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A majority of your wedding photography in the Hudson Valley should be you and your guests celebrating. Most of my couples emphasize this when they hire me.  I adore that my couples value being in the moment on their wedding day and with their closest friends and family.  However, when it comes to the formal photos of you and your spouse and your families most couples have the following concerns:


Can our wedding photos be taken quickly so we can get back to celebrating?

Will I look good in the wedding day portraits?

Will our wedding photos be stiff or overly posed?

What do we do if it rains?

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As a wedding photographer in the Hudson Valley, I find that creating a sense of calm and flexibility lends to the best wedding day photos. Whatever worries you may have, my job is to address them both before and during your wedding so you can experience your wedding day to the fullest.

A majority of people have some sort of anxiety about being in front of the camera. Most of my subjects worry about the way they look and/or having wedding photos that are stiff and overly posed.  I understand and a good wedding photographer can help.  

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Firstly, you should be open with your photographer about things you are physically self-conscious about in advance of your wedding day. I personally have asymmetrical eyes due to a car accident as a child.  There are specific ways that I can be photographed that would help deemphasis this.  I, therefore, ask my couples in my pre-wedding questionnaire about any physical concerns they may also have. I find simply communicating these issues in advance really helps my subjects relax in front of the camera. 

Also, when it comes time to edit the photos I will also have these concerns in mind and can address them with photoshop.  Hey, yeah, I know photoshop is not natural.  However, a good photographer will know how to edit with a natural touch that diminishes these concerns while at the same time presenting a photograph that still looks like you. 

This type of natural editing takes a light hand and involves multiple gradual steps.  I photoshop 99% of my bride’s portraits.  Why? Because for the bride’s portraits I generally use window light.  Window light has such depth to it. It is my most favorite light to photograph with.  However, it tends to overemphasis even the slightest skin or makeup flaw. Seeing every pore on your face is not normal is real life, however, in an up-close window lit portrait, it will be.  So, no matter how perfect your skin is, I will most likely do some retouching to any window lit portrait I photograph. I do this because I truly want you to love your wedding photography.

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However, it is not realistic to ask a wedding photographer to retouch every photo of you on a wedding day.  Editing with a natural touch takes A LOT of time. I probably spend about twenty minutes retouching specific portraits. I do not charge extra for doing this light editing on my individual portraits.  If there are a few other additional photos you also would like retouched, I will happily do those too.  But if you wanted every photo retouched, to perhaps remove a tattoo, I would have to charge extra for that. However, when it comes to your wedding album my retouching is included on all photos used. 

When photographing couples for the more formal photos, I do think it is important to have at least one photo of them both arm and arm and looking directly into the camera. However, the majority of my wedding couple pictures will be of you two looking at each other and connecting.

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My most favorite way to do this is to simply put you two in the best light I can find and then simply ask you to snuggle up.  If doing this in front of the camera feels awkward I might ask one of you to smell your partner’s neck or find a way to get you both to laugh naturally. I also find that getting my wedding couples to move a bit also helps.  I will suggest you simply walk towards me or even dance if that is something you too like to do.  Most of the time prompts during the formal photos are not required, as emotions on a wedding day are already brimming at the surface. I tend to just let my wedding couples connect naturally but I will give direction if I notice something that does not look good. For instance, if your partner’s hands are around your neck in a way that looks weirdly aggressive I will ask them to simply move their hands down. However, I will not micro-manage every movement and gesture into a pose. 

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Overall I am looking for those in-between moments where your guard is down and you look more naturally like yourself.

As a wedding photographer in the Hudson Valley, I want you to be in the moment and look back at your photos and remember exactly how it felt to be wrapped up in your wedding day.


I am also hyper-aware of the time on a wedding day.  When photographing the more formal wedding day photos,  my ultimate goal is to catch some gorgeous photos as quickly as I can.  In order to do this, I help each couple set a realistic timeline.  This means padding your timeline.  You think that a ten-minute drive from the Airbnb to the ceremony will take ten minutes?  I will tell you to allow yourself twenty minutes instead. 

I will also be very clear on when you, your immediate family and your wedding party should be all ready and dressed.  I will also let you know the specific time your hair and makeup vendors need to be finished.  I will also gently let you know throughout your day when you are falling behind schedule.  This is especially important before the ceremony and also the most likely time frame couples do run behind schedule.  Falling behind on your wedding day causes stress.  I want to help relieve as much stress for you as possible and working with you to find a realistic timeline REALLY helps.

When it comes to the formal family photos, I will also work with you to come up with a manageable timeline for these photos too – , especially if you are choosing to do both your formal couple portraits and family group photos during the cocktail hour. I will let you know if your family group photo list is too large to finish during the cocktail hour and might then suggest doing more casual extended family groupings during the reception instead. 

I will also enlist one of your friends or family members in advance, designated by you, to help corral your families and usher people in and out of your family groupings efficiently. 

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I also always visit every location where we are photographing the family and couple photos prior to your wedding day.  I do this so I can see where the light will be during these formal photos.  I go in advance to the locations with an app on my phone that shows me the exact position of the sun during the time we plan on taking the formal photos. Sometimes, I do this on the morning or your wedding day and other times within the week before.  I do this even if I have photographed at a specific location many times prior.  Why? Because every location looks different with each season, and at different times of the day.   I also know that venues constantly change things around.  For instance, a particular spot I might adore at a venue might now have a piece of furniture that makes the spot inaccessible.  Having this advanced knowledge helps me not only be more creative on your wedding day but also most efficient.  

When I advance scout locations, I also brainstorm the worst-case and best-case scenarios in terms of light, composition, and weather.  If it is going to be hot and sunny on your wedding day, I will look for shade to put your families in so they don’t overheat.  I also want some covered or indoor options if it rains or is super cold on your wedding day.  If the weather is dry and mild, but super sunny, I want to find a location where the sun falls behind the family groupings. Otherwise, everyone will be squinting in the photos facing the sun. If the weather is overcast on your wedding day, I will find another location in advance that can take advantage of that light too.

For the wedding day couple, I also pre-scout locations that have great natural light and composition.  I look for natural elements to layer into your photos – such as a flare from the sun or greenery from a tree, a bush or long grass. 

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In my pre-planning of your wedding day photography, there are also instances where I discover wonderful photo locations that should be adapted in advance of your wedding day.   Such as the couple below who married on their Catskill farmhouse.  When I met with the couple before their wedding day, I saw that this particular field would have the best light during their wedding portraits.  I also loved the tall grass.  However, having them walk through the tall grass would not be feasible in their wedding attire.  So, we came up with a plan to have a path mowed just prior to their wedding day.  This enabled them to easily walk through the field of grass while I captured their portraits.  

As a Hudson Valley wedding photographer, I do this preplanning with every wedding I photograph.

This way, when your wedding day arrives, I can be loose, creative but also more efficient no matter the circumstances.  This planned and creative process also helps you to more fully enjoy your day – which I believe ultimately helps me photographing you more naturally.  In short, Less Posing, More Being! 

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns Wedding | Kate and Andrew

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