At Stephanie Mason Photography & Co., we are driven by a desire to tell the most complete story possible about each and every wedding day we capture. In fact, when we are photographing a wedding, we approach it the way a director would shoot a TV show or film.
We want to make sure that we set the scene, that we introduce the entire cast of characters and that we show what sets the day apart, illuminating emotional moments big and small along the way. To do that, we have a list of ten “must capture” elements of our wedding day coverage, and we believe they give our couples the ability to fully relive the best day of their lives. These are, in our opinion, the essentials shots for total immersion in a wedding day gallery:
Couples choose their wedding day venues with such care, and we want to document every detail with just as much love. We believe that a wedding day venue tells so much about the couple getting married there, and by highlighting their choice, we are reflecting something special about them, too.
We take the time to photograph the things that make the location most unique, like textured walls, elegant greenery and glittering chandeliers. Whatever creates the mood and sets the tone for the day is featured in the galleries we curate. And we don’t just preserve the building details. From the surrounding landscape to the sign leading guests onto the property, we want to fully set the scene. This gives couples a chance to fully re-enter their wedding day in decades to come.
The Getting Ready Location
For me, the portion of the day the bride spends getting ready with her favorite girls is one of my absolute favorite times of the entire wedding day. Especially if she’s carefully chosen her getting ready location!
Taking this time to gather up the tokens of the day, like shoes, jewelry, flowers, makeup and the invitation suite, is a wonderful way to photograph the little items that could so easily get lost in the shuffle. And preserving any little notes or gifts passed between the bride and groom before they say “I do,” is an absolute must!
Sure, you can’t miss the first kiss, the heartfelt vows or the grand exit, but fully preserving the wedding ceremony is about so much more. The program in grandma’s hands. The flower girl’s curls against the showstopping floral arch. The rings waiting expectantly on the altar. These are all tiny details that build to tell the full story of the moment two people became one. And the couple is almost always so overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment that these small touches go unnoticed, but by preserving what they didn’t see, we give them these little surprise gifts in their wedding album, painting them get a clearer picture of the dream they created together.
This is where the party happens! Glasses are clinked, meals are devoured and dance moves are busted, and while these are all important moments to capture, we find it equally as vital to preserve the calm before the storm. Afterall, the bride has spent hours laboring over each tablecloth colour, flower choice and place card, so we ensure that each piece of the puzzle is documented through shots both near and far.
No heirloom album is complete without a wide shot of the reception venue before guests arrive and close ups of the centerpieces, place settings and menus. These images add so much interest to an album spread and help tell the complete story.
No bride wants rain on her wedding day (*cue the Alanis Morissette*), but Mother Nature can be an unpredictable wedding guest. So whether her gift to the happy couple is a sunshiney day, a downpour or a sprinkle of snow, we want to ensure that it is documented.
While we give the bride and groom a moment alone to process the big, exciting thing they’ve just done, we take the time to capture the fluffy clouds floating across the sky, the glittering fluffs of snow or the raindrops slowly trickling down glowing warmly windows.
While we are hunting for the best ways to document the weather on a wedding day, we also pay special attention to documenting the natural elements present at the ceremony and reception venues. These are the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it components of the day that have such an effect on the overall aesthetic without being the primary focus.
So, whether it’s softly blowing grass glowing under the autumn sun or a lake glittering as it dances under a summer breeze, we believe these are the grace notes on the beautiful symphony that is a wedding day.
Our couples typically spend at least a year in preparation for their wedding day. That means they’ve spent hours upon days upon months sourcing, selecting and fine tuning the reception decor. Because they’ve so thoughtfully selected these elements, we choose to be equally as intentional in preserving them. We make sure to capture them up close, and well as from a distance to highlight their contribution to the overall story.
Food & Drink
When we ask couples to rank different pieces of their wedding day by importance, the food always lands somewhere in the top five. They’ve tasted, they’ve tested and they’ve carefully selected every item on their menu, and while we can’t preserve the taste, we can certainly bring it back to mind through well-crafted images! We also find it essential to capture any signature beverages being served during the reception, and of course, no wedding album is complete without images of celebratory champagne glasses clinking a toast to the happy couple.
Special Touches & Sentimental Items
The couples we work with are as attentive to detail as we are, and because of this, no two weddings we photograph are ever alike. Even ones hosted by the same venue! Couples unfailingly place pieces unique to them throughout the ceremony and reception, and it is imperative that we find and preserve those little treats.
From embroidered suit jackets to crazy socks, signs of the couples’ personality can be found everywhere, so it’s crucial to be aware of any chance to document them. And family heirlooms like cake knives, lockets and even swatches from the bride’s mother’s gown deserve to be highlighted in a special, so we always make sure to ask in advance for a list of any sentimental items the couple plans to incorporate into their day.
The final thing we always make sure we do on a wedding day is to document the astonishing work of the vendors who came together to create a fairytale for our couple. We find this to be one small way we can give back to the talented artists who have worked so hard to delight the couples we’ve come to love so much. Taking crystal clear, high quality images of the contribution each vendor has made to the wedding day is also a way for us to build lasting relationships with the creators we will see in future weddings to come!
While a wedding day is first and foremost about the people who are celebrating it, we believe no story is completely told without these essential scene-setting elements captured on camera. We want the heirloom albums we deliver to be an invitation to fully and completely revisit the best day of their lives…and this is how we make sure that happens every single time.
Looking For More Wedding Tips & Tricks?
Check out some of our other topics:
How To Capture Magazine-Worthy Getting Ready Photos
Your Guide To Flat Lay Photos
My Top 10 Tips For Brides On Their Wedding Day
Five Questions (You Might Not Have Thought) To Ask Your Venue