Your questions – answered. “How to prepare for really great photos.”

So I’ve been wanting to actually WRITE on the blog to have a bit of variety.  I’m terrible at writing, spelling, and grammar (which is why I take PHOTOS for a living!).  SO BEWARE!  But I’m biting the bullet and answering some of the questions that I hear.  A while back, I asked on my facebook fanpage for some questions that you guys may have for me.  The most common question was “How do I prepare for really great photos?”

#1. So let’s start with engagement sessions.  Every bride starts planning this session by asking what to wear.  This is totally unique to each couple.  I like for you guys to look like YOU.  So if you are really casual people, then don’t dress up.  But I must admit, my favorite sessions are the ones that are dressy and totally glammed up.  It just makes for a whole SEXY feeling to the shoot that I love to work with.   Also, I’m a huge fan of color.  I love to make it POP in photos. 

Now here comes the important part… Just relax!  Take a deep breath and just try to be calm and enjoy the sesh.  I know it’s hard not to get super nervous about it…which leads to being stiff.  Obviously.  But here’s how I do it. I start out by doing some really fun,  moving around shots where you can just be talking to each other and getting comfortable in front of the camera  And then we move into some posing.  I’ll tell you where to stand and different things I want you to do and places to look.  But beyond that, let your body just be natural.  People ask “well what about this hand or this foot?”  Just let your body be natural.  Where would your hand normally go?  Of course I’m going to tell you if something looks silly, so beyond that just let your body be natural. =)  So try not to overthink and overanalyze.  Just be natural!  On mine and Brent’s wedding day, our photographer was taking a photo of myself and my bridesmaids all together.  She said, “okay girls, put a hand on a hip and just look at me!”  And my girls were asking a billion questions “Which hand? Which foot in front?  What about my flowers?  Should we look at you full on or from the side?”  LOL  I’m not kidding.  Finally I said, “Chill!  It doesn’t need to be all perfect and us all be doing the same exact thing.  I want it to look natural and RANDOM…not like she just posed us for a portrait.”  Yes, all of my friends are type A’s.  But my point is, I like for photos to have that “in the moment” feel, and that’s impossible to get if every part of a body has to be instructed on where to be.   But this comes with time, you’ll see that you need much less instruction by the end of the session.

#2. Okay moving on. So next is the wedding day.  The best advice I can give is to allow for enough time and have everyone ready.  Most of the time, everything is behind schedule on a wedding day.  So just plan for it.  Plan gaps and events earlier than what you would think they need to be done so you can have time to just breathe.  A relaxed and happy bride is much easier to get comfortable for beautiful photos than one who is having to stress because of things not going according to plan.  When it comes to formals after the ceremony, make sure all the family knows ahead of time where to be for photos.  That way we aren’t standing around waiting on people.  I try to be done with family photos ASAP so we can move on to gorgeous photos of the couple. =)  MY FAV!  Last but not least for the wedding day…if you see that I’m taking your picture getting ready or at the reception, don’t feel the need to smile. =)  I know it’s a little awkward having a paparazzi around, and I do shoot from farther away b/c I want to be lessed noticed.  BUT, if you do see me, don’t look at me and grin.  I want your photos to be a mirror of what actually happened on your wedding day.  I always tell people I want them to FEEL their wedding day when they flip through their album.  So in order to get this, just live it.  You don’t have to smile for me while doing the cha cha slide. You just doing the cha cha slide is brilliant enough.  =)

#3.  Boudoir photos:  I do a LOT of these sessions, and I’ve got to tell ya…the only way to calm you down is to sip on some wine.  The last girl I shot was SO nervous (of course), and I suggested she just have a little bit while the hair and makeup artist was getting her ready.  She said, “But Tonya, it’s only 8:30 in the morning!  Won’t that make me an alcoholic?”  LOL  Welll…  No just kidding.  For these photos especially, I need you to be relaxed.  So yeah, if it takes a little bit of something to take the edge off then let’s go for it.  And again, once you get going and as I show you sneak previews on the camera and you SEE how hot you look, you’ll be able to be more comfortable.  =)

I think this is enough for now, don’t you?  I hope this has been helpful.  If I missed anything, let me know!  I’m an open book.

xoxo

Tonya

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