Capturing Your Special Day: Micro Wedding Photography in Saint Augustine, Florida
Thank you so much for choosing me to document your special day! I have created this blog especially for couples like you who have a more intimate venue and are looking for photographs that showcase how a wedding is more than just a party!
Although I've been a Palm Coast-based photographer for just over 10 years, I've had the honor of photographing couples in the beautiful historic district of Saint Augustine for the past five years. With iconic architecture and brick-paved streets all within walking distance of your venue, your newlywed portrait session will yield frame-worthy photographs for hanging in your home or adding to your wedding album.
By now, we have most likely covered your itinerary, so this blog will cover what to expect, how weather predictions are handled, what to do, as well as what not to do the week leading up to the big day. Let's start by briefly touching on what to expect on the day of your wedding.
Before the Ceremony:
Option 1: If you have opted to have photos of yourself getting ready before the ceremony then you can expect me to arrive at least 30 minutes early, meeting you at whichever guest room you'll be getting ready in.
Note: If you are hiring someone for hair or makeup and you want that to be captured, be sure that you schedule me to be there within 30 minutes of them leaving the venue. Once I arrive, if there is anything I can assist with during this time do not hesitate to ask, whether it be an extra set of hands to help get you into your dress, grabbing you something to drink, or relaying a message so that your getting ready process can go as smoothly as possible.
Option 2: If getting ready photos is not a priority for you, you can still expect me to arrive a little early and already in place to photograph you walking down the aisle. I do like to pop in and say hello before the ceremony starts so that we can have a face to face, and I can set your mind at ease that I have arrived and I'm ready to shoot! I usually use these few minutes to say hello to the groom, venue staff, and your wedding officiant. I will also photograph any key details that are already set up for your ceremony.
During the ceremony:
I do my best to remain inconspicuous by never using flash during your ceremony and opting for a silent shutter whenever possible, meaning you won't hear my camera while reciting your vows! For this reason I carry two cameras, one DSLR camera with a flash for the end and one mirrorless camera I'll be using throughout the session.
Live in the moment. You do not have to look at the camera at all during your ceremony. It is literally ok to pretend I'm not even there except for when I'm directing you for a photo ;)
Is it ok if my guests take photos or video during the ceremony?
I've been in your guests' shoes so I can empathize with the temptation, but from a wedding photographer's perspective, if a guest has a phone or camera out during the ceremony, that can completely ruin an otherwise valuable candid moment. There will be times during your ceremony that guests are not aware that they too are being photographed because they don't see me, so it is good to have your officiant make an announcement before you walk down the aisle to keep cell phones silenced and put away for the duration of the ceremony, including when you're prounounced man and wife! I will not be able to stop taking photos so that your guests can take theirs and besides that's not what you're paying me for! I want to take as many great photos as I can during our time together, but not all shots can be recreated if they get photo-bombed!
This being said, many couples I work with have someone designated to record video during the ceremony and I do not want to stand in the way of that. Just be sure to give me a heads up if that is the case so that I can coordinate with your videographer on placement during the ceremony so that we are not in each other's way!
After the ceremony, I'm aware that your guests may be taking their own photos with their cell phones when they are not being photographed themselves. As long as they are not interrupting our session time, this is usually not a problem.
Is retouching included in my photography package?
Minimal retouching is included in your photography package. What this means is that I will remove any distracting blemishes that are not permanent features on the face like shine, redness, acne, stray hairs, and a natural looking teeth whitening when it benefits the overall photograph. Your makeup artist will likely address most of your skin concerns and will thank you for staying hydrated and getting a good night sleep before your big day to avoid dark circles and dry skin!
What's not included are things like body slimming, slimming the face or altering facial features like your nose or chin, and removing wrinkles. I want to honor you in your photographs, not perform digital plastic surgery. Not to mention you will be waiting an excruciating amount of time for that beauty magazine kind of editing. Remember I am working with a ton of images and you are going to be in most of them!
What TO DO the week before your wedding:
Stay out of the sun. Your wedding dress or suit will not feel comfortable with a sun burn and tan lines will not photograph well either.
Drink plenty of water. Wrinkles are less apparent the more hydrated you are. Again, your makeup artist will thank you for having hydrated skin. It really does help with makeup application! Being well hydrated will also mean less of a hangover if you plan to party it up on the day.
Get your nails done. You don't want your nails to be on week 3 of a manicure. Be sure nails are freshly done with gel polish so you don't have to worry about it coming off. Not to mention, your hands will be photographed too!
Sleep. You do not want to be tired on your wedding day. People are cranky when they are tired and you don't want to be a cranky bride.
Plan some "me time" and "us time". Take time to remember why you are doing this in the first place. Remove yourselves from all the wedding stuff and simply connect. Remind one another that your wedding is more than just a party and that will help you to not sweat the small stuff on the big day so you can truly be in the moment.
Send a timeline if necessary to any guests involved in helping you get ready and any family members who will be included in your formal photos. Do your best to keep it simple for them, including only what they need to know.
Practice walking in your shoes on hardwood and carpet but not outside as this could potentially dirty or scuff them before your big day. Also you want to be sure you can handle walking in them for at least the duration of our photo session and most importantly not cause injury to yourself.
Steam or iron your wedding day attire. Like any other type of photo shoot, clothing should always be free of lint and wrinkles. Pro cameras pick up everything! This is a good tip to share with any guests who will be part of your formal group pictures as well! This is not one of those things that are a quick fix in editing. A wrinkly dress or shirt will greatly lengthen turnaround time.
Take time off from work. You will be busy in the days leading up to your wedding day. Take time off from work so you don't go into your wedding day wound so tight that you can't breathe.
Deligate some of your tasks. By now you have probably already chosen someone as your maid/matron of honor and/or best man, but even if you don't have an official title for your key people, designate someone you trust who knows you well enough to help you stay on task during the big day and carry some of the weight for you. You will be too busy getting ready to be running around checking on people and things come your wedding day. This is your time to feel like a princess and look beautiful, not stressed!
What Not to Do the Week Before Your Wedding:
Get a new haircut. Trust me, this is not a time you want to try something new. Go with your tried and true haircut especially if that is what your stylist is expecting to work with on your wedding day.
Try new skin products. It's best to play it safe on this one to avoid a reaction of any kind to new products. Your makeup artist will thank you. Red, irritated skin or an acne breakout is not something you want to deal with on your wedding day!
Drink alcohol. Do not be one of those couples who show up hung over, tired and dehydrated on your wedding day. I know this one can be hard, but try to abstain or at least keep it to a minimum for a few days.
Stay up late. Get plenty of rest in the days leading up to the big one. Don't try catching up on lost sleep the night before your wedding. There's a good chance that won't work out for you. There is enough research to back this one up.
Change plans/decor. All of your vendors are locked and loaded by this time. Make a plan and stick to it so as not to rock our worlds so hard that you feel it on your special day. Of course we will want to be accomodating on this, however, adding time at the end to try and work a sparkler exit into the mix is not always possible.
Overeat. Being off from work and rehearsal dinner partying can make that challenging, but you will kick yourself if you are all bloated for the wedding attire you've been dreaming of for months. Healthy light meals will also give you more energy on the big day rather than feeling sluggish from a ton of carbs.
Undereat. There is no need to fast before your wedding day, especially if you're not used to doing it. Eat something! I don't care if it's just some fruit, a smoothie, parfait, croissant. Nobody wants you to pass out on your big day because you neglected your own body's needs! This will also prevent a growling tummy while you're exchanging vows during the most quiet part of the day!
Try on your dress. Unless it is with the person doing your alterations. If you rip something, step on it funny, or get the zipper stuck, it might be too close to the wedding to get it fixed.
Try a new makeup hack. Not every bride will have a professional makeup artist on her big day, so if that's you... Do not wear your makeup dramatically different from what you normally would just because you saw it on Pinterest. If you don't normally wear makeup, opting for a natural look is always best. Instead, simply accentuate your eyes and lips without going too heavy or dark. If your eyes are small, especially when you smile, all that black eyeliner can make your eyes disappear and look like two black holes in your face! There is no fixing that in editing once it's said and done.
Constantly checking the weather. You can't change the weather. I'm sure you've already considered the rain plan in your venue selection so you have to be okay with it. The venue is going to make the decision for you anyway, so let them and enjoy the day and your guests! As your wedding photographer, the weather is not a deal breaker on your big day and I am used to being at the mercy of mother nature. Do not lose sleep over this!
I hope some of these tips are helpful for you on your big day and I'd love to hear your feedback. Let me know in the comments section below if there is anything you would add or which of these tips you found to be most useful.