Second shooter at a wedding

Confidence is key.

Last week, a friend asked me to be a second shooter for a wedding that she was shooting. I agreed because I like seeing how other photographers handle situations, especially ones as stressful as a wedding.

When I arrived, it was about eleven in the morning, and the bride and groom were about to have their “First Look,” an intimate moment where they see each other for the first time before the wedding. After we took pictures of that, we did the typical bride and groom poses.

At this time, it was no later than noon, the absolute worst time of the day for pictures because the sun is straight above, creating harsh shadows on faces. I watched my friend take pictures of them and constantly wondered how she was getting good pictures, if any. She took pictures of them and their families for at least an hour.

As we were leaving for the church, I finally had a chance to ask how she was getting good pictures with the awful light. “I’m not,” she said.

Then it hit me. I thought she was getting good pictures because she was so confident while she was doing it. Not once did she say that the light was bad. She constantly told them how good the photos were turning out. I realized that one of my biggest mistakes is telling my clients when a photo doesn’t look good.

It’s so simple. Tell your clients the photos are good, and they’ll believe they’re good. Tell them they’re bad, and they’ll wonder why they hired you in the first place.

Why you should hire a professional wedding photographer

Your aunt with the expensive camera just won't work

If you’re getting married soon, chances are that you’re looking to save money in any way that you can. So when your cousin or that distant great aunt that you’ve only met twice calls you up and volunteers to take your wedding photos for free with their fancy new camera that they just bought, it can be quite tempting. I am here to tell you that if you care at all what your wedding photos look like, DON’T DO IT! Hire a professional!

Here’s why:

Even though your great aunt may have that fancy camera, she most likely doesn’t know how to use it properly. Does she even know what aperture is? Maybe, but a professional knows their camera inside and out.

A professional has experience. They’ve been doing this for so long that they know what shots they need to get, how to pose people and how to use the light. Before capturing a moment, they can frame it so that the composition is just right. Now that light post is beside you, and not sticking out of your head.

A professional will always have a backup camera, memory cards, lenses and battery packs. It would be extremely stressful if Aunt Karen’s fancy camera suddenly died, and this is definitely a day where you want to have the least amount of stress.

A professional knows how to edit. Your aunt may be able to do selective coloring in Photoshop, but that doesn’t mean she should. It’s probably the tackiest thing anyone could do to a photo.

Unless your wedding day is a day you really don’t care about and don’t want to remember, hire a professional! They’re expensive, yes, but I can’t imagine anyone looking back fifty years later on beautiful photos from their wedding day  and regretting it.

The DIY Wedding: Celebrate Your Day Your Way

There are those brides that are completely at piece with having someone else plan their wedding. They sit back and wait to be pushed in one direction or the next. The DIY Wedding: Celebrate Your Day Your Way is not for them.

This book is for the woman that spends her days scouring for deals at the bridal shops and her nights gluing sequences on her personally designed bouquet. This is a bride that understands that if it’s going to be done right, then it needs to be done by her.

The DIY Wedding: Celebrate Your Day Your Way is filled the DIY projects that will challenge even the handiest of women. These projects are designed to add class and sophistication to your wedding without the cost of buying everything premade.

Why pay a ton of cash for computer generated invitations; you know, just like everyone else; when you can create and design invitations yourself. This book not only goes into the ins and outs of the various projects, but also how much money you can save. It has tips on making your wedding a team effort with the bride as the foreman and to craft centerpieces on a budget.

The DIY Wedding: Celebrate Your Day Your Way is a must have for anyone that wants to have a wedding that is a little different from all the rest. You won’t be disappointed with the amazing tips and tricks available in this book.


The DIY Bride Crafty Countdown

40 Fabulous Projects to Make in the Months, Weeks & Hours before Your Special Day

One of the best and worst parts of waiting for your wedding day is the months that go by while you wait. At first it's great to set the date early, because you have plenty of time to make the big arrangements, but once you've got your dress picked out, venues and professionals contracted and guest list composed, there's this terrible lag and it feels like the big day is never going to arrive.

If you're a savvy, crafty bride, this waiting period can be used to continue to work on wedding elements and avoid the twiddling of thumbs and tapping of toes while you anxiously await the main event. There are many extra special touches that can add up to high costs if you're paying professionals to provide them, but can give you a fun wedding-centric retreat when you just wish there was something else you could be doing.

A great book to give you ideas and keep you busy is The DIY Bride Crafty Countdown: 40 Fabulous Projects to Make in the Months, Weeks & Hours before Your Special Day by Kris Cochran. It's full of fun and unique ideas to add a little extra pizazz to your attire, ceremony and reception without starting your marriage off with a huge, unnecessary wedding debt.

You can find plenty of projects to keep your creativity flowing while adding flair to your nuptials. The guide is set up like a wedding planner, and starts with projects that you can do as far as a year in advance of your wedding day, all the way up to six hours before you say “I do.” They cover everything from invitations to cake toppers.

The DIY Bride Crafty Countdown is a fun book for the bride who likes to get creative and stay busy. Those months-long stretches of waiting for your wedding day will be a lot less boring once you've found some great projects to keep your mind off the calendar.

Are Old Wedding Books Worth It?

Many brides and grooms want to save as much money as possible when they have their wedding. They want it to be special without breaking the bank. There isn't a lot of wiggle room on many aspects, but when it comes to choosing a wedding book you have countless options.

If you go to a used bookstore or buy a used version on or other website, then you actually run the risk of selling yourself short. Even is a book has become the gold standard in wedding planning, it needs regular updating as the years go buy.

Much of the information is the same, but as society changes so does planning a wedding. Too often, people think they have found a great deal on a book only be shorted because it's used. It doesn't have the latest updates or resources and that can cost you in the long run. For example, if you get an older version of a book, then it may not contain important websites for reference. It may not tell you to not only register in stores, but on websites as well so guests who can't attend the wedding or are out of the area can still get you a gift.

Businesses that are listed can go out of business or new businesses that are better show up. You could save hundreds of dollars by going or using a different business or tactic, but instead you end up with an antiquated book that doesn’t tell you everything.

There are enough tough decisions when planning a wedding, but buying a wedding book shouldn’t be one of them.

Create Your Own Wedding Scrap Book

Weddings cost a lot of money there is no doubt about that and no matter how frugal you are trying to be, it’s still going to cost thousands of dollars. Why not create memento that is inexpensive, personal and that you’ll never forget.

A wedding scrapbook is a perfect way for you and your guests to make your wedding special. Don’t just settle for a book of photos that will collect dust in the attic. Have your guests write down sayings, anecdotes and congratulations on little note cards and drop them in a box the before they leave.

Grab a few table ornaments and fresh flowers to try out and put into the book as well. Your wedding scrapbook should be able to provide you the perfect picture of your wedding day no matter how many years have gone by. Too often, brides are so caught up in making sure the day goes off without a hitch that they don’t even have an opportunity to enjoy it. A wedding scrapbook made from the love and good wishes from friends and family is guaranteed to make the day special forever.

You don’t need to buy a special book for the occasion either. Any scrapbook will do or you can buy a plain white one and decorate it with lace and flowers from the wedding. I know of one bride that actually took a section of her wedding gown and turned it into the cover. She knew she would never use it again, so why not.

The Busy Brides Bible for Planning a Fabulous Wedding...

In a perfect world, we'd all be able to afford our own local version of Franck Eggelhoffer, the sassy wedding planner in Father of the Bride. Unfortunately, realistically not many brides can afford to hire a wedding planning specialist to take care of the many important details for their big event. It's an expense that is hard to justify on top of all the other elements necessary to make a wedding ceremony and reception a special and memorable experience for the bridal couple and their guests.


If you're planning your wedding without the expertise of a professional wedding planner, you could probably use a little guidance. One of the best resources I've found that can help you to plan the wedding of your dreams without the aid of a hired coordinator is Angela A. Kear's The Busy Brides Bible for Planning a Fabulous Wedding Without the Expensive Coast of a Wedding Planner. Yeah. She totally went there.

What sets this book apart from the many wedding planning guides is that Kear is actually an event planner herself. Who better to know the ins and outs than a woman who does it for a living, right? Not only does the book walk you through the main event planning from choosing a venue to planning a wedding day itinerary, but she covers a lot of the little details that are important but often overlooked by other guides. She gets into color palettes, bridal party gifts, money saving tips and even how to pick out the right wedding rings for yourself and your husband-to-be.


Don't feel like your wedding is doomed if your budget doesn't allow for hiring a professional wedding planner. You absolutely can pull off the wedding of your dreams without one—most of us do! All you need is a great resource to help walk you through the planning stage and you can save money while making your big day just as perfect as you've always imagined.

The Ultimate Wedding Scrapbook

For many brides, keepsakes are just as important as the wedding event itself. It's such an amazing time their lives and marks the beginning of bright and beautiful futures with the men of her dreams. Years after the big day, they want to have well-kept reminders of that unforgettable day to reminisce upon and share with their daughters.


Along with the bouquet and framed photographs, a wedding scrapbook is also a popular choice for the nostalgic bride. And just as every other choice you make, there is a wide variety of scrapbooks designed specifically for the wedding event, and you must choose the one that is right for you.

One of the best bridal keepsake books I've come across is The Ultimate Wedding Scrapbook and Keepsake by Alex A. Lluch. Not only does it have many pages to cover all the important dates and events leading up to and including the wedding, but it also has fun stickers, ornamental paper, and photo frames to make it easy to keep up with while your memories are fresh.


That was one of the biggest challenges my wife and I faced when we were making our wedding scrapbook. We started with an ornate, but blank scrapbook and had to find all the pieces and buy them separately in order to have it come out as we wished. In the midst of all the festivities and planning, our scrapbook was often left on the to-do pile and would wait untouched for days or sometimes weeks until we had what we needed. This scrapbook has everything all in one place, so you don't have to worry about the little details of the book and can instead focus on capturing the details of the events.


Putting together a wedding scrapbook can be a lot of work if you're putting it together piece by piece. If you would like a keepsake that is user-friendly and a lot less stressful, you might want to look into a book that's made with the busy bride in mind.

The Knot Book of Wedding Lists

Planning a wedding requires lists. Not a list. Lists. Even the smallest of weddings takes a lot of planning because there are some many important elements to keep track of and put together. Of course there are tons of well-written wedding planning books to choose from, but the lists themselves are really the bread and butter that bring your magical day to life. Without them, details can be forgotten or completely overlooked all together. Yikes. has been giving brides pointers on wedding planning for quite a while, but unless you're ready to give your printer a real workout and have some made organizational skills, it would probably be more convenient to have everything all in one place.

Luckily, because the folks at The Knot have thought of this, along with everything else wedding-related, they've put together all their helpful lists into one convenient package. The Knot Book of Wedding Lists will keep you on track throughout the wedding planning process, from working out your timeline to questions you need to ask venue owners, photographers, and just about everyone else who is key to the event.


As you go through the book, you simply check off what you've done and have a clear outline of what's left. This book of lists really is a lifesaver. Just having all your lists already made out is such a relief during your wedding planning. You won't be one of the brides who is constantly plagued with that vexing question: Am I forgetting something?

The Alternative Bride's Guide to Wedding Games

Weddings are massive affairs are put together to reflect the bridal couple's personal preferences and tastes. There is a lot of pomp and circumstance around the actual ceremony that unites the two lovebirds, but the parties related to the wedding, from the engagement party to the reception can be as fun and unique as the couple desires. And it should be!


Who says you have to play boring, recycled games at the bridal shower or toss the bouquet to 30 commitment-hungry lady friends? There aren't any laws against finding alternatives to traditional wedding party practices, so dare to be different and make your big day memorable. You'll have great stories to share, your guests will have an awesome time and you may just inspire others to jazz up their wedding days, too.

There are tons of books on traditional bridal shower games, but few that offer alternative ideas for other parts of the wedding extravaganza. I did, however, come across a fun book that fit the bill absolutely perfectly. Kathryn Calhoun's book, The Alternative Bride's Guide to Wedding Games has a load of sassy ideas for all the soirees during your road to wedded bliss. She's got games for brunches and dinners, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, the reception and more.


Whether you're the bride or someone who loves and supports her, this book is a great resource for amping up the individuality of all the fun get-togethers related to the wedding. A woman's wedding day is one of the biggest days of her life and it should be as special and unique as she is.