As a Des Moines Photographer, I started planning this styled shoot in August. I had gone hiking with my family and noticed the way the light played around the fields at Ledges State Park. It was so lovely. After that I found a stunning bridal gown, and started planning the whole shoot around the gown, & the fields. As a Des Moines Photographer, I started collaborating with some wonderful local vendors of Iowa. I started finding props here and there, some are from my own house and collection. Other props were purchased at Anthropologie, Rescued Junk by Old Crow, & thrift store finds. My vision for this shoot was to show the simplistic beauty, rich color tones mixed with soft. A vision of elegant yet bohemian style. A list of my amazing and wonderful friends, & vendors are listed bellow.
Oh! and if you are wondering, that cake was absolutely delicious!
Models: Annie Binder & Andrew Judge
Dress: Asa Bridal
Suit: Millroy’s Tuxedos
Make up: Winter Love
Henna: Alternative Artistry
Cake: Ali Cakes
Stationary: Amavi Studio
Location: Ledges State Park
If you are like me, you love to order family photos, snap shots, etc. I enjoy having tangible memories and photos of our kids and family. However as a Des Moines Photographer, it is also important for me that when we spend hundreds, or for weddings, thousands of dollars on our photographer, I want to make sure our prints look just as good as the digital image. Why spend all that money on an amazing photographer if your print is going to give you dark shadows on your skin, etc.
As a Des Moines Photographer, I recently ordered some test prints from various labs, my professional lab, Mpix, wallgreens, and shutterfly. Now the main difference in labs is the quality of the lab tech and the machines that they use. A professional lab’s technician is trained to see color and knows when a photo is printing off. They also calibrate their machines and printing equipment so that density, color, is just like it will be on the screen of your computer. Their papers and quality are also going to be more archival, meaning they will last a lifetime with no difference in the photo, as long as it is taken care of. (not left in direct sunlight, water damage, etc.)
Now, Mpix is one of my favorite labs. They are the sister lab to my professional one. The main difference is that their papers, machines are at a lower quality than the professional lab’s. That being said, they for me are still affordable and they calibrate their equipment! Big thing right there!
The other labs I chose because they are the ones most people said that they used. My Wallgreens order came in but I am still waiting on my order from Shutterfly. I will update this post when it comes in to compare them as well but in the mean time their spot for this experiment will remain empty. So, I listed the labs I used below, as well as their cost per image, cost of shipping, and shipping times or how long it took them to get to me. With each order I picked the cheapest shipping option available. All of them I believe were supposed to be within 5 business days or less. (For my lab it was 1 – 2 business days.)
Labs: Cost for 1 4×6 image: Shipping Times:
Wallgreens $0.12 per print Shipping cost $0.99 took 9 days -from order for me to receive it
Shutterfly $0.15 per print Shipping cost $1.92 I still have yet to receive prints after 9 days from ordering
Mpix $0.29 per print Shipping cost $3.95 Photos arrived 2 days after I ordered them.
Professional Lab $10.00 per print Shipping is built in to pricing. Photos arrived the next day after ordering.
Now the original photo is meant to be a moodier edit. Bellow are photos I took of the prints side by side. I have not touched or edited these at all.
You can tell that the wallgreens print is way brighter than the Mpix or the professional lab’s. The professional lab’s print is actually the closest in comparison to what shows on my computer screen from the original photo.
This photo of the comparison’s is kinda blurry, Sorry iphone snap! However, you can still see the variations in brightness and a touch on the color.
I think this last example is a lot easier to see the skin tones change in the prints. Wallgreen’s print has a huge color cast on the bride’s face. There is a lot more green in the print of Wallgreen’s vs. Mpix or the Professional photo lab’s. The shadow’s also are a lot more pronounced.
Anyways, I hope this sheds some light on print comparisons and why as a Des Moines Photographer, I truly a professional lab for our family photos that we have done and Mpix for our snap shots! I like having tangible memories and printing my Instagram photos. I think for Instagram and phone snaps, Mpix is the best hands down when it comes to color and affordability, and professional lab’s when you want a photo to stand the test of time and still look like it came right off your computer screen.
Thank you for reading! I will be updating this to include my order from Shutterfly as soon as I get it in the mail.
Tip 6. Flowers
Flowers, if you DIY them, you want to keep them fresh! Store them in an air tight container or in a vase of water in the fridge. Boom! Fresh flowers! If you go through a florist, they usually bring your bouquet to you in some vase or jar filled with water. Have a towel handy! You will need to dab the stems off because the will be very wet and you do not want water leaking on your wedding dress. A simple dab on a towel or paper towel will do. Boutonnières are those flower things that you pin on your lapel. Unless your florist is pinning them for you, they usually supply a pin or two for you to do it yourself. DO NOT pin them across! I have posted a blog years ago on the correct way to pin. They are so delicate and you don’t want to pin them cutting and damaging the flower and base. Also, be careful hugging on that side. Also goes back to the fact that they are delicate.
Tip 7. Gown
If you buy your gown from a shop, generally they will alter it for you, make sure it fits you. Please please try your gown on before your wedding. (I had to help a bride once into a dress that she never tired on and it didn’t fit! Long story short, we got her in but it took forever and some tricks I had up my sleeve.) Ok, so back to the bridal gown shops, these people are amazing! They know their stuff and will make sure your gown is ready for your day. Does your gown bustle? If so ask the shop how to bustle your gown. Typically it is color coded back there but every gown is different and some are very complex. As a Des Moines photographer, I have lost count of the number of dresses I have helped bustle over the years. So, odds are if you do not know how to bustle your dress, I can probably figure it out for you. *winky face* Moving on, Does your gown button up? You need a hooker! And no not that kind. Shesh! I mean a hook, crochet hook dealaboper. That is the correct name, dealaboper, you heard me. Just kidding it is a crochet hook! Those hook dealabopers are helpful in looping the loop to the button. Trust me on this! Do not wear anything on your wedding day that you didn’t have on when you did your final fitting. This means a bra, or corset. Your dress was fitted and altered with what you wore with your fitting. Keep that in mind.
Tip 8. Tide Sticks
Tide sticks, don’t have one? Get one! I carry one with my photo gear for weddings specifically and I use it for my clients almost every wedding. Those are handy little boogers and I’ve used them on wine, chocolate, blood (bride got a paper cut), and they get it out every time. Tide sticks are amazing and I thought they deserved their own headlining tip.
Tip 9. Shoes
Are you wearing heels? If so, wear them around your house for a few days before the wedding to get used to them and break them in. Also, get a comfy pair to bring with you. (another item to stow in that 31 tote bag thing) Two words, Comfy dance shoes. Ok that was three words, but you get the point.
Tip 10. Eat!
Weddings can be hectic. All your loved ones & family, some from out of town or even out of state, are so excited! They want to talk, see you, stare at you, hug you, kiss you, poke you, etc. Weddings are busy! We have time lines for that reason, to keep us on track, make sure we are running smoothly, but you need to remember to eat. I have shared my mom snack of nuts and granola with my brides before. lol I will probably ask you but you need to remember to speak up and tell people you need food. Remember my last tips post? Personal Attendants are amazing and I’ve seen them run and get Jimmy Johns for their bride or even shove food in those 31 tote bags that carry EVERYTHING. Also, remember to eat during the dinner. Often times I see well meaning family or friends want to talk to the bride and groom. Who I may mention are exhausted! All they want is their yummy food and cake they paid for and they hardly get a bite in because guests want to chat. It is ok to politely say you will chat later after dinner. It is ok to make us the bad guy if you need us to be, Us being wedding vendors. We are in your corner. We are always in your corner. So, eat! Don’t forget to eat, and if you need food then we will find some or send someone to get it for you. *big hugs* *some caters will box up a “to go” plate of food for you for after the reception. Just ask!
Tip 11. Relax and Take it in
Breathe! I am pretty laid back. During my wedding planning I was go with the flow, but however laid back I am, I still stressed out the day of. My advice is to breathe, and trust in your planning and your friends, family, and wedding vendors to take care of you. Take everything in, enjoy the moments and memories. This day will go by so fast! It will be one of your favorite days of your life!
As a Des Moines photographer, Whenever I meet with a bride we always make a wedding day time line. I think it helps visualize the day and plan things out. Every wedding is different so your time line will be unique to you! However, I thought it might be helpful if I shared a mock wedding time line with the ideal times of what we will need.
The average wedding coverage is 7-8 hours. In saying that I have shot 14+ hours and 4 hour weddings. It all comes down to what you are wanting to be captured. Things to also consider is driving time. If you have to travel from the getting ready to ceremony, reception, or photo spots. Also you have to factor in how long receptions will be and how long it will take for people to sit, get their food and eat. Each venue staff is unique and so I feel like it is always best to talk to the event coordinator or catering staff, and go from there.
Wedding Day Itinerary Mock Up
11:00am – 1:30 pm
Hair & Make up (hair and makeup will take 1 – 2 hours at least to get done)
Getting Ready @ Marriott downtown = 30 min to 1 hour
Meet with bride
Getting Ready Shots – putting on dresses, lacing up dress, etc
Getting ready of Bride, Second shooter with Groom
Head to Jasper Winery
First look with dad
Candids / Trolly
First Look w/ Groom
Couple photos. Just Bride & Groom
2:30 – 3:00 pm = at least 30 min Depending on how large the family group is.
Family Photos (big hug) outside
Bride’s Family Formal Portraits
Groom’s Family Formal Portraits
Venue photos at this time
Hide away Bride for ceremony
3:30 – 4:00 pm = 30 min to 1 hour
Receiving line = 20 minutes
4:20 – 6:30 pm = 1 – 2 hours, sometimes 3
Trolly Ride & Bridal Photos
Bridal Party Photos
Bride with Bridesmaids
Groom with Bridesmaids
Bride with Groomsmen
Groom with Groomsmen
Entire Wedding Party
Just Bride & Groom
Leave for Reception
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Cocktail Hour for guests
Reception = at least an hour
*Ring Shots at this time*
8:00 – 8:30 pm
Father & Daughter Dance
8:30 – 10:00 pm
Dance party time
SCHEDULED PHOTOGRAPHY END TIME
Honestly, as a Des Moines photographer, I started thinking about tips that I could share and there are just so many. So, I decided to break this posts up into parts. This will be part I.
No one really knows how to plan a wedding until they are in it and deep in the trenches of planning. I had no clue what I was doing years ago when I got married. I pretty much winged everything! Really after being in the wedding business for so long and really immersed in everything wedding, you start to pick up random tips and tidbits of information. Alright, so without further Ado, I give you . . .
Tip 1. Venue
I will say this everytime, as a Des Moines photographer, I meet with a client. Have you booked your venue? Most the time they answer yes but sometimes they answer no. Some venues are VERY high in demand. They are like photographers in that respect because they book out 6 months to 1 year or more in advance. Before you book anything else you really need to make sure your venue is settled. That you have the date with them nailed down. Most venues will also have an event coordinator as staff. These people are AMAZING! I will not tell you that enough. They know the ins and outs of their particular venue, how long dinners usually last with their staff. This comes in handy when you sit down with your photographer to come up with a time line and figure out reception times. We will come back to this point later.*
Tip 2. Reception
Ok, people are all different. Some of us eat slow and savor their food. Others, like busy moms like me, eat so fast! This is because of experience that if we don’t eat asap, our food will be consumed by a tiny human food thief, or because we will loose our time to eat by some circumstance. (like the fact that my kid just got into the bathroom and is now playing in the toilet. #momlife) So remember that even coordinator I talked about above? Besides being awesome, they will probably know how quickly buffet style or seated style dinner will last at their particular venue. Because every venue and staff is different and times may vary. So when we sit down together to do our time line, we will know if we should schedule 30 minutes or an hour for people to be served and eat.
Tip 3. DJ
A good DJ is worth it. They can feel the crowd. Know when to move things along to meet our time line goals and make announcements. They play good jams and keep the crowd happy. Be sure to go over things with your DJ about music choices. Meet them in person to make sure you connect well. A DJ can also book far in advance so keep that in mind.
Tip 4. Personal Attendant
While planning your wedding a great thing to think about is appointing a close friend as a personal attendant. I have seen first hand how amazing having a friend designated can be. They are your back up! Delegate to them so you are not overwhelmed on your wedding day. These people, usually ladies, show up with one of those 31 tote things loaded to the brim with tide pens, tissues, sewing kits, deodorant, food, (I’ve seen whole sandwiches shoved in there) among lots of other things you didn’t know you needed until you NEEDED it. I also love having the PA (personal attendant) because they’ve got my back! They know all the names of family members and are so helpful to assist me in gathering wondering family members for those family photos. For so many other reasons, there are too many to list, having someone as your PA will take a load off your mind and help your day run so much more smoothly.
Tip 5. Budget
I recently did a poll and asked past friends and brides, If there was one tip or advice they could pass on what would it be? All of them came back to this: Budget. Pick what is the most important to you for your wedding and budget according to that. If it is dress, dj, food, venue, or photography. No one will remember the party favors or table linens. They will remember the fun they had with you and the memories that were made.
Ok! That is it for now but stay tuned, I will crank out Part II soon, which will have day of tips.