Category Archives: destination beach weddings

The Wedding Reception/Ideas and advice from a wedding photographer

This blog is part of a four part series on weddings. “Getting Ready” The Ceremony” The Intimate session” and lastly “The Reception”

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After twenty four years of photographing weddings nationwide, I have been to allot more receptions that most people on the planet.in this blog I am going to share with you advice to make your reception memorable.

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The venue you choose is important,its all about the atmosphere. I know that venues are extremely expensive.Here is my suggestion,why not rent a beautiful house on the beach and have everything come to you,caterers,hair and makeup,band or D.J. Some of my favorite weddings were at private homes.Also I do believe you would save allot of money this way.

I do suggest you have live music,D.J’s are alright but so redundant .Personally I feel a live band is so much more memorable.Makes your wedding more unique.

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I would stay away from the big resorts,unless you want to feel like a number and see other couples getting married the same day.Some of these places to me feel like an Assembly line of weddings

Make it your own,be creative,be unique.

Why not hire a cartoon artist, a magician, a fortune teller,a cigar roller.Give your guests something to talk about.To be honest,a great deal of the receptions I have been to were a bit boring.You want yours to stand out,you want your guests to have a great time.

A photo booth is allot of fun for children and to get adults to feel like a child again.

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Instead of a cake, I have seen all kinds of things,a coffee and desert bar,even Key Lime Pie on a stick, again,make it your own,have fun with the planning!

As for the food,why not ask your favorite restaurant if they will cater your event, or if you have relatives who cook you could save allot of $$.r

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ALONE AT LAST /the intimate session

part of a four part series on wedding photography. getting ready,the ceremony,the intimate session,and the reception  Advice for the client.

The only thing that I do insist on with my clients is an “intimate session” This will perhaps be the only alone time that you will have on your wedding day.I feel that these photographs are the most romantic and probably the ones that you will be hanging on your walls.

http://creativefreedomphoto.com/ Some people do not realize that photography is made up of light and composition.

When you are working on your timeline, leave at least a half hour or more in the best light of the day,the last hour before the sun is setting.Think about the background,are there some beautiful nature spots on the grounds of your venue? If not try to explore and find a beautiful nature spot nearby your venue

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Do not allow anyone to tag along,this is a distraction to you and to your photographer.Your guests will be fine, might be a good time to plan a cocktail hour. Always work with your D.J. and wedding coordinator and let them know in advance .

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When I am photographing a destination wedding,I sometimes plan with my couples for a “day after” session. using the destination as my background. My couples are always so much more relaxed the day after,I get to spend allot more time with them = more beautiful and interesting photos.

 

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I Do! The ceremony by creativefreedomphoto

This blog is in a four part series,Getting Ready,The Ceremony,The Intimate session and the reception.,so stay tuned!

If you are having an outdoor wedding,hope for the best but always prepare for the worst.make sure that you have a back up plan!! If you have your heart set on getting married outside,go with the flow,have lots of umbrellas handy,incorporate your wedding colors. Do keep in mind that overcast is  best for portraits

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As far as ceremony sites I have seen it all in my twenty four years of photographing weddings nationwide.From elaborate castles in Germany,to beach blankets in Key West .Make it your own.There are no rules!

 

I am often asked about timelines.The best light for photography is when the sun is low in the sky. I would say ,if you are having an outdoor wedding,look up the time of sunset for that day and schedule your ceremony two hours before time of sunset.Allowing plenty of time afterward for your group shots and saving the very best light about a half hour before the sunset for your “intimate session” the photographs of just the two of you alone .Dont rush your photographer through this,give them at the very least a half an hour.Remember these are the photos you will probably be hanging on your walls.

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Some couples now a days have a “first look” before the ceremony. This helps take the edge off, (good for nervous couples).Also a wonderful time for your photographer .Also a great Idea is the “first look” for Fathers and daughters

 

I always ask my couple,”what is the most important photo to you” 99% of my brides and many of my grooms will say (or better say) the first time I see my bride!This is such an important shot,I never miss it!!

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During the ceremony look at each other! believe it or not I have seen couples who look at the notary the entire time.

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I absoulutely love shooting candid during the ceremony,there are so many emotions.Another favorite are capturing kids at this time.

 

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The most important kiss of your lifetime is your first kiss as husband and wife. I always have a second shooter and we are both getting this most important moment from two different views. I would highly recommend that your photographer have a 2nd shooter/assistant,especially for the larger weddings

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Available for weddings worldwide

TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE/WEDDING TIME LINE ADVICE By creativefreedomphoto

  I am always asked these question and I am happy to help in fact, your photographer is the best and most valuable person to go to to help you plan the timeline. Photography IS 50% light,50% composition.
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  I am also asked how many hours of coverage should you need. Let me put it this way more coverage = more quality photographs, dont rush your photographer.
  How much coverage depends on a few things, is your wedding big with over 100 people, does it have several locations,or is it a small intimate wedding.
  Getting ready/So much happens during this time,try very hard to have the guys nearby you dont want to miss this part of your story,the contrast can often times be hilarious!
 Keep in mind if you have two locations for guys and girls the photographer will need allot more time to go to two location,driving time,finding parking,packing and unpacking equipment etc that takes allot of time and can take time away from what is most important,capturing your wedding day.When I have the guys and girls at the same location, I just go back and forth, if mot much is going on with the girls, I check out the guys. During this time is not only about “getting ready” doing hair putting on makeup and getting “the dress” on its about the details, have them ready when the photog comes in, your rings, an invitation, newspaper something with the date, wedding vows,your grandmas necklace,Have the flower there as well, whatever it is you want photographed. During this time if I am at one location the entire day (best option ) I will usually go into the reception room and photograph the set up,the venue itself the atmosphere is also very important. The set up for the ceremony and then back to the brides room to spend some quality one on one time for bridal portraits
 Have hair and makeup come to you ALWAYS!. Brides, DO NOT be the last to get ready,allow more time for everything than you think it will take.Get ready early, if you are last and its almost time for the ceremony, not only will I not have enough time for bridal portraits,you will feel nervous and rushed and it will show on your face, again I stress this do not rush your photographer! The ultimate time for me at the beginning of the story if everyone is at one location is about three hrs. It is a very important time with so much going on and so many wonderful photo opportunities also a good time for me to get to know family and friends of the couple.
 THE CEREMONY:
TIME- If outdoor wedding,two to three hours before the time of sunset. Two if you dont have a million groups shots and the ceremony is very quick,three if you have allot of group shots with a long ceremony.Group shots take more time than you think. Again allow more time for everything
 Most important leave the last half hour or more of light (The magic hour) the best lite of the day for just the two of you alone, I call it the “intimate session” plan a cocktail hr for this time your guests will be fine and it will be the only “alone “time you might have together all day. Out of this time comes the most beautiful portraits of my couples capturing their relationship and the love they have for each other, this is absoulutely my favorite time to photograph, DO NOT miss this time, do not rush your photographer or cut it short, I have had couples after we have disused this only give me five minutes, you will never get this time back!
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   Again will there be a huge party with dancing   bouquet toss,cake cutting sparkler send off/parting shot, do you want the entire reception covered,if not push up the most important moments to you. If so, remember photographer, D.J all of your vendors should be fed,treat people the way you would want them to treat you. While everyone is eating take care of your vendors.People dont look their best when they are eating!
  My full coverage (the time I need to tell the story is about eight hrs. You can always add more if your photographer is up to it.
  If it is a small intimate wedding on the beach with just the two of you and a few close family members, I have a minimum of two hrs and have it on an off day, most photographers are booked on the weekends or wont take a two hr wedding on a Saturday.
  I do hope I have helped and answered allot of your questions.Keep this in mind, I am an award winning international fine arts wedding photojournalist with a very unique style, I travel worldwide  http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/
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VALIUM FOR BRIDES/ Advise from a wedding photographer to help calm your nerves

WHAT IF IT RAINS?

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(Fine arts photojournalist,available worldwide)

 Take a deep breath,let it out slowly,clear your mind (take up mindful meditation) I am serious, it really does help me to lower my blood pressure!
DO:Consider having  a “first look” It does help alleviate    some of the before ceremony jitters
a first look
DO: Have a professional hair and makeup artist come to you,I highly recommend a trial run,perhaps the day your are having your engagement photos taken,this will certainly help you to calm down a bit trusting that your pro hair and makeup artist will make you look amazing. (even if you have a bad hair day or get a big wedding zit)
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DO go with the airbrush and the false lashes,done right it looks amazing!
DO: Hold your flowers low it elongates your waist
DO: Put your weight on your back leg while standing dont stand straight in front of the camera
DO; Try to forget about the camera and enjoy your day,it will go by like a flash.Trust your photographer,feel comfortable with him or her,talk or meet with them before the BIG day. I encourage my brides to call and e mail as much as they want.
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DO: If you have by-by  arms or back fat,have a tailor sew some 3/4 inch  sleeves or get a shawl. Not every bride is built to wear a sleeveless dress, I cant for the life of me understand why most wedding gowns are sleeveless.
DO eat something, low blood sugar might not look good on you!
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DO get your man involved in someway this day is not just all about you
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DO Ask your photographer to help you with the timeline,and recommending vendors.
DO; leave your phones at home a week before the wedding and go on a date together.
DO give your phone to a friend or family member the day it will be constantly ringing
DO feed your vendors,take care of them and they will do a better job for you
DO have a manni & peddi,and have your man get one also, it will be fun!
DO have a Mimosa while you are being pampered
DO have everyone come to you the day of your wedding, dont go out to a salon to have your hair and makeup done, that can be very stressful,try to have everything in one place
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DO:Most of all remind yourselves,this day is all about the marriage,not the wedding,relax and enjoy,in 23 yrs I have never had anything big go wrong,dont sweet the small stuff!!
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Finding the perfect wedding location/http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

Things to Consider

1. How many guests do you want, and how mobile are they?

 

 

Is your dream wedding small or a Broadway-worthy production? Your answer may determine the location. Why? Even though the day is about you, it’s also about your guests. If your closest friends all have toddlers, is it fair to request their presence at a safari wedding in South Africa? If relatives are elderly, can you expect them to make it safely to the beach? You won’t be able to please everyone, but consider making a concession or two if it means your loved ones will attend.

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Thhttp://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/e Don Cesar Resort on St Pete beach
2. Do you want a religious ceremony?

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Fifty-three percent of couples who wed in 2007 did so in a church. A few things to consider:

  • A traditional religious ceremony may have to be held in a place of worship, so be sure to ask up front. (In that case, book the date at your place of worship before you book your reception location.) Also, some religious establishments frown upon elaborate decorations or flowers as well as skin-baring dresses, so inquire about these details.
  • If you and your fiancé have different religious beliefs, consider having the ceremony at a neutral location, like a reception hall. Talk early on with both families about your decisions.
  • If organized religion does not play a role in your lives but you want to incorporate a spiritual element, consider hosting the ceremony in a natural setting, such as a beach or a park (be sure to ask about a permit).
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3. How much work are you willing―or do you want―to take on?

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The french quarter New Orleans L.A.

Depending on the location, you may have to do some heavy lifting. Before you commit to an “I do”-it-yourself undertaking, weigh the pluses and minuses of these settings:

  • A unique location:You may have your heart set on a big wedding-day hoedown in a picturesque barn, but who’s going to clear out the hay, haul in the tables, set up the Porta Potties, arrange for lighting,    There’s also Mother Nature to keep in mind. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony or reception, you’ll need a backup plan in the case of rain,  renting a tent is always a good Idea

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Casa Lantana,Bradenten Fl

  • A reception hall: The establishment usually has a one-size-fits-all feel, but its staff is probably well equipped to take care of the dirty work for you, which may include―and this is important―post-party cleanup.
  • At Home

    What it is: A ceremony held at someone’s residence.
    Good for: Twosomes with a connection to a childhood house or with access to a grand home. Or a pair who want a more, well, homey celebration in their own pad and aren’t afraid to work for it.
    What to know: While it might seem as if a backyard wedding could be a money-saver, it just might break the bank. No, you’re not spending $200 a plate at a reception hall, but consider the extras you may need to rent. You will be responsible for supplying every fork, knife, table, and linen, and the bigger-picture details can also fall on you: generators for the band, a rented floor to cover the lawn, extra restrooms (you’ll need one portable toilet for every 50 guests), a fire extinguisher, and a tent in case of rain. Rentals for all of the above can cost upwards of $5,500. Plus, you’ll have to spray the grounds for bugs, mow the lawn, deal with any home improvements, and figure out parking (a valet company can cost around $2,000).
    Resources: Contact your city or town hall to ask whether you need a permit and to obtain information on noise and traffic ordinances, fire codes, and tent permits. And call your homeowner’s insurance company to inquire about taking out an umbrella policy for the day. The cost is normally a few hundred dollars, but if someone gets hurt, you’ll be protected.

  • Destination

  • germany castle in the mist
  • http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/Neuschwanstein Castle,Germany

  • What it is: A getaway―usually somewhere exotic, like a resort―with activities that span a weekend.

    Good for: Duos who have a connection to a location or want just close loved ones (up to 75 people) to attend. Many resorts offer all-inclusive packages for everything from a guest welcome to a farewell brunch, making the planning process a cinch.

  • Super dome wedding
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    Mercedes Benz Super Dome New Orleans,club encore

  • What to know: Marriage-license rules vary from city to city and country to country. Some cities, like Venice, require that you file for a license a minimum of four days pre wedding, while other locations demand blood tests and X-rays (for example, Guadalajara, Mexico). Also, know that destination weddings aren’t always more expensive than those at other locales; the cost depends on where you go and how elaborate the celebration is. However, they may be more expensive for your guests, who usually have to fork over more to attend. As a courtesy, try to restrict the travel time to about two hours by air or six hours by car.

    Resources: A listing of marriage-license requirements by state is available atusmarriagelaws.com. For the Caribbean islands, log on to caribbeantravel.com, and for Europe, go to marryabroad.co.uk. You can also visit any city’s tourism-board website; the requirements should be posted there.

  •   If you are planning a beach wedding in Florida think about renting a house close to or on the beach,You can share the bill with the bridal party or who ever you want staying with you and how big the house is,this will probably cost allot less than booking a bunch of   hotel rooms and allot more intimate. These weddings tend tobesomeofmy favorites.
  • After 22 yrs of shooting weddings from Germany to Key West, what are some of my favorite venues you ask,The most amazing was  hands down  Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, second I would have to say the Biltmore resort in North Carolina, third,every wedding in New Orleans!!

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Wedding Photojournalism/The Story Teller by creativefreedomphoto

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 In the limo

Dont just keep pressing the shutter and hope that something sticks,wait,watch,observe.Do not ask people to do anything,allow life to happen .There are moments at a wedding like the dances that you are just about guaranteedfws1-003

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that there will be plenty of emotion to capture.Shoot like you are using film.If you are just starting out,I suggest that you use film. One of the best angles for capturing candidws is above,do take advantage I always look for this vantage point

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…A great wedding photographer is a great story teller. . Get to know your clients,meet with them, do an engagement session, it is very important that they feel comfortable with you, the more you know them the more passion you will feel.

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As a wedding photojournalist, I allow the story to come to me.I very rarely tell people what to do (unless I am doing the group shots,my least favorite because I feel I am missing out on the “real moments”) I ask my clients to keep the group shot list to a minimum. They didint hire me for a bunch of posed group shots but for my ability to “capture emotions” To me weddings are by far the easiest because they tend to be a field day of emotions.

  •  At the beginning of the story,remember to photograph the place,the details,the venue.These are all important to the couple and are a part of their story.

Mecedes Benz Super Dome New Orleanswedding details

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I ask my clients to have the guys nearby so that I can go back and forth between the guys and the ladies, You want to get both sides of the story!

Try to be a fly on the wall, wear black not bright colors.You want people to forget that you are there so that things can happen naturally. I long zoom lens is a good Idea for candid s at weddings.

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Keep in mind that there are two sides of the story,during the ceremony for instance,its not just about the couple but pay attention to the audience,know who the parents are,most often the Mothers will shed some tears.

 

The most important shot during the ceremony most often it is the grooms reaction when he sees his bride for the first time

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My students often ask me what do you photograph during the reception when everyone is eating. Good question, it is not flattering to photograph people eating,but children can be adorable during this time.It is also a good time to shoot some of the details.Also the atmosphere,the musicians if they do have live music

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A great story has a beginning,middle and an ending, think of a parting shot,it could be a back shot of the couple walking away in the sunset or grandma asleep at the reception,most often I dont think, I just allow things to happen naturally.Sometimes my couple does request a specific parting shot .

Super dome wedding

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Most important,dont pose people,allow them to be themselves,stand back,remember you are there to tell the story and to capture all the emotions

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