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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Bridal Outfits Besides “The” Dress

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/Every woman knows about looking for the dress, but there are several other outfits that the bride needs apart from that.  Now, these could be outfits you already have, or it could be a fun excuse to go shopping!

Bridal Shower

If you’re having a bridal shower, you’ll need a dress (and more than one if you’re having multiple showers!).  Wear what you feel good in, but don’t over-dress.  This is the time for shorter dresses or maxi dresses, not ball gowns.

Bachelorette

It really depends on your plans as to what is appropriate here.  It could be a club dress or even pjs!

Traveling to Venue

This can be jeans and a “bride” t-shirt or a button up blouse.  Just note that you need to be able to get the shirt off over your just-done-at-the-salon hair.  So, a button-up or a large neck is the way to go.

Getting Ready

Generally, this includes a robe and your undergarments so you don’t mess up your hair and make-up going from that to the dress.

Reception

This outfit is optional, but some women would like to get married in a ball gown, but party the night away in a slimmer dress. If that sounds like what you’d like to do, a reception dress is needed.  It’s usually also white (or ivory) but easier to move in.  Sometimes it’s shorter or a sheath fit, but it’s up to the bride.

Going Away

This too is optional.  If you can travel in your wedding dress to the hotel, then go for it!  If you’d like to change, a going away outfit will be needed.

Night of

As someone who opened a shower gift containing a negligee in front of all of her female family members and friends (and proceeded to turn bright red when I held it up trying to figure out what it was – I was the last to figure it out), I can tell you from experience that it’s generally assumed that the bride will wear nicer pajamas the night of her wedding.  That means a nice nightgown or negligee or sexy lingerie.  What you wear (and are comfortable with) is entirely up to you.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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What to Know About Vow Renewals

I recently had the pleasure of photographing a vow renewal of a couple in their 80s.  It’s so inspiring to see a couple still happily married years after their first “I do.”  A Vow Renewal can be a really sweet and great way to renew the marriage.  Some couples prefer a quiet ceremony with just the two of them, but others prefer to have a party along with the renewal.  Both are great options if you’re interested in re-committing to each other.

When is a Renewal appropriate?

An anniversary milestone

Celebrating your 10 year anniversary?  15?  20?  30?  That’s the perfect time for a vow renewal.  Some would argue that 5 years is a bit too early, but it is still a milestone, so it’s acceptable!  If you can’t do it on the milestone for whatever reason (interfering with another wedding, illness, absence, etc) then you can do it off of the milestone year.

Anytime past the age of 70

If you’re over 70, you don’t need to wait for a milestone because you’ve had plenty already!  Plus, at that age, you’ve most-likely been with your partner for a long time, so a renewal at anytime is fine.

There are no other weddings happening

If you’d like a big party for your vow renewal, but there’s another wedding going on in your family or in your small group of friends, it’s not the right time (even if you’re celebrating a milestone).  It’s the other couple’s time for the spotlight, so you need to let them have their moment.  So, if a wedding has occurred or will be occurring within a year of your renewal (and you want to make it like a second wedding), then hold off.  If you’re just having a private renewal on the beach and no party element though (or if you’re over 70 years old), then it’s fine to do at anytime.

Are guests required to bring gifts?

The short answer is “no.”  The purpose of wedding gifts is to help the couple start their life together and to provide supplies for their new home.  Since a renewal couple has already been living together, the couple shouldn’t expect gifts.  That being said, if you wish to give a gift as a guest, you certainly can.  Focus on sentimentality versus functionality.  For example, have a print made of their wedding picture or a photo album of their lives together thus far.

Is the couple required to provide a meal to guests?

If a party or reception element is part of the renewal, then it’s a good idea to provide food of some sort.  Appetizers are perfectly acceptable though!  It’s also fine to invite everyone to a restaurant.  As long as you’re clear about it being “dutch treat” up front, then you can all have a meal together without you paying for the bill.

Is a vow renewal a second wedding?

No, but it can still be a big party, though!  Some people do make it like a second wedding, especially if their first wedding was smaller than they had originally wanted.  Though this is done, be aware that some guests may look at a second wedding negatively especially if it’s really like a full wedding.  In those cases, some people may think the renewal is for a purpose other than the desire to re-commit (such as trying to get gifts).  A vow renewal is only appropriate if you wish to focus on the commitment of your marriage.  As long as that’s clear, that’s what matters.

Should I wear a wedding dress?

You don’t have to, but some women prefer to (it’s always fun to get to wear a wedding dress!).  It’s pretty common to see episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” where women are picking out wedding dresses for their renewals.  So, you certainly can wear a wedding dress, and you could even wear your original wedding dress if it still fits.  You can also wear any dress you’d like.  The dress doesn’t need to be white either.  Wear whatever you feel beautiful in!

Congratulations!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Wedding Day “Hacks”

There are lots of small things to think about on the big day, and those often slip through the cracks while you’re busy dealing with flowers and caterers.  Here are some simple hacks to help deal with those little things you may have forgotten!

1.  Tuck a handkerchief in the back of your bouquet.  

This way, you’ll have something to dab your eyes with when you inevitably get emotional because you’re so happy to be marrying the love of your life.  If you tuck it in, it will blend with the rest of the flowers.

2.  Stash a bag under your table at dinner.

By that time, you may be needing some touch-ups.  You can keep make-up in there, bandaids in case those cute shoes start to hurt, oil blotting papers for your face, hair pins, etc.

3.  Bring an “emergency” kit.

I never go to a wedding without one, even if I’m the photographer or just a guest.  My kit always includes a sewing kit (with thread colors that match the outfits of the bridesmaids, groom, groomsmen, and bride), floss (both for getting food out of your teeth and for extra strong thread in case of a big sewing emergency), oil blotting papers, deodorant, hair spray, lint roller, static cling spray, and mints.  I use the travel section of Target to re-stock it.  For the most part, you can keep this in the “getting ready” room or in the car in case it’s needed.

4.  Use an Anti-Chafing Stick between your thighs and/or wear Spanx.

You are going to be sweating under that dress (ah the joys of Polyester!), so make sure your thighs can’t chafe.  It puts a damper on things when each step is painful.

5.  Choose a garter that can’t ride or roll up.

If the garter can roll up and scratch your thighs, it will create the same problem as above.  Make sure to choose wisely.

6.  Get a travel cup with a straw for getting ready.

Most of us don’t want to eat or drink before the wedding for various reasons, but if you get dehydrated, that can lead to serious problems.  One of my bridesmaids assigned herself the job of “watering the bride.”  So, she made me a cute travel mason jar mug that said “Bride” on it, and filled it with water.  Even if you don’t want to, push yourself to take little sips periodically to ensure you’re hydrated.  Using a straw will help keep your lipstick intact.

7.  Eat smart the day before.

We all want to eat lavishly at our rehearsal dinner, but if you eat something too rich, you could be sick the next day.  This is especially true of anyone who is lactose intolerant or has IBS.  Thus, you have to be smart about what you eat the day before.  Make sure it’s not too fatty or particularly large.  If you’ve had problems with a certain kind of food, avoid that at all costs the day before and the day of your wedding.

8.  Assign a bridesmaid to grab you an appetizer plate for in between photographs.

You probably won’t eat a lot prior to the wedding, so having a plate of appetizers to eat in between taking photographs is wonderful.  Just make sure she checks your teeth before you jump back in for another photograph!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

9.  Pack an “after the wedding” to-go dinner.

Most brides and grooms find they can’t eat much at the reception (tight dress, talking with guests, nerves, etc), so you may find yourself starving later that night.  Ask for a to-go dinner that you two can enjoy later that night.  We did this for after our wedding, and food has never tasted as good as it did then!

10.  “Contact anyone on the day of the wedding, except the bride!”

The day of your wedding, you should not be having to answer any calls.  So, create a contact list for your wedding party with the names and phone numbers of who they should contact for specific issues.  Make sure to include your vendor contacts as well.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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The Guest List: How to Say “No”

http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/One of the biggest headaches when getting married is the dreaded guest list.  In the beginning, you think it’ll be easy – just add family and friends, and done!  Right?  Wrong!  That’s before your mother gets involved, your mother-in-law gets involved, your cousin gets involved, and your bridesmaid gets involved.  “Not their call,” you may say, and you’d be right.  But, sadly, unsolicited advice is a common occurrence in life, but it’s REALLY common during wedding planning.  So, how do you deal with disputes that arise?

First thing’s first.  Pick and choose your battles.  A new boyfriend who is on the shy side is a safer bet than a likes-to-get-drunk-at-all-social-events co-worker.  You can’t fight and win all battles, so choose wisely making sure to keep in mind who the request is coming from and how both you and your fiancé feel about having that guest there.  If acceptable, invite those guests with a smile.  Then, it’s time to deal with the guests you don’t want to invite.  Here are the typical ones that will come up and some ideas for how to diffuse the tension and get the wanna-be-guest (or guest’s sponsor) off your back.  These are just suggestions though (and mostly untested), so always use your best judgement when coming up with your tailored response.  The final words need to be your own, and I find it best to keep it short.  After all, you know the person and the situation!

1.  Your Boss

Sure.  He/she may pay your salary, but weddings are personal.  As we all know, they are called “Personal Days” for a reason.  Your work is a different world than your personal one, so if you aren’t all buddy-buddy with your boss, you do not have to invite him/her.  So, how to dodge the question if it comes up?

Try:  “We’re limited on space and budget, so we have to stick to family and close friends.”

Or:  “We’d love to invite you, but then we’d feel obligated to invite the whole office and my fiancé’s co-workers too, and that’s too much.  So, we had to limit it to friends and family only.”

2.  A Guest’s New Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Every bride hates this one.  Here you are paying an arm and a leg for the wedding, and a guest wants his/her new fling invited without any thought as to how much more it will cost you.  Well, if he/she is a new flame, it’s not that serious.  So, if space is tight, you don’t have to extend an invitation to the significant other (or give the guest a plus one).  Now, if the couple has been together a significant amount of time (say, 6 months or more at the time of the invite – and especially if they’ve been together longer than you and your fiancé), then he/she should be invited.  Same goes if the guest has a significant role in the wedding (bridesmaid, groomsman, reader, officiant, etc).  If neither of those are applicable and space is tight, here’s how to handle that one.

“I’d love to invite him/her, but we just don’t have the space or budget to accommodate all the extra guests that we’ve been asked to invite.  Plus, he/she doesn’t know anyone at the wedding except you.  We wouldn’t want him/her to feel uncomfortable.”

3.  The Aunt/Uncle/Cousin You’ve Never Met

It’s funny how long-lost relatives all the sudden pop up once someone is getting married, but they do.  Some people believe that as long as there is a blood-line, then an invite is required.  As someone who has over 50 members on my mother’s side of the family alone (that I know personally – but there are more), I can’t afford to subscribe to that theory!  Even if you don’t have a huge family, a relative you’ve never met is oftentimes a guest brides don’t want to invite.  Here’s how to handle that.

“I’d love to meet him/her in the future, but we just don’t feel our wedding is the appropriate place.  As it is, the guest list is just too tight.”

4.  The Random Person Who Your Relative/Friend Already Invited

Shocking, but it does happen.  When it does, it can be very stressful, but try this approach.

“I’m very sorry, but there’s been a misunderstanding.  I’ve been told that you received an invite to our wedding.  Unfortunately, that person was not authorized to extend invitations, and we’re already at capacity for guests.  I’m terribly sorry for the position this has put you in, and I hope you understand.”

5.  Exes

Yikes!!  You’d think it’d be self-explanatory that exes are blacklisted from weddings (unless everyone involved are friends and alright about them coming – which is rare), but I’ve heard some horror stories about brides and grooms being pressured to invite exes.  Here’s how to deal with that one.

“Our marriage is a celebration of our relationship, not relationships of the past.  We want to look towards our future, not at what we chose to leave behind.”

6.  The Person Who Invited You To Their Wedding

People change and some drift apart.  Just because someone invited you to their wedding does not mean you are obligated to reciprocate – especially if things have changed.  You already gave them a gift after all.  Try this.

“We’ve decided to have a more intimate wedding, and we already have more family and close friends than we have room for.  I hope you understand.”

~

Now, these suggested responses are all well and good if they work the first time, but what if you are dealing with someone irrational (we all know someone like that!), and they keep pressuring you?  At that point, I’ve found it best to be polite but firm.  Something along the lines of “I’m sorry, but we cannot invite him/her, and that decision is firm.”  If that still doesn’t work, it’s sometimes best to just ignore future appeals.  So much of our communication these days are via email and text, so those are easy to leave unanswered.  If the appeal is done in person, you can simply say, “I’m sorry, but that’s a stressful topic. Let’s talk about something else.”  Remember, try to always stay as polite as possible.  Anger will only lead to animosity, so keep that at bay.  It’s okay to say no as long as you do it respectfully.

Good luck!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How My Wedding Changed My Life

shootanyangle.com/weddings/Mostly, we hear about how our marriage has changed our lives, and it absolutely does.  I was with James eight years before we got married, so he was changing my life long before we actually tied the knot.  He has made me a better person, he brings such pure and complete joy to my life every moment, and he is my absolute best friend.  I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be his wife, and I love him more and more everyday.  So, my spouse has absolutely changed my life, but the wedding day itself changed my life in very surprising ways.

The bride is usually the one planning the wedding, so we’re forced to learn the ropes very quickly.  We’re all the sudden the CEO in company that we’ve never worked for.  Brides have to not only learn what it takes to put together the massive production of a wedding, but we also need to understand each aspect well enough to make the best decisions.  That’s a lot of pressure on us, and it’s extremely stressful.  Some brides crack under the pressure.  Some brides plan out of necessity and are quick to forget it.  But, some brides bloom and become more confident and better decision makers.  That’s what happened to me.  I guess it’s that whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing (something I previously didn’t subscribe to).  There were days I thought my head would burst from the stress, I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue with all the tasks on my list with a smile on my face, I felt I didn’t have enough time, and I believed I didn’t have what it took to be the CEO of my own wedding.  But I did.  It all taught me a very important lesson: there was a power inside of me that I didn’t know I had, and when utilized, I could move mountains.

On the big day, I also felt the most beautiful I’ve ever felt.  I could finally see what James and my family had been saying all those years, except now, I felt it from within.  For months later, I would feel blue that I’d never be that beautiful again, despite my husband constantly telling me how beautiful I am (even with crazy bed hair and toothpaste drool down my shirt).  It may seem like a vain thought, but our self-image is a critical part of our mental health.  That’s why we often feel upset when we don’t think we look nice, or when we feel under or over dressed at an event.  It’s because we care about how we are perceived by others.  For awhile, I let myself wallow in self pity.  Then, something flipped in my brain.  I started trying to recapture the beauty I had on my wedding day.  I started trying to learn new hairstyles, I was more careful when applying makeup, and I started paying more attention to my everyday clothes.  I always liked fashion, but I put more effort into it post-wedding.  I was slowly reflecting on the outside what I had felt on the inside, and that in turn enhanced the confidence I had earned from the wedding.

With this newfound self-image, I started becoming a different person.  Or, at least, a more improved version of myself.  I started pushing myself harder and taking more risks with my work.  They started paying off left and right.  With each success, I found my creativity opening up.  I trusted my instincts.  I found that things that normally would make me anxious or scared no longer had that affect on my nerves.  I was calmer, collected.  Instead of wondering if things would work out (as I had always done), I just understood that they would.

I always knew my marriage would change my life for the better, but no one ever told me about the wedding gift that first day would bestow upon me.  It was the best wedding gift I could have received.

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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How to Deal With Post-Wedding Blues

Photo courtesy of Susie Hannibal

Your wedding day is bound to be the happiest day of your life thus far.  It’s a busy but fantastic day that is the cumulation of generally a year of planning and years of courtship prior to that.  For that day, you feel like a princess, a celebrity.  Everyone knows you and is complimenting you, giving you gifts, taking pictures of you – and whether or not you are generally someone who likes all that attention, it will become very odd when it’s suddenly all gone.  And it will be the very next day.

Sure, weddings are really about vowing to spend the rest of your life with the one you love, but it does become more than that whether we want it to or not – and we get used to that.  We’re only humans after all!  But what happens when all the planning is over, and the attention is gone, and you realize the big day that your life was circling around has now been completed?  Well, for many brides and even some grooms out there, it can lead to post-wedding blues.  Even though the wedding is over, the marriage is just beginning, so what are some things you can do to get past it?

Take a Breather

We all need a bit of a breather first.  Weddings are exhausting!!!  So, allow yourself the relaxation time.  It’s okay to take an extra-long soak in the tub.  It’s okay to watch a few more episodes on TV than you usually do.  It’s okay to sleep in on the weekends.  Take some down time.  Your new hubby will need some too, so take that breather together!

Do Wedding Related Projects

Oddly enough, even if the wedding is over, the projects aren’t.  You still have thank you notes to write (and only a month to do them in), social media albums to make, photo books to make, canvas prints to order, etc.  Most couples have pictures of their wedding day and photo albums of it in their home, so now is the time to get those done!

Plan a Couple-Only Day

Since odds are that you both took time off work, you may find yourself overwhelmed after returning from the wedding and honeymoon only to be met by a wall of work that accumulated while you were out.  It may seem hard to carve out a moment just for you two.  It’s really important to get that time though.  You’re newlyweds after all!  Plan a time to do something just the two of you.  Even if you can’t get away for a full day, and even if money is tight (it usually is after a wedding!), you can still find free and short things to do: go for a walk in the park, watch one of your favorite DVDs together, make dinner together, go to the beach and watch the sunset.  There are lots of options in regards to activities, but make sure it’s just the two of you.

Plan Something To Look Forward To

Let’s face it: a wedding is really just a big party, so you’ve really been a party-planner for a year or so.  If you have post-wedding blues, it may be the planning that you miss.  So, plan something new!  Offer to plan someone’s birthday party, or plan a tea-party, or plan a thank-you-to-everyone-who-helped-out-at-our-wedding party.  Put those new-found skills to good use!

Get Dressed Up

Brides sometimes don’t feel as pretty after a wedding.  After all, their hairstylist and make-up artist and dress designer aren’t there everyday!  We all look our best on our wedding day, so the days that follow are a bit of a let down in the beauty department.  So, get dressed up!  Do your hair and make-up, put on your favorite dress (no, not the wedding dress) and go out to dinner with your hubby, or plan something at home.  It’ll help give you a little pick-me-up.

Pick Up a New Life Project

Your life was circling around the planning of the wedding, and now you find yourself with free time on your hands.  Put that energy towards a new life project.  Want a different career?  Put that energy towards that.  Or maybe you want to re-do parts of the house, or rejuvenate your relationship with family.  Whatever it is, use the new free time for that.

And most of all, focus on the positive – you just married the love of your life!

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How to Change Your Name After Marriage: Step-by-Step (What You’ll Need, and the Costs)

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shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Changing your name after marriage is a bit of a complicated process.  The main thing is knowing what to expect and, specifically, knowing what order to change it in.  It took me quite awhile to change everything over (actually, I’m still finding areas that I haven’t changed yet), but as long as you have the time (no big international trips coming up), it’ll be fine and relatively stress-free. Get the major ones done first, and then the rest can be changed as needed.

Also, make sure to change your name after the honeymoon.  Otherwise, you probably won’t have everything ready in time!

(Note: the below prices are based on what I encountered while changing my name in the state of California late 2014 to early 2015.  Also, note that I’m not an expert on the topic, just a fellow bride who has gone through the process.)

Step One: Get your Marriage Certificate

In the California county I was married in, it cost me $15 per certificate.  I bought three just in case.  It’s usually ready about a week or so after the wedding.  Call in first if you want to make sure.  You don’t need an appointment.

What You’ll Need:

     ID

Cost: $15 each

Step Two: Change Name with the Social Security Agency

You’ll need to go into your local SS branch with your old card and the marriage certificate. They’ll have you fill out some paperwork. You don’t need an appointment.

What You’ll Need:

     Marriage Certificate

     Original SSN card

Cost: Free

Step Three: Change Name at the DMV

I made an appointment, but it’s really hit and miss as to if that helps or not.  They’ll take a new picture of you, so look your best!  They require you to fill out a form that must be done on-site.

What You’ll Need:

     Marriage Certificate

     New SSN card

Cost: $27

Step Four: Change Name at the Bank

I was told I could have done this prior to the DMV, but then when vendors ask to see your ID to verify you are the cardholder, it wouldn’t match.  So, I did it after I received the new license.

What You’ll Need:

     Marriage Certificate

     New SSN card

     New Driver’s License or Interim license (may be optional for some banks)

Cost: Free

Note: this is an area I am STILL struggling with. For some reason, my bank can’t figure out how to send me the new cards and checks in my new name. Also, my bank only allows 21 characters on the cards/checks. My legal name is over that, so if that’s the case, the bank will work with you to find a way to represent your name.

Step Five:  Passport

The application can be filled out online (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english.html), but you’ll have to mail in the documents.

What You’ll Need:

     Application form

     Recent Passport photo

     Fee

     Most recent passport

     Marriage Certificate

Cost: $110

Step Six: Other

This list will change per person, but here are the common areas where name changes are needed:

—HR at work (sending them a quick email should do it, but each company will probably be different)

—Mortgage

—Car Registration (If you have AAA, just visit your local branch)

—Medical (If you have health insurance from your company, the HR department will have to handle this for you. If you take care of your own insurance, contact them directly.)

—Library cards (handled at the local branch)

—Membership cards

—Pet tags

—Subscriptions

—Insurance

—Utilities and bills

—Loans/leases/contracts

—Voter Registration

—PayPal (You’ll need to send a picture of your new license and marriage certificate.)

—Email addresses and signatures

—Voice mail message

—Social media and other online accounts

—Organization/Clubs

Good luck!

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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Dress by ModCloth.


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Tips From an Ex-Bridal/Bridesmaid Consultant

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/

I had the privilege of getting to attend (and photograph!) a new bride’s wedding dress appointment. She tried on several dresses and looked stunning in all of them! She did end up saying “yes” to the dress, but I won’t be posting any of those photos (in order to keep them from her fiancé’s prying eyes!). The experience reminded me of my days working as a Bridal and Bridesmaid Consultant. Now, this bride’s appointment went very smoothly, but that’s not always the case in my experience in the business. So, I have some tips for when it’s your turn to go dress shopping.

1.  Most women go in knowing basically what they want, and most end up choosing the exact opposite.

It’s EXTREMELY common to go in with one type of dress in mind and come out with the opposite. I’m not entirely sure why this happens so frequently. Perhaps we’re drawn to the body type we don’t have. Whatever the reason, I saw this constantly both at the bridal store and when I was working in a theatre costume shop. So, my advice is feel free to go in with ideas you like, but be open to the fact that you may change your mind once you see how that style looks on you. I did the same thing when I went shopping for my dress. I told the consultant I wanted a sheath lace dress that had some sort of lacey straps on it, but I gave her full permission to pick out something completely opposite if I wasn’t loving the style. Sure enough, I didn’t love the style. So, what did I end up with? A poofy, strapless ball gown with not a bit of lace on it! And I loved it!

 2.  Wear the appropriate undergarments.

Part of my job was measuring brides and bridesmaids for their dresses. I’d ask the woman to undress down to bra and underwear, and then I’d come in to measure. One day, I asked the woman if she was ready, she said she was, and I came in to find her completely naked! I was shocked to say the least. I quickly looked away and told her she needed to put on undergarments before I could proceed.

Now, odds are you wouldn’t get naked, but you should bring undergarments that you feel comfortable in. The consultant will see you in these, so thongs are not the best option. The bra should also be a strapless of sorts so you can see how the dresses are supposed to look. They may also offer you a low-back corset, which is great for trying on dresses.

3.  Never, ever, ever order a smaller size because you’re hoping to lose weight before the big day. Just don’t do it.

I cannot tell you how many times people would refuse my recommendation on size because they were planning on losing weight before the wedding (or would suck in as I measured them – they fooled no one). Most of the time, I was able to talk them out of it. The ladies I couldn’t talk out of it always ended up with a dress that was much too small for them. The truth of the matter is that it takes a lot to lose inches off your measurements, but you can always take in a dress. It’s very hard (sometimes impossible) to let it out. I understand people want to lose weight, but if someone orders a dress that ends up being too small, the only thing they’ll succeed in doing is drawing attention to their weight on the big day because the dress will be obviously too tight (if it zips up at all). There’s enough to worry about without worrying about if the dress will fit.  So, just order the correct size.  If you feel you are in between sizes, it’s usually best to size up (if it’s a corset back, you have a bit more wiggle room).  Talk to your consultant. They want to help you look your best, so they’ll be happy to help.

4.  Your size may be larger than you expected. That’s okay!

Many bridal/bridesmaid dresses are in European sizes, so it’s about 2 sizes higher than the US size. So, if you are usually a 6, you would be a 10 (the sizes are even numbers: 2,4,6,8…). Many women were furious at me when I told them their suggested size, so I had to explain this several times. My advice? Just cut off the tag. No one will know, and you’ll forget too.

5.  Be nice. Yes, it’s your day, but you need to live with these people afterwards!

Yes, being nice goes a long way. Now, sure, you should be nice to your consultant, but that’s not actually where I saw the sparks fly. Where I saw the most heated arguments were between the bride and mother of the bride. One day particularly stands out. A mother of the bride came into the store already close to tears. My co-workers informed me that they had witnessed the bride chewing out her mother the day before because the mother wanted to wear an outfit that the bride didn’t approve of. The mother had come back in to pick one of the frumpy outfits her daughter had demanded she wear. I felt horrible for her, so I took the time to sit her down and have a nice talk with her. I was shocked the treatment she had received all because the woman was trying to look nice. The outfit she had chosen was very lovely, conservative, a muted color, and it even went with the bride’s color choices and what she had originally told the mother that she wanted. I ended up advising her to pick the outfit she (the mother) wanted. I told her that even though it was her daughter’s big day, it was a big day for her too, and she needed to feel beautiful as well. After all, the parents get a lot of attention that day too. She left with the dress she loved and a smile on her face.

The lesson? Don’t drive your mother (or bridesmaids) to therapy. Yes, it is your big day, but pick and choose your battles.

6.  “Three’s a crowd.”

Three is actually fine, but the saying is suitable for this next piece of advice. If you’ve ever seen Say Yes To The Dress, you’ll know what I’m talking about.   Bringing a small group with you is fine, but I’ve seen girls bring six or more people with them, and that’s a bit much. They always regretted it. In a group atmosphere when people are asked for their opinions, they tend to be more outspoken. This could be because they want their opinion to be heard or simply because the excitement gets the better of them. Regardless of the reason, if you bring a large group, be prepared for a lot of opinions – a lot of conflicting opinions. This is a big decision, and it’s very hard to do with a lot of different voices.

Now, this is also dependent on who you bring. If the people are generally introverted or calm, then you probably won’t have an issue. If you bring people that are loud and opinionated, you probably will have an issue. Basically, pick your company wisely, but less is more.

7.  Don’t spend money on the veil unless you want something really fancy.

A veil is just tulle. That fabric is very cheap at fabric stores, and you can just sew it onto a comb (I did this for our wedding, and it only cost me 3 dollars!). If you want to add lace, you can buy those appliqués and sew them on too. This will be a lot less expensive than buying it. Now, if you have something really intricate in mind or something that is more complex to do on your own (piping can be tricky), then you may have no choice but to buy it. If not, make it yourself.

8.  Shop well in advance.

Dresses can take 6-8 months to come into the store once ordered. Make sure you have enough time! If you don’t have this time, check the rack or non-bridal stores online.

9.  Don’t forget to check the rack.

Many stores have the option to buy off the rack. These are usually sample dresses priced at a great discount. Not only could you save money, but you could also take home the dress that day!  Even though I tried on a bunch of dresses that were order-only, my dress was eventually found off the rack, and it cost the same my mother’s dress had cost 30 years prior!  Score!

10.  Take pictures, and have fun.

This is a once in a lifetime event. Enjoy it. Twirl on the pedestal like a princess. Smile and thank those that compliment you. Soak it in!

You’re going to look gorgeous!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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Congratulations, You’re Engaged! What’s Next?

Our proposal in Disneyland.  James had hidden cameras on tripods to capture the moment.   http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Our proposal in Disneyland. James had hidden cameras on tripods to capture the moment.
http://shootanyangle.com/weddings/

Congratulations! You’re engaged! You’re grinning ear to ear, and you’re distracted by your sparkler all the time (stop looking at it while you’re driving!). It’s a very exciting (and tiring) time in your life, but now it all the sudden dawns on you that you have to plan a wedding, and that’s no simple task.

When James and I got engaged in Disneyland (yes, he proposed in front of the castle – he did good!), we were immediately overwhelmed by all the “congratulations” and attention we were getting. Actually, at one point, a Disneyland cast member came up to us to offer his congratulations (we were wearing the Mickey and Minnie Bridal Ears, so we were easy to spot). Though he was actually saying intelligent and clear words, we both heard the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher coming out of this guy’s mouth! We just stared at him dumbfounded until he repeated himself. We were just so tired from all the emotional excitement that our brains had completely shut down. This became especially difficult when we were immediately asked questions that we couldn’t possibly know yet – like when and where the wedding would be. Yes, you just got engaged and yet people are going to ask. So, here is a quick set of guidelines to help start the process (after you take a nap and eat some food, that is!).

Step 1: Set your budget.

Now, when I say “set your budget,” I don’t just mean your overall budget, though that’s also necessary. You need to also set your budgets for each aspect of the wedding. There’s a basic breakdown at The Knot: http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-budget/articles/wedding-budget-101-establishing-your-budget.aspx?MsdVisit=1.

Going along with setting your budget, make sure you and your fiancé know what is most important to you. For me, it was 1, photography; 2, details; and 3, location. Each of you should have your top three important aspects chosen, so you can adjust your budget accordingly. Setting a budget now also helps pull in the reigns on your spending. My first few trips to Michael’s, I was tempted to buy all of their bridal pieces. I ended up buying some that I never used, so hold back on the spending until you know how much you can spend and on what.

Step 2: Set a basic time for your wedding.

Not the actual date, of course. That would depend on your chosen venue’s availability, but choose a basic time when you’ll be tying the knot. It can be something as simple as “in about a year” or more specific like “spring” or even a specific month, but something. This is mostly so you have something to tell people when they ask, and so you can start the preliminary planning.

Step 3: Determine where you’ll get married.

This generally happens awhile after the proposal (as opposed to the first two steps, which should be completed soon after), and that’s just fine. Talk with your fiancé, and write down a list of areas you both like (or specific venues, if you know of any). At this stage, you should also be thinking about who you’re going to invite (more on that next), and who you really want there. This is important because if you really want “Aunt Nancy” to be there (and she’s in a wheelchair), then that venue that your guests have to hike up a volcano to get to (though impressive and a bit terrifying) is probably not the best option. On the flip side of that, if you want to cut down on the guest list, having a destination wedding can be the way to go.

Step 4: Determine your basic guest list.

Every bride is going to have a massive headache over her guest list, so stock up on the Advil now. I also advise creating a “Relax” playlist that is ready to go whenever the stress becomes too much. Though it is your wedding, those around you also believe they have a say in who attends, and they will verbalize it. The sooner you know your list, the better prepared you’ll be for those moments. Think of it this way, if the venue only allows 75 people, and you already have 90 on your list, you simply cannot accommodate other invite requests. That being said, you need to also pick and choose your battles. Inviting a cousin’s new boyfriend is a small price to pay if it means you can get out of inviting the parent’s nosey and obnoxious co-worker.

Step 5: Determine what you do and don’t want.

If it’s really important that you be married in a Church, let people know early on. That way, you won’t have people suggesting that you get married elsewhere. If it’s really important to you that children are not invited, express that as well. Basically, figure out what battles you will fight for. That way, you’ll know what other areas you can compromise on. I also suggest that when telling others your feelings on these topics, that you make it clear that the decisions are final – but in a polite way. If you’re not clear on that point, people will try to change your mind.

Of course, there are a lot more steps involved in planning a wedding, but these first tips should help you get the ball rolling. Being organized and knowing what you want in the beginning will make everything go a lot smoother!

And, of course, congratulations from ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography!

Photos by ShootAnyAngle Wedding Photography.

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