Three Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You to Know // Tips for Clients

It’s been a long while since I did any Tips for Clients posts and I’ve missed them. Have you? I thought I’d tackle a big one this time – things your photographer wants you to know, and maybe has even told you, but seem to be hard for non-photographers to get. I’m focusing mostly on weddings here, but a lot of this applies to my Spokane portrait photography clients too, so even if you’re not engaged or planning a wedding – read this!!

Priest Lake Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

1. We want you to print your photos

Ya’ll. Digital is amazing, but I can’t tell you how much it breaks my heart to hear people say that they got married a year or five or ten years ago and they don’t have any prints. Digital photography has been an amazing accomplishment, and I love that it gives me the ability to affordably shoot so many more images for my clients, and to send them flying around the world via the internet. But at the same time, it’s not fun to pass down digital files, and in this age of Marie Konda and KonMari-ing everything, one thing we seem to neglect is our digital clutter. So, please, print your photos. Choose five or ten and stick them up on your fridge. Find an awesome frame or three and take a few into work. Pick out that one WHOA shot that we got of you two heading off into newlywed bliss and blow it up and stick it up on your wall. Design an album. I don’t care if you got married last year or two decades ago. You want an album? Let’s design that. I can even do the design work and you can order it from one of the consumer labs I recommend if a heirloom album isn’t in your budget. But please, find a way to make it fit your budget. They’re so good.

Spokane Catholic Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

2. And to back them up so they don’t get lost

Each year, I get an email or two from past clients that sound something like this:

“Hi Emily,
I know it’s been a while since my wedding, I hope you’re doing well. Uh…we (moved/cleaned/reorganized/decided to finally print a photo/our computer died) and we can’t find our photos! I’m sobbing right now and I really hope that you have our gallery somewhere because I’m heartbroken.
Past Client”

Ya’ll. Do not be this client. And if you are, pray that your photographer is as obsessive as I am about back ups and has copies of your photos archived where they are accessible. Because this goes hand in hand with the first thing we want you to know. If you’ve got some prints or an album, you’ve got something left if your photographer for some reason doesn’t have your digital files still. And most of us have in our contracts that we’re not obligated to keep our archives. Most of us are also absolutely neurotic about making sure your photos get to you safely, so we’ve got you covered. But seriously. If you have a digital download of your gallery, download the images to your harddrive and also back them up online. I like Dropbox and Google Drive personally, but a lot of people love Amazon’s storage options too. If you have a USB drive or CD – download them to you computer and do the same thing. And then order some prints. :)

Spokane Church Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

3. Most importantly, we want you to love yourself and get photos taken

Nothing breaks my heart more than showing up on a wedding day to a fretful bride or groom who pulls me aside and tells me how they don’t like a part of their body, how they tried losing weight but they didn’t hit their goal before the wedding, or how they really don’t love the way they look in photos, so ‘I’m sorry if I hate all of them, it’s not your fault.’

This is so much deeper than just getting your photos taken, but let me tell you this. As a photographer, I do my best to show you how beautiful you are. Especially on your wedding day (or right after having a baby), it can be hard. Emotions are high, you’re worried about how you look, and you have worked so hard for this day. But please, even if you’re terrible at backing up your photos or printing them out, please please please, listen to this. Love yourself. Get the photos taken. Enjoy your laughter, your tears, and your moments. They don’t happen again. They can’t be re-lived. And the photos will be so precious to you and your family years and years from now. And while you may have shown up on your wedding day worried about your flabby arms or the nose you’ve never loved, twenty or thirty years from your wedding day, you’re going to smile softly and think Dang. I was a total babe. Why didn’t I appreciate it more? 

So please, love yourself. Enjoy the process of being photographed, and know that I deliver only images that show real emotion, real love, and real beauty. So if you’re looking at a photo I delivered and you think to yourself, but Emily! I can see my double chin. I want you to also look at the love shining in your eyes, and the joy radiating from your entire being on the day your marriage began.

And! If you’ve been recently married, please remember to get photos of the two of you and then any other family members who join you in life. Especially if it’s been ten or twenty years since you got married. Celebrate those year. Celebrate the life you’re living. Someday, you’ll want those memories to look back on.


That’s it, friends. Those are the things I want you to know more than anything. There’s a lot of other things I meant to say, but somehow, when it came down to it, the three things I really want you to know are to embrace the moments, back up your photos, and print them out so you can enjoy them.

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Evelynn + Nikita – Coeur d’Alene Elopement // Winter Wedding Photography

You may remember the sweet little preview I shared of this Roosevelt Inn elopement last year, but now I’ve got more for you! Evelynn and Nikita reached out to me in December about photographing their wedding in January. They’d been engaged for a while and the thought of planning out a big wedding didn’t excite them. So instead, they called around and found this sweet bed and breakfast in Coeur d’Alene (which does small weddings too!) and called me to photograph it. Besides their officiant and myself, the only two people who attended were their son and Nikita’s dad.

Evelynn and Nikita met up with me about a week before their wedding to chat about where they were getting married, taking photos, and just to talk a bit for the first time in person. We ended up talking for almost two hours! These two had me cracking up laughing, and I enjoyed every minute I got to spend with these two and their stubborn little boy who resisted smiling at me when I had the camera pointed at him. In the end, I got a smile or two out of him, but I had to earn it! :) I especially loved that Evelynn found this gorgeous and glittery green dress to wear, instead of going for something white. It really popped in the winter light!

Happy first anniversary to these two beautiful souls. I hope your first year of marriage was beautiful. Thank you for allowing me to capture your wedding last year!!

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September + October Recap – Flying with an older toddler // Behind the Scenes

When I made the (very long) list of all the posts I wanted to catch up on for the blog, I almost crossed off these monthly recaps. They’re not the most popular posts on the blog, they don’t bring in much traffic, and they’re kind of a pain to put together. But I love them so very much, and I really enjoy looking back on these for my own sake so here goes. Trying to catch up though, means I’m hoping to blog two long posts for September + October and November + December all in January. Or maybe I’ll make these a two month thing for 2019?

Here goes!!

September :)

1.  We had family in town for parts of Labor Day weekend (and did some actual work on the house then too), which means we made sure to take time in the evenings for fire pits and s’mores on the patio. Looking back at this summer and fall, I think we actually got a good amount of patio time in. I’m advocating for a patio heater for 2019 so that we can use that space for even more time. Anyone have one and love it?

2. We used to travel almost every year during Labor Day weekend but I put my foot down and insisted that we stay in town this year and go to Pig Out in the Park. It was a little crazy because of the construction, but it was really fun to try all the different foods and have N try them too. She had a blast and loved people watching.

Pig Out in the Park with a Toddler

3. We went out for a family dinner as well, and went to Clinkerdagger. Bonus points to them because we always love their view and they have good food on their kid’s menu (N had salmon) instead of just chicken nuggets and plain pasta. My kid would rather eat artichoke dip than chicken nuggets.

4. Running errands in the fall and getting some wrap snuggles in.

Fall Days Babywearing Spokane Falls Clinkerdagger

5 + 6. We always try to squeeze in extra time in the Methow Valley, and when we went up for Jessi + Tim‘s wedding, we managed to get lots of hiking in. We took a short stroll on one of the cross country trails by the river, then while I shot the wedding, the other two did a hike near Winthrop. Both of these photos are from our short toddler stroll.

Methow Valley Visit Mazama with Kids

7. Our last family hike in the Methow Valley before we headed out to drive home was to Cutthroat Lake. This was a beautiful hike and I was really bummed that, unlike the other family we ran into up there, we did not pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake. Next time we’ll plan ahead!

8. After getting home from Mazama, we enjoyed a fairly low key family dinner out to celebrate our SEVEN YEAR anniversary. I feel like it was just yesterday that we got married, and I’m so shocked it’s been seven years (and more than a decade together). We’re taking a kid free trip later this month as a gift to ourselves so that will be nice. :)

Cutthroat Lake North Cascades Anniversary Dinner

9. Sometimes working from home with a toddler is easy. She naps and plays independently and it’s great. Other times she doesn’t nap and then crashes on you as you’re trying to make dinner.

10. Or, she insists on you sitting in her room while she plays with you and you try to work. Toddlers are funny creatures that I will never begin to understand.

Working from home with a toddler

11. When I drove down to Tekoa for Katie + Seth‘s beautiful wedding, the winds were howling. But they calmed down right as the ceremony started and rewarded us with a beautiful sunset that this panorama does not do justice.

Thompson Barn Tekoa Sunset

12. N has been super into helping us in the kitchen lately. It’s been messy, but she loves to stir whenever we are cooking or baking things. She asked to help us make pumpkin muffins, and so H and N made them while I was working one evening.

13. September sunsets are stunning and here’s another one just from my backyard. I miss fall.

Cooking with Toddlers, Fall Sunsets

14. Sometimes, you end up near Gonzaga on a crazy morning when you haven’t had breakfast so you can have a fasting blood draw and you snag a bagel from Ultimate Bagel and bring it home and it’s the best fuel for a long day of editing.

15. We bought an old dresser that had some really tarnished hardware and I used <science> to clean it off. Looks like it’s brass, but sadly, there aren’t enough handles for all the drawers. Much to my husband’s annoyance, I’ll probably keep them for some mythical future project.

Ultimate bagel and refinishing hardware

16. Cooler fall days meant the AC was finally off and this girl has gone blanket crazy. She was running all over with this one, giggling while we made lunch one day. Shadow was unimpressed.

17. Some days, when she wakes up from a nap, she asks for snuggles and keeps me company while I answer emails.

Working from Home with a Toddler in your lap

October :)

18. Early October was insane, but I took a morning to do some self care and got a haircut and did a few things that helped me stay sane through most of the busy month. By the end of the month, that morning felt like a long lost dream.

19. I got to shoot an event at Gonzaga in October and help a bunch of their students get great new head shots. It was fantastic to do, and so fun to be back at my alma mater. I remembered why I loved campus so much too. It’s strange, because I thought when we moved back to Spokane five years ago, we would spend more time there, but we don’t spend much time on campus. Maybe now that the bridge is open we will ride our bikes over there!

20. The view from my last wedding of the year, Sonja + Phil‘s day at Badger Mountain. The clouds went away and the sun came out later and it was an absolutely perfect fall day.

21. How do you manage a dog and a toddler at the vet? Very, very carefully. It isn’t always easy, but somehow we all survived.

How to manage a dog and a toddler at the vet

22. Right before we flew off to visit family in Germany, we went to this small pumpkin patch in Spokane Valley. There were no hay rides or pumpkin donuts, but there was also no traffic and it was easy to park. We found our pumpkins and did it all without (major) tears. [Minor tears due to falling down and getting dirt on our hands – the horror!]

23. Once we got home, someone delighted in pointing out her tiny pumpkin to us over and over and over.

Pumpkin Picking in Spokane

24. The last time we flew long haul with N was in March, when we went to Prague. We flew British then and had the bassinet and so this was essentially our only true lap infant trip in her two years. We got lucky on our flights to Hawaii, and scored an extra seat for our lap infant, if you remember from February. It wasn’t easy and the seats on Condor are small. But she still got a good amount of sleep in. More than both her parents.

25. She was so tired though, that she completely passed out in my arms before we arrived in Munich, and I handed her to H, put the ring sling on, and got her in it without her waking up. It was hilarous. She woke up just as we were heading out to get the rental car.

Flying with an older lap infant

26 & 27. We spent most of our time in Munich with H’s family, although we did go into the city a couple times (and we took a last minute trip to Innsbruck). N’s favorite thing was this forested area near his grandparent’s house, and the awesome playground that I forgot to photograph in the neighborhood. She keeps asking to go back there and play more!

Munich Forest Walks with Kids

28. We did escape Munich for a short weekend trip to Innsbruck, and stayed at a lovely Airbnb in Oberperfuss, a village like 15 minutes from the city center. The view of the mountains was amazing, and they even brought us fresh eggs and milk in the morning. I would 100% recommend this Airbnb for families. They had a small play structure, a pack and play we could use, and if the other apartments are anything like the one we stayed in, they’re perfect for families. Uh, don’t ask me how good their English is, we spoke all in German.

Airbnb near Innsbruck

29. We decided on this last minute trip to Innsbruck because I wanted to see the alps. So we went up the Nordkette, which was very cool but also…foggy. Dang it. However, the cable cars were a blast for all of us, the restaurant was pretty good, there was an awesome Tyrolean band playing (because it was Saturday), and N loved listening to the music. This was the trip where we really learned our lesson about ordering kids food. See, we ordered her this typical German kids’ meal (Frankfurter und Pomme Frittes – Hot dogs and french fries, because she loves both these things) but she took one look at H’s Kaesespaetzle and demanded some of it. Which is what she’s eating in this photo.

30. Downtown Innsbruck was adorable, we strolled through the beautiful buildings and tiny side streets and fell completely in love with the little city. It’s smaller than Spokane, and we loved all the mountains and the river. Bonus: it’s only 2 hours from Munich in good traffic (ha!). We’re dreaming of heading back soon.

Innsbruck and the Nordkette with a toddler

31. More food with this kid. On one of our last days we were in the city center doing some shopping and meeting up with old friends (H), and I didn’t want to eat in one of the cheesy tourist trap “German” restaurants around Marienplatz. So we found this adorable little Italian restaurant, La Valle, tucked away on a side street. N was in love with H’s pasta and the waiter who quickly switched from German to Italian to English and back again. I had some amazing ravioli that I’m still dreaming about.

32. Obligatory Rathaus photo to prove that we did in fact visit Munich proper and see something touristy.

Eating with a toddler in Munich

33. The drive to the airport was far too stunning and it made me wish I’d spent more time demanding we drive around and just pull over for me to take pictures of the fields and the perfect Bavarian blue-white skies on this trip. The weather was mostly amazing and beautiful with a few rain showers, and we were feeling bittersweet about heading home.

34. On the way home, N decided that she didn’t want to sleep across both our laps, but instead wanted to use me as a pillow and steal H’s seat. So he stood for about 6 hours on our flight. We had a long, late layover in Seattle and we were thrilled to be home and sleeping in our own beds by the time we got back to Spokane.

Mornings in Bavaria

35. A little out of order, but N’s hair was long enough while we were in Munich for me to french braid it one day. She sat still while papa distracted her and it lasted all of an hour before slipping out. It was fun to practice on her, although it’s been years since I’ve done French braids regularly.

36. N decided she would help me with my overflowing inbox when we got home and answer all my emails. Thankfully, no emails were sent on my behalf – this time. ;)

Working from Home with a Toddler

37. This silly girl! She wanted to be a superhero in her car and borrowed my scarf. She was zooming all over and the light was pretty so I took a picture.

38. With travel right before Halloween, we didn’t have much energy for costumes. We threw together these Rosie the Riveter outfits for a quick walk around the neighborhood and reused last years’ snow owl costume for a trunk or treat at her daycare.

Toddler and Mama Halloween Costume - Rosie the Riveter

And then boom! It was November and we were off running towards the end of the year. Hopefully I’ll get all caught up with these soon!!

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