Wedding planning

Wedding Resources - Make That Ring Sparkle!

Today's Wedding Wednesday post is a fun one because it is FULL of gorgeous ring shots, and lets be real, who doesn't love staring at some sparkle!  But how do all my couples have such sparkley rings in their photos?  Great question!  And today I am going over a few ways you can have your rings look their best for photos!

Ring Tip #1 - Get it cleaned!

This one may seem a little obvious, but a ring that's just been cleaned will ALWAYS look better than one that's been worn!  Sometimes we forget how much dirt and dust can build up around our ring, so even if its not for photos, its good to get that bad boy cleaned every so often!  If you can, it's best to take it to your jeweler as they will make sure your stones are looking good too but most chain stores like Kay's or Jared's will offer to clean your ring for free!  

Ring Tip #2 - Great Light

This tip is more for wedding day's but in general, great light is the most important part to getting those amazing ring shots.  On a wedding day, I will often ask my couples, if they mind if I step into another room or go outside with their details so I can find great light and a great background!  This is where trusting your photographer is key!  If they are an experienced photographer, they know how to set up a great shot, but it may mean taking that sparkley ring out of your site for a few minutes.  During a lot of our engagement sessions, we willl have our brides leave us their rings while they change into their second outfit.  BUT - always trust your gut!  If you don't feel comfortable giving your ring to them, that's ok too!  Offer to go with them or send a bridesmaid to keep tabs!  But again, if you trust your photographer, you know you and your rings are in good hands!

Ring Tip #3 - Get Your Nails Done!

You wouldn't believe how many of my couples show up with their nails looking a mess for their engagement photos because they assumed their hands wouldn't be in the shot!  And even for guys, while they don't need to have a manicure, having their nails trimmed and clean, def helps makes ring shots look better!  I love taking photos of the rings on my clients hands because hey, that's where they belong!  So treat yourself to manicure! :)  

Ring Tip #4 - Where You Focus Matters

This one is for all my photographers out there!  I recently figured out a little trick, especially when I am on a time crunch and shooting details with my 24mm or my 50mm!  Focus on the prong closest to the camera.  This may make the rest of the ring look a little soft BUT because that is the part closest to our eyes, the image will look more in focus.  I use to try and focus on the diamond or main stone itself and never loved the way it looked and then recently tried this and noticed the look of my ring shots were more sharp.  

And now because, why not show off more gorgeous rings, here are some of my favorite rings from the last SIX years of business!!!!!  Enjoy friends!  

Wedding Wednesday - Choosing a Location For Your Engagement Session

We are back it again today with our Wedding Wednesday series and today we are talking about something that all of my couples ask me about - where they should do their engagement session!  Very rarely does a couple come to me knowing exactly where they want to do their engagement session, so this post is for all the couples out there that don't know what to do!  To make it easy, I am going to give you a few "rules" to follow when coming up with your engagement location and share some of my all time favorite places we've done engagement shoots along the way!

Rule 1 - Consider your wedding

 Are you having an outdoor barn wedding and looking to use your engagement photos for save the dates?  Are you planning a ballroom wedding and love a classic city style?  Is your wedding in the spring but you really love the look of fall photos?  Do you want your engagement photos to "match" your wedding look and theme or are you hoping for something totally different?  Depending how you answer those questions, you can get going in a great direction for your engagement session!  If you are looking for your engagement photos to go along with the look and feel of your wedding, one great idea is to see if you can photograph your engagement photos at that location!  Want something more classic to go well with your downtown wedding?  Maybe photographing around the city would work best!  Consider how you want your wedding to impact your engagement photos (all the way, as inspiration, or not at all) and then talk to your photographer about any ideas that they might have!

These two are having a family centered wedding this winter and so for their engagement session they wanted to do their photos at their family home!  And their hunting vibe matches their wedding perfectly!  

These two are having a family centered wedding this winter and so for their engagement session they wanted to do their photos at their family home!  And their hunting vibe matches their wedding perfectly!  

These two got married at a beautiful estate that had a lake, so for their engagement photos they picked a park that looked a lot like their wedding venue and the results was perfection!  

These two got married at a beautiful estate that had a lake, so for their engagement photos they picked a park that looked a lot like their wedding venue and the results was perfection!  

Monet has planned a industrial, classic Philadelphia wedding for later this month and so her home and roof deck was the perfect location for their engagement session!  

Monet has planned a industrial, classic Philadelphia wedding for later this month and so her home and roof deck was the perfect location for their engagement session!  

Stephanie and Dan had a gorgeous fall wedding and so for their engagement session, she wanted to capture all the gorgeous fall colors in the sunset!  

Stephanie and Dan had a gorgeous fall wedding and so for their engagement session, she wanted to capture all the gorgeous fall colors in the sunset!  

Rule 2 - Think about the time of day and year

We often get asked to do center city Philadelphia engagement session and one of the things our couples often forget is that the city is busy!  There is this iconic engagement photo in front of the "Love" sign that everyone always sends me from pinterest and they always say how they love that no one is in the background!  To get that look, you've got to be willing to do your engagement session really early in the morning and for some, that's not something they would be interested in!  Time of year also plays into this as some locations will be more or less busy depending.  If you can, checking out the location around the time of day you want to photograph and seeing how busy it is, what is typically going, ect can be really helpful.  

Along with that, think about the time of day too!  If I am shooting your engagement session, chances are you love the glowy light that you see in almost all of my engagement sessions!  In order to achieve this look, we have to shoot around 2 hours before sunset!  We photographers call that golden hour and it is how you achieve that glowy, golden look!  If you are looking to shoot earlier in the day, shade is something we will definitely be looking for!  So wide open fields, beaches, and the like aren't great locations for that time of day.  

For Angela and Rita's engagement session we shot at Villanova University and avoided crowds by shooting on a Sunday evening and a cloudy day!

For Angela and Rita's engagement session we shot at Villanova University and avoided crowds by shooting on a Sunday evening and a cloudy day!

For Mary and Arielle's engagement session, we walked around some of their favorite parts of center city, but we avoided the crowds by finding little side streets!  

For Mary and Arielle's engagement session, we walked around some of their favorite parts of center city, but we avoided the crowds by finding little side streets!  

These two lucked out and got all the glow and sunset prettiness at their engagement session!  

These two lucked out and got all the glow and sunset prettiness at their engagement session!  

We got both glow and less people by shooting at Eastern University during the summer in the evening for this engagement session!  

We got both glow and less people by shooting at Eastern University during the summer in the evening for this engagement session!  

Rule 3 - Think about places that are special to the two of you

Have a favorite park?  The place he proposed?  Where she always takes you when your having a bad day?  Those sentimental locations make for GREAT engagement session locations because they mean something to you!  Some couples will even plan a date and have their photographer follow them around capture their engagement photos in a more lifestlye manner at places they love!  

This park on the river was really special to these two so it was an easy choice to do their engagement session there!!

This park on the river was really special to these two so it was an easy choice to do their engagement session there!!

Peddler's Village was one of their favorite date night spots and so when we did their engagement session, Stephanie asked if we could do their session there and of course - we said yes!  

Peddler's Village was one of their favorite date night spots and so when we did their engagement session, Stephanie asked if we could do their session there and of course - we said yes!  

Cindy and Scott choose to do not only their engagement session but their wedding at one of their favorite places - Mercer Museum!

Cindy and Scott choose to do not only their engagement session but their wedding at one of their favorite places - Mercer Museum!

Rule 4 - If stuck, ask the professional

One of the worst things you can do is just pick a place at random and tell your photographer you want to shoot there!  Often couples will feel stressed that they don't have any idea where they want to do their engagement photos so they will pick somewhere someone else did theirs or a random place that looked pretty online.  And that can equal disaster.  Instead, if you haven't been able to come up with a location, ask your photographer if they have any favorite places.  For me, I have 2 places in Center City I love, 2 locations near me, a park in Jersey and vineyard in Bucks County I love.  If a couple is stuck, I will recommend one of those places based off of where they live and what I think would match who they are.  Those places are ones I know, love shooting in and can show past work from, so clients feel confident going into their session!  So if you find yourself stuck...ASK FOR HELP!  Its what we are here to do!  

Ebony and Creig had no idea where to do their engagement session but they knew they wanted bright, winter photos!  I suggested Tyler Park and they LOVED the results!  

Ebony and Creig had no idea where to do their engagement session but they knew they wanted bright, winter photos!  I suggested Tyler Park and they LOVED the results!  

Heather and Simon had no idea where they wanted to do their engagement session and this sweet park I suggest was the perfect background for their style!  

Heather and Simon had no idea where they wanted to do their engagement session and this sweet park I suggest was the perfect background for their style!  

Brooke loved the look of fields, flowers and nature but didn't know where would work best for their engagement session!  I suggested my favorite park and it was exactly what they were looking for!  

Brooke loved the look of fields, flowers and nature but didn't know where would work best for their engagement session!  I suggested my favorite park and it was exactly what they were looking for!  

I hope that helps!  While those rules aren't the end all of how to choose an engagement session location, they definitely will get you going in the right direction!  Do you have a wedding question you want answered?  Drop us a line in our contact form and we will be sure to answer it an upcoming #weddingwednesday post!  

Wedding Resources - How Long Should I Allow for Family Photos

Wedding Resources - where we are answering your questions about wedding planning!  If you are like most couples, you've never done this before, so it's totally understandable to have questions!  And we are here to help!  Today we are talking about how much time should you allow for family photos and we hope that this helps you plan a stress free wedding day timeline!  

Your wedding day is one of the few days of your life where you will have most of your friends and family around you, so of course, you will want pictures with them!  But how long should you plan for them?  When should you take them?  What if your venue or planner told you that 10 or 20 minutes is enough but your photographer tells you different?  Today we are going to unpack ALL of that and hopefully help you make the best decision for you!  

Regardless of what anyone tells you, family photos take time.  Depending on the timeline for your wedding you are either doing your photos right before or right after you say "I do" which means emotions and excitement are running high!  And you want it to be that way!  But that also means you don't want to be rushed or stressed too!  As part of what we do with our couples, we send out a survey before the wedding that asks our couples for any and all groupings they want in terms of family portraits.  Below is an example list we got from an actual couple!  

Bride with just her parents, bride and groom with her parents, bride with only her siblings, bride and groom with siblings and spouses, bride with grandma, bride mom and grandma, bride and groom and grandma, bride groom and aunts and uncles, bride and her aunt Shelly, Bride and groom and Aunt Shelly, Bride groom and all the cousins.  

That was only the bride's side, but that was 11 poses.  The groom's list was similar and had 10 shots on it and they also asked for 4 other group shots as well.  So that's 25 poses!  Which is actually quite a lot!  Even at a minute a piece (which is impossible!), right there is 25 minutes just for family photos!  

We typically tell our couples to allow 3 minutes per grouping and suggest that there is a total 10 groupings, so a half hour for family photos.  We typically can do it in less than 30 minutes but this is a great guideline!  And if your family/families are really large, we will often suggest doing just immediate family then and planning time during the reception for more family photos as well! 

Another option that a lot of our couples choose is to do a first look!  This allows you to see each other in a relaxed, personal experience prior to the ceremony AND allows for you to have a lot more options for photos!  With this kind of timeline, you can have a lot more time for photos before hand and even do a few bigger family shots right after the ceremony!  This also allows you to attend your cocktail hour!

If a first look isn't for you but you want a lot of family photos, another option is to do as many family photos with each of you before hand.  For example, photograph the brides family before hand and separately photograph the groom/other bride's family before hand as well!  This allows half of the poses to be done and cuts down time later!

So you have a lot of options!  No matter what you do, make sure you make a list of those must have family photos and give it to your photographer!  Family plays a huge role in your life and in your wedding day, but without knowing who is important to you, its hard for your photographer to make sure they capture the right people!  So make that list!  And then make sure you talk over what you want with your photographer too!  

And because who doesn't love a little inspiration, here are a few of our favorite family photos!

Wedding Resources - Why We Love Veils

Why we love wedding veils
Wedding Resources - where we are answering your questions about wedding planning!  If you are like most couples, you've never done this before, so it's totally understandable to have questions!  And we are here to help!  Today we are talking about how much time should you allow for family photos and we hope that this helps you plan a stress free wedding day timeline!  

One of my favorite parts of photographing weddings is the bridal details.  The sparkley rings, the perfect shoes, the bouquet, her dress and if she chooses to have one, her veil.  So much goes into choosing what she is wearing that day and having the honor to photograph it is always one of my favorite parts of the day.  Because I am often one of the first vendors a couple hires, I often get asked questions about where to go to buy a dress, what she should she look for and should she wear a veil.  As with everything else, there is never a right or wrong answer!  But I thought today I would talk about who choose to wear a traditional veil for a Wedding Wednesday post!

If you have ever watched even one episode of Say Yes to the Dress, than you have probably heard the phrase "jack her up."  While it sounds nothing like this, it means take the bride who likes the dress she has on and add on all the accessories so she can see what she might look like on her wedding day.  And one of the big things you will always hear brides say is "it wasn't real to they put the veil on."  It also is the one thing that tends to get the water works going!  But why? Well your wedding day is really the one day you can wear a veil so something about it has that "bridal feeling" attached to it.  So for many girls, they go from loving the dress, to loving the way they look as a bride once that veil goes on!  

But there are so many kinds of veils!  Birdcage, short, fingertip, chapel, cathedral...just to name a few!  And then what about a blusher?  With so many options, how do you choose?  Just like choosing your dress, once you put on the right one, you'll know.  For me, I have always dreamed of a long Cathedrial length veil!  For someone else, they might love the look of a shoulder length veil with a blusher!  Try on a few and see what makes you feel the best!  

As with your dress, always try to find what makes YOU shine the most.  There is no right or wrong way to do things, but at the end of the day,  you want to feel beautiful on your wedding day but you also want to feel like you!  So do what feels right to you, no matter what any one else tries to say!

I love shooting brides who choose to wear a veil because I love how they photograph!  From shooting them as details, to the bride by herself, to wrapping up my couple in them, they add such a wonderful element to photos!  Here are a few of my favorite veil photographs and I hope this post was helpful!!

Wedding Wednesday - Who Walks You Down The Aisle

Today we kick of our new series - Wedding Wednesday - where we are answering your questions about wedding planning!  If you are like most brides, you've never done this before, so it's totally understandable to have questions!  And we are here to help!  

We got this question a few weeks ago from a bride who wasn't sure who should walk her down the aisle.  While normally this wouldn't be a question you would ask your photographer, she was curious what my experience had been in 6 years!  Was there a normal way of doing things?  Did just her dad have to?  What about walking herself down the aisle?  So this is what we emailed her back:

That moment when you walk down the aisle is a big one, so I can totally understand wanting to have it right, but sadly, there is no “right” answer! In 6 years, we have seen it all! Dads, Moms, big brothers, little brothers, uncles, sisters, The couple’s kid/s, friends, the bride walking down the aisle on her own or even two brides that walked down the aisle together. While the traditonal way of doing it is to have your dad walk you down the aisle, you can really do anything you want! Just do what feels right to you ok? That’s the most important thing!

And it really is true!  With so many options, the most important thing you can do is what makes the most sense to you!  When Jordan and I got married, her parents walked her down the aisle and I walked myself.  And it was something I struggled with as my parents didn't attend our wedding.  But at the end of the day, doing it myself made every single one of those steps mean so much to.  No one gave me away, but for me it symbolized that I was the one making that decision, no one else.  And for me, that was important!  But for other brides or grooms, having their parents walk them down the aisle could be something they had been dreaming about!  And that's ok too!  

Here are a few of our couples walking down the aisle and as you'll see, they each have their own style and way of doing it!  And that's what makes it personal!  

Have a question you want us to answer?  Leave us a comment and we'd be happy to!

Wedding Wednesday - A New Series

We are starting a new series here at Swiger Photography - a Wedding Wednesday post!  We get SO many questions about wedding planning and so we figured rather than only share those answers as we get questions, why not turn them into blog posts for all of you to read too!  We have got a list of awesome topics to talk about, but we also want to know what you want to know too!  Got a question about wedding planning?  Comment on this post and we will add it to the list!  Our first post in the series goes live NEXT Wednesday so keep an eye out!  Can't wait to help you plan the perfect wedding day!

Philadelphia Wedding Wednesday Series Swiger Photography