wedding day so that it will be as beautiful as possible! If you're joining me for the first time, you can catch up here:

1. Should I Do an Engagement Session?
2. What Should I Wear for My Engagement Session?
3. Should I Do Bridal Portraits?

4. Making a Wedding Day Photography Timeline

5. How to Get Great Getting Ready Pictures

Get_Great_Getting_Ready_Pictures

Oftentimes, one of the most overlooked parts of the wedding day is where you get ready. It seems like a small thing, but it can actually make a significant difference in your pictures. Think about it, this is where you'll have pictures that you'll treasure forever of your mom putting you into your dress or your bridesmaids seeing you for the first time. 

Here's a few suggestions for how to get great "getting ready" pictures:

1. Choose a Location With a Lot of Natural Light
For most of the weddings I've shot the bride ends up getting into her dress in a bathroom or some other small, dimly lit room. This is not a good idea! Natural light makes ALL the difference and so you want to make sure you get ready in a room that has plenty of windows. Many venues have a bridal dressing room as part of their package so make sure you look at this room when you're considering your venue and try to get a spacious room with big windows. 

Getting_Ready_Picture_NC_Wedding_Photographer

2. Keep Your Room Clutter Free
Communicate with your bridal party beforehand and make sure they know they need to pick up their things and keep them as hidden as possible once your photographer arrives. I recommend designating a bridesmaid or groomsmen to make sure this happens. Having an uncluttered room can make a big difference in your pictures! 

Getting_Ready_Picture_NC_Wedding_Photographer

3. Wear Flattering Clothing
During your wedding planning, consider what you and your bridesmaids will be wearing while you get ready. Your "getting ready" outfit may seem like an insignificant detail but if you're going to have several professional pictures of yourself in an outfit, make it a flattering one! Some ideas I've seen are: a white robe or button down shirt for the bride, oversized monogrammed button down shirts for the bridal party, matching tanks, matching PJ's, and matching robes. 

NC Wedding Photographer

4. Make Sure There's Enough Space
Make sure your room is large enough to fit you and your bridesmaids and to give you enough space to get good shots of you getting into your dress. If you're getting ready at a hotel I highly encourage you to upgrade to a a suite. The extra space is definitely worth it! 

Getting_Ready_Picture_NC_Wedding_Photographer

5. Consider the Interior and Exterior Aesthetics 
Getting ready locations with pretty details like unique doors, textured walls, or antique furniture is always a nice, added bonus! Try to find a location to get ready in that matches the style of your wedding day. For example, if your wedding has vintage details try and find an antique or historic venue with vintage details.

Getting_Ready_Pictures_NC_Wedding_Photographer

I hope you found this post helpful! Check back next Wednesday for my next post in the "For Brides" series. I'll be giving you a bridal detail checklist with all the important things you need to think through in order to get beautiful wedding detail shots.

For Brides: Making a Wedding Day Photography Timeline | NC Wedding Photographer

This post is part of a series for brides (and grooms!) or for those who are helping someone plan a wedding. My goal for this series is to help you make informed and educated decisions about your wedding day so that it will be as beautiful as possible! If you're joining me for the first time, you can catch up here:

1. Should I Do an Engagement Session?
2. What Should I Wear for My Engagement Session?
3. Should I Do Bridal Portraits?

4. Making a Wedding Day Photography Timeline

Wedding Day Photography Timeline_DiPrima Photography_NC Wedding Photographer

Making a wedding day photography timeline may sound like a daunting task but it's very manageable once you have an idea of how much time your photographer needs to shoot each aspect of your wedding day. I meet with each of my couples a month before their wedding to help them finalize their timeline and then I try to stick to the timeline as closely as possible on their wedding day. Timelines are SO important because they help everything stay on track and organized on your wedding day and they enable your photographer to capture everything they need to get. Unexpected things always happen and a timeline is rarely followed exactly, but it is an extremely helpful guideline and it's important to stick to it as much as possible. Here's a few elements you need to consider when planning a timeline:

1. Start from the Reception and Work Backwards
When I'm planning a wedding day photography timeline, I find it helpful to start from the reception and work backwards in my planning. When you start thinking through your timeline, you won't necessarily know what time your photographer should arrive and so that's why I like to work backwards.

NC Wedding Photographer

2. Plan in Some Buffer Time
I always try and plan in a little more time then I actually need to get all of my shots. That way, I have a chance to be a little more creative and get as many beautiful images as possible! Also, things almost never run perfectly on time and so if you plan in some buffer time it won't be a big deal if everything doesn't go as planned. 

3. Make Sure Your Details Are Ready
When I arrive on a wedding day I usually shoot details first. Often times I find that no one has any idea where the brides' shoes, jewelry, wedding rings, flowers, invitations, and other details I need to photograph are located. It is absolutely crucial that you have all of these items ready for your for your photographer! I can compare weddings I've shot where the bride had all the details ready for me and weddings where they didn't and the difference is often hundreds of pictures! I'm able to get hundreds more pictures when everything is ready and a timeline is closely followed.

4. Communicate Your Timeline
Make sure that every wedding vendor, member of the bridal party, and family member knows your timeline. This is crucial. The photographer and bride may know the timeline but if the makeup artist doesn't know when to get your makeup done and your Grandma Sally doesn't know when to show up for family pictures, the timeline doesn't matter. I can't stress this enough. Please, please, please do yourself and your photographer a favor and communicate your timeline to everyone.

5. Make Sure Hair and Makeup is Done On Time
Things often get delayed on wedding days because hair and makeup isn't done on time and brides and bridesmaids aren't ready for their pictures. I encourage you to tell your makeup and hair people to have everyone ready at least an hour before they actually need to be ready for pictures. They way you and your bridal party can relax and have plenty of time to prepare for pictures.

5. Take Travel Time into Account
Make sure you account for travel time and over-estimate the amount of time you think you'll need. What if there's traffic on the drive to your venue or what if something unexpected happens? It's always better to have more time than you need.

6. Consider Lighting
I'll be talking about this a lot more in later posts but consider lighting when you make your timeline. For example, if you plan an outdoor ceremony at noon you're planning your ceremony during the worst possible lighting. Or if you're getting ready in a dark space with no natural light, your "getting ready" pictures will not have good lighting. Make sure there is a lot of natural light where you're wedding party is getting ready and make sure you consider lighting when planning your ceremony. I also always encourage couples to consider stepping away from their reception for 15 minutes to allow me to get some romantic portraits just before sunset. Even though I always take romantic portraits before the reception, the hour before sunset (it's called the "golden hour") is the best time to take pictures with the most beautiful light. And trust me, light makes ALL the difference in your photography.

Here's the tentative amount of time you'll need for each step of your wedding with and without a first look in the order I usually schedule my timelines (Please note: Every photographer does things a little differently and these timelines are just my own estimates based on how I work. Also, these timelines do not take travel time into account.):

Weddings With a First Look:
1. Getting Ready: 45 minutes
2. Details: 45 minutes
3. Bridal Prep (Bride getting in dress and bridal portraits): 30 minutes
4. First Look: 15 minutes
5. Bride and Groom Portraits: 30 minutes
6. Bridal Party Pictures: 45-60 minutes
7. Party in Hiding/Reception Detail Shots: 30 minutes
8. Ceremony: 30 minutes
9. Family Portraits: 30 minutes
10. Reception: varies
11. Optional Extra Bride and Groom Portraits at Sunset: 15 minutes

Weddings Without a First Look:
1. Getting Ready: 45 minutes
2. Details: 45 minutes
3. Bridal Prep (Bride getting in dress and bridal portraits): 30 minutes
4. Bridesmaid/Groomsmen Pictures: 45-60 minutes
5. Party in Hiding/Reception Detail Shots: 30 minutes
6. Ceremony: 30 minutes
7. Family Portraits: 30 minutes
8. Whole Bridal Party Pictures: 10 minutes
9. Bride and Groom Portraits: 30 minutes
10. Reception: varies
11. Optional Extra Bride and Groom Portraits at Sunset: 15 minutes

I hope this post helped you think through your wedding day photography timeline a little better! Check back next Wednesday for my next post in my "For Brides" series on how to get beautiful "getting ready" pictures.