Wedding Planning

Gillette Wedding - The White Owl Wright City MO - Jheart Photography

It was such a joy to be invited back to The White Owl for Jessie and Morgan’s beautiful wedding day.

Out of all of the weddings I have been apart of, Morgan is the first bride to honor me with dressing the bridesmaids in the most adorable blush pant suits. They were perfect. I hope these become a giant wedding trend!

It’s not just the girls that rock their attire for the day. Don’t forget to look at the detail Jessie made sure was in his suit…He looked so sharp.

Dress: Boulevard Bride

Venue: The White Owl

Bridesmaids: Boulevard Bride

Groomsmen: Savvi Formal Wear

Flowers: Bride

Photography: Jheart Photography

Cake: Sarah Durham (Family Member)

St. Louis Wedding Photographer/St. Charles Wedding Photographer/Sparks Wedding: The Corner Gates

Jen messaged me through a mutual friend in regards to shooting their wedding day. Their wedding day was the first time I met them or worked with them. Upon finally getting to meet them I was instantly put at ease. Their smiles were HUGE the entire day, they went with the ultimate flow of a crazy wedding day with grace and Jen even stated at one point, "Today is already amazing, because I am marrying this guy". Does it get any better than that? 

The Corner Gates is a perfect hidden event room off Cherokee in St. Louis Mo. The intimate feel as soon as you walk in really sets the pace for a romantic wedding. I have to confess when I go to wedding I always seem to remember the meal, and the food was outstanding! 

I know that Jen & Mike are going to celebrate a great life together and I really can't wait to see what this life brings them.

Dress: The Ultimate Bride

St. Charles Wedding Photographer/How do I chose a wedding photographer?

Yep, I am doing it. I am going to break down the most important points of choosing a wedding photographer and what to think about for your wedding day regarding pictures! This piece of the wedding day is going to last the longest, yes even the dress ends up yellowing, so really taking the time to chose the right photographer is important. There are so many brides that I have personally spoke with that had no clue what they were getting into when they started this part of wedding planning. Knowledge and confidence is key to not feeling left in the dark and taken advantage of.

Most brides seem uneducated(WHICH IS OK!!!) and a little terrified when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer.

So let's start with the obvious...

1. BUDGET

Before you start to research photographers, think of an ideal budget you have for this aspect of your big day. Photographers usually price their work per hour and then bring in the add ons like albums, canvases, engagement shoot, and second shooter. All of these things will raise the price of your package. $1500-$2500 is a decent budget and can get you a really good photographer with a few package options.

-An entry level photographer - one who is trying to build a portfolio with charge around $150 an hour. This photographer may have only acted as a second shooter with only a few Lead shooter weddings.

-An experienced photographer - one with at least 50 weddings under their belt as a LEAD shooter will charge anywhere from $225-$250 an hour. Usually has a few key second shooter they prefer to work with.

-A senior photographer who has at least 100+ weddings can charge anywhere starting at $300+ per hour. They are going to come with a whole team and offer major package incentives. 

So know your budget and then you can start to look at the right category of photographers. Not sure of the photographers level of knowledge? Ask for their wedding count! This number will tell you how many weddings they have done as the Lead photographer. Which means they can run your wedding day with knowledge and experience.

2. STYLE

What is your ideal style? When you flip through Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram what style get's your attention most? Do you like the sunny open feel or do you before dark with a little bit more emotional feel to it? Make a Pinterest board and share it with your potential photographers! Know that they won't duplicate this board but know where your personal inspiration for you wedding day is coming from. I love seeing bride's boards!

I will put some examples below:

Light & Airy v. Dark & Moody

Can you tell the difference? Jheart Photography uses the Left side look for all images. I am definitely a light and airy photographer!

Can you tell the difference? Jheart Photography uses the Left side look for all images. I am definitely a light and airy photographer!

Also in style, do you like candid portraits or more formal posed? Ask to look through a few potential photographers portfolio to get an idea of their individual style. No style is right or wrong, it's ALL about personal preference.

3. REFERRALS

Now that you have those 2 things narrowed down. Ask around to friends and family photographers that they have worked with. It is ALWAYS comforting to know someone that has had a great wedding day experience with their photographer. Some also offer incentives for being a referral. (I know Jheart does!)

4. What do you WANT?

Photographers will offer more than just day of service hours. Here are a few add on shoots you may want to consider! Outside of these add on shoots some photographer offer albums, canvas, and other prints options. 

Engagement shoots are my favorite way to get to know a client. It really helps me prepare for the big day. Every couple interacts differently so to know what to expect ahead of time is a huge bonus!

Engagement shoots are my favorite way to get to know a client. It really helps me prepare for the big day. Every couple interacts differently so to know what to expect ahead of time is a huge bonus!

Engagement Shoot - A great way to announce you are getting married! It is also a fabulous way to get to know well you & your photographer work together. It also helps add a personal touch to your special day!

 

 

 

 

Bridal shoots are a perfect chance to get to wear that stunning gown one more day!

Bridal shoots are a perfect chance to get to wear that stunning gown one more day!

Bridal Shoot - This is a session prior to the wedding where you just take pictures in your dress! It can be scheduled when you do your hair & makeup trial so it looks like they were all taken on the same day. Plus you can display them at the wedding!

 

 

 

 

Obviously these images are to private to post, but if you are interested I would love to send you a private gallery!

Obviously these images are to private to post, but if you are interested I would love to send you a private gallery!

Bridal Boudoir - I LOVE boudoir sessions. Not only is it the perfect gift for your new hubby, but it's shocking how beautiful, confident, and sexy it will make you feel as a bride!

 

 

 

 

 

5. QUESTIONS TO ASK

Now that there is a budget, preferred style, and  possibly have a few photographer leads to start with, let's talk about great questions to ask potential photographers. No question is a stupid question! Honestly the more questions a Bride asks me the better I feel. 

1. What would you say your style is?

2. Do you always work with the same second shooter? Can we only use a second shooter     for the ceremony or do we have to hire them full day?

3. When should we expect photos back after the wedding day? When do you provide a preview or blog post?

4. How many weddings have you done as LEAD shooter?

5. Do you organize a timeline for our day to best suit your photography needs to get all the shots we are looking for?

6. Do you set up consultations so we can meet and chat?

7. How are the pictures delivered? Digital? USB? Both?

8. Do you make packages special to weddings or do you only offer set packages?

9. Do you have a back up shooter if you are ill and can't shoot the wedding? Do they do the editing too?

10. Do you have a contract?

11. Do you have insurance?

12. Can I contact a previous bride and ask her experience working with you?

I know there is quite a few questions but all of these details are important. You will figure that out when it gets closer to your day and even after the big day. You will be glad you asked these questions! Any great photographer will be able to answer all of these questions for you to help make you feel comfortable with how your day will go, what you are paying for, and what to expect after the day is over. 

6. THINGS TO JUST KNOW

Sometimes it's just easier when someone points out the obvious. So here are some obvious details to remember:

*Having more than one PROFESSIONAL photographer at your wedding is not necessary. Each has their own style and flow to structure a wedding day, so trust me, just using one company is better! Of course family can shoot as long as they do not interfere with the work flow of the professional. 

*No photographer is going to allow Brides to personal edit or filter their images. Yes, this includes Facebook and Instagram filters. We take a lot of pride in our work and when a filter is added it produces an image that is no longer ours. 

*Professional photographers do not give out RAW images. Most clients would not even be able to open and view a RAW image, you have to have special editing software. Also, as a client you probably don't want the RAW image. Personally my back of camera is really dark so that I don't loose details and highlights.....as a client, you wouldn't want to hang that image on your wall. 

*Professional photographers do not offer Copyrights to the images. They will however offer print release. These two things are very different. Print release gives the client privileges to print the images as they see fit. Copyright signs over all right from the photographer to the client over the image. We don't really want to give up the rights to our artwork.

*Photoshopping "Aunt June" into pictures because she wasn't there, isn't an easy task. So unless you want to pay big money to have her added, you might just have to let that go. 

I really hope that this helped some Brides decide the best photographer for their big day! Choosing your photographer in the giant ocean of photographers can be so overwhelming, but going into the process with confidence and knowledge is the best place to start. 

Jenny

St. Charles Wedding Photographer/Chaumette Vineyards/Chaumette Wedding

Chaumette Vineyards was a gorgeous spot for a beautiful wedding day. The open fields, the grapevines, and the overlook of Missouri is just breath taking as you stand on top of a hill to say your vows. Not only is the wedding venue perfect for your rustic wedding day, Chaumette offers the cutest rental cabins for your bridal weekend stay! 

I loved shooting here and couldn't believe how gorgeous this October wedding was. From the moments of anticipation and getting ready, to that feeling of relief as you see your loved one at  the other end of the aisle. I love capturing weddings. It brings out all the feels for sure. 

St. Charles Wedding Photographer/St. Charles Photographer/Claire & Michael Cannon Beach

I recently spent a weekend in the mountains of Portland Oregon & one beautiful day at Cannon Beach with Claire & Michael. I know I usually am a St. Charles Wedding photographer, but when and friend of mine, Cieara with Cieara Ruess Photography went on a luxury trip we knew we had to find someone to shoot and we were so blessed with Claire & Michael. 

Claire and Michael met when her Dad invited him to their church's swing dancing club because he knew Claire & Michael would hit it off. Now, two and half year later they are still dancing together in the kitchens of their parents home. I don't know about you, but that is the most romantic thing EVER. They even showed off some of their moves for us!It is always pure joy when I get to shoot couples that have bursting love like these two. 

I do hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed shooting them. 

ST. CHARLES PHOTOGRAPHER/ST. CHARLES WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER/ WHY I PICK OUR SHOOT TIME

As we get into the Fall/Winter season of photography, I feel the need to explain why I pick the shoot times. It is also good for you to remember this when planning your Wedding day! It's even good to know these tricks if you are just a Mom or Dad trying to snap a few photos to remember the moment. One of the greatest things I learn is how to make my job a pinch easier to get product to you quicker. Number one on that list shoot times and sunlight....

Picture taken at Old Hickory Golf Course in St. Peters MO

Picture taken at Old Hickory Golf Course in St. Peters MO

See the above image?? This was taken at 4:30pm on a Saturday in July....I love this image. Love it, she is radiant and beautiful and loving her wedding day!

Know what is hard for a photographer to love??

SUNSPOTS....neon highlighted sun spotted grass all around. Now, with my experience, I knew where to place her to make the greatest image possible given the high harsh sunlight and as a result the image turned out beautiful. But because of the time of day, and the location, it really made it impossible to elminate ALL of the sunspots.

Photo taken at Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville Missouri

Photo taken at Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville Missouri

Now see THIS image....

This image was taken at 6:15pm on a June summer evening.

Can you see the difference? Can you see how less harsh the sun spots are but yet we are getting sunlight leaks from behind? Can you see the warmth in it?

THIS is why I chose the shoot time to be around 6:30pm.

Now, for weddings I don't always get to choose when shoot time is, but YOU as the Bride & Groom can keep this in mind! When planning your ceremony and picture time sit, think about when the best picture time will be. Ask your photographer if you aren't sure especially if you know the area you are going to be doing pictures. If you can't do all of your pictures during lower sunlight, make sure to set up sunset pictures with your photographer. A time where they specifically pull you out and do just 10 more minutes of intimate pictures with that beautiful low sun behind you. Photographers call this "golden hour"...but shhhhh you didn't hear it from me :-) And it is the greatest time of day for lighting to make your faces look better by minimizing shadows and highlights while giving you a gorgeous back drop of color. Obviously you need sun, but gentle sun beams are always going to go in your favor over high harsh sun.

So when booking this fall, know that shoots won't start until later in the day, with good reason, I promise! Remember this the next time you want to take your own pictures! You may not have professional equipment but you can always remember small tips and tricks to help you take great everyday images.