New Orleans Wedding Trends & Traditions: The Second Line Parade

If you’ve been in New Orleans for any length of time, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen a second line parade.  This is New Orleans after all, and we love a celebration!  This tradition originated from the African-American custom of second-lining at private funerals, where brass bands play dirges to accompany the hearse and mourners to the cemetery. After the body's interment, the band plays celebratory songs in honor of the life of the deceased.  A second line parade at a wedding signifies the start of a new life for the newly married couple.  Traditionally, a jazz band followed by the newlyweds leads the bridal party and the guests from the church to the reception venue, but second lines can also be incorporated during or at the end of the reception.   The couple will usually carry uniquely decorated umbrellas while the guests wave custom handkerchiefs (or even cocktail napkins!) and dance along the parade route.  Your second line parade will likely draw a crowd of spectators snapping photos and shouting their congratulations as you pass or even joining the fun!

There are several factors to consider when planning your second line parade.  One of the most comprehensive guides to planning a second line we’ve ever found was written by Katie Walenter and published earlier this year in The Gambit.  Below is a summary of her suggestions, but we encourage you to read the entire article HERE. 

Step 1: Decide the date and parade route.  Usually the location of the ceremony and reception will dictate the route.  If the locations are close to one another, most couples will second line from wedding venue to the reception venue.  If the wedding and reception will be held at the same location, a second line provides time for the space to be transformed for the reception.  If the ceremony and reception locations make second lining from one to the other impossible, some couples will use a second line at the end of their reception for their formal exit.  Along St. Charles Avenue, you can charter decorated streetcars complete with brass band accompaniment for the transfer of wedding parties to and from event spaces.

Step 2: Obtain a parade permit and hire police escorts.  If your second line will involve public streets/areas, you will need to obtain a permit from the City of New Orleans.  You are also required to have police escorts to accompany your parade.  You can download the permit HERE.  The City charges $50.25 for a parade permit.  The fee for police escorts is $100/officer needed (determined by the size of your group) plus a one-time fee of $25 paid to the Police and Justice Foundation.  You must submit all forms no later than 15 days prior to your event.  If you are planning to have throws (beads, cups, confetti, etc.) the City requires an additional fee for cleanup.  For more information visit the City’s website.  

STEP 3: Select a brass band.  Make sure to hire an experienced second line band for the best results.  If you don’t already have a band in mind, check out sites like TheKnot.com  or Gigmasters.com  or check out the links for local bands under “Resources” at the end of this article.

STEP 4: Acquire umbrellas, handkerchiefs & other favors to personalize your second line.  Many local vendors sell customized wedding favors for second lines including handkerchiefs, umbrellas, koozies, beads, plastic cups, etc.  Prices vary for accessories vary greatly depending on the design and materials used.  To get price quotes and see items available, check out “Resources” section below.   

Other Tips:  You could add a Grand Marshal to lead the parade or incorporate the famous Mardi Gras Indians to add even more New Orleans culture to your second line.  Consider hiring a pedicab driver for elderly or disabled guests so that they can enjoy the festivities in style without having to walk the route.  Also consider hiring a professional planner to coordinate the details and direction to guarantee your parade goes off without a hitch.

DWP Behind the Scenes: Wedding Albums

We absolutely adore wedding albums!  They’re one of our favorite products that we sell.  We consider them to be one of your family’s first and most important heirlooms.  That’s why we take such pride in the design and finished product.  Here’s a “peek behind the curtain” to show you all that goes into our albums.

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

First, we custom design every wedding album so that no two are ever exactly the same.  Your wedding album should reflect your style, personality and your day…not be a carbon copy of someone else’s.  We take pride in selecting images that will tell the story of your day so that you can relive the excitement every time you turn through its pages. 

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Once the design is finished, we present it to our clients using an online proofing tool so they can request any changes before we go to print.  To see a sample design click HERE.   Once all edits are complete we upload the design and place the printing order with the lab.

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Our lab of choice for albums is PictoBooks.  As professional photographers, we have a ton of choices when it comes to album companies.  We’ve done a lot of research and believe Pictobooks to be one of the best in the business.  PictoBooks makes both classic and uniquely modern albums with stunning quality and innovation.

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

PictoBooks uses archival quality Kodak photo paper for durability and continuous tone prints. After printing, each page is treated with a special lacquer coating which produces a subtle texture and creates a protective barrier making pages resistant to fingerprints, scratches, water damage, and even some chemical damage.  Album pages are then flush mounted on acid free boards using special glue that allows for flexibility.  In addition, PictoBooks uses panorama binding, scoring and folding prints rather than cutting them so that images flow from one end of the spread to the other with no split in the middle.  All albums are gilded, meaning that the outer edges of the flush mounted pages are sealed to protect and beautify your page edges.  Depending on the color, this can also add another element of design.  PictoBooks offers standard or completely custom gilding colors.

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

The cover design choices offered through PictoBooks are practically limitless!  Material choices include leather, metal, wood, canvas and linen.  Cover options include engraving, embossing, monograms, cameos, laser-cut patterns and more.  To see samples of their designs, check out their website.

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

Image courtesy of Pictobooks.com

When you order an album from us, you can trust that you’re going to receive a book that you will cherish for generations.  Have specific questions about wedding albums?  Please contact us at info@daniellewalters.com or at 504-324-9188.  What are your favorite types of wedding albums?  Let us know in the comments below.

Real New Orleans Wedding: Amanda & Troy

What an amazing day!  We had such a great time with these guys!  From the beautiful ceremony at St. Joseph’s Cathedral to the fun reception at Pat O’s on the River this wedding was one to remember.  Scroll through the photos and check out links to the other amazing vendors who helped make this beautiful New Orleans wedding come together.

 Hair/Make-up: Julia’s Hair Studio 

Transportation: Bonomolo Limousines 

Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph’s 

Florist: Petals & Stems 

Cake: Haydel’s Bakery 

Reception Venue/Caterer: Pat O’s on the River 

Music/DJ: Countdown Sound 

Photography: Danielle Walters Photography 

Lodging: Hilton Riverside 

Philanthropic Weddings: “I Do” Believe in Giving Back

At Danielle Walters Photography, philanthropy is a huge part of who we are and what we do.  We love being able to share our talents and give back to deserving organizations and people.  We’ve worked with many organizations such as Brides Against Breast Cancer, Second Harvest Food Bank, Touro Foundation and the American Diabetes Association to name a few.  Many times our donation comes in the form of service – either by photographing the event or donating a photo session to silent auctions.  As much as we’d like, we can’t always write a check but we can always give something.  The good news is that there’s room for everyone at the philanthropist’s table.  Deserving organizations can use many forms of help whether they are financial or service oriented.

Image courtesy of IDoFoundation.org

Image courtesy of IDoFoundation.org

This brings me to the concept of the philanthropic wedding.  I’ve heard of certain charitable elements being incorporated into weddings before, but this idea has really expanded over the last few years.  One organization that helps facilitate these weddings is called the I Do Foundation.  Their mission is to help engaged couples bring a charitable focus to their wedding by helping them share the joy and wealth of wedding celebrations with nonprofit organizations and the broader community.  By including charitable giving as a part of their wedding, couples can support their commitment to lifelong giving and active community involvement.  The I Do Foundation is part of the JustGive.org network and they’ve also partnered with TheKnot.com to offer some pretty amazing things.  Here are just of the few cool things you can do through them…

 A Charity Registry

Simply put, a charity registry is where your guests can make a donation to a selected charity in your name in lieu of a wedding gift.  This allows you to share the generosity of your guests directly with your chosen charitable cause.  Guests make secure online donations to organizations of your choice as their wedding gift to you.  This is a perfect idea for a couple who may not want or need to register for a ton of traditional gifts. 

 A Charitable Gift Registry

Let’s say you actually DO need wedding gifts to set up your new home but you’d still like to give back.  Consider setting up a charitable gift registry which will allow you to register for gifts and have up to 3% of every purchase donated to the charity of your choice.  Some of the retailers you can choose from include Tiffany & Co., Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Restoration Hardware.  You can sign up through the I Do Foundation Page on TheKnot.com

 Wedding Favors

These have become super fun and very unique in the past couple of  years and we adore seeing how creative people can get with the wedding favors they provide to their guests.  However, if you don’t have an idea that you’re just DYING to do for your wedding favors, consider giving a donation instead.  The I Do Foundation will provide you with a free personalized PDF so that you can print place cards or tent cards for the tables letting your guests know about the donations on their behalf.  Think about this – if you have a wedding of 200 guests and budgeted only $5 per guest for wedding favors, that’s a $1000 donation you could make to a deserving charity!  Do you think your guests would be willing to sacrifice that bag of Jordan almonds to make that donation a reality?  I bet they would.

 In addition to all these great services, the I Do Foundation’s website is full of wonderful tips and advice for making responsible decisions about all aspects of your wedding.  You will find vendor suggestions, DIY tips and advice about making environmentally conscious decisions.

 For more information, please check out their website to read about ways you can change the world with your wedding and (to borrow their tagline) Celebrate Generously.™

Image courtesy of IDoFoundation.org

Image courtesy of IDoFoundation.org


Vendor Love: Scriptura

Trying to pick out the perfect wedding invitation?  Look no further than New Orleans based Scriptura.  Founded by Margaret and Sallie Jones, Scriptura is modeled after European papeteries and carries products of the finest quality. 

Your invitation will set the tone for your wedding in addition to giving information.  It will convey the style of the wedding, how formal it will be and how guests should dress.  The design professionals at Scriptura can help you choose invitations that you love with all the elements that you’ll need.  From traditional engraving, to thermography, letterpress and lithography, Scriptura has you covered.  Their couture wedding invitations are stunning and have been featured in many national publications.

Image courtesy of Scriptura.com

Image courtesy of Scriptura.com

Remember that wedding invitations should be mailed 6 to 8 weeks prior to the wedding.  You’ll need to allow enough time (another 6 to 8 weeks) to design/select your wedding invitations, print your invitations and address your invitations prior to mailing them.  (To be safe, you should start the process of selecting your invitations approximately 4 months prior to your ceremony.)

Image courtesy of Scriptura.com

Image courtesy of Scriptura.com

You can find them online at scriptura.com or you can stop by one of their stores located in uptown New Orleans at 5423 Magazine St. or by Lakeside Mall in Metairie at 3301 Veterans Blvd. (corner of Severn and 17th St.)  In addition to their custom invitations, in-store you will find a variety of beautiful products from which to choose including leather bound journals, writing instruments, inks, hand-made papers, custom wax seals, imported stationary, desk accessories and unique paper products from around the world.  

Image courtesy of Scriptura.com

Image courtesy of Scriptura.com

Karaoke Weddings: Tacky…or Terrific?!?

I’m still giggling a little bit as I sit down to write this article.  I recently heard (or I should say, OVERheard) two engaged couples discussing the idea of incorporating karaoke at their wedding receptions.  They listed many pros and cons, but all I kept thinking was, “karaoke at your wedding reception…is this really a THING?”  I immediately wanted to find out more.

Before I go any further I need to confess something:  I adore karaoke.  Truly, I do.  And I adore it in all its forms.  I’m one of those rare people who believes that the only thing better than good karaoke is bad karaoke.  However you want to serve it to me, I’m a fan.  I don’t typically sing (although I once brought the house down at Cat’s Meow with Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”) but I do enjoy watching and singing backup from my seat while cheering on whomever has the mic at the moment.  (And, as many of you know, that's usually Bryant and he ALWAYS kills it!)

So all of this got me to wondering…could two of my favorite things (weddings and karaoke) be combined to make something even greater?  Would it be like the magnificent and universe-changing combo of peanut butter and chocolate…or would it go horribly wrong like Crest and orange juice?

Turns out, this really is a THING!  Karaoke at weddings is pretty darn popular.  But the thing that thrilled me the absolute most about this research was the variety of ways I found to incorporate karaoke into your wedding.  Think wedding karaoke is relegated to a corner speaker with a mic attached?  Oh think again, friends.  Take a look at these options:

#1: Traditional karaoke with a DJ and a sound system. 

Yes, this basic form still exists.  This is your straightforward, most pure form of karaoke that can be added to your reception.  Even with this basic karaoke, there are still some tips for choosing your DJ and making it the best it can be.  You should always assess the personality of your DJ (can they keep your crowd entertained?) and his/her equipment (cordless mics, readable screens, a good selection of current music).  Furthermore, if you include this type of karaoke at your wedding reception it’s recommended that you have a scheduled karaoke time (about an hour), set limits (don’t allow more than two songs per guest or else it will become a concert), and scan your song selection to make sure it’s appropriate and fun.  To read more about incorporating traditional karaoke into your wedding reception, check out this article by wedding DJ Kenny Casanova.  If you need a local DJ who can incorporate karaoke into your wedding reception, look NO FURTHER than our friends at Rock-It Productions

#2: Live Band Karaoke. 

Yes, this exists!  As its name implies, it’s simply karaoke with a live band backing you up rather than a track.  Most bands who offer a karaoke set (they play, you sing) offer it alongside a party set (they play/sing, you dance).  This provides a nice balance to your reception (something for everyone) and can potentially give your karaoke time more of a rock-star feeling.  To read more about it, check out this article from wedding entertainment specialist Sera Golding.  To find live local bands who offer karaoke, simple do a google search or check out gigmasters.com

In the interest of full disclosure, this was NOT a karaoke wedding reception, but the bride totally rocked out with the band on Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and this is one of our favorite reception shots.  Ever.  

In the interest of full disclosure, this was NOT a karaoke wedding reception, but the bride totally rocked out with the band on Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and this is one of our favorite reception shots.  Ever.  

#3: OMG.

And now we’re to my very favorite way to incorporate karaoke into your wedding.  Seriously, this is where we are in true genius territory.  That moment when you see two of your favorite things combining to make one new thing that’s more than you could have ever dreamed (Reese’s peanut butter cup, I’m looking at you).  Ok, perhaps I’m overselling it, but seriously…this is one of the coolest things I have come across in a long time.  Friends, I’d like to introduce you to Marryoke.

What is Marryoke?  I’m glad you asked!  Marryoke is the brainchild of husband and wife videographers Billy and Katie May.  Think of marryoke as the highlight reel of your wedding, but better.  The definition from their website reads:

A marryoke is a wedding music video that is filmed during the day with you and your guests. We continuously film throughout your entire day so that when edited together, the music video tells the story from start to finish. Our goal is to create a unique way for you to look back and see the details you’ve spent so long getting “just right” so that you can relive the energy and excitement over and over again.
— Billy & Katie May

I confess, I sort of had a Marryoke Marathon on YouTube (and I encourage you to do the same, lol).  Here are some of my favorites:

While not providing a platform for traditional karaoke performances at your reception, Marryokes capture the style of your wedding day, the personalities of you and your wedding guests along with the most important events of the day.  While you may not wish to post your full wedding day video, this is PERFECT for sharing on social media.  Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional wedding videography!  I’m not at all suggesting marryoke in place of traditional videography, but I am suggesting it as an amazing addition.  To learn more about the story behind marryoke, check out this article from The Daily Mail or Billy and Katie’s website

So what’s the takeaway?  Basically, if you love karaoke and you want it to play a role at your wedding reception, go for it!  Wedding celebrations should be as unique as the couple they honor, as they are a reflection of your story including your individual pasts, your present life together and the future about which you dream.  Hopefully this article gave you some insight about the variety of ways you can incorporate karaoke should you choose to do so.

Now it’s time for your input!  What say you?  Did you incorporate karaoke at your wedding or would you like to?  Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!  Is this a fad or is it fabulous?

Beautiful Bridal Sessions

We love bridal sessions!  In this primarily Southern tradition, brides get fully dressed in their gown, veil, jewelry, shoes, etc. for a photo session prior to the wedding.  We love this opportunity to showcase the bride in a beautiful setting and get tons of photos with her in that stunning gown.  We always take bridal portraits on the wedding day, but bridal sessions give us the time and freedom to be more creative.  Usually a large print or canvas of an image from this session is displayed at the reception and then gifted to the bride’s mother following the wedding.  In this article we will share with you some tips to make your bridal session its best.

Planning Your Session

This may seem simple enough, but there are a number of factors that go into it.  Your dress, weather considerations, planning, scheduling locations, booking vendors and ordering finished products all play a role in when your session will take place.

The first consideration is your dress.  Most dresses take 6 months (or more) to come in and require an additional 1-2 months for alterations.  Ideally your dress should be ready no later than 8 weeks prior to your wedding.  This will give you time to do your bridal session (and reschedule should bad weather force us to), get your dress cleaned and have any last minute alterations done.  (You definitely want to schedule a final cleaning of your gown after your session.  We will do everything possible to keep your dress clean, but it’s inevitable despite our best efforts that the hem will get a bit dingy.)

If you are planning to have a large print or canvas displayed at your reception, you should also factor in enough time after the shoot for editing, image selection, ordering and delivery of your product(s) after your session and in time for your wedding.  Although rush services are sometimes available, there are no guarantees and those services are usually expensive.  For that reason, we recommend you place your product order no less than 4 weeks prior to your wedding.

If possible, don’t schedule your bridal session during extreme weather months.  This can be a challenge in New Orleans because 6 months of the year is hurricane season.  However, if you can avoid the hottest and most humid months (July-August) you’ll be glad you did.  Our most popular months for bridal sessions are November-April.  In the event of inclement weather we can always reschedule, but we realize there are a lot of other vendors involved (hair, makeup, flowers).  If you want to play it extra safe, pick a location that has indoor AND outdoor spaces that you like. 

When deciding on a location for your bridal session, think more about the style and atmosphere you want than the actual place itself.  Do you want a rustic or outdoorsy look?  Would you prefer a high-fashion/glamour look?  We can create the feel you want in a variety of locations.  If you’re not sure, we can suggest locations based on the look you want.

Want to make your session even more special?  Consider having it styled.  A designer can lend a creative eye and bring in vintage rentals, props, etc. to create whatever your heart desires.  As many of you know, we also have a wedding and event planning company called B.Laiche Designs behind which our very own Bryant is the creative genius.  We can absolutely help you design your session if you don’t want to hire an outside firm.  Beyond spectacular photos, another perk of styled sessions is that they are more likely to be featured on top wedding blogs due to their straight-out-of-a-magazine feel.  If having your photos in one of these online publications is something that appeals to you, a styled session is the way to go.

Maybe you don’t want a fully styled shoot, but you’d like to include some props.  If you would like to use props in your session, let’s talk about it in the planning phases.  We want these photos to be as unique as you are, so if there’s something special you want included don’t hesitate to let us know.  For example, one of our clients wanted to incorporate her two Welch Corgis in part of her session.  It was adorable and is still one of our favorite sessions to date. 

Many brides will utilize Pinterest for inspiration when planning their bridal session.  This is a great idea and we encourage you to search for styles you love.  If there are Pinterest photos you would like to share with us we would love to see them!  All that we ask is that you share these images with us during the planning stages so that we can create the bridal session of your dreams.  Showing up on the day of your session with a print out of the images you want will only end in disappointment.  Many photographs require special elements and set-ups.  If you share this with us during the planning stages it’s far more likely that we can make your dream a reality.

On the Day of Your Session

While we don’t recommend bringing an entourage, we do encourage you to bring a trusted friend or family member.  They will be an invaluable member of the team that day and can assist you by helping you dress in your gown, driving you to the session, fluffing your dress, holding your bag, bringing you water, holding your train as we move to different spots, etc. 

Many brides ask if they should bring their mom.  Our best advice on this subject is to use YOUR best judgment.  Moms are great, but sometimes they have difficulty not fretting and fussing over every detail.  This can lead to stress between mom and daughter during the session and that will show in the photos.  If you and your mom are super tight and you know she’ll be a help rather than a hindrance, by all means ask her along.  If you’re worried about it, maybe she should sit this one out and be surprised by the beautiful portrait you’ll give her later.

Remember that your bridal session is a GREAT trial run for your wedding day!  We recommend getting pampered the day of your bridal session.  Have the hair stylist and make-up artist that will be doing your hair and makeup on the wedding day do their trial run on the day of your session.  This way, you can make any adjustments prior to the wedding day.  In addition to hair and makeup, don’t forget to get a manicure and polish your engagement ring so that they look great in the photos.  Don’t forget to wear everything you’re planning to wear on the wedding day including jewelry, headpieces or veils.  This is one of the perks of this trial run…figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  During our most recent bridal session, the bride realized that the bracelet she planned to wear kept catching the delicate lace of her gown and opted for a different bracelet altogether.  She also realized that the hook-and-eye closure at the top of her zipper kept popping open which allowed her to get it altered before the wedding day and averted an annoying wardrobe malfunction.  Also consider having your florist create a smaller version of your bridal bouquet for your session.  This way you can see a sample of what you’ve ordered and make any changes prior to the wedding day. 

 

Fellow wedding photographer Stacy Reeves agrees and has similar advice:

Not only is a bridal session one of the few times that a woman gets to get primped and polished and take gorgeous portraits of herself, but it’s also a great trial run for the wedding day look. The majority of brides who shoot with me end up changing something about their wedding day look after the bridal session. Maybe they realized the dress was too big, or the shoes gave her blisters, or the eye makeup was too intense, or the hair kept falling in her eyes and annoying her, or the hydrangeas in the bouquet wilted and browned in the sun. Each time, the bride was able to make adjustments BEFORE the wedding day. After all, most brides do a trial run of hair and makeup anyway – at least put that beauty to good use!
— Stacy Reeves

Make sure to allow enough time on the day of your session so that you don’t feel rushed.  You should finish with your hair and makeup in time to dress for the session (allow more time if you have a lace-up corset instead of a zipper), travel to the location, get parked and get inside.  Remember, you’ll be in a wedding gown and that will likely mean you’ll be moving slower than ususal.  (Random note about what to wear that day:  if you have a backless dress, make sure to go “bra-less” for a couple of hours before your session to avoid those lovely bra lines.)

Lastly, make sure you eat a good meal that day and include some bottled water and snacks in your bag.  Modeling is hard work – especially in a thick and/or heavy wedding gown.  We want you feeling your best.  Other things to include in your bag for that day include:

  • Lipstick or lipgloss
  • Blotting papers or powder
  • Tissues
  • Mirrored compact
  • Bobby pins
  • Safety pins
  • Shout wipes
  • Baby wipes
  • Mints
  • Flats or flip flops for walking

So those are a few of our suggestions for making your bridal session its best.  To read more tips, check out the links below.  If you have a tip you’d like to share with other brides, please comment below.  To schedule a bridal session with us or to get more information, please email us at info@daniellewalters.com or give us a call at (504) 324-9188.

 

 

Michellejones-photography.com/bridal-session-tips

 

www.stacyreeves.com/preparing-for-your-bridal-session

 

www.blaichedesigns.com

Real New Orleans Wedding: Rebecca and Frank

In honor of their upcoming anniversary this Sunday, we wanted to do a flashback on the blog of one of our favorite couples, Rebecca & Frank.  This wedding at St. Louis Cathedral followed by a reception at Windsor Court was one of our very favorites.  We wish them a lifetime of happiness!!  Leave a comment below to wish them a happy 1st anniversary and many more!

Our Newest Obsession: Glamour Sessions

You may have seen our upcoming Glamour Session Event on Facebook.  We are considering adding Glamour Sessions to our lineup of portrait sessions and wanted to kick it off right by offering a few of these sessions at a discount.  Before I get into the details, let me first explain what Glamour Sessions are.

Some people hear the term Glamour Session and are immediately transported to the early 90’s.  Many of us were blinded by the colorful eyeshadow, giant bangs and bedazzled jean jacket in which we could be photographed. 

Image via childrenofthenineties.blogspot.com

Image via childrenofthenineties.blogspot.com

Let’s be clear – those were Glamour SHOTS, not Sessions.  This ingeniously marketed fad business placed studios in malls across America and, as evidenced by the abundance of these photos (seriously, have you ever googled “glamour shots”?) managed to get every single one of us through their doors.

Our Glamour Sessions are different.  We were inspired by the great Sue Bryce who works exclusively as a women’s portrait photographer.  Her philosophy is summed up in this quote from her website:

I have been photographing women and making women look and feel beautiful for nearly 25 years. My style is contemporary fashion inspired portraiture and an experience of looking like the women in our magazines with the ‘feeling’ of beautiful. This is a pamper session, a girls day out & a perfect reason to celebrate everything about you, for women of all ages and the people who love them. Beauty is not on the outside it’s something that shines out from inside you. I invite you to a personal session with me. It will change the way you see yourself.
— Sue Bryce

After studying her work, techniques and philosophy we were inspired to bring our own version of these sessions to our clients.  We see the beauty in all of our clients and nothing thrills us more than helping them see it, too.  Let’s face it, in the busy-ness of life women are prone to put themselves last.  Rarely do they make time for themselves, much less pamper themselves.  And yes, we’ve heard it a thousand times, “You can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself,” but we often don’t have time to hear it.   

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

Glamour sessions are intended to be a day of pampering, but it goes deeper for us.  My mom always told me, “Look a little good, Feel a little good, Do a little good.”  In other words, when you look in the mirror and like what you see it makes you FEEL good…and when you go out into the world feeling good you want to do good.  (Who hasn’t been a little nicer or smiled a little wider when they’re having a great hair day?)  For better or worse, I’ve found that I’m more patient, more kind and just interact with people differently when feel that I look nice vs. when I run to Walmart in my warmups and no makeup.

Images via Pinterest.com

Images via Pinterest.com

Glamour sessions are designed to make you feel relaxed, pampered and show you how beautiful you really are.  Every woman deserves to feel her best.  Some people are hesitant if they aren’t perfectly happy with the way they look right at this moment.  (For example, “I’ll wait until I lose 10 lbs.”)  We encourage you to throw that thinking out the window and come let us show you how beautiful you are, at this very moment…as you already are.  You may feel so good after your session that you re-dedicate yourself to your fitness plan and the weight just comes right off.  Or you may discover that those last 10 lbs. don’t matter as much as you thought they did because you realize– “Wow!  I look amazing!”

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

Many people think of these sessions as “boudoir” sessions, but the beauty of these sessions is that you can choose the type of photos you want and the outfits you wear.  If boudoir is your thing, we will help you rock it.  If not, we can absolutely do a session in regular clothes (we’ll be happy guide you in what to wear – just contact us).  Some people are even using this as a headshot session so that they can use the photos for acting auditions or on business cards.  We just want you to feel beautiful and for your photos to be functional for you.  The possibilities are endless!

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

Sometimes it helps to hear what others who have experienced these sessions have to say:

You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for these photos! I am enjoying them and my husband loves them too! Thank you both for taking care of me. You guys don’t know how grateful I am that you made me feel completely comfortable during an experience that could have been awkward and more importantly, you made a regular ole girl feel beautiful for a couple of hours. Thanks again.
— Kathy S.

As I mentioned, we are hosting a 2 day event with the help of Volume the Beauty Studio to introduce you guys to these sessions.  (The price of an individual session at your home will be almost double what we are offering on these introductory mini-sessions, so if you would like to try it out now’s the time!!!) 

For this event, each session is $300 and includes all of the following:

  • Refreshments
  • Professional Make-up Application by the team at Volume
  • Professional Hair Styling by the team at Volume
  • 30 minute photography session with Danielle Walters Photography
  • A private online gallery of all your images
  • A $50 credit to purchase downloads, prints or other products

There are a limited number of these sessions available on May 17th and May 18th and they are going fast!  To book yours, contact us at info@daniellewalters.com or 504-324-9188.  Come let us pamper you and show you how beautiful you really are!

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

copyright Danielle Walters Photography

Vendor Love: Rock-It Productions

Having photographed hundreds of weddings, we have seen it all when it comes to wedding reception entertainment.  From rented sound systems with an ipod on shuffle to live bands and DJs, music at receptions comes in all forms.  There are a myriad of choices for couples today and equally as many reasons for choosing one type over the other. 

Today we’re focusing on DJs and more specifically one of our favorites: Rock-It Productions.  As with any type of wedding vendor, there are good examples and bad examples of DJs, but the crew from Rock-It Productions are quite simply the best in the business as far as we’re concerned.  Having worked with them on multiple occasions, they’re our #1 recommendation when couples ask us for DJ suggestions.

Heading up Rock-It Productions is John Lejune, Jr.  He is a multi-talented entertainer and does an amazing job regardless of the type of event.  When you really think about the function of a DJ at a wedding reception, it’s so much more than “spinning records.”  (Ok, we know that in this digital age no one is actually spinning records anymore, but you get the gist.) 

Your wedding DJ should also be an emcee.  As much as any other vendor, he will control the flow of the evening.  He will make all announcements such as your arrival to the reception, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter throw, second line, etc. and be responsible for getting all your guests to the dance floor and keeping them engaged. 

He will be the one responsible for making sure you first dance song is played at the exact right moment and that the rest of your playlist is executed in the best way possible.  (For example, did you know that songs flow better together when they have similar BPMs (beats per minute)?  Yeah, neither did we.  But your DJ absolutely should.)  Anyone can play music, but few people have the talent to manage the flow of an event while keeping everyone entertained.

We have never seen a DJ that makes events run as seamlessly as John and his team.  Whether it’s a bar mitzvah, wedding reception or mardi gras ball, Rock-It Productions will make your event spectacularly fun.  They also offer lighting services, video projection, photo booths and much more. 

We aren’t the only ones who agree that John does an amazing job…click HERE to read an article from Nola.com about his work.  You can find more information about them by visiting the Rock-It Productions website and read more reviews on TheKnot.com.  You can contact them directly at 985-886-3501 or 877-4-ROCKIT.

Wow Them with a Wedding Welcome Bag!

If you have out-of-town guests coming to your wedding, one super thoughtful way to let you know how much you appreciate them is with an awesome wedding welcome bag.  These guests travel great distances (often at great expense) to be by your side on one of the most important days of your lives.  We love the idea of having a fun welcome bag waiting for them upon their arrival!

Image courtesy of Zazzle via SnippetandInk.com

Image courtesy of Zazzle via SnippetandInk.com

So how do you go about putting together a welcome bag and what should it include?  First, start off with a creative container such as a:

  • printed canvas tote with your names and your wedding date
  • fabric covered box
  • monogrammed duffle bag/beach bag
  • paper gift bag with handles in your wedding colors

Next, include a snack…something that they will enjoy and that complements your overall theme.  If you’re using a large container, consider bulkier snacks (like popcorn) to fill it out.  Generally couples like to include one salty snack and one sweet snack for each guest.  Also consider local delicacies from the area…popular sweet treats for New Orleans weddings could be pralines, Roman Candy or mini king cakes.  Don’t forget to include a beverage such as bottled water or soda.  If you decide to include alcohol, just make sure it’s appropriate for the guest.  (Your college buds might love to find a bottle of Abita Strawberry, but your great-grandparents might not.)

A very helpful item to include in your welcome bag is a printed itinerary.  This should include a schedule of events for your wedding activities, but could also include thoughtful items like maps, taxi service information, things to do & see in your city, suggested restaurants, etc.  This printed information guide can also include things like your custom wedding hashtag (if you have one) so that guests can share all the photos of their wedding weekend trip.  Some couples even choose to include the phone number of their wedding planner or a family member so that guests can contact them with any wedding-related questions.

Another thoughtful item you could include would be a travel-sized emergency kit with tissues, Band-Aids, Shout wipes, Tums, Advil, mints, safety pins, etc.  These could be destination-specific as well.  (For example, if you’re having a beach wedding you could include sunscreen or aloe.)

Finally, it’s always nice to include some sort of local souvenir or wedding-themed gift.  You could include locally made food items, postcards, books, a printed koozie, flip-flops, monogrammed beach towels, travel-sized games (especially if they are traveling with kids), etc.  Don’t forget to include a handwritten thank you note to show your appreciation personally.

You can get as creative as you want with your wedding welcome bags, but one thing is for sure – your guests will really appreciate it!  You can find more suggestions and resources by clicking the links below.  If you’ve created your own welcome bag and/or know of some great resources, please tell us about it in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Jen Fariello via TheKnot.com

Image courtesy of Jen Fariello via TheKnot.com

Wedding Reception Photo Booths

If you’ve been to a wedding in the past couple of years, you’ve likely seen a photo booth at one or more of the receptions.  Photo booths can be a super fun addition to your reception!  We offer a bit of a twist on the traditional photo booth by incorporating all of what we love about this trend and leaving out what we don’t. 

Instead of a tiny booth that can only fit a few people inside, we bring a backdrop, professional studio lighting, customizable props and a dedicated photographer to interact with your guests.  Your friends and family can get as silly or as serious as they want!  And, instead of a small sticker print that shoots out of the side, our photo booth images are put into an online gallery that gives guests the ability to download their full resolution file.  True, they’re not for everyone, but for those couples who are interested here are a few of the perks you may not have considered.

Your guests get to show you some love…

One of our most popular props are the chalkboards on which guests can write a message for the couple.  Some guests choose the traditional “Congratulations!” or “You did it!” but others choose to include inside jokes or more personal messages.  While most of our clients don’t typically include these images in their wedding album, many of them will order a smaller photo book with all the photo booth images to remember who attended and preserve those messages from guests.  It’s sort of a twist on the traditional guest sign-in book that’s more personal and fun.

Your guests can take formal portraits if they so choose…

Weddings usually require that guests get dressed in their best.  What’s more, they provide a gathering of family that sometimes can’t get together as often as they’d like.  While photo booths can be fun and silly, our set-up allows guests to take formal portraits if they so choose.  For some families, it’s rare to have everyone in one place – much less all dressed up! 

Your guests get to take photos if and when they choose…

Let’s face it – some people LOVE mugging for the camera.  They will strike a pose anytime, anywhere.  Other people are more reserved and less comfortable in front of the camera.  Having a photo booth allows your guests who want a ton of photos to take as many as they want with as many different groupings as they want.  For those who don’t enjoy it, they can choose if and when to have their photo taken.  If you’ve ever been at a wedding and been asked by the photographer to pose for a photo right after taking your first bite of spinach salad, you will appreciate this! 

You can rest assured that everything is covered…

Having a photo booth dedicated to guest photos allows us to dedicate ALL of our time to the couple and capture the story of the day as the events unfold.  All couples want photos of their beloved guests; they are a huge part of the day!  To make sure we get everyone, we usually need to circulate during dinner to do table shots so that we are free to get important reception events (bouquet toss, cake cutting, etc.) later.  However, with photo booth, that part is taken care of without us having to leave the couple.

Those are just a few of the reasons that we love photo booth!  We really believe that, when used properly, they can be of huge benefit to you and your guests making your reception even more fun.  If you are considering a photo booth for your reception, please give us a call at (504) 324-9188 to discuss how we can make it great for you!  If you had a photo booth at your reception, please tell us more about it in the comments section below!

Love Story: Lucy & Jacob

It's Friday on the blog which means it's all about the photos!  Today we're featuring one of our favorite New Orleans engagement sessions with Lucy and Jacob.  They are one of those couples who are so much in love and such a perfect fit that it makes you feel good just to be around them.  This was a super fun session celebrating love and laughter all over City Park and the French Quarter.  Lucy and Jacob will be married later this year in Chicago, IL and we wish them a lifetime of happiness!

Vendor Love: NOLA Flora

There’s no denying that beautiful flowers are an integral part of a wedding and that’s especially true in New Orleans.  Whether you have your heart set on beautiful garden roses, fragrant gardenias, exotic orchids or perfect peonies the creative team at NOLA Flora can make your dreams come true.  Are you a traditional bride who has your heart set on a bouquet of roses with your grandmother’s favorite brooch attached?  Are you a more modern couple who wants centerpieces featuring dark pink calla lilies surrounded by feathers instead of greenery?  Regardless of your style, the creative team at NOLA Flora has you covered.

Founded by the talented Ashley Watkins-Bateman in 2005, NOLA Flora is located in Uptown New Orleans at 4536 Magazine St.  Though they specialize in weddings and events, they are a full service florist and flower market with fresh flowers delivered daily.

We love NOLA Flora not only for their spectacular flowers but for their fantastic customer service.  These self-proclaimed “Flower Ninjas” have “floralized” New Orleans and beyond.  You can trust them to develop and deliver a stunning floral plan for your wedding and take care of you like you were a friend or family member.  

For more information about their amazing work, check out their website or contact them at 504-891-3333.

To Pin or Not to Pin…Is That Even the Question?

Aaahhh…Pinterest.  What an amazing platform from which we can glean inspiration from each other!  We all love it, don’t we?  The amazingly “simple” DIY home improvement projects, the killer crockpot recipes, the fashion inspiration and makeup tutorials, travel tips, etc…they’re all so inspirational and allow us to pin the perfect vision of our lives.  We all realize that we fall short of this ideal, but it’s nice to daydream on Pinterest and it can even become a bit addicting.

 So is it any wonder that when we get set to plan one of the biggest days of our lives that we would turn to Pinterest for inspiration?  If we turn to Pinterest to design our dream homes and dream wardrobes we will definitely use it to plan our dream wedding, right?

 From a photographer’s perspective Pinterest can be a bit different.  In a great article by fellow wedding photographers Troy and Aimee Grover, they explain that sometimes Pinterest can actually hurt your wedding photography by discouraging the creative process and resulting in you getting a poor imitation of someone else’s wedding pictures rather than truly unique and beautiful photos of your wedding.  We’ve all see the hilarious ecards of famous Pinterest fails…

 The last thing anyone (especially your photographer) wants is for you to be disappointed with your wedding photos.  The thing about great photography is that it’s dependent upon many factors and many times the shots you covet can’t be re-created. 

As photographers, we see photos in a very unique way. We notice the lighting, coloring, the location, time of day, the natural elements (wind, sun flare, fog), the posing, the height of the couple, etc. We know from experience that ALL of these aspects are what create the mood & feel of that particular photo…As photographers, the images we create are like one-of-a-kind art. There are so many aspects that go into composing a photograph, most importantly the lighting, environment and the subjects. Sometimes, the most amazing photographs happen by chance and can’t be re-created. Unpredictability is one of the things we find most inspiring and exciting about photography. We love when we are able to blow our couples away, and give them images that are better than anything they could have ever dreamed up or expected. We are able to create these images when we are given time, complete trust and artistic freedom.
— Aimee Grover

So, does this mean you should abandon Pinterest altogether?  Perish the thought!  Pinterest, when used appropriately can be an AMAZING resource.  In fact, if a photographer tells you to keep your Pinterest boards far away from them or holds up his hand in front of your face when you even mention the word Pinterest…well then forgive me, but you might want to look for a new photographer.  That reaction seems less like someone who is simply irritated by over-pinning and more like someone who refuses to listen to his client’s vision.

 Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help make Pinterest work for you rather than against you:

  • DO create a board of photos you love to help you determine the style of photography you like
  • DON’T pin photos of weddings vastly different from your aesthetic or venue (You’re unlikely to get “beachy” shots if you’re getting married on a snowy mountaintop at night)
  • DO look for photographers whose work is consistent with a style you love
  • DON’T use Pinterest to compile a long list of other photographer’s shots to be re-created.
  • DO share one or two shots you’d like re-created if you just can’t live without them
  • DO hire a photographer you trust to capture beautiful images of your day
  • DO talk to your photographer about what you want
  • DO give your photographer permission and space to create one-of-a-kind photos that flatter you and tell the story of your day.

 The bottom line is this: you need a photographer committed to giving you the very best images of you and your day…and that’s better than the best imitation of someone else’s day.  As long as you shoot for “PIN-spiration” rather than duplication, your wedding photos will be amazing.

 What do you think about using Pinterest to inspire your wedding?  Let us know in the comments below…we love hearing from you!

Extraordinary Engagement Sessions

We LOVE engagement sessions for many, many reasons and we always recommend them to our clients.  There are so many benefits for clients AND photographers; some that you may never have considered.  In this blog post you’ll learn why we love them (and you should, too!), where and when they should take place and tips for how to make them a great experience. 

WHY do we love engagement sessions?  Let us count the ways… 

Getting the most out of your wedding photography involves working with photographers that you trust and an engagement session can be one of the first building blocks in that relationship.  It’s important to us that we develop a working friendship with all of our clients.  When you think about it, you will have as much or more interaction with your photographer as with any other wedding vendor you hire.  Engagement sessions are a great way for us to get to know more about you and what’s important to you so that we can translate your unique love story into images you will cherish.

Engagement sessions by design are relaxed and fun!  You will be able to get a sense of how we work and we will be able to help you feel comfortable in front of the camera.  We get it: aside from models and celebrities, most people aren’t naturally comfortable in front of a camera.  It can be daunting – especially if you’re being told to “hold one hand here, place your feet there, look this way, tilt your head and by all means make sure your smile is natural.”  Because that feels normal, right?   Your comfort is key to great photos so we will be there to put you at ease and give you some amazingly simple tips for looking your best in front of the camera.  We love it when, at the end of their engagement session, clients tell us, “Wow, I was nervous before we started but that was really FUN!”  It really is a great warm-up for the wedding day.  Having had the experience of a great engagement session with us, you will be relaxed and confident on your wedding day when it’s time for photos because you know exactly what to expect.   

In addition to those benefits, your engagement session will also give you amazing images to hang in your home, display at your reception or use for save-the-date cards and guest books.

 WHERE & WHEN should your engagement session take place?

Being New Orleans wedding photographers, we know that we are blessed with an abundance of amazing venues for photography.  While this is great, it can make the task of choosing between them very difficult.  We suggest couples choose to have the engagement session in a place that is meaningful to them – where they met, the proposal site, etc.  This is another great way we can learn more about your story.  Choosing places that are special to you can provide a wonderful setting and mood for your engagement session.  Other options are the ceremony/reception venue, a relative’s home, an architecturally significant or beautiful building, a spot you like to frequent or a beautiful landscape/greenspace.  Depending on your style as a couple, you may even want to consider a stylized shoot with a fun theme such as “date night” or “dinner and a movie” where we come into your home and shoot images of you interacting naturally together.  The options with stylized shoots are only limited by your imagination.  We love helping you plan the perfect session, specialized for you so don’t be shy in asking for suggestions or collaboration.

Engagement sessions typically take place about 6-8 months prior to your wedding.  This allows time to plan the session, shoot the session and deliver your images so that save-the-dates, guest books and reception portraits can be designed/ordered.

As for the time of day, this will be dependent upon the location of your session.  If you choose an outdoor location, we will work within their hours of operation but we normally like to shoot a few hours before sunset for the best light.  If your location is indoors this will be less of a factor.

 HOW can I make the most of my engagement session?

A common question about engagement sessions is, “What should we wear?”  First, consider your chosen location.  If you are taking photos in a field or on the beach, you will want to dress more casually.  If you are taking photos downtown in a glamorous hotel lobby, you could dress more formally. 

As a general rule, avoid HUGE patterns which can be distracting or TINY patterns that won’t be visible in your photos.  Don’t be afraid of color and strive to coordinate, not match exactly.  Most importantly, you want to be comfortable.  Even if your new outfit is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, if it’s uncomfortable that will show in the photos.  You want clothing that’s not so flowy that it’s unflattering but not so tight that it’s constricting.  Also, don’t underestimate the power of accessories!  A nice scarf, belt, or jewelry can add interest to your outfit and let your personality shine.  (And don’t forget to polish your engagement ring prior to the session – we’ll want some great shots of it, too!)  Cute shoes (for guys and girls!) can add interest as well.  We do encourage ladies to wear heels if possible, but to bring flats for comfort in between shots.

new_orleans_wedding_photographers_danielle_walters_photography_engagement_004.jpg

 Also, consider having your hair and/or make-up done professionally the day of your session.  Unless you’re planning a stylized shoot requiring it, an intricate up-do is probably unnecessary, but a nice blow-out and fresh face of makeup will make you look and FEEL amazing.  On the day of the session, bring a small bag with touch-up items which could include lipgloss/balm (you’ll be doing some kissing!), powder or blotting papers, a brush, hairspray, bobby pins, mirrored compact, mints, and bottled water, etc.

 Now that you’ve got your location and your look nailed down, there’s one final touch that we encourage clients to bring…props!  These don’t have to be elaborate but should be something that is significant to the two of you or fitting with your style.  As with a stylized shoot, the only limit with props is your imagination.  Props we’ve seen in the past include wooden letters (to spell out initials, the wedding date, the word “love”), chalkboard signs, paper/fabric banners, flowers, balloons, picnic baskets, cute/coordinating blankets, pets, college memorabilia, cars, books, etc.  Don’t hesitate to ask us for help with this…odds are we might have an item you’re considering or be able to help you find it.  We love helping you design the session of your dreams!

For more tips, check out fellow wedding photographer Katelyn James’s blog article about prepping for your engagement session.  Do you have any tips or tricks for engagement sessions?  Please let us know in the comments below!  If you would like more information about scheduling an engagement session with us, please use our contact page to send us a message.

Vendor Love: Southern Oaks Plantation

Let’s face it…when it comes to amazing wedding venues, the selection in New Orleans is an embarrassment of riches.  Regardless of your personal style, geographical preferences, or budget you are almost guaranteed to find a venue that you love.  That being said, there are certainly stand-outs in the crowd and one of those is Southern Oaks Plantation

 As you can imagine, we have worked with our fair share of wedding vendors.  I must admit, when I first heard of Southern Oaks Plantation I was intrigued.  The venue itself was stunning, but I caught myself wondering -  with all the beautiful options available closer to the city, why do people choose to go all the way out to Southern Oaks?  (In fairness, it's only about 10 miles from downtown New Orleans, but it can require more logistical planning with transportation, etc.)  Well, after shooting our first wedding at Southern Oaks Plantation I got my answer.

 We have worked with well over 100 venues in and around New Orleans…all of them gorgeous.  The things that separate Southern Oaks Plantation from the rest are customer service, attention to detail and food. 

The staff at Southern Oaks is truly unrivaled in my opinion.  Not only do they go out of their way to make sure the couple is pampered, they even take care of the other wedding vendors!  I’m not sure what their motto is (or if they even have one) but if I had to come up with one for them it would be “Exceed the expectations of everyone.”  And boy, do they!  No detail is left unattended. 

I could go on and on about the food, but let me just say this: in a food obsessed city like New Orleans where picking your favorite foods/restaurants is nearly impossible (seriously, it’s like trying to pick your favorite child…how do you do that?), the catering provided by Southern Oaks is phenomenal.  I my opinion, if you can stand out in a crowd of “the best of the best” you are most certainly doing something right. 

In New Orleans, the food has to be good. You can have a beautiful setting, but if the food is no good, the venue doesn’t work
— Bobby Asaro, owner Southern Oaks Plantation

So, how could it get better than a beautiful venue, top-notch service and delicious cuisine?  How about throwing in fun New Orleans style options like a horse drawn carriage, Lucky Dog cart, snow ball stand and fireworks? 

Even if you include all of these fun add-ons, the price is still extremely competitive.  Especially when you consider that all of their 3 hour reception packages include hot and cold hors d’oeuvres/entrees, open bar, candle-lit centerpieces, chivari chairs, tables with linens, a DJ, security through NOPD, personal attendants for the couple, custom lighting, and much more.

 If our glowing review of Southern Oaks Plantation doesn’t have you sold, consider talking to couples who have had their wedding there or just look to the multiple accolades they’ve received from national and local industry leaders.  Southern Oaks has been honored by following awards:

 To learn more about this incredible venue, check out their website or give them a call at 504-245-8221.

Real New Orleans Wedding: Heather & Tim

This was, quite simply stated, one of the most stunning weddings we’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing.  From the gorgeous chapel at Jesuit where the two exchanged vows to the chic and sophisticated reception held at The Cannery, this was a wedding which left no detail unattended.  However, the best part of the day was sharing the absolute joy and devotion Heather and Tim felt for one another throughout the day.  Thanks so much for letting us be a part of your wedding!  (Scroll down to see photos from Heather and Tim’s wedding and reception followed by the vendor information.)

Ceremony: Chapel of the North American Martyrs 

Reception: The Cannery 

Photography: Danielle Walters Photography 

Make-up/Hair: Revive Salon 

Florist: Beth’s Flowers 

Cake: The Sweet Life 

Videography: Look Again Video 

Band: The Wise Guys 

Transportation: Alert Transportation

 

Do I Really Need a Professional Wedding Album?

Oh goodness, where do we begin?  We could seriously talk for hours on this topic.  We know we might seem biased because selling fine art photography products is part of how we make our living.  However, our passion on this subject has nothing to do with a paycheck…it stems from our dedication to our clients and wanting only the best for them. 

The reasons for purchasing a fine art wedding album are numerous, but we have organized our favorite reasons in to 5 distinct topics with a handy acronym for remembering them:  ALBUM. 

A is for Availability

This refers to the availability of your pictures as well as your availability to work with them.  Unfortunately, having all your digital files is not enough when it comes to wedding photography.  Yes, you have all your images saved securely to a flash drive, CD, hard drive, etc. and our clients have 10 years of archival cloud storage.  These are all great as storage and backup methods, but if your images aren’t readily accessible you’re likely to never look at them.  In addition to that, technology can fail and will definitely change.  What happens when CD drives become obsolete?  What if your computer crashes?  In our opinion, the digital copies of your images should be your backup plan, not your primary method of viewing your wedding photos.  Even if you are planning to design your own album, the sad truth of the matter is that most couples just never get around to it.  With honeymoons, thank you notes, moving into a new home and just getting back to a normal routine most couples find that their schedules are quite full after the wedding.

Image courtesy of Foca.tk

Image courtesy of Foca.tk

L is for Longevity

Think about it…your wedding album is your first family heirloom.  Many of us can remember pulling out our parents’ or grandparents’ wedding albums and the joy we felt flipping through the pages.  Your wedding album should be made of high quality materials that will stand the test of time so that it can be cherished by generations to come.  If your wedding album is printed with substandard materials, it won’t be around long enough for them to enjoy.  Even if you can order a duplicate copy when it wears out, is it really cheaper &/or worth the headache to re-order it every 3 years or so?  The simple truth is that professional photographers have access to products that consumers don’t.  The labs we use are reserved for professionals only and do not work with the general public.  These pro labs use only the highest quality inks, papers, bindings and cover materials available...which is the biggest reason wedding albums from your professional photographer have a higher price tag.  (If your professional photographer offers you a wedding album for a few hundred dollars, PLEASE ask them about the lab and the materials that will be used.  Odds are, there's a good reason why it's so inexpensive.  As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.)  Fellow photographer Elizabeth Glessner of Glessner Photography states it this way: 

I won’t lie to you – an album is typically a pretty big expense, but one that is so worth every penny. How much would you be willing to spend on a car that you’ll have for far fewer years than your wedding album? When you think of it as the one truly historical item that will document your love story for decades and generations to come, it doesn’t seem all that crazy. It’s definitely an investment you won’t regret!

(To read more of Elizabeth's advice about wedding albums, check out her guest post on wedding planner Leigh Pearce's blog.)

Image courtesy of kiss.us/books

Image courtesy of kiss.us/books

B is for Beauty

We’ve already covered that professional labs use the best quality materials which ensures that you will have a gorgeous cover and the pages will showcase your photos beautifully, but what about the design of your album?  How will you select which photos (out of hundreds) to include?  How should they be arranged?  Honestly, designing an album isn’t as easy as it might seem.  There are tons of different programs out there that can help you, but to get a truly custom album you will need strong mastery of Photoshop and/or access to professional design software.  If your photographer offers albums, chances are (s)he has invested a good bit of time and money learning how to use the tools necessary and has experience with good album design.  What's more, your photographer will have a calibrated monitor to make sure that your images print perfectly with the correct color balance, brightness, etc.  Sometimes what you see on the screen looks very different from finished products made by consumer labs.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Let your photographer do the hard work for you and design an album you love…one that features your favorite shots while including photos of the details you so lovingly selected all while telling the story of your day.

U is for Uniqueness

As much as you may have been inspired by a friend’s or family member’s wedding album, you want your wedding album to be unique.  This collection of photos should tell the story of you day but also reflect your style.  This can be achieved through paper selections, font choices, colors, textures, sentimental touches (such as including your vows or a special quote on the inside cover page or as a background in your photos) and other creative accents.  Your photographer can sit down with you and help you design the album of your dreams that will be uniquely yours.

Image courtesy of pictobooks.com

Image courtesy of pictobooks.com

 M is for Memories

At the end of the day, your wedding album is about preserving the memories of one of the most special days in your lives.  In a previous post, we quoted fellow wedding photographer Ann Almasy to illustrate the type of photography we love: 

You know why I REALLY do what I do? To photograph your parents, who will hold hands and cry on the first row of the chapel. To photograph your sister dancing with that boy she will marry in three years. To photograph those kids who will grow up so, so quickly. To photograph your first kiss as a married couple, your best friend busting out her signature dance moves, the flower girl asleep under a table, and maybe even your ex looking pretty wistful as he hugs you a little too long in the receiving line. You already know: your cake will disappear in less than an hour, your flowers will wilt before the ceremony ends, and that uncomfortable tux will go back to the rental place in the morning. But those photos…they’re gonna be there forever. You’ll have them when your own kids are born, when you have the biggest fight ever with your partner and need to be reminded of how much you really love each other, when your parents pass away and you realize the last time you danced with them was at your wedding…

These are the types of images we capture for you.  These are the images you’re going to want to see year after year and the ones you’ll be proud to show your kids and grandkids time after time.  To read more about the importance of a wedding album, please check out these articles from fellow wedding photographers Cheryl George and David Walters (no relation, haha).

So what do you think?  Please comment below and let us know your thoughts on wedding albums and your experience with them.  We love to hear from you!

 

 

VENDOR LOVE: Bustles & Bows Bridal Boutique

One of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding is what to wear.  Most girls dream about their wedding gown from a very early age and it’s important that you feel beautiful as a bride.  When you begin searching for that perfect dress (or dresses), we highly recommend stopping by Bustles & Bows.  With a variety of beautiful dresses and a commitment to customer satisfaction, you won’t be disappointed. 

From their website:

Bustles & Bows Bridal Boutique is focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction - we will do everything we can to meet your expectations and make your wedding day perfect! Our goal is to help you find a gown that you feel beautiful and confident in and make pleasant memories while doing so!  

     We offer everyone in your bridal party one-on-one attention from a knowledgeable and friendly stylist. Bustles & Bows is based on the belief that our customers' needs are of the utmost importance. Our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. As a result, a high percentage of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.  We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry!

Be sure to check out their website www.bustlesandbowsbridal.com to learn more or book an appointment to find the perfect dress for your perfect day.