Anyone remember Jamie + Melissa‘s gorgeous wedding up at Priest Lake from last spring? Gosh, it was such an absolutely perfect day, and I’ve been thinking ever since last May about what to say for this post.
Jamie + Melissa reached out to me long distance from Florida. They are both in the Navy, but wanted to get married in Idaho, where Melissa is from. We sent a lot of emails back and forth over the months, and chatted a couple times on Skype (with most of our pets making appearances) before I drove up to Priest Lake for their wedding. We were prepared for all sorts of weather, but ended up with the most gorgeous spring day. From the moment of their sweet and emotional first look, to the beautiful vows and the epic dance party, this wedding was one for the books. Jamie + Melissa had family and friends come from all over, and from all different parts of their lives. I think one of the things I love most about weddings is that you finally get to have all the people you love in your lives together. And, for Melissa and Jamie, they got to bring them all to Priest Lake and Hill’s Resort, which made the day even more sweet for them.
Thank you two for having me up at Priest Lake for your wedding! It was a joy to meet you both in person, to meet your wonderful families, and all your friends!! Check out all the wonderful vendors at the end of the post!
Venue + Catering: Hill’s Resort at Priest Lake // Hair & Makeup: Friend // Officiant: Friend // Florist: Floral Traditions // DJ: Chad Yount // Clothing: Men’s Warehouse + David’s Bridal
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!!
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.
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:
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.
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. :)
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.
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!!
My blogging backlog has gotten so bad, but I am determined to catch up. And, a confession. I set a goal for blogging and I really want to cross it off my quarterly goal list. Anyone else find that crazy satisfaction in crossing something off a to do list? Yeah, me too.
Here’s where I ramble about how amazing and sweet Mandy and Nick are. Like I said back when I posted their preview, Mandy and Nick were married on her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. And since today is their anniversary…happy 1st and 51st anniversaries!! :) You’ll love how adorable they all are below. Mandy first reached out to me shortly before I had my babe, and she was super understanding as I took forever to get back to her in those first few weeks. She kept telling me not to worry about it, and to just snuggle my baby, and every time I saw her emails, I would get all teary because she was so sweet and understanding. Not surprising, because she works with little kiddos and so she knows how fast they grow!
Their wedding day was on a weekday and it was absolutely as laid back and relaxed as you can imagine a midweek wedding to be. Originally, the plan was to have the ceremony out next to the creek, but when it started raining, the staff at Commellini Estate moved everything to the covered portico. Yay! Just a reminder that if you ask yourself should I have a backup plan in case of rain on my wedding day? The answer is YES. And then, we managed to dodge the rain during their portraits and even sneak out during the reception for some cold but beautiful photos under the twinkle lights. Normally, I wouldn’t blog the outtakes from the nighttime photos, but Nick was a trooper who helped me get all the lights set up before we made Mandy come out in the cold, and then they got photobombed…well, you’ll see at the end!!
I was doing so well, and then I got sick and busy and the blog was neglected. Don’t worry, it is at the top of my list and I have some fun stuff to share with you in the coming weeks.
First up – really quickly – I was featured in a surprise to me post on Apple Brides today, on a list of 8 of their favorite local photographers! They had such sweet sweet words to share, so now I feel even more like I want to blog again soon.
Check it out: Picture Your Perfect Wedding with 8 of Our Favorite Photographers