Get Ready to Get Ready | Pre-Ceremony Tips

By, June 23, 2017

To ensure a nice flow throughout the wedding day, it is vital to start the day off right. The more we can accomplish before the ceremony, the more time we will have later to get creative with pictures of the two of you. By being prepared for us, and knowing what to expect, it helps us capture amazing photos for you!

When we first arrive, it is very important that the bride and everyone in the room be hair and makeup ready. We always suggest asking your bridal party and stylists to be finished 15-20 minutes earlier than necessary. The last thing you want to have to do is wait for a person in your bridal party! Only the bride should be putting on finishing make-up touches at this time. The groom and groomsmen should be nearly fully dressed. It will also be a good idea to put your bridal party to work to ensure the room is nice and tidy, as many photos will take place in the getting-ready area.

As you will see below, the “getting ready” portion of the wedding day is a time for many unforgettable photos. The ideal amount of photo time for this part of the day is 1.5-2 hours. If you are doing a first look, typically 2.5 hours is suggested. To maximize photo time, we designate one photographer for each spouse, which enables more coverage during this time period.

Here is a list of what to expect during the getting ready portion of your day, in chronological order:

1. Detail Photos – For the bride, this includes photos of the dress before it is put on, shoes, jewelry, florals, gifts and even invitation suites. Its a good idea to have these items ready when we arrive. For the groom this may include shoes, gifts, boutonnieres etc.

Shoe and floral detail wedding photo
Details photo of Wedding Invitiation Suite
Groom shoes and tie
Hanging wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses
Bride earrings macro shot
Hanging dress and Louboutin Shoes
Wedding dress and shoes at Rancho Valencia
Wedding invitation Suite
Detail photo of Valentino wedding shoes
Details shot of Bridal Style
Groom style at a destination wedding
Colorful red pink wedding shoes
Salvatore Ferragamo Wedding Groom Shoes

2. Candid Getting Ready Photos – For a bride, these include photos of finishing make-up touches, photos in special outfits before the dresses are on and of course putting on the dress. Putting on the dress photos occur about 20 minutes after we arrive, and typically take about 10 minutes, with the understanding that some dresses take longer than others to put on. While these shots are occurring, all of the bridesmaids and immediate family (ex. mother of the bride) should be fully dressed and ready to go.Rather than photographing a bride actually putting the dress, on we typically photograph the final lace up / zip up, along with bridesmaids/family helping with the finishing touches like shoes and jewelry. For a groom, we may photograph moments like friends/family helping with the suit, putting on shoes, and overall fun with the group.

Bride having her makeup touched up
Getting ready photo of bride and groom in their hotel rooms
Candid photo of bridesmaids wearing pjs
Groomsmen having a pillow fight
Bride getting ready pre ceremony
Fun Bridesmaids Getting Ready Photo
Fun groom adjusting hair
Bride getting ready and having fun
Candid Bride Make up Photo
Bridesmaids jumping on the bed
Bride getting ready with mother
Groom getting ready photo
Bride Getting Ready Photo
Silhouette of groom getting ready
Bride and groom finshing touches wedding photos
Bride and proud mother at wedding
Glamor photo of Bride
Getting ready photo at the Machester Grand Hyatt

3. Individual and Group Portraits Next, we will photograph some formal and stylized shots of the wedding couple in the room, and around the property. This is also the time for fun and formal  portraits with each individual bridesmaid /groomsman, along with full group shots. Including family members is optional at this point, as there is usually time (after the ceremony) specifically set aside for family photos.

Stunning bride in glamorous dress
Groomsmen style portrait
Bride with accessories lying down
Portraits of bridesmaids at a wedding
Dapper Groom
Bohemian bridesmaids having fun
Stylized portraits of bride and groom
Groomsmen with American Flag
Portraits of handsome groom and beautiful bride
Groomsmen having fun
Photos of brides pre ceremony
Groomsmen Style on A Playground
Stylized portraits of bride groom
Bride with Maid of Honor and dapper groom
Beautiful bride at a destination wedding
Creative Wedding Photography
Groomsmen being silly before the wedding ceremony
Beautiful Bride in San Marcos, California
Creative Groomsmen Photo
Bride smelling flower
Photos of Bride and Bridesmaids
Glamor photos of stunning brides

4. More Photos! Additional photo opportunities may take place throughout the getting ready portion, such as a gift exchange, a no-look meeting with each other, or even a first look with the Bride’s father. These can make for some unforgettable images. Then, before the ceremony, it’s a good idea to schedule in a 15 minute break. This allows you to decompress, and to get ready for the big moment.

Candid Photo of Bride writing vows
First look with father and bride reading note from groom
Bride and groom prayer
Bride reading card from Groom
Emotional Father and Bride
Boudoir album for Groom
Bride and groom exchange gifts before ceremony
Bride opening gift from Groom
Bride right before the ceremony

With all of this said, it’s important to remember that a wedding is a live event! Even when things don’t go exactly as planned, it is important to be adaptable. Embrace the excitement of the day, and we’ll be right there to capture amazing photos :)

Check out more unforgettable getting ready wedding images.


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!


Smokey Eye Wedding Look with Keely Marie Makeup

By, December 20, 2012

My favorite part of working in the bridal industry is making brides feel more beautiful on their wedding day than they have ever felt before. There is nothing more amazing than to see a bride happy and joyful. That’s why I love doing what I do!

Recently, I was the makeup artist for Katie and Fred’s big day!  Initially, Katie, Fred and I met for a trial, to pin down the style that we’d use for the wedding. Fred, Katie’s sweet husband, wanted Katie to spice up her makeup and go glamorous. We were determined to find the perfect bridal look, taking Fred’s input into consideration, with a style that would “pop.”


Katie and Fred liked the smokey look with a light cheek and light lip.



Katie’s smokey bridal look was a great match for her sexy and sultry persona, which you can see here!


All eyes on Katie! She had show-stopping makeup that perfectly complemented her soft hair and elegant dress.


For my typical bridal services, I offer full airbrush makeup, lash application, tattoo covering, and airbrush tanning. I travel to every bride on her wedding day, and I can accommodate large bridal parties. If the bridal party is larger than 6 people, I bring an assistant to help get everybody ready on time.

Bridesmaids getting ready for wedding in San Diego


A bold lip and cheek with a bold eye can look too overdone. With a sultry and smokey eye, it is best to keep the cheeks and the lips more neutral, to keep focus on the eyes. Katie pulled off this smokey eye/natural face combo beautifully.

San Diego Bridal Makeup by Keely Marie Makeup

Katie chose airbrush foundation for her wedding day, which kept her makeup flawless the entire day. She was sweat-proof, tear-proof and photography ready! It was a great choice for any bride!



This fun couple hosted their reception at the swanky Ultimate Skybox in downtown San Diego. Katie’s look transitioned beautifully into the night!

Airbrush Wedding Makeup in San Diego by Keely Marie

Airbrush Wedding Makeup in San Diego by Keely Marie

Airbrush Wedding Makeup in San Diego by Keely Marie

Most often, I do trials with brides prior to their wedding day. I recommend booking a trial at least 3-4 months before your big day. For my out of town brides, I make sure to clearly understand their bridal makeup vision so I can still achieve the perfect look! One tip: book as early as you can, as certain months tend to be busier than others!

Photographer: True Photography
Makeup: Keely Marie Makeup
Hair Stylist: Hyde-Edwards Salon
Florist: The Floral Department
Disc Jockey: DJ Rooster Entertainment
Church/Temple: The Immaculata
Caterer: Coast Catering
Venue: Ultimate Skybox