Nice To Meet Me Monday | Lynchburg Wedding Photography
There are some photographers that shoot wedding days alone. Maybe this is just me but holy cow that would STRESS ME OUT!! I have never photographed a wedding alone because I feel like I would miss a moment?? Having another camera out throughout the day means your photographer can be in two places at once. Over the years, we have learned what each other’s strengths are so that on the wedding day our couples receive a final gallery that reflects the best of our skills!
James specializes in unique ring shots, technical lighting shots, reception & ceremony details, and behind the scenes! My specialty is creating styled flat lays with bridal details, bridal portraits, couples portraits (my favorite time the golden hour), and I don’t know how but I am usually in the right place at the right time for awesome candid moments! Because we have learned each others strengths we have a created a workflow for wedding days that works for our team.
What is James up to?
James does so much on a wedding day for our couples and me. He carries all the gear around and sets up everything so I never have to worry about our reception flash set up! Before he meets up with the Groom and the Groomsmen, he wonders all over the venue photographing details that are set up.
James has been known to help planners finish table settings, hanging lights up, put ceremony chairs up, put water in vases, pick up bridal party and transport them to the venue, etc. He is my go to for everything and our wedding day workflow couldn’t be as smooth without him.
Once the guys arrive, James hangs out with them for an hour or so (or as long as he can) to get candid moments and groom details. Typically after all of these shots are done, he take photos of the groom and the groomsmen! If our couple shares a first look he stays with the groom to get him place.
James has been able to get shots of guys playing games like pool, corn hole, horseshoes, video games, etc. If the groom is wanting special group shots with his groomsmen with gifts, drinks, cigars, or college paraphernalia he has done that too. This time before the photos start should be fun and easy for the guys to hang out and make memories. Thankfully my second shooter is a man so I don’t have to awkwardly ask to come in and spoil their time with my female presence haha
During the ceremony we are on opposite sides and down the center aisle so we can get different angles. We stay out of the way so that we are not a distraction to the ceremony.
During family formals, James is out in cocktail hour taking some fun photos of your guests. This is something that is usually skipped if there is only one photographer because ya can’t be in two places at once right? You want to remember your guests at your wedding and table shots as they eat just isn’t the best timing. In fact, most people are annoyed and don’t want to get up from the table for a photo. So we find that having James in cocktail hour was easier to get group shots of our couples friends & family.
The rest of the wedding day James helps me back up our images on our hard drive and helps me cover the open dance floor. So by the end of the day, we have 3 copies of every photo we shot that day. This ensures no photos are lost and makes me sleep better at night haha!
What is Emily up to?
So I love my wedding day duties! I start out the day by greeting all the vendors that are there including the planner’/coordinator. That way they know I am there and it feels like the wedding day has really begun! I also love touching base with them in case some things have already set back the timeline, emergencies have happened, or weather has changed the game plan.
This way before I even see my bride, I can be informed and come up with a plan if needed. Once I finishing talking with the coordinator I then head to my #EHBride in the bridal suite!!
Basically I stay with the ladies the entire day leading up to the ceremony. I make sure all the ladies (the bride, bridesmaids, mother of the bride, etc) are in their dresses on time so we stay on track for portraits. This also means no one has to memorize the timeline or worry about being late because I am there. I also use this time in the bridal suite to to capture candid moments, shots with the girls in their robes or PJ’s, bridal details, and bridal portraits!
When I start doing photos of the bridal details I will be on the hunt for the best light in the venue (not just in the suite, the whole venue). Sometimes the best lighting is on a porch, in a hallway, or the reception area! Lighting is CRUCIAL to my style of photography so I will be on the look out for the best light which isn’t always in the bridal suite.
In fact, a lot of the time I will have my brides and their mama’s put on the wedding dress in the most flattering light somewhere other than the bridal suite! I am so thankful my brides put their trust in me to choose the best spot for portraits. It may seem odd to leave the bridal suite for these photos but good light makes or breaks a photo!! So far, we have done portraits in the reception space, on front porches, in doorways, hallways, etc.
One of my favorite moments during bridal prep is this time with the mother of the bride and the bride. Sweet words are exchanged, tears of excited and happiness flowing, and such sweet moments are shared. I love capturing this special bond between them because I LOVE my mama too! This is actually the last quiet moment you have with your mom on the wedding day. So for me to be able to capture this moment is extra special to me!
I keep the wedding day prep pretty candid for the most part and then stage some group shots. I know that wedding day prep takes time so keeping things candid in the morning/early afternoon keeps the day flowing nicely! This is a bit more difficult to accomplish if I am doing detail photos in another room but I try to hop in and out of the bridal suite to grab some fun shots of the girls!
Once the bride & her bridesmaids are dressed we are rolling with portraits, whether that is the First Look or the Bridesmaids portraits. We try to have at least 30 minutes of down time before the ceremony so the ladies can fix their hair and makeup (if needed), use the restroom before the ceremony, and stay hidden from guests. I already touched on our ceremony coverage in James’ section above but once the ceremony is finished up I start family formals.
Family formals is by far one of the hardest parts of the wedding day but I have come up with a pretty good system for it. The biggest way I get ready for this part of the day is get a specific list of family photos from my bride before the wedding day. This list with first & last names is so crucial for me! Instead of yelling out “bride’s aunt” or “aunt with the blonde hair” I say Aunt Sally and Uncle Bob. I like to be very clear on who is in each photo so this part of the day goes by smoothly.
During bride & groom portraits, it will feel just like the engagement session all over again! I will take photos for as long as my couple will let me (I’m not even joking haha). With a first look timeline, I usually sneak my couple out as their guest finish up dinner for 10 minutes of BONUS Portraits. I am the main shooter during the reception as we both find time here and there to eat some dinner. We make sure we are both ready for any surprises during the reception, which means we are relatively close by.
I capture everything in the reception very candid and as things happen. We use our flashes throughout the night so that our bright and colorful style is reflected throughout the entire gallery of images. Some photographers stay on the outside of the dance floor but I have been known to get right up in the action for fun dancing shots! I am certainly not a great dancer but if any of my jams are playing I will multitask a bit and have some fun (don’t believe me? play the Wobble and you’ll see)!!
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that I share my favorites on my blog the Wednesday after each wedding!! I LOVE showing off my couples to the world to share their stories, inspire other couples, and other vendors in the industry. So once the wedding day is over, I am working tirelessly on the blog! Choosing my favorite images, James edits them, and I stylize them on my blog.
If you are a photographer reading this, you’re probably thinking how on earth I have been doing this while working a full time job. Let me tell you. It takes WORK & SACRIFICE. Sacrifice of sleep, no social life for 2-3 days after a wedding weekend, and sometimes a few lunch breaks at work dedicated to finishing the blog post. It’s a team effort but the feeling of accomplishment and pride once it’s posted is WORTH EVERY MINUTE of the hard work. My favorite educator, Katelyn James, convinced me to do this 2 years ago and I’ve done it ever since!
What are our assistants up to?
We love bringing wedding day assistants with us whenever we are able to. These assistants help us on the wedding day as well as capturing the day with social media in mind. They post to our Instagram stories sharing the day as it happens, behind the scenes, and tag the vendors. We enjoy having our close friends, family, and other photographers by our side throughout the day. Now that Instagram has Reels, I use the videos they take to create fun Reels!
If you are a photographer reading this and would be interested in helping us on a wedding day just send me an email or DM on Instagram! We love working with local photographers and its honestly a super easy way to get some portfolio work without any pressure as a second shooter! 🙂
I know this was a longer post than normal but I thought it would be fun to run through a typical wedding day with us! I have no idea how some photographers do this alone. Maybe I am too chicken to shoot alone but I am so thankful that I have James by my side. If you made it through our workflow and want more information about our wedding experience, inquire with us!! We’d love to get to know you and serve you on one of the best days of your life!
Until next time,
Hey there, I’m Emily! James, and I are a husband and wife wedding photography team based in Lynchburg, Virginia. We specialize in weddings and engagements and serve Virginia, DC Area, South Carolina, and beyond!
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