by emilie becker | Feb 3, 2021 | Love Stories, Wedding Photography
Two Benefits of a First Look
The days of strict traditional weddings are slowly fading out and one of the newer trends that have come around are breaking the age old tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony. This trend is called a first look. It’s a specific time set aside for the bride and groom to share a moment together before the ceremony.
Now you may be extremely against this or simply wondering why? Some may think it is all about the photos and that is why it turns them away but it’s so much more than that. There a two main reasons why a first look can be an excellent idea for your wedding day.
Creates a beautiful and intimate moment
When you walk down the isle and your husband to be sees you for the first time you will probably take his breath away. He will relish at how he came to be with such an amazing and beautiful woman and feel lucky he is about to promise forever to you. But he won’t be able to express any of this as he feels it. You will be given away and have to stand in front of all of your guests to begin the actual marriage process. Skipping over his initial reaction of seeing you.
With a first look you are given a chance as a couple, to enjoy each other privately, and marvel at the beauty of what you are about to do. Without all eyes looking towards you expectantly.
You will get to hear your future husband tell you how extraordinarily beautiful you are as he takes you into his arms. You will get to feel the excitement of the day and remember the reason why you are here, because of the love between you two.
And of course all of these beautifully intimate moments will be captured for you tot elite forever. Adding to the personal and emotional story of your wedding photos.
Allows for more time flexibility in your schedule
You will be surprised how little time there is to accommodate everything you want to do on your wedding day. Photographs can be one of the most time consuming but also a very important part of preserving the memory’s of your wedding day. After all It’s not every day you get to have all of your friends and family in one place and have a professional photographer on hand!
Your going to want to have a photo with everyone that matters to you, and you’ll be surprised how quickly that eats away at your time. A first look is an excellent way to make the most of that time.
If you wait until after the ceremony to do all of your photos you will only have an hour long window while your guests are enjoying cocktail hour to do all of your family, bridal party and personal wedding photos. This can add unwanted time stress resulting in a less enjoyable experience as well as cut down on the ability to have those beautiful intimate photos of just you and your partner.
If you choose do a first look, this is an excellent way to give yourself some extra time to get all of your bridal party and even some of your family photos out of the way. Resulting in more time for your formals as a married couple after the ceremony, and may even free up some time for you to join in on the cocktail hour for a bit!
When deciding if a first look is for you think about what is more important. If you really want to stay traditional and wait for that first look to be you walking down the isle, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all it is your big day and it should include what is most important to you and your partner.
If your still looking for a way to have that intimate moment before the ceremony, without spoiling that first look, there is an option for you! It is called a “first touch”. This option allows you and your partner can hold hands and exchange some meaningful words, separated by a wall or a door so you don’t spoil the surprise!
Whether a first look or a first touch is for you or not your wedding day is sure to be magical. If time is your biggest worry, check out my post about how to plan a day of timeline.
by emilie becker | Nov 13, 2020 | Elopement Photography, Engagement Photography, How To, Love Stories, Wedding Photography
How to Unpose – The Secret to Authentic Photos
If you are not a model, the thought of being in front of a camera can be daunting enough, trying to act natural on top of that is basically impossible. There are a lot of guides out there that will tell you how to “pose like a pro” for your photos but in this guide I am going to help you learn how to “unpose”.
Would you rather spend your wedding day having orders barked at you from someone with a camera telling you to hold your hands and tilt your head, OR spend it creating real and authentic memories that can be captured to tell the story of your love; as a result letting you relive your favorite moments for years to come?
Personally I would prefer the latter, but you may be wondering how in the world are you supposed to be natural and candid in front of a camera? Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking pictures that will guarantee a natural flow to your photography sessions and give you images you will fall in love with over and over again.
Make sure you are touching
So many times I have couples show up to their photo sessions and act as if they are afraid to touch each other. If you’re not a PDA person, I get it, but now is not the time to be shy. The camera and I will not judge we will eat up all of your displays of affection.
Throughout your session be conscious to be touching your partner. Hold their hand or rest your head on their shoulder. When hugging make sure you get close, this isn’t a middle school dance there is no three finger rule!
Think about how you would naturally touch your partner when you are home and want to display your affection. The real trick here is pretending the camera is not there and focusing only on your person in front of you and how much you absolutely adore and love them.
When it comes to any kind of modeling this is a golden rule. Often times when we are put in front of a camera we get really stiff and feel as though we need to freeze, but it’s not the 19th century anymore folks! My camera is more than capable of freezing motion way beyond you moving your hand or turning your head.
Be fluid with your motion as if you are simply acting as you would behind closed doors. Hold your partner, sway with them, tuck a stray strand of hair behind their ear, kiss, adjust yourself as much as you want, these actions that are so natural in life are what create natural looking snapshots. The goal of a photograph is to freeze a moment in time, not capture and already frozen moment.
One of my favorite things is to have my couples dance together. Dancing can be extremely intimate or it can turn out to simply be super fun and ends in laughter. The best are the twirls, spins, and dips!
An excellent way to creating real authentic moments is to remember why you are having photos taken in the first place. Think about how much you love the person standing in front of you. Think about why you love them. Tell them that. It’s important to voice your emotions during your session it will deepen the connection you have with each other and bring out those raw feelings of love that translate so well to your photos.
Don’t forget to smile!
I’m not talking about the say cheese kind of smile, I’m talking about the kind of smile that takes over your entire face no matter what you do. The smile that reaches all the way to your eyes. Think about what is actually happening in these moments. You are celebrating your love to your favorite person on earth, you are promising forever to them, now does that not put a smile on your face?
What’s the saying? Live fully, Love Fiercely and Laugh often? Yeah, apply that here. No, but seriously, what is life without laughter. Tell jokes to each other, now is the perfect time to whip out those inside jokes that only you two know about and make you laugh without fail.
It’s also fun to get a little dirty. Sometimes, I’ll have my couples whisper something dirty or naughty in each other’s ear, and without fail it always ends up in a laughing fit that results in some of the most beautiful, fun and genuine photos of the session. Couples who laugh together stay together!
The most important thing is to have fun and really focus on being in the moment. Most of my previous points have already stated this but it is the basis to good photos. If you are enjoying yourself throughout the session, your photos are bound to be amazing.
Choose the right photographer
I have said this before in past writings, but I really cannot stress it enough. You want to choose a photographer who you feel 100% comfortable with. Try to find someone that you could literally see yourself hanging out with in general, it will guarantee you feel confident and comfortable in your photos so you can have the most real and authentic moments as possible!
by emilie becker | Nov 12, 2020 | Elopement Photography
Top 5 Locations To Elope In Arizona
Every state has it’s features that make it beautiful and special. I’ve always been drawn to the red rock and cacti of Arizona, which is part of the reason I decided to make it the first stated I’d live in when I left Florida. After taking some time to do some exploring, I have put together a list of places that I think would be a totally EPIC elopement location.
As a result of these locations being explored by me most of the images are simply photos I have taken on my own personal adventures!
Saguaro National Park
This is actually the only place on this list that I haven’t actually been yet but, it is next on my list! I am obsessed with the saguaro cacti as they only grow in a certain part of the country and are so big and majestic looking. I like to call them picture perfect cacti, because if you look at all the trendy pictures and drawings of cacti they are always this type of cactus.
Your elopement day is bound to be on point at this destination!
There’s no doubt that Horseshoe Bend is a unique location. It is a short and simple hike making it a really good option if you aren’t looking to do any crazy hiking or for intimate weddings with guests that wouldn’t be able to accompany you on a traditional hike. This location is beautiful at golden hour but tends to get a bit crowded around sunset, if you’re looking to beat the crowds consider a sunrise hike instead!
When I used to day dream about Arizona the landscape at monument valley is what I pictured. The monuments themselves make for an excellent backdrop for any photo and your elopement would be no exception! The best part is that it is a HUGE park and there are many opportunities for a beautiful backdrop while still having the intimacy of it being just you and your guests.
Cathedral Rock, Sedona
Looking to be more traditional without going as far as getting married in a church? Consider a more natural cathedral made out of red rock! Sedona in general is hands down my favorite place in Arizona. It’s spirituality and healing properties really speak to me, if you’ve ever been to Sedona you know what I’m talking about!
Cathedral rock can be a more intense hike if you are planning on going all the way to the top so it would not be the best for grandma, but is a great option for a sunrise hike just the two of you to the top and an intimate wedding ceremony in the evening on the lower levels.
The Grand Canyon
Last but definitely not least, the grandest location of them all! The Grand canyon gives many location and hiking options that there is something that works for everyone. The north rim is more secluded and is a great option for a summer elopement on one of the back trail hikes. If you’re really dedicated you can even hike down into the canyon!
For something a bit more low key and in the cooler months of the year the south rim has many options and easy hikes that would be suitable for an intimate wedding and easily accessible for all your guests!
There are so many amazing locations in Arizona these are just a few of my favorites. These locations would also be a really good option for a newlywed session, if you aren’t familiar with what a newlywed session is or are considering one for yourself, you can learn more about them here. If you are looking to elope in Arizona and have an epic location in mind that you want to pass along to me, I would love to hear about it!
by emilie becker | Oct 20, 2020 | Elopement Photography, Wedding Photography
How to Get Those Epic Landscape Wedding Photos
If you’re like me and love looking at all the beautiful and epic wedding photos in nature on Instagram then you have probably wondered how they have time for these perfect golden hour shots on such a busy day.
The truth is, unless they are elopement photos most of those shots were not captured on the actual wedding day. The best way to guarantee you get epic nature shots is to schedule a newlywed session.
What is a Newlywed Session?
A newlywed session is a separate photo shoot that takes place on a day other than your wedding day. It can be the day before or after or it can be weeks or even months away from your wedding day. However, I suggest keeping it close to the actual day of your wedding to encourage those special romantic moments and exciting emotions that come with getting married.
If you’re one of those people where photos are really important to you then I hands down recommend booking a newlywed session! Most photographers will include this in at least one of their packages, or will have no problem adding it on. I know I love newlywed sessions because it encourages my creativity and my couples always have a great time doing it as well.
How to plan a newlywed session
First choose your location. Consider locations that have some sort of personal meaning and that reflect your relationship. If you love to spend your days by the beach you could consider a seaside session and maybe even get a little wet, because who doesn’t dream of being a mermaid!? On the contrary, if you prefer to spend your time going on hikes in the mountains plan a session around one of your favorite hiking locations.
Think about the details. Since this is meant to represent your wedding pictures, you want to keep consistency with the quality. A good reason to keep it close to your wedding day is so you can reuse your flowers if that is important to you. Or you could have your florist makeup a separate smaller bouquet a few days early to be used for the shoot.
Hair and makeup is something to consider as well. If you are an all natural kind of girl, be true to yourself and opt for minimal makeup and an easy hairstyle. However, if you want to go all out it’s still an option and since it’s for just you and you’ll have plenty of time before the shoot it’s a little easier to simply go somewhere inexpensive and get your hair and makeup done instead of having a stylist come to you. You may even be able to talk to your wedding day hair and makeup artist to work something out!
If you have pets this is a great time to think about including them! That way you can still have those adorable photos with your pet for your wedding without having to include them on the madness of the big day. Just be sure to have someone that can take care of your pet when you are taking photos without them.
I hope this helped reveal the mystery behind some of those epic Instagram shots and has you considering a newlywed session for yourself. You won’t regret it! For more information on how to schedule your newlywed session feel free to reach out and talk to me directly. I’d love to answer all your burning questions!
by emilie becker | Sep 19, 2020 | Wedding Photography
10 Common Misconceptions About Wedding Photography
In every profession there are going to be ideas and stereotypes surrounding it. Wedding photography is no exception! As a wedding photographer I have decided to explain away a few of the common misconceptions about wedding photography.
The quality of the photos depends on the camera
There have been so many instances of me out shooting where someone will come up to me and say, “Wow! That’s a fancy camera, I bet it takes really good photos.” First of all let me say, yes I love my camera, but was it the most expensive camera on the market? Nope!
Nine times out of ten I could hand my camera over to the person that made that comment with the settings unset, and they would take the crappiest photo ever. In fact there have been many instances where I have given my camera to a person fully set and ready, showed them an example of the photo I wanted them to take and had them try to replicate it, and they still couldn’t get it right! That right there is proof that it’s not the camera that makes the photographs great, it’s the photographer!
So if your uncle Jim just bought a new fancy camera and offers to take your wedding photos, it may still be a good idea to hire a professional!
The only thing that matters is that you like your photographers pictures
When you are choosing a wedding or elopement photographer your obviously going to make sure you LOVE their pictures, but don’t stop there!
Believe it or not, loving your photographers photos and pictures style is not the most important part. There are a lot of photographers out there with similar picture styles and skills, but every single photographer is a different person.
The most important thing to consider when choosing your photographer is that you like their personality, and they make you feel comfortable. The best way to go about doing this is find a few photographers that have that style you love and then reach out and get to know them a bit more to see if they are a good fit. If they really care about what they do, they will be doing the same thing with you!
As a photographer I won’t work with a couple that I don’t get along with because I know I am not the best person to capture those intimate moments that make up the core of their big day.
Make sure you are comfortable with your photographer, because believe it or not you will be spending more time with them on your wedding day than most of your guests!
Everything can be Photoshopped later
Photoshop is a great tool and most photographers use it, however, it is not a means of changing reality. No, I cannot photoshop someone to make them look 30lbs lighter or change hair color, or insert the wedding cake “here”.
Not only is that falsely representing your wedding day but it is time-consuming! Most of the time while editing we photographers use shortcut software such as light room to edit our photos. This makes editing many photos at once much easier and less time-consuming. In order to do massive correctional editing in photoshop would require taking those photos individually and spending hours on each one to make the corrections… and nobody has the time for that.
If you want something to look a certain way in your photos, make it that way in real life! Keep your wedding photos as authentic as possible you will be glad you did 20 years in the future!
Wedding photography is not a necessity
I use necessity here with relativity, obviously photography is not as necessary as food and water, but neither is a wedding!
Weddings in their own right are a luxury and there are many optional luxuries that can factor in to a wedding day. The flowers, the cake, the party favors, the dress and so much more.
But here is a question for you, what is the point of spending time and money making sure every single detail of your wedding day is perfect and pretty, if you don’t have any way to preserve those memories forever and share them with everyone?
In a world where we have to take a picture of our food before we eat, it would be lunacy not to have a photographer to capture your wedding day!
Wedding photos have to be pretty and posed
When looking for a photographer you will see lots of gorgeous photos that look like they were planned out and set up, and you will think that these are going to be your favorite must have photos on your wedding day. While these are the photos you will gravitate to in the beginning, as time goes on you will find that the photos that capture little special moments hold more meaning.
The photos with mom and dad will be shared on their birthdays, and photos with gran will be cherished forever after passing. The most important photos become the ones loaded with meaning that take you back to that moment.
I love to focus 90% of my photography on capturing real and authentic moments instead of forcing awkward or cheesy poses. Even when it comes to your formal and epic photos, adding in the intimacy of a real moment shared between the two of you will make that epic landscape photo even more special for years to come!
All wedding photographers have the same style
This should be a given. Every person on this earth is unique, everyone has their own personal style in general, so of course the same would go for photographers and their style. Some photographers favor the moody dark look, or the retro film look while others describe their images as light and airy.
Because of this, it is important to chose a photographer that matches the style you are after for your wedding day. Don’t hire a wedding photographer that specializes in light and airy photos and ask them a week before your wedding if they can make your photos look dark and moody. You’ll be disappointed in the least or completely shot down at the worst.
Wedding photographers will work for free for exposure
Do you like working for free? Neither do photographers.
While building my photography portfolio I worked for other photographers, set up stylized photo shoots and started with discounted rates for weddings, but never did I work for free. Unless a photographer reaches out to you and offers to shoot your wedding for free (highly unlikely) don’t expect them too.
Yes, everyone has got to start somewhere but, everyone has got to eat too!
If you were thinking of “supporting a starting photographer” and having them shoot your wedding in order to save some money at the same time as “doing something good” just keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The best way to support someone just starting out is to offer to do a stylized wedding shoot separate from your actually wedding day. This will give you the opportunity to get additional photos that could come out really neat without the pressure of your wedding day, as well as help out a photographer that is just learning the ins and outs of wedding photography!
Wedding photographers work only on the wedding day
Wedding photography is way more than a one day job. Before a wedding is even booked the photographer is working a full time job, from marketing, keeping up the blog and managing the website.
Then there is the outreach and building of the relationship between brides and photographer, helping plan and answer all the brides burning questions. The engagement shoot and don’t forget the hours and hours that go into editing. Sometimes, editing can take more time than the wedding day itself!
Wedding photography is an easy job
This point ties so much into #8. Wedding photography is so much more than showing up and shooting. On the wedding day itself I am often running around like a madwoman trying to make sure I photograph all the important details and capture all the special moments.
I will often times coordinate a large part of the timeline and make sure everything is moving along smoothly and in a timely fashion. There are also many moments you will find me in very interesting positions to get that perfect shot, laying on my belly or climbing in a tree, camera in hand.
The thing with wedding photography is you have to love what you do, If you love what you do, then every day it will be worth it.
Wedding photographers aren’t good at taking other photos
I didn’t pick up a camera and decide I was only going to photograph weddings. In fact, I had been practicing my photography skills for YEARS before wedding photography even crossed my mind. Since becoming a wedding photographer, I have traveled the world for two years straight and captured the entire journey along the way.
I have photographed, maternity photos, head shots, and many personal photographs for myself. My skills go way beyond wedding photography and I always love to expand on them! My favorite subject to photograph other than weddings is the night sky. Wedding photographers can be so much more than a one hit wonder.