Wedding tips, ideas & stories, from The Photographer

Quick Tip

Quick Tip; Cool In The Heat

California Hot

Hot California wedding

Even in April, it’s hot in California. These gummy bears didn’t have a prayer.


As Summer starts to heat up, just had to share a quick tip. If you’re having an outdoor wedding think about any desert items you might have for your guests.

A lot of attention gets paid to the cake, but going with items, normally not associated with melting, on a desert table could lead to a hot mess, or at the least a funny picture. Like these poor melted gummy bears, who were in the shade during the early afternoon California sun, but caught some rays later in the day.

Don’t be afraid to ask your caterer to stash those commemorative candy bars in the freezer till it’s go time for the reception.



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Are You Getting All You Paid For; Full Frame vs. 8×10 Prints

How would you feel if you were only getting 15-20% of the photos that you paid for?

Well chances are it’s happening and in most cases it’s not your photographer’s fault. The 35mm film & digital SLR camera take photos with an aspect ratio that prints out fully when on 8×12 paper, but losses between 15-20% of the image because it must be cropped to fit into an 8×10 print (see the comparison below).

The difference between full frame printing & 8×10.


Considering 35mm film & digital cameras have been the dominate camera format since the 1960’s, I’m not sure why the 8×12 hasn’t taken over from the 8×10. The good news is more and more printing labs are offering 8×12 and other options large & small to fit full frame. A short list of the most popular full frame sizes are shown below. If you used me as your photographer, you’ll be happy to know beyond being able to order full frame prints, you’ll have the option to get frames custom made to fit your full frame prints. (Orders can be placed here




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Quick Tip; Pinning the Boutonnière

Stop The Fear & Bloodletting

Ok, so for the record I’ve never saw someone draw blood while pinning the boutonnière, but I have witnessed the look of fear in both the pinner & the pinee. While you pass up a chance to get great photos like the one above, you minimize the chance of damaging the flower and yourself when you pin the boutonnière on a jacket while its on a hanger.


Narrow Your Guest List


Tips to Narrow Your Guest List

Lets face it, most couples want to invite just about every person they know to their wedding. And why not? Its suppose to be a grand celebration and a giant party, but budgets and time constraints often bring things down a notch. I mean if you did invite 500 people, at 30 seconds a person, it would take you over 4 hours to thank them all.

So, I’m going to share a little tip I usually give to couples who I meet, early on in their wedding planning, to help sort out a more manageable list. (By the way, it helps to do this on a computer file, since there may be a lot of writing).


First; go hog wile and make a list of every person you & your future spouse would invite.

Second; make a list of who you absolutely have to invite.

Third; with exception to the “must invite” eliminate people you haven’t seen in person in over a year, or people you haven’t even talked to on the phone in the last 6 months.


Now obviously this will not give you your final list, but it will give you a very good starting point. Some family & friends my not make that cut due to geographical difference, but you’ll still invite them and this does leave open the door for a few people, mainly co-workers, or fellow students in some cases, so if that’s something you have to decide on your own. Also, if parents are paying for part, or all of your wedding day, don’t forget they’ll have a list too.

The real reason of this method isn’t to give you an absolute list, but more of a way to help you determine if inviting the kid who lived on your block in 8th grade is really necessary.

I think using the phone and in person conversation is far more relevant than the use of say Facebook.

No matter what you do, good luck and just remember. Don’t worry about who might be mad if you don’t invite them. Worry about who you really want there to celebrate your special day with.



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Go Beyond the Top 3 Search Results

Searching for wedding vendors

Searching for wedding vendors

Finding a wedding vendor that stands out from the background noise isn’t as easy as locating the bride in this photo.

One of my main reason for doing this blog is to help couples plan out the best possible wedding day that they can. For most of us, this is our first (and hopefully only) time we’ll be getting married and even if we’ve recently had a friend or family member who tied the knot, coming across information, or tips from seasoned professionals isn’t always easy to do.

While the internet has put information at a bride’s finger tips, it’s also littered with disinformation as well and companies looking to game the system as much as they possibly can. Especially when it comes to the billion dollar wedding industry.

The tip I have today is basically look past the first page or two of results when looking for a wedding vendor. This stands true for search engine results from the likes of Google, Yahoo, or Bing. As well as vendor lists on sites like The, & Common sense tells us that in most cases the companies listed at the top are the best, but unless you’ve done some internet marking yourself, you may not realize that all of these vendors are paying and paying big time to get in front of your wedding day eyes. Sites like The Knot can charge close to $4,000 a year just to be listed. Some of the bets photographers I know & don’t know in the wedding business aren’t even listed there.

If you devote a little more time to your search, you’re more likely to find vendors that aren’t paying to be number 1, and are using less of their money on advertising and more on the quality of their product, or staff used for the service part. These vendors aren’t usually high volume and will sometimes be willing to work out a sweeter deal to fill empty calendar dates.

As always, do your due diligence. Read reviews, or testimonials & ask for references from past couples.

Congratulations Adrianna & James, June 19th, 2010

Wedding Walter Payton's Round House

Wedding Walter Payton's Round House

I photograph a dozen or more weddings each year and 99% of the time I feel that I’ve formed a very good relationship with the couples I’m working with and while I’ve never had any disasters, forming a bond with the wedding party & close family doesn’t always happen as easily. With Adrianna & Jame’s wedding that was not the case.

Tagging along side of the bridemaids & groomsmen was a blast. I even have to make special mention of the bride’s sister Marika, who was a blast to be around. Just look at some of the photos from the reception which was held at the Walter Payton Round House in Aurora, and I think you’ll see how lively this group was.

Walter Payton round house wedding reception

On another note, I’ve had a few weddings where the groom, or bride had served, or was serving in the military, but Adrianna & James, was actually the first wedding I’ve ever shot where the groom was dressed in uniform. While a uniform isn’t an option for every groom, it a great reminder that you don’t need to stick with just the same old tux or suit. My personal favorite, mostly because it’s what I wore, is a white dinner jacket instead of a black tux jacket. This works great for summer & spring weddings.

wedding photography Wheaton Warrenville

See more photos from Adrianna & James’ wedding on my Facebook page (don’t forget to click like)

Spit your gum out

This will be one of the few posts I will do with no photo (as not to incriminate the brides who have done it), there are few things that will ruin a good photo the way chewing gum does.

I will say right off the bat I am not a gum person and I don’t understand the need to constantly chew gum, but in general it doesn’t bother me until it shows up in my photos.

When it comes to taking portraits many people stress about a a pimple, or blinking and while blinking can’t be corrected it’s usually a one off thing, only the worst acne outbreak isn’t fixable in Photoshop, but gum on the other hand just makes your face do all sorts of weird things.

Talking is another one one that will ruin a posed photo, but unlike chewing gum it can often become part of a candid photo, making it more realistic.

So unless you’re doing a cute bubble blowing photo. Spit the gum out.

(No brides have ever chewed gum during the ceremony. At least that I know of).