ShootAnyAngle.com Wedding Photography Blog

What story will your photos tell? We're a husband and wife photography team, and we want to capture your special day so you can relive it every time you look at your photographs! On this blog, you'll find all things wedding to inspire you for your big day! Check back often for posts on photography, DIY, dresses, decorations, and more!


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Our Bohemian Sunset Inspirational Styled Shoot

We had the pleasure of getting to photograph a blonde beauty on the side of a stunning hill at sunset: ingredients for a great shoot! Of course, there’s a lot of work that goes into the planning and styling, but it was all a blast to do. Here are some behind the scenes shots and a sneak peek at the finished photos. For more, visit our portfolio!

Fun with the flowers!  It’s always good to take a moment to smell the roses!  We created the floral creations from flowers found at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  They were so bright!

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We started at the parking lot of Russian Ridge, and hiked up the hill to our location.  Our model, Erin, was such a trooper.  She hiked up in the dress and changed shoes whenever we stopped to shoot!

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I wanted the dress to be unique, so I cut appliqués from lace and sewed them on by hand to create the effect.  What do you think?

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Even when being goofy, she’s still stunning!

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Smiles at the end of the shoot!

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And, here’s a sneak peek of the final photos:

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Bridesmaid Protocol: What to Expect As a Bridesmaid, and What Brides Should Know

Back in 2010, WeddingChannel.com did a study to find how much the average bridesmaid will pay for the “honor” of standing next to her friend on her wedding day. It is funny that as a society, we’ve labeled being a bridesmaid as an honor, but it’s the only honor I know of that you have to pay so much for!  WeddingChannel.com found that it was a whopping $1,695 out of pocket for the average bridesmaid. Having been a bridesmaid myself before, I can say this is not far off the mark. It’s not just the money either. A bridesmaid needs to make herself available for the wedding, the rehearsal, and as many other wedding events as she can attend. That means time off work, so it’s not just money going out of your pocket, it’s the prevention of money coming back in.

Nowadays, bridesmaids are asked to buy a dress, buy shoes, get their nails and hair and makeup done, attend all pre-wedding functions, go to the bachelorette party on their own dime (and pay for the bride’s trip as well), give the bride a wedding gift, and do it all with a smile. Not all of those are really legitimate requirements though, and oftentimes, bridesmaids can find themselves overwhelmed by someone else’s life event. Many brides are very considerate of their bridesmaids, but others aren’t. So, let’s take a look at what is and is not expected of you as a bridesmaid.

What IS Required Of You

To be there on the wedding day

Of course, this is the most important requirement of a bridesmaid, so if you’re asked to be a bridesmaid and getting to the wedding looks like it may not work out, politely decline. The other wedding events you can get out of, but not the wedding itself!

To wear a dress of the bride’s choosing (and pay for it)

Typically, bridesmaids pay for their own dresses and wear what is asked of them – even if they don’t like the dress. Now, if you are very uncomfortable in the dress for a legitimate reason (for example, if it’s too revealing), then politely bring up your concerns to the bride.  She’s your friend after all!  Most brides are more than happy to pick a dress that people like and are comfortable in. I’ve personally never seen a bride purposefully pick hideous gowns for her bridesmaids to wear, but if you are unfortunately in that position, try to make the most of it.

To the brides, be considerate of your bridesmaids here. They will never wear these dresses again. No, really, they won’t. So, try to pick out dresses that are inexpensive. This means steering clear of the bridal stores (where you are going to shell out at least $100). That way, at least they aren’t paying a lot for something they won’t wear again. I had to spend $280 something for a bridesmaid dress, and at the time, that was the most expensive dress I owned! So, for our wedding, I picked dresses that were only $40. That way, even if they only wore it the one time, it wouldn’t be a huge loss. As far as shoes go, no one really notices their feet anyway, so Brides, let them wear their own instead of buying new ones – unless they want the excuse to go shoe shopping, that is! Bridesmaids are also commonly asked to get their hair, nails, and makeup professionally done. Don’t put that additional cost on them. If it’s really important to you, pay for it. Or, better yet, have a nail painting party before the wedding and do each other’s hair and make-up. Pinterest has how-to’s for everything!

To support the bride emotionally

A wedding is a very exciting and happy day for a bride, but it’s also extremely stressful. Any number of things could go against the plan on the day of, and that’s not even looking at the internal emotional roller coaster that some brides experience. So, be kind, be gentle, be patient. At one point or another, every bride is going to be stressed to the point of feeling like she will burst. Some brides express that stress by being a bridezilla, others by crying, others by going catatonic. It doesn’t mean she is a bad person. It just means she is human. Be kind, be gentle, be patient. For our wedding, I asked the bridesmaids to just periodically tell me, “Everything is going to be okay.” Just that little reassurance helped me keep going.

Take on tasks to help with wedding planning or setup

Planning a wedding is a lot of work, so it’s not uncommon to have a bride ask for your help. Even though it is a lot of work, it can be a lot of fun too, so embrace it! If you have a specific talent, offer to handle that area of the planning so you can do what you enjoy.  I was blessed to have one of my bridesmaid offer to act as a wedding planner.  I was worried it would put too much stress on her, but she really enjoyed it – and she did a fantastic job!

To the brides, be grateful for the work your friends are doing for you. That means thanking them and giving them thoughtful thank you gifts. Also, if you see any bridesmaid is too overwhelmed, lighten their load or take them out for the day so you can both take a much-needed breather.

Help be a hostess to guests

This doesn’t mean financially contribute to the wedding. Rather, it means bridesmaids should be ready with a smile to help guests find the restroom or their seat, or answer questions about when dinner is – things like that.

Tackle issues

Does Aunt Nancy need to get her outfit approved? Offer to be the liaison so the bride doesn’t have to do it. Did the bride forget her “six pence for her shoe?” Offer to go pick it up. There are a million and one things that could come up, but if you can take it off the bride’s shoulders, try to do so. However, if you find yourself too overwhelmed, let the next bridesmaid handle the task.

Help plan a bachelorette party (and pay for your way if you go)

Listen to what the bride wants here, and help plan the fun event. Keep the costs as low as possible so that more people can afford to go. However, if the costs become too much, you do have the option not to go (more on that later).

Feed and “water the bride”

One of my bridesmaids came up with this term, and it made me laugh every time she said it. With everything going on during the big day, the bride will likely not get enough food and water. As you would with a sick child, give her something small to eat and drink periodically to make sure she doesn’t faint!  For our wedding, there was a plate of appetizers waiting for me after the ceremony.  That was such a welcome surprise!

Follow the bride’s instructions day-of

Hold the bouquet. Sign the marriage certificate. Help with the train of the gown. Go get Aunt Nancy for the family picture. Help set the tables.  Etcetera, etcetera.

To the brides, make sure your requests are within reason. For example, a current trend I’ve seen emerging is taking boudoir shots of not just the bride but of all the bridesmaids too. Whether or not to pose for such shoots is a very personal decision. Don’t ask your bridesmaids to do this unless you know they are all comfortable with it and want to do it. If any aren’t comfortable, come up with another idea that works for all involved.

Pay for own travel and accommodations

Yeah, sorry, but it’s true. If you agreed to be a bridesmaid for a wedding in Hawaii, you do need to pay for your travel over there and your hotel room and any food costs (just like you’d do on a normal vacation). Keep this in mind when making the decision to be a bridesmaid for a destination wedding.

Pose for the wedding photos

Your picture will be taken during the whole day. Make sure to be ready for the photographer when requested, and plan your prep time around that.

What Is NOT Required Of You

You do not need to be the one to throw the bridal shower.

Contrary to what you may have heard, the bridesmaids are not supposed to throw the bridesmaid a bridal shower. This was something I only learned during my time as a bride. Tradition gives the bridesmaids a break here (you have enough to pay for). Instead, this is traditionally done by friends/non-immediate family members of the bride or mother-of-the-bride. The bride and her parents and siblings are also not the ones that should be throwing this party so as not to appear to be fishing for more gifts. Plus, they often are helping pay for the wedding itself! That being said, if there is no one else to plan the party or if the bridesmaids as a whole want to throw the party, they can. Just make sure everyone is on the same page, and keep the price low.

You do not need to shell out money you don’t have.

At the time I was a bridesmaid, I had some major costs coming up in my life, and I found it very difficult to keep up with the costly requests of not only the bride but of my fellow bridesmaids who wanted to go all out. I ended up having to back out of some events (not the wedding itself, of course), and I was belittled for it. Remember that you are all supposed to be friends, so brides need to be supportive of you as a bridesmaid just as you need to be supportive of her as a bride. If you can’t do something financially, don’t.  Someone else’s wedding isn’t worth you going broke over.

To the Brides: your life may revolve around the wedding, but your bridesmaids’ lives don’t. In this day and age, it’s hard to get a good paying job and even harder to support yourself and a family financially. Be mindful of this fact. Bridesmaids simply cannot shell out too much on you. If you ask too much of them and aren’t understanding if they can’t handle something financially, you will lose them as friends.  So, preserve the friendship and have an open conversation with your friends to see what they can do financially. Or, just keep everything as low as possible! And, if someone can’t do everything you wish they could, be respectful of that. Weddings cost a lot, and so do the pre-wedding functions such as the bachelorette parties. Those are becoming quite extravagant, and your bridesmaids may not be able to afford it (time-wise or financially). Be understanding and respectful if they have to bow out, and make sure they realize that they don’t have to go if they feel it’s too hard on them to do so. They are your friends after all. They would love to be there, but you don’t want them to feel bad if they simply can’t.

You do not need to attend every single wedding-related function.

Yes, it’s best if you do, but if you can’t because of work or money or prior commitments (or sanity!), it’s okay to politely decline an event (that includes the bridal shower and the bachelorette party). Some weddings have tons of pre-wedding parties, and it can become too much. If it does, politely bow out, and brides, let them.

You do not need to take it all with a smile.

Now, things could very easily get heated since it’s a high-stress time, but if the bride or another bridesmaid is being continuously rude or over-stepping their boundaries, you can say something. That being said, pick and choose your battles, and be as gentle as possible when it becomes absolutely necessary to bring up the issue. This needs to be a conversation, not an attack. You’re all stuck together until the wedding day, so be as kind as possible and diffuse any tension that starts to build.

You do not need to buy the bride a gift.

You’re doing a lot already, so a gift is not required. However, if you feel bad showing up empty handed, go in on a gift as a group or make something for the bride. Or, if your family is also friends with the bride, you can go in on a group family gift.

And, when all is done with the wedding, treat yourself to a spa day or a nice dinner or that cute dress you’ve been eyeing – or simply a relaxing, and quiet evening at home.  Pamper yourself!  You deserve it!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Wedding Guest Attire Rules: Brides Tell Us What Rules They Do and Don’t Care About

A well-dressed pair!  http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

A well-dressed pair, and such a good-looking couple!
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I don’t know about you, but I’m personally utterly confused about the rules of wedding guest attire. Some rules are easy to understand (i.e. don’t wear white), but it’s the gray area that always confuses me. What about a print that includes white? And do all these rules really matter anymore? Personally, at our wedding, all I noticed was that everyone looked so nice! I didn’t have a single negative thought about anyone’s attire. Likewise, all the images you see here are examples of very classy and appropriate wedding guest attire that we love!  Still, we wondered what rules are still in effect, so we talked to brides of all ages (past and present) to learn their thoughts.  We found out this list is actually more of “guidelines than actual rules” (to quote Pirates of the Caribbean).  Here’s what they told us!

We love this well-dressed (and handsome) pair! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

We love this well-dressed (and handsome) pair!
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     Rule 1: Don’t Wear White     

100% Agree!

A full white dress is inappropriate to wear to a wedding (that color is reserved for the bride) as are outfits that are mainly a cream/beige/ivory color (and I’d go a step further and say avoid very, very light colors that could be misinterpreted as white). It seems everyone we talked to was in agreement on this point, but they also said that dresses that included white were okay as long as it wasn’t the main color. A print on a white background? White and blue stripes? All the past brides we talked to were fine with it! And men can certainly wear white dress shirts.

     Rule 2: Don’t wear black unless it is an evening wedding     

70% Disagree!

Most of the brides we talked to said black was just fine, though a few agreed that it should be more for an evening wedding. Of course, what exactly is considered an “evening wedding” is a whole other issue entirely! It was very hard to find a set answer on this point, but the majority of my findings point to a start time of 6pm (though some say that’s for the ceremony start time and some say that’s for the reception start time). I’ve also heard as early as 4pm if the reception goes through to the night.  A couple also pointed out that whether or not a particular dress would be acceptable depended on its style. If it was a fun type of dress (such as a floral print on a black background), that would be acceptable. I personally love black dresses (it looks good on just about everyone), and I’d be fine with guests wearing that color to my own wedding.  Those who agreed with the rule felt it was an important rule to follow, though, so it’s possible that other guests won’t agree with the color choice. I will note that wedding photographers typically wear all black when photographing a wedding.

Great dresses for wedding guests! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Great dresses for wedding guests!
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     Rule 3: Don’t wear red     

57% Disagree, but it was a close call.

This was a close one, but the majority disagreed with this point. However, we did have a few who pointed out that they personally wouldn’t feel comfortable in the color as a guest just because it draws too much attention to themselves, and they have a point there. Red does draw the eye, so it suggests that the wearer wanted the attention. So, it may be best to stay away from it if it’s “fire engine red.”  Maroon and other shades are great to wear though!

     Rule 4: Don’t wear the same color as the bridesmaids     

85% Disagree…

…but they would avoid it if they had been informed of the color ahead of time. Still, they agreed that wearing the same color was fine as long as the dress wasn’t a perfect match. Plus, it’s likely to happen on accident.

A very dapper gentleman! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

A very dapper grandfather-of-the-groom!
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     Rule 5: Don’t wear something skimpy     

100% Agree.

The issue becomes what is considered skimpy and what is not. When I asked this question, the answer I got the most was that it was skimpy if too much of the lady’s breasts were showing, but that’s certainly not the only way a dress could be considered skimpy.  I think one bride described it best, “Rule of thumb… if you go tight, don’t go short. Show off legs or cleavage, not both. Backless can be elegant if done tastefully…. Lastly, if it’s going to ride up or fall out while dancing, just don’t wear it!”

     Rule 6: Don’t wear casual clothes     

100% Agree.

Across the board, brides (and their guests) agreed with this one – especially the “no jeans” rule. Brides work very hard on their invitations to give the guest a general feeling for what their wedding will be like. Use that as a guide, but casual, everyday clothes aren’t appropriate.

     Rule 7: Don’t overdress     

100% Agree.

Again, brides seemed to be very adamant that guests should stick to the style detailed or dictated by their invitation. You should always look nice, of course, but leave that tailed tuxedo or full ball gown at home unless the wedding calls for it.

     Rule 8: Don’t wear an old bridesmaid dress     

85% Disagree.

Overall, the brides disagreed with this one on the condition that the dress wasn’t obviously a bridesmaid dress. In talking with them though, it sounds like they were more concerned that the guest would be uncomfortable and feel out of place rather than a bride having an issue with it. Plus, if you re-make the bridesmaid dress to disguise its original purpose, a wedding would be a fine place to show it off.

     Rule 9: Don’t wear too much bling     

A beautiful looking pair of wedding guests. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

A beautiful looking pair of wedding guests.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

60% Disagreed, if done well.

Brides are okay with you wearing your finest jewels, but several did tell me they’d prefer to see a fancy statement necklace only, or fancy earrings only. So, it’s okay to go big in one area, but not in all. And they did say “no tiaras” across the board, unless the bride asks you to wear one, of course!

     Rule 10: Don’t wear office wear     

90% Disagreed (if it was done right).

There are lots of ways to dress up your office wear with a statement necklace or little strap heels. There is something so completely classy about a nice pantsuit. Overall, brides were fine with that idea. As someone pointed out, “If a man wears a suit, that’s considered office wear and wedding attire!”

     Rule 11: Don’t wear a loud tie     

80% Disagreed.

You can probably tell the bride and groom’s opinion on this one based on their personality and the feel of the wedding. If it’s a classy black tie event, a loud tie may not be the best. If it’s more casual and the bride and groom are laid back and fun-loving people, it’s probably fine if you are comfortable wearing it. Personally, one of my favorite attires at our wedding was my cousin’s outfit. He wore a bright yellow button up shirt, a bright purple tie, and matching purple sneakers with his black dress pants. I absolutely LOVED it, and so did my other guests!

     Rule 12: Don’t wear sequins     

100% Disagree (if done tastefully).

Brides all said that wearing some sequins were fine. Again, it should fit the style of the wedding. A full sequin dress to a casual wedding wouldn’t be appropriate. So, use your best judgment as to how much is too much based on the invitation and what you know about the couple and the wedding.

What a beautifully dressed grandmother-of-the-bride! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

What a beautifully dressed grandmother-of-the-bride!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

     Rule 13: Use a clutch purse, not your everyday purse     

70% Agreed.

This seemed to be more of a personal preference rather than a rule that a bride would feel the need for. A bigger bag can be a nuisance to carry around all night, and it would probably be left unattended at some point. Thus, those we spoke with felt it was easier on guests to have smaller clutches or cross-sling purses for convenience.

     Rule 14: Don’t wear inappropriate shoes     

100% Agreed (80% say “no flip flops”).

Stilettos aren’t appropriate if the guest will be walking on sand or grass, and flip-flops aren’t appropriate for a fancy wedding. Guests should always pick their shoes based on the venue and their outfit, but avoiding flip-flops is a good idea.

     Rule 15: Don’t wear tulle     

65% Disagreed.

Tulle is really back in nowadays, and it can be done quite tastefully. That being said, they felt a tulle dress should look classy and not like you’re an adult flower girl. So, it’s a judgment call based on the dress itself.

Such a cute couple, and so well-dressed! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Such a cute couple, and so well-dressed!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Overall, these rules (whether relevant or not) were created in order to keep guests from upstaging the bride. As long as you look nice but don’t take any attention away from her, then you’re all set. If in doubt, it’s best to ask a friend or one of the bridesmaids. The bride has enough to worry about as her big day approaches, so it’s best to leave your outfit off of her list.  Funny enough, it seems these brides didn’t care so much about what people wore to their own weddings but more about what they would deem appropriate or not appropriate to wear as a wedding guest themselves.  Hopefully, these notes will help you pick great attire for the next wedding – or will provide a quick link to send to guests when asked what to wear to your own upcoming wedding!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography (all photos of well-dressed guests!).

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“What I’d Do Differently”: Brides and Grooms Look Back at Their Weddings

Odds are that everything will turn out great on your big day, but there are some things brides and grooms wish they’d done differently looking back. Hindsight is 20/20 after all! So, we talked to past brides and grooms to see what they would have done differently. Here are their actual responses so you can learn from their experiences.

~

Eat! I got so busy socializing and making sure everything was on track that I only took 2 or 3 bites.”

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[I would have] taken more pictures, especially candid shots.”

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“I worked on a lot of different craft groups, and when they heard that we were doing the wedding all ourselves, they offered to help.  I felt awkward taking them up on it since they weren’t actually on the guest list (which was primarily family).  What I didn’t understand was they truly wanted to help as a way of paying me back for the work I had done for them.  The answer to that offer should be, ‘yes, thank you!’”

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“I wish I had a day of coordinator.”

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Regarding photography, I would have the guest area far away from the photo action.  Camera happy family and friends are a distraction and you end up with many pictures of the subjects looking at different cameras instead of one perfect set. Have the shutterbugs help with candid shots of the party while you are away doing your formal shoot instead.”

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“I would have booked more than one night at our ‘night of’ hotel so we could relax.  We were absolutely exhausted after the wedding, but because we had so many out of town guests for our destination wedding, we ended up spending all our time with them up until the honeymoon, and it took too much out of us: brunches, day outings, shopping, tours, dinner parties…  The first day of our honeymoon, we ended up sleeping the whole day.”

~

[I would have hired] a planner.  Not a full on wedding planner as our wedding was too small. Rather a wedding assistant- to be sure my vision of things were being implemented by those helping us and to help with clean up etc.  I was paying attention to table settings and flowers in the hours leading up to the ceremony instead of relaxing.” 

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“[More detail to the ceremony.] I’ve been to too many weddings where it was all about the reception with no real in depth thought to the wedding [ceremony] itself.”

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“I would have gone with more professional equipment instead of using what I already had.  Even though it worked out fine in the end, the stress and worry wasn’t worth it.”

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“I would have paid off my [credit] card the week before.  I’ve never gone over my credit limit – except the day of the wedding when my caterer was scheduled to charge me!  Whoops!”

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“[I’d] pay more for the photographer than the other vendors; the majority of our vendor budget went to our DJ, who was awesome, but if he hadn’t been awesome we would only be stuck with him for one night, but since we spent significantly less on our photographer we are stuck with pictures we aren’t crazy about forever!”

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“Nearly six years later… I still wish we had eloped!”

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If you can’t see rental supplies yourself (due to out of town or state wedding) have someone else look at them for you & take pictures. Or have the vendors send pictures so you know exactly what you’re getting. Confirm your orders and have someone in charge confirm they are the right item when delivered. All the food at our wedding was supposed to be in sterling silver trays with lids and burners below and they arrived in tin containers, and I didn’t find out until the reception.”

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“We had so many guests offering to help, and I should have taken them up on it more. Even assigning them the task of handling an unforeseen circumstance would have helped us a lot!”

~~~

What I WOULD do over again: Don’t stress out & go with the flow! Even if everything isn’t exactly how you imagined it, there’s not much that can be changed in the moment and your job as a bride is to enjoy yourself with the one you love!”

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Pose for Photos

They say the camera adds 10 pounds, so let’s figure out how to lose those 10 and then some! While at my Bachelorette Party at Disneyland, the girls and I were constantly trying to correct our poses to look the best we could. It was Dapper Day, and since we were dressed up to the nines, we wanted these pictures to turn out the best they could. I remember having a conversation with my cousin about it, and we agreed to help pose each other. In truth, posing is not easy, and it takes lots of practice to finally be able to do it without thinking. However, if you know some basic tips, you can start posing better right away!  The tips below work for either gender (with the exception of a few), but it’s mostly geared towards women.

Posing is not natural, and it can be uncomfortable.

It’s not natural at all. I’ve often joked that if a pose feels really awkward and painful, it probably looks great. Now, that’s not always true, but it can be true more often than not. Posing is an exaggerated form of your natural stances, so it requires you to pay attention to your body more and twist and turn and arch in ways that sometimes feel awkward.

Don’t slouch.

Yes, the lesson your mother has been teaching you since childhood applies here too. Slouching looks bad – and not just on camera!

Relax your forehead muscles.

If you aren’t going for a goofy photo (I love goofy photos, personally, but there is a time and place for them), then relax your eyebrows and forehead. Otherwise, the wrinkles will be obvious.

Bring your face forward.

This is a big way to make your photos look better. Bring your head, as a whole, closer to the camera. Your chin should still be level with the ground, so it’s your neck that is doing all the work. From the side, you’ll probably look like a turtle, but straight on (so, for the camera), it’ll look great. Plus, this gets rid of the dreaded “double chin” look. You can also try tilting your head slightly. This lets your hair hang more freely (if you have long hair).

Leave space around your waist.

You want to emphasize your waist in photographs and the best way to do this is to leave space between your arms and the waist. Putting your hands on your hips is a good way to do this. Or, you can just lift your arms away from the waist slightly as they hang down. Space should be left on both sides.  If you have your arms against your side, your body loses its shape.  This is true for men too.

Twist your waist, but not your chest (as much).

It kind of sounds like we’re becoming contortionists here, huh? If you can twist at the waist so your bottom half is at an angle (so, the camera sees a 45 degree angle of the bottom half) and keep the chest relatively straight on (but not perfectly), your waist and legs will look thinner.

Rotate the shoulders and relax them.

This may sound impossible, but it is doable. This is why your chest shouldn’t be perfectly straight on. Having your shoulders twisted slightly will make them look more shapely, but if they are stressed and raised, your neck will be shortened. So, twist and lower your shoulders into a relaxed state even though it may not feel relaxed at all!

Lean forward slightly from your waist.

This technique will make your legs smaller and be more engaging if a full body shot, and more engaging if it’s a close-up headshot.  However, if you do it too much, or if you already have broad shoulders, it won’t look great. Try some pictures leaning forward and some without to see which works best for your body.  This technique will also make men look like they have a slightly larger chest.

Put one leg just in front of the other, but close together.

Think of a ballerina’s stance. This makes your legs and thighs appear to be thinner. And point the toes towards the camera. If they point out to the side, they can look like clown shoes.  This technique is more for women than for men, but they can still do this pose in a wider stance.

Arch your back.

If you’re sitting in a chair or have your arm around someone, arch your back. I’m the first to admit that this is not the most comfortable position, but it looks better for the camera. I’ve used this technique at our wedding while posing in wooden sunglasses, and it worked great.  This is primarily a pose for women.

Keep your nose on your face.

At least, as the camera sees it. This may take the photographer guiding you or just practice in the mirror, but you shouldn’t turn your head so much to the side that your nose’s shape is clearly defined since it’s outlined by the background. To put it another way, the nose shouldn’t be at a 90 degree angle from the camera. When you look at the resulting image, the nose should be completely surrounded by your face, not by the background.

For the bouquet shot, lower the bouquet.

For the classic shot of your bouquet, the photographers tend to photograph you straight on. Make sure your bouquet is not held right up to your bust, but rather have your hands below your natural waistline. This will allow the photo to show details of the dress, and it will keep your arms looking more natural (instead of showing off pointy elbows like when the bouquet is held higher). Again, make sure there is space between your arm and your waistline on both sides.

For the ring shot, relax the hands.

Think of it like posing for a Dove soap commercial. Your hands should be slightly limp, and fingers should be mostly straight (but relaxed). This will make your fingers, nails, and (of course) the rings better.  Men can do a more firm stance with their hands (such as being the one to wrap their hand around the lady’s), but a relaxed look is great too.

I understand that learning to pose properly can sound daunting (and uncomfortable), but with a little bit of practice, it is possible to pick it up quickly. Try each tip individually prior to combining them. That way, it’ll be less complex. Also, these are just guidelines.  I’ve seen plenty of photos that I found to be spectacular that were not the epitome of perfect posing.  That’s why it’s good to play around with these tips and see what works for your body and what doesn’t.  That way, you’ll know the perfect pose for your own body.  And, most importantly, have fun!  A person having a good time is the most photographic of all!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Pretty Little Details: Inspiration Shots for Your Wedding!

When planning a wedding, you should know the three things that mean the most to you (apart from marrying the spouse of your dreams because that’s just a given!). For me, it was photography first, details second, and location third. I feel the details are what make a wedding special. It’s a glimpse into a fairytale romance. Little details and two people in love make for the best photographs! Take a look at the following photos for inspiration for your big day! Remember, these are just inspiration shots, so alter the details to make the final product your own. In my opinion, a wedding should always be unique to the couple. That’s what makes it special!

A sweet bouquet filled with mementos from family members: brooches from Grandmother, and even the wedding ring of Grandfather! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A sweet bouquet filled with mementos from family members: brooches from Grandmother, and even the wedding ring of Grandfather!  The brooches were the center of fabric flowers made by the bride.  These flowers were then mixed in with real flowers to create a unique look.
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Beautiful gold-painted mason jars filled with flowers.  A great decoration for along the aisle! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Beautiful gold-painted mason jars filled with flowers. A great decoration for along the aisle!  It’s amazing how just painting the jars makes them look so much nicer!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Beautiful white and pink flowers. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Beautiful white and pink flowers.
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A more unique take on the traditional cake topper. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

A more unique take on the traditional cake topper.  The bride even “glitterized” the shoes to match her own.
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

These were my wedding shoes.  They were covered in around 1,000 Swarovski crystals - all of which I glued on by hand!

These were my wedding shoes. They were covered in around 1,000 Swarovski crystals – all of which I glued on by hand! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding.  He made it look like a tree since we love the outdoors.  He even carved in our initials and wrote a special note to me in Italian. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding. He made it look like a tree since we love the outdoors. He even carved in our initials and wrote a special note to me in Italian.
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Happily Ever After! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Happily Ever After!  This sign is great because it can hang in your home after the wedding!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful (and huge!) sign was made for us on our wedding day.  We'll hang it in our home for years to come! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful (and huge!) sign was made for us on our wedding day. We’ll hang it in our home for years to come!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Old cameras and books as centerpieces.  Perfect for a photographer-author couple! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Old cameras and books as centerpieces. Perfect for a photographer-author couple!  Time to hit the flea markets!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Red roses for a beautiful contrast from the ivory dress! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Red roses for a beautiful contrast from the ivory dress!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Photography Night Magic

We’ve all seen those stunning wedding photos on Yahoo or social media sites that beg the question, “how did they do that?!”  It’s always a good idea to go for a wow factor in your engagement, Save-the-Dates, wedding, or newlywed photos, and it’s definitely possible. The nice thing about couple photos outside of the wedding day is that you can create shots that you couldn’t necessarily get at the event itself. An example of this is nighttime long exposures. These kinds of shots are really neat. They look as if they are Photoshopped, but they are completely real!

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

A newlywed shoot as a long exposure at night!    http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

The funny thing about long exposures is that though the result can look quite glamorous, the process of doing it is anything but. For this shot, James and I had to hike down to the frozen over lake carrying all of our equipment in 19 degree Fahrenheit weather. Talk about freezing! We had only our flashlights and the glow of nearby houses for light. When we got down to the waterfront, we set up the gear, and put the camera on a timer. The flash fired in the first second, and then we stood perfectly still for 30 seconds to get the shot we wanted. Yes, that’s a long kiss!  We were quite cold standing still like that, but it was worth it!

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called “light painting.”
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

For our Save-the-Dates, we were under pressure to produce something awesome (we are photographers after all!), so we decided to do a nighttime long exposure with light painting. For those of you who don’t know, light painting is using a source of light (flashlight, sparkler, etc) to literally paint something in the photo. So, for our shot, we set the camera on a tripod with a countdown timer. I stood out in the field to mark the spot, and James triggered the shutter. Then, he ran to greet me and pose. The flash went off, and we stood perfectly still in the pitch black. Next, he ran out of the frame, and I pulled out a flashlight. I wrote the numbers in the sky, imagining where they’d go since you can’t actually see them as you write. Then, I ran out of the frame too as the camera finished the exposure.  Our guests loved the result. We had several people ask us how we made it. Apparently, they were taking bets!

These shots both turned out great, and we really did have so much fun making them (even if we were cold!)  So, try something at night for your next photoshoot, and stay tuned for more shots from ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Plan an Inexpensive Wedding: Lots of Tips to Save Over $20,000 and What Is Worth the Money (Part Three of Three)

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Parts One and Two.

Band/DJ

We decided against having a band or DJ. Instead, we used our pre-existing collection of AirPlay speakers and created the sound system with those. Then, we created our own playlists for each part of the wedding. We did a lot of tests of the system and even had backup plans just in case. We trained a friend to work the system, and it all worked seamlessly!

By using our own equipment and playlists, we saved around $3,900.

 

Tuxedos

This was an interesting learning experience. When we started our search for the groom and groomsmen’s apparel, our first stop was naturally a well-known tux rental chain. The prices were way higher than I had anticipated. We just couldn’t pull the trigger and ask the boys to do the same. Then, my husband’s aunt suggested Nordstrom Rack. We went and found that to buy one of their suits was CHEAPER than renting one – and they each got to keep it in the end!!  Plus, their sales brought prices down even more. There would be no rushing down to the store the next day to return the suit!  So, it was a no brainer.

By going this route, my husband (and each groomsman) saved around $50 each, and they got to keep their suit.

 

Photographer

Yes, this is one of the places I’m going to suggest you spend the money on. That may sound biased, but I felt that long before I became a wedding photographer myself. The reason behind this is simple: the flowers will die, the wedding dress will be trashed or stored away, the food will be digested, the silverware will be put away, the alcohol will be ingested (and hopefully not regurgitated), the bridesmaid dresses will be donated, and the leftover cake will go stale…. So, besides the marriage and the rings you wear, only one thing will last from that day – the photography. That’s why this is an area I do feel is worth the money. That doesn’t mean you should spend an arm and a leg though. Do your homework! For example, we offer prices for those on a budget, and that’s the kind of thing to look for. We used our own side-shooters for our wedding, and to give a more realistic estimate of savings, I’ll calculate it as if we had hired ourselves to shoot the wedding.

If we had used the second of our ShootAnyAngle packages, we would have saved $800 (and gotten an engagement shoot and canvas print out of the deal). Okay, enough of the self-promotion – onto the rings!

 

Rings

Ah, yes, the big purchase that starts the whole thing – the rings! This is also an area I feel it’s okay to spend more. That being said, you need to do your homework. There is a lot of jewelry out there that is WAY too overpriced. The big name stores will charge you more for their name to be attached to it, so avoid that route if possible. On the flip side of that, don’t be stingy. These rings need to last a lifetime. Buy the best materials to ensure they will. That may cost a little extra, but it’s worth it. I’ve seen both sides of this coin. I’ve seen a groom spend more money on his ring than both my husbands’ and my rings combined! I’ve also seen a couple pick the most inexpensive ring they could find, and the bride still hates it to this day. So, do your homework, and get the right rings.

To the men out there, now I’m talking to you. Part of doing your homework is talking to your bride-to-be. Find out what she likes. James actually came to me six months prior to proposing and asked me to give him a list of rings I liked and the reasons why. The ring I liked best was a unique antique-looking ring that I had seen at a hole-in-the-wall shop. I actually kept going back to “visit” the ring. I just loved it so much – and that’s the ring I got! He did it perfectly, and I couldn’t be happier with my ring.  Not only did he get me my favorite ring, but he also had it already sized by the time he got down on one knee.  So, plan ahead!

As for the wedding bands, that took even more research. My engagement ring is a unique shape and design, and I didn’t know where we’d find a wedding band to match it – but I’m not afraid to do a little work. We ended up finding the perfect match to my ring online. It looks as if it was designed for it!  Then, to make sure we weren’t swindled, we took it to a jeweler to confirm that it was indeed gold and diamonds (it was!). We liked the ring so much that we ended up getting my husband’s band from them too. He’s an adventurer, so he wanted a very strong metal – Tungsten Carbide to be exact. The great thing about those rings? They are inexpensive! We’re talking around $20 even. Mark my words, as that metal becomes more and more popular (and it’s already getting there), then the price will go up, up, up. For now, though, it’s a great deal. Now, these bands cannot be resized, but since the price is so low, we just got him some back-ups in different sizes for down the road. I’ll probably even get a thin Tungsten band for myself to wear in place of my real rings for those adventures that are a bit too dangerous for my beautiful rings.

By doing our homework, and using the strategies above, we saved around $5,900.

 

Rentals

For the most part, if you need rentals, they are going to cost a pretty penny. Again, always do your homework, and find the most inexpensive rental place you can. We lucked out by choosing William’s Rentals (located in the Bay Area, CA). They helped us out every step of the way, and I can’t recommend them enough! Since our venue didn’t provide tables, chairs, etc, we did have to rent it all, but we saved money in our choices. Yes, the silverware may mean a lot to you, but your guests are more interested in the food. Choose a more inexpensive setting. When in doubt, do something basic. If it’s not unique, odds are it won’t be noticed – and it probably won’t be noticed even if it is unique. Another option for a more eclectic wedding is to buy mismatched silverware from thrift stores. You can do the same with plates and bring the look together with plastic charger plates that you can find at craft stores or dollar stores. When it comes to linens, basic colors are just fine (and they cost less). To bring in some flare, put the money towards fancy runners rather than the tablecloth itself. You’ll save money, and it will look nice. Where the money should go to are the chairs and some unique pieces. We splurged to get a Farm Table for our cake stand. We only got one, but it looked really nice.

By going with the cheaper rental options, we saved around $1,000.

To recap, the areas where I personally advise spending the money are the venue, the dress, the photography, and the rings – but this all depends on what is most important to you. By following the tips in these blogs (and by finding other routes on your own!), you can have your dream wedding without spending your life savings.

And, what was the grand total saved by all these tips, you may ask? The total my husband and I saved off the 2013 national averages by using these strategies was $21,840!!  Which, by the way, is way more money than we spent on the entire wedding and honeymoon combined!!

Best of luck!

2013 averages from http://www.weddingstats.org/

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Plan an Inexpensive Wedding: Lots of Tips to Save Over $20,000 and What Is Worth the Money (Part Two of Three)

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part One!

Invitations and Other Paper

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called

Our Save the Dates were made by utilizing a technique called “light painting.”
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I was lucky to have such crafty people help me for our wedding. For invitations, I had a fantastic card-maker ready to make them for me – my mother! I come from a very crafty family, if you couldn’t tell already! My mom and I worked on the design of the invitations together, and then she made each by hand. This is a bit of a long process to be sure, but they came out beautifully. She also made my shower invitations even though friends hosted the event. She also made simple “reserved” signs for our front row. For the Save-the-Dates, my husband and I took point on those. We did a nighttime long-exposure shot that utilized a technique called “light painting.” We did the photography ourselves (it’s our job after all!) and I designed the final product around the image. I had them printed at Costco. By using these techniques, we saved around $450.

Ring Pillow

Use an object you already own as the ring bearer pillow. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Use an object you already own as the ring bearer pillow.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I think the ring pillow is a place where you can let your imagination really come out. James, my husband, actually came up with the idea to use an object we already owned that had special meaning for us. Since we had gotten engaged in Disneyland, and we had gotten Mickey and Minnie wedding ears to commemorate the occasion, we decided to tie the rings to his Groom Mickey Ears. It was adorable on its own, but to make it even better, our ringbearer ran down the aisle waving the ears behind him! It was so cute. By going this route, we saved around $45.  

Venue

Find a venue that isn't well-known for weddings. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Find a venue that isn’t well-known for weddings.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Odds are, you are going to spend a good chunk of your budget here, and it’s one of the places where you should if you want a specific look. It was very important for us to be outdoors in an area that we both loved. We had previous connections to the Rengstorff House, and we loved the grounds, so we went for it. They do quite a few weddings there, but it’s not well-known for being a wedding venue. That kept their cost down, so they were pretty reasonable. If you go with this particular venue (or any that does not have sufficient lighting), just note that you will have to buy twice as many hours as your event to allow for set-up and break-down of lighting. Of course, if you or your fiancé have a nice big property available to use for free, go for it, and save even more! By going with a venue that wasn’t known for weddings, we saved around $200 off the 2013 average for venues (their national average venue cost is listed as $1,993, which seems quite low to me – at least for the Bay Area, California, so this is an underestimation of what it saved us).

Officiant

Have a friend officiate! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Have a friend officiate!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

In some venues, an officiant may be assigned to you – like at a Church. However, we weren’t able to have a priest due to rules about being married outside. So, we decided on using a friend of ours as the officiant. He did such a great job, and he really cares about us, which made it much more special. He got “ordained” online for free, and then we gave him a gift as a thank you. So, we saved around $150 here.

Planner

Talk with your friends - some may love party planning! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings

Talk with your friends – some may love party planning!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings

As I mentioned earlier, one of our bridesmaids was a born planner, so she handled this role for us. We did get her nice gifts as a thank you, but even with that cost, going this route saved a lot. I worried that it was too much work for her, but luckily, she loved it! Check with your friends and see if any love planning parties. By using a friend, we saved around $1,600.  

Stay tuned next week for the conclusion, Part Three!

2013 averages from http://www.weddingstats.org/

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Plan an Inexpensive Wedding: Lots of Tips to Save Over $20,000 and What Is Worth the Money (Part One of Three)

Let’s face it. Though a wedding is a very important day, it is just one day. Sadly, some couples spend so much on their wedding, that their savings are hit hard. There are ways to make the day great without breaking the bank though. After all, being able to afford a home someday would be nice!

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to know what aspects of the wedding are the most important to you. Those are the aspects where you should spend the money. For me, it was photography, details, and the venue that were the biggies. Photography was the number one because, besides the marriage, that’s what will last, so it better be good!

Catering

Save money by using a restaurant instead of a wedding caterer! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Save money by using a restaurant instead of a wedding caterer!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Catering is really expensive – I mean REALLY expensive. When we were planning our wedding, I talked to several caterers and provided them with our catering budget and our overall budget for the whole wedding so that they knew what we were working with. Every single caterer came back to me with a quote that was more than our ENTIRE wedding budget! How is that right? The second they heard the food was for a wedding, their quote skyrocketed.

So, we decided to have a restaurant cater. A restaurant doesn’t care if it’s a wedding or a birthday party or a small dinner with friends – their prices remain the same. They are also a lot easier to deal with, in my opinion, because they aren’t trying to sneak in extra costs like the caterers were doing to me. You also can spend a little more to give your guests more options and yet it still comes way under the price of a wedding caterer. We used the Old Spaghetti Factory, and everyone loved the food at our wedding, and it worked out perfectly!

By going this route for our 150-person wedding, we saved around $4,300 when compared to the 2013 average for a wedding caterer.

Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses

Always check the sample rack, you may just find the one! http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Always check the sample rack, you may just find the one!
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Buy special occasion dresses online rather than from a bridal store. http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Buy special occasion dresses online rather than from a bridal store.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

I was quite lucky when it came to my wedding dress. I love fashion, and I do feel the dress is one of those places where it’s okay to spend a little more. I’ve seen women who bought a cheap dress just because it was cheap, and they were not happy with it. That shows on their face, and this should be the happiest day of your life – so feel your best! Luckily, I found THE dress straight off the rack. It was a sample dress. The price was so low that it cost the same as my mother’s dress cost 30 years ago! So, don’t forget to check that rack – you may just find the one! As for the veil, I knew purchasing one was out of the question for me. As a seamstress myself, I’m just amazed how much money a bit of tulle can go for once it’s labeled as a “veil.” So, I made mine. Grand total cost to make it? $3. Yup, $3. That’s much nicer than the 2013 average of $128 (and they can go for a lot more than that!)

For bridesmaid dresses, I was determined to find something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s important to realize that though the wedding may be the center of your life, it is NOT the center of theirs. When I was a bridesmaid, the bride did not take into account how much each girl was spending on her. It ended up totally over $1,000 each, and that was money we didn’t really have to spend on someone else. I was determined not to do the same to my girls. Instead, I went to Amazon.com to get ideas. I ended up finding a pretty mint/turquoise dress by Ever-Pretty. The cost? $43 plus another $5 for the add-on lace.

By buying a sample dress and making my veil, I saved around $805 when compared to the average. By buying a dress online instead of an official bridesmaid dress, each girl saved around $75-$250.

Flowers

Get flowers from local stores, and assemble them yourselves! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Get flowers from local stores, and assemble them yourselves!
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

I was very blessed to have a bridesmaid who is an absolute natural when it comes to all things “wedding” – including flowers. That being said, we still needed to buy them! She came up with an alternative to a florist: buying them from Costco and Whole Foods! We went with Baby’s Breath, Chamomile, Hypericum Berries, and Spray Roses. Then, she assembled them herself. They were stunning!  I also added fabric flowers that I had made.  Each had a memento from a family member.

By going this route, we saved $1,500 off the average cost of flowers.

Cake

This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding.  He made it look like a tree since we love the outdoors.  He even carved in our initials and wrote a special note to me in Italian. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful cake stand was made by my father for our wedding. 
http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Like catering, cake can also be very pricey – especially if you have a multi-tiered masterpiece. We liked the idea of cupcakes better (and it’s becoming more and more popular), so we used a local bakery that is actually quite famous for the heaven that is their confectionary goodness. This way, you also don’t have to worry about cake cutting fees (which are just silly!). We also made the cake stand ourselves – or rather, my father did. He’s an expert wood-worker, so he created the perfect stand for our cupcakes.

So, by buying cupcakes and a small cutting cake instead of going the traditional route, we saved around $290 off the average cost.

 

Decorations

Beautiful gold mason jars hanging from the chairs.

Beautiful gold mason jars hanging from the chairs.

Old cameras and books as centerpieces.  Perfect for a photographer-author couple! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Cameras and books from our own collection with handmade table numbers. http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

This beautiful (and huge!) sign was made for us on our wedding day.  We'll hang it in our home for years to come! http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

Handmade sign!   http://ShootAnyAngle.com/weddings/

I love crafts, and luckily, so did my bridesmaid! Between her, my mom, and I, we made most of the decorations at the wedding. The signs were all handmade by my bridesmaids using frames I had bought for cheap at garage sales. I made the props for the photo booth, my mom made the table numbers by hand, and I made the guest book online using a freebie coupon. Though not handmade, the old books and cameras that served as our centerpieces were from our own collection, so we’ll continue to display those for years to come.

By making most of the decorations, we saved around $850.

Stay tuned next week for Part Two!

2013 averages from http://www.weddingstats.org/

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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