blog_title_decorationON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LENS

Happy Friday everyone!! I’m so excited to share this beautiful little blog post with you today! My husband and I (and our pup!) recently had the pleasure of being photographed by our friends Kelsy & Butch of The McCartneys Photography. We are so smitten with them and so excited about our gorgeous images!! I thought it’d be fun to share our experience on the other side of the camera and give you some tips for your own session!

1.  CHOOSE THE PERFECT PHOTOGRAPHER.  Take the time to search for the perfect photographer- one who’s vision you love, and equally importantly, someone who you can have fun with!  Browse through potential photographers portfolios and make sure you love their work and you can picture yourself in their photos.  Can you envision them hanging in your home?  Are your styles a good match?  After you’ve determined a good fit, take the time to connect with your photographer on a personal level.  For my husband and I this was just as important as the photos themselves.  We feel awkward being photographed.  It was really important to have a photographer who could help us relax, make us laugh, and make the process light and fun!!  Kelsy and Butch were the perfect choice for us- because we love their work and trust them 100%, we were able to just focus enjoying the moment, and didn’t have to think about where to put our hands, or if my hair was out of place.

2. SCHEDULE YOUR SESSION. I decided on about November 20th that we needed updated pictures for our annual holiday card. This really isn’t adequate time. {I’m hanging my head in shame.}  Do yourself a favor, lower your stress levels, and plan in advance!  It’s never too early to book your session, and of course, be sure to consider what you’ll be using the photos for.  Maybe you’re engaged and want to use them for save-the-dates, which generally go out about 6 months before your wedding date.  Maybe you want updated images for holiday cards.  Consider the date you want the photos in your hands, and be sure to let your photographer know when scheduling so your session date can planned accordingly.  Build in extra time so there is no rush.  Keep in mind that fickle weather may also call for rescheduling.  If this is the case, rain, snow or otherwise unpleasant weather could mean your session occurs later than originally planned.

3.  HIRE A HAIR & MAKEUP ARTIST.  Trust me, this is a must.  Don’t even think about skimping here!!  I cannot understate the value of hiring a talented hair and makeup artist to help you look your best.  It’s pretty rare to get your hair and makeup done, but I think a photo session with your significant other is certainly a special occasion.  It’s so fun to be pampered and if you look your best you’ll feel much more confident in front of the camera.  Big, big thanks to my lovely friend Julie of Julie Swenson Beauty for my hair and makeup for my shoot.  Bridal bonus: use this as a time to get to know the artist that will be beautifying you on your big day!!

Also, as a side note, the day of your session is NOT the time for a new haircut or highlights, just in case anything goes awry.  I’d recommend doing these services at least 3-4 days prior to your session unless you know and trust your stylist.

4.  STYLE YOUR SHOOT.  Start planning the overall look and feel of your session, including location and wardrobe.  Maybe you have a strong vision in your head, or maybe you don’t.  Either way, open up a dialogue with your photographer (and your significant other).  You’ve chosen to hire a professional and they are there to help you!  If you need suggestions, your photographer should have ideas.  Personally, I love when my clients share their pinboards or images they like.  Usually when we brainstorm together, we come up with the best ideas.  It’s always fun to incorporate meaningful locations (if you find them visually beautiful) like your alma mater campus, the park where he proposed, your first date spot, etc.  If your location doesn’t have meaning, that’s ok too.  It’s ok to pick something just because it’s pretty.  After all, the photos are more about the subject, less about the background.

Once you have a general idea for the overall look & location(s) (whether it be urban, farm, grassy fields, lakeside, etc.) start to think how your wardrobe, hair & makeup, (and potential props) will tie in.  For our session, I knew I wanted to do two different looks and I wanted them to be soft and neutral with pops of pattern.

5.  SHOP TIL YOU DROP!  This is the fun part, but it can be stressful if you wait until two days before your shoot.  Do not wait until last minute to start shopping!  Even if you have a vision, you may not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, so you need to be flexible and give yourself time.  I wanted our two separate looks to still be cohesive so the images from the entire session would flow together.   It’s ok if the two looks aren’t cohesive, in fact, some couples want completely different looks, but for me, I wanted consistency.  Regardless of the look you’re going for, shopping in advance and actually trying on the selected outfits with your significant other will save a lot of stress.  I went shopping with my bestie (a far superior option to dragging my husband to the mall) and we had so much fun picking out outfits.  I found that it was easy to shop for my wardrobe (hello Jcrew), but a bit harder to find coordinating clothes for my hubby.  I ended purchasing several options for him and trying them on together when I brought them home.  (We kept the tags on so we could return the items we didn’t want.)  We were so glad we tried on the items the day before the shoot, because when we stood together in front of a mirror, some options just didn’t work like I thought they would in the store.  It’s much better to see this in person, at home, rather than on location at your session.

6.  DON’T FORGET ACCESSORIES.  The icing on the cake.  I think accessories add so much to a shoot, and life in general!  This doesn’t just apply to the ladies.  Guys, make sure your shoes coordinate with your looks and don’t be shy about adding little touches like your favorite watch or Ray Bans.  Girls; jewelry, or the perfect shoes can really complete the look, so don’t forget about styling from head to toe.  Another tip, if you’re wearing heels, but walking from location to location, bring along a comfy pair of flats or flip flops that slip on and off easily.

7.  BE FLEXIBLE.  Things may not go according to plan.  Just laugh it off and enjoy your session.  Relax.  For example, the day of our session it was probably about 30 degrees; quite chilly for fall!  Our second look involved me wearing an adorable silk polka dot blouse (there is one pic below).  The wind cuts through silk like a knife, so I lasted about 3.5 minutes outside in that outfit.  Rather than torturing ourselves and our lovely photographers, we decided to be flexible and end the session a bit earlier than planned.

I have lots more tips for a successful session, but I hope these little tidbits help.  If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.  I am happy to share my experience in front of, and behind, the lens!!

Here are a few favorites from our session!!  Another big, huge thank you to our amazing friends Kelsy & Butch for capturing these images we will treasure forever!!

blog_title_decoration2012 | YEAR IN REVIEW

Best year ever.  How did 2012 fly by so quickly?!  I think I was warned that time starts to go faster as you get older. ;) I wanted to write a little post to close out 2012 and thank you, my amazing clients, friends, and family for your unending support. I know I wax poetic about this, but I am a lucky gal. I absolutely love being a photographer and my heart is filled to the brim with emotion for all the amazing people I’ve met along the way.  I love the beginning of a new year because not only is it the perfect time to plan and make goals (and, boy do I love planning!), but it’s also a great time for reflection.

It’s so hard to succinctly represent an entire year of really important moments in peoples’ lives, but I wanted to share some of my film favorites from 2012.  (I apologize if this mega long post kills your internet!) I’m going to try to do this every year, because even if it’s just for my own personal reference, I really enjoyed looking back at 2011 (and wish I would’ve done this in 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007!!).  While I was going through the archives and gathering these images, I thought back to each and every one of these weddings and sessions and I have a HUGE smile on my face because of my fabulous, joyful, thoughtful, stylish clients.  I can’t adequately express how amazing you all are.  Not only that, but you all plan such gorgeous weddings!  WOW!!!

I also have to thank my team, Whitney, Mandi, and Jill for everything they do. I love these gals to pieces and am so thankful for their talent and friendship. Photographing weddings is even more fun with them by my side. In 2012, we had adventures in Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, Mexico, road trips up north, flights to Boston, road trips around New England, and we had too much fun along the way.  We also ate copious amounts of cake, and sweets.  (Brides and grooms, we are still loving dessert tables.  I think we starting seeing these a couple years ago and we seriously hope this delicious trend never ends!!)

Personally, I traveled a lot too (sometimes with my husband, a rare bonus!!) and visited some really amazing places on this little globe like Bulgaria, Paris, Portland, Bayfield, Boston, Cape Cod, Chicago, and New Orleans to name a few.  I have lots of exciting travels and destination weddings planned for 2013 and can’t wait to share.  Big things are happening.

Cheers to a fresh new year and I’m wishing you all lots of love, joy, and light in your life.

{For even more, take a look back at 2011.}