behind the scenes – wedding photography tip #1, a series

……….I thought I’d start a little series about the things we see as photographers “behind the scenes” that will hopefully make your wedding planning a little easier.  I know there are a zillion blogs out there that will tell you the perfect place to get a stripey straw, and others that will tell you have to save money, etc.  I’m not trying to get into that space.  Instead, I thought I’d share our perspective on what little things can contribute to great wedding photos and can make your focus a little easier.

The first thing I’ll suggest is the “first look” session and/or getting all your formal shots done before the wedding starts.  Now, I am suggesting this with the caveat that if you have always had your heart set on a traditional “the first time my guy/gal sees me is at the ceremony” vision for your wedding day, this is probably not the suggestion for you.  I firmly believe that every couple really should do what feels right for them.  This suggestion is really for the people who aren’t tied to an idea about this or who are on the fence about whether to do a first look.

Every couple we’ve done this with has been really happy that they went in this direction.  They loved doing the first look for a lot of reasons, but the big ones were

– it took away some of the stress of the day.  The couple had a moment before the ceremony started and before everyone arrived to be together and to reflect on what they were about to do.  It calmed the couple’s nerves about cold feet too.

– it helped the flow of the day — because the majority of the portraits were taken before the ceremony, the couple and their bridal party were able to attend their own cocktail hour and be present for their entire day.

– the couples felt like they really had some quality time together on their wedding day.  We usually schedule them to be well in advance of everything starting, so there’s some real time to just be together while we step back and capture little moments.

Anyway, it’s something to consider and by no means a requirement!  What do you think?  Would you do a first look?

I know what it means to miss New Orleans

It’s no secret among those who know me that I *love* New Orleans more than any place else on earth.  It is my most favorite city.  I was lucky enough to go to graduate school there and to spend three fabulous years in that seductive city.  I just went back for a weekend and showed Bill my version of the town.  Here’s just a few iphone snaps I took — bear with me as this blog is bound to be a bit NOLA-heavy over the next few days.  I thought I’d start off by sharing a few of my favorite places.  People always ask me where to go, what to do, so here’s the start of my little list.  Some of these you’ve probably heard of, but maybe not all . . .
*Layfayette No. 1 – this is my most favorite cemetery in New Orleans.  You might be thinking that’s an odd thing to start off with, but cemetery’s there are a big deal.  They are above ground, run down in the way that things can be there, yet still elegant.  I’m sure there’s famous people buried there, but I’m not really sure who.  They filmed an Ashley Judd movie there years ago.  I just like to walk around and look at the history.  Sometimes I eavesdrop on a walking tour there too.  It’s also in the heart of the Garden District, so a great spot to include if you walk around there.  Which you should.
* Speaking of the Garden District, we happened upon the most lovely surprise this trip — the ladies of the NOLA Opera Guild have opened up a home there for tours.  You might think this is no big deal, but it is.  It’s the only home that you can tour in the Garden District.  The houses there are just lovely from the street, but to really get a sense of the place, you need to go inside.  Now me, I have connections so I get to see inside homes all the time.  (Yeah, not such a humble brag there!) But even so, I do not get to see inside gorgeous mansions & this is one of them.  It’s also available for wedding receptions.  Y’all out there reading, if you want a former resident to come on down and shoot your wedding in NOLA, I am your girl!  We loved our tour of this place and fell in love.
* One of the things I just adore about New Orleans is that they have totally unique shops that sell things that are cool now, but they have always sold them regardless of the trends.  One of these places is the silver shop called As You Like It on Magazine Street (a fantastic street to find said kinds of shops).  This place sells antique silver of both the solid and hotel variety.  I love finding little treasures like the teaspoons pictured above in their baskets of mismatched items that you can procure for a few dollars.  They also have an online shop & lots of unique things that make excellent gifts.
*At some point in your travels to NOLA, you will likely find yourself in the French Quarter.  While you’re there, do yourself a favor and stop in at the Napoleon House for a drink (just order a Pimms Cup & trust me on that).  It is old and fabulous and caters to locals as well as tourists.  My favorite bar for a little refreshment.  (Second row, on the far left).
*I was thrilled to see that so much of the city is just thriving after Katrina & that little streets that were a bit on the shabby side when I lived there are vibrant places now.  One such street is Oak Street, home to the famous Jacque-Imo’s restaurant and Maple Leaf bar/music hall.  Now there is a fantastic thrift store, a ton of little restaurants, a great home design store, and one of my favorite coffee shops, Rue de la Course.  It’s in uptown, off Carrollton Ave. & well worth the streetcar ride or just drive over if you rent a car (which, I suggest you do).

That’s installment No. 1 of Laura’s NOLA’s picks.  More to come . . .

We went away for a few days & came home to a lovely feature on Classic Bride!

Oh my goodness, sometimes life is just too cool.  Bill and I just got home from a lovely little vacation in New Orleans (more on that to come shortly) and as I am checking my emails and internets, I saw that we were featured again today on Classic Bride!  (I must sound like a total cheerleader, but this is seriously one of my most favorite sites & it makes me so happy to see our name in lights).  Go immediately check out Melissa & Casey’s gorgeous wedding over there!

Pretty bridesmaids gifts if you’re all getting ready together

You have to appreciate the irony of my posting about saving money yesterday & then posting today about a very pretty, but not totally budget friendly gift for bridesmaids (these range from $65 to $70 each).  Actually, I have no idea what an appropriate amount is considered for bridesmaids gifts or if people still do these.  If you do, or if you have the budget and all your girls are getting ready together, I love the idea of everyone coordinating in these pretty robes from Plum Pretty Sugar.  I think they’d make for some very pretty getting ready pics.  And you know I’m all about the pics so of course, this makes the list.  They also strike me as the kind of thing the girls would really use after the wedding & that makes for a good gift in my book.  Oh, and if you just want a pretty robe to get ready in, I’d definitely pick up one of these (after all, who says you have to share?).

Weekend Links!

Happy Weekend, everyone!  Does any more need to be said?  Here’s my weekly perusing of the internets that I thought were share-worthy:

*Awesome give-away of seriously cute earrings on Classic Bride
*If you’re in the mood for a little cry this weekend, get out your tissues and read this obit.
*Controversy!  Are prints off of google street view art?  Are they photography?
*If you’re in New York, go see Rineke Dijkstra at the Guggenheim – I saw this show at the SFMOMA and it is fantastic – haunting and real.
*If you’re honeymoon planning (or just trip planning in general), I thought this article on foreign hotel brands was potentially useful — I find booking foreign hotels with confidence to be one of the hardest parts of foreign travel.
*Judy Blume is a real person!  And she’ll be at the Castro Theater today screening Tiger Eyes at 4pm.  Hurry!  There’s still time to make it.  (Don’t know about tickets though . . .)

Have a good one .  . .