Leave the Scouting of a Location to the “True” Pros

By, June 29, 2017

We want the very best results for you as our clients. This applies to the scouting of your location! Whether we have shot there hundreds of time, or it is our first opportunity to photograph at your venue, we do our due diligence. Before we capture a single image, you can rest assured that we are extremely prepared, and know all the bet spots. That is part of what you have invested in. By letting us do what we do best, and putting that trust in our studio, you will be amazingly surprised at the possibilities.

Here is how we set ourselves us for success.

  1. We will ask you questions before the wedding day, to see if there is any part of the venue that you are especially drawn to. Is there anything special, as far as location goes, that is “a must” to capture?
  2. We love to familiarize ourselves (if it is the first time at the venue) by doing research online, to see how the venue has been captured in the past. We then brainstorm among our team, and discuss how we can give it the True Photography perspective.
  3. On the day itself, we always arrive ridiculously early to explore every nook and cranny. We make sure to review everything in depth, so the ideas are very fresh in our minds, and we have our game plan for the day.
  4. We see how the light is falling, based on the present conditions, and make specific adjustments.

When we scout a venue, we are looking at it from a very different perspective than how our clients will see it. What looks good to your eyes can look very different to the camera. Or, something that may not stand out to you as much, can actually be a brilliant photograph. We are always looking for inspiration, and finding ways to be creative and think outside of the box. Leave this to us! Expecting the unexpected is the way to go.

The examples below are a direct result of our scouting strategy. We have also provided a little insight into our thought process.

Newly weds explore unique landscaping in Mexico.
For Arianne and Julien's destination wedding in Mexico, it was our first time photographing at the venue they selected. We took this opportunity to really immerse ourselves in the location, and to discover every possibility contained within. For example, in the above shots, we photographed the same unique location from different angles, creating completely different images.
Newlyweds slip away during after their vineyard wedding.
Sometimes, we focus in on the the smaller elements of a venue, highlighting one specific detail.
Groomsment Pose for a farm fresh wedding.
We also look at the signature aspects of a venue, and come up with ideas to photograph in new and unexpected ways.
A Poised groom looks off into the distance.
We use our environment to switch up our angles, colors, and backgrounds. For example, at Ashley and Mark's wedding, we framed Mark by placing him in front of the architectural elements of the San Diego Central Library.
Bride and groom explore a romantic garden.
For Laura Anne and Neema, we placed them behind the distinctive vines and flowers of their venue, Twin Oaks Garden Estate. This created depth of field, and a nice, romantic portrait.
A bride and a groom take a walk among rolling hills.
Often, the weather helps dictate our plan for the day. For example, the textured clouds during Allison and Justin's wedding influenced how we photographed the two of them. Had there been a plain, clear sky, it would have made a very different look in the photos, and we likely would have photographed the location differently.
Husband and wife share romance on a garden pathway
The same can be said for Ruth and Freddie's wedding, where we switched up our approach, and included the moody clouds above.
A bride stands in front of a big, beautiful, blue door.
A bride has a quiet moment alone in front of a grand window.
Bride and groom stand in Japanese Garden
In addition to weather patterns, time of day plays a major role in how a venue will look. For example, Julia and Kevin's venue, The Japanese Friendship Garden has a beautiful path which is only lit after nightfall. Of course, we added additional lights, to get the scene just right.
Bride and groom casually hangout on their wedding day.
Bride and groom pause on the way down a staircase for a kiss.

While shooting a wedding, we are fully alert and ready. From the moment we arrive, we pay attention to the slightest details. We also make constant decisions throughout the day, to achieve the best results possible. For example, when taking in our surroundings, we are anticipating whether to shoot slightly higher or lower, in front of something or behind it, indoors or out, or through something rather than straight on.

To see photos our studio has captured at your venue, please visit our main photography website


Engagement Photo Shoot Ideas and Tips

By, December 12, 2014

When it’s time for your engagement shoot, you’ll likely have questions. Well, we have you covered! By following just a few tips from our photography professionals, you’ll get the most out of your engagement session. We have broken it down into five key elements to consider when planning your engagement photo shoot.

  1. What to Wear

    The number one question we get is how to dress for the shoot. We encourage couples to be true to themselves. It’s unlikely that you walk around matching in real life, so coordinating blue jeans and a white shirt can tend to feel forced or contrived. Let your outfits balance each other out, and feel free to embrace color – it brings out a lively energy in your photos!

    Also, it’s a good idea to have a couple of outfits ready to swap out. For example, you can incorporate one casual outfit, and another dressier look, like you are going out on a nice date together. Be careful of clothes being too baggy. We love a nice flowy top, but no matter your shape, keeping it on the form-fitting side tends to look more flattering in the photographs. If you plan on incorporating outfit changes, you’ll want to ensure you have booked sufficient photo shoot time. For example, typically 1 hour=1 outfit, 1.5 hours=up to 2 outfits, etc.

    examples of how to dress for engagement shoot

  2. Location, Location

    When choosing the perfect location for your engagement shoot, we suggest identifying a place with a lot of diverse environments. This will ensure that you get a nice variety of backgrounds in your photos. Having different backdrops within 200 yards of each other helps to keep the photo shoot fun and exciting, as one area flows into the next. When destinations are spaced far apart, this can actually add unnecessary time to your shoot, and it’s much easier to smile for an hour versus three hours. If you don’t have a place in mind that has multiple background options, we have our own favorite locations, and are happy to provide suggestions.

    photos of unique engagement shoot locations

  3. To Prop or Not

    As photographers and artists, we look at everything as a prop. Instead of toting around objects, and working them into the shoot, we prefer to bring the environment into play. For example, a park bench can be turned into a prop – you can stand on it, sit on top of it, or jump off of it. Using the environment ensures that the picture will be more interesting and spontaneous. If you do choose to include a prop, we recommend that it have personal meaning to your relationship. Otherwise, it may become gimmicky or dated over time.

    02 Props

  4. Hair & Makeup

    If someone else is doing your hair and makeup, just remember that it is important that you look like “you.” By staying true to your look, you are much more likely to love your photos in twenty years. If you do choose to do professional hair and makeup for your shoot, see if you can arrange your pre-wedding makeup trial for earlier in the day. It’s a great way to get a little extra bang for your buck! Also, we suggest telling the makeup artist that your shoot is 30-45 minutes earlier than the actual time. That way, if things run late, we are still able to capture the perfect light for your shoot.

    It’s also common to want to spray tan before getting in front of the camera, especially in the winter months. We totally understand! The secret to a spray tan is to make it look like a natural glow. Our recommendation is that if you do tan, to go for the lowest level.

    natural looking hair and makeup for engagement shoot

  5. Relax!

    Ultimately, what will make the best pictures are the interactions between the two of you. If you can embrace the fun, stay open minded to ideas and enjoy the moment with your future spouse, you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. For example, certain pictures that you may have thought would turn out silly may end up being your favorites.

    A key part of the creative process is trying certain shots, and getting to know you as a couple throughout the session. It will often take photographing ten pictures to get that one really special image. The more willing you are to relax and put your trust in us, the better it will come across on camera.

    example of relaxed couple on engagement shoot

Now that you know our engagement shoot tips, be sure to check back each day as we highlight some of the best locations to take engagement photos, right here on our blog. We’ll be sharing the inside scoop from a photographer’s perspective, including a fresh take on well-known spots, and a few hidden gems. See you tomorrow!

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