The window win…and why every bride should know what this means

The window win…and why every bride should know what this means

There is SO much to consider when planning a wedding day, brides are usually pretty focused on the venue, dress, hair and makeup, ALL the florals you know…everything that glitters. Today I was on a trip to the Liberty Science Center (which by the way if you have kids is too cool) when I got a text from one of brides…she wanted to know where I wanted her to get ready for her wedding day (brides take note, involve your photographer in that decision lol). As a wedding photographer I want to give my brides as many tips and pointers on how to have a wedding day without any tiny speed bumps, the place where you get ready does matter and so here are some quick thoughts on this topic.

Photography is ALL about lighting….every single picture I take HAS to factor in the light. Some wedding venues think they are doing the photographer a favor by having all the fluorescent lights over head or a million great looking chandeliers that throw off crazy color casts but at the end of the day…that does more harm than good (but thanks for thinking of me ūüôā Lets play a game…One of the pictures above was taken in a bedroom on a rainy day, the other at Le Chateu in South Salem and the last one at the cutest air b&B. (but with ALL of the yellow light that comes from wooden rooms) Take a second and place your guess. Alright I give…Stunning Julie to the left is in a spare bedroom at the house she grew up in, the middle is Bethanys AMAZING bouquet by Designs by Wild Things¬†and finally incredibly beautiful now Mrs. Lori Micelli is tucked away in Le Chateus bridal suite. How is that all of these images can all look so amazing when they have been shot in entirely different locations and circumstances? If you follow me on Instagram (which if you dont your missin out) you see the crazy places im shooting details (my latest being up against a basement door) and there is a reason for these decisions. No matter what the weather is doing outside, or what the inside of a room looks like all I need is ONE window and I can make magic happen. So brides (and grooms) here are a few quick tips to picking out a great prep room:

 

¬†A. ¬†Make sure there is one big window that I can get to easily, not only will you thank me when you see the images but your makeup artist will thank you too! Natural light is the best light and I only bust out flashes if I have to…but come on look at those pictures above, natural window light just glistens.

 B. Try and make sure that you have room to move about in, even with small bridal parties there is a lot going on. The dresses, the suits, the hair and makeup, the floral deliveries, the flower girls, the snacks before you know it your crammed in like a sardine with your nerves racing! Give yourself some space, one of my favorite things my NLP couples have been doing is renting out an air B&B, you get an entire gorgeous house to yourself! 

 C. Try not to choose locations with crazy colors or tons of wood, while they look pretty to the naked eye my camera is going to pick up on every little color cast and make you seem like your standing under colored stage lights. I do want to add that this is IF you have control over this, if your parents live in a beautiful log cabin dont sweat it, as a photographer my job is to adapt to lighting situations so ill be good. 

D. Think about where you would want to be taking portraits IF you are doing portraits before the day “begins”. Typically I like to grab the bride and her bridesmaids or the grooms and the groomsmen before we do first look and or the ceremony, so if you are getting ready at a hotel that has no outdoor space or isn’t very “appeasing” to the eye this would make those portraits more difficult. (once again not something I couldn’t work with) So while picking a location to prep in keep that in mind!¬†

 

My aim is too ultimately provide my brides with the BEST experience possible, I want to make sure that you are educated about all of factors that can affect your photographs…good and bad. Like I said my job is to educate for the benefit of my brides, ¬†on that note if you are an NLP bride check your Bridal Guide for more information on the window win!! Until next time guys <3

  *Insert shameless plug here* 

 

 

No but really if you have a little something extra on your ring finger and are looking for a wedding photographer lets talk! As far as things to invest in wedding photography is one of the most important (and permanent) factors to creating a wedding day that lasts a lifetime! So click below…you know you want to.

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Just Breathe…

Just Breathe…

“Go take a bath”…its my favorite thing my husband has EVER said to me. (not really but last week it was) It had been one of those weeks where i felt SO close to the finish line yet every time i turned around something happened that pushed my running feet back a few steps. So off i went to take my bath, face mask and book in hand ready to relax and reset my mind for the rest of the week, but once i sank into that hot water i just laid there…and watched a peppa pig float by. Like many of you this time of “relaxing” quickly got overshadowed by the many things i was not doing at that moment, I had to literally force myself to breathe out so i could sink to the bottom and listen to just the sound of the water and not my to-do list. THATS when the simplest of ideas came to mind but probably the hardest one to apply, when i let my breath run out i would sink to the bottom of the tub all of the toys (which was a lot i have two toddlers) would rush over and cover me up completely. Once i couldnt hold my breathe any longer i rose right back up to the top and everything kind of moved aside dividing itself up all on it own…are you with me on the simplicity of that realization? When i didnt stop to breathe i was able to be quickly overwhelmed by everything in the tub (just like in real life) but when i took a big, deep, and relaxing breath I was able to float to the top and push all of the “stuff” out of the way…its SO simple right?!? But do we do that on a REGULAR basis? No.

I am fortunate enough to be heading into a “break” season for the next 2 months, Im a wedding photographer and ya know there arent a lot of people getting married in January? I already¬† filled up my schedule with all of the other aspects of my business that i want to work on while im not shooting but than i took this bath and realized that i didnt take a deep breath this year…and it almost sank me. So to all of my mom-preneurs, my fellow photogs, my stay at home heros, and quite honestly any woman ever to walk the earth, take the time time BREATHE! Take the bath, binge watch the netflix show, go on the retreat or even out to lunch because there is no endeavour you can conquer when you cant think straight.

How I shot it…

How I shot it…

A few weeks ago i posted a STELLAR bridal image from Lauren and Scotts wedding day (a favorite bridal portrait of mine to begin with) and its been my most liked image on instagram! To my surprise I received a lot of comments and DMs asking what type of OCF I used to create the image, if you view the image below it does look as if ive used a softbox to create it but its completely natural light! Let me take you through this portrait…

As a photographer I have learned that the first and best thing to do is FIND THE LIGHT. Dont look at where the location is or what your image construction will be, find the good light and all else will follow. In this case there was one window with nothing disctracting outside, So Kimmie and I cleared away a bunch of stuff and stuck this cute chair in front of it all of the detail shots for this wedding were done right here.¬† Once I turned Lauren towards me all of the gorgeous light coming from the window hit the back of her head and left her face, I needed to create a light JUST as delicate as the light coming from that window¬† and I needed to do it in about 3 minutes. I do love my Canon 600’s but they would have taken too much time to set up and I didnt want to bust out a softbox for this quick portrait so I turned to my handy-dandy reflector! Photogs if you arent using your reflector more let this image show you why you should let that baby flex its little muscles! So to the right you will see my set up, my reflector (bottom left) is gold side up throwing the most delicate light ever right into Laurens face, while warming up the entire image. Win Win Win! ( Office reference) So Step 1 is to find the best light, (regardless of where the best light is) Step 2 Clear away anything from the best light that will cause distraction Step 3 Modify the light if needed (in this case a reflector) and Step 4…shoot!

 

My Settings for this image: 1/200 F2.8 with a 24-70 ISO 200

NLPs Favorite things of 2017

NLPs Favorite things of 2017

Oh 2017, you will be forever remembered as a favorite year of mine. This year we moved 3 times, took over a church, started my new business, shot 28 weddings and 19 engagement sessions, not to mention all while raising 2 little people. The theme for this past year was “growth” hands down. About halfway through the year I had a complete “workflow” makeover because in all honesty if I didnt I was not going to be able to thrive in anything. So this post really should be called Everything that Made My Life Easier (and then some favorites.) Its going to be a long one, but trust me you’re going to want to take some notes!¬†

 

 

¬† If I’m going to be talking about workflow hacks (which I am) then I would be simply remiss not to talk about the biggest hack of all:

1. Wake up Earlier

I like many people would stay up late to do my work (what is it about photographers as a people that we LOVE to be up at 3am editing?) Through a series of interesting events I realized that the old mantra of “I need more hours in the day” was something I could make happen if I woke up at 5am. Now I wake up at 5, do all my reading, praying, and a solid 2 hours of work…before my kids are even awake. I could do a whole blog post on the science of how your brain works better in the morning, or how your children can benefit from having your undivided attention at breakfast, and how CEOs all are waking up before the sun but I won’t. Just try it!

2.  Trello, and Planners

When I was in middleschool my favorite thing ever was getting our agendas, I loved the smooth unmarked¬† paper and that feeling of a blank slate to organize my complicated life. As an adult I still love the feeling of a new planner but for entirely different reasons…this time its for survival.¬† I am currently using¬†Inkwell Press planners. I love that fact that it has vision boards and goal setting pages. In the back there are budgeting tools and meal planning worksheets (all of which are processes that have changed my life).

Trello is the best. thing. ever. Ok let me explain, I have a physical planner and that contains my calendar and general to-do lists but Trello is an app (available for desktop as well) that breaks your life into boards and allows you to get into the details of planning your general to-dos. For example, I have a Trello “board” for this business. In my planner I will have written “blog by Wednesday.” When I open Trello I go to my NLP board, open up my blog card, and scroll through my blog ideas. Under each idea I can have a further card detailing specific¬† information that I need to research in order to do that blog. I can slap due dates on things and when I’m done and move it over to my “accomplished section” (because who doesnt like looking at an empty to do list)? Trello also can sync with my husband’s account, So when im in our church board and write a card out in the “to-do for church” board it notifies my husband and we are on the same page. There are countless options and ways to customize. Go to https://trello.com/ and give it a try!

Meal planning and budgeting go in with this topic, When you work from home like I do you need to guarantee some time to actually do some work. Meal planning and budgeting have allowed me some guaranteed time because I no longer have to stand in my kitchen for a half hour waiting for a meal idea to pop into my head!

Ok, as the subtitle states this is NOT my area of expertise. If it wasnt for my bestie Kayla, and my sister Lauren, I would look like a gargoyle on a regular basis. I do however have a few tips that have allowed me to feel a little more put together,

1. Use hair masks! And face masks, and hand masks Рall the masks! I currently use a Matrix Hydrasource Biolage hair mask that runs about $14  for 5oz. Super expensive, but super worth it. We live in the age of curling wands and pinterest tutorials that do a TON of damage to our hair so allowing your hair time to recover is essential. Face masks just make me feel glamorous by Fergi! My favorite line is Formula 10.0.6, they have a huge line of $7 masks that have changed my face!

2. Now I warn you this is a ridiculous one, but before you think I’ve lost it let me tell you…it works!

SO ridiculous right? Ok I have CRAZY naturally curly hair, not the good type. It legitimately scares my child. I have been blowing out my hair for YEARS and most people dont even know my hair is naturally curly. I discovered this contraption like 2 months ago looking for hair masks in Sallys. You put your hair in rollers and put this thing on your head and it “drys” your hair! It’s SO much better than direct hard heat, but the REAL plus side is I put my hair in rollers and I sit and edit while its doing its thang. I’m actually using it right now as I type this blog post, so it’s a REAL time saver! Also my hair comes out softer and way shinier than when I did it manually with a brush. This one is by Curlformers. It’s called a “softhood” and a bunch of other companies make it, but I have an emotional attachment to this brand because its my first.

3. Clothing shopping on Amazon

This is nothing new BUT I have been getting a lot of my clothing from Amazon. No more “gee I need a white T-shirt” trip to the mall where I actually spend $80 on hiking boots, a Parka, and no white T-shirt! When I shop on Amazon I search for the white shirt, buy it, and get back to work. Time saver, money saver, and headache saver. So its good in my book!

My favorite topic ever…you guys know im a wedding photographer right? Lets jusmp right in…

1.1.gmod

  1.MagMod   If you havent heard of the Magmod diffusing kit you are seriously missing out. This was my first year using OCF, and the thought of, not only figuring out the flashes and stands and what not, but THEN having to figure out all these diffusers, made me want to throw in the towel.

For the sake of the length of this blog post I am not going to explain OCF, Feel free to message me about any questions but im going to keep it moving. I used to use a Gary Fong diffuser and I did like it a lot but the Magmod system is SO easy, SO quiet, SO compact, and SO effective that it’s hard to say no. To purchase the full kit for two flashes it’ll run you about $400 and this kit does not take place of a softbox, BUT for a fast paced wedding day its perfect!

In an exciting turn of events the Canon 24-70ii is actually NOT my favorite lense. That spot is reserved by the 85 1.2, BUT this lense is on my camera 40% of the wedding day. Why? Because it is so fast, so sharp, versatile while not lacking in quality, and quite honestly lighter than my other lenses. 80% of my reception images are shot with this bad boy and even though that creamy bokeh of the 85 isnt there it still is stinking fantastic, so it makes the cut.

3. Webinars/Podcasts

I am a self taught weddingphotographer. I learned in the streets (not really but it’s more dramatic that way)! I have a handful of photographers I follow who are simply the best educatores out there and sometimes they do free webinars. Some of my favorite are¬† Katelyn James, Jordan and Amy Demos, Zach and Jody Gray – and there are a ton more out there. I also listen to podcasts on a regular basis. The Boss Mom, Six figure photography, and Dave Ramsey are all favorites.

 

4. Planoly and Facebook scheduling

So, I spent a lot of time this year learning all about the “peak times” to post on social media and I very quickly learned that its the WORST time of day for me. It just aint happenin’. Planoly is an app that allows you to pre type out your instagram posts hashtags and all and just send a notification when its time to post. All I need to do is hit “post” when it comes through my phone and BOOM posted. Facebook also has a scheduling feature that completely posts your posts on its own. So in the morning I wake up and think out my posts, set them up, and then schedule them to go out at the peak times. It’s the best of both worlds! I can take advantage of getting that peak time exposure while pushing my kid on a swing. Does it get better?

 

5. Yeti Coffee Tumblers

Ok, so imagine a world where you’re a lets say…wedding photographer. You get your coffee in the morning and head to your wedding, after the first section of prep and when your headed to the ceremony you would KILL for another cuppa joe but alas…theres no time. You look at your sad bargain brand tumbler holding 3/4 of cold coffee from that morning and die a little inside. OR you look down at your Yeti, pick up and your coffee and¬† it’s somehow STILL HOT. What is this witchcraft? I dont know, but I will glady spend $20 more on something that actually works.

6. Outsourcing Album Design

I just started offering albums this year. No matter what type of business you run, there is aways something that can be outsourced. I chose my albums. I am a solo-prenuer meaning I run the whole show here which leaves me a trello list a mile long in the beginning of the week. Offering albums was something I desperately wanted to do but just did not have the time to sit down and design an album. So, I outsourced it and its not even that expensive. Moral of the story: working moms of the world, what can you take off of your plate? Is it laundry or housekeeping? See about having somone come in once a week and do a clean sweep. Is it purging your inbox? There are companies that pay people like 10 bucks an hour to organize your inbox content and send you the condensed list in order of importance, I could go on but look for those things that other people could be doing so you could be doing more of what you love.

I hope that some of the things in this post peaked your interest. Many of them changed my life. If you have any specific questions feel free to email me and I would be more than happy to answer!  Also, enjoy my ultimate favorite thing, my fabulous little family!