Archive for Tips for Clients

Print Sizes and the Crop Factor

Since I’ve had a few clients be a little confused when trying to make their own prints from my professional digital negatives, I thought I should address it here on the blog to avoid confusion in the future.

The professional cameras I use have a full frame sensor, this means that it’s the same size as a 35 mm negative. Therefore all the digital negatives have a 2:3 ratio.

Images printed in a 2:3 ratio will show the entire image. This would include a 4×6, 6×9, 8×12, 10×15, 12×18, 14×21, 16×24, 18×27, 20×30, 22×33, 24,×36, 26×39 and so on. However, some of the most popular sizes for prints and frames in the U.S. do not include most of these sizes. This means that when printing a photo in some of those other sizes, part of the image will be cropped out of the print. I have some examples below from Jessica and Hunter’s wedding in Del Mar this past weekend.

Here’s the original image in a 2:3 ratio size for comparison (2×3, 4×6, 8×12, 12×18, 16×24, 20×30…)

This is what a 5×7 would look like:

An 8×10:And an 11×14:

Also, keep in mind when ordering canvas wraps, part of the image will wrap around the edges. Here’s a screenshot of a 30×40 canvas wrap showing the parts of the image that would be on the sides of the frame:

I hope this helps! And of course, can’t wait to share the images from this gorgeous wedding soon :).

First Look – The Groom’s Perspective

I’ve talked about the first look before here, but I thought it was important to include a different point of view on the subject – the groom’s point of view.

A couple of my grooms were kind enough to take some time and share their thoughts on their own experience.

Tassie and TJ were married on July 11th, 2010

“The first look honestly wasn’t something that I had thought of before our wedding day but was all for it when I heard what was planned. It was one of my favorite moments on our wedding day and was very glad we did it. Seeing her in that moment and the excitement and love showing in her smile was one of the warmest feelings I’ve ever experienced. It was very similar to seeing her walk down the aisle but it was something that only Tassie and I share as opposed to sharing that moment with everyone else in the church.” T.J.

And here’s an image from Tassie and TJ’s first look:


Christen and Jason were married on November 6th, 2010

“At first I thought it was against tradition. We had some good advice to choose a photographer we really liked because in 20 years the pictures are what you are going to remember. Christen said it would give us more time for pictures, they would turn out better and we wouldn’t have to rush before the sun went down. Looking back at it now, I am so glad we did it the way we did. It was more personal and I truly got to see her before anyone else. I didn’t have to hold anything back because it was just us. I think there is something special about getting to express those feelings and not have to hold them in because you are in a ceremony. I honestly think seeing her before she walked down the aisle made the experience of her walking down the aisle better. I already knew she looked beautiful, my nerves were lowered and I was able to focus on her. I really thought the whole experience was awesome and the way to go.” Jason

And here’s an image from Christen and Jason’s first look:


Thank you both so so much and I hope this helps any of you trying to make a decision weather or not to have your own special moment prior to the ceremony or not.

Happy wedding planning :)

Wedding Timeline (my approach)

My style of photography is about telling the story of the day. Not only the moments you (the bride and groom) are a part of, but also the ones you may have missed. And most importantly, I want you to look back at your wedding images and be able to remember exactly how you felt on that day and hopefully, actually feel it all over again. But I also understand that when the whole family is looking good it’s a good time to update those family photos :).

In order to accomplish this, I work closely with the bride and groom (or wedding planner) to create a wedding timeline that allows for the bride and groom to thoroughly enjoy their day and for me to be able to capture both the “emotions” and the “prettiness” of the day.

So here’s a quick visual of a sample wedding timeline and an explanation below. These images are from Kristina and Brian’s wedding back in October of 09, but since I had already created this PDF, I’m recycling :).

I like to start with the bride and her girls getting ready (1). I love the anticipation and the mix of emotions everyone is feeling. During this time I also have the opportunity to photograph all the details that have been carefully chosen by the bride and groom, such as the dress, the shoes, the ring, the flowers, etc.

Right after make-up and hair are completed and the bride slips into her gown, I like to make the bride’s portraits by herself and
then with all her girls (2). You know, before any happy tears, lipstick kisses or crazy wind :).

Next up is the guys (3). The groom by himself and with his best man and groomsmen.

The first look (4) is one of my most favorite moments of the day. You can read more about it here. I have my really long lens on, so this is your most private moment together throughout your whole wedding day. After you get a chance to hug, kiss, cry and cuddle we move on to fun portraits of the bride and groom together (5). When that’s over we let the whole bridal party join in for a few more fun shots (6).

Approximately 1 hour before the ceremony we begin all the family photos. This allows for us to be completely finished about 30 minutes before the ceremony so the bride and groom can go back inside before guests begin to arrive, freshen up and get ready for their ceremony.

From here on out it’s all candid moments, the ceremony, the reception and whatever else fun things you have planned for your awesome wedding day! And depending on the timing of your ceremony, I usually try to get just a few more portraits of the bride and groom during cocktail hour.

Please note, no two weddings are the same and this is just to give you a general idea of my approach to wedding photography.

We would determine your specific wedding timeline together to make sure it works for you and your wedding day.

And here’s one final chronological recap:

START AT: 1 pm

1:00 Getting ready/Details

2:20 Bride in her dress

2:30 Bride & Bride with Bridesmaids

3:00 First look & Bride and Groom portraits

3:30 Groom & Groom with Groomsmen

4:00 Bridal Party

4:30 Family Portraits

(Bride with Mom and Dad

Bride with Mom, Dad, and siblings

Groom with Mom and Dad

Groom with Mom, Dad, and siblings

Bride and Groom with Bride’s grandparents

Bride and Groom with Groom’s grandparents)

5:00 Finished with portraits

5:00 – 5:30  Ceremony site photos

5:30 Ceremony

6:00 – 7:00 Cocktail Hour

6:00 – 6:30 Reception site photos (centerpieces and other details)

6:30 – 7:00 Bride & Groom portraits

7:00 Grand Entrance

First dance



Father-Daughter dance

Mother-Son dance




END AT: 9 or 10 pm

I hope you find this helpful in your wedding planning process!

Get the Most Out of Your Wedding Photography

So you’ve hired a professional photographer whose work you admire and whose personality will make you happy all day. Congratulations! Now how can you maximize your photographer’s talent and get the best photos possible?

A professional photographer will take the best photographs in each given situation, even when the situation is not ideal. Now, can you imagine what happens in an ideal situation? Here’s a breakdown of a wedding day and what makes it picture perfect.

Getting ready portion of the day:

The more natural light coming into the room the better. This is such an exciting part of the day, full of incredible candid moments! However if the photographer is snapping away and constantly using their flash, it may become a distraction for the bride and her family and friends. This will make them more aware of the photographer’s presence diminishing the “realness” of the moment. And as a big bonus. your make-up artist will also appreciate the natural light.


Also remember where you are getting ready is the background of your photos, keeping the room as neat as possible will make for a prettier background.IMG_1267

Ceremony portion of the day:

When choosing your ceremony site, check it out at the same time of day and same time of year when you would be having your ceremony if at all possible. Ask for two people to stand where you would be standing and check them out :). Watch out for the following: If one person is in shade and the other one in full bright light, if one person (or both) are squinting, and if there are trees nearby and spots of shade/light on their faces. There is not much a photographer can do in these situations, so what you see is what you get. Look for a ceremony site with even shade (or light) at the time your ceremony would start and remember this will vary depending on the time of the year.


For indoor ceremonies, specially churches, make sure you know their policy before-hand so you are not disappointed with your photos. Many churches do not allow flash photos, others do not allow for the photographer to move around at all or past a certain pew and others prohibit photos during most of the ceremony.


Reception portion of the day:

Just like everything else, lighting and background are the two key factors. What’s behind the cake table? What about behind the bride and groom’s head table? The emergency exit sign? The big tent pole? Try rearranging and place your table in front of a more flattering background :)

Of course, this is the time for your details to shine! Place settings, centerpieces, escort cards, drink station, dessert bar, chair decorations, favors, paper goods… Let your creativity fly!

But I believe the most important piece of advice for your reception is to have fun! Even at small weddings, if the bride and groom are out on the dance floor having a great time, so will their guests! And the photos will reflect their wonderful celebratory mood.

And here are some additional tips to help you get the best wedding images possible:

Hire a make-up artist and hair stylist. I recommend scheduling your make-up trial for the same day as your engagement session. This way you know exactly how your make-up will show up in pictures and there will be no surprises on your wedding day.

Communicate with your DJ what time your photographer is leaving to ensure you will have all of the reception events you want photographed before that time.

Plan for portraits while there is still natural light available and allow for at least 30 minutes for bride and groom portraits.

Communicate with your florist what time you are starting portraits to ensure you will have your bouquets and boutonnières in time for photos.

Don’t forget to communicate with those you want in your formal portraits the time and place they should arrive at.

When thinking about which formal portraits to include, consider which photos you would like on your wedding album, on frames up on your walls and throughout your home or if you are going to print that image as a gift for a loved one. If the answer is none of the above, then you should probably skip it. Remember that this is your wedding day and you will most likely want to spend it by enjoying each and every moment with your loved ones instead of smiling for photos for most of the day.

Being on time keeps everyone happy and stress-free, here are some things to keep in mind:

The bride should start hair and make-up approximately 2 ½ hours before portrait time begins.

Remember to include transportation time. For example, if you are getting hair and make-up done at a salon, then going to a church for the ceremony, then going to a reception site or other places in between for portraits don’t forget to estimate how long it will take to go from place to place.

If you would also like to have photos of the groom getting ready, by having the groom nearby the bride, it will maximize your photographer’s time.

If you decide to wait until after the ceremony to do your portraits you have to consider what kind of “exit” will you have and how much time it will take. For example, if you have a receiving line that could take 30 minutes, 1 hour, or more depending on how many guests you have. Don’t forget to add that time to your time line.

I hope this helps!. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Happy wedding planning!

"To see, or not to see: that is the question…"

Traditionally brides and grooms would not see each other on their wedding day until the bride was walking down the aisle or it could be “bad luck”. Thankfully, nowadays you have an option. To see each other for the first time in a private moment before the ceremony or follow tradition and wait until the ceremony time.

As a bride and as a photographer I am completely biased towards seeing each other in a private moment a couple of hours before the ceremony. In my personal experience as a bride, I was never given the choice and just went along with what I thought I had to do and didn’t see Curtis until the ceremony time. In all honesty, the moment was not at all what I had envisioned. I dreamed of a movie moment. Our eyes locked together, both of our eyes tearing up with excitement, and my heart beating a little louder as if to confirm how perfect that moment was. Hmm, well, that’s not at all what happened. As I walked down the aisle, all my friends and family, some of whom I had not seen in a while were all staring, smiling and waving at me. I smiled and waved back. Somewhat of a movie moment, just not the right movie. I didn’t really look at Curtis until I was right in front of him. I hugged my parents and the priest started the ceremony. We couldn’t hug each other, we couldn’t talk. We never had a moment alone our entire wedding day. I wish I had been given the choice and I would have for sure chosen to have seen my love and spent some time telling him how much I loved him on that day. Just the two of us.

Now, that’s just my personal experience. Everyone is different and so to help you decide I’ve compiled a list of “pros” and “cons” of each option and tried to be as unbiased as possible based on all of the couples I’ve photographed this year. Weather you choose to see each other before the ceremony or not will not only impact your “first look” experience, but it will also greatly affect your wedding photography and the flow of your day.

Option “see” pros:

  • You are guaranteed a few moments alone with your spouse-to-be. This is often one of the most special moments of the whole wedding day. It allows you to take it all in and let each other know how you feel in that moment.
  • Guests appreciate it that they don’t have to wait 1 ½  hours to be able to see the bride and groom.
  • You are guaranteed to be focused on your groom when walking up to him and not be distracted by all the smiling guests ☺
  • The bride and groom, family and bridal party get to participate in and enjoy cocktail hour. The bride and groom can mingle with guests during this time instead of having to formally go from table to table during the reception to greet their guests.
  • It is much easier to get family together for portraits before the ceremony and before other guests arrive than during cocktail hour.
  • Everyone will be looking their best before being outside in the heat and/or wind, lipstick kisses from loved ones and happy tears.
  • The ceremony can take place close to sunset.
  • Allows for photographer to take pictures of reception site during cocktail hour before guests have placed their personal items on tables and chairs and the setup is intact.

Option “see” cons:

  • Traditionally brides and grooms would not see each other before the ceremony. This is still important to some families and required by some religions.
  • If you are having a morning wedding, you’d have to wake-up really early!

Option “not see” pros:

  • To be able to follow religious and/or family traditions.

Option “not see” cons:

  • The ceremony needs to ideally end 2 hours before sunset to allow for natural light to still be available during portrait time.
  • It is often difficult to “hide away” from guests during portrait time.
  • It is also often difficult to get family to gather for portraits when they would rather be enjoying a refreshing drink or an appetizer and be mingling with guests who are eager to congratulate them and celebrate.
  • Everyone may no longer be looking their best due to being outside in the heat and/or wind, crying during the ceremony, as well as lipstick marks from loved ones right after the ceremony.
  • If your cocktail hour must be exactly one hour, family portraits, bridal party portraits and bride and groom portraits will have to be shortened to just 20 minutes each.
  • If things run late, we may run out of light before being finished with portraits.

I hope this helps! And here are a few images from Amanda and Eric’s First Look this past Saturday.




If any of you can think of any other pros and cons please feel free to add a comment. And for all of you newlyweds out there, let us know what you chose and what your experience was like. I’d love to hear from you.