Kelley Raye
wedding + lifestyle photographer

Pre-Wedding Day Prep Guide Page 2

Prep Tips 

location, style and timing

If any one of these 3 things is missing, we are in for a major challenge my good friend. But I'll always do my best to make any situation work :) Tips and tricks on how you can help me help you lie ahead. I hope this guide will help you feel the utmost confident that your wedding day will go exactly as you planned :) #hah


How to rock your portraits

otherwise known as the answer to "What do we do with our hands?!"

You gotta give me emotion! You can't tell me in your inquiry that you hate "posed" photos and then get to the session and just stand there holding hands and smiling at the camera......um hi thats a 'pose' babe. Show me all the love! Forget I'm there, bear hug each other, play with each other, chase each other, whisper secrets in each others ears, act like 2 goofy teenagers in love, grab each others face, for crying out loud- kiss without me having to prompt you to, wrap each other up and then close your eyes and listen to the wind, admire each others hands and body parts, theres no one here but us chickens! Cuddle under a cute blanket, take a walk, grab butts, help me bring life to your photos by bringing your real selves and your real love to our session. I'm literally yelling this by now and I know you cant hear me but still....

Give me feeling.

Give me emotion.

Show me how much you love each other. Please.

This ain't Sears portraits yall! Dont just stand there! Move around, dance, play, make people jealous, throw your hands in the air if you dont know what to do with them.

The more you interact with each other on your own, the less I have to direct you to do something different.


Prep Shots (Hair, Makeup, Getting Dressed)

Lighting is important. I utilize natural light every chance I get. For portraits, for prep shots, for anything that comes before the reception really. Your prep location should have light. Your bridal suite should have light. The difference between a 'cute' image and an amazing image is proper lighting (and a few other things). Please keep that in mind when planning where you're prepping, where you're standing during your ceremony, the time of day it will be when you'll be doing your couples session, etc.

Try to keep the house, hotel room, or bridal suite you are getting ready as clean as possible or at least keep try to keep one area (near the window if possible) so that when Im taking photos of you getting dressed you are not being photo bombed by trash.

Estimated Shoot Time: 30 min for bride, 15 min for groom

Locations: 1 (typically hotel room or home)

What I need to make your prep shots beautiful: CLEAN room, Natural light, Not a million people in the shot. If I have to spend time cleaning up a messy room before I start shooting, we will have less time for your prep shots.


Bride(s) Portraits

Estimated Shoot Time: 30 mins

Locations: 2 (preferably a pretty indoor room and then outdoors)

What I need to make your bride portraits epic: CLEAN room, Natural light (indoor shots)

Groom(s) portraits

Estimated Shoot Time: 10 mins

Locations: 1 (typically hotel room or home)

What I need to make your groom portraits radass: CLEAN room, Natural light


First Look + Pre-ceremony couples session

Estimated Shoot Time: 30-45 mins

Locations: Several, preferably outdoors

What I need to make your first look beyond belief: PRIVACY; Also everyone should have their wedding rings on for these shots (so that when you are printing photos you cant tell what was done before the ceremony and after)


Ceremony Shots

What I need to make your ceremony photos memorable: Face each other so that I can see your profile, don't have your back to your guests because you will in turn have your back to me; Public affection may not be your thing, but please kiss for longer than usual so that I can get all my shots. Also, ask your officiant to step away when you kiss so that he's not right behind you; Try not to speed down the aisle when you are coming and going.


post-ceremony Couples session

Estimated Shoot Time: 30-45 mins

Locations: Several (preferably outdoors)

What I need to make your wedding portraits magazine worthy: A great attitude, and patience. These will be a mix of directed + candid shots taken during guest's cocktail hour (if you have one)

Wedding Party Portraits

Estimated Shoot Time: 15 mins

Locations: 1  (preferably outdoors)

What I need to make your wedding party portraits fab: I need everyone to pay attention; bridesmaids and groomsmen and groomsmaids, whatev, keeping the off-script shot requests to a minimum (to save time and lets be honest you probably don't want those shots anyway, its ok..you can say it)


Family Portraits

Estimated Shoot Time: 20 min

Locations: 1 (preferably outdoors)

What I need to make your family portraits tolerable:  Family members in the designated photo spot at the right time and paying attention. If there are any family members uncomfortable being around each other, please let me know in advance so I know when to be extra comical to ease tension :) Real life.


Reception Photos

Once dinner service begins, so does my break. I do not take photos of people while they are eating. During dinner service, I will eat, download earlier images, and rest my feet in preparation for the rest of the night dodging family members on the dance floor.

What I need to make your reception photos feel good: Don't look at me every time you see me :) also if you want to be in these photos you should probably dance. Also all grooms, try to dance for at least one song so you're in at least one reception photo :)


Send Off Photos

What I need to make your reception photos unforgettable: come out on time :) and walk at a medium pace to the car so I have time to get the shots (I know sparklers will make you feel like running because fire, but please don’t, otherwise I wont get the right shots)