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Albums – Sarah and Jason

Finishing up a client album is one of my favorite (although bittersweet) parts of the process because it gives me the opportunity to be sure that the couple will have a beautiful, lasting way to enjoy their wedding photos for many years to come. It’s sad to think about having those photos live on a hard drive somewhere, so I love it when I get to complete a client’s experience by sending them their custom album!

Many of my clients choose this simple, timeless gray linen color, which is one of my personal favorites too! Sarah and Jason’s album turned out beautifully and I’m excited to share a few images of the final product here with you guys today!


Breaking Down the Wedding Day Part Two

Not everyone does a First Look on their wedding day, but these days the majority of my couples are leaning towards choosing to participate in this new-ish tradition! I personally love First Looks because they add another special moment to the wedding day that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Another added bonus to doing a First Look is getting to spend more time with your significant other at the wedding! I always thought it was so strange when you think about the fact that you really don’t see your partner much at all on your wedding day of all days if you don’t get to see each other until the ceremony. And even then, you go from seeing each other for the first time in front of all of the guests, to then spending time greeting friends and family and not getting to enjoy one another much at all. Doing a first look ensures you’ll get a little bit of extra quality time with each other and that you’ll also have more time to spend with friends anf family who traveled to celebrate with you.

(Note: One thing to consider is whether or not it makes sense logistically to have the first look at the wedding venue or at the location where the bride and groom will be getting ready…this depends on transportation, timing of the rest of the days events, etc and is something I usually try to hash out ahead of time when we’re working on the timeline! This particular post will discuss what happens at most of my weddings, which have the first look at the venue!)

I typically run the first look in a very similar manner at the majority of my weddings. I usually organize this myself (or, if there’s a planner who prefers to take the lead on this, I’m fine with that as well) by first choosing the location that I’d like to shoot this in. Contrary to what a lot of people might expect, I generally don’t scout venues ahead of time…mainly because what I’m looking for primarily in a location is the light, which can be different based on the weather, the time of day, or even the time of year! I choose the spot I want to shoot at the day of the wedding, shortly after arrival

Lighting is at the root of everything I do, so it’s essential to choose a spot that’s lit perfectly. I generally choose something with a little bit more open shade (shade that’s still got a source of brightness or light near it so that it’s still going to produce lighter, airier photographs) because that’s also helpful for ensuring neither the bride or groom are squinting and can’t see the other! Since the whole point of a First Look is to see the other person for the first time, this is super important!

The second criteria is privacy. I prefer a spot that’s completely private, but that’s not always feasible at wedding venues or portrait locations…especially if the wedding is at a winery during the day or somewhere in the city. I consider privacy very important for a first look location because I want to protect the intimacy of this special moment and allow the couple a moment to be vulnerable with one another. It’s harder to do that when there are a ton of people around! Often bridal party and family members will want to come along and be a part of the first look, but in my experience it’s a better experience for the two of you if you ask them to give you a little space!

The third criteria for the location is based on background. I’m sure a lot of people would think it might be kind of funny that background isn’t the first thing I’m thinking about when I’m looking for places to shoot, but it’s actually not as important as the other two things because of the very wide open depth of field that I photograph at. Often parts of the background will kind of fade away depending on the way that I’m shooting, so I find this slightly less important than the other two factors.

When I’m looking at the background for the First Look (or really any other portion of the day), I’m looking for something that’s fairly clean of clutter (no garbage cans or ugly signage or anything where it can be seen) and fits with the feel of the wedding day. In my mind, I’m always shooting with the final product (the album) in mind, so I want the images to feel as cohesive as possible. Picking a space that meshes with the feel of the wedding day helps with this! For example, it wouldn’t really make sense to do the first look at a hotel ballroom if the wedding is a garden themed winery wedding, even if it would be slightly easier since the couple was getting ready at said hotel. I’d probably pick something else based on the other criteria and the feel of the day.

Once I’ve finished shooting Getting Ready, I will go and get the Groom and have him set up in place for the first look. Usually the second photographer will hang out with the groom and keep him company while I go back to escort the bride out to meet the groom. I give her some direction on how to greet him to set us up to get the best photos and then hang back a bit and photograph their moment together!

After the couple has had a little bit of time together, we’ll start shooting portraits of the two of them! I typically schedule around a half an hour for those portraits (bringing the first look up to a total time commitment of 40 minutes to an hour, depending on logistics) before bringing bridesmaids and groomsmen out for group photos!

Following Bride and Groom Portraits, the first look is a wrap! Next time, I’ll get into how I handle group photos…from bridesmaids and groomsmen to posed family formals!!

For the previous installment in this series, check out how I structure Getting Ready here!




2018 Offseason Projects

It’s been a little while since I’ve written much about what’s going on behind the scenes here in the KNP office, so I thought this was a great time to share what I’ve been up to so far this offseason and what I plan to try to accomplish throughout the rest of the “slower” season!

Business Off Season Projects:

  • Website updates! My site has to move over to Showit 5, so I’m currently working with my favorite designer to get it up to par. Fun fact: I’ve been with Showit for SIX years now and working with Ravyn just as long…the time has flown by!
  • Updated headshots. I kind of hate having my own photos taken (ironic, I know…) but a new website calls for fresh new photos! I love the photos my friend Ashley took of me in Hawaii, but that was 2.5 years ago now (again…how does time fly by so quickly??) and I have blond-ish hair now!
  • Updating client guide & pricing site. This seems to be a season of updating things, which makes sense since you can’t stay in business if you don’t adapt and evolve as times change. I’m at a point in my business where I’ve been lucky enough to have been established for several years and that means that some of the things I’ve been using for a while, like my client guide and pricing site, need a bit of dusting off and updating 🙂
  • Pre-packaging client gifts. I love batch preparing some of the things I send out to clients during this slightly slower paced time so that when I’m in the middle of the craziest part of wedding season, it’s so easy for me to get these things out because they’re basically already done!
  • Taxes. The most meh business task of all time, am I right?
  • Engagement session season. While I’m not super crazy with wedding work during the winter/early Spring, I’ve been beginning to schedule a lot more of these sessions.
  • Updating my print shop. I currently sell some of my travel photos in an etsy shop, but I’m looking for a new way to handle this. Thoughts and suggestions welcome!

One of the things that I really love about owning my own business is being able to dedicate time and energy to things I’m really passionate about.  Being my own boss gives me a ton of flexibility within creating my schedule, which allows me to get involved in more things I might not have time for if I were working a traditional 9-5 office job. I’ve learned that it’s just as important though to be specific and intentional with planning your personal goals as it is with business/work things, so here are some of the things I’m working on in my personal life throughout offseason (and beyond) this year!

Personal Off Season Projects & Goals

  • Moving. I’m moving about 5 minutes away from where I currently live, but moving is always a huge project/endeavor, even when it isn’t a far move.
  • Running my second marathon. This happens in a little less than a month! I’m so excited about this! The first time I ran one four years ago, I was really scared, but I know that I’ve put in the work and I know I’ve done it before, so I know this is going to be great!
  • Getting a third tattoo. April will mark my 7 year business anniversary, so I’m going to get a small tattoo to celebrate!
  • Filming a documentary. This is a really big deal and has a lot of backstory to it that I’ll have to write about at some other point, but to summarize, my plan is to search for my biological family…and to film the experience! I realized at some point that this has been weighing on my heart for a while…and that I’ve also really been interested in filmmaking for a bit too…so I’m excited to jump into this project because it’s one of those ideas that you can feel is going to be totally life-changing in more ways than one.
  • Writing a book. This doesn’t feel quite as immediate of a goal as some of the others…but I recently started working on this and I’m going to put in a little bit of work at a time until I feel like it’s really the right time to make it my top priority.

I am really excited about this list of projects! I love being busy and having lots to do, so keeping myself occupied like this is fun for me. It’s also really great to have it all written down…and out there on the internet…so that it’s a lot easier to stay accountable to these projects and to myself!

If you’re a wedding vendor, what are you doing to keep yourself busy during the offseason? If you’re not in the wedding industry, what do you do to keep yourself accountable?? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


San Diego Travel Photos

Confession time: when I travel, I sometimes don’t even pack my camera! Maybe half of the trips I’ve been on, I didn’t take it with me. Shocking, for a photographer to do such a crazy thing, right? Wouldn’t you imagine that a photographer would bring her camera everywhere she went? I think there are some photographers who are like that, but I don’t think I’ve ever really counted myself as one of them.

The truth is that sometimes I really just want to be able to see the world without my camera in front of my face…especially when I’m visiting a new place for the first time. I like to be able to see and smell and experience and enjoy without having to worry about an expensive piece of equipment…that I also use for work. Plus, if you’ve ever held a 5D Mark III and an L lens, you know they’re super freaking heavy and not fun to sightsee with!

On some travels I’ll bring my film camera, which is a lot smaller and easier to handle (plus getting back film scans later is always so much fun!), but this time I actually packed my DSLR!  I LOVE California and I actually have a wall of California photos in my master bathroom…so I wanted to be able to add a few photos to that.

This was my first visit to San Diego, but like the rest of California that I’ve seen (LA and San Francisco), I really REALLY loved it. There’s something about the west coast that I just love…maybe it’s the warm(er) weather or the more laid back attitudes, but I’m just all over that California vibe!!

Here are a just a few photos I took while visiting:


Breaking Down the Wedding Day – Part 1

After photographing nearly 150 weddings, I’ve developed a really good sense of what works for me and what doesn’t. Although every wedding is a unique event with a story of its own, I’ve come up with a really great system that helps ensure that things run smoothly (both on my end and for the couple, too!) and makes sure I have the time necessary to get all of the shots that I need.

Breaking down the ideal timeline for a fine art wedding photographer

I thought it would be fun to pull back the curtain so to speak and share a little bit about how I manage each part of the day, starting with the “getting ready” portion, which begins shortly after I arrive to start shooting for the day!

I typically arrive at a wedding about an hour before the bride is ready to get into her dress. This allows me time to start shooting details (bridal gown, rings, stationery suite, shoes, etc) and gives me a chance to warm up for the day. I spend about 40 minutes or so on details…I’ll style the bride’s details (and the groom’s if they’re available to me) before shooting them and often will shoot several arrangements of things (like the rings with the stationery, the flowers with the stationery, etc) for variety. Styling each little vignette that ends up in the photos usually takes a little bit of time, which is why shooting the details typically takes me about 40 minutes or so.

(Tip – Having all of your details ready to go in one spot before I arrive helps expedite the process.)

By the time I’m wrapped up with details, it’s usually right about the time for the bride to get into her dress! I usually select the location where I will want to photograph this when I arrive the day of the wedding. I look for something fairly neutral and clutter free, but the most important thing about the spot I chose is the light! The bridal suite at the venue or the hotel room where the bride and bridesmaids are getting ready may seem like the logical choice to most people, but sometimes I’ll pick something different…that could mean we’re shooting in a vestibule, a hallway, or even outside on a patio depending on the situation.

A good example of this is the bridal suite at King Family Vineyards. Their bridal suite is nice, but the overhead, fluorescent lighting isn’t great for photos, so I have had my brides have their dress photos taken out in the entry area (We always make sure that the groom and groomsmen aren’t in the vicinity before bringing the bride out to have her photos here). I think this spot is so much nicer because the window light is a lot more flattering and natural looking. The overall vibe of this spot also reflects that of the venue and the wedding day and will help the final gallery have a cohesive feel to it.

Note: It’s very rare for the bride to actually get fully dressed out in the spot I choose for the “getting dressed” photos. Usually, she’s entirely in the dress before stepping out for the photos and we have someone she chooses to help her zip or button it for the shots we need.

After this, we do accessories (jewelry, shoes, veil) and a few bridal portrait type shots (time permitting). Once this is all done we usually move on to the first look, which I’ll get into in more detail next time!

I hope this series will be helpful to those of you who are currently planning a wedding, but also entertaining to anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like to work with me to see a peek behind the scenes! Thanks for reading and be sure to stop by again for the next chapter in the series!