Jim and Courtney are always a pleasure to see to chat with. I've had the opportunity to document their wedding and now to goof around at Memorial Park Omaha for their family photography. Everyone going to the playground near the end of the session is without a doubt my favorite part since it's so unscripted and kids being kids. Send me a message if you have questions about decorating your home with images of your family.
Location | Grover Ice Rink in Omaha Nebraska
I want to thank Grover Ice for making ice time available for Jadine's ice hockey photography session. I got to combine two of my favorite things, photography and hockey and yes, I shot the entire session in skates haha. I've had the opportunity to skate against her when she played in net and I can tell you without a doubt she is going to have some good opportunities in ice hockey as she continues to improve on her already fantastic talent.
Did you know half of all wedding couples go over budget? Often it's from nickel and diming themselves with decorations here which worst of all, compromises then have to be made in areas that are important to them. Hiring an event planner will keep you within budget; they know the costs and how to maximize your return. It is an extra cost however it’s not a substantial cost and there are many different packages you can choose but importantly a wedding planner can save you more money than you spend on hiring them.
A wedding planner is great not just for budgeting reasons but for peace of mind. You know everything is being done by someone who has experience with planning and organizing weddings every day. You will not have to constantly stay in contact your multitude of vendors to check in and make sure everything is being prepared correctly because your planner is staying on top of it; you only need to reach out to your planner to make sure everything is coming along as you wanted before your wedding. More importantly, if a vendor drops the ball and overbooks themselves and for example suddenly has no chairs for your ceremony or reception (it happens) a caterer doesn’t bring the food or some other issue, on your own that throws a major wrench in your day. The amount of professional relationships an experienced planner has gives them the best opportunity to try to find alternative solutions all without you having to lift a finger so you can keep enjoying your day as you dreamed.
Wedding planners offer everything from helping you make a budget and providing vendors that meet your priorities and budget to complete planning, decorating and tear down and at the end of the night and I know at the end of a long day like a wedding day it would be amazing to have someone else come in to tear down and clean up rather than having to do it yourself and recruit friends and family.
I have personally worked with several wedding planners and am more than happy to recommend some to you.
1: Turn it into a date. You are celebrating a big step in your relationship after all. Have a drink or two beforehand, this also helps you relax for your engagement session. Plan something fun to do afterwards, especially considering the effort you both spent to get ready for your engagement session.
2: Location, location, location. It’s common to schedule an engagement session in the park, however if there’s a place that has meaning to you, a first date location or where you got engaged or even if you just like the look of a certain area then definitely mention it. Make the engagement session unique to you!
3: What to wear, this can really vary on the time of year and the location you choose, I’m happy to talk about outfit recommendations based on the location and season you would like your engagement session done. Remember to not overdress, you want to be comfortable and have fun and not be thinking about your clothing. It’s always a good idea to bring a second option to change into as well; it’s like two different sessions in one!
4: The best time of day for an engagement session, I am able to work in any situation at any time of day or night, though my favorite time to photograph engagement sessions is early evening. It gives us three unique and amazing looks for your engagement session. The first part of the session we get beautiful golden light, in the middle of the session we get a wonderful sunset and of course for the last bit a few night shots that will really blow your socks off!
5: Let me know some of your favorite photos on my website. That helps me have an idea of the type of look that you like so I can focus more on that to tailor your engagement session to what you want.
Send me a message and we can plan your perfect engagement session!
When you register for a bridal show, enter contests to win something at the show the information you provide, name, email address and phone is put on a large list and sold to vendors. Some of the large franchise vendors will even spam with weekly text messages. Planning your wedding should be fun, not an expedition in the 7th ring of spam hell.
Unless you are providing your phone number to a specific vendor you are interested in or want to learn more from I advise using a fake number, especially for show registrations, try to use a prefix of 555 if it lets you, for example, (402)555-1234. 555 prefix is not a real number so you won’t be sending spam texts and calls to some poor old lady. As with anything make sure you don’t need a real phone number if you are entering for a prize you really want to win, in that case you have to deal with the calls and texts unfortunately. There are some apps in the app store for Apple and Android that let you create a 2nd number for a price so that may be an option if you plan on entering a few contests that require your number.
Make a wedding specific email address, you will receive lots of spam and contacts once you start registering and reaching out to vendors. We all get enough stuff that we never read in our inbox so making a separate email account will keep all that out of your personal inbox.
If it’s something you do regularly sure, though as I’m sure you’re aware it’s best to do it several days beforehand opposed to a day or 2 before, especially if you spray tan.
If you spray tan a day or two before your wedding you can run into the issue of the spray rubbing off onto your dress and staining it and of course you will have an unnatural complexion in your wedding photos if you do it too close to your wedding day.
Make sure your bridesmaids know this too, I’ve photographed several weddings where one of the poor bridesmaids was unnaturally orange in all the photos and one where the mother of the bride made the same mistake of getting a spray tan the day before the wedding.
My friend Lauren was wanting some portraits of her done so we went downtown for about an hour and between goofing around and meeting a really cool Omaha Police Officer we got these. :)
This classic looking diner has a fantastic look and always catches my eye when I'm downtown. I'm actually wanting to do a late afternoon session inside The Diner, if you've been wanting a cool retro portrait session send me an email and we can talk details. :)
Walking down the street I just loved the white wispy clouds and wanted to get a classic but still dynamic portrait of Lauren while using them as my background.
Walking down the street and goofing around with Lauren I found this nice dark window that I knew would make a really backdrop and add a nice hint of a reflection of her gorgeous features.
I've always loved this spot on the bridge over by the Durham Museum in Omaha and wanted to use the last bit of sunlight we had right here. Thanks for checking out this portrait session!
You’ve met your best friend, fell in love and can’t stand the idea of not spending the rest of your lives together, awesome! Oddly on your wedding day, the day you promise to spend the rest of your lives together you get very little time together and nearly no period of calm together. You may be thinking, “Mike, how is that possible?” You start your morning with hair and makeup, and mimosas, it’s ok, a wedding has the same rules as camping, it’s ok to have a drink in the morning haha. You have your ceremony then your reception which aside from dinner your first dance, a lot of couples spend time apart greeting friends and family they haven’t seen in years.
This is your wedding day and your choice, however it’s worth considering a first look before the ceremony, your partner will still have their jaw dropping reaction when they first see you but it’s between you two and that opens the opportunity to spend some extra time together before your wedding ceremony. In every wedding I’ve documented where the couple had a first look the groom still had a wonderful reaction to seeing his bride walk down the aisle because it isn’t just seeing her, it’s about the promise he’s about to make.
Another good opportunity is between the ceremony and reception and taking some time for a few creative portraits. This is actually a quiet and calm time of you two together and basically flirting and having fun together after your ceremony.
For your wedding reception I always recommend planning 10-15 minutes of running off somewhere private together just to have that time alone on your wedding day and let it all sink in. Your wedding day is going to fly by so it’s important to plan these little breaks in the day to slow it down and have that time together.
There are a few fantastic live bands that offer their talent for wedding receptions and they definitely bring a presence that can’t be matched by even the best DJ but there pros and cons.
Some of the liveliest wedding receptions I’ve covered had a live band, check out The Confidentials or Gooch and His Las Vegas Big Band, they bring a lot of character and interaction into your reception and the fact there are real people playing real instruments has a huge impact on your guests making them want to get out of their chairs and enjoy the evening. A live band really makes your wedding reception a night to remember, just make sure your reception location has room for the band you’re considering.
DJs are typically less expensive than a band as you are paying just 1 person opposed to a band. While DJs will need a break in the evening for using the restroom or grabbing a glass of water just like the band, they can set up a playlist to where nobody notices when they have to leave where when the band has to take a break everyone notices. DJs by nature also have access to a wider library of music than a band and a can easily switch genres of music.
Regardless if you choose a band or a DJ for your wedding reception it’s important to get feedback from other couples who used them as either one will be driving the schedule and tempo of the evening and an inexperienced one can and does keep guests off the dancefloor and will kill your party.
Essentially there are two types of wedding photography, wedding photojournalism, sometimes referred to as documentary wedding photography, the other type is basically everything else which is some form of portrait based wedding photography. It can be referred to as natural light photography, modern, fine art etc. Before we go further there is something important to know, with wedding photojournalism becoming more popular a lot of websites advertise themselves as such but specialize in portrait photography, you can easily tell by looking through their weddings and seeing if there are predominately detail and portrait photos or more “candids” in their real weddings they show.
There is nothing wrong with either type of wedding photography, just like some folks prefer chocolate and others vanilla, (personally I prefer peanut butter with chocolate lol) some prefer a portrait based photographer and others prefer a wedding photojournalist. A wedding photojournalist is more than someone that captures candids, anyone is capable of that, the experience a wedding photojournalist brings to your wedding day is being able to tell a story inside each single image and the ability to weave all the images from your day together to tell your story so that your wedding album is truly unique and customized to you. Another reason wedding photojournalists are becoming more popular is we are hands off, this day is about you and yours and we don’t want to intrude and negatively impact naturally occurring moments.
Wedding photojournalists still capture your details, the family group photos and a few creative portraits of you and your spouse together like you would expect but as you can imagine those are small parts of the day instead of the focus of the day.
Being a wedding photographer I have the privilege to meet so many great couples who all have distinct personalities and unique aspects about their relationship and interactions with friends and family. Some of my couples realize early on that their wedding day is about them and their relationship and make it truly their own from getting married in a backyard and inviting just a few people, non-traditional wedding gowns including red and even skipping a formal reception and playing in their band at the reception. A few time though I’ve had couples express regrets that they let family and wedding websites influence their planning and wished they did something non-traditional that was more in tune with their personality.
While you may get some pressure from family to have a traditional wedding this is about you and yours and is an important step in YOUR relationship, after all you don’t let people influence your decision on your first date or anniversary ideas. Your wedding doesn’t have to be an impressive and traditional affair, planning your wedding your way gives you the benefit of much less stress and a fun filled day. You only get married once, make it yours, recite your vows in a hot air balloon, have a bon fire reception or whatever fits your personality so when you open your wedding album and look back on your wedding day you know you made the day yours.
In the end it’s your wedding and you should do what you both want whether it is a traditional wedding to something completely wild. This is where hiring a wedding photojournalist is a benefit because we are used to working in any almost situation and easily go with the flow of whatever happens and don’t interrupt the fun to get a posed shot.
Did you know over 45% of couples go over budget in planning their wedding? The predominant reason for this is not prioritizing what is important to them and doing what they think a wedding should be instead of what they want their wedding to be.
For example, if you want the best photographer and the best DJ but have a modest budget, consider using your, a family members or a friends backyard and hiring a designer to decorate the space. You will save a considerable part of your budget not paying for a venue and smaller weddings are becoming more popular. Something else to keep in mind is that a highly skilled photographer will make your images look amazing regardless of any location. This is YOUR wedding day, do it how YOU want to do a wedding. I've photographed backyard weddings designed more beautifully than some of the most expensive venues available, I've had couples just invite a dozen guests, rent a hotel suite to get ready in, do a small ceremony, have dinner and then went cosmic bowling.
If you are planning your own wedding the secret to staying on budget is first making a list of what's important to you. Is having a skilled wedding photographer to immortalize your day the most important or maybe a designer dress or paying for a great dinner for your guests. Once you make a list of what's most important to you, you know who to book first and where to invest your money and you'll be more likely to maintain your wedding budget and not be part of the 45% of couples that goes over budget.