When you hire a wedding photographer, it is expected that you will create a list of requested formal portraits for your wedding day photography. This post will help you decide what is important to include in your list and what you may wish to leave for the less formal pictures to be taken throughout the event.

What you don’t want to leave out:
◇ Pictures of honored guests with whom you have limited photographic opportunities:
In other words, if a picture of you with Grandma in her finest would normally be on your shot list AND you don’t get to see her often, then keep her on the list. Likewise with guests you would normally include that also live far away, etc.
◇ Pictures with immediate family and siblings:
When it comes time to look back on your big day, your parents will definitely want a picture of everyone together, and you’ll love it too.

What you may want to leave out:
◇ Individual pictures with each of your 5 siblings and and one with each of them and their spouses, then one with them and their children, etc, etc:
In other words, listing every combination of groups that you can possibly think of. Unless you and a certain family member are particularly close, you’ll be begging for the photos to be over by the time you get through the long list of pictures you’ve previously told your photographer they must get (and that they are therefore contracted to do).
◇ All of the buddies you wish you had been able to include in the wedding party if only your budget was unlimited:
Unless you only see these people once every ten years then you may want to do one group shot. Otherwise, leave them off the formal list and make sure you grab one of your photographers for a nice candid during the reception. It’s what we’re there for!

What you definitely don’t need:

◇Pictures of the event that ANY qualified photographer should be getting!

These include pictures of the rings, the groom’s reaction to the bride, cutting the cake, etc. If you’ve hired someone trustworthy, they should know these are shots to get. And you should be able to trust that if your photographer knows it’s happening, they’ll get a picture of it. If you can’t trust that…you should reconsider who you’ve chosen.

The main point is, after the rush of the morning and the emotional highs of the ceremony, you’re likely to be a little tired and eager to eat and get to the fun of the reception. Aside from that, getting to spend a few moments with your new spouse is the best time to get some great portraits of you both and a little breather before the excitement of the party. If you load the shot list with pages of formal portrait combinations, not only will you be weary of waiting for them to be done, it is also likely you’ll run out of time to get the most important shots of all: the two of you!

Spring time is a VERY busy season for me! On top of weddings, and senior portrait sessions, I also shoot graduations for a national company. These events are so much fun! Not only do I get to work with a great team of photographers in the bigger venues, but I also get to soak in the atmosphere of excitement and achievement.
Last weekend, I was at Old Dominion University for their graduation ceremonies. Their ceremonies are huge, and the crowd’s enthusiasm is infectious. Then, there are the proud grads. It’s just awesome.
And fun. Did I mention fun?
Here’s a few of the pictures I took for the ceremony:

At the ceremonies this season, ODU was conferring honorary degrees to the five Newport News area Tuskegee Airmen.  It’s pretty neat to have the opportunity to photograph moments like that.

A couple of months ago, I ran the Super Senior Contest on facebook. The entrants could be either a high school or college senior. Last week, we did the portrait session for our winner, Samantha.


Sam chose the little Lakeview Park, in Colonial Heights for her location.
Since I had never been to this park, I was curious about what gems it might hold. I was not disappointed! Though the park is small, it had so many great spot that our two hours just flew by!

Here’s a peek at a few more:

I had a couple of senior portraits sessions in the last couple of weeks. These portraits are always so much fun, and it’s all about personality!


Kacey’s college shoot was in Old Town Petersburg, near her soon-to-be-Alma Mater, Virginia State.
It’s tough to be a college student! Finishing out your longest sought degree is worth documenting!

Brian and Theresa’s wedding was a small affair on the patio of Serenita, the beautiful home of friends Jared and Jana. The cherry blossoms were blooming, the sangria was delicious and the bride wore blue; What a spring wedding!

I always feel honored to be involved in such intimate events, but this one was even more special than usual. The groom is currently battling cancer and this couple is going through so much. Theresa talked about their relationship and sees Brian as such a spiritual inspiration. All of this made their beautiful wedding so much more touching!
Here is a sneak peak at some of the details.