How to Manage Emotions on a Wedding Day

So you’ve got the camera, you know how to use it, you even know how to use it well! That’s all you need to shoot a wedding right? Not so fast. There are so many skills you need to have to be a successful wedding photographer, and some of them have nothing to do with your camera. One of the most important is how to manage emotions on a wedding day.

There’s the bride of course, who experiences all types of emotions: happiness, stress, nerves, nostalgia, joy, giddiness and love. And then there’s everyone else who’s also riding an emotional roller coaster. Mothers, fathers, bridesmaids and grandparents.

Beautiful boho lace dress by Grace Loves Lace

There are a few important rules of thumb that you should abide by as a wedding photographer when it comes to managing emotions.


1. Let the Good Times Roll

When it comes to all of the warm, fuzzy, positive emotions, it’s best to just let them flow. Bride seeing her Dad for the first time? Perhaps not the best moment to step in and pull her away for a beauty shot.

Allow those moments to happen and for your brides and grooms to feel the full effect of them. Not only do they make for some of the more meaningful images you’ll take that day, but your clients will appreciate that you didn’t completely take over the day with posing and formal photos.

It’s your job to honestly document what’s happening, so let the emotions flow.

How to manage emotions on a wedding day2. Be the Shield

Maid of honour having a mean girls moment? Cake delivery running late? Do NOT let your bride and groom be exposed to that negativity.

You may have to use some of your wedding photographer jujitsu. That could be anything from distracting your bride with a little portrait session, to simply chatting with her.

If there’s a wedding planner or coordinator around, they can also be a great help in dealing with issues that arise so your bride and groom don’t have to. So feel free to lean on them.

3. Photographer = Therapist

Without over-stepping boundaries with near strangers, you may have to put on your therapist hat from time to time. If one of your clients is having a stressful/anxious/angry moment, feel free to talk them through it.

Be reassuring, be positive, let them know that everything will be fine. Because it will be! Remind them of what’s really important, their love for each other. Everything else is secondary.

4. Don’t Let Your Own Stress Show

This is a really important one.

Hey, I’ve been there more times than I can count. The make-up artists are taking waaaaay too long, the father of the bride ran off to the bar right when family photos are starting, or “Uncle Bob” won’t stop taking photos during the ceremony. All of these things can lead to even the most zen wedding photographer getting frazzled.

You also need to manage your own emotions. If your bride and groom see you getting stressed, they’ll feed off that energy. So keep calm, and photo on.

Canoe Restaurant Wedding

The Definitive Answer to “Should I do a First Look?”

Should I do a first look? It’s one of the most frequent questions I get asked as a wedding photographer.

There’s no right or wrong answer. Like so many decisions when it comes to your wedding, the answer is, “it depends”. There are lots of factors going into making this decision, so I’ll break it down.

Black and white photo of a couple sharing a first look on the balcony on the Kortright Centre

What is a First Look?

A “first look or “first reveal” is when the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) see each other prior to the ceremony, instead of the more traditional “aisle reveal”. It’s a private, lovely and often emotional moment where they first lay eyes on each other on the wedding day. It’s usually set up by your photographer. You can choose to make it just the two of you, or have your bridal party/family look on.


When and Why Should I Do a First Look?

1. For logistical reasons

If your ceremony is scheduled later in the day, with little time in between it and the start of the reception, you’ll need to get all of your couple’s, bridal party and family photos (aka formal photos) out of the way ahead of time. Other wise you’ll be super rushed which isn’t fun for anyone, and can diminish your images.

2. You want to enjoy your cocktail hour

Even if your cocktail hour allows enough time (about 60-120 minutes, depending) to do formal photos before the start of the reception, you may not want to skip it. This is one of the few times you’ll get to interact with your guests on a one to one basis and enjoy some relaxing drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Many couples opt to enjoy the party.

Should I do a First Look?

3. You like the intimacy

There’s a lot to be said for sharing this important, emotional moment with just the person you love. You can embrace, tell each other how beautiful and handsome you both look, and take a few precious moments together. Many couples prefer this to 200 of their closest family and friends looking on.

4. You’re having a winter wedding.

Winter wedding are gorgeous. Full stop. However, it gets dark verrrrrry early, and your photographer won’t have any natural light to work with after a certain time in the day. Doing a first look and getting your formal photos out of the way before the sun goes down may be necessary.


When and Why Should I have a Traditional Aisle Reveal Instead?

1. Your ceremony is early

If your ceremony is taking place earlier, you can easily wait to do your formal photos in between the ceremony and reception. Not only are you able to do your photos at this time, but it’s by far the best use of those “limbo” hours after you get hitched.

Opting to do a first look with an early ceremony doesn’t really make any sense, because you’ll have to start getting ready extra early, and you’ll have nothing to do for hours in between the ceremony and reception.

2. Family

As I’m sure you’re finding out as wedding planning is getting on, your family has lots of desires and opinions about what you should do. First looks weren’t really a thing back when our parents were getting married, so they may not totally “get it”. You’ll have to weigh that against your own desires, and make a personal call.

Bride walking down the aisle at colourful wedding at Airship 37

3. You’ve been dreaming of it

Hey, it’s that big walking down the aisle moment. I totally get it. And that’s totally great! You don’t need to throw away tradition if you don’t want to. As long as your schedule allows for enough time after the ceremony for photos, you can have that traditional moment, and enjoy the F out of it.

 

The Doctor’s House Wedding | Alex + Lindsay

Not sure there’s anything more lovely than fall light, autumn colours, a candle lit chapel, and two people in love. Alex and Lindsay’s boho wedding at the Doctor’s House was simply perfect.

The Celebration

Keeping it very intimate, the couple celebrated with just a few dozen of their closest family and friends. It created such a nice atmosphere, as the couple could go around and truly interact with all of their guests.

It was a beautiful, although chilly, late fall day. I know all the gorgeous bridesmaids were shivering behind their smiles, but kudos for toughing it out. It was worth it!

The Couple

I loved how much these two laughed and joked with each other. It was really sweet to watch. You could tell they were having SUCH a great time. As you should on your wedding day.

In addition, their bridal party was funny AF. Usually, I have to use my photographer tricks to get people to emote. But here, I kept finding myself saying “settle down guys”, we need to take photos now.

The Style

This was boho all the way. Lindsay ordered her Grace Loves Lace dress online (GASP!) and it worked out so perfectly. Her golden flower crown was a lovely detail to complete the look.

Alex looked like a million bucks in his navy suit, complete with his extra special cufflinks.

I’m also totally obsessed with the groomsmen’s brown suits, which is a fall wedding touch you don’t see very often. They nailed it!

The Venue

The Doctor’s House itself dates back to 1867, the year of the Confederation. It earned its name being home to a succession of medical men, the last of whom, Dr. Thomas Henry Robinson, practiced there for 52 years. In summer 2012, it became one of the most quaint wedding and event spaces in the GTA.

Tasteful Wedding Advice from Kari Lywood

When you’ve shot as many weddings as I have, you learn that one thing’s for sure: taste cannot be bought, and a tasteful wedding is a bit of an art form. Since most brides and grooms have never planned a wedding before, a little tasteful wedding advice is always helpful in the planing process, especially tasteful wedding advice from Kari Lywood of Kari Lywood Events.

tasteful wedding bouquet

When it comes to the decor, guest relations and experience, attire, etc. there are a lot of pitfalls.

Wedding dress that belongs at da club? No thanks.

Floor to ceiling pink and purple taffeta curtains? Maybe not.

But don’t take my word for it. Kari’s an industry expert when it comes to this stuff.

She’s the perfect person to listen to when it comes to all things etiquette and class.

What are your pro tips on how to have a tasteful wedding?

tasteful wedding advice

  • Greet each and every guest, they are what helps make your day an incredible memory that you will have forever. Take a minute or two in the beautiful chaos to thank each person, take some pictures, and share the love!
  • Make sure your guests are comfortable. Whether your wedding is in the desert heat or the winter snowfall, do your best to ensure they are prepared. Offer hand fans, which can be personalized and also used as a gift for those in a summer wedding, if your wedding is in the winter, throw in a cute pair or knitted gloves or throws for the row. 
  • Not everyone wants to dance all night. Create a cozy lounge area for your guests to take a break and relax.
  • Create the wedding of your dreams and kick traditions that don’t match you and your beau. This is your big day, and who knows you better than you know yourself? Your guests! or at least the wedding party. Be true to yourself and your style. 
  • Enjoy the moment! Don’t over stress yourself on the small details. The day is meant to share a becoming of two hearts, remember that. Share the love you and your partner have and be warm with those around you.
  • Add candles to everything from your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception space! It adds a touch of elegance and romance to any wedding without costing a lot of money!
  • Unless you are super crafty and have the time, I tend to tell brides to skip DIY projects. Pinterest is amazing but sometimes you do not get the same results and it causes a lot of disappointment and stress leading up to your day!

 

What are some “tacky” pitfalls to avoid?

  • Including your registration on your wedding invitation. Your focus for the invitation should be around the date of your big day and your guests. Make your guest feel welcomed without highlighting the need to feel that they must bring a gift, this is already an unspoken requirement to most.  The best place for this would be on your wedding website, which can be elegantly placed on a save the date. 
  • Don’t forget to send “Thank You” cards. Time and time again newlyweds can forget to do this simple, yet time consuming task. Your guests are your closest friends, family and loved ones, and sending a simple “Thank You” card for the shower and/or reception will help them feel truly appreciated for being a part of your big day.
  • When it comes to attire, less is more! This is your day but be sure to be YOU! If you do not wear a lot of makeup or jewellery do not do it on your wedding! Add classic pieces that make you feel your best without looking like you are trying to hard. 

 

Wedding Photography Editing Workflow

When I first started shooting weddings, I would spend hours and hours (and more hours) trying to perfect my images in post-production. I had no idea how to establish a wedding photography editing workflow.

But when you shoot upwards of 25 weddings per year, you need to figure it out fast. I was SO OVER staying up until 1am with my eyes glued to my computer screen. I needed to streamline. Once I did, I cut multiple hours off the time it would take me to get through a single wedding. PLUS, I actually improved the quality of the final images I would deliver to clients.

Less time spent working + better quality product = entrepreneurial happy dance.

Here’s my step-by-step workflow, to help you make better use of your valuable time.

Wedding photography editing workflow using lightroom

1. Take Fewer Photos to Begin With

In our digital age, we think we can just snap away uncontrollably without care or concern for what it’s costing us. “If I take enough photos, at least one of them will turn out well, right?” I guess so, but it’s far better to develop the eye and the awareness of when an image will work, and when it won’t BEFORE you take it. There’s no reason to sort through loads of sub-par photos when you don’t have to.

You can also downgrade your continuous burst mode settings from 5+ to 3. You’re not shooting race cars going 250 kph, so there’s really no need to snap 7 photos of the same scene.

2. Upload to Lightroom and Back-Up

The vows are said and the cake is cut, and you’re heading home with your images in tow.

I always, without fail, upload the images directly from the card into Adobe Lightroom with 24 hours of the wedding. And often, even sooner. This is to ensure they’re backed up in two places (the cards and my computer).

Then, when I go to my office on Monday I back them up again to another hard drive. This ensures they’re in three different places, with one off-site.

3. Collect Images from Second Shooter

I ask my second shooter to deliver the photos to me within one week. You can opt for them to deliver them in whatever way you like, including WeTransfer, Dropbox, or the old fashioned way, in person.

One MAJOR way you can save yourself time is making sure your second shooter’s cameras have the same time stamp as yours. That way, you don’t need to spend the time manually organizing them chronologically. I’ve learned this the hard way.

4. Flag

This is where your eye as a photographer is key. I often take 2000+ images for an 8 hour day, so getting it down to 700-900 is crucial.

I go through all the images in Lightroom and “flag” the ones I think are worthy of being given to the client. The easiest and fastest way to do this is simply pressing the “tilde” key (right below the escape key) on your keyboard every time you see a shot you like.

Wedding photography editing workflow using lightroom

There’s no need to give your client two shots that are basically identical, ones that are blurry or out of focus, or simply, the shots that don’t convey anything beautiful or significant about the day. Your clients only want to see the best, and it’s up to you to recognize which ones those are.

5. Edit – First Round

In order to have a consistent look and feel to all my images, I apply the same custom designed preset to every single one. Then, I go through all of the images and adjust them individually, if need be. Things I adjust for include exposure, white balance, skin tone, crop and levelling.

Lightroom adjustments for wedding photography

I go for a natural look with my edits, and don’t over-process the images.

6. What about Photoshop?

Ah yes, the eternal question. Do I use Photoshop? The true answer is, “Sometimes, but not if I can avoid it”.

I find Lightroom far better and quicker, however, there are certain things that Photoshop is just better at. A stranger walked through the background of a shot? Your bride had an unfortunate wedding day breakout? Yep, Photoshop will serve you better.

7. The Final Edit

I wait at least a day, and go over everything again in Lightroom. Your eyes are simply fresher and will catch things you may have missed the first time.

8. Export

This is where Lightroom is your best friend. It batch exports and saves every image you will send to your client.

I export everything in Jpeg, at 300 DPI, and I export at the original dimensions.

9. Upload and Send

Wedding photography gallery landing page through Shootproof

I use Shootproof as my client viewing and delivery system. You can upload really high res images, they have a gorgeous display system, and it even integrates your print ordering system in a super easy to use, client friendly format.

I usually upload overnight because it takes a while due to the size of the images. And also transfer the same files to a USB.

Then I simply send the gallery and USB to the client! They can view, download, and share with family and friends as they choose.

10. Back Up and Store

Only when the images are uploaded and sent will I delete the originals from the SD card. I move the photos from my computer to an external drive, and always encourage clients to back up in multiple locations as well.

 

* for tips on how to convert images to black and white click here 

How a DJ Can Make or Break Your Wedding

Let me guess. Other than walking down the aisle and saying your vows, you CAN’T WAIT to get to the end of the night for the party to begin. But hold on. Here’s some insight on how a DJ can make or break your wedding.

Fields on West Lake dancing and reception

Not all wedding DJs are created equal. And no, it’s not the same as just putting together a playlist and pressing play. A good DJ knows when to lift the crowd up and when to calm them down, what songs to play depending on the age demographic on the dace floor, and how to handle any technical difficulties so you don’t have to.

And don’t forget their MC duties, if they’re tasked to do so.

I could go on and on about how a bad DJ can ruin everything, but don’t take it from me. Here’s Jeff from ImpactDJ to give you some expert insight on what it takes to be a successful wedding DJ.

1. What’s the biggest mistake a DJ can make?

You can label if different ways but the biggest mistake is not reading the crowd! Song selection is a key DJ skill and will make or break any event. And each crowd is different! The set you did last week may not work with the group you’re playing to tonight. Reading the crowd, feeding off their energy and playing the right song at the right moment will make you the best DJ your client has every seen! 

2. How much does experience matter?

A lot. A great DJ doesn’t always make a great wedding DJ. Experience in dealing with crowds of all types, setting up sound and lighting equipment in a variety of venues (including any “technical difficulties”) and being able to make quick and important decisions on the fly are all necessary attributes. And of course the music. Experience and knowledge of your 50s Rock and Roll as much as your current Top 40 and everything in between is crucial. 

3. What makes DJing a wedding different from other events?

Weddings are a different beast for sure. Unlike most bar, pub or club nights where your audience is more of a specific demographic, a wedding has everyone from 8 to 88 years old representing different cultures, backgrounds and music tastes. A great wedding DJ needs to appeal to all those ears and ensure everyone is having as much fun as possible. And don’t forget about the MC component. Unlike other DJs, a wedding DJ is often asked to make announcements, introductions and be a sort of host of the evening. The DJ needs to speak clearly and with confidence to ensure a smooth experience from start to finish. 

First dance with bride and groom at this beautiful Credit Valley Golf Club Wedding

Canoe Restaurant Wedding | Louise + Ben

Canoe Restaurant Wedding

Don’t get me wrong, I love shooting in environments with lots of greenery and nature. But I LOVE love shooting city weddings. Maybe it’s because I was born and raised downtown(ish), but I always get a little extra excited. And there’s no more “downtown Toronto” venue than a Canoe restaurant wedding.

The Wedding Day

It’s pretty great when you are able to prep in your condo before heading to your own wedding, especially when your awesome cat is there to hang out with you. Louise kept the “getting ready” part relaxed and quiet, so it was really easy to photograph all her pretty details.

She met her husband to be, Ben, on the steps on TD tower in the heart of the financial district. Such a great spot for a first look! He was rather excited to see her to say the least.

With such interesting modern architecture around, there was a plethora of wonderful photo locations. Having shot in the financial district several times, I have my favourite spots. I love the black background of the TD grounds in contrast with a wedding dress. And that waterfall in front of First Canadian Place is perfect. You don’t have to go far to get great shots.

When shooting in places like this, my advice is to EMBRACE it. Don’t try to make it look like something it’s not. Make use of the stark facades, glass and metal. Your clients are getting married at a location like this for a reason, so go all in on the modern architecture.

The Team

The day was put together and co-ordinated by the lovely Kari Lywood, who created a gorgeous celebration that went flawlessly. Flowers were designed by Bloomsbury Florists, cake by Bite Me Bakery, beauty by the Bridal Hair Collective, and the gorgeous chuppah by Chuppah.ca.

And of course, O&B Events never fails to put on a lavish affair with some of the BEST food and drinks in the city.

It’s always a pleasure to work with such great people.

 

How To Pick a Wedding Venue + My 5 Faves

You’re engaged! What an exciting, wonderful time in life. Next step: book your venue! It may seem a bit overwhelming at this point, but here are a few tips on how to navigate the venue scene, and my top picks for the best wedding venues in Toronto.

I got engaged last spring, and was SO excited to start looking for a venue. I wanted to get married at a place that I had never shot at before, so I didn’t feel like I was at the office at my own vows. But man, I didn’t realize how tricky it was. So many factors to consider and so many choices to make.

Here are my tips for how to select a wedding venue that’s right for you.

Gorgeous tablescape by Toronto florist Cool, Green and Shady at RCM Wedding

Number of guests

This is the very first thing you need to sit down and figure out before beginning your venue search. Not all wedding venues fit all weddings. If your guest list is too big for the space, you’ll end up having to cut people. Or if the space is too big for the amount of people you’re inviting, your wedding will look sparse and poorly attended.

Mood and Vibe

Whether your thing is a luxury affair in the heart of the city, or a casual country picnic, your venue is the #1 aspect of your wedding that sets the tone. Are you and your betrothed classic, modern, trendy, casual?

Wine lovers? Perhaps a vineyard is the answer. Dreaming of a Gatsby inspired party? An estate may be the way to go.

Whatever your vibe, your venue is a key element.

All Inclusive vs Built Your Own

In essence, there are two types of wedding venues. All inclusive venues such as hotels, banquet halls and restaurants, and build your own type of spaces.

One is not better than the other, but they are very different.

Build your own venues will often have a much lower upfront cost, but that savings can be wiped out when you add up the costs of bringing in your own caterer, rentals, etc. The advantage is that you can really design your wedding decor, menu, etc. to be exactly what you want, AND some even all allow you to bring in your own alcohol.

All inclusive venues have a bigger initial price tag, but as the name suggests, that’s inclusive of everything so there are fewer additional costs. Make sure you ask to see (and like) things like tables, chairs, cutlery, and plates because you won’t be able to change them without a hefty cost. Some of these venues require you to use their own officiant and planners, plus you may be limited as to what outside items you can bring in such as desserts.

Accessibility

This is an often overlooked element when picking a venue. If you have older guests or guests with limited mobility, you want to take an accessible venue into consideration. Are the entrances wheel-chair friendly? Where are the bathrooms located? Will guests be able to get from the ceremony area to the reception area quickly and easily?

Parking, access to public transit, proximity to highways, and being located in an Uber/Lyft friendly area should also be taken into consideration.

Reliability

When I was looking for a venue, if the communication was iffy right off the bat, I crossed them off the list. If it took more than a few days to respond to my emails or phone calls (if they responded at all) I saw it as a super bad omen for the future. As a business owner, it seems totally insane not to prioritize communication, but hey, their loss.

If you do not feel comfortable with your point-person, or the way the venue has been dealing with you, get out now. You do not need that added stress when planning your wedding.

  • Bonus Tip: Get an experience planner and ask them! They will know the ins and outs of any venue. 

 

My Picks for Best Wedding Venues in Toronto

Graydon Hall

This is the place I’ve photographed at more than any other, and I shot my first ever wedding here, so it has a special place in my heart. Perhaps the best food Toronto has to offer, and staff and service that are second to none.

The classic architecture is a dream.

Bride and Groom walk around the fountain in the gardens of Graydon Hall

View more from this venue.

Royal Conservatory of Music

If you want a mix of modern and timeless, this is the place for you. The floor to ceiling natural light windows are truly breathtaking, and I’ve never seen this place have anything less than great music and a phenomenal party.

Royal Conservatory of Music - Best Wedding Venues in Toronto

View more from this venue.

Canoe Restaurant

Hands down winner for the best view in the city. If you have lots of out of town guests, and want to give them the full “Toronto” experience, while dazzling them with wonderful food, this spot high atop the financial district is the place.

Modern couple walks down the aisle at Canoe Restaurant in Toronto just after getting married, wedding photos

Steam Whistle Brewery 

Industrial chic at its very best. You don’t have to be a beer lover to appreciate this super cool converted space, surrounded by amazing photo ops.

Rad couples only please.

Late night wedding dancing at Steam Whistle Brewery

View more from this venue.

Malaparte

This downtown modern venue has the most incredible rooftop ceremony location, and the best place ever to have a cocktail party.

Couple walks up the steps of Malaparte in this downtown Toronto wedding

Blogging, Where Do You Even Start?

You know you need to, you know you want to, but the task seems so daunting. Blogging can be a scary, but AMAZING way to communicate your message to the world. Bu I know what you’re asking yourself, “Where Do I even Start?!” Here are my 5 tips on how to start blogging, even when it seems reaaaaallllly hard.

Computer, notebook and red socks

 

1. Pick 2-4 topics that are RELEVANT to your audience and that you actually enjoy writing about

It’s often tempting when I haven’t written in while for me to just throw a recent wedding on the blog and go “Here! Look how pretty this is!” As a photographer, it’s great to share your recent work, and it means a lot to the people in the photos. But it can’t be the ONLY thing that’s on your blog.

You need to write about things that your audience with ENGAGE with because it’s RELEVANT to them.

Pick 2-4 topics that your audience will find interesting and useful. And make it something you enjoy writing about too, otherwise, you’ll probably stop.

2. Set a day of the week to write

Mine is Tuesday, for what it’s worth. Do I always stick to this? No. But that’s okay. I do most of the time and that’s good enough.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t write on other days of the week if you get inspired. It just forces you to write even when you’re not inspired. Which is a good thing.

3. Commit to one a week

To be completely honest, most people don’t have time to read five of your blog posts a week. We are all inundated with so many blogs and articles to keep up with, and your audience will appreciate and be more engaged with one or two quality posts than five weak ones.

One blog a week isn’t a tall order, and it’s great place to start. If you feel like adding on later, go right ahead.

4. Give yourself a deadline

You might want to say to yourself, “Okay, I’m finishing this by 4pm today.” Hard cap. That way, you not only avoid distraction, but your resist the temptation to go back 7 million times and make changes.

As creative people, we never feel like anything we do is good enough, let alone perfect. But when it comes to blogging, you kinda just have to get over it. Understand that people don’t dissect your words nearly as much as you critique yourself.

Finished is better than perfect.

5. Know your personal boundaries

Yes, I share a lot about my life, my beliefs, struggles and joys. But my blog in not my personal diary, and it doesn’t have to be.

You may want to share the deepest parts of yourself with the world, and that awesome! But you also may not, which is also okay. Establish early on what your boundaries are, then you’ll never have to question, “Should I write that?”, “Is that too personal?”, “Not personal enough?” as you’re writing.


How to start blogging probably isn’t as complicated as you make it out in your head. Just give it a shot, you may be surprised.

A Winter Engagement Session That’s Not Too ‘Christmassy’

The Perfect Winter’s Day

You know those December days, when the snow is falling and the coffee is brewing, and all you want to do is curl up with the one you love? That was this winter engagement session.

Alina and Mike could not have picked a better spot, or the more perfect winter’s day.

Dundas, Ontario (just outside of Hamilton) is one of the region’s hidden little gems. It has that beautiful small town charm, complete with coffee shops, quaint architecture and pretty little streets. It was the perfect spot for this shoot.

As Alina and Mike are coffee aficionados, it only made sense to take a stroll to Detour Coffee, their fave little spot, to get warm and cozy. After shooting outside in the snow for a few minutes, it was gorgeous. We then headed back to their place to capture a few photos of their life at home.

The Concept

A lot of couples are afraid of doing their engagement session around Christmas time, for fear of having all their engagement photos appear like a family holiday card (not cool). However, doing your engagement session at this time of year does not mean it has to be all Christmas trees and Santa hats.

We developed a plan to capture a little slice of life, which included coffee, wine, and yep, a charcuterie board. Alina and Mike held off decorating their home for the holidays until the session was over so the house looked as it usually does.

Winter engagement session does not necessarily = Christmas engagement session. You can capture all the beauty of a fresh snowfall, and the coziness of coming inside after without hanging bunches upon bunches of mistletoe.

The Couple

I really, really, really like these guys. Like, a lot. They took the time to carefully consider and plan what they wanted their winter engagement session to look like, and included so many pretty details. And not only did that make for a beautiful shoot, but it captured the things that make them who they are as a couple.

Any couple that says, “Hey, do you want to try the wine and cheese?” at the end of the shoot is a couple that gets A+ marks in my book.

Their love for each other shone through so brightly.

I can’t wait to capture their wedding next summer, where the photos will have a very different look to them. But judging from how gorgeous Alina and Mike are, they’ll be just as beautiful.