Advice for the soon to be married...

Last week on our facebook page, we reached out to our followers and asked our married friends to bestow upon us their best advice for surviving the chaotic planning process in one piece. As always, they came through for us and left some fantastic words of wisdom.

Skimming through their responses, I saw two very important themes:

Put your money where your heart is…

12265756_1052682661431594_7341160067128722011_o.jpg

As you budget and finance your wedding, be sure you are putting money into the things you care about (and not necessarily what every auntie, cousin, sister, and mom cares about). If you try to go all-out on every aspect of the wedding day, the list and the dollar signs are going to build and build right along with your stress levels. Figure out what is really really important to you and your fiance and weight your budget (and attention) toward those items.

Enjoy the process!

18056295_10155095928250330_9046899200637803406_o.jpg

We all know wedding planning is going to be stressful, even for the most happy-go-lucky of us all. But try, while you are in it, to step back and enjoy what you have going on around you. Have fun brainstorming ideas with your honey and finding ways to add your own personal touches to the design of everything. If you are DIYing it and truly enjoy making things, take a second to appreciate all of the gorgeous things you are handcrafting for the day. While picking your outfits or flowers or table settings, don’t stress about the perfect choice. Instead, see how beautiful everything is and daydream about how it’s going to look on your wedding day.

The bigger picture...

Not only will doing these two things help you survive the process without having a total bride- or groomzilla blow up, it will seriously impact the quality of your wedding and engagement photos.

“How’s that,” you ask?

Alyssa-and-Thomas-Web-595.jpg

First off, if you have put your energy into things you really love and cannot wait to see materialize during the wedding, those details are going to shine through in your photos. And when you see them, you’re going to remember all of the amazing things that came together so you could have that special thing for this amazing day. You’ll love the photos that much more because of it.

Secondly (and possibly more importantly), no amount of photoshop or makeup can cover up the empty look of a stressed or upset bride and it’s almost impossible to add a sparkle of excitement to a groom’s eyes after the fact. You both will look a million times more relaxed and happy if you actually feel this way when the day comes.

And even if you actually are happy and relaxed on the wedding day, if you spend every second leading up to it hating your life because the planning process was hellish, that overall feeling of doom you get from remembering the process will always tarnish your vision of the photos after the fact. You want to look back at these times and remember them fondly. Not with a wince and a sigh.

Because weddings are celebrations, my friends! A truly magical event that brings together everything you and your fiance have had so far and will have for years to come. And yes, there will be stressful moments, but make sure you do what you can to minimize them and that your energy goes into making things you want to happen, happen. The satisfaction you’ll have when you look back on your photos will always outweigh the hard times and you’ll remember the day for what it was meant to be: the happiest day of your life.

If you are a wedding-planning survivor and have tips or tricks you’d like to share with our soon-to-be-married friends, please share them in comments! We’d love to pass them along. :)

Amy-and-Justin-Pint-266.jpg

Avoiding Disaster: Family Formals Edition

Around here, there are very few shot lists that we encourage couples to make when planning their wedding (see our post about Pinterest and how it can ruin your wedding photos here), but we make one major exception: the family formals list. Family formals are a big part of the required wedding photography list and, if not organized properly beforehand, can end up being a bit chaotic and a HUGE time suck.

Alyssa-and-Thomas-Web-282.jpg

Of all the photos you will take on your wedding day, these will be some of the most difficult to coordinate. There are often a lot of people in your families who will want photos with you and your honey; getting all of these people together in one place and getting their photos taken in a short amount of time can be a pretty difficult to accomplish. But it is super important to get this part right because this is your chance to get photos with family members you may not see often and, in the end, you’ll have a  really special set of images that you and your honey will cherish for years and years to come. For this and many other reasons, we always encourage couples to make a very detailed list for your photographer to work from.

Why make a list?

  1. Not all family dynamics are the same, so you don't necessarily want your photographer working from a standard set of shots for these. They may try to gather divorced parents or call out for family members who have passed or couldn’t make it, which could end up being awkward or painful for those who are there. It could also mean they’ll try to take more photos than necessary, which can cause your day-of timeline to run behind.

  2. Along the same lines, if the photographer has a specific list of names and groupings to work from, this chunk of photography time will go much more quickly and smoothly. The photographer will just go down the list taking the photos while their assistant gathers the next group, making an efficient process out of what could have been an experience closely akin to herding cats.

  3. And lastly, if you don’t have a list to work from, there is a very good chance you will forget to get a photo with someone, which in some cases can be devastating for you and your family if not caught before the end of the wedding day. On a practical level, forgetting someone can cause timeline issues because oftentimes these forgotten family members will start making last-minute requests for photos and the next thing you know, there will be a line of photo hopefuls and you’ll be behind schedule very quickly. No bueno.

Wedding - 33.jpg

How to make the list

So, what we recommend doing is taking some time well before the wedding to create a list of every family grouping you want during this time. And when I said every family grouping, I mean every single one. If you want a picture of you and you parents AND a picture of you, your honey and your parents, list those out separately. Not only will this ensure you get every single photo you want, but it also means you will get an accurate idea of how much time you need to schedule for these photos when you are making your timeline for the day.

BIG NOTE: Make sure you are working on this list way before the actual wedding day. If you try to make it last-minute, there will be people you forget and then we'll have trouble when the time actually comes. Also consult with parents and future in-laws to make sure you get everything one they want to be captured. If we don't consider this, parents will start requesting specific shots at the end of the formal photo time which could cause us to quickly get behind schedule.

Missy + Zach Web-188.jpg

The List and your Timeline

When making this list, you want to keep in mind how long it may take to get them all done so that you can schedule enough time to get them all done. Average, these photos can take about 3 minutes per group. It may end up being a little less or a little more depending on how large the group is and whether or not someone is running late, but generally, if you stick with 3 minutes, you will be fine.

When you have your finished list, count up how many photos and multiply it by 3 min each to get the total amount of time you need to set aside for family photos. If this time is over an hour long, you may want to consider condensing some shots or finding time to get photos with certain family members in the photo booth or at the reception. We say this because often there isn’t enough time in the day to take more than an hour for these photos, so you may need to prioritize or bump some folks in order to make it work out.

Halea-and-Marco-Web-337.jpg

After you have made the list

The first step is to make sure parents have signed off on the list (as mentioned earlier) and then get it to your photographer to make sure they don’t see any issues. You will also want to let them know if any family members have mobility issues or special needs so that when they select a location for these photos, they can take that into account.

 Once you know you have the final final list ready to go and you’ve scheduled the time for them in your timeline, make sure every single person on the list knows exactly where and when these photos are happening on the day of the wedding. You may even want to tell them a few minutes early just in case something happens. Because these photos are just before or right after the ceremony, getting behind schedule could cause the rest of the timeline to fall apart pretty quickly. We want to make sure everyone is there on time so that we don’t have to wait for them or hunt them down so we can finish up.

Alrighty! That is everything you need to know about family formals and how to avoid disaster on your wedding day. We hope it helps make your wedding planning go as smoothly as possible!

Timing your Engagement Photos

We have talked a lot about engagement photos over here on the King’s Things blog over the years and have done so for good reason. Mostly we do it because an engagement is a great way to build a relationship with your photographer and ensure your wedding photos are going to be an amazing as possible. BUT! These photos are also a great way for couples to be creative and really let their personality shine through in their images. Unlike the wedding photos, which tend to be slightly restricted when it comes to scheduling and locations, your engagement session can be anything you want it to be. You have the option to wait for the perfect season or weather, you can change your wardrobe as many times as you want and you can jump from location to location without worrying about vendors, your guests or a specific timeline. This flexibility lets you have fun and be as creative and expressive as you want to be. 

One of the easiest (and most fun) ways to be creative with your engagement photos is to play around with the timing of your session. Different times of the day and/or year can yield very different and distinct results, and if you choose your timing intentionally to fit your style, vision and personality, then your engagement photos will be even more special than you may have originally thought they could be.

To help you out with making a timing decision, we have made some notes on the different seasons and times of day so you know the possibilities (and challenges!) of each. 

Season

Different seasons have different aesthetics. If you have some wiggle room with your schedule, give some thought to which seasonal "look" will best suit your photos. You can decide to do them in the same season as your wedding so they have the same look/vibe as your wedding pictures or you could choose to do them in a different one to have a little contrast in your photos.

Winter: Not the greatest time for "outdoors in the woods" types of shots, but sunset colors tend to be super vibrant this time of year and who doesn't love a great "snuggling in my winter gear" shot? You can also try to time a nice snowy winter shot if your area kicks butt at the Winter Wonderland game. This could also be a good time if you are considering a nice indoor session in your home or at a location that means something to you and your honey.

Maggie and Joel Web-1.jpg

Spring: This season has great temperatures and could make for some great outdoor shots if you catch the flowers in bloom. It also tends to be super rainy and wet, so talk to your photographer about their policy on backup dates and rescheduling just in case. You may want to avoid this season if allergies are a big problem for you or your fiances - puffy, red and scratchy eyes can difficult to fix with photoshop or post-processing.

26198380_1758566554176531_2324556288362727531_o.jpg

Summer:  Could make for great warm-weather outfit shots and, as long as it isn't raining, outdoor shots will always look nice this time of year. But high temperatures and humidity may make you look a bit sweaty and hot. Nothing a good makeup kit can't solve, though!

Marnie + Nico Web-21.jpg

Fall: A great time to catch the fall colors and the temperatures can be nice this time of year. But, like spring, the weather can be a bit finicky and you never know when the fall colors will change. Again, check to see if your photographer is willing to be flexible about these issues before getting your heart set on this season.

Josh and Lydia Engagement Print-16.jpg

Time of day

Folks don’t often realize that the time of day can have a big (and often fun) effect on your photos. As the sun moves around in the sky, the light will change how things look and therefore make your photos look slightly different from one hour to the next. Each has it opportunities and challenges, but none should be overlooked as an option!

Golden Hour: Defined as the first few hours after sunrise and the last few hours before sunset, this time of day has a beautiful warm glow and nice even lighting that makes photos look gorgeous. This is the most popular time to take photos.

Lisa-and-Alex-Web-15.jpg

Mid-day: At this time of day, the sun's rays tend to be a little harsh and can be difficult to use for flattering, Pinterest-worthy photos. This doesn't mean photos at this time are impossible - the harsh effects of mid-day sun can be overcome with the creative use of artificial lighting.

19055264_1549956605037528_5271041637832455154_o.jpg

Night: This is probably the least popular time to take photos, but it is not a time that should be ignored. Photos taken at night will definitely have a distinct look and can create opportunities for fantastic looking shots.

Marnie + Nico Print-47.jpg

Here are some examples of how they all look side by side so you can see the differences:

Wedding Photography Planner-1.png

With all of these tips, chat with your photographer about what kinds of looks/styles you want to capture with your engagement photos and see what kind of plan you can make to time the accordingly. 

We hope this has helped spark some ideas for your engagement photos!

Outdoor Wedding Photography: 3 Reasons Why It’s My Favorite

As some of you may have noted, King’s Things has decided to focus services primarily on outdoor wedding photography. I thought it would be helpful if I took a few minutes to explain to all of y’all why we chose this specific kind of wedding as our focus so you have a better idea of what we value and where were focus our passions. Maybe I’ll even give you a few reasons to plan your own outdoor wedding while I am at it. *wink wink*

I’m not gonna lie to you: the biggest reason I *started* with outdoor photography was the ease of it: the sun provides all the light you need so there was no need for fancy lighting equipment or other super expensive gear when I got started. All I needed was a camera a pair of comfortable shoes to get the photos that clients wanted. Fast forward 10 years and you’ll see that I now have all of that fancy lighting equipment and super expensive gear and I STILL love outdoor weddings...in fact, I think I love them more now than ever. Here are some reasons why:

The outdoors is my happy place

If you have followed me or my Instagram account at any point in time over the past several years, you *know* my favorite place on earth to be is on one of Missouri’s numerous trails with my puppy. We have walked almost every trail in Columbia countless times and they never ever get old for me. I also love gardening, having picnics in my backyard or at a park, traveling to new places and seeing all of the awesome outdoor places that Columbia and the surrounding areas have to offer. Through my experiences in all of these places, I have learned how to see the beauty we have at our fingertips everywhere, at anytime of year. Because of that, I feel I have a unique perspective on this beautiful landscape we are so lucky to call home. I feel at home when I step out of my front door and I feel the same way at every outdoor wedding we’ve done.

Speaking of Missouri Landscape...

The Missouri Landscape…

...IS STUNNING. I mean, seriously y’all. Have you *seen* how pretty our state is? I mean, for real.

We’ve got rolling hills, lakes, rivers, wheat fields, flower fields, vineyards, a bagillion kinds of trees (that turn colors magnificently in the Fall, in case you hadn’t noticed :) ) in several different state and national parks, bluff tops around every corner, many many valleys and if you go far enough south we even have mountains. Mountains, y’all. Mountains.

These backdrops are naturally stunning and make a perfect backdrop for any kind of wedding. ANNNND they provide a ridiculous amount of variety in a small amount of space, so we will be able to create a breath-taking album without having to drive all around the Missouri countryside to find a diverse set of landscapes.

The Challenges Are So Very Rewarding

As I mentioned earlier, when we got started without door weddings we did it because we thought it would be easy. We learned very quickly that they can actually be quite challenging. Weather (especially in Missouri) can be veeeery unpredictable, the sun doesn’t always give off the most flattering light, and you never really know what kind of conditions you are going to find yourself in when photographing in an outdoor situation. The first time it rained for an outdoor wedding, my first thought was “we’re screwed.”

But then I had an almost life-changing epiphany: we weren’t screwed, we were just the opposite! We were outrageously lucky! This was the perfect opportunity to use all of our creative juices to capture awesome, unique photos that I *knew* the bride and groom would love. We just had to think outside the box and use the unique situation in our favor. Ever since that moment, I have thrived on the idea that every wedding will have it’s challenges and that our team gets to push the envelope and try new things to get the best shots possible, not matter the conditions. It makes our job exciting and fun, which I think shines through in the photos we take.

For example, it rained at this wedding, but you'd never really know it! We found ways to cut out the gloomy skies and deter from the wet surroundings. 

Monroe Ceremony Full Color-29.jpg

Another example of this was Katie and Alan’s wedding at Echo Bluff State Park a little over a week ago. For those of you in the area, you know it had been in the 60-70’s for weeks and then that one solitary weekend, rain and snow and freezing temperatures found its way into the forecast. We all were naturally concerned since the ceremony and most of the planned photography was to take place outside of the gorgeous lodge they have at the park. But I knew we’d still get great photos, no matter the weather. We scoped out beautiful places inside the lodge for photos, found ways to hide the grey skies for all of the formal portraits (by cropping out the sky and also taking photos at night!), used unique locations (like a playground!) to hide the fact that we were freezing out there and used heaters and blankets to keep the guests warm when it was finally decided we were keeping the ceremony outside. It turned out to be one of the most fun and challenging weddings and the pictures are gorgeous! I'm still working on editing their wedding, but here is an example of what we were able to do:

So there you have it folks, our top 3 reasons for choosing outdoor photography as our favorite. I encourage all of you out there hunting for a location for your wedding to check out all of the awesome outdoor venues and parks and see if any of them fit your vision for the day. There are several options, including local, state and national parks and a few local venues (Alpine Gardens, Cherry Hill Event Center, Carnahan Memorial Gardens and Les Bourgeois Winery just to name a few!) that are very close by and worth checking out. If you have any questions about good outdoor locations for weddings, drop us a line and we can chat with you about some of our favorites for photography.

That’s it for this week, folks! We will be talking to you soon.

-Linds

What to Expect: Pre-Wedding Photography Prep

Now that I have practically talked your ear off about engagement sessions, I thought I might switch gears a little bit and tell ya about our post-booking, pre-wedding photography preparation process (alliteration fun times FTW!) so you have a little bit of insight to how we do things and what to expect. 

We're pretty easy going here at King's Things, but there are quite a few things we will need to get out of the way after you've booked us so that your photos are just as amazing as you dream they will be. 

Step 1: Check out your Welcome Packet!

As soon as we get word that you made the decision to hire us for your wedding, we will put together your Welcome Packet and send it to you. Because we like to be as environmentally friendly as possible around here, the packet is digital and we'll send you a link. 

In your Welcome Packet, you will find:

  • A customized welcome video from yours truly
  • Important dates related to your wedding (engagement session dates, final payment due dates etc.)
  • Log-in information for your own personal client portal with all of the deets and documents regarding your wedding photography experience
  • A slew of Resources that will help you get everything we need ready before our final meeting a week before the wedding. 

Probably the most important part of the Welcome Packet is your portal log-in information. In your portal, you will have access to your contract, all of your invoices, any and all notes from each of our meetings, shot lists, etc. We put *everything* in there for you so if you ever have a question or need info we have gone over, you can find it there immediately. Be sure to bookmark your Welcome Packet or write down the Portal log-in information so you can easily access it at anytime! You can also get to the portal by going to About -> Client Portal on our website. 

Step 2: Book and Prepare your Engagement Session

We went over this process in detail in our last blog post. Click here to check it out!

Step 3: Get your Wedding Mood Board Together

As we did in the Engagement Session Prep, we will ask you to create a Wedding Photography mood board on Pinterest to help us define what your aesthetic vision is for your wedding photos. Follow the same instructions for this board as you did your engagement session board, pinning 10-20 wedding photos that you like, describing in the photo caption what it was you liked about it. Once we get to our final meeting before the wedding day, we will go over your mood board and discuss the over-all themes we see and make sure we are on point and that we both are on the same page. 

Reminder: Avoid pinning too many "must have" photos that you want to create on your wedding day. We want as many uniquely-you photos that day, which will be inspired by the two of you and the details you've put into the day. Focus on pinning pictures that represent over-all feelings or moods. That will be the most effective way to set up a Pinterest wedding photo board. 

Step 4: Start Riddling out the Timeline

This is something we will be working on right up until our last meeting a week before the wedding day. Things will constantly be evolving and changing throughout the planning process, so getting everything set in stone won't happen until late. But! We highly encourage you start thinking about the over-all structure of the day as early as possible so that when it gets down to crunch time, we all have an idea of how the day needs to go. 

Things that will effect the photography timeline that you can start defining ASAP:

  • Do you want getting ready photos? 
    • If so, what time will you start hair and makeup? We always recommend adding extra time onto your planned hair and makeup time block; this is where weddings tend to start running behind!
  • Will you do a first look?
    • If not, will you schedule a cocktail hour after the ceremony to entertain the guests while we take photos?
  • How many family formal photos do you want?
    • Note: Family formal pictures can take up to 2-5 minutes each, so take that into consideration when writing out this list.
  • Do you want locations away from the wedding venue on the day of the wedding? If so, how far away are they and how much time will it take to travel to and from this second location? 
  • How many activities do you want to have during the reception?
    • What time will these activities happen?
  • Do you want "golden hour" photos?
    • Be sure to look up "golden hour" (the hour before sunset) on the day of your wedding so you know what time it will be so you can avoid scheduling anything then. 
  • Do you want night time starry photos? 
  • What time do we need to be out of the venue?

There are definitely more decisions that need to go into making your final timeline, but these are some good starting points. FYI, if you booked us for the Royal Treatment Package, we include a Timeline Coaching Workshop where we guide you through creating a Timeline that is specific to your wedding day. After attending a bajillion weddings, we have figured out how to maximize the time we have on your wedding day so that we get a ton of great photos for you. We'll have more on that later, but just know it's something we offer!

Alternately, we have created general guidelines that will help you set the timeline with photography in mind if you'd like to check those out!

Step 5: Start Making a "Shot List"

When we say "shot list" we don't mean hand us a Pinterest board and say you want to recreate each and every photo you see on there. We also don't want you to have to make a list of all of the traditional photo ops during a wedding (like the bouquet toss or the first kiss). We will be with you every moment of the day and will be able to catch all of that. Promise. If we try to work from a specific shot-by-shot list, we will spend the entire day with our noses down, looking at and ticking off every item you've listed to make sure we haven't missed anything. We'd be missing everything that is happening around us and you wouldn't get as good of a variety as you would if we capture the wedding as it is (more on this in "How Pinterest Might Ruin Your Wedding Photos"). The *only* time we work from a specific list is during family formals so that we are 100% sure we don't miss anyone who is important to you*.

When we say start making a shot list, what we mean is listing out general locations and categories of photos that you want us to focus on so that we know what is important to you and we can capture it. What do we mean by general locations and categories? Here are some examples:

  • Is there a special place at the wedding venue that you love and you want us to incorporate in the photos somehow? Put it in the shot list. 
  • Do you have locations close by that you want to travel to for photos during bride/groom formals or other formals?
  • Do you want getting ready photos? Are you adamantly against getting ready photos?
  • Is it more important to you that we get a lot of bridal party/bride/groom photos than it is for us to stay late into the night to catch every awesome dance move at the reception?
  • Do you DIY all of the wedding decorations and you want to make sure we get tons of pictures of all your hard work?
  • Is your wedding party super silly and fun, so you want to make sure we get playful and energetic photos of them (rather than serious, more editorial style photos)?
  • Do you have family members or friends you rarely get to see and that you want to make sure you get plenty of photos with before they go back home?

Now, if there are some specific shots that are *very* important to you that we might not naturally capture (recreating a photo from your parents wedding, for example) go ahead and list that so we know it's important to you and we can work it into the plan for the day. Just over-all, working with general lists that illustrate where you want us to focus our attention that day will be more effective than a super detailed, shot-by-shot list for the day. 

*We asterisked this because we definitely want you to make a detailed family formal list. It is best to do this waaay before the wedding day while you have to time seriously think out all of the different combinations you want. The second photographer will check this list carefully as we take family formals so we are sure we won't miss any shot you want to get during that segment. Remember: it takes 2-5 minutes for each photo, so don't go photo crazy when it comes to getting these listed out. We can always get less informal group photos at the reception if necessary.

Step 6: Make a Plan B

Because we specialize in outdoor weddings, we make it a habit to work with our clients to make a Plan B incase there is bad weather and the ceremony/reception are outdoors. Or even if the ceremony isn't outdoors, it is likely we made plans to do formal photos outside somewhere. Hence the need for everyone to make a Plan B. This process will be specific to each client and the venue they are getting married at, but rest-assured we will have a plan before the day even gets here so that we know either way you will have baller photos. We'll go over this Plan B at the final meeting, but you can brain storm some ideas before we get there to help the process along. Here are a few starter ideas to get the brain juices flowing:

  • Do you have access to a large event tent that you could have on standby to cover the ceremony/reception area? What would it cost to rent one?
  • Is there a community center/barn/event space nearby that you can have on retainer incase we have to switch locations last minute?
  • Are you OK getting wet and taking photos in the rain with or without umbrellas?
  • Will the venue let you start early or late if you need to adjust the time to avoid an approaching storm?
  • Are there any places nearby that are partially covered that we can use for formals?

We will go over Plan B in a little more detail in a future post, but in the meantime just give it some thought and let us know if you are having trouble coming up with something. We'll brainstorm together! 

Step 7: Make a VIP List

There will be many, many people at your wedding, some more important than others. We want to make sure that we know who your Life VIPs are so that we can prioritize them when it comes to getting photos throughout the day. VIPs are usually close family and friends, the bridal party and any other person that you *really* want to make sure we get photos of that day. Use the instructions in our post "Wedding VIP List" and have it ready for the final meeting when we set all of the details. 

Step 8: Final Meeting

Speaking of final meetings, that is our next and final step! We will reach out to you about a month before the wedding to set up a final meeting time and place (this can happen over Skype or the phone if necessary!). At the meeting we will:

  • Go over your final timeline and trouble shoot anything that needs trouble shooting.
  • Look at your Mood Board and suss out your overall aesthetic style
  • Make sure we have covered all of your shot list requirements in the timeline
  • Give a final stamp of approval on the Family Formal Shot List and get it recorded
  • Go over Plan B if there is bad weather
  • Go over any other questions that need to be answered before the wedding day
  • Make sure final payment has been issued and that we are all green lights for the actual wedding day. 

And that's it! From then on, it's a GO for the wedding and we will walk away from the meeting knowing we have everything we need to get a perfect collection of wedding photos for you and your boo. I know it looks like a lot of work goes into preparing this stuff and at times it might seem overwhelming. In those moments, pick up the phone and call us and we can work through it together. We've done a lot of these shindigs and may have some insight that will help you work through any speed bumps as you go along. What we really want you to do is have fun with this. The possibilities are endless and we think we'll all have a fantastic time getting ready for your wedding day. 

If you have any questions as you go through this guide, please shoot us an email or give us a call and we will happily answer any of them! 

We'll be back soon!

-Linds

What to Expect: Engagement Session

Good morning, y'all! Hope you are having a wonderfully fabulous day!  

As we said in our last post, engagement sessions are super super important. They basically set the foundation for getting great photos on your wedding day and give all of us a chance to get to know each other and establish a great working relationship throughout your wedding planning process. You can get a lot out of these sessions and we want to make sure you've got all the info you need to make them as successful as possible. 

So today I thought, since we've been whooping and hollering about engagement photography so much lately, that I would take a few minutes to sit down and let ya know how we plan and get you ready for these sessions and what you can expect when we actually go out to photograph. So go make a quick cup of tea, crab a few cookies and let's chat about engagement sessions. 

Session Prep

Step 1: Picking an aesthetic

This step is probably the #1 most important thing we do together while preparing your wedding photos. When we take the time to define what you and your fiancé's tastes are visually, we are, in essence, creating a roadmap for our photographers to follow when creating all of your photos during your engagement session and on the actual wedding day.

You may not know it yet, but you definitely have an aesthetic preference, a certain photographic style that catches your eye when scanning photos. This preference can be something that is hard to define, especially when you are someone who generally appreciates beautiful imagery, but it's there. It is because of this bias that you were drawn to King's Things as your wedding photographer in the first place; something about our style spoke to you. Now we just have to define what that is. I won't go into much detail here about that process (you can read more about it in our blog post "How Pinterest Might Ruin Your Wedding Photos"), but we will walk you through the process step by step before the engagement session so we know what kind of photos you want captured that day. 

Step 2: Locations

This next part is one of my favorites because this is when we get to make sure your personality really shines through in the photos. As you know, King's Things specializes in outdoor wedding and engagement photography, but that is not *all* we do. When picking locations for your engagement photos, the sky is the limit! We're going tell you to pick locations that have a special meaning for you so that, on top of having beautiful picture of you and your honey, you've got pictures that also tell parts of your unique and beautiful story. For instance, if we took pictures at the place the two of you first met, the photo will trigger the memory of that first day and you'll be able to not only tell your kids and family the story, you can show them as well. See how powerful that can be? How much more you get out of the photo if it tells the story? That's why we work to find meaningful AND beautiful locations for your engagement photos. 

Here are another few ideas of places that could have meaning that would work great as photo locations:

  1. Where he proposed
  2. The wedding venue
  3. Where you had your first date
  4. Your favorite hangout spot on beautiful days
  5. Any parks or trails you love to go to/walk on together
  6. Your house/yard
  7. Your favorite sports team's court/field/arena
  8. The campus of the college you both attended 
  9. Your favorite bar/restaurant 
  10. Any place that sparks a great memory

Now, it's also good to have a few ideas of pretty landscapes etc. so that on top of the "good story" photos, we have a mix of beautiful locations as well. But we think the ones you will walk away liking the most are the ones that remind you of how this wedding came to be. Start jotting down some ideas and we can talk through them and decide which would 1) be the best to highlight and 2) best fit the aesthetic style we defined in Step 1. 

Note: A 4-hour engagement session will usually allow us 2-3 locations depending on travel time, wardrobe changes etc. 

Second note: We will also need to come up with a Plan B in case of bad weather. We can either have backup locations picked out OR another day shortly after that would also work incase we want to scrap the first day all together. 

Step 3: Wardrobe

Picking wardrobe for an engagement session will heavily depend on the locations we pick, the time of year and the aesthetic we decided on in Step 1, but there are a few rules of thumb that will apply across the board that we can share with you now. 

Rule #1: Dress for your location.

We want to make sure you have clothes and shoes that will look right in the location you choose. That doesn't necessarily mean if you pick a location out in the woods that you will need to be in full on hiking attire. You will, however, want to pick clothes with colors that compliment the colors we find in the woods: more natural and soft tones (see photo above). Bold and bright colors might clash with the surrounding landscape and the photo won't be as pleasing to the eye.  We will help you make color pallet choices once we've picked all of the locations and know what we are working with, so you won't have to make this decision on your own. But! Start sifting through your wardrobe so you have an idea of what we are working with once the time comes to choose. 

Rule #2: Dress like you!

Make sure the outfits you pick look like something you would wear. Does that mean you can't get really gussied up if you don't always get gussied up? Not at all. Just make sure the super nice outfit you choose reflects that kind of gussied up you would normally choose. You'll be more comfortable and look more like you. Which in the end will guarantee that you like the photo. 

Rule #3: Be sure not to clash

When you and your boo are picking out your outfits, make sure the colors and styles don't clash. When there is overall harmony in the photo, your eye is going to like the final image a lot more than it would if there were colors or styles that don't agree. That being said, we also don't want you to have perfectly matching outfits, just focus on picking outfits that compliment each other and work well together. Again, we can help you with the decisions if you want some guidance. 

Rule #4: Be comfortable

Make sure whatever you wear is comfortable! If you are uncomfortable, that discomfort will shine through in the photos and you won't like them as much. 

Note: we will walk you through outfit choices for each location, so don't stress out about this too much! If you need help coming up with styles and colors let us know and we will help you! 

Second Note: We encourage picking out backup outfits juuuust incase a wardrobe malfunction occurs during the shoot and you need to change. Perhaps not a backup for *every* outfit, just ones where we are in locations that might cause trouble (aka: a restaurant with messy food or an outdoor location with water/mud/bird poop etc). 

The night before...

Make sure that the night before your session you:

  1. Layout all of the clothes and accessories (including backups!) we have picked out for your session. We also recommend bringing an extra pair of comfortable shoes to put on between locations just in case your feet start to hurt!
  2. Make sure all clothes are wrinkle free. Iron stuff if you need to!
  3. Pack some snacks in case you get peckish during the session. Nobody wants to look hangry in their photos! :) 
  4. Put the first location in your GPS to make sure you know how to get there the next day (and how long it will take!). Also make sure you have plenty of gas in the car so you're not scrambling tomorrow. 
  5. Pack an emergency hair and makeup bag for touchups during the session. Bobby pins, combs, lint rollers, hair spray and lipstick are all good things to have in case something needs adjusting before we are done. 
  6. Put the photographer's number in your phone just in case you need to call!
  7. Drink lots of water! It will help with bags under eyes and will make your skin look *fabulous.*
  8. Get plenty of sleep! No amount of makeup or photoshop will help get rid of that tired look in your eyes. 

Make sure that you don't:

  1. Make any major changes to your hair or face treatment. If you want to try something new or drastic (such as a hair cut or a facial scrub/peel) make sure you've tried it well in advance of the shoot and know how your skin and hair will look for the shoot. 
  2. Eat lots of greasy or fatty foods. You won't feel good the next day and your skin will look greasy and oily. No bueno!
  3. Stay up all night worrying about the shoot. You got this, y'all! I promise! We have made all of the right choices for location, style and outfits and tomorrow we will show you exactly how to pose so that you look amazing. It's going to be awesome. I swear. 

The Day of...

Yay! The day is here! There shouldn't be much for you to worry about since we've prepped everything already. But here is a quick checklist to make sure everything goes smoothly:

  1. Pack everything in the car. Make sure all clothes are hanging so that they don't get wrinkled! 
  2. Leave at least 15 minutes before you think you need to just incase of traffic or bad GPS directions. A lot of times we have planned your session around the perfect lighting or certain events and if we get started late, we may miss the perfect window of opportunity. If you get there early, we have more time to go over posing tips! 
  3. If you are running late, call the photographer immediately so they can plan around the time difference. 
  4. Get ready to have some fun! These sessions are our most favorite and are *always* a ton of fun! So leave all of your worries behind and get ready for the awesomeness to ensue! 

The Session

This part will go different for every couple but there are a few things that are the same for everyone:

  1. We start out the session by giving a short-but-sweet posing workshop so that you and your boo know exactly what poses look best and how to make your photos look AMAZING. This workshop is usually 10-15 minutes long. 
  2. At each location, we will do our best to get a wide variety of photos that match the style we picked out during the prep. As we go along, we will show you the photos so you know you are getting awesome images that you love. Feel free to give us feedback if there is something you don't like or would like us to adjust. We love working *with* our clients to ensure everyone is happy when all is said and done! 

After the session

After the session, we will schedule a reveal session with the two of you to look at your engagement photo collection and design any products that you have ordered for your photos. This reveal will usually take place 1-2 weeks after our session. Delivery of products typically occurs about 3-4 weeks after the session (2-3 weeks after our reveal). If anything comes up that alters that timeline, we will let you know immediately so you know what's going on. 

We do offer rush services for an additional fee. If you need something back super quick, let us know and we can chat about your options! 

Ok! That is it, my lovelies! Everything you need to know, start to finish, about how we do engagement sessions here at KTP! If you have any questions or want to know more about this process, please let us know by visiting our Contact Us page and we will get back to you ASAP!

Oh! Just a quick reminder, we are giving away a FREE engagement session over on our facebook page, so go check it out and be sure to enter! 

 

 

Why Engagement Photos are Important

Y’all. Engagement photos. are. important! I seriously cannot stress this enough. I often hear brides hem and haw about whether or not they should take the time and energy to get these photos taken and I always alway always recommend that they do. I do this because I think they are one of the most valuable things a couple planning their wedding can do and I do not want any bride to miss out on the benefits they provide.

So why do I think these extra sessions are so important?

Because they will make your wedding photos a million times better.

And in the end, that is my main goal: that you walk away with wedding photos that you are 100% percent in love with and cannot wait to show the world. And honestly? I know the best way we get to that end goal is by booking an engagement session together.

So how does this work exactly, you ask? Grab your coffee and take a seat ‘cuz I am about to tell ya!

One of the biggest concerns I hear from my couples before the wedding day is that they think they are awkward in front of a camera and that they “aren’t photogenic.” They’re scared that when the time comes for me to start taking pictures that they are going to freeze and look bad for every single photo of the day. And I definitely understand that feeling. I’d be lying to you if I said I loved being on the other side of camera; I know it’s unnerving to have one pointed at you! I totally get it.

But a *huge* part of my job is to make sure you look good in every photo. So I have developed a great system for teaching the couples I work with tips and tricks on how to look absolutely flawless in their photos, not matter how awkward they think they are in front of a camera. I call it my Mini Posing Workshop and guys? It works every single time. I’ve studied all the posing tricks in the book so I know how to emphasize features you want highlighted and how to de-emphasize the ones you tell me you want on the back burner. I also know ways to make you look casual and candid so the photos don’t feel stiff, posed or forced. And I teach you all of that before I ever pick up a camera.

Enjo and Josh Full-14.jpg

The problem I run into on wedding days is finding the time to teach this little workshop in between hair appointments, first looks etc. etc. A wedding timeline is already cramped and almost always runs behind. There just isn’t time to go through everything and I end up finding myself having to take precious time away from actual photo taking to explain posing and reassuring the couples that the pose they are doing will look good in the final photo. This cuts down on the number and variety of photos we can capture in our limited time frame on the wedding day.  No bueno.

With an engagement session, on the other hand, we have the time to go through the posing workshop together before the session starts AND as we move through the session I will have time to show you the photos and make 100% sure you’re loving them as we go. If you see something you want me to tweak? We have the time to talk it through and try again. We’ll develop our own little system for getting the perfect pictures of you and your fiancé without the time crunch and pressure of a typical, chaotic wedding day timeline. And then (this is the best part), when the wedding day comes you already know the tricks and the poses that work best for you and we can spend more time creating photos together and less time going over the mechanics of a good pose.

See what I mean when I say engagement photos can be the most valuable thing a couple can do for their wedding photos?! They are a great tool for all of us and will make the photography portion of your wedding day an absolute breeze. You’ll walk away from your wedding knowing for a fact that you’re going to love the photos when they are delivered and you’ll have that much less to worry about on a day that tends to be very stressful.

So that is a long way of saying that if you are the fence about getting engagement photos made, I definitely would recommend jumping off on the “heck yes” side of the yard. I cannot express to you how much you’ll get back from that investment when all is said and done. And you know what’s going on on the King’s Things Facebook Page right now? We are giving away one of these extremely valuable engagement sessions FOR FREE. That’s right, my friend. You heard me right: Free. Engagement. Session.  Head on over to the facebook page or check out this post for more details on how to enter. Deadline to enter is Feb 28th at midnight (CST)!

Can’t wait to see ya there!

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 9.31.42 AM.png
 

2017 Giveaway of Awesome Deets and Regs

You guys, I am so freaking excited about this GIVEAWAAAAAAAY! Seriously. I might be dancing around my office a little bit right now. 

So here's the deal:

In case you missed the LIVE announcement:

We are giving away a FREE Engagement Session! That's right, 100% free package which includes:

  • Posing Workshop
  • 2 Hour Outdoor Engagement Session
  • A digital download of ALL images from the session. 

This is a $500 value folks! AND IT CAN BE YOURS FOR FREEEEEEEE. 

Side note: I had a lot of coffee this morning. 

HOW TO ENTER

Go to the King's Things Facebook page and:

  1. Make sure you've "Liked" the page.
  2. Find the Giveaway post (it should be pinned as the top post so you can find it easily!) and write one comment telling us a little bit about you AND why you could use some happy happy giveaway juju in your life right now. Only one comment, please! More than one will get ya disqualified. We're going for quality over quantity here, folks!
  3. Tell your friends to find your comment and reply to it with reasons they think you deserve the happy happy giveaway juju we're putting out there!

We'll then pick a winner based on their story and recommendations! Easy as that. 

DEADLINE TO ENTER

February 28th @ Midnight CST!

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

We'll announce the winner sometime on March 1st, 2017. Probably into the evening sometime, as we will be agonizing over who to pick for the winner! :) 

RULES AND STUFF

  1. Entries must be by folks who can come to the Columbia, MO area for the engagement session OR who are willing to pay a travel fee for any place 30+ miles away from Columbia according to Google Maps directions. 

  2. Only one entry per person! Duplicate entries will be disqualified. 

  3. Session must be scheduled before December 31st, 2017. 

  4. Winner will meet with King's Things Photography at least once prior to the session to set locations and style preferences AND once after the session to preview images.

  5. Winner allows King's Things Photography to share final images for promotional purposes. This includes (but is not limited to) Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. 

Facebook Rules

This Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. So don't go yelling at them if something goes wrong. Just shoot us an email and we'll do our best to fix it for ya! 

Alrighty folks, that is it! So head on over to the Facebook Page and put your name in that hat! We can't wait to see your faces, hear your story and put a little good juju into this crazy, crazy world. 

Much love and hugs, 

Linds

 

Lions and Tigers and Free Stuff, oh my!

When we look around at the world right now, we’re seeing a lot of chaos and unrest and general crappiness (to say the very least) going on and honestly? We aren’t having it.

Something’s gotta give.  

And though there isn’t a whole lot we can do as a little local wedding photography business to change what’s causing all of the crazy, we are gonna do what we can to inject a little more happy into the world around us.  So, with that in mind, we are cooking up something pretty awesome over here that we hope will put some smiles on the faces of local mid-MO couples.

You wanna know how? Yeah? Read on, my lovelies, read on...

Next week, we are going to be announcing a maaaaaajor giveaway, folks. 

Big time stuff, here guys. No baby discounts or stickers or pencils with our name on it….

Nope. Nuh uh. No way.

We, my fine feathered friends, are going all. out. And it’s going to be AWESOME.  

Around $500 worth of awesome.

Yup, you read that right. A giveaway worth 500 smackaroos. And get this...there won’t be any strings attached. No “if you hire us, you get a discount off” or “$500 off of something that costs a gagiilion dollars.” Again, I say NOPE. Because strings are stupid. Very very stupid. And we are trying to combat the stupid, right guys? Right.

So our giveaway winner will walk away with something worth $500 straight up. That they can use right away. And trust me, it’s a good $500 something.

And the best freaking part?!? You don’t even have to sign up for my mailing list to win, homies! Ain’t nobody got time for junk mail, right?! Right. We’ll be posting the info on the facebooks and the instagrams and you can enter from there, baby. If you want, you can sign up for giveaway email notifications, BUT! The second that winner is announced? We leave you the frakk alone because we like you and we want you to stick around.

Have we piqued your interest, my friends? Yeah? Cooooool. Tune in next week (we’ll announce the exact date and time sooooon!) for details on how to put your name in the hat for our 2017 Giveaway of Awesomeness. “Like” us on facebook and follow us on Insta (or sign up for the email notifications) to keep up with the deets!

In the meantime, go out there and have a magnificent day, you beautiful mermaid/merman. You deserve it and the universe needs it. 

Love and hugs allllll damn day,

 

Guest Post from Billie Stock: Top 3 reasons to FINALLY book a professional Boudoir Session

People. If you don't know who Billie Stock is, you are sorely missing out. She is an AMAZING photographer here in town who specializes in Boudoir Photography and I am in awe of what I see her post every day. Her work is stunning and downright inspiring. So, naturally, I reached out to Billie to write some words of wisdom for you fine people so you can get a glimpse in to the world of wedding boudoir photography. It's not something I offer (because honestly, I don't know what the hell I'm doing when it comes to that particular genre), so I wanted a pro to lay it out for you. So! Without any further ado, here is Billie's post on the Top 3 Reasons to FINALLY book a professional Boudoir Session!

{ Boudoir: a woman's bedroom or private room. }

Boudoir - the sexiest way to say "I love you" to your significant other on or before your big day, anniversary, or just because. A watch or tie is a nice... but the gift of boudoir is an unforgettable way to give your relationship a spark or just celebrate YOU. Here are three reasons to finally take the leap "into the sheets" in your favorite bra & panties.

The gift that lasts a lifetime
Photography is unique and so amazing in the fact that it really does last a lifetime. One single photograph has the ability to transport us back in time to the exact moment which they were created. Not only will the physical photographs last a lifetime, but those feelings captured in that frame will last as well. This is not only a gift to your significant other, but to YOU. This is important because you are so incredibly beautiful & a boudoir session will help you discover a new found confidence in yourself. You will feel like you can conquer the world. Your other half will notice this new love for yourself, making it a great addition to the relationship in all aspects. You will look at the photographs and have a reminder that you are beautiful no matter what which will last for a lifetime.

Give any relationship a voltage boost
Whether you are early in the relationship, or you are with your high school sweetheart, this is the gift sure to create a buzz. They would most likely never expect this kind of a gift from you which makes it even better. This is going to give a little *spark* between the two of you. They already think you are the most gorgeous thing on the planet but this will be a sure way to get them even more excited than before to start a new life with you! Getting married soon? Surprise them with your gorgeous "little black book" before the ceremony or on the first night of your honeymoon. So much fun. (PPS. Make sure to tell your photographer to capture this moment if you give it before the ceremony! You're not going to want to miss this reaction!)

Celebrate YOU. 
Lets face it, whether you are planning a wedding, nurturing a new relationship or just needing a boost, life can be super stressful. We all know how hard you work every single day. It's time to take a break from the grind and plan something just. for. YOU. A professional boudoir session is a great time to pamper yourself. It's a great time to sit back, celebrate YOU and how amazingly beautiful you are! A session may just be that little confidence boost you've been searching for. Check out the back of the camera during your shoot - you may laugh and/or cry when you really see how flawless you are. That's the whole point! A session is also a great time to test out your wedding-night lingerie, incorporate your veil and maybe even a few sexy shots with his tie to make their imagination run wild! Tip: Schedule your wedding hair and makeup trial run the same day as your session! This way your session look matches similarly to your wedding day when they open their gift!

One last thing that's so important to know and remember - Boudoir is for every. body. Every size. Every shape. You don't have to be a supermodel or have the "perfect" beach body. Boudoir is a celebration of you - just as you are in this moment. All of your curves, bumps, flaws and imperfections are beautiful and what make you YOU. Whether you are getting married or just doing this to celebrate your body and beauty - there is no better time than the present. A session is your time to claim back your femininity and flaunt it with no regrets or worries. Relax, laugh and enjoy yourself. You will be pampered from your first consultation, to when you walk into the studio for the first time - all the way to picking up your order. You will feel like the queen that you are. I absolutely love making women of all shapes and sizes realize how absolutely beautiful and worthy they are of self love. Now is the time to celebrate you, just as you are without the need of heavy photoshop or unrealistic editing. It's time to let your personality and features shine through - and they will.. Beautifully!

If you are ready to take the next step, I would absolutely love to talk with you about scheduling your very own session. Feel free to reach out at any time with questions & thanks for taking the time to read!

Stay gorgeous.

Billie Stock
Boudoir by Billie in Columbia, MO
www.BoudoirByBillie.com

Wedding Guest VIP List

Weddings are big events. They can be downright huge! Even some of the smallest weddings usually have over 100 people in attendance and it can sometimes be difficult to sufficiently photograph everyone over the course of the day. If the photographer doesn't know who the really important people are at the wedding, we can sometimes miss capturing those nearest and dearest to you when photographing the reception. We understand that not getting photos of those who matter most can in many cases be devastating for the bride and groom. That is why over here at King's Things we are big fans of the Wedding Guest VIP List. What is this magical list we speak of, you ask? Let me tell you!

 

A Wedding Guest VIP List is a document the bride and groom create that let's us photographers know (and see!) the most important people at the wedding. This usually includes the bridal party, immediate family, and very close friends. The list should be fairly concise, around 15-20 people tops, so that it is easy for us to keep track them throughout the day.

To make a Wedding Guest VIP List

  1. Start by listing out their names in a word document of some kind.
  2. Next to their names, put who they are in parenthesis (Maid of Honor, Mother of the Bride, Groom's grandmother etc.) so we know where they fit into your story.
  3. Next, if there are any special notes the photographer needs to know about these folks when interacting with them be sure to put those with the name so we know.
  4. After all of that is listed out, run over to their Facebook page, snag their most recent profile picture and insert it next to their names. This way we can see their faces when we pull this document up on our phone or iPad at the wedding and can identify them without having to bug anyone on the day.
  5. When all is done, save the document as a PDF and send it to us and we will make sure that we don't miss a single one of these very important people at your wedding.

Pretty easy right?

Alrighty, folks. That is it for Wedding Wednesday over here at the blog. We'll see you next week!

 

First Look vs No Look: What is best for your day?

One of the first questions I ask my clients is whether or not they want a to do a first look on their wedding day and more often than not I get a long, drawn-out, Tina-Belcher-esque "eeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh?" They're not sure. And I get it. There are some awesome pros and pause-inspiring cons to each. A lot of photographers (including myself, I'll admit) will often recommend doing the first look over the traditional "see each other at the ceremony" approach because frankly it makes photographing the day a bit easier. But you know what? The big secret photographers won't always tell you is that *both* are a great option. We can capture either one equally as well, I promise. Yes, picking one over the other will change the timeline of your day, but in the end you'll still have amazing photos. All I ask of you is that you make an informed decision either way so that which ever you choose perfectly reflects how you have planned the wedding. So today I am going to break down a few of the pros and cons as I see them so you can make the best decision for you.

Traditional "No Look" Approach

Pros:

  • The oogly-googly, butterflies-in-your-tummy, totally-make-you-wanna-cry-into-your-bouqet feeling you get when you see your fiancé down the aisle for the first time. This is an extremely special thing for both you and your fiancé, one that is probably tops your Life Moment list up until this point. Nothing can beat it.
  • A more concise wedding schedule. Not having to juggle a first look before the wedding means you can pretty much go from hair and makeup straight into the ceremony without much in-between. This could mean less photography hours you have to purchase, making the investment in your photographer a little easier on the pockets.

Cons:

  • Crying into your bouquet (or boutonnière) as the ceremony starts could cause some make-up malfunctions and/or create the dreaded puffy-eye syndrome for photos. I personally think these real moments are great to capture because they show the raw emotion of the day, but I know it may not be ideal if you're wanting to look 100% perfect for the wedding day.
  • There is also a lot of pressure for both the bride and groom to have a noticeable reaction during this moment. There is a good chance you'll both be super nervous and that reaction may not manifest they way you expect, especially if you have a large wedding with many guests watching. If either of you get stage fright, a traditional No Look may not be the best choice for you.
  • A more concise wedding schedule means less time to get all of the photos you want. You'll have to push wedding party, family and bride/groom photos until after the ceremony. This is totally do-able, but it will limit the variety and number of photos you'll get when all is said and done.

The First Look

Pros:

  • You still get the butterflies and the tears, but you get to do so without the pressure of everyone watching. With a first look you get a beautiful, intimate moment with just you and your fiancé to experience together and if the photographer does their job right, you won't even know they are there. Added bonus? Plenty of time to touch up makeup and de-puff the eyes before walking down the aisle later.
  • More time to take awesome photos! When you have the first look scheduled before the ceremony, you have as  much time as you want to schedule to take all of the photos you want from the day. Want photos in locations away from the venue location? No problem! You have all the time in the world.
  • Also! When scheduling the photos beforehand, you'll get the bridal party photos and family photos out of the way before you step foot in the venue which means? Drumroll please...you get to party at the reception much earlier!

Cons:

  • An earlier start time. Because all of the photos start before the ceremony, the bridal party will need to be ready (hair and makeup included) well before the ceremony time. This means more coordination of schedules and an earlier start time for your photographer.
  • An earlier start time for your photographer means possibly having to pay for more coverage time. This isn't always the case, but keep this in mind as you set the schedule and make sure you pad the photography budget to cover it if need be.
  • Possibly less butterflies when you and your fiancé for the second time during the ceremony. But! If you plan at least 30 minutes between your last photo and the start time, the anticipation of seeing your fiancé builds again and you'll get a second helping of butterflies when you spot them down the aisle.

Now there are probably more pros and cons out there, but for me these stand out as some of the most significant. As you can see it really boils down to how you want to structure your schedule for the day. In both cases, you get all of the awesome feelings when you see your fiancé for the first time and either way you'll get awesome photos. You just need to decide how much time you want to spend and when you want to spend it during the day. So as you take the journey of deciding whether or not you want a first look or not, keep these factors and mind and see which one works best for how you'd like to structure your wedding day.

That's it for today, folks! If you have any other pros and cons for either approach, leave them in comments!

 

Wedding Timelines with Photography in Mind

As a wedding photographer, the #1 thing I see that stresses my clients out the most is nailing a perfect timeline. There is a lot to juggle, so much to get *just* right so the day doesn't devolve into chaos, and tracking it all can be a little....chaotic...to say the least. Often times there just aren't enough hours in the day to give everything it's proper attention, especially if you run into hiccups along the way. Eventually stuff starts to get cut or reduced so that there is time for it all. And guys? You know the first thing that usually gets the ax? Time for photography. And you know what axed photography time means? A cut in photo quality and/or quantity. Good photography takes time...time to set up, time to pose, time to execute. If that time starts to get cut, your photographer won't have the space she needs to get all of the perfect shots you want. No bueno. But! Never fear! If you create your wedding timeline knowing everything you need to schedule and how to schedule it, including ample time for great photography, you'll be able to get everything set easily. 

To make it as smooth of a process as possible, I have created a little system to help you map out all of the important milestones so you make sure nothing is missed! If you follow this process, you will go into the day knowing you have exactly enough time to get all of the photos you want for your wedding AND get everything else scheduled without ever having to rush a single moment or sacrifice a single photo. 

Step 1: 4 Columns

Take a piece of paper and divide it into 4 columns. Title these columns Ladies, Gents, Family, Vendors. Then, on the side list out the hours of the day in hour sections.

Note: I am using a leuchtturm1917 master notebook with dot gird pages and LOTS of washi tape. Because I am an an organization junkie. But all you need is a piece of paper, a pen and some post-it notes for this!

Step 2: Block out the big milestones

Mark out the ceremony, the cocktail hour (if you have one) and the time of the reception, blocking out all four columns in the process (since you’re pretty sure everyone will need to be present for all of these) so you can see all of the "off-limits" time for the day. These are the things  probably that won’t change over the course of your planning process. It gives you a visual bone structure for the beast that is your wedding schedule and will be the foundation for the rest of the day.

Step 3: Vendor Schedules

This step is mostly helpful if you will be personally handling any of the vendor relations on the day of the wedding, but can also serve as a good visual reference for you in general. As you schedule drop-offs and arrival times of all your vendors, you can mark them here so you know what is going on and if you need to be anywhere at a specific time.

Step 4: Important Photography Times!

Take a post-it note and cut it into little strips, making enough of them to list out all of the major areas of photography that you want for the day. These typically are bride and groom photos (with or without a first look), bridal party photos, family formals and any other time specific photos for your day (sunset or golden hour photos, for example). Take these little strips and use them to block out the times that you think you’ll want or need these taken. I suggest using post-it notes so you can move them around trying out different timing combinations.

 
 

A few rules of thumb when setting these times:

  1. Good photos take time! If you want good looking photos, you need to give these areas of photography enough time so that they aren’t rushed and can be executed correctly. To be on the safe side, I like to suggest giving each section an hour. This may be more than enough, but having that extra time allows for some padding in case any problems arise (late family members, wardrobe malfunctions, scheduling errors etc.).
  2. It’s always good to schedule family photos for either right before or right after the ceremony. This way you know you’ll have an easier time wrangling all of them in one place since they’ll be in or near the location at the time anyway. Family groups can take about 3-5 minutes per photo, so make sure an hour is enough time to get all of the family shots you want for the day. Add more time if it’s not!
  3. Give yourself at least a half an hour before the ceremony starts to finish up photos and recover, especially if you have done a first look. This will give you time to cool off, touch up any makeup and re-build the anticipation of seeing your fiancé again as you or she walks down the aisle.
  4. If you are planning on doing photos away from the venue location, give each photography section more than an hour to account for travel time.
  5. If you want sunset or golden-hour photos, make sure to look up what time the sun sets at the time of year you are having your wedding so you can make sure that time is free and you can step away for photos.

Step 5: Add all of the other stuff!

Make a few more post-it note tabs to represent getting ready times.

  1. You can make one for the gentlemen that is a little skinnier since they only need an hour or so to get ready. Place this tab right before the first look or bridal party photos. 
  2. Make a bigger post-it tab to cover the time for the ladies to get ready with hair and makeup. This process ALWAYS takes longer than anyone plans for, so pad this chunk of time *really* well so things don’t start running late from the start. Place this post-it note so that it “ends” right around the time the boys start getting ready. This will allow for the photographers to get there, see the putting on of the dress, get some prep photos and then scamper off to capture the boys before the first look or bridal party photos.
  3. Once you have all of these solidly set, make tabs or scribble in all of the other big moments, like first dances and bouquet tosses or anything else you need to have planned. I suggest tabs if you have the space so you can keep moving things around if anything changes over time.

 

That’s it! It can be a little crazy getting this set up, but in the end you will have a flexible, visual schedule that lets you account for everything, especially the photos, on the day of your wedding. Not only will this keep you organized, it will also help you make final decisions about how long your photographers  need to be at your wedding. This is especially important if they charge overtime fees when you have them longer than planned. You’ll know way beforehand and may be able to save some dough if you buy exactly the amount of time you need upfront.

Alrighty. That is it for today. If you have any questions or would like to chat, feel free to hit me up in the comments or shoot me an email! Have a fantastic day, y’all!

 

How Pinterest might ruin your Wedding Photos

You guys. I am obsessed with Pinterest. I’ve been a member since it was in Beta and OMG I am Obsessed. Obsessed obsessed obsessed. Did I mention I was obsessed? Because I am obsessed. (I’ve got a bottomless cup of coffee from Coffee Zone in my hand, y’all…apologies…). And if I am correct in my assumptions, you probably are a little obsessed too. If not, I am guessing you or your fiancé have probably started a wedding pin board so you are at least a little bit familiar with the basis of my obsession (last time I use that word, promise). Pinterest is seriously one of the best ways to get your wits about you when it comes to wedding planning and it can be so so helpful when it comes time to plan for your wedding photos.

But here’s the thing: you must be careful with the great and powerful tool that is a Pinterest wedding photo board. Like a wizard with a very powerful wand, much evil can be done if is used improperly. With one wrong click, you can become the Voldemort of your own wedding photos and you don’t want to be Voldemort do you? No one wants to be Voldemort.

voldemort.jpg

(Seriously…this coffee…it’s legit.)

Let me explain myself and my poorly articulated/highly caffeinated Harry Potter references so you can follow me here.

The original purpose for Pinterest was to create boards that inspire you, yes? And when it comes to food and crafts and quotes and books and house decor, I believe it is doing just that. But with wedding planning? With wedding planning Pinterest is being used as a step-by-step guide for executing each aspect of the day. You pin it? You’re probably going to do it (or at least do your favorites). This is totally cool when it comes to picking the decorations and the favors and bridesmaids hair styles etc. because you can recreate it exactly. There are tutorials. You get exactly what you see.

With wedding photography, however, approaching the board this way can cause a bit of a problem. Why? Because 1) you can’t recreate the photos exactly and you’ll probably be unhappy with the results if you try and 2) those photos were taken of a different couple by a different photographer in a different venue. If you go to a photographer and ask them to copy your wedding pin board shot for shot, something is not going to feel right because it wasn’t inspired by you and your story. Something will feel....off. You won’t love them. Big problem, right?

BUT WAIT! Don’t go and delete your pin board just yet! I still need you to make one! You just need to approach them a little differently and…you guys…this one little switch in your thinking will completely transform how you see your wedding photos and you'll love love love them in the end. Like love them the way Dobby loved Harry Potter kind of love them. I’m serious.

So what do you do?

  1. Start by pinning photos from the photographer you have hired. This way, you can pinpoint what aspects of their style fits you and your personality. When you show the photographer these pins, they will know exactly what it is about their style that you love and can cater their shot lists and gear around capturing that same feel for your wedding.
  2. When pinning photos, change the description of the pin to a short sentence detailing what it is you liked about the photo. Was it the lighting? The location? The pose? And if it was the pose, what about it did you like? Adding these little descriptions will help you and your photographer craft a specific vision for your photos.
  3. Pin a few photos of other photographer’s work. Just a few, 2-3 at most. This will give your photographer some outside guidance on what you like but you haven’t seen in their portfolio yet. They’ll get a better idea of your vision which will help them create photos that you'll love.
  4. Don’t use your pin board to create a shot list. As I mentioned earlier, this won’t help you get the photos you want because they won’t tell your story. AND! On top of that, you don’t want your photographer running around with their nose buried in a list trying to recreate specific shots all day. You want them to use the creative eye you are paying them for to actually *see* your wedding just as you have created it and capture *that.* If you have one or two shots that you absolutely want to create, that is fine! Pin them and write in the description *must have* so your photographer knows. Then, during your final meeting before the wedding, talk through the game plan for creating it so you know you have the time and resources to do so.

That's it! See how freaking easy that is? You’re still doing the exact same thing, you are just adjusting how you look at and use the pins. By taking these steps to help your photographer prepare for the day, they’ll know exactly the style and feel you want going into the wedding and will capture each moment of your day just as (or better than) you've imagined them. You will walk away absolutely loving your photos, knowing with full confidence that they are a pure reflection of you and that they're not just carbon copies of someone else’s vision.

If you have any questions bout starting or editing your wedding pin boards, please feel free to shoot me an email and we can talk through it. Even if I am not your photographer! I just want everyone to have the best photos possible, not matter who takes them. :)

Alrighty. That is it for this week, folks! I will see you back here next week when we discuss…drumroll please…Wedding Timelines with Photography in Mind. Yeah, booooooy!

Much love,

Screen-Shot-2016-07-15-at-10.56.15-AM.png
 

3 Ps for Picking a Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer isn’t easy. In the mid-Missouri area alone, a simple google search will give you over 85,000 results to weed through. Even if you looked at each and every one of those websites, you are still going to have at least a handful that you may want to work with, so how do you choose? I would love, love, love to tell you “hire me!” because basically I’d love to work with everyone who crosses my path, but the truth is there is a chance I may not be the one for you. And though it would pain me greatly to see you go, I know we’re not ALL a perfect match. So! To help you sift through your plethora of options, I’ve broken down the 3 P’s of Picking a Perfect Photographer (because who doesn’t love a good alliteration, eh?) to give you a good starting point for narrowing it down.

First up?

Portfolio

Pro Tip: Once you’ve picked your photographer, schedule an engagement shoot with them. This is the best way to see your photographer in action and know exactly what to expect on your wedding day, both personally and professionally.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve picked your photographer, schedule an engagement shoot with them. This is the best way to see your photographer in action and know exactly what to expect on your wedding day, both personally and professionally.

Your photographer’s portfolio should first and foremost speak directly to your heart. Take a good long look at the photos on their website. Are you drooling over them? Love the style and the lighting and the personality that shines through? Could you imagine yourself in the photos with your fiancé? Do you find yourself waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night shouting “I gotta have that photographer!!!” A bit extreme, I know, but you get my point: If you don’t love what you see, you won’t love what you get and if you are putting all of this time and money into planning your wedding you deserve to love the photos you get when it’s all said and done, right?

So as you sift through the thousands of options available to you, before you ever look at a pricing page or their “about me” or any other part of their site, look at their portfolio and ask yourself “do I love these?” If the answer is yes, write that photographer and ask to have a meeting.

Personality

I cannot stress to you enough how important this one is, guys. No matter how skilled the photographer or how beautiful their portfolio, if you don’t jive with them personally you are going to have some trouble on your wedding day. Setting up an initial meeting with your photographer should mostly be about learning who they are, how they work and if you guys will get along. Yes, ask them about how many cameras they have and what their style is and if they have a assistants etc., but don’t just listen to *what* their answer is - listen to *how* they answer them as well. Are they communicating properly? Are they upbeat and positive? Are they *too* upbeat and positive? Can you imagine this person being right by your side and interacting with your friends and family the entire wedding day? In general, do you feel they are trustworthy and responsible? The answers to these questions are just as (if not more) important as knowing if they have a journalistic style and if they will bring 4 assistants to your wedding. If you don’t like or trust them personally, that discomfort will shine through in your photos and more than likely you’ll be unhappy in the end.

Pro Tip: Found a photographer that you’d die for, but they are out of your price range? Don’t be afraid to ask them if there is a way they can work with your budget. They’re answer may be no, but it never hurts to ask right?

Pro Tip: Found a photographer that you’d die for, but they are out of your price range? Don’t be afraid to ask them if there is a way they can work with your budget. They’re answer may be no, but it never hurts to ask right?

Price

I have saved price for very last for a very good reason. I know a budget is a very big part of how you plan a wedding and your first instinct is going to be to look at the photographer’s pricing sheets and pick the least expensive one you can to save money. Trust me, I get that. But also trust me when I tell you that skimping on your wedding photos is a big, big, big mistake and price should be the very last thing to disqualify a photographer. And yes, I may be a little biased here because I *am* a wedding photographer but hear me out on this one.

I will be the first to admit that photographers are expensive. But the old adage rings so very true (and so very loudly) when in comes to hiring one for your wedding: you are going to get what you pay for, I promise. Being a professional photographer requires a lot of investment before we ever show up to your wedding venue. Purchasing great gear to capture the best possible photographs; making time for consultations and creating shot lists and going on pre-wedding site visits; being responsible and squared away with insurance to cover our clients and ourselves; paying assistants and second shooters etc. All of the elements that go into providing the best possible wedding photos creates costs that need to be covered, be it in time time or money, and you should be weary if your photographer is asking for too little. Not always, but a lot of times it means they don’t have what it takes and won’t be able to capture the wedding as beautifully as you deserve. There is a quote I read somewhere that I think sums this up perfectly: "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur."

That being said, a budget is a budget is a budget. As a small business owner, I totally understand how important it is to carefully choose how you spend the money you’ve got. So! Once you have found a list of photographers who have portfolios that you love and who have personalities that click with yours, carefully consider the investment you are willing to make that fits within your budget and narrow it down from there. You may still have to scratch a few of the expensive dream photographers off of your list, but at least you know you've done so because you’ve considered the value of all your options and are not just going the cheapest route possible.

Alrighty! I hope I’ve helped you get closer to choosing the photographer for your wedding day, even if that means not hiring me. :)  While this didn’t cover ALL of the things to consider while making this big decision, I think they are some of the most important and can have a huge impact on how much you love the photos you get in the end. Now, go forth! Start the search and have fun with it! You’ve got this, girl (or guy - ain’t nobody got time for stereotypes).

Much love,

 

The most exciting news pretty much ever....

YOU GUUUUUYS you guys you guys you. guys.

Today is a very exciting day here at King’s Things! As some of you may have noticed, things have been a tinsy bit quiet over here lately but I promise, cross my heart, it’s been for very good reasons. I’ve been cranking out a new website, developing some new branding (yay logo!) and working out a very detailed master plan to take over the world, one photo at a time! As you can imagine, that has taken some time and serious attention to accomplish. BUT! Now that things are up and running somewhat smoothly, it is time announce (drum roll, please!) the official launch of the brand spankin’ new King’s Things Blog! Hizzah!

From here on out, the website and the facebooks and the twitterverse and the Instagrams will be a-buzz with all Things King and OMG I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE EVERYTHING WITH YOU. Ahem. Erm. So very sorry about the digital yelling...it’s just that I am so darn excited about this you guys!!! Seriously. I’m giddy. You ready for this? Here’s a little taste of what’s to come:

Things to expect from the new blog!

  • All things wedding photography related, including:
    • How to pick the best wedding photographer
    • Using Pinterest to get better wedding photos
    • Setting your wedding timeline with photography in mind
    • Best places in Mid-Mo for engagement photos
    • Venue reviews
    • Vendor recommendations
    • Much, much more….
  • Sneak peeks into the weddings of King’s Things clients on their wedding day.
  • A few tips and tricks on other kinds of photography as well including newborn photography, headshots, family photos and more.
  • Behind the scenes looks into King’s Things photos and how we made them.
  • Little bits and baubles about me and my life adventures.
  • Probably most definitely pictures of my new baby nephew, Oliver.
  • Maybe even some terrible jokes from time-to-time.

And you know what? That is just the tip of the iceberg, y’all. I have so much stuff hiding up my sleeve, so many adventures and knowledge to share with you and today is the day that we start it all. Today this new little baby blog takes it’s first step into the world and I am so glad you were here to join me for it. So! Make sure you come back and see me and follow along this awesome journey we are going on. I will see you next week! It’s gonna be quite the party.

Much love,