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  • Writer's picturerachel leintz

don't make the mistake i made

Eeek! Another posting deadline missed. But, in my defense, I did fly back from San Francisco last night AND it was the midseason premiere of the Walking Dead (I had to see the battle against Negan start!) So I’m sure you all forgive this one being a little late : )

Tonight, I wanted to share an insight I’ve had over the past year of shooting weddings. And it’s an insight into a mistake that I made as a bride, six years ago when I married my sweetie. I remember talking with my photographer and saying “Oh no, I don’t need getting ready shots, I just want those beautiful, photojournalistic shots of the ceremony, and after. Maybe a couple formals”

YIKES! I shudder now when I think about my mind set back then. I was a technical photographer at the time. And artistically, I knew what I liked, but I didn’t know the first thing about how to create it. I really just thought that if a photographer was quick enough, or skilled enough, they would take amazing images of me throughout the day, and I’d look gorgeous in all of them : )

I can hear the other photographer out there laughing right now, so for all you brides-to-be, let me explain why you definitely, 100% need your photographer for a full day of coverage. Yes, you need them for 8 hours, at least, and yes, they need to be there during the “getting ready” time. Here’s why:

1. The ceremony and the time directly after it are hectic, if not chaotic.

I mean, sheesh! You just married the love of your life. You’re crying, or laughing, you’re giddy with excitement, and now you have to take pictures with two entire families. No pressure, right?

The “getting ready” portion of your photography coverage should be so much more than some quick snaps of you getting into your dress. As a wedding photographer, I use that time to take stunning, artistic, well-composed portraits, to capture details, and yes, to capture the photojournalistic images that happen BEFORE the big walk down the aisle (more on those later).

This is a time when everything is moving a little slower. Your photographer will have time to find or create beautiful lighting. You aren’t distracted by a million other details (because you hired a great planner, right?) and you can listen to the artist you’ve paid and take the time to really create timeless, stunning photographs.

2. If the ceremony and the formal picture time are a little much for your brain, think about what it does to your wardrobe!

You’ve got your flowers looking fresh and vibrant, your gorgeous gown is beautifully steamed, pressed, and ready to go, your make-up is done just right, your hair is looking flawless…now go hug your dad, who’s crying because his little girl is getting married. Is your mascara starting to run? Kiss your mom who’s helping you put on your veil. How’s you’re lipstick? Walk down the aisle in those high heels that look so good (but might be causing a blister). Let the wind blow in your hair if your ceremony is outdoors. And if you’re outdoors in Arizona, maybe it’s a little hot? Stand in the sun for the 15-30 minutes during the ceremony. Maybe cry a little more because you’re so happy. Hug all those relatives as you make your way to the area for your formal family pictures. Now, get ready to take your bridal portraits, while making time to get all the family pictures you know you need.

Six years ago, that’s exactly what I did. My hair looked good (not great), my roses had started to wilt a little bit, I was sweating in the April sunshine, and one of my groomsmen had accidentally stained the back of my dress during a formal shot. Not the end of the world, but MAN! If I had taken the time to take some fabulous portraits BEFORE all the craziness ensued, how much better would those images have been?

3. Timeless memories are made in the in between moments. It’s not all about the ceremony.

I’ve shot a lot of weddings over the past few years and I can honestly tell you that none of my brides, if asked, would tell you their absolute favorite images are from the ceremony. And if you think about it, none of your favorites on Pinterest or Instagram are from the ceremony either.

Sure, there are great moments that are captured (the groom’s face, seeing his bride for the first time - if they didn’t decide on a first look) The kiss is a great documentary image for you and your family. But be honest, what images really take your breath away? I’m betting they are the carefully crafted, natural looking bridal and couple portraits that truly artistic photographers create during the “in between moments.

These could be photojournalistic moments between you and your mom. Or they could be quite moments shared between you and your groom before saying your I do’s. Maybe even moments of just you, alone, basking in beautiful window light, looking like a Vogue cover model, thinking about the amazing moments to come.

Whatever your “in between” moments will be, do your future self a favor and make sure you budget the time you need to create them. You’ll be oh-so glad you did! On the day of, when you realize how lovely it is to take the time and be photographed in all your bridal glory, and for years to come, when you look at the jaw-dropping images you took the time to create.

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