For Brides: 5 Steps to Great Bride & Groom Portraits | 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?
8. Five Steps to Great Bride & Groom Portraits

5 Steps to Great Bride & Groom Portraits

Bride and groom portraits are one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I absolutely love taking these pictures and I think they're extremely important. In fact, as I mentioned in my last post, 90% of the pictures displayed in my homes and bride and groom portraits of me and Alex. So how do you get great "Bride and Groom" portraits? Here's 5 steps:

1. Consider location
Think through the location where you plan to take your bride and groom portraits. Most of my couples opt to have their pictures taken at or around their ceremony and/or reception location and that's great! Just make sure that the location you choose has the "look" that you want. For example, if you're getting married downtown Raleigh but you want to stop in a field on the way to downtown to take your bride and groom portraits, your portraits probably aren't going to match the overall aesthetic of your wedding day. Also, try and find a location that has some versatility with multiple locations or options for getting portraits. Trust your photographer as well and ask them for advice and lean on them to find good light and spots at your location choice once you arrive.

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

2. Think about the time of day
Consider the time of day and the light when you plan the time of your ceremony and reception. For example: if you plan to do a "first look" at noon and take your portraits at 12:30 so you can make it on time to 2 o'clock reception make sure you realize that is the worst possible lighting of the day. The later in the afternoon or evening (or early in the morning) that you can take your pictures the better! The time of day should also play into your location choice. If you plan to take your pictures at noon, make sure you'll be somewhere that has plenty of shade or diffused light (i.e. light shining through trees or other objects that help "diffuse" its harshness). In addition, depending on the time of your wedding, consider allowing your photographer to steal you away for an additional 15 minutes of portrait time during the "golden hour" (the hour before the sun sets). I always ask my couples if they're willing to do this because I know they'll be so happy they did when they look back on their beautiful sunset pictures!!

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

3. Leave plenty of time
I can't stress this enough. Leave plenty of time for bride and groom portraits. These really are some of the most important pictures you'll be taking all day! I always ask for at least 30 minutes with just the couple and ideally I like 45 (30 minutes before ceremony if doing a "first look" and 15 minutes during sunset).

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

4. Consider doing a first look
I've already written a whole blog post on this topic and so I won't spend much time here. I encourage you to consider doing a first look because otherwise, it's very difficult to get 30-45 minutes for bride and groom portraits between the ceremony and the reception. Typically the photographer has an hour between the ceremony and reception and bridal party pictures and family pictures usually take at least 45 minutes which leaves 15 minutes or less for the photographer with the couple. If you aren't planning to do a "first look" I highly encourage you to allow your photographer to pull you away for an additional 15 minutes of portrait time during your reception.

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

5. Interact with one another
You should trust your photographer and allow him/her to pose you. However, I always encourage my couples to interact with one another while I pose them! I want them to consider my poses more as "suggestions." My hope is that posing my clients will lead to them interacting naturally. Remember as your photographer is taking pictures that it's one of the happiest days of your life and try and allow your natural emotions to flow out of you and pretend like your photographer isn't even there (I know, easier said than done)!

Bride and Groom Portrait_NC Wedding Photographer

If you found this post helpful or interesting please share it and/or 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 beautiful ceremony pictures!

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."

Marie & Ben's Engagement Session at Eno State Park | A Durham, NC Photographer

I met with Marie and Ben at Eno State park in Durham for their engagement session and I had a wonderful time! Marie and Ben spent a lot of time at Eno park while they were dating and so they showed me around and took me to some of their favorite spots. Since moving to NC, I have really enjoyed getting to do photo shoots at so many new places! I loved Eno park and I especially loved the beautiful drawbridge. I definitely plan to come back here for more shoots in the future!

I  loved watching Marie and Ben interact with one another during their session! They were completely natural in front of the camera and their chemistry and love for one another was very obvious. Marie and Ben told me a little history about her engagement ring. The diamond in Marie's ring was Ben's grandma's and has been in Ben's family for many years. 

Marie and Ben, I had a blast and I can't wait until your wedding in September!

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