Creating a Wedding Day Timeline

Today I want to talk about something that’s a little intimidating…your timeline! I know this isn’t the most exciting aspect of the wedding day, but this is the one thing that can make or break your photography! I will give an outline based on 6pm ceremony timeframe. This ideal timeline is also based off of a wedding day that includes a first look. Remember that all wedding days are different, and your timeline may differ due to travel times and unique situations!

2:30 Bridal Details

Every bride loves having those beautiful shots of her bridal details. It’s an important part of the story and I love having some time to shoot the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, etc. These shots allow me to get warmed up for the rest of the big day. I normally like to allow at least 45 minutes for this part of the day. While I’m shooting details, I’m also capturing some shots of the bride and her girls getting ready! If the groom is getting ready nearby, my second photographer will begin photographing the boys close to 40 minutes before the first look since it always takes them less time to get dressed!

3:15 Bridal Prep

After the details have been photographed, it’s time for the bride to get into her dress! This is a big moment! I usually ask the mother of the bride and all of the bridesmaids to be dressed by the time the bride is ready to get into her dress. This ensures that everyone will look nice in those images. After the bride is in her gown, she can put on her jewelry, veil, shoes, etc. and I will shoot some additional bridal portraits!

4:00 First Look
This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day! I will find the perfect location for my couple’s First Look prior to the getting ready portion of the day! Don’t stress about that one bit! I will make sure the location is private and as secluded as possible.

4:15 Portraits

After the bride and groom take their time with the First Look, I will begin taking a few romantic portraits of the two of them while the initial excitement is still present! I will find the locations for these shots as well! Remember, the LIGHT determines where we shoot and so I can’t decide on portrait locations until the dayof. As we shoot these portraits, the bridal party can start making their way to us for Bridal Party portraits!

4:50 Bridal Party Portraits
Now it’s time for Bridal Party shots! I buffer in extra time throughout the day just in case we have some unexpected things that hold us up! One way to make sure we stay on schedule for bridal party portraits is to have someone put the boutonnieres on the guys BEFORE they arrive for portraits. During Bridal Party portraits, my second photographer and I will make sure to take some great shots of the guys and girls both separately AND together! After bridal party portraits are complete, the bride will go into hiding so that early guests don’t sneak a peek, and the ushers will begin their duties.
5:30 Bride in Hiding

5:30 Reception Details

If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, I will use this time to shoot the reception decor UNTOUCHED. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area if possible so that I can grab some great shots of your reception before the night begins and guests start laying down purses and coats on their seats!

6:00 Ceremony

It’s time to get married!! Most ceremonies are 30 minutes long. If your ceremony is longer than 30 mins, we’ll make adjustments to the timeline! Cherish these moments! Your ceremony will pass by so quickly!

6:40 Family Formals
We’ll need about 30 mintues for family formals and I will send a questionnaire before the wedding where you can list out the shots that you want. I recommend shooting portraits outdoors if possible so that they resemble more natural family portraits, especially if the ceremony location is dark!
Family formals normally take place immediately following the ceremony. It’s best to save all of the family formals until after the ceremony because ALL family members will be present at that time.

7:15  Golden Light/ Sunset Portraits

7:00pm is the BEST time of day for portraits in the late spring, summer and early fall! This is when the sun is glowy and golden. I love having a few extra minutes with the bride and groom to take a few “Just Married” portraits right after family formals!

7:30-10:30 Reception
This is when the bridal party lines up for introductions and the party begins!! By this part of the day, my timeline isn’t as strict. I work off of the natural light and so after the sun is set, my portrait time is over and I begin focusing on the reception events!

 

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The Best of 2017 | Engagements and Couples

2017 was an awesome year for couple’s sessions and engagements! I got to travel to Boston, Niantic, Provincetown, and Rhode Island; and work with some of the best couples!  In keeping with tradition, I have compiled some of my favorite images from the past year.  But I have also included some tips for my 2018 couple’s and engagement sessions!

So snuggle up with your sweetie and check out these Five Fabulous Tips for to have the Best Couple’s Session:

1. My most important tip is to ENJOY yourselves. This photo session is meant to be a representation of your love for one another; think of it as a chance to break away with your babe and spend an hour or two hanging out at one of your favorite spots with lots of handholding and sweet kisses.  We will laugh, we will chat; and most likely the awkwardness of picture taking will just melt away.  And if not, we can always pop some bubbly 😉

2. I want you to choose a LOCATION that suits you as a couple.  Just because everyone has their pictures at a local park and they look beautiful doesn’t mean you need to too!  Think about your top three things to do together; do you like to hike mountains, watch football, read at the library?  This will help you narrow down what kind of location would be perfect for your engagement session.  It’s also likely to be a spot that you are comfortable and relaxed in. For example, if you love to drink craft beers, a brewery would be an awesome location.

3. When choosing your OUTFITS, try to coordinate with one another.  You don’t want to wear matching shirts, nothing says “Hello 90s” like matching shirts. Try to avoid clothing with logos, loud colors, or busy patterns. I suggest that people bring two different options, one fancier and one more casual. This can give you two different looks for your engagement photos. If you have chosen a location that doesn’t have easy access to restrooms, try to dress in layers so you can change up the look by removing layers.

4. Bringing PROPS, goes hand in hand with choosing a location that suits the two of you. Choose things that represent you as a couple, and things that you like to do together. Bringing your dog, a blanket, and a Frisbee would be perfect if that’s how the two of you would spend your time. Think outside the box when it comes to props; maybe your grandfather has an antique car, maybe you spend a lot of time on a boat. The possibilities are endless!

5. I suggest that brides invest in professional HAIR and MAKEUP for their engagement session. It can be a good chance to work with your makeup artist before your wedding day. Also, it takes the pressure off of you when you hire a professional to take care of your hair and makeup; a little bit of pampering never hurt anyone 😉 And when you feel fabulous it definitely translates into your photos.

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The Best of 2017 | Weddings

In 2017, I photographed 17 wonderful couples and weddings.  Each wedding was so unique, and I love how each wedding tells a story of who each couple is and represents their relationship.  I traveled all over New England for weddings, and even photographed one on a boat in Boston 🙂   I am so thankful for each and every couple that has put their trust into me.  I have poured my heart and soul into this business, and I couldn’t be prouder of how far I came this last year.  I am so excited for 2018, and all of my new couples this year…and all of the adventures we are about to go on.  So many thanks to all of the vendors who have made each wedding come together and have showcased each couple’s unique story and love.  Also, thanks to all of my second shooters, seriously, I could not do what I do without you girls!

First up was Alyssa and Brian’s Boston wedding, at the UMASS Club.  Alyssa said,” We chose to Brooke to shoot our wedding after seeing amazing reviews of her work on Wedding Wire and multiple other sites. So glad we did! Brooke was super accommodating and made me feel very relaxed. I don’t love having my picture taken professionally, but it didn’t feel forced at all with her, and it was actually fun! Our wedding party loved her too and it was non-stop laughs. I love that she writes a blog very soon after the photos are taken, it really added a personal touch to our wedding photos. We got our photos back quickly and we loved every single one. I wish we had actually paid for more time so she could have captured more! Since she was so amazing, we plan to try and schedule her for another shoot when my husband returns from deployment! I would 100% recommend Brooke as a wedding photographer. She will make your day even more special!”

Then Kayla and Pat’s big day at the RiverviewGrace and Seth tied the knot at the Mansion at Bald Hill.  Emily and Mike were married Union StationKristina and Phil had an outdoor ceremony and reception at the Historic Barns of Nipmoose.  Kristina said, “Brooke was amazing! She was so nice, easy to talk to, and her pictures are stunning! We couldn’t have been luckier to have Brooke. She also got our pictures back to us very fast. She worked quickly even with our large families that we wanted pictures with. She was able to capture all of the details of the wedding too. My husband and I are a little more camera shy and she made us feel comfortable throughout the wedding. I would hire her again!”Jen and Gregg celebrated their big day at the Barn Gibbet Hill.  Jen said, “We can’t say enough good things about Brooke and her business! We hired Brooke to do our wedding photos, and were impressed and knew we had to work with her from the moment we met! When we first met, she handed us her package info in the cutest folder that was so thoughtfully put together, with lots of info on prices, package options and prints of her work and more. Brooke first did our engagement pictures, and I was thrilled she was able to make my camera shy fiancé feel at ease, and got dozens of beautiful shots! We got our portfolio very quickly and were so happy! Before our wedding day Brooke was great at communicating with us, reaching out, giving us helpful info and discussing shots we wanted to have taken on the big day. The day of our wedding could not have been more perfect! Brooke felt more like a family member with a camera rather than the hired pro that she is, she was so warm and friendly, and got all the shots we asked for and more! She did such a beautiful job on our photos, I can’t wait to see the rest of them and get our albums, I know they will be incredible! We can’t wait to have another reason to have professional photos done so we can call Brooke and work with her again! Hire her now! I promise you will not regret it!!”Brittany and Stephan were married in her mom’s backyard and then celebrated at the Northampton Country Club.

Taylor and Jeremy had an intimate summer lakeside wedding at the Interlaken Inn

Jake and Stephanie tied the knot at The Ranch Golf Club.  Stephanie said, “I would give out 1,000+ of Brooke’s business cards if I could! I never have encountered a vendor so kind, organized, and relaxed as Brooke and her assistants. She works with such peace and joy and has everyone smiling throughout pictures. Brooke was so helpful in meeting with me whenever I needed to discuss plans prior to the wedding – I discovered great coffee shops too because of this! 🙂 Our photographs are amazing and I will forever be thankful for the way that she was able to capture our day. Our family, friends and other vendors were so impressed by the way she carried herself throughout the day and for that we cannot thank her enough! Amazing work, wish I had better words to describe her service. Recommending Brooke Ellen Photography always!!”

Yusuke and Romelle came over from Japan to celebrate an intimate ceremony with their family at the Lord Jeffrey Inn. Romelle said, “I highly recommend Brooke Ellen Photography. I planned our small (tiny?) intimate wedding from abroad with a large time difference, and was only able to communicate with vendors via email or Skype. Brooke was understanding and flexible about my communication needs and our needs in relation to our small wedding. She was friendly and able to work with us to decide how many hours of coverage we would need and was never pushy. I knew I loved the style of her photography after reviewing her website and blog, but she was also a pleasure to work with. She was early and efficient the day of the wedding, professional and so helpful! She gracefully offered advice for my sudden questions (how to pin a boutonniere, how to cut the cake…) even if they had nothing to do with the photos. In the end, she got all of our beautiful photos to us to much faster than I had expected! We had barely gotten settled in at home before she sent us our digital gallery. The photos are so beautiful, exactly what I had hoped for. I only regret that I do not live in the area, as I would love the opportunity to request her services again in the future!”Jess and Kenny partied the night away on the Seaport Elite. Holly and Shane traveled from California to celebrate their love with their family and friends at Quonquont.  Holly said, “Brooke and her team were literally a dream come true!! The quality of her photography is nothing less than perfect! It was a raining the day of our wedding but that didn’t stop her from getting the most stunning photos. We felt super comfortable in front of the camera. I even had guest telling me how sweet the photographer was. When it was time for “formal” photos Brooke got through them in less than 30 minutes, which is awesome because we didn’t want to miss much the reception! Her presentation for photo delivery is literally the most thoughtful gift a vendor has ever given. She prints off some of the best photos and packages it in a custom box with your names on it, even the thumb drive is customized! YOUR AMAZING THANK YOU!”Ashley and Joe got married beneath and old maple tree and had a tented wedding at the Worthington InnThis photo cracks me up every time!  Amanda and Nick were married at the Riverview. Amanda said, “Brooke was wonderful to work with! She is very talented and took amazing photos to capture our wedding day perfectly! I had the pleasure of being in a few weddings she shot before I hired her for my own. Highly recommend!”Zach and Alyssa were married at the Sturbridge Host with an outside fall ceremony beside the lake.  Nick and Kellye were married at the Grafton Inn.  Kellye said, “Brooke was great from the start. My now hubsband hates taking pictures and she was able to get him to laugh and smile and then capture it. I hear so many horror stories about people not getting their photos and not liking any of them from other vendors. You only get one chance to capture this special day and the people in it. I am so thankful my friend referred Brooke to me and I look forward to working with her in the future for family photos. She is so easy going and nice. She really makes what can be a stressful situation an easy one and provides so many great pictures to treasure for generations to come. The only problem… you won’t be able to find just one favorite so your house might be filled with photos of your engagement and wedding photos! I love them all! Thank you so much to Brooke and team!”Sarah and Jeremy celebrated their love with an outdoor ceremony at the Springfield Country ClubI ended out the season with Denise and Kevin’s snowy winter wedding at Valley View FarmIf you are getting married in 2018 and are looking for a wedding photographer, email me at brooke@brookeellen.com so we can chat!  I have limited dates available for next year!

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2017 Behind the Scenes

Can I just say that I absolutely love putting these behind the scenes recaps together?!  2017 was such a wonderful year, looking back on it; I can’t believe all of the fun and awesome weddings I got to be a part of!  Looking forward to 2018, I feel like I need to make it a point to ask my second shooters to take more behind the scenes photos of me…not because I am cool, but because I am so awkward it’s funny!  I just want to give a shout out to all of the awesome ladies who have been my second shooters this year, I seriously could not have done it without you!  I started off 2017 with a workshop, so many awesome vendors and other photographers took part in it!  I was super nervous about talking in front of other people, but once I got in the zone the words just flowed! The team from KissandMakeup making sure our bride (and fabulous model) looks top notch!Dmitry from Embark Films balancing on a chair….I mean, anything to get that shot!Melissa from Parsimony Inspired smiling the whole time 🙂  Alison from Alison Marie Photography, who is pretty much my work wife, contorting herself into crazy positions!

Clearly, I love this maroon and black dress, good thing I bought another one for next year!If people didn’t hire me for my photography skills, they would probably hire me for my dance moves!Always dress fluffing….Jake obviously thinks I am killing it at my job!Just heading off into the children of the corn.Sorry for getting really up close and personal guys, I promise it will be worth it 😉Part photographer, part ninja spy…I know how super cool I look, but my head stayed warm!

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Max and Sophie | Winter Couple’s Session

My sister in law and her boyfriend are the best sports ever!  I was having a promo video done by Dmitry from Embark Studios and needed some models for it.  She gladly volunteered the two of them for the session.  I figured Ashley Reservoir would be a great location for the shoot, with the tall dark green pine trees against the fresh snow.  She found a gorgeous floor length red dress and we were all set.  I love the winter boots peaking out from under the gown in some of the shots.

If you are looking to do a winter, snowy couple’s or engagement session email me at brooke@brookeellen.com

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