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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wedding Photography Sessions Explained!

Since February is the month of love I thought I would spend some time talking about wedding, and couple photography! Today, I want to share with you some "hot" terms that you will be seeing as you start shopping for wedding photographers!

First, what kind of photography are you wanting? You should sit down and decide how much of your wedding photography budget should be spent on "other" sessions! Or, decide if other sessions can be budgeted out of your every day account! Here are some additional sessions, some photographers include in packages with your Wedding Day, some offer in addition, and some you will have to find someone else to do entirely depending on your photographer choices. Not every wedding photographer does, or should do it all!

 Different kinds of photography sessions:

Engagement Session: In this photo session photographers typically highlight  the couple’s personality. Locations can vary from the photographer’s studio to popular tourist spots in their hometown, back yards, or a special location that sets the tone.  The dress is  more casual than other wedding-related photo sessions. While the engagement sessions have been used for newspaper announcements, photo-wedding invitations and the popular photo guest book in the past, many are now choosing to use this photo-op to do "save the date" images. You can do an engagement session at any time during your engagement, and for any end purpose. It is a really good idea to schedule this session with your photographer for your wedding since it will give you a good idea of how well your personalities and styles work together. If you don't have a good experience with this session you may want to consider a different photographer for your wedding!

Bridal Portraits:  In this formal affair it is ALL about the dress. While this is typically done in a studio setting, some brides may opt for a 'clean" outdoor scene as well. While the formal name leans towards tradition it is perfectly acceptable to have some fun with it as well! For brides who want tons of pictures of their PERFECT gown that was chosen after careful and laborious consideration, this is a non-negotiable. This is also very popular with traditional brides, and traditional parents!

©Verte Photography / Image of Theresa J. of Theresa J Photography.com

The Wedding Day: You will want to be sure your contract includes times and addresses of where your photographer will be, and exactly what will be covered on this day.
Pre-Ceremony: This is everything that happens prior to the ceremony itself. Be specific in your needs here. It can include the bride getting hair and make up done, getting into the dress, to informal shots with attendants and family, for large weddings I have even suggested doing all the formal shots of the bride and groom separately that can be done, so any formals done after would include them both. Of course some couples will even see each other prior allowing all the formal shots to be done prior.
Ceremony: These are the images taken during the ceremony itself. You should check with your church or venue for rules regarding flash, and access the photographer will have.
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Formals Bridal Party and Family: Even if your a non-traditional bride, you will find yourself doing some sort of images with your bridal party, and family members. The poses and scene will set the tone for how formal these images come out, but I suggest you do some just for the traditional family members and keepsake images.
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Informal Portraits: These would be the crazy fun images, more for the bride and groom they can include anyone they wish, but it is kept low key and less posed (or at least less formally posed).

Reception Images: This is pretty much anything that happens at the reception. Typically I suggest the standard cake, toasts, first dance, etc... and maybe an hour or so of dancing... it is not necessary to have your photographer there for the "whole" party, one dancing shot looks much like the other. However, it depends on your day and if you have a "big send off" planned, how long the reception is etc.

Photo Booth: This is a HOT gig right now. Many people are using photo-booths as entertainment for guests, others are using it to put together a photo guest book. Some photographers will offer this as part of their service, some wont allow it at all. You really need to check with them if you are thinking this will be an option for you!

Day After: Shot the “day after” the wedding (although some are after the honeymoon) this is a great time saver if you don’t want to spend the majority of the wedding day taking pictures.  The bride and the groom are more relaxed, and it shows! This can be done at a family brunch, or for more casual family or private couple images. The "newest" trend is to do them as sexy, boudoir style images in a hotel room, just for the couple to enjoy.

Trash the Dress: Another type of day after session.  This varies from aggressive “trashing” with brides engaging in paintball or mud wrestling, to the more genteel trashing of walking through ocean surf or swimming in a lake. Since today it is becoming increasingly uncommon to pass a dress from generation to generation, this lets the bride have "one more day" in it and do something unexpected.

Boudoir: Typically this is just of the bride who wants to give her husband-to-be something private to commemorate the occasion, or even to celebrate the first Valentines day or Christmas together.

Additional Event Photography: Many couples want the wedding events captured with equal skill and talent as their wedding portraits.  While most photographers do not include these optional type of photo sessions, most photographers can and will  cover bridal showers, wedding rehearsal dinners, bachelor parties, etc.

It is really up to you to figure out what style, and how many sessions you will want. Work with your photographer, if they will be doing multiple sessions for you. Some will include an engagement shoot, or if you don't want that, they may offer a holiday session, or 1 yr anniversary session or something else instead!

You really have to balance your budget, with all the cool ideas and everything you want!


  1. yikes i cant imagine trashing a beautiful dress. Maybe a used one from a thrift shop...

    1. I know what you mean Holli! I have done a few sessions... but we really didn't do anything that was "trashing it" out on a boat, hiking in the mountains... out in the snow... all recoverable... but I have seen mud wrestling, 4 wheeling, paintball.... some really wild things!

  2. I have never heard of trashing the dress before. I don't think i could do it! Weddings sound like they would be exhausting for a photographer!