Time 02.05.2017
Dmitri and Sandra :: Wedding Photography Tips

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After many years of photographing weddings we have put together this guide to help our couples understand what it takes to create great photographs and get the most out of your wedding photography. If possible, we suggest that you read these tips together (section #9 is dedicated for the groom).

1. Our Photography style
Our photography is natural, unobtrusive, timeless. It is about who you are. We keep it clean, classic and strive to respect the integrity of the moment. Our photography is not trendy, over-processed, cheesy, stiff, uncomfortable or forced.

 

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2. Natural Light
Photography is all about light and we are natural light shooters. This means that we use the sun (the biggest and best light of all) to determine the location, time, direction, and camera settings to shoot in. For this reason we always suggest a quick chat about locations and time-line for all photographs you may have planned. We love suggestions and ideas from our couples, however on the big day your time and interests will be best served by letting us take the lead on where to shoot. The best times for out-door shooting is 2 hours prior sunset and 2 hours after sunrise.

 

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3. Skin Tone
A nice and even skin tone is really important for great photos. If possible, stay away from the sun to avoid unwanted tan lines, sun burn, etc.

 

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4. The Preparation (Applicable for 4 + hours coverage)
This is such an important part of your wedding story: the anticipation, celebration, close friends and/or family members etc. These are real moments and we want to be there to capture those good times. There are a few things that you can do to help us capture great images during this time:

a. If you are using a Hair/Make Up artist, please make sure that she/he is scheduled to be finished on time. Per our experience, hair & make artist could delay your schedule so here is a few tips to help you maximize your photography time: 1) Schedule your hair/make up artist to be finished at least 45 minutes before the time you really want them to be done – that way if they are delayed you are on the safe side. 2) Your first instinct is to think you should go last with hair and make-up. Ignore this instinct. Your hair and make-up might take the longest and, let’s be honest, it’s the most important. So be sure to go first or second (especially if you have a large bridal party). 3) If possible, prepaid your hair/make artist, that way they don’t have to stay around in your suite waiting for payment (is best when you room is not crowded or clutter with hair/make up tools) 4) Be sure to tell all of your bridesmaids exactly how much their hair and make-up will cost. You’d be surprised how much time can be wasted with bridesmaids scrambling around looking for extra cash or their checkbooks.

 

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b. Please keep the room your getting ready in as clean and clutter-free as possible. Or, keep in mind you could do the prep in a parents or friend’s room which may not be as cluttered. Remember your room will be the backdrop of your preparation images – you want it as neat and uncrowded as possible.

 

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c. If possible, bridesmaids/groomsmen/parents should be ready at least 45 minutes before you do. So that when they are gathered around while you’re getting your dress buttoned/zippered, they’re not in their jeans and tank tops in pictures, also they can participate & help you vs running around getting ready in the background of your photos . Most importantly, so that once you are ready everyone else is too and you can all jump right into picture time.

 

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d. If possible, we ask that you have all of your details out for us including the gown (in hanger / out of bag / with no tags), shoes, jewelry, perfume, vows, garter, rings, bouquet, your ”something old, new, borrowed and blue”, your wedding stationary, etc as we love to photograph these details! We love photographing your gown so we always request the bride to leave it off till we arrive.

5. Family Photos
We try to make this part of the day as quick as possible so all your guests can get to the cocktail hour (if not doing the “first look”). Typically family photos will take about 30 minutes (depending on how big the party is) and consist of:

Bride and Groom with both B&G’s Immediate Family
Bride and Groom with Bride’s Immediate Family
Bride and Groom with Groom’s Immediate Family
Bride and Groom with Groom’s Parents
Bride and Groom with both B&G’s Parents
Bride and Groom with Bride’s Parents
Bride and Groom with Entire Wedding Party
Bride with Bridesmaids
Groom with Groomsmen

If you have requests for other family or group photos, please have everyone needed close by, and add three minutes of shooting time for each additional photo. It helps to designate a member of the family, or  bridal party as “family photo organizer” to help with gathering friends and family and keeping key players close by during this time :)

 

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6. First Look?
A first look shoot is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time in a more private setting before the walk down the aisle. It doesn’t have to be a big staged moment. It can be simple, genuine and intimate.

 

four-seasons-maui-weddingWe recommend doing a first look for three reasons:

1. It calms the nerves. There is nothing that relaxes nervous brides and grooms more than finally seeing each other and enjoying a few moments alone before the official events begin.
2. It gives you time to take it all in. You can share what you’re feeling, you can hug, you can actually say “wow you look incredible in that dress”– all things you can’t do when you’re at the front of the aisle with everyone watching.
3. It eases your wedding timeline, especially in a location where the sun set as fast as it does in Hawaii. If you see each other before the ceremony, we can do all family portraits and bridal party photos before too. Your family can go enjoy the cocktail hour right after the ceremony, and we can get to couple portraits right away capitalizing on all the excitement and emotion that comes right after you say I do. Plus you miss less of your cocktail hour too!
If you’ve always dreamed of the walk down the aisle as the first glimpse of each other, then we’ll do it that way. It’s your day!

 

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7. Your Timeline
As soon as you have a draft of your timeline (tentative timeline), please share it or have your planner share it with us. A well planned timeline is key for capturing creative imagery but most importantly for a rush-free wedding day!
If possible, please allow at least one hour for bridal preparation coverage. If you would like us to capture the groom’s preparation please allocate an additional 30mins for it and it is always best if you two stay in the same location to avoid losing photography time traveling from location to location.
The usual time for wedding ceremony is 2.5hrs before sunset time. That way you have enough natural light to cover the after ceremony photographs including family photos/cocktail hour mingling/ couples photos prior sunset. Don’t be afraid to start your Ceremony earlier than that, for us the most natural light time we have the better :) Just keep in mind that the best light for couple photos is the 1.5 hour before sunset.
If mingling with your guests at cocktail hour is really important for you, perhaps you may want to consider a Day After Session or doing a First Look prior your Ceremony. As soon as you have the final draft of your timeline, please share it or have your planner share it with us.

 

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8. The Couple’s Portraits
It usually takes 45 to 60 mins, as we like to take you around to get a variety of backdrops/shots. The best time to do it is the hour or 1.5 hr before sunset to get those soft/romantic/golden light photos. During the B&G portrait session we will help you pose and give you some guidance, however we love the natural spontaneous images. So have fun, play and flirt with each other! Let’s create some great portraits of who you are as a couple! If you are planning to do your first-look prior to your ceremony, please call us to discuss your timeline.

If you are having a videographer, and depending on their approach and if they would like to direct certain shots then please allow extra time for your couple’s photos as it would take a little longer. Please see Selection your Videographer Tips under other considerations.

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9. From a past-groom to a future-groom
The Bride and Groom portrait session is one of the most anticipated time for most brides, however not so much for our grooms. 80% of our grooms tell us that they do not enjoy taking photos and I, Dmitri, completely understand this as I told the same to my wedding photographer. This section is for you, the groom who is not comfortable in front of the camera. The day of your wedding you will be so happy to marry your soulmate that you will forget there is a photographer, except for the couple’s photos time. At this time, we ask you to let loose and to not let go when the camera stops shooting. 40 mins of 100% participation will be well worth it when you look back at your wedding photographs. Plus, you will make your bride super happy :)

 

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10. Locations

Please remember to consider our photography style before choosing your location for photos. Things to watch out for – crowded beaches, tight spots, extreme bright sunlight, shooting between 11am and 2pm (not-so-good lighting for photos), etc. We like to give you space to play, without our cameras in your face. We need space for this to happen. Privacy is always something to keep in mind. Everyone gets a little self-conscious if posing and kissing in front of an audience. Also, If photos on the beach are important to you and you are getting married in the Kaanapali Area, please give us a ring to chat about this as commercial activity is not allowed in Kaanapali Beach. We can always leave the resort area, we just need to allocate enough time for it.

 

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11. Other Considerations

Driving Distance ~ Are you getting ready at a location besides the ceremony venue? Do you have to travel to a photo location? Is your reception site different than the ceremony site? These are all things you have to ask yourself when planning. We often forget to include the travel time. I’ve realized travel time takes longer than Google Maps says it will on most occasions. Be sure to factor in the time of getting everyone out of the vehicle and rounded up.

 

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Unplugged Wedding and Guest Photography ~ An unplugged ceremony is when you ask your guests to refrain from taking any photos during the Ceremony. Asking your guests not to use cameras or cell phones allows all guests to really take in your ceremony, without fussing with cell phones and flashes.
If you don’t want to entirely unplug, I would at least recommend that guests take photos from their seat, without getting up into the aisles. If anyone is in the aisles during any part of the ceremony it will definitely affect the photos we are able to take.

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Reception Lighting ~ Capturing the mood of your event is very important to us. For a romantic mood, market lights and candles are great, and if you use enough, they provide great light for photos. Just try to stay away from using only candles, or super dim lighting, which will make focusing trickier for us.

 

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DJ Lights ~  While colored/flashy lights that your DJ/Band provides might be fun for party time, they can destroy the romantic mood of your first dance, special dances, cake cutting and other events. If you are having colorful lights/up lights on trees, wall, pillars, etc we ask that they be turned off for special dances & special events such as grand entrance/cake cutting, etc. This is very important for a great photo collection of your evening events. Talk to your DJ and planner about this and let us know if we can help.

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Here is an example of the perfect reception lighting and mood in the same location. No colored lights until guest dancing time is what we would suggest :)

 

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Videographer ~ Nothing make us happier than seeing our clients go home with an amazing video to go along with a beautiful collection of photos. This is why we wanted to share with you these scenarios that hinder us from producing clean and honest images: 1) videographers with a completely different approach than ours i.e. videographers who over direct or who ask you to act/react on que. In most weddings, the photographer selects the location/light and poses (when applicable). If your videographer approach is to direct/act/react a shot, it will have an impact on your timeline and overall wedding day experience. 2) multiple video cameras/tripods and staff set up all over your ceremony especially at the end of the isle during the processional & recessional. Remember, these are some of the most impactful moments of your wedding , you walking down with your dad or you walking out with your husband, you may prefer not having a video camera right behind you in these photographs.

We have a good working relationship with our videographer peers and during the wedding day everyone is willing to collaborate with each other. However, if you feel strongly about avoiding any of the listed scenarios above, please feel free to communicate your wishes to your videographer as we’ve found that the most impactful request is the one that comes directly from our brides.

We hope these tips are helpful to you. These are just simple guidelines, not rules. It is your wedding and our first priority is to make sure you have an amazing experience :)

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