3 Tips for Choosing Your Session Location | Mia & Mike | California Wedding Photography


So, you and your sweetheart are ready for some professional photos together. Yay! While your photographer will offer great suggestions, it's always smart to give some thought to what you'd like to accomplish in advance of your session. Several factors go into making a fabulous couple's shoot, and today we're going to talk about - you guessed it -  location, location, location!

1. Texture

While natural settings with lush greenery are always pretty, you'll get more bang for your buck by selecting a few varied options. From architectural details to urban art and floral arbors, creatively using the surroundings will give you a more interesting set of photos. I'm delighted with what we captured during Mike and Mia's Los Angeles couple's session -  bright geometric art, sunny street shots, and even rustic-looking wood gave us tons of options, all without leaving the city!

2. Accessibility

In an urban setting, rooftops, museums, and fancy locations have their appeal, and can make for gorgeous photos. That said, some may require permits or other arrangements to be made prior to your session and can add to the overall cost. If you have your heart set on a place like this, talk to your photographer and do some research beforehand to avoid annoying hang-ups the day of. Accessibility is also important to consider in a natural location - if you're shooting on a mountain, make sure to have a way to the top figured out before showing up, and wear appropriate shoes (or carry the cute ones to change into!)

3. Keep the focus on YOU

With all that said, a talented photographer needs nothing more than good light and a happy couple to take great photos.  Selecting a location that you are familiar with, or that has special meaning to you as a couple will show in the finished product. The focus is on you and your love for each other, not fancy buildings or landscapes, though they sure can look nice. For example, while they are wearing casual outfits on a city street, Mia and Mike absolutely glow while stealing smooches on their bikes in the afternoon light. No fancy trips needed!

Finally, talk to your photographer! We live for this stuff, and are here to guide you in making your engagement portrait session or couple's shoot a complete success!


4 Wedding Day Details Brides Forget | Charleston Wedding Photographer


Your wedding day is the happiest day of your life, and it can also be a hectic one. In the whirlwind of activity preceding the big event, it's easy to forget details that can make your life easier, and your photos even more fabulous. Keep scrolling for tips on making the most of your big day, and highlights from Sara and Cory's sweet nuptials at the Historic Rice Mill in Charleston!

1. Keep ALL three wedding rings with you for detail photos

Despite the well-worn advice to give rings to the best man before the ceremony, don't! In order to capture great, well-lit images of your rings, your photographer will want all three rings and the best time to photograph this is before the ceremony. Which leads to the next point:

2. Have the bouquet delivered to you

It is common practice to have florals delivered directly to the church or ceremony venue. Unless you'll be getting ready on site, you won't have that beautiful bouquet for your portraits and detail shots. 

3. Think about your shoe choices practically

Rocking some exquisite Louboutins for your big day? If you plan on outdoor photos, don't turn those beauties into $2,000 grass aerators! Get heel stoppers, or bring a pair of flat shoes to change into for dancing and natural portraits.

4. Make time for yourself

Even if it's just a few minutes. It's fantastic advice to make sure you and your future hubby get some personal time together amid the buzzing activity of your wedding day! I'd like to go a step further and suggest that YOU take some time. When you have to be camera-ready for 12 hours, it can be tough to stay centered and relaxed. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a few minutes to yourself to reenergize and take a few deep breaths.

No matter what, the most important thing you can do on your wedding day is enjoy the heck out of it! These tips are meant to help keep the focus on celebrating with the people you love instead of your attire and photos. Even if things seem to go awry, remember - you're marrying the love of your life, and it's your day to make the best you can!


Venue - Historic Rice Mill  |  Dress - Blush By Hayley Paige  |  Jewelry - Tiffany & Co. and family heirlooms  |  Hair + Makeup - PaperDolls  |  Planning - Beth LeonGuerrero  |  Florist - WildFlowers  |  Cake - DeClare  |  Music - John Thrasher Band  |  Transportation - Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle


The Wedding Day First Look & 3 Reasons to Have One | Charleston SC Wedding Photographer

The First Look... Should you have one? While it's true that you give up the tradition of a couple's first glimpses of each other on their wedding day being at the altar, the First Look gives a bride and groom some private and relaxed time together before the whirlwind day of events. This time is coordinated with your photographer so that the bride approaches her waiting groom-to be and taps him on the shoulder. He turns around to see the beautiful woman he's about to marry, and some amazing photos ensue, free of time pressures. Some reasons to consider a First Look:

1. Authentic reactions. Some of the sweetest smiles I've ever seen have been on the faces of delighted guys turning around for a First Look at their bride.

2. You're nervous. It is a wonderful way to calm any jitters and walk into the day as a team.

3. Your day will flow much smoother. Portraits are usually done after the First Look, freeing you up to actually enjoy the cocktail hour before your reception and greet your guests without being rushed to get photos done. Couples occasionally invite close family members or their wedding party to be present for the First Look, and it's a wonderful experience for everyone. Whether or not you decide to invite others, enjoy this time together and pat yourself on the back for landing such a catch before heading off to say those vows!

What to Wear for Your Engagement Photo Shoot | Charleston SC Wedding Photographer

Engaged? Congratulations! One of the most common questions photographers get from newly betrothed couples is what to wear for their engagement shoot. So, lovebirds: Here's the down and dirty on what to wear (and what NOT to wear) for those engagement photos!

1. Coordinate

Head-to-toe matching looks can come off as cheesy and staged, but wearing outfits in complimentary color families is a definite "do." Don't shy away from bright pops of color, but be sure to avoid anything with busy patterns or overwhelming neon colors. Trendy patterns or logos will date your photos, and neon colors will make your skin look less than great on camera. 

It's also important to consider the formality of your wardrobe choices, and make sure that you're both similarly casual or dressy. Both looks are great, but not at the same time. You don't want to be wearing a fabulous silk cocktail dress while your sweetie rocks ripped jeans and a t-shirt from your alma mater. Both looks can make for amazing photos, but you should both be dressed appropriately for the desired "feel" of your session.

2. Be Comfortable

If you aren't used to teetering around in heels and fancy little dresses, don't pick today to start! You want to wear clothes that you feel like the most beautiful, relaxed version of yourself. If you're most comfortable in jeans and your favorite top, wear that! If you're teetering in heels you never wear and tugging at your clothes all day, that discomfort will show in your photos. Wear clothes that fit well, be yourself, and enjoy the day with your sweetheart! 

3. Change It Up

Bring along an extra change of clothes, and you'll get more bang for your buck! Layering is another great way to achieve a variety of looks, and is especially good for staying comfortable (see #1) if you're shooting outdoors.

4. Accessorize!

A fabulous hat or scarf will not only personality, great accessories give you something to do with nervous hands and help photos look more natural and rich. Ladies, while we don't want to upstage that gorgeous new rock on your hand, a statement necklace or a pair of show stopping earrings can add texture and a bit of celebratory sparkle. 

5. Be Fresh

New shoes, freshly trimmed or colored hair, and professional make-up will obviously look great on camera. Most importantly, any of these things will help you to feel confident, and we all know confidence is the sexiest thing one can wear! You know we all want to see that ring, so get a fresh manicure, and avoid jewelry that will compete with it. Make sure your clothes are freshly laundered and pressed. A special outfit purchased for your portrait session is great, just make sure to wear it a few times beforehand to avoid stiffness and ensure that you'll be comfortable the day of your shoot.

6. Smile!

While the tips above will come in handy when selecting your outfits, the most important ingredient in a fabulous engagement portrait session is your happiness and excitement for each other. This is one of the best times of your life, you're about to marry The One! Let your love shine through in your face, and those photos will be beautiful no matter what you wear.