carondelet house wedding photography

I posted part one of this shoot a couple of weeks ago, and the whole thing originally appeared on Southern California Bride.  When Damaris and Hylah invited me to be part of this Carondelet House wedding photography inspiration shoot, I was too excited for words.

Without further ado, here is our very sultry second bridal look from our shoot at Carondelet.  Enjoy!

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Remember to check out the dreamy and romantic bridal look number one, or you can see it all over on Southern California Bride.

coordination + creative director // hylah white special events
assistant creative director // damaris mia
second shooter // rhianna
invitations // east six
wax seal // venus envy paper
cakes // frost it cakery
sugar cookies // sugary sweet cookies
floral design // pristine design
wedding dress // rmine bespoke
accessories // dvnchi design
shoes // christian louboutin
menswear // friar tux
videography // miguel garcia studios
hair + makeup // beach bridal beauty
rentals // pretty vintage rentals
tabletop // dish wish

tips for better wedding photos

Brides and grooms to be!  Wedding photographers know to take photos of your bridesmaids and groomsmen, flowers, and first kiss as husband and wife.

What we’re more interested in are the details, however small they might seem, that can make a huge difference in helping to create a collection of stunning wedding images.  And some of the details that can be so useful have been left off of those lists of “must-have” wedding photos on pretty much every wedding blog out there.  They often go completely overlooked but can make a significant impact on some sweet moments of your wedding day.  So, here are some tips for better wedding photos.

marsala wedding inspiration

Write your vows on something prettier than hotel stationery or typed on your cell phone.  I love the idea of these vows notebooks to hold your vows, or you can get a little more specific with “his” and “hers” versions or even customized with your names.  And, of course, a plain little Moleskin notebook works just as well!  Giving one of these to your fiancé is good insurance against the last-minute possibility that he’ll jot vows on a piece of scrap paper or the back of a receipt, neither of which look very romantic in photos.

Pay attention to the light when choosing a venue. When you’re looking for a ceremony space, visit during the same time of day the ceremony will take place (think about time changes and seasons, too). For a mid-summer wedding in Southern California, an invitation time between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. with your guests facing west is a photographer’s dream for a ceremony outdoors.  The backlighting casts a beautiful glow on your ceremony, and generally means you won’t be squinting in your photos.  Now, if your chosen venue doesn’t have the perfect setup, that doesn’t mean you should abandon it as a contender for your big day.  It’s just one of many things to consider, and it’s important to know that the location of your ceremony will affect your photos. A good wedding photographer can work with any lighting situation, but it helps if you know what to expect from the finished product if your altar is in direct sunlight, spotty light under leafy trees, or half in shadow.  Plus, you won’t get soft, glowy ceremony images if you have a 1:00 p.m. invitation time. Those types of images are not a priority for everyone, but if they are, plan accordingly.

Have an engagement session. Having a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer is a great way to feel more comfortable in front of the camera.  Most couples I work with preface our sessions with the disclaimer that they’re a little awkward in front of the camera, which is a totally normal reaction to having professional photos taken.  Wedding photographers are used to this.  But a great way for you to get used to being the center of attention (and yes, this is what your wedding day is about, if you tend to be shy) is to schedule a session with the photographer you’ve hired for your wedding.  You’ll get to know your photographer a little better so he/she will feel more like a friend when showing up on your wedding day, plus you get a trial run before the “main event” to reflect on what you might like or dislike about posing, facial expressions, or other little details. Engagement photos give you a chance to talk with your photographer about any body insecurities you’d prefer to minimize, or angles or poses that make you look your best.  And—bonus!—an engagement session means you’ll have photos of yourself to use for your wedding website, guestbook, and décor (plus some professional images of yourself in clothes other than your wedding day attire).

pastel bridal party photos

Keep your bridal party small(ish). Fewer bridesmaids and groomsmen means fewer people to wrangle when it’s time for bridal party portraits, which can be a time-saver and less stress for everyone.  It also means there are fewer restrictions on where your photographer can shoot these portraits. If you and your groom each have eight attendants (plus four flower girls, two ring bearers, and three ushers), it can be a challenge to find a spot with a pleasant background, beautiful light, AND enough room to line everyone up.  Under five on each side (so ten or less, not including the two of you) seems to be the sweet spot; having two, three, or four makes magic for photos. Don’t get me wrong–if you have a large bridal party, we’ll make it work and you’ll get awesome photos!  But in my experience, your options for location and creativity grow (and your stress level decreases) if you have a smaller group of people.

Ask your officiant to step aside for your first kiss at the end of the ceremony.  Chances are, you chose an officiant or celebrant you connect with and are excited to have with you while you exchange vows.  Still, I’ve found the best “first kiss as husband and wife” photos are ones without your officiant in them.  The partial view of his or her head behind the two of you as you share a kiss can be distracting and take a photo from frame-worthy to just “so-so.” It’s a small step to the side that can make all the difference.

Have an “unplugged” ceremony. Ask your guests to refrain from holding their point-and-shoot cameras or cell phones in the air during your wedding, and you’ll reduce the potential for distracting elements in ceremony photos, as well as ensure your hired photographer has a clear view and optimal conditions at all times. You hired your wedding photographer to get the best photos of the day, right?  So it’s a good idea to ask your friends and family to stay seated and get out from behind their devices. Your photographer can do his/her job effectively, and your guests can truly be present and enjoy the moment instead of worrying about which shot of you they should post to social media.  Implementing an unplugged ceremony can be as easy as a note included with invitations, a polite sign as guests enter the ceremony, or a brief announcement from your officiant before the ceremony begins.

Any other tips y’all have for getting rad wedding photos?  Please share!

easy floral arrangement diy

Say hello to Amy of Stella Bloom Designs, who is sharing this simple floral DIY along with tips for creating beautiful arrangements at home. This is a simple arrangement that anyone can put together with a combination of flowers from the flower mart (or your local grocery store) and ferns from your backyard (or your neighbor’s–we won’t tell!).

easy floral arrangements

Amy used the following ingredients in this arrangement:

  • vase of your choice
  • (1) bunch of white sweet peas
  • (5) stems of white ranunculus
  • (6) stems of safari sunset
  • (5) stems of leather fern
  • (5) stems of sword fern a few Salal leaves

She started out by making a “grid” using the stems of the ferns. Personally, I recommend achieving this by taping a grid on the vase (it’s just easier for us novices to hold stems in place).

easy floral arrangementsPro tip #1: cut stems at a diagonal angle to maximize the plant’s access to water in the vase. The diagonal cut increases the area of the stem that can absorb water.

easy floral arrangements

Next, Amy used the safari sunset to create the basic shape of the arrangement. She then filled in with the white sweet peas to create a full, whimsical element, finished with creamy white ranunculus to fill in any holes. That’s it!

easy floral arrangementseasy floral arrangementseasy floral arrangementsPro tip #2: look at your arrangement from all sides to make sure there are no “holes,” or spots that look a little empty (and would benefit from the addition of a bloom or two). If you’re running short on flowering stems, make sure the holes are clustered at the “back” of the arrangement, or the side of the arrangement that will be facing a wall or will otherwise be mostly unseen.

easy floral arrangementseasy floral arrangements

Greenery is so popular right now and gives a fresh, modern look to pretty much any arrangement. You can use so many different kinds to create depth and texture, then add your favorite color for a pop (or keep it neutral with white blooms, like Amy did for this one).