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Planning for Perfect Portraits

Wake up, hair and makeup, get dressed, get to the ceremony, say I DO, cocktail hour, reception. WHOA! All of these wonderful things all happening on the same day for YOU. The day you dreamed of is finally here and you are surrounded by the people that mean the most to you. This seriously is the best day ever. With the attention you and your new husband will be getting all day, although wonderful, you'll definitely want to have some time away from the craziness to really stop and smell the roses if you will.

Allow plenty of time for portraits of the new Mr. and Mrs.

Your portrait session together will be the first chance you have to be alone and get away from it all for a little while. Use this time to truly enjoy being with each other.

Typically, I like to spend at least 30-45 minutes with my couples during their portrait session. (10-15 minutes of that time would be the First Look if you decided to do that before your ceremony) Since we have more than likely shot together for your engagement session, and have already spent several hours together on your big day, you are completely comfortable in front of my camera by the time we get to this part of the day. Many of the images we create during this time will make it into the album and even as an enlarged piece of wall art when you move into the same home together.

Photos with your bridal party

After you've taken photos as a couple, it's time to bring on the crew. Your bridal party has been there for you every step of the way and now they are celebrating with you. Taking about 30 minutes with all of your best friends is the perfect amount of time to get some group photos as well as individual photos. Like Iris mentioned in her post about the wedding day timeline, lots of brides like to have a photo with each of her bridesmaids so they can wish them happy birthday on social media!

Remember, if you schedule a First Look, your bridal party photos can also be done before the ceremony. This will clear some time up so you'll be able to enjoy your cocktail hour with your friends and family. Who doesn't want to get the party started ASAP?!

If you decide to keep things traditional, you can save some time by doing a portrait session with just the bride and bridesmaids, and just the groom and groomsmen before the ceremony.

Wanna get away?

I love when couples want to add a unique location to their list of photo must haves. It's important to communicate any ideas you have with your photographer well in advance. Most of the time, there is no issue. However, some locations require you make a reservation 2-8 weeks (or more) in advance, and some places even require a permit be purchased in order to use the space. The last thing you want is to drive to your perfect location only to find it's closed or that you needed to have a permit to be there.

When planning your portrait session at an off site location, be sure to take into consideration travel time and possible traffic, construction, and even parking if you are driving yourself. A location that is 10 minutes away per Google Maps, may actually take 20 minutes or more on a bad day.

Don't be discouraged if you don't think you'll have enough time to go everywhere you wanted to get that epic wedding portrait. Talk to your photographer about a possible Day After session. Yep, you read that correctly. You and your groom will get dressed up in your dress and suit, your makeup will be done again, and you can spend the morning after your wedding taking photos and truly enjoying your time without the stress of an entire wedding day.

Family Formal Photos

Weddings are nothing without your closest family members being there to support you. Emotions will be running high and the beautiful, in-the-moment photos will be some to cherish forever. But I would be lying if I didn't say that some of mom's favorite photos will be of the entire family standing together, smiling and looking at the camera. Yes, your cheeks will hurt, but mom will have that perfect family portrait to hang on her wall or show off to all her friends at work.

Scheduling formal family photos right after the ceremony is always recommended. Be sure to have your maid of honor, or a family member, remind your immediate family members to stay around directly following the ceremony so you can get these photos done and let everyone go off and enjoy the cocktail hour. It is critical that we stay organized here. Create a list of the different combinations you would like photographed and give that to your photographer in the weeks leading up to your wedding. This will allow the photographer to plan accordingly and keep everyone on schedule. Typically this portion of the day takes about 30 minutes. Here's a sample list to get you started!

Bride’s family

B&G with bride’s immediately family

B&G with bride’s parents

B&G with bride’s siblings

Groom’s family

B&G with groom’s immediately family

B&G with groom’s parents

B&G with groom’s siblings

We are very aware that there will be more people that you want to take photos with. Your great Uncle that flew in from out of town, or that cousin that you haven't seen since you were 10. The perfect time to take photos with additional family members is during the reception. Simply grab your photographer, or if they have a second feel free to get their attention, and have them snap that photo.

Sneak away for a few more

You've made it through your entire wedding day and everything went off without a hitch. Can you believe this is real life? Before you dance the night away, grab your photographer and head off somewhere quiet to enjoy just a few more minutes to reflect on the amazing day you just had. A quick portrait session outside around sunset is always a good idea.

Remember, everyone is different. The time suggestions I've shared are just a starting point. If portraits are really important to you and you think you need or want more time, then go for it! Talk to your planner, or whoever is helping you stay on schedule and let them know what you want. This is YOUR day!

I hope that you've found the information I've shared valuable and will help make some of the planning on your wedding day a little easier. If you haven't had the chance to check out all of this week's posts from #WithThis💍, The Wedding Series, see below for links back to each blog. If you are recently engaged and are still in the process of planning your engagement session, be sure to check out the original #WithThis💍 blog series HERE.

You can view the entire #WithThis💍 The Wedding:Blog Series below. (Links will be updated daily)

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