Top 3 Things to Look for in a Wedding Photographer

Booking a photographer for your wedding is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. This is the person that will be capturing every special moment of your big day so making sure that you pick just the right person should be a top priority. As you begin your search, here are the top 3 things to look for in a wedding photographer.


Style 

It’s easy for a wedding photographer to impress you by showing you a slideshow of their top 25 to 30 wedding photos but this isn’t going to give you a good enough idea of what you can expect overall. A better approach is to ask to see a variety of shots from different parts of a wedding so that you know exactly what you can expect. You’ll want to have a look through everything from the getting ready and detail shots to the ceremony, toasts and reception shots. Wedding photography styles that you’ll typically come across include artistic, dramatic, lifestyle and classic so take the time to browse through some shoots that fit into those various categories to find out what works best for you as a couple and whether the photographer you had in mind can offer you those types of shots.

Personality

Your wedding photographer is going to be around you and your family for most of your wedding day, so it’s important for you to feel comfortable with him or her.  When a couple doesn’t feel comfortable around their wedding photographer, it will show in their photos, but the opposite also holds true. A good photographer will know how to make you feel at ease, will guide you on how to pose before and on your wedding day, and will always be willing to answer any questions that you might have.

Experience

You will of course want to know that your photographer has the relevant experience to shoot a wedding but it’s also important to know what types of weddings they have photographed. Will you have a dimly lit venue that requires someone who knows how to shoot in low light situations? Are you having an ethnic wedding and need someone who understands specific cultural traditions?  Will your ceremony have special requirements such as not being able to use a flash or not being able to stand up close? Make a list of your requirements before you meet with your photographer so that you can make sure there won’t be any potential problems leading up to the wedding once the finer details are discussed.

While price does play a role in choosing a photographer, basing your choice on these top three elements is far more important. Your wedding photos are something you’ll treasure for years to come so take the time to choose a photographer that can best capture these amazing memories. 

Tips to Prepare for Your Wedding Photography Consultation

Meeting with a potential wedding photographer ahead of time is crucial for booking the right photography vendor for your wedding. You will put a lot of time and consideration into all the details of your wedding and you want to choose the right photographer who will capture everything the way you envision it. You and your photographer will spend a lot of time together on your big day so you want to make sure that they not only have the style you are looking for, but also the personality that will mesh with yours. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your photography consultation.

How to Prepare For Your Wedding Photography Consultation

1. Take notes.

Have a pen and paper handy so you can look back over all the information you discuss. If you are meeting with more than one photographer it is especially important to be able to compare what you consider pros and cons of each.

2. Expect to make a deposit.

If you absolutely love the photographer you need to be ready to make a deposit to reserve them. Some photographers will even offer an incentive for booking with them at your consultation so keep this in mind when going into your meeting. On the other hand, I encourage couples to take time to talk in private and even pray together before making a final decision. Following a wedding consultation, I will email the bride and groom my booking information. This includes a proposal outlining in detail everything we discussed, payment schedule, and the contract. I also include a link to a full wedding gallery so they can see exactly what to expect if they choose to book their wedding with me.

3. Go to the photographer.

Meet your photographer where they suggest since most often it will be a quiet place where you can actually talk and have fewer distractions.

4. Bring photos.

Your wedding dress, your vision, your style preferences; if you have pictures bring them. This not only helps you decide if they are the right fit but will give the photographer a look at your personality and personal style.

5. Ask to see a full portfolio.

The best way to get an idea of how the photographer will shoot your wedding is if they show you a full wedding they have done before. You’ll want to know if their style of shooting will match your expectations. It will also give you an idea of how they capture the story of your wedding day.

One final tip: don’t be afraid to ask questions! You want to make sure you are choosing the best photographer for your wedding day and asking questions about how they work, solve problems or handle cancellations, will give you better peace of mind that you are booking the right one for you. I personally love to answer questions because it also helps me

Rachel + Samuel | Engagement

Mississippi Engagement

Two students at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. A bus ride to orientation at the Jackson Free Clinic. Little did they know Jesus’ plans when they “happened” to sit beside one another. The ride that normally takes five minutes lasted an hour, and Rachel and Samuel talked the whole time. What began as a friendship slowly blossomed into more as they endured the rigorous schedule of first year. Papa God has been directing each of their paths to intersect at this time, and He has directed the converging into a single new path they are are beginning to walk together. Hand-in-hand with both one another and their Savior.

The day Samuel proposed seemed like a normal Sunday. Church together followed by lunch. During lunch there was a call from Samuel’s mom asking them to come to his sister’s art exhibit at the Fairview Inn. When they arrived, Samuel led Rachel to the garden and handed her an envelope addressed to his future wife. Rachel opened the envelope to find it empty, but then noticed a small burlap canvas on the ground nearby with words written on it. Samuel had written the parts of the letter out on different canvases and placed them throughout the garden. They walked through the garden and Rachel read each letter out loud. The last part of the letter was in the gazebo with roses. The letter ended with 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” Rachel was shocked. This letter was written over three years ago… but even then the Lord knew that their pastor would preach a sermon on this verse, and only this verse, on this day. The day that Rachel would say “yes” to Samuel’s question, “Will you marry me?”

I so enjoyed getting to know Rachel and Samuel during their recent engagement session at The Town of Livingston! Not only can you see the love these two have for one another, but their hearts for Jesus shine clearly to everyone the meet. I am so excited for the plans God has for Rachel and Samuel, and I am honored to capture their love story as they become one in June!

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Hayley + Ethan | Engagement Session

Mississippi Engagement

This past Saturday I met Hayley and Ethan at the Town of Livingston for their engagement session. I was quickly reminded why I love engagement sessions so much, and why they are such an essential part of my client experience! I was especially thankful when Hayley and Ethan agreed to travel from their college towns for a weekend in Mississippi for their engagement session with me! They are both in their final semesters of school… Hayley in Columbia, SC and Ethan outside of Atlanta, GA.

Hayley and Ethan met at Impact 360, a gap year Christian leadership program. After completing the one year program, their relationship has developed long distance as they have attended different universities. God’s plan for their relationship has not been deterred by the distance. This past fall, Ethan planned an epic mountain top proposal in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee! Hayley recalled Ethan rushing to the top as she wanted to stop to look at wildflowers and take in the sunset. Little did she know he had a big question to ask her once they reached the top! Hayley said that eventually they made it to the top where he stopped, got down on one knee, and asked the big question. “I screamed with joy and it was the most dreamy moment of my life for sure. His friends were hiding to take pictures. It was so beautiful and could not have been more perfect.”

But that’s not all. Afterwards he surprised her again. All their friends were in a cabin nearby ready to celebrate with them!

Throughout Hayley and Ethan’s engagement session we shared our hearts for Jesus. For me, the biggest highlight of what was a perfect session was when Ethan asked me to pray for them before we left. This missionary’s heart came even more alive in that moment, and it felt like Holy Spirit took over my mouth as His heart for this couple began to pour out through me. I can feel His excitement over the plans he has for Hayley and Ethan! His plans to advance His Kingdom through this couple in submission to Him, laying down their lives and taking up His cross.

It is such an honor to be able to capture this love story as He is writing it. I can’t wait to see Him glorified as these two become one in May!

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Victoria and Drew | A Starkville, MS Engagement Session

Starkville Mississippi Engagement

When Victoria and Drew each signed up for Mississippi State University RUF’s Dating Game, they were excited to meet new people. Neither of them expected to meet their future spouse, but that is exactly what happened! We walked down memory lane and relived their love story as we captured Victoria and Drew’s engagement session at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge near Starkville, MS.

engagement, Starkville, Refuge, Mississippi State University

Victoria reminisced fondly, “It was this spot on our first date where we talked about our favorite places to travel, and he brought it home by telling me his favorite places in Starkville. I had only been at MSU one semester, so I hadn’t been to many of the places he mentioned, but I could hear my inner monologue saying ‘I want to go there with him! I want to go everywhere with him!’” It was on that very first date that God placed a desire to spend their lives together in each of them!

As we walked the lovely grounds of the Refuge we shared not only our love stories, but also our faith stories. Victoria and Drew have a solid foundation in Christ their Savior. It is He who has brought these two together. It is He who has filled them with such joy that you just can’t help but laugh and smile when you are around them!!

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And it is He who painted the most beautiful sunset for our final set of images for the day…

I love every moment of my time with Victoria and Drew, who flew in from Charleston, SC for their engagement session with me! I am so thankful for the friendship that we have formed and I am more excited than ever to capture their wedding at the Chapel of Memories in Starkville, MS in May!

 

Mary Marie and Matt | A Downtown Jackson Engagement Session

Engagement Session, Mississippi State Capitol,

Mary Marie moved to Southaven, MS after graduating from college. She was living with her best friends from college and they set her up on a blind date with a guy they had grown up with. That initial introduction was all it took to begin her happily ever after story with Matt!

I had so much time getting to know Mary Marie and Matt at their engagement session last week! We laughed and shared stories as I walked them through my posing system. The love these two have for one another is so evident as they interact together.

Mary Marie and Matt will be getting married at First Baptist Church Jackson in June, and I was so excited when they chose the Mississippi State Capitol just across the street for the location of their engagement session! It is a place that is significant to them and to their love story.

Mary Marie and Matt, as I have prayed for you I hear the words from Ecclesiastes 4:12Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Your faith and foundation in Jesus is a solid rock upon which to build your marriage. He is sure and faithful and will lead you perfectly. Trust Him for each step of your journey together.

Matt’s proposal is one for the record books! He took Mary Marie to a dress up dinner at Chez Philippe Restaurant at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. After their meal, he took her to the rooftop, got down on one knee and asked Mary Marie “will you marry me?” In her words, “It was perfect!” Little did she know, their families and friends were hidden away close by for a surprise celebration!

I am so excited to see these two again in June as they say “I do” before all their family and friends! It will be such a fun time to celebrate their love!!

Mr and Mrs Jonathan Dear | A Classic Southern Wedding

Mississippi Wedding at the Vault Venue Brandon

The Vault Venue in Brandon, MS was the perfect location for Jonathan and Jesse’s classic southern wedding. As I began to gather Jesse’s dress, veil and details, I was in awe of the timeless classics she chose for her wedding day. The lace sleeves of her wedding gown and the headband of her mother’s veil reminded me of Grace Kelly’s chosen style when she married Prince Rainier in April of 1956. From the flowers and decorations, to the music, the entire day was a perfect blend of classic and contemporary.

What I loved even more than this couple’s timeless style is their hearts for Jesus. Jonathan and Jesse love well and are loved by so many who came to participate in their standing room only ceremony.  Their passion for Jesus was in every detail of the ceremony as they so beautifully displayed the Gospel message through serving their guests The Lord’s Supper. We were all invited to examine our hearts before receiving the elements as the pastor shared a message from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

I have loved getting to know Jonathan and Jesse through their initial consultation, engagement session and wedding day. Being able to not only capture all the sweet moments, but to also get to know their hearts so I can pray for them throughout the process has been such a joy.

Venue: The Vault Venue

Florals: Aimee Sanford from The May Flower Co

Coordinator: Jessica Wharton

Videography: Chad Fortenberry

Hair/Makeup Stylist: Carlie Carpenter

Catering: Michael Moore

Cake: Mary Ellen Stuart

DJ: Adam Collier

Perfect Love: 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, 10 but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.

12 For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. 13 Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.

Why You Should Consider Having A “First Look”

Wedding First Look Bride Groom

The first look is a highly popular addition to many weddings day timelines. The first look or sneak peek is the moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. No guests, no distractions. It is a very special moment that the bride and groom share that the photographer(s) capture with little to no interruptions.

Unlike the traditional reveal of the bride walking down the aisle as being the time when the couple sees each other, the first look is a more intimate moment shared between just the bride and groom. You can actually look into each other’s eyes, which only makes the moment more genuine. The bride isn’t worried about not tripping as she walks down the aisle. The groom isn’t trying to hold it together in front of all their guest. It is a moment when the two of you can really take everything in and savor the moment of seeing each other just before you say “I do”

The first look captures the initial reaction of the bride and groom and allows the two to act naturally when seeing each other for the first time. You can cry, laugh, hug, kiss and just simply be in the moment without having all your guests around. This not only yields beautiful one of a kind images but will also leave you with some spare time to capture a few more Bride and Groom images just after this tender moment.

The first look is ideal because you both will be looking your best. Your hair and makeup is still perfectly in place and gives you time to do any touch-ups before the ceremony. Including a first look in your timeline also allows the photographers the opportunity to focus on capturing the reactions of some of the guests as the bride makes her way down the aisle during the ceremony, which is often missed because the focus is usually on the bride and groom’s expression and reactions to one another. Finally, the first look is one of the best ways to eliminate wedding day jitters. Since you already have the emotional part of seeing each other for the first time earlier in the day, you are more relaxed and calm walking down the aisle and saying your vows.

5 Things You Should Trust To Your Wedding Photographer

Trust is the key ingredient to any relationship and this is true for the relationship you have with your wedding photographer. There’s a reason you chose them to capture the most important day of your life. While you may have a vision of how you want some of your images to turn out, for the most part, you are going to have to put a lot of trust in your photographer. Trusting your photographer a little more in these main areas will not only result in better images for you to remember your big day by but will also relieve you of some stress as well.

1. Choosing the Location of the Shot

You wedding photographer will have taken the time to familiarize themselves with your reception location or areas around your ceremony site to find the best places to photograph. They’ll know where gets the best light and where the best scenery is.

2. Time of Day to Shoot

Lighting is key to creating beautiful images and using the natural light of the sun will produce the best lighting setting but that doesn’t mean any time of the day will give you the same results. Your photographer will know what time of day will be best to take those gorgeous outdoor shots that won’t leave harsh shadows on your face or when to sneak outside to take some night inspired shots.

3. Poses

Trust your photographer to know what pose is the most flattering for you. They can see how the light is illuminating you and what is in the background. While some photographers will take into consideration your picture ideas, you shouldn’t be offended if they shoot down your ideas. Most times you’ll be working with limited time and light and you don’t want to waste much of either on your big day.

4. Editing Your Photos

Trust your photographer’s creative eye during the editing process. They will know which images will look best in black and white or color, and how best to crop each image. The editing process is a part of their style and this is one of the reasons you hired them. Trust them to use their skills to make each image stunning.

5. Handling Printing Your Photos

Your photographer knows where to get prints made and probably has a long-term relationship with a reputable printing company. The worst thing you can do is have a stunning image, order a large print and find the colors are off, the image is blurred or it simply looks dull. Knowing where to get your prints made, what size they should be done in and which ones will look best in your albums, wall art or thank you cards is part of the package you get when you hired a professional photographer. Trust them and listen to what they think will look best for what you want.

Top 7 Photos With Your Bridesmaids That You Absolutely Need

There are plenty of photos you have probably considered taking on your wedding day. From getting ready, the ceremony to pictures with your family and of course with the groom but what about the ladies that are helping you and have helped throughout the entire wedding planning process? While you know you’ll have some time to take group shots of the entire bridal party you’ll want to make sure you have these photos with your bridesmaids as you get ready on your big day.

1. Showcase The Back of the Dress

The back of a wedding dress is hidden with beautiful details you’ll want to capture. You can pose with all of the bridesmaids to show off their dresses as well or have some great close ups of the bridesmaids helping button, zipper or lace up the back of your dress.

2. First Look With The Bridesmaids

You have heard about the first look for the bride and groom but what about when the bridal party sees the bride for the first time? The bride’s first reveal to her bridal party can result in some emotional and memorable photo opportunities.

3. Having Fun

As you are getting ready everyone’s nerves are a little on edge because everyone wants to look their best. There will be moments when you just need to let loose to relax a little and having a little dance party, jumping on the bed or just being silly are moments that can make for great photo opportunities.

4. Matching Robes or Shirts

Most brides will have getting ready attire for their bridesmaids and you’ll want to capture everyone in their cute and thoughtful pre-wedding wear.

5. Bouquets and Bridesmaids Dresses

Bouquets won’t last a lifetime but the pictures you have of them will. The bridesmaids and bride bouquet shot is one that you will want to have. There are many ways you can showcase the bouquets as well as the bridesmaid’s dresses. From lining everyone up and holding their bouquets out to the camera or hiding their faces to forming a circle around the bride; this is another shot that you can get creative with.

6. The Shoe Shot

You can’t forget about the shoes and what about those pedicures? You’ll want to get a group shot that showcases everyone’s shoes.

7. Celebrating Shot

You’re getting married! There is bound to be some confetti being tossed in the bride’s honor. Take a minute to pause as you celebrate away your single life with your bridesmaids for a picture perfect shot.