Lindsey ford

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CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA
wedding photographer

for the best photos and the least stress

Tips + Tricks

FALL + WINTER TIMELINES

Keep in mind sunset time for portraits! If you’re getting married in late fall or winter, you may need to have an earlier ceremony or first look to ensure we have an hour and a half of portrait time before the sun goes down.

UNPLUGGED CEREMONY

Everyone loves taking photos and videos of the two of you on your wedding day! And that’s super awesome every other time apart from the ceremony. If you don’t have the officiant or a sign announce that you would like your ceremony to be unplugged, your photos will be filled with a sea of phones/tablets and your guests will experience your wedding through a screen. If you’d like to have an unplugged ceremony, simply let your officiant know to make the announcement and/or have a cute little sign made for the ceremony.

FIRST KISS AND RECESSIONAL

Don’t be afraid to take your time during your first kiss! I’ve never missed that shot in my career, but if you linger longer than a peck, it gives me ample time to get a close up and wider shot. And if you stop three quarters of the way down the aisle and go for another kiss, well that’s just a bonus for everyone!

FAMILY FORMALS

It’s super important to tell your family members that will be in the photos where they need to be and when. 99% of the time they’ll take place right after your ceremony at the ceremony site so having your officiant also make an announcement at the end to let family know to stay put is also super helpful. And if there’s an extra grouping you think of while at dinner, please grab me or my second photographer. We’re there for you!!

CHOOSING A VEIL

We can get beautiful veil shots with any length but if you want it to flutter in the wind, fingertip-cathedral lengths work the best! Also make sure you choose a veil that isn't pure white. It reads as blue/purple in natural light. Diamond white, ivory, or champagne photograph beautifully!

GENERAL WEDDING DAY TIPS

YOUR DRESS/PANTS MIGHT GET A BIT DIRTY AND I PROMISE  THAT'S 100% NORMAL

I know it’s scary to think of the most expensive outfit you’ll ever wear getting dirty on your wedding day. But I promise you, even in rain, even in mud, you will have a much better time if you don’t worry about it. If you’re wearing a long gown, we’ll of course take care to pick up your train when you’re moving as much as possible, but if we’re taking photos outside, there will inevitably be some dirt. It’s totally fine!! And if you decide to get your outfit preserved or dry cleaned, they can totally take care of any stains. 

YOUR DJ/VENUE OFFERS EXTRA PHOTOGRAPHERS - JUST SAY NO

Oof this is an awkward one. I have in my contract that I will be the sole professional photographer at your event and here’s why:

I would love to just say sure, the more the merrier! But because they’re not professionals, I’ll spend the day chasing them out of the background of key shots and not be able to 100% focus on capturing your day. I’ve had them step in during the ceremony processional, first dance, cake cutting, you name it! And your guests will assume they’re with me and if they’re not the most professional people, things can get hairy. So if they offer that, just politely decline and blame it on me. 🙂

YOUR PORTRAIT TIME IS JUST FOR THE TWO OF YOU (AND US OF COURSE)

Well-meaning family members or friends will sometimes try to tag along with us during your wedding day portraits and take phone pictures over my shoulder or offer commentary. I typically have a small window of time to capture the most important pictures you’re going to hang on your wall for the rest of your life.

My brain is going a million miles an hour and I need to be 100% focused. I’ve also had some people shout some not so helpful advice or criticism at couples during portraits and my protective mama bear side wants to come out. So if someone is trying to come with us, just let them know that it’s time for them to go party so we can have the best time during portraits.

"YOU CAN PHOTOSHOP THAT RIGHT?"

If you have an obvious breakout or cut/injury, I will gladly digitally airbrush those out on close up images where they’re visible. I do not alter bodies/faces or remove tattoos, scars, or anything else that makes you YOU. I am always learning and working on body neutrality and acceptance and want to bring positive energy and love to every session and wedding.

Flyaway hairs are also sometimes actually impossible to edit out so if your day is looking windy, either embrace it (I mean, Beyonce has a wind fan at shoots for a reason), or have your hairstylist pin up tendrils because otherwise they’ll be flying in your face all day.

SPRAY TANS LOOK GREAT IN REAL LIFE, BUT NOT SO MUCH ON CAMERA

First things first, for the love of all that’s holy, DO NOT DIY A FAKE TAN AT HOME FOR YOUR WEDDING. 😉 The color, even when done by a pro, always reads as too saturated and unnatural on camera. And trying to tone it down in editing can sometimes make your partner look gray if they don’t have a spray tan. 

Editing uneven or patchy skin is really difficult and time-consuming and is not included in my editing. I would need to outsource that which would incur an extra cost to you and take longer to deliver your images which obviously no one wants. Please also be mindful of tans and sunburns before your wedding because if there are tan lines or peeling skin, they’re here to stay in your photos!

BUGS REALLY LOVE WHITE

Just to warn you, anyone wearing white or pastels is like catnip to bugs. It’s something about the way sunlight reflects off of light fabric. It happens at every wedding and honestly, trying to pick them out while you’re outside is a losing battle. They won’t show up in photos and you’ll have plenty of downtime before your ceremony to shake those little suckers out. 

PAMPER YOUR TOOTSIES

This might just be me talking but if my feet hurt, I can’t ignore it. If you’re wearing shoes that aren’t super comfortable for your ceremony, make sure to bring an extra pair just in case you need to switch them out before portraits or the reception so you can get your dance on!

uncomfy situations

COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR WEDDING PARTY IS KEY

Setting expectations ahead of time with your wedding party is the key to happy and helpful family and friends on your wedding day! I highly recommend sending the photography timeline out to your wedding party and immediate family the week of your wedding with the email indicating exactly what time the wedding party and parents need to be fully dressed and putting someone (usually MoH or Best Man) in charge of keeping everyone aware of the time. My friend did that for her wedding that I was in recently and it was super helpful and made the day go by so smoothly!
DESIGNATE A CORNER FOR EVERYONE’S BAGS

When your wedding party and family arrive in the getting ready room, designate a corner away from the windows for everyone’s shoes and bags to ensure a nice clean space for you to get ready.

PAD YOUR HAIR AND MAKEUP TIMELINE


Pad your timeline at least a half an hour more than what the estimated time will be for hair and makeup. This will reduce stress on the hair and makeup artists who sometimes have to rush towards the end due to portrait time and allow ample time for awesome getting ready portraits!

getting ready

YOUR INVITATION SUITE AND ENVELOPE

I recommend including two copies so that I can photograph any pieces that are two-sided and to ensure I always have clean and wrinkle free paper to work with. If your envelope was custom addressed, ask your calligrapher or printing company to create one with your venue’s address on it or a fake address so that your home address isn’t in the photos shared online. And if you go with a custom envelope liner on the inside, I’ll definitely want two of them so I can showcase both sides.

If you are using custom stamps and/or a wax seal, feel free to include a few of those as well! I also have some vintage stamps on hand just in case. I would love for you to mail me a copy of your invitation (200 Adobe Drive, Middletown, PA 17057) or send me a photo so I can plan my layout ahead of time. Note: The copy you mail to me won't be used on your actual day. Those are for planning purposes only because they often get a little wrinkled or warped in the mail.

YOUR RINGS

No matter where each of you are getting ready, always include all rings for detail photos with me including engagement rings and wedding bands. I have a plethora of Mrs. Box ring boxes in all kinds of colors to display your rings in your details, but if you have a custom ring box or dish, feel free to bring that along!

ADDITIONAL PAPER GOODS AND LINENS

If you have a custom menu, ceremony program, vow books, table cards or other small paper goods, feel free to include these! If you’re working with a calligrapher, something unique and beautiful you might want to add is your custom vows or a poem/verse read at your ceremony handwritten on antique paper. It’ll make for beautiful detail photos and you can frame it in your home after your wedding.
And if you’re including special silk or gauze table runners, I would love an extra piece to style with your details.

FRESH FLOWERS AND GREENERY FROM YOUR FLORIST

These take a good detail image and make it great. They add life, dimension, texture and best of all – they match your decor and the colors for the day. Most florists are used to this request so just add it in when you finalize your order. And if you have ribbon tied on your bouquet/boutonnière, I’d love to include that in your details as well so have your florist include some extra.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When scheduling drop off times with your florist, please make sure they arrive with your flowers at least 30-60 minutes before my start time and drop them off in or near where you’re getting ready. They always put them in water, so don’t worry about them wilting before the ceremony.

YOUR PARTNER'S DETAILS

I’ll photograph the invitation suite and details of the person I’ll be with in the morning, but if your partner wants theirs photographed as well, they can make a box or bag for my second photographer when they arrive. This includes shoes/socks, jewelry, accessories, fragrance, watch, etc.

SHOE TIPS

If you’re planning to use gel inserts or taping a penny to the inside of your shoe for luck, I would wait until after I’m done shooting details for a cleaner look in the photos. And if you want to spring for beautiful shoes but they aren’t the most comfortable, you can always wear them for the ceremony and switch to more comfortable ones for photos and the reception.

I always start wedding days photographing all of the little details you spent months planning that deserve a moment in the spotlight. I’ll happily create magic out of just your invitation card and rings, but if you want to go the extra mile, read on!

DETAIL PHOTOS TIPS

PROS

• It’s a classic and will make more traditional families happy

• Portraits will be closer to golden hour with pretty light (but if you do a first look, we can always pop out at sunset for a few more glowy portraits!)

• You get to spend the morning and afternoon with your wedding party getting pumped up

CONS

• Because there’s typically only one hour between the ceremony and reception, we have to get family photos, wedding party, and your portraits done in that time. It’s definitely doable, but to reduce stress on everyone, I highly recommend extending your cocktail hour by 15 minutes. (no one will notice, I promise!)

• You miss out on your custom drinks at cocktail hour

aisle reveals

PROS

• Your photos are done ahead of time

• You spend more time with your spouse on your wedding day

• You get to experience cocktail hour or take a private break in between

• You might be more comfortable showing emotion during the first time you see each other since it’s private

CONS

• If it’s a sunny day, we might be more limited in portrait locations because it’s slightly more difficult to find flattering light closer to midday

• You usually have to get ready a bit earlier

• Your family and friends don’t a front row seat to the first time you see each other (depending on your personality, this might be a pro – lol)

FIRST LOOKS

I will absolutely not push you to do either, it’s your wedding! If you’re having trouble deciding, I put together a pros and cons list that might help you out.

FIRST LOOKS vs AISLE REVEALS

engagement style guide

This is THE hardest part of planning your wedding. But I have quite a few tricks to help you pick outfits that you and the camera will love!

what to wear

© lindsey ford photography llc 2021