wedding photography : let’s take care of the details

Mary Dougherty

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I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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I couldn’t have handpicked better couples to work with this year. They bring their own style and personality and are all are planning weddings with thoughtful touches and inviting details. This weekend I joined Carli and Dan, their family and friends and documented a wedding almost to beautiful to be true. They were absolutely stunning, and you can see for yourself over in this preview album.

In order to capture the elements of their day, and any wedding day I’m a part of, I try to document as many details beforehand as possible. It usually takes some planning to make this happen, but when it does the small things that make up the day are told more clearly in the album or in a feature on another blog. So, here are a few of the things I like to photograph ahead of time:

1. the dress + accoutrements : photographing the dress alone is one of the first things I do when I arrive to a wedding. I try to find a place that is simple, clean and has good light in whatever space I am working in, and recommend choosing a getting ready location that has similar characteristics.

2. the reception site : it’s essential to get one picture of everything untouched, without people in the room so the decorations and look of the space can be captured. This can be difficult to arrange if there is a ceremony and reception location, with travel in between the two, but when possible to arrange it’s worth it.

3. paper goods : a clean invitation, program, menu, and any other customized paper goods that work as a suite of materials are easily captured before the day gets started.

4. rings : while I’ve typically photographed rings during the reception when I can easily borrow them from the bride and groom and return them, this ring shot above changes my mind. Clean natural light makes for amazing ring shots and photographing at least the engagement ring, but preferably all three is best.

5. flowers : a good bouquet shot before the day gets started ensures that the flowers look their best. They typically get a little beat up as the day goes on, and I like to make sure for both the couple – and the florist – there is an image of the flowers as intended.

I’ve learned so much since I started shooting weddings 4 1/2 years ago. I now know to plan for the pictures I want to get, to educate couples on how to make that happen, and to make sure that what needs to be documented is captured. While it’s not always possible to get in all of the details above before the wedding day gets started, it’s what I recommend and more importantly the type of images blog and magazine editors look for to publish… and who doesn’t want their wedding to be published?

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