Bridal 101: Anna & Spencer Photography Q&A Special

I’m excited to bring you an in-depth Q&A session with Anna & Spencer Photography answering tons of wedding and engagement photo questions. I hope this gets couples inspired and excited to take some fun and unique photos at their wedding!

Tell us a little about yourself, your business and your photography style.
Anna and I are married documentary wedding photographers. We’ve been wedding photographers together for a little over four years and love it. As for our style, we really specialize in capturing the real moments of the wedding day – the first kiss to the quiet moment of reflection.

Engagement Photo Questions:

Why have an engagement photo session? Importance?
Well, really, to be honest, an engagement session is just nice. First, it gives you a good chance to know your photographer – and it gives them a chance to know you as a couple. In addition, having some wonderful images of you together is great to have.

When should a couple’s session be scheduled?
Anna and I typically advise couples to schedule their engagement session shortly after booking us. This makes it easier to use the images in save-the-dates and it allows us to get to know each other sooner rather than later.

What should the couple wear for the photo session?
We always recommend wearing one step above your casual. For men, we typically recommend having a nice coat to wear (ok, and for women too) – it can be removed for an easy different look. Basically, one step above casual – look nice, but still be able to be yourselves.

What are some fun and unique photo set ups for couples?
For us, with a documentary style, we love it when couples bring part of what they do or associate with to an engagement session. For some, this can be a football, guitar, or sometimes their pets. Anything to get real, genuine, looks of love is always the best.

Any other unique ideas for engagement photo sessions?
If I was to suggest one thing (other than being yourselves), it would be to go somewhere great for your engagement session. It may cost a little extra to go to, say, a wonderful botanical gardens or fabulous indoor space. However, the result can be well worth it. It gives the photographers more to work with, and it ensures a wonderful shoot.

Wedding Photo Questions:

What are some important things a couple should ask a photographer when picking the right one for their wedding?
My favorite question is “How did you get that image?” Images can be spectacular. Incredible. Outstanding. As, well, they should be. However, that said, be sure to ask how the photographer was able to capture it (and how long it took). And, make sure this falls in line with what you want to experience on the wedding day. Beyond any other wedding professional (except maybe your wedding planner), your photographer has the most impact on what you will experience during your wedding day. You want to be sure that the imagery you desire will also give you an experience you will want to remember & treasure.

Now, there are other questions. Asking them to define their style, their ideal client, and what sets them apart from other photographers is a great start. Mostly though, you want to ask your potential photographer questions that will help you know what kind of experience they will deliver on the wedding day as well as the imagery. You want both to be outstanding.

How far in advance should couples book their photographer?
We recommend booking your photographer eight months to one year prior to your wedding date. At six months out, you are risking the photographer already being booked for your date. And, at three months out, you’ll have a tough time finding a photographer with your style who is still available for your date.

What are some unique ideas for wedding photos that you have shot?
One of the most unique images we have captured was a story of the bride being stolen away from her groom. So, here’s how it happened. Lauren, the bride, was stolen away during the reception by the groomsmen. The only way her groom, David, could get her back, was to write a rhyming love poem on the spot to Lauren and recite it in front of all of their guests. He did this – and the expression on Lauren’s face (and all the groomsmen) while David read his poem is simply priceless. We loved this moment.

Here’s the truth of it: if you are aware of what will happen, you cannot create a real moment. Sure, it can be almost real – and you are being yourself, but you expected it. What was great with Lauren and David is that they had no idea their groomsmen were going to do this. So, if I was to give advice, tell your best man this story and request them to do something – but not to tell either one of you what it will be. By doing this, you ensure a fun unexpected event during your wedding day.

Do you find more couples are throwing out the traditional wedding photo shoots and doing more fun set ups these days?
Well, to be honest, we are documentary wedding photographers. We do our very best to document the day as it unfolds and don’t really do fun set ups – it isn’t our style, and it isn’t what our clients expect. When the bride looks at a photograph from us – we want her to remember the moment, and not us photographing the moment.

That said, one thing we always recommend are Day After shoots. These shoots take place the day after (or within a few weeks after) the wedding day. This is where the bride and groom get back into their wedding attire and we can have a relaxed, fun, time capturing images of them together. We don’t have to worry about any timeframe or a dress getting dirty – we have a greater ability to use advanced lighting & get more creative shots because of this.

Any advice for brides and grooms in regards to their wedding photos?
My biggest advice would be to love everything you do during your entire day. Truly appreciate all of your loved ones there for you (be sure to tell them how much you appreciate them being there). Doing this, and being yourself, will result in wonderful imagery. Really and truly, if you have a skilled photographer, your job is just to be yourself and enjoy your wedding day.

What are some basic photography tips to give people to capture their favorite wedding memories?

Ah, now, for the people attending the wedding to capture their favorite wedding images, we recommend having a camera with good zoom and knowing your camera prior to the event. Of course, try to have your subjects in good lighting, and try to use the lowest aperture on your camera as possible.

However, remember that you were invited as a guest to your friend or loved one’s wedding. It is nice to put down the camera and enjoy the day – being part of the day for the bride & groom can be just as important as capturing an image of the day.

You can find Anna & Spencer Photography at:

Thanks so much Anna & Spencer for answering some wedding and engagement related photo questions!

Bridal 101: Getting Flirty with Boudoir Photos & Special Offer

Photo courtesy of Erin Hanton of Faeye Photography

Besides engagement photos brides are getting boudoir photographs taking which is becoming very popular in the past few years. With boudoir photography a photographer captures sexy, glamorous and sensual intimate portraits of women in a professional way. Brides often have an album of boudoir style photographs made as a present for their soon to be husbands.

Photo courtesy of Erin Hanton of Faeye Photography

Photos sessions for boudoir type photos can be taken at the photographer’s studio or at a luxury hotel suite. Whatever the setting it’s important to create a sensual and comfortable atmosphere as most women are partly clothed in sexy lingerie for these photos. Traditionally boudoir photos feature women only but more and more couples are opting to participant in there sassy photo sessions together.

Other common themes for boudoir photography are:

  • Anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Weight loss
  • Maternity
  • Body change or alteration
  • Soldiers overseas

To find a photographer near you that offers boudoir photography session please visit

I recently was lucky to attend a fun event for bloggers at La Petite Coquette (The Little Flirt), coordinated by the lovely Jill Seiman from Glamamom. This flirty store has some sexy outfits perfect for your boudoir sessions. Plus they have some fun bridal accessories perfect for the wedding night, honeymoon or bachelorette party.

And as an added bonus, La Petite Coquette is offering Tara Sroka Designs readers, living in the U.S., a 15% OFF online discount on a one-time purchase from now until February 13th, 2011. Simply visit their website and enter the ILUVLPC promotional code at checkout. If you are ever in NYC you should definitely check out this little gem of a store. Plus you never know who you might see in here – based on all the celebrity photos on the walls, I gather this place is a hot spot!

A special thanks to Erin Hanton of Faeye Photography for allowing me to showcase some of her great boudoir photos. Please check out her new boudoir website for some wonderful inspiration.

Bridal 101: Save the Dates

Save the Dates are a great idea and have become a near necessity for engaged couples in today’s hustle bustle world. It’s common for families and friends to be spread across the globe so it’s important to let people know in advance so they can plan ahead. I recommend brides send their Save the Dates 12 months in advance, if possible, and definitely no later than 6 months in advance.

In recent years a popular trend is incorporating a photo of the happy couple into their Save the Date. As previously mentioned it’s a terrific way to showcase shots from your engagement photography session. Save the Dates give a couple the opportunity to reflect their unique personalities and set the stage for the upcoming event! They are a great way to give your guests a teaser of what they have to look forward to at the wedding!

Our wedding theme was Two Peas in a Pod since I love green and circles. I wanted something totally unique and creative, so I made our Save the Dates by hand and had my husband help assemble them. Mind you this was several years ago before they made easy to use circle cutters. I also designed and printed magnets to send along with hotel information in the package as well. Despite the labor of love these cards were to make they came out great and really expressed our personality. It also set the tone for the wedding and what was to come for the big day – more green circles!

Save the Dates can take any form. Here are some ideas so don’t feel limited:

Save the Date Ideas:

Make sure to include on the Save the Date itself or within the mailing the following information:

  • Date of the wedding
  • Location of the wedding
  • Hotel reservation information (phone numbers, website, prices)
  • Directions and travel information
  • Your wedding website
  • Indicate that an invitation is to follow (I forgot this and received several confused phone calls)

Bridal 101: Website Resources

So now that you said YES, it’s time to start planning your big day! I have to say planning my wedding was so much fun. I like to plan, organize and brainstorm unique ideas and details that it really was a blast for me to do. And these days there are so many great bridal websites to help inspire brides comes up with brilliant ideas. In my search online for Wedding Week I’ve come across some fantastic sites for bridal reference which I want to share with you. These sites have great photo ideas, vendor lists, advice and tons of other useful resources for any engaged couple.

I will be updating this list throughout the week, so check back for added site resources. Plus this is ONLY A SMALL fraction of what is out there on the web – so go to Google and start your own search.

And the Offbeat Bride offers a very extensive Wedding Checklist which I think is very helpful for newly engaged couples. It guides them on how to start and what needs to get done.

Even if you aren’t getting married or are already married these wedding websites have great designs, home decor ideas and lots of other eye candy to make you drool.

Bridal 101: Scrabble, Anyone?

This was staged of course but since we are big Scrabble freaks we decided to have some fun with the camera and game board. I think a Scrabble themed wedding would be awesome – I’ll remember this if I ever renew my vows and have a party 🙂

Bridal 101: Proposal Story

What’s your proposal story? “How do he propose?” is the most asked question when you become engaged as well as “Have you set a date?”. Anyways, I’d love to hear your story but better yet proposal stories make great additions for a “Story of Us” book which showcase a couples relationship through courtship, proposal, wedding, honeymoon and all the other fabulous times together. If you are interested in scrapbooking your story but don’t want to actual do it yourself or need help, feel free to contact me.

Bridal 101: Proposal Photos

Danielle from Dkol Photography suggested having a photographer (friend or family member works too) in the crowd capturing the moment the question is popped. This is a great idea especially if it’s at a public venue. What better way to capture the element of surprise then with a photo? I’ve also have heard people planning a surprise party in conjunction to the proposal, which is a great way to celebrate your engagement.

I love this idea but not sure when I got engaged I would have wanted a photo at that very second. The whole thing to me is still a blur as we had just finished packing a UHaul truck for John’s big move to NYC. Plus I had the WORSE allergy attack ever and all I could say was, “Sure, why not?”. What a great response, right? I still get teased to this day from my husband about my romantic acceptance.

Even if you don’t get the exact proposal documented try to get a photo of the two of you as an engaged couple soon after. And don’t forget to take some photos of your ring too!

Bridal 101: Engagement Photos

Photo by Carrie Bombria of Carrie Ann Photography

Being engaged is one of the most exciting and memorable times in your life. A great way to remember the special time in your life is to have engagement photos taken. Engagement photos are a great activity for couples to do together and they are great for newspaper announcements, save-the-date cards, and even in your wedding decor which adds a nice personal touch. I didn’t do this and I wish I did because I’ve seen so many fun engagement photos that really capture the spirit of the couple.

Photo by Carrie Bombria of Carrie Ann Photography

So many couples these days are having more fun with taking unconventional photos for their engagement sessions as well as the wedding photos, which to me is so refreshing. Many couples are choosing themes as well that focus on their interests and what reflects their uniqueness as a couple.

Here’s a few tips:

  • Find a photographer that makes you feel comfortable.
  • Find a great location that is special to you – maybe where you had your first date or even where you got engaged. Recently I came across a photo session of a couple who took their photos at an amusement park – I LOVE this!
  • Pick a concept or theme that makes sense for you as a couple. Can’t think of one? Don’t stress over it – just have fun and be YOU!
  • Use props that mean something to you. Own a pet together? Bring them along!
  • Wear whatever makes you comfortable but also feel free to dress up for the occasion or the theme.

Photo by Carrie Bombria of Carrie Ann Photography

  • Be goofy, have fun and try not to take these photos too seriously with cheesy generic poses.
  • Kiss, hold hands and just be YOU and let your love shine through.

Some other great inspiration:

Special thanks to my wonderfully talented friend and photographer, Carrie Bombria of Carrie Ann Photography for use of showcasing her photos.