For Photographers | Having a Full Time Job...and Being a Wedding Photographer

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For Photographers | Having a Full Time Job...and Being a Wedding Photographer

One of the questions I get asked most frequently by other photographers is how I was able to photograph weddings and go to nursing school full-time? I'm still not entirely sure how I managed to pull that off, but I did. I graduated from nursing school in May and now work full time as an RN in Tampa along with photographing weddings. 

Let's be honest, I didn't get a lot of sleep over the last four years of my life, but I did learn some things that helped me along the way. I've compiled some tips to help you juggle your work-life schedule and find some balance in the hectic world of being a college student who is also incredibly passionate about wedding photography. 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

 

1. Get enough sleep

No, seriously. My first two years of school, I was up every night trying to cram information into my brain and editing pictures until three or four in the morning, and let me tell you, it wasn't healthy. I still struggle with getting enough sleep because my body got so used to only four hours a night at most. The nights that I would turn my computer off and close the books and go to bed by 10 PM were some of the best decisions of my school career. I would wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever came my way, whether it was school, work, or photography related. I was able to focus more, which in the long run allowed me more time to do what I needed to do because I wasn't sitting there reading the same paragraph over and over again trying to understand what my textbook was trying to tell me.

2. Set office hours. And stick to them.

When I started going to school and photographing weddings concurrently, I sent out a mass email to all of my clients, other vendors, wedding planners, etc. I let them know that my office hours would be changing and I also included it in my signature so that it was right there for anyone to see when I responded to an email. Having the weekends off wasn't out of the ordinary since I was usually photographing weddings, but I decided to also take Mondays off. This gave me a chance to catch up on anything wedding related after the weekend, and it also gave me a chance to study without feeling guilty for not responding to an email right away. I did extend my weekday hours however to make up for that day I was taking off. I also had some leniency and responded to some emails at 10 PM because I'm human and if I didn't do it then I would probably forget, but I tried not to make that a regular practice. I also utilize Boomerang for Gmail, which allowed me to schedule my emails to be sent at a designated time. Often times, I knew I would have emails to send, so I would write them whenever I had some downtime (Downtime?! What's that?!) and I could set them to send on whatever date and time I needed them.

At first I was nervous about taking a weekday off, but in the long run was a good move for my business and I have actually kept that policy in place since graduating. I still take Mondays off. I will say that doesn't necessarily mean that I wasn't working on something photography related, I just wasn't responding to emails on that day. 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

 

3. Extend your turnaround time.

This was another one of those scary things that I had to do in order to keep myself sane during nursing school. In my contract, my turnaround time is 90 days. That seems like a really long time because it is. I didn't like the idea of my clients having to wait three months for their photographs after their wedding, but that deadline allowed me the time I needed if I got really busy or needed extra time to study for an exam. There were some weeks that I had exams every day and 12-hour clinicals and I was working a full time job as well, so it was nice knowing I wasn't going to be in breach of my contract if I needed a few extra days. I will say that I never needed all 90 days but it was nice to have that cushion if I needed it. Plus it was nice to be able to surprise my clients with their photos early when they were expecting them in three months! Underpromise, overdeliver!

4. Outsource your editing!

If you ask me what the best decision I made for my business was in the year 2016, it was outsourcing my editing. I had a really hard time with this. Like a really hard time. I am a control freak and I don't like giving up that control especially when it came to my clients photographs. I had tossed the idea around for a while and experimented with a few different companies but never found any but I trusted enough to use for all of my weddings. Along came Plus Minus Collective. Jack and Matt took every fear I had about letting someone else edit my photos and threw them out the window. I cannot recommend this outsourcing company enough. They took the time to get to know how I really edit, instead of just slapping a preset on my files and calling it a day. While the process to set up my account with them took a little longer, it was worth it in the long run, because every time I got a wedding back from them, I knew the images would look exactly the way I wanted them to look. Not only did outsourcing free up a lot of my time that I could use to study, but it allowed me to deliver my galleries a lot sooner than my clients anticipated, which was just an added bonus. Check them out if you're looking for an outsourcing company! Mention my name and you'll receive 20% off your first three jobs with them!

 

5. Keep it simple.

Photographing weddings and making sure my clients needs were met while drowning in nursing school was hard to balance. Answering emails from potential clients about packages and pricing can be very time consuming. Not to say I don't enjoy answering those questions and educating my clients, but there are only so many hours in the day. When I started nursing school I reformatted my website to include all of the information that a potential client would need in order to book with me. I included step-by-step instructions, full pricing and details, what to expect next, my availability, how to get a hold of me, etc. All of these things are on my website on one page, easy to find and easy to read. This usually meant that when a couple contacted me they already knew what package they wanted, how much it was going to cost them, and how to book me. More often than not, our first email exchange was the couple telling me they were ready to book, and maybe a few questions that they needed answered. The entire process was easy for me and for them, which meant I had more time to do what I needed to do. This is another thing that I have continue to implement in my business even after graduating. I don't get a lot of inquiries anymore but the ones that I do get are typically clients that are ready to book. This isn't necessarily a concept that everyone should implement in their business model, but it's something that works well for me. I'm a photographer, not a salesperson. It's easier for me to present exactly what I have to offer to my couples and not try to upsell them on other things. 

6. Know that it's okay to say no sometimes. 

Don't be afraid to say no – and that's coming from a people pleaser! When someone asks me for a favor, I say yes, no questions asked. I struggled with this concept of saying no sometimes for a while, but learning your limitations and learning how to say no will help you tremendously. Don't feel like you have to agree to everything all the time. Keep track of the things you have on your plate, and ask yourself if you really have time to do whatever it is your being asked, whether it's another wedding, a second shooting opportunity, or simply dinner out with friends. I promise you, your friends and family will be understanding to your situation. 

7. Have a solid support system. And lean on them. 

This is kind of a big one. When you're drowning in school and work and life and nothing seems to give...lean on your friends and family. I was incredibly blessed through school to have my best friends, my sweet man, and my family, who were all there for me when I needed them, whether it was to answer a question, to bring over a bottle of wine to unwind after an exam, or just to simply be a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. Don't take these people for granted! 

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I hope some of this information helps you guys build your business and maintain your sanity throughout your school career and beyond! I implemented a lot of these things to help me find a balance during school, but I have kept a lot of them in place, even after graduating. I still work full time as a nurse outside of the photography industry, so these things help me keep that balance that I worked so hard to create. 

I'd love to hear how these tips have helped, or if you have anything to add! I always love hearing from other photographers how I was able to help! Feel free to leave a comment below! And good luck! There is a light at the end of the tunnel that is college, and I promise it's not an oncoming train.

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Nicole & Jake | Annalee Acres Wedding

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Nicole & Jake | Annalee Acres Wedding

I really love my job, you guys. Being able to be present for the most important day in couples' lives is really just, for lack of any other term, awesome. Nicole and Jake were really no exception. These two share a mutual love  for so many things, and it was really incredible to see the smile that Nicole put on Jake's face. I got to spend the day with their families, documenting all of the joy that always surrounds my couples on their wedding days. 

Also, if you can't tell, I was just a little bit obsessed with Nicole's dress - it was gorgeous! I was really just over the moon with all of their sweet little details and I'm so thrilled to finally get a chance to blog these images! 

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Aubrey & Aidan | First Magnitude Brewery

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Aubrey & Aidan | First Magnitude Brewery

I'm always so honored when friends ask me to photograph their wedding days! Aubrey and I attended college together in Gainesville, Florida back in the day, and spent our days working at Publix together. Big P crew for life! When I heard that Aubrey and Aidan were getting married, I was so excited for her! Aubrey exudes the kind of happiness and carefree spirit that I wish more people in this world had. It's hard to describe the joy she had the morning of her wedding, and the sheer excitement of finally marrying the man of her dreams! 

 

Aubrey and Aidan had a small, intimate wedding day in Florida. They got ready together in the morning at Magnolia Plantation, a super quaint bed & breakfast in the historic district of Gainesville. There was a quiet peace that morning as they prepped for their day next to each other. Little hidden pockets of light made for fantastic getting ready spots, and they smiled at each other as the big moment came closer. 

 

As you can see, Aubrey and Aidan aren't a traditional couple and therefore, didn't have a traditional wedding! Their ceremony and reception was held at First Magnitude Brewing Company in Gainesville, and it was the perfect gathering place for their friends and family! Audrey's father walked her down the aisle to Aidan as the most important people in their lives watched, and they made a promise for forever through laughs and tears. It was a beautiful, intimate ceremony, and I'm so thankful to have been a part of it! 

The reception was a blast, complete with cake fights and shots, selfie sticks and a live band that really brought the place to life! Inside, guests enjoyed board games and craft beer and nothing but good conversation. 

it was truly an honor to photograph this wedding! Aubrey and Aidan, thank you for putting your trust in me to document your day! 

On a side note, to my Florida friends, I will be marketing my services to the central Florida area beginning this year! There's a lot in store for my business in the next year, and expanding my wedding photography to Tampa and Gainesville is at the top of my list! Get in touch if you or someone you know in Florida is getting married soon and searching for a photographer!

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Heather & Alex | Dade City Engagement Session

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Heather & Alex | Dade City Engagement Session

There's something really special about photographing a super cute couple on a private boat dock in your hometown in Florida. It's even more special when the session turns into a surprise proposal that you get to be up close and personal for. 

Heather and I spent four years on the yearbook staff together in high school, and Alex was a regular at the ball field that we grew up playing on. When you grown up in a small town like Dade City, it isn't long before your worlds collide and two of your favorite people end up together. 

I always schedule sessions during my trips to Florida, and Heather was so excited to plan a session to document the love that she and Alex share. We planned and scouted and came up with the perfect location - a super secret boat house on Lake Jovita in San Antonio, Florida.

When Alex caught wind of our plans, he called me to let me in on a secret - he was planning on proposing to Heather during our session! I squealed with excitement. A proposal! How fun! And the best part was the fact that I didn't have to  hide because we would already be taking photographs! 

The day of the session, we explored the property near the boat house, and eventually made our way out to the water. From the dock, you could see Heather and Alex's alma mater,  Saint Leo. Alex suggest a cool photo with the college campus in the background, and I had Heather step forward towards me, telling her the shot with Alex blurred out behind looked so cool. I subtly asked her to turn around and hug her man, and there he was, down on one knee. Heather was so surprised, she actually turned back around and covered her face, shocked and delighted by not only that gorgeous  ring, but the sudden, exciting prospect of forever with her mister right.

At this point, of course I was in tears, so let's give it up for auto focus. She said yes (duh!) and finally figured out that I was in on the big secret. We spent a little more time exploring the property and documenting a little bit of what turned out to be a pretty rad story. Heather and Alex, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to tell a little part of your love story!

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Hannah & Drew | Mint Springs Farm

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Hannah & Drew | Mint Springs Farm

I was so thrilled when Hannah and Drew told me they would be getting married at Mint Springs Farm next summer! Mint Springs has always been one of my favorite venues in Nashville, and I just adore their property and all their quaint little areas to shoot! We got together on a beautiful May afternoon and wandered around the property, getting to know one another and just laughing and talking about their plans. Hannah and Drew share a passion for Christ, so it was very important for them to be married in a place where they could glorify that love. Mint Springs' outdoor chapel was the perfect place! The way that Hannah lights up when Drew smiles at her is one for the books! Hannah and Drew, I cannot wait for your wedding next year! I had so much fun photographing your engagement session!

To view the full gallery of images from this session, click here!

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Lauren & Eric | Meadow Hill Farm

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Lauren & Eric | Meadow Hill Farm

Oh. My. Goodness. I don't even know where to begin with Lauren and Eric's amazing wedding. I've been obsessing over Meadow Hill Farm since it was established, and it was only fitting that my last weekend in Nashville was spent photographing a wedding there! It was such a beautiful day in Nashville, too! Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to make sure this is real life!

Everything was impeccable. Lauren's beautiful lace dress was so dainty alongside the rustic decor of the venue, and her bridesmaids wore beautiful blush dresses. Lauren's mom created many of the floral arrangements, and my little photographer heart was just singing all day long!

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a sucker for great family photos. I absolutely adored the floral backdrop at Lauren and Eric's ceremony site, so of course it made the perfect location for family photos! And the ceremony! Oh my goodness! Obsessed! So much emotion and joy throughout the entire day! 

Oh! And this is pretty rad - Kelsea Ballerini filmed her new music video for Legends during the sparkler exit! Check it out here and see if you can spot us!

I could talk forever about what an incredible wedding this was...or I could just share some of my favorite images! Enjoy! Leave some love in the comments for the bride and groom!

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Jasmine and Stephens | Red River Farm

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Jasmine and Stephens | Red River Farm

Jasmine and Stephens had the most dreamy wedding in a little private barn just south of Nashville. Every single one of their handmade and sustainable items was just perfect - from the repurposed church pews to the antique fabric Jasmine thrifted for her dress, even down to the secondhand books used to decorate the tables. It was truly a breathtaking wedding, and it was such a pleasure to work alongside Sammi B Photography again. My favorite part of the day was that Jasmine and Stephens allotted a few extra hours after their send-off for portraits! I just love it when couples understand the importance of good portraits, and that scheduling them during the best light of the day is the smartest way to guarantee that you'll get some amazing options to choose from! 

I hope you'll enjoy these images of their super fun wedding! I'm excited to be photographing a few barn weddings this year! 

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Charity & Bobby | Fall Engagement Inspiration

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Charity & Bobby | Fall Engagement Inspiration

Sometimes, I get an idea that swirls around in my head for days and months and I finally get a chance to see it come to life.. Jennifer Hamilton of Jennifer Hamilton Events took the ideas I had scribbled down and helped me tell a beautiful story for a beautiful couple. Charity and Bobby are both musicians from LA and their style and mutual love for books, camping and messy smores made them the perfect couple for this styled engagement session. What started as notes about tee-pee's, bonfires, horses, gold stars and stacks of books became the perfect setting for a beautiful story. Thanks to the Breedlove's for letting use their beautiful property. It's picturesque lakeside setting made the perfect backdrop for the tee-pee that Jennifer Hamilton built by hand. The Instax polaroid pictures and the gold dangling stars really were the icing on the cake. And can we talk about how gorgeous Charity is?!

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Goodbye, Nashville

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Goodbye, Nashville

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place...like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again."

I don't think it's quite hit me yet that I said goodbye to Nashville on Sunday. Leaving the place that I came to as a naive teenager and leaving as what I would consider an adult is a weird feeling. I've been looking forward to going home for so long that I didn't really think about that leaving would feel like.

A lot of people used to ask me what brought me to Nashville, and I wish I could say it was something other than my silly little heart, but that was it. I followed it to a city that I had only spent 48 hours in, and I ended up making it home for the last 8 years. I went through heartbreak and loss in this city. I met people who became my family. I lost friends. I gained friends that can't get rid of my even if they tried. I worked at Hard Rock Cafe and got to meet musicians, see shows, and teach people all about the city I had grown to love. I climbed fences. I threw parties. I rode horses. I demolished a house. I survived a flood. I fell in love and maintained a long distance relationship for a year. I lived in a barn. I was a groupie.I worked at a farm. I saw countless friends get married. I partied a bit. I studied a lot.  I started a business. I worked my ass off and not only got into nursing school, but graduated from it. All in all, I have experienced a life that I wouldn't trade for anything in this city, and I can truly say that Nashville will always hold a special place in my heart.

And here I go, following my heart once again, back home to my family, my true love, my best friend, and the only place that has ever truly been home to me.

Nashville, thank you for welcoming me with open arms. Thank you for showing me what southern hospitality was all about. Thank you for the friends I've gained for life, and thank you for being so wonderful to me over these last eight years.

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Holly | Honeymoon Island Maternity Session

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Holly | Honeymoon Island Maternity Session

I'm getting so excited for my move to Tampa, y'all! I've been flying back and forth quite a bit over the last year, visiting with family and taking small steps to make the transition as smooth as possible. One of the things I've been working on is shifting my focus a little bit in my photography. I absolutely adore photographing weddings, but I'm also finding that I really love photographing maternity sessions and families! 

Holly and I actually went to high school together (good old Wesley Chapel High!) and she just recently moved back to Florida with her adorable family! She and her husband Justin already have one sweet little boy, and they are expecting a new baby girl any day now! We met up at Honeymoon Island to document that beautiful baby bump, and I'm so excited to share these with you all! Baby B, you are going to be so loved!

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Holly & Nathan | The Red Barn

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Holly & Nathan | The Red Barn

Holly and Nathan are such a sweet couple! I absolutely loved photographing their wedding at Crafton Farms, and the big red barn was the perfect backdrop for these two! It was such an emotional day filled with love and laughter, from the sweet letters they exchanged before the wedding, to the moment Holly walked down the aisle to Nathan. I just adore these two! The weather was perfect, and we had such beautiful light for sunset pictures! I highly recommend that all of my couples take 15 minutes out of their reception to head outside with me and get a few portraits before the sun goes down! 

Holly and Nathan, it was such a pleasure getting to know you both over this last year! I'm so happy to call you both clients and friends! I wish you all the best in your marriage! 

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Lexie & Dan | Historic Cedarwood

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Lexie & Dan | Historic Cedarwood

I absolutely adore photographing weddings at Historic Cedarwood! They do such an amazing job styling everything and helping the day go smoothly. All of the beautiful and intricate details just make my little photographer heart go pitter-patter! 

Lexie and Dan are two of the sweetest couples I have had the pleasure of photographing, and together, they make such an amazing couple. Excitement truly filled the air during the morning while Lexie and her bridesmaids got ready for the big day, and their friends and family were so incredibly warm and welcoming! Katie Kendall did an amazing job on hair and makeup! Also, can we just talk about that incredible dress Lexie wore?! The gorgeous, flowing train coupled with her veil made her look like a fairytale princess! I'm still swooning over her and Dan's sweet first look! 

Dan looked dapper in his navy blue suit, and let me just tell you, he has the best smile of any groom I have ever photographed! His groomsmen kept us all laughing all day, and it was such a joy to photograph them all. Let me tell you, these guys know how to party, dad included! The reception was such a blast, and I think the pictures speak for themselves. The party was hopping all throughout the night, and the sparkler exit was the perfect way to end the night after a sweet last dance to "Wanna Be That Song." 

The whole day was so beautiful, and it was such a joy to document all of the sweet moments throughout the day! It's always a pleasure to photograph a wedding at Cedarwood, and this was a great wedding to kick off another amazing wedding season! Lexie and Dan, thank you both so much for trusting me to photograph your wedding! It's such an honor to be the one to tell such an important part of your love story! 

Venue/Florals/Design: Cedarwood
Hair & Makeup: Katie Kendall
Paper Goods: Designs in Paper
Dress: LVD Bridal
2nd Shooter: Abigail Bridges

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part III

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part III

Welcome to another installment of my posing guide for wedding photographers! I'm so excited about the feedback I've been getting on this series! 

The pose I'm sharing with you today is another great pose that I like to use often. You can get so many variations from a simple direction, and as you can see, I like to use it a lot! I usually get close ups and wider shots with this pose, and you'll see what kind of benefits that has as you keep reading!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

The easiest way to get started with this pose is to have the bride and groom standing next to each other. Remember how we had the bride and groom hold hands and walk towards you at the beginning of the session? This is a great segue into your next pose after having them walk! I'm all about easygoing and fluid posing during my sessions, so moving into this pose from walking feels almost natural for your couple! 

It's super easy to get them here, too! After you have them stop, simple ask the bride to take a slight step behind the groom's shoulder, so she's standing juuuuust behind him. Then ask her to wrap both of her hands around his arm and snuggle into it. Pro tip: Sometimes, it's a little bit easier to just show your couple what you mean. Ask the bride and groom if it's okay for you to step in, show them exactly what you're talking about, and watch the magic unfold after they see it!

Once your couple knows what you are asking of them, you might ask them to totally let go for a moment, then step back into this pose. More often than not, yo'll get a much more natural looking pose the second time around! 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

From here, you have a few options - ask them to look at each other. Ask the bride to look at you, and ask the groom to look at his bride. Ask the bride to lean her head on his shoulder. The possibilities are endless. One of my favorites is to ask the groom to give the bride a little kiss on the forehead - I always get a nice sweet smile! 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

This is also a great pose for getting up close and personal - I do love a good ring shot! Not only do you get to show off that beautiful diamond, but if you frame it properly, you can incorporate some of those details from the couples outfits to really bring it full circle and cohesive with the rest of your session!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

I hope these tips help you create an authentic and fun experience for your couples at your next session, and I hope you can add this tip to your bag of tricks!

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! I'm so thrilled to be starting this series on posing tips for photographers! I can't wait to share more!

You can see more of this posing series by following the links below:

Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part One
Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part Two
Posing Tips for Photographers: Family & Group Photos

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Family Photos

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Family Photos

As wedding photographers, we all know that the family photographs can be a daunting task on an already busy day. Managing the timeline, arranging multiple family members, making sure everyone is smiling and happy, working around family dynamics, and finding a spot that has good light and enough room for those larger groups...that's enough to stress any wedding photographer out! 

Deep breaths. 

Here's the thing. Family photographs, as much as we all tend to roll our eyes at them, are important. Let me say it again for the people in the back. FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS ARE IMPORTANT. We take hundred of beautiful photographs on a wedding day. Beautiful portraits of the bride and groom will be shared all over social media by the couple, posted on Instagram, blogged on our websites, and posted in The Wild Collective. They will be incorporated into an heirloom album, printed on canvas, and hung in the couples home. There's no shame in loving those beautiful portraits, or the intricate details. But the family photos...those are the ones that are really going to matter in ten years. Those family photos are the ones that are going to be printed and hung on the fridge and framed on the wall in many people's homes. These are the images that people are going to look back on someday and remember how they felt in that moment - happy, loved, and surrounded by the people that mean the most to them!

Changing my mindset about family photos was really a pivotal moment for me in my wedding photography. When I started taking the time to truly care about these images, instead of just trying to rush through them and get them done, I noticed that my couples started caring more about them, too. I do my best to try and get all of my family members together before I start taking these images, and I explain to them that these photos are important, and it's important for them to have fun and try to enjoy them. My spiel often sounds something like this:

"Okay guys! I know we've all done this family photo thing before, and I know you guys are all ready to get back to the reception and get your party on! Bear with me for just a few minutes while we get these going! Don't be afraid to have a little bit of fun with these! We're going to love on each other for a few minutes, we're going to throw our arms around each other other, and we're going to act like we like each other! We don't have to be stiff and boring. I want everybody's personalities to show in these pictures! These photos matter, y'all. Make it count!"

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

By taking the time to talk with all the family members before starting, it puts us all on the same page. It says to them "Hey, these are going to be quick and fun!" so when you start lining people up, they've got smiles on their faces, instead of looking like they are dreading every second of it. Make family photos an experience they will remember! 

One small thing that I learned to implement that really makes a difference in these photos is to get people touching - close up the gaps in between people, have them lean their heads in close together, have them throw their arms around each other, or wrap their arms around their partner. This small difference creates a feeling of connection and intimacy, and I think it makes a huge difference in the photos! In the two photos below, you can see where I had the bride's family line up on either side of her and snapped a quick shot of everyone looking at the camera. After I got the standard shot, I told everyone "Lean in! Love on each other a little bit!" and you can see where everyone got in a little closer and it makes the picture all that much more special. 

family photos wedding day tips
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

You can see here how having the bride and her sisters lean in to each other and touch their faces together really creates a sweet, intimate photo. I usually get a few frames of each group, and depending on their relationship, I usually get a pretty fun, silly one at the end. 

posing guide wedding photographer family photos
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
wedding photography posing guides

Another little tip to help improve your family photos is to have some of the members take their hands and place them on the person next to them. Below, I asked grandma to just squeeze on the bride a little bit. It brings everyone a little closer naturally, and it gives the family members something to 'do" with their hands. Anybody that works with me knows how much I dislike "dead hands!"

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

Another small thing that makes a big difference is having the guys unbutton their jackets if they are going to throw their arms around each other. I love these photos, because it really exemplifies that "guys just hanging out" feel, but when they leave their jackets buttoned, the lapels pooch out and it just looks funny! 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

I hope these tips help you execute family photographs with a little more ease at your next wedding! As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! I'm so thrilled to be starting this series on posing tips for photographers! I can't wait to share more!
 

You can see more of this posing series by following the links below:

Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part One
Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part Two

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part II

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part II

I had such a great reaction to the first part of this series on posing for wedding photographers, and I'm so excited to share more! Today, we're getting up close and personal!

This is one of my signature images. If you look through my portfolio, you'll see images similar to these. Almost every blog post includes one. I like to get up close. When I tell my couples that I'm coming in for "the shot," they know what I'm talking about. All of my couples know that I'm gonna get all up in their business and make them snuggle.

I usually set this image up by having the couple stand next to each other. Sometimes, I have them both face the same directions, and sometimes I have them face each other. I'll take a few full length, standard shots of them looking at the camera, and from there, I'll come in closer and ask the groom to nuzzle the bride's temple. I usually ask them to giggle playfully or if I know the couple, I'll tell him to whisper something naughty in her ear. After I get them laughing, I tell him to whisper in her ear one reason why he's so excited to marry her. I can usually get two or three frames with totally different expressions here; usually one fun, laughing frame and often, a more serious, intimate one.

wedding photographer posing tips

Here's another version of my signature close up. For this frame, I have the couple face each other and ask the bride to look directly at me. If the groom doesn't automatically snuggle up to her (sometimes they do!) then I ask him to kiss her temple and say something sweet to her. As you can this from the examples, I use this one a lot. Like I said, it's kind of my signature!

The best part about this pose is that you can change it up and get so many variations! Try alternating between the bride and groom looking at you, looking down, closing their eyes, laughing, smiling, or anything else you can think of. Make it yours!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
wedding photography poses

I make it a point to try and get as many variations out of one pose as I can - as you can tell! Be sure to take a few minutes to step back and get some wider angles of this pose. Take in some of the scenery, get the brides whole dress, incorporate some of the elements in front of the couple to create layers  don't be afraid to get creative! My goal is create multiple, unique images that will also tell a cohesive story when I put together a wedding album for my couples, so being sure to get those wider angles at the same time really helps.  For context, I'm usually shooting this particular frame on my 35, which lets me get in super close without my lens having trouble focusing, but also allows for this nice, wide shot without much extra effort or having to change lenses and risk losing the moment. 

While we're talking about "the moment," I also want to point out that I'm not constantly posing my couples and directing them. Often times, I set them up facing each other, and talk with them for a few minutes, tell them they are doing a great job, how amazing they look, and really just observing them interacting. They say if you see a moment happen, you didn't capture it, so I make sure that my camera is up to my eye, on the ready at all times during portrait time. 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

Another tip for this pose:

If the groom is taller than the bride, don't be afraid to have them sit down! For context, in the image below on the left, the groom was sitting in a chair facing me, and the bride was sitting on his lap, facing the side. She threw her arm over his shoulder, the light was perfect, and you can see the result was fabulous! 

posing ideas for wedding photographers
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wedding couple posing

I'll be posting more for this series soon! Keep checking back for more, and as always, leave any questions or suggestions in the comments below!

You can see more of this posing series by following the links below:

Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Part One
Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers: Family & Group Photos

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