Who will photograph our wedding? This question was answered before it was even asked! We booked Ashley Daniell Photography pretty quickly and I am so excited to work with her (again!) on our big day.
Ashley and I met years ago through work. Although she has a “day job,” her real passion is photography. Bridesmaid Runner hired Ashley for her July 2011 wedding, and I decided pretty much then and there that Ashley would shoot my wedding (whenever that would happen!). She was such a pleasure to work with, and she even made the best of the horrible rain that showed up on Runner’s wedding day.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Daniell Photography
Although the rain cleared up by the time the wedding started, it stuck around long enough to (mostly) ruin the portraits. Well, Ashley was not about to let that happen—so she did another session with the bride and groom the next day!
With the wedding almost a month away, we’ve been emailing with our photographers for the past few weeks about the shooting schedule for the big day. Our photogs are an awesome couple who offered us a pretty sweet deal—in addition to including our e-shoot within the cost, there is also no time limit for shooting on the wedding day. They will come early for the getting-ready shots, and they will stay until the party ends at 2:00 AM (unless we tell them they can leave earlier since we’ll all probably be bombed and look like crap by that point!).
So while working out the shooting schedule and family portrait VIP list, I also wanted to send them my list of must-have shots that I’ve been hoarding pinning on Pinterest. Here is a snippet of the images that make me swoon and that I hope they’ll use as inspiration.
FYI, this will be a pretty pic-heavy post!
A really good makeup shot /Image via The Bride’s Cafe / Photo Credit: Renaissance Studios Photography
Before Cam and I got engaged, we used to talk about our future wedding. In our minds it was the most amazing event—and probably had a price tag of about $60,000. Which, we do not have. There were things that quickly got crossed off the list—staying in a downtown high rise hotel penthouse suite, a dress from Kleinfeld in New York, videography, etc.
One of these things was a photo booth.
Image via I Do Photo Booth
Ahh the photo booth. I have actually only been to one wedding with a photo booth, but it was super duper fun!
(Not to be confused with no-brain vendors, that is, vendors that seemingly have no brain…I’d like to think we’ve successfully avoided all of those.)
It’s actually not a very long story. BM Rocket’s sister is friends with Megan, the primary photographer and head honcho of the studiOsnap empire. Since I am also friends with Sister, and since Facebook is such an amazing resource for stalkerish brides-to-be, I was all over that ish. Even before we got engaged I was following studiOsnap on Facebook and obsessing over every photo gallery they uploaded to their website. Some of my favorite inspiration pics…
(All photos courtesy of studiOsnap)
Last we left off, you learned about the background of how we selected our photographer. You have also seen the “sneak peek” of our engagement photo session. I want to share a few more of my favorite pics with you. We are going to select from this set of pictures.
Say that five times fast!
So before I get to the next STD entry, I want to give you an interlude and give you a review of our photographer.
Early on, we knew that photography was important. I have heard testimonials from friends that say they hate (and yes, they used the word HATE) their pictures because they decided to invest money elsewhere. I know that when I look back on my special day, some things will be a blur. Some I won’t remember and some I will likely want to pretend never happened, but photographs were never one of them. I want to see the faces of our guests, the look on Mr. Scooter’s face when I come down the aisle, how my final vision came together. If I wasn’t happy with the photographer, then I would feel like I really missed something.
I know I am not the only one who
stalked researched photographers before they were engaged. No? Really?…OK, it was just me then. Because of that I had an idea of who we were going to go with…Lady & Lens (L&L). How catchy is that…seriously! Looking at her proofs online makes you want to jump in front of a camera and model. I actually work with her cousin (who encouraged me to look at her work).
After spending a super busy day at the mall, Mr. S and I had crossed many things off our list. His suit is finally getting altered. He, thankfully, now has a dress shirt and snazzy shoes. We both got new bathing suits for the honeymoon and I found a perfect bra (hopefully). Whew! After a long day at the crowded mall, we were both feeling exhausted and decided to go back to my apartment to watch a Redbox. Yes, unfortunately this is also secret code for “get my craft on.” Blah, not the most exciting evening.
Anywho, I checked my mail as we pulled up and inside was such an unexpected surprise that I just had to share:
In case the text is too small, it says:
Warning: This post is very heavy on pictures. If you don’t like gorgeous wedding photos, this post is probably not for you.
I’ve thought a lot about wedding pictures. In the beginning, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to afford wedding photography at all. We talked about investing in a photo-sharing app or website and crowd-sourcing the wedding photography. I was…OK with this. We didn’t have the option to spend $3,000 on wedding photography, but there weren’t a lot of options under that—the cheapest I found in our area was $1,500, which was still out of our budget.
Then we took our engagement photos with Niki and were super thrilled. She’s an up-and-coming young photographer who we felt really comfortable with. She was also willing to work with us on price and schedule, so it was a done deal. We had a wedding photographer!
Now when I look at wedding blogs with the gorgeous photos I get super excited about seeing our pictures! I can’t wait till these are our pictures from our wedding day.
All pictures from Niki Marie Photography
The Getting Ready Pictures
I know, I know—I’m too clever for words.
Before I share our engagement pictures, I wanted to share how we picked our photographers.
True confession: Photography was one of the the things I started looking into before we got engaged. (Gmail tells me I sent the first email December 14th. We got engaged December 22nd—but hey, to be fair, I knew it was coming.) It was always one of the most important things to me (seriously, I’m a picture whore), and I knew it would be one of The Big Decisions.
That having been said, I also knew how expensive wedding photography is in general. In my opinion, $3,000–$5,000 for photography is just too much, especially when you add on all the limits: x amount of hours, up to y amount of total pictures, z amount of proofs back…but for $500 more, you can add an engagement session! Ain’t nobody got time (or monies) for that, am I right?
Despite my near depression, I was persistent and decided to search anyway. I definitely used The Knot for this and would open up six or seven websites at a time, only to close them out with a sigh one after one. Two factors would immediately turn me off: not listing their prices and having fancypants, formal, artsy-fartsy and/or “serious” pictures everywhere. I mean, to each his/her own, but we aren’t fancypants, formal, artsy-fartsy or “serious” people, you know?
Then, I stumbled across Limelight Images.
Courtesy of Limelight Images / This is the first picture I saw on their website. I fell in love.
I was in awe of the absolutely stunning photographs. A HUGE plus: these people clearly knew, and loved, Pittsburgh (which is, as you know from this post, so very near and dear to our hearts).
All photos courtesy of Limelight Images and can be found here.
A guys’ shot with the skyline
One of the best pictures I have ever seen, ever, EVER
OK, you caught me—this one has NOTHING to do with Pittsburgh, but I literally laughed out loud.
A beautiful picture in downtown Pittsburgh
The picture that made me gasp, the picture that sold me
After that last picture, friends, I was done. I was terrified to click on the “Prices” tab…like, nearly in tears over it. (Yup, tears. As I sat by myself, at my computer, at like 11:00 PM on a weekday, when I wasn’t even engaged yet. I acknowledge all of this.)
When I did finally click on it, I swear I heard a chorus of angels. I don’t know what kind of heaven I accidentally stumbled into, but I have never, ever seen such reasonable prices for quality Pittsburgh-area photographers.
I’m willing to bet that it took me no less than 90 seconds to bang out an email to the contact, asking for more information. I heard back from one of the photographers, Kristy, two days later, and she was so friendly and willing to work with us. Mr. Palm Tree, MOH Mem, and I met with her husband and partner, Jimmy, at Panera Bread the following week. He was so incredibly open and friendly the entire time. I explained that we have little to no experience in this area, and he was super patient as he answered all of our questions and went over every detail. We fell head over heels. I emailed them that night telling them that we were going to go with them.
As Kristy and I have emailed (and Facebooked) back and forth since then, we have become so comfortable with one another. One of my emails to her said, “I was so worried that you guys were going to be dbags because I wanted to love you based on your pictures alone.” Her response, “You are too flippin’ funny! If I lived closer, we’d be BFFs.”
Since meeting them and especially since our engagement pictures, I have been obsessively stalking keeping up with Kristy, Jimmy, and their co-shooters on Facebook and through their website, and I am so pleased with our decision. BM Badonk brought up to me how she looked through a lot of their pictures and fell in love with them as well, so I pretty consistently post them on her wall and gush over them with her. They take some of the most vibrant and stunning pictures I have ever seen.
It is really important to us that all of our pictures, capture us. Of course there will be the standard “my hand on his chest” shot, the “let’s look lovingly into each other’s eyes shot,” and without a doubt the “hahahaha” shot.
Image from Limelight Images / See, the “hahahaha” shot
I like these shots; they’re staples–and of course, you never know what will happen that will make it your favorite. Maybe you really are laughing hysterically in this picture because your fiance(e) is the funniest damn ass person on the planet…or maybe he/she farted. (…but it’s kind of beautiful that nobody will know either way, right? Like, that’s your moment.)
What I love about Kristy and Jimmy, though, is that I trust them to capture our essence, if you will. For every shot like the one above, I’m willing to bet that we’ll have five of the ones below:
Image from Limelight Images / Let’s be real here, though, folks—if I ever got that much air it’d be because I was on a hovercraft.
And that fact, my friends, results in one sentimental, satisfied bride-to-be on a budget.
Do you have any suggestions for must haves for engagement shots? Where did/does photography rank on your list of The Big Decisions?
Hive, let’s chat about something very near and dear to my heart. Social media. Or more specifically, Instagram and Twitter, as that’s all I really use. Keep that in mind moving forward…
Remember how I discussed the unplugged ceremony? I even used the classic that has made its way throughout the Weddingbee world. It’s that infamous photo where all you see are cameras and cell phones. Just seeing it makes me cringe:
Let me start by referring to my previous post: To make it short, I had lots of concerns regarding people going to snap a photo and then staying on their phones. That hasn’t changed. I still have all of those concerns, and maybe even more so since I’ve decided to…gulp…encourage guests take photos.
Last post, I talked about some of the inspirational pictures that I had for our winter engagement shoot. Well, what did we end up doing? I must admit we kind of took the lazy (and way smarter) route and just let our wonderful photographers pick a location. Our photographers, Kim and Tom, chose a beautiful historical mansion nearby where we had a whole range of different backdrops and I just let them work their magic!
I must admit, I took the lazy way out in terms of preparing for this shoot. I picked a dress that I had in my closet for many years, while PBear’s jacket was stolen from my dad’s closet. Any coordination was purely coincidental. I didn’t change out the accessories I usually wear, and I definitely didn’t wear makeup. I know it’ll be a big change from our look on the big day, but I’m so happy to have some pictures of us looking casual.
All images via All-Star Photos
When we went out to our photo shoot on a “warm” 45 degree day a couple days after Christmas, we really didn’t have any idea what to expect or what to do. I think it really did give us a good idea of what to expect, come wedding day, and I’m so glad we got this opportunity! It took a while for us to loosen up, but those are the pictures that I like the best. I had been anxiously waiting to see the pictures. But boy were they worth the wait!
I am so thrilled with how the pictures turned out. I love how so many of the pictures really feel like us.
Okay, enough talking, more pictures. It was so hard to narrow down the pictures, but here are just a couple of my favorites. Many, many pictures of us trying not to look cold ahead:
Jack found this photographer on Facebook when it popped up that one of his friends had “liked” the page. This was long before we were engaged, but when the topic of photographers came up this guy was one of the first we looked at. I was blown away by them—they were exactly what I had envisioned.
Image via Luke Woodford
That’s right, we look good…but only when we have AMAZING photographers cracking us up and working their mad skillz.
As I discussed previously, I was completely indecisive when it came to engagement pics. All of a sudden, we were just a few months out from our wedding and I realized it was time to get my stuff together. Thanks to all those who left comments, because it helped me realize e-pics are a great way to document the love Mr. Squirrel and I have. That’s it. No pressure, people. I realized the best possible engagement pics would be ones where we were relaxed and comfortable. We decided to first get some pics at Ballast Point Park on Tampa Bay where there are lots of luscious trees and great views. Then we went super casual and picnicked it up nearby at Fred Ball Park. Thankfully, our photographers were amazing enough to let us end the evening by starting a campfire, complete with s’mores and a few smooches.
Tampa Bay brides, I cannot rave about Sarah & Ben enough. I mean, their tagline is: Photography for Storybook Love. Did you just melt? I did…
They are this adorable married couple who are so in love themselves. They are all about capturing the little moments…the soft smile, the stolen glance. I think our pictures turned out wonderful and, while we may not use them specifically for the wedding, I am so excited to have some printed on big canvases to hang around the house, er…apartment (wah wah).
To top it off…Sarah and Ben are hysterical. They had us cracking up the entire shoot, even as Mr. S was not so gracefully about to let me drop me off a dock. We also had a bit of a trespassing incident, and the women from Grey Gardens chased us away. Oh the things we do for art…
Enough yammering, here are some of our favorites!
All photos by Sarah & Ben
If you remember from my previous engagement pictures post, we chose to go with Niki Marie Photography for our engagement pictures. Niki helped us decide on outfits and locations and we headed to downtown Detroit for our engagement shoot.
That was an adventure in and of itself, of course. Downtown Detroit is fascinating because you can see how it was once beautiful and thriving—massive, tall buildings and a network of streets. However, today so many of those buildings stand empty and abandoned and most people avoid spending extended time there. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed and on every street you can see evidence of neglect. Some of these buildings are the background to our pictures-although Niki managed to make them look amazing of course!
A few days after the engagement shoot she posted this sneak peek!
A few things:
1. I LOVE this picture! I look just like I feel—relaxed and happy—and Mr. Lemur is actually smiling for real. Of course, after all of my dilemma about what to wear and not wearing black…I’m wearing black. In my defense, I had a colored shirt and cute pants on, but it was getting chilly by the end of the day.
There is one thing I have been very adamant about recently and that is having an off-site location to take photos with the bridal party and Mr. Sword on our wedding day.
I was never a girl who pictured or thought about a beautiful outdoor wedding. Sure, I love the sunshine on my skin, I love the smell of fresh air and a beautiful city skyline, but I have no problems getting married indoors. I’m an indoors girl at heart. Plus, the atrium at our hotel has high ceilings and tons of greenery so it feels very lush and homey at the same time. Perfect.
That said, I really, really want to take some photos outside on the Big Day! I just can’t stand the thought of every picture taken with indoor lighting when natural lighting is so amazing. Not to mention, no matter what the weather, I want to have photographic proof of it. How will I remember how cold or nice it felt on our wedding or how it looked outside if I have nothing to remember it by?
So come rain, snow, sleet or sunshine, we’ll be outside from about 12:00—2:00 pm on our wedding day capturing it all.
Our first off-site location idea was the famous Mall of America (yes, this isn’t outside but it was going to be the first stop of two). This was good in theory, but bad in reality. Mr. Sword loathes the thought of drones of tourists all staring at us (while I’d quite like that) and I loathe the thought of navigating our large group through said drones of tourists. Plus, my idea for a first look in the theme park was quickly thwarted by the ugly neon colors they have going on in there these days and the fact that you really can’t ask a bunch of people to move out of your way just so you can “get the shot.”
In any case, we tried to find some picturesque spots for photos and took some shots just because we were there scouting. But you won’t be seeing me in a wedding dress at the MOA anytime soon. Note the blurry patrons behind me.