Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to help your photographer get great wedding pictures

How to help your photographer get great wedding pictures: 

While editing a LOT of wedding pictures lately, I've noticed a few trends. There are a few things that  should have been a little better, had I informed the couple more about things they could have done to help me. There are also some that were AWESOME because I was able to be prepared for the moment. I'm sure I'll be adding to this list as I learn more. These are in no particular order, and are not targeting anyone -- these are things that have regularly happened with many of my weddings. 

  1. Always tell the photographer beforehand about any "surprise" or other details that you'll be doing, such as dancing down the isle, busting into a hip-hop dance, releasing butterflies, the second line dance, etc. Lighting needs to be planned for capturing those moments.
  2. Inform "Aunt Susan with the Camera" that THIS is your wedding photographer, and that although you appreciate her enthusiasm of taking pictures, to please stay out of the photographer's way.
  3. Communicate with the photographer about special details you've done for the day, such as the six-pence that is taped into your shoe, the buttons from your mom's dress around your bouquet, and your grandma's ring  you'll be wearing.
  4. Communicate with the hairdresser/makeup artist that you MUST begin pictures at the appointed time, so they need to be done with hair and makeup 15 minutes before that time.
  5. Begin your "sunset ceremony" 1 hour before the actual sunset. The light will be perfect for pictures before and after the ceremony. Avoid taking pictures between 10 am and 2 pm if possible.
  6. Plan to stand for your ceremony in a ground-level, visible place. If all of your bridesmaids and groomsmen are crowded around you during the ceremony, it makes it very difficult to get pictures of YOU.
  7. Plan to begin pictures at least two hours before the ceremony. If you aren't doing the first look, I like to have at least 45 minutes with each side of the wedding party, plus 30 minutes of set-up time before the ceremony. If you want to do family pictures and getting-ready pictures before the wedding, begin pictures at least 3 hours before the wedding. If you want to do pictures away from the location, make sure to consider travel time (for the photographer also) before the wedding.
  8. See each other with a "First Look" before the ceremony. This isn't for everyone, but if you want some extra-great pictures  of yourself on the wedding day and you don't want to miss your reception, this is the way to do it.  If you don't see each other before the wedding, it leaves all pictures of family, the entire wedding party, and the bride and groom alone to be taken after the ceremony, usually in that order for me. (See #13) 
  9. Do a "Trash-the-Dress" or "Day after" session. This is when you get dressed up again and do an entire 1-2 hour portrait session by yourself, in a no-stress manner, on a day after the wedding, or right after the wedding. Many of my super-small weddings end in a portrait session, and those are always the best pictures.
  10.  Stand proportionately at the altar (make sure the two of you and the officiant are centered). It's a simple little thing, but makes a big difference in those pictures of your ceremony. Also, if possible, make that center isle at least 4 feet wide.
  11. Stand outside gazebos! Gazebos are pretty. But, when you're underneath them, more often than not, your lower body is well-lit by natural or surrounding light, while your head is shaded by the roof of the gazebo. In other words, the photographer can usually get a great picture of you from waist down, but your face will look like mud. Also, when you try to put the whole wedding party under the gazebo, it often crowds the picture and can block pictures of YOU. Additionally, gazebos are generally UP from the level the photographer will be shooting from, which makes it extremely difficult to get pictures without roofs and posts coming out of your head. Did I mention standing OUTSIDE the gazebo?
  12. Make a simple list (no more than 20 items), using first names, of group family pictures that are essential.
  13. Be patient!!  I try to keep all after-ceremony pictures under 30 minutes so you can enjoy your reception (see #8)  but often the bride and/or groom get impatient after taking so many pictures and want to hurry and get to the reception. This makes it very difficult to get the most important pictures of the night- the ones of YOU, minutes after you tied the knot.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cynthia & Kevin, Baton Rouge Wedding

Cynthia and Kevin's wedding ceremony, March 20th 2011, was my first to do at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, LA. What a beautiful location! My favorite shot of the entire day is the one of Kevin and Cynthia on the staircase. The natural light in the Old State Capitol, along with the color, details, and architecture, are breathtaking and make for the perfect setting for a formal wedding. Jordan of Southern Chic Events was the wedding coordinator for the day, and I really enjoyed her professionalism, the schedule she gave me in advance, and her ability to handle anything that came up. The reception was at the LSU Faculty Club, which happens to be probably my favorite reception venue that I've shot at recently. I don't know if it's a favorite because of the windows on opposite sides that let in lots of light, or maybe the balcony where I can get lots of shots from above, or maybe it's the outdoor porch where people can relax and still see all the action inside, or maybe it's just because it's on the LSU campus. Or, maybe it's because the food is truly fabulous. Whatever the reason, I LOVE shooting receptions at  the LSU Faculty Club!

A list of some of my favorite unique things about this wedding...
1. Cynthia's dress
2. They did the "second line" dance.
3. A cookie bar
4. They had a "signature drink," the rainstorm, which was what they drank on their first date.
5. The faculty club (see above.)
6. The food, provided by the faculty club
7. Plenty of time to take the "before" pictures in a separate location

The girls and guys pictures were both taken near the Hilton hotel in downtown Baton Rouge, where the girls got ready. The guys' were quite entertaining while taking their pictures. We are also planning a trash-the-dress session with Cynthia and Kevin to be coming up soon.

Thanks to Danielle Aucoin for being my 2nd photographer at this wedding, and for also covering their rehearsal dinner while I was shooting Amanda and Joel's wedding!


Amanda & Joel at Forrest Grove Plantation, Denham Springs, LA

Amanda Dedeaux and Joel Lanclos got married on March 19th, 2011, at Forrest Grove Plantation in Denham Springs, LA. Amanda chose black, white, and red to be her wedding colors. I loved the detailed bridesmaids dresses and the black and white accessories, including the bride's cake. The groom's cake was really neat too.

This was an afternoon wedding filled with family, friends, and dancing. Forrest Grove Plantation deserves applause for saving the day by pitching in and covering the chairs at the last minute!

Sometimes (actually, most of the time) something  unexpected happens at weddings. For this time, it was something unexpected on my end!! When the ceremony ended and the reception began, the daddy/daughter dance was next up. Amanda and Mr. James began dancing slowly to "Butterfly Kisses," when all of a sudden, the music changed to a hip-hop song, and they both began to dance to a choreographed dance! It had everyone in the crowd rolling. The songs changed two or three times, and then ended back on "Butterfly Kisses." I was laughing hard, but was also so touched that a daddy and daughter could have such a fun and close relationship.

The junior bride seemed so pleased to be in her dress that matched "Aunt Birdie's" dress!

Thanks again to Emily Folk for being my 2nd photographer at this wedding.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Jennifer Palmer. Senior 2011.

Jennifer is a senior at Centreville Academy. She took her senior pictures in and around Jackson, LA. There are so many places to take pictures there, and things to see, especially if you're into history. Thanks to Jennifer for being so adventurous, and also to her aunt and Caitlin for helping with lights!
PS I must give credit to Kirk Voclain, a fabulous and nationally-known photographer from South LA,  for the pose of Jennifer sitting in the alley with her leg up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux done went down da bayou and got hitched...

A note to update all readers who are not from Louisiana:  In Texas, many people tell "Chuck Norris" jokes. In other states, people tell redneck jokes. I don't know what other types of jokes people tell in different areas, but here in Louisiana, we tell Boudreaux Thibodeaux jokes! The only one I know is this:

Boudreaux and Clarence Thibodeaux lived across the bayou from each other, but there was no bridge across the bayou. They hated each other tremendously, and every day would come out to the edge of the bayou and yell at each other. Boudreaux would always say at the end of the yelling spree, "If we ever get a bridge across this bayou, I'm gonna come over there and whoop you, Clarence Thibodeaux."
Then, one year, the state of Louisiana came through and built that bridge! Boudreaux couldn't wait. As soon as that bridge was finalized and opened, he put on his boots and told his wife, Clarice, that he was walking over to whoop Clarence.
Not five minutes later, Boudreaux came walking back up their oak-lined driveway. Clarice said "Oh sha, honey, I thought you were going to whoop dat old Clarence Thibodeaux."  Boudreaux replied, "Da sign on dat new bridge said 'Clearance, 8 feet.' Clarence didn't look dat tall from dis side of da bayou."

Ha ha ha. OK, I'm a very bad joke teller!! But that should give you an idea of why this wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! If you have time to kill, google "Boudreaux-Thibodeaux jokes."

On March 11, 2011, Morgan Boudreaux and Adam Thibodeaux had a short and sweet ceremony at the Lamar Dixon chapel (beside the Lamar Dixon Expo Center) in Gonzales, LA, then moved the party to the Gonzales Civic Center for the rest of the night. Some details that stood out most to me about this wedding were 1. The entire wedding party danced down the isle for their exit, 2. There was an authentic Boudreaux-Thibodeaux shack built at the entrance of the Civic Center, 3. There was a fabulous live band, 4. The number of people! There were people everywhere, thanks to the nature of large South Louisiana families, and 5. The favors from the reception were custom-printed camouflage Boudreaux-Thibodeaux beer can koozies. Of course, there was lots of good Louisiana cajun food, too!

One new thing that I'm liking about some of my recent weddings is that brides have begun to incorporate some color into their wardrobe on the wedding day. Morgan wore the most fabulous LSU-purple heels, with a six-pence taped to the inside. Her bouquet was lined with the buttons from her mother's wedding dress. I also particularly liked the custom hanger that her wedding dress hung on, found on etsy for $25. It was a gift from one of the bridesmaids, and was such a neat detail to incorporate into the pictures.

Another detail of note- Morgan's maid (or matron?) of honor, Sabrina, did a wonderful job of helping coordinate all of the bridesmaids, the limo, etc. When there is no wedding coordinator, it's important for someone besides the bride to step up and help. Sabrina deserves a trophy for her help that day!

It was a nice mix of traditional classy Louisiana wedding mixed with the fun nature of Boudreaux and Thibodeaux.

One of my most memorable moments from this wedding was when Morgan's dad saw her in her dress for the first time...

Many thanks to Emily Folk for being my lighting assistant and capturing a few pics at this wedding!


Kayla and Tim Engagement

Kayla and Tim picked Tara Marie Photography because of the many country-style sample pictures Kayla saw at the bridal show at the Victorian. I am truly a country girl, complete with the horses, miscellaneous farm animals, and living in the middle of nowhere, so country pictures really do prick my heart. On the other hand, there is something about the city that fascinates me. I lived for 2 years in an apartment in Baton Rouge while in school. The first year I HATED it. But then, after I began to get out and make some friends, I began to realize the perks of living in the city. The grocery store was only 5 minutes away, versus the current 45 minutes to Wal-Mart! I could walk to Izzo's Illegal Burrito, my all-time favorite place to eat in Baton Rouge. And my friends were only a short drive (or walk) away at all times.
Recently while driving through downtown Baton Rouge at 8 pm on a Friday, I realized that the city at night makes me think about all the people who are working to keep things rolling while the rest of us sleep- the nurses, factory workers, lawyers putting in extra hours, janitors cleaning up our messes, security guards, and the rest. It's neat to think about....

Back to country life, though- I thank Mrs. Trudy, who is Tessie's mom, for letting us use her barn in Pride, LA for these pictures. I got to pet one of her cows before the shoot!

Keep an eye out for Kayla's bridals at Oakley Plantation in St. Francisville, and their St. Francisville Hemingbough wedding this last Friday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Melanie & Cam, Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, LA Wedding Photographer

Melanie Doughty & Cam McDole tied the knot at the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA, on March 6th, 2011 (which happened to be two days after my 5 year anniversary, in the same town!). The Kansas City couple had a destination wedding with a small group of close friends on the front lawn of the Myrtles, under the beautiful oak trees that St. Francisville is known for. They then had a cajun lunch at the tasty Carriage House restaurant that is on the grounds of the Myrtles with friends and family.

The Myrtles is most known  for being "one of America's most haunted haunted homes," but many people overlook the actual beauty of the house's architecture, as well as the beautiful grounds that are open for people to walk around and enjoy. It's a great location for small weddings like Melanie & Cam's wedding, rehearsal dinners, and also a nice place for portraits.

Congratulations, Melanie & Cam!
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