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Wedding Photography Terminology 101

If you're not in the photography industry or familiar with photography, going into a discovery call or trying to figure out the best fit for your wedding can be a little intimidating. I've put together a small list of wedding photographer terminology that I've found my clients are most unfamiliar with to help you better identify your wants, needs and game plan for your wedding day photography.

Flat Lay

When I arrive at a client's wedding, the first thing I usually do is ask for your details for your "flat lay". A flat lay photo is typically set up as a snap shot of the little details and intricate keepsakes that make your day unique to you. I always suggest jewelry (rings, cufflinks, tie clips, necklaces, earrings, etc), shoes, tie, garter, perfume, cologne, vow books, ring boxes, leftover florals, stationary, veil, etc as items that can be used for this but anything is welcome! Couples can select as many or as little items as they'd like for these photos. It's a great way to appreciate the little things that you hand-picked for your day that might otherwise get overlooked in the grand scheme of your wedding day. It also allows us to transition into your day without tossing a lens right at your face. I can come in, say hello to you and your family, grab some details and get to work!

flay lay wedding details ideas for wedding

First Look / Private Vows

While some people may be familiar with the newer tradition of a first look and private vows, I've found it's still a new enough trend that many of my couples haven't had the option brought to their mind. A "first look" (often accompanied by private vows) is an opportunity for the bride and groom to see each other and have some intimate moments together prior to the ceremony. Often this is a moment for just the two of you to get some of the jitters and emotions out of the way. Couples opt for a first look and private vows if they want to try and plan group photos or newlywed photos before the ceremony so that they can spend more time present with their guests during cocktail hour and dinner. For couples who don't love the idea of professing their love in front of an audience to speak from the heart with private vows to one another and then going through more traditional vows and a simple "I do" during the actual ceremony.

This new tradition is a hot debate because for so many it means breaking away from the "aisle moment" being the first time a bride and groom see each other on the wedding day. Some couples fear it will take away from the emotion of that moment, but from experience it seems like tears often still flow on the aisle even in the cases where the couple has already done a "first look".

Some clients might also opt for a "first touch" if they like this idea for private vow exchange but don't want to spoil the fun of the classic first look on the aisle.

Bridal Portraits

Bridal portraits, despite their misleading name, typically refer to a mini-session within your day for portraits of the bride and groom. The bridal portraits are often done after the ceremony or sometime during dinner hour / golden hour where the photographer, bride and groom escape to tackle these photos.

I hope this helps you feel more confident and clear in your vision for capturing your wedding day! What other photographer lingo and terminology feels foreign to you? Let me know in the comments!


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