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 | Tampa Family Photographer

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Holly | Honeymoon Island Maternity Session | Tampa Family Photographer

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 at Crafton Farms | Nashville Wedding Photographer

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Holly & Nathan | The Red Barn at Crafton Farms | Nashville Wedding Photographer

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 | Cedarwood Wedding | Nashville Wedding Photographer

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Lexie & Dan | Cedarwood Wedding | Nashville Wedding Photographer

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 & Group Photos

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Family & Group 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
wedding photography poses engagement session poses
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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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part I

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Posing Tips for Photographers | Part I

I've been wanting to start an education series for photographers on posing for a while now, and I think it's finally time! Over the years, I've squirreled away quite a few tips and tricks for getting genuine moments out of my couples while also making them feel comfortable in front of my camera. I think we as wedding photographers often forget that most couples haven't been photographed together by a professional, and it's our job to make the experience as easy and fun as possible for them! 

One easy, quick trick I learned when I started photographing couples was to start out with them walking! It seems simple, right? It's got a few advantages! For one, it allows your couple to kind of "loosen up" in front of the camera without it being right in front of their face right off the bat. It also allows for you to get some great wider angles that you might not think about after you get up close and personal. I do this at both engagement sessions and weddings, and I've included some examples in this post!

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

For these shots, I have the couple hold hands and walk and look at each other. I always tell them we're going to do this a few times, and I tell them not to worry about the camera so much. I tell them to have a little fun, talk to each other, tell a joke, or just talk about their day. I'm not worried about their facial expressions so much as I am them getting comfortable.  

country engagement session
photography posing guide
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

After a few times of doing this, we start having a little more fun. I'll have the couple walk again, but I will give them more direction as to where to look. A lot of times, I very quickly run through a bunch of directions. I'll say "Look at me, look at each other, Katie look at me, Josh look at Katie, Katie look at me!" Not only does this give me a variety of facial expressions and poses, but it almost always elicits a laugh from the couple in the end!

Towards the end of this segment, I almost always have the couple walk closer to me each time, allowing me to fill my frame a little more and start focusing on the couple a little more. 

southern wedding engagement session couple camo

I hope this little tip helps you foster a great relationship with your couples and elicit some authentic moments! I'll be posting more tips and tricks for this series over the next few weeks! If you have any suggestions or questions, or just want to say hello, please leave them in the comments below!

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Your Wedding Photography Experience | Tampa Wedding Photographer | Wedding Planning

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Your Wedding Photography Experience | Tampa Wedding Photographer | Wedding Planning

One of the most frequently asked questions I get during my consultations is "What can we expect on the day of our wedding?" One of my goals for the new year was to provide more information to my clients that might help with any part of the planning process, 

I thought I might take the time to highlight a typical wedding day and how my photographic style reflects throughout the day. It's not every day that you get married, and believe it or not, you and I will be spending quite a bit of time together throughout the day! Having an idea of how the day will flow might make planning your day a little less stressful! 

So hows does it all work? A few weeks before your wedding, you'll receive an email inviting you to take my Pre-Wedding Questionnaire. This will help me form a timeline based on the location(s) of the getting ready portion of the day, the time and location of the ceremony, whether you and your partner will see each other before the ceremony, and of course, when the sun sets. Together, we'll come up with a timeline that is just right for you day. Read more about each segment of the day, how I will help make it the best experience possible, how much time you should consider dedicating for photos, and of course, example images!

 

Getting Ready

Allowing your photographer to have the maximum amount of time to capture all of the details, emotions and little moments that happen at every wedding is a crucial part to the story-telling process. I like to arrive at the location you'll be getting ready at least an hour before the finishing touches on your hair and makeup. This gives me ample time to photograph all of the pretty details like your dress, shoes, jewelry, flowers, invitation suite and anything else that might have sentimental value. This segment of the day is also where I get to capture those super intimate details, like that last touch up of lipstick, or you slipping into your wedding dress, but don't worry, I'll wait until you're covered up and comfortable before I start shooting! This is also a great time to get those fun, candid moments with your bridesmaids, family, or anyone else who might be hanging out. If your other half is getting ready nearby, my second shooter and I will probably spend some time with them as well. This is a great time to get groomsmen tying ties, putting on boutonnières, and just hanging out before the big moment! This portion of the day is typically laid back and fun, and it's a great time for my second shooter and I to get to know everyone we'll be photographing throughout the day. I tend to keep a hands-off approach during this time, as I like your story to unfold naturally, but I will make subtle suggestions such as where to stand to get in your dress, or what areas could be tidied up a bit for aesthetic. Getting ready for your wedding day should be relaxing and stress-free and that should reflect in your images! One small tip to help make these images the best they can be; delegate one of your bridesmaids or a family member to tidy up the space when we start taking pictures! 

IMG_2678.jpg
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
IMG_0214.jpg
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com


The First Look


The decision to have a “First Look” on your wedding day is a very personal one. Some brides choose to stay the traditional route and not see their groom until the ceremony. While I would never try to sway a bride from her decision, there are some benefits to seeing each other before the ceremony. While the "First Look" is becoming more of a standard, some couples still aren't sure what it really is. A “First Look” is an intimate moment with your future husband where you see each other for the first time. Typically, I find a scenic, private area and we set you guys up, stepping back with my longer lenses to give you a private moment alone. Some couples have opted to have their family & friends in the background. Whatever makes you more comfortable!

The benefit to having a First Look is that you'll have loads of time for bridal party pictures, family pictures, and my personal favorite, portraits! It definitely helps the day go smoothly, and allows for a lot of extra time that we might not have otherwise. 

If you're having a wedding in the fall and winter months, you definitely want to consider a First Look, as the sun typically sets much earlier than in the spring and summer. 

 

The Bridal Party & Portraits
 

If you choose to have a First Look, chances are we'll take some portraits of the two of you before we dive into the bridal party pictures! This is a great way to add a little variety to the end result of your images, as it gives us a little more time to work with you. Once we get those done, we'll pull all your guys and girls out and do some portraits of everyone together! These can be some really fun pictures! We'll also do some individual group photos of the bride with her girls and the groom with his guys, so prepare everyone for that! 

One little tip to help makes these photos the best they can be: make sure to have all the guys empty their pockets (phones, wallets, keys, flasks!) and have the girls dab off their bouquets before holding them to avoid water dripping on their dresses!

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

Family Portraits

So here's the thing about family portraits - I love them! The real, honest truth about family pictures on your wedding day is that they can be a pain in the butt. Gathering all your family members in one place, family dynamics, the hustle and bustle that comes with a wedding...it can be a stressful time! But here's the thing...these pictures are probably the most important photographs that I take on your day. These are the pictures that get printed out and put in frames and hung on the fridge and passed down throughout the years. You'll hear me give this little speech right before we take these pictures on your day, and it's because I want everyone on the same page when it comes time to take these. I want everyone smiling and happy and loving on each other! Family pictures don't have to be stiff and boring! Let your personality shine in these! Of course, we'll get the standard "smiling-at-the-camera" shot, but rest assured, we're going to have fun while we take these! 

 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
CSP-Jessica-Josh-Wedding-224.jpg
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com
 Chelsey Somohano Photography www.somohanoweddings.com

The Ceremony

There are SO many emotions happening during your ceremony! Excitement, tears of joy, nervousness, butterflies, you name it! This is the one portion of the day where having a second photographer can be incredibly beneficial - I can't be in two places at once, so having that second photographer means you can get those photos of things that happen at the same time, like you walking down the aisle and him smiling at you when you take his breath away, or mom smiling at you while you're looking at your dad. We do our best to stay out of the way during this time. Typically, my second shooter will grab a seat in the audience, and I'll hang around the front until you get there. Then, we'll step back with our longer lenses and capture everything as it unfolds. I really love all the happiness and excitement that happens during the ceremony, so it's one of my favorite parts of the day to capture. And don't be surprised if you catch me shedding a tear or two myself. Happiness just makes the tears flow! Thank goodness for autofocus ;) 

One tip to make your ceremony photographs the best - make a note of the light at your ceremony location at the rehearsal. If you notice really patchy spots of the sunshine or no shade, consider moving to an area with more even light! Another tip for great photos concerning light - when you walk down the aisle, consider having your dad (or whoever is walking you down) stand on the side where the sun is coming throug! Their shadow will block some of that harsh light and create more flattering shadows for your photographs!

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

The Reception

Your reception should truly be a celebration! The hard part of the wedding day is over, and now the party can begin! My second photographer and I will have made our way inside early to get photographs of all the beautiful décor, flower, cake, and other details. We’ll photograph your grand entrance, focusing more on you and your new husband than the bridal party. From that point on, we just go with the flow! If you go directly into your first dance, we’ll document that, along with any toasts, the bouquet and garter toss, and any other special things you’ve told us about. We’ll also sit down and grab a bite to eat when you and your bridal party eat! When the dancing begins, don’t be surprised to find us out on the dance floor! We’ll get right in the middle of the action! You’ll notice all the fun photographs with the crazy squiggly lines? Those are super fun to capture, and all it takes is a little bit of flash! We’re not concerned about the room being dark or the DJ having lights – we just want you to have fun!

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

The Exit

Ah, the grand exit! If you’ve planned a super fun exit with something like sparklers, which are all the craze right now, I’m so excited! There’s nothing better than all your friends having a great time and waving fireworks while you run through them ;) In all seriousness though, I love to help gather everyone together for the exit. The long wedding sparklers are a must-have for this – they burn longer, and they stick out farther so you have a bigger tunnel to get through!

A few tips to make your exit photographs the best they can be – consider doing your exit before you actually leave your reception! Typically, a lot of your guests will start to fizzle out (no pun intended!) especially if you have a late reception, so gathering everyone an hour early (I’ll come grab you if I start to see the crowd dwindling!) can help us gaurentee you have lots of people available, and gives us the ambient light we need from the sparklers to make these photographs work!

One other tip I like to give my couples for their sparkler exit is to stop and kiss halfway through! This gives me the opportunity to get a really solid photograph of your exit, and It gives us a little variety in the end. Plus, you guys just got married! You shouldn’t have any problem locking lips one more time!

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

I hope this gives you a better idea of what to expect on your wedding day! If I can help with the wedding planning process in any other way, please let me know If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below! Thanks for taking the time to read all about what to expect with your wedding photographer!

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Sharayah & Ronnie | Narrows of the Harpeth Engagement Session | Tampa Wedding Photographer

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Sharayah & Ronnie | Narrows of the Harpeth Engagement Session | Tampa Wedding Photographer

When my friends get engaged and contact me to photograph their engagement session and/or wedding, it makes my little photographer heart sing! I've known Ronnie for a long time (we go back to the Hard Rock Cafe days!) and when I met Sharayah, I knew he had found the one for him! These two are a little bit rock and roll meets Tim Burton meets super sweet couple, and I was so thrilled when they asked me to document a little bit of their love story! Sharayah does some wicked makeup, so I knew she would bring it during their session.

We spent the afternoon hiking to the cliffs at the Narrows of the Harpeth, and we couldn't have asked for better weather. I'm seriously loving all these images! I have to say, I'm going to miss these gorgeous mountain views when I move to Tampa. Just one more reason to keep coming back to Nashville to photograph weddings! 

Enjoy the photos, y'all! Leave a little bit of love in the comments!

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Brittni | Dade City Maternity Session | Florida Family Photographer

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Brittni | Dade City Maternity Session | Florida Family Photographer

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a family that I've known since high school. In fact, it still feels like it was yesterday when Phillip, Brittni and I all had Spanish class together. I remember Phillip leaning over and telling me about his huge crush on Brittni, and here they are, so many years later, with a beautiful family and another sweet baby boy on the way!

Phillip is a firefighter for the city of Tampa (just like my sweet, handsome man!) and Brittni is actually a photographer as well. I will call them...my people. They have a sweet little girl and are expecting again in June! It's such a joy to see friends grow up and create their own families and be able to document little slivers of that along the way!

We met up in Dade City, a little sleepy town just north of Tampa, where I grew up. There's a quaint little park just near the lake - you might recognize this location from back when I photographed Alex and Heather's surprise proposal/engagement session a few years ago - and had some fun in the setting sun! I even brought some super fun smoke bombs to play up the whole, you know, having a baby boy thing ;)

This sweet little family is everything!!! I'm so in love with these images, and I hope you guys enjoy them enough to leave some love! I'd love to start filling some dates in Florida with family sessions, so if any of my Tampa friends are reading this, get in touch!

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Anclote Key | Tampa Wedding Photographer | Tampa Beach Wedding Photographer

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Anclote Key | Tampa Wedding Photographer | Tampa Beach Wedding Photographer

One of my goals for 2017 was to publish more of my personal work. What kind of photographer would I be if I didn't document my own life, too?? 

Last month, Josh and I took the boat out (okay, let's be honest, we take the boat out all the time!) to Anclote Key, one of our favorite little hidden gems in Tampa. We've been going out to Anclote since we were kids - I've got a photograph to prove it! There were days, and still are, when we would go out there just for an hour or two, just to have lunch together. We find a nice shady spot, bury our toes in the sand, and just enjoy each other's company. 

These days, life gets busy and we forget to slow down sometimes. Spending an afternoon together on the water is one of my favorite things we do together, and getting the chance to document just a little bit of that time together was fantastic. Josh has been so supportive of my relocation to Tampa (probably because he's there, too!) and reminds me on a daily basis to grab my camera whenever we go somewhere. I'm so thankful for a man like him! 

I hope you'll enjoy some of my photographs of Anclote Key! The ocean is one of my favorite things about living in Florida, and having our own little island is really something special. I feel free when I'm on the water. I feel at home. I feel safe.

Also,  I'm adding beach weddings to my list of weddings I want to photograph in Florida! 

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Frequently Asked Questions | Wedding Photography | Tampa Wedding Photographer

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Frequently Asked Questions | Wedding Photography | Tampa Wedding Photographer

You've got questions? I've got answers! I've seen a lot of new faces lately, and I figured it was time to update some information on my website, especially with my move to Tampa coming up quickly! I'm so excited to start meeting new faces in Tampa, and even more excited to start photographing weddings in Tampa! Read through some of my most frequently asked questions below, and if you have any more questions, leave them in the comments! Thanks, y'all!

engagement photographer tampa florida

How would you describe your wedding photography style?
If I had to choose three words to describe my wedding photography, I would say candid, colorful and intimate. If I were to go into more detail, I like to think of my style as a mix of whimsical, classic and elegant. You will find your photography sessions to be effortless and fun and the photos tend to have an air about them that exemplifies laughter and joy and tells the story of love that is colorful, bold and full of love. I strive for my photos to exemplify the atmosphere that I love so much - imagine a beautiful sunny day on a private island on the outskirts of Tampa, windblown hair, and so many laughs next to each other. 

tampa bay engagement session

Can you create a custom wedding photography package for our wedding?
Absolutely! I require a minimum of 6 hours of wedding day coverage and you can add items such as a second photographer, an heirloom wedding album, a print collection or an additional session such as engagement or bridal sessions. I am based out of Tampa, Florida, but I am willing and LOVE to travel! Please get in touch so we can create the perfect wedding photography package for your big day.

tampa wedding photographer outdoor engagement session

What is required to book our wedding date?
To hold your wedding date, I require a signed contract and a non-refundable retainer equal to 1/3 of your package total. Once you let me know you’re ready to book, everything is done online. I try and make it super easy for everyone involved!  

bridesmaids tampa wedding

How many photos will we receive?
I photograph weddings with the intention of capturing moments rather than trying to shoot with a specific number of images in mind. As a general estimate, I deliver an average of 400-700 images. I fully believe in quality over quantity, and the final number of images will ultimately depend on the level of detail and activity happening on your wedding day. Engagement, bridal and day-after sessions typically yield 50-75 images depending on the time of day, location and level of detail and activity.

outdoor wedding ceremony tampa

Will all the photos we receive be edited?
I edit each and every image that I deliver to you with my own special recipe. I’ll take out small blemishes, spots, etc. I won’t remove noticeable birthmarks, moles, etc. unless you specify that you want them removed. I’ll make some black and white, some color, and I’ll make sure each image is consistent throughout to tell your story in the best way. I'll also go through all of the images and remove the unflattering faces, repetitive images, and anything else that doesn't help tell the story. 

non-traditional wedding photography tampa

We're having our wedding somewhere other than Tampa. Are you available for travel?
Of course! I love traveling! I'm based out of Tampa, but I always a suitcase ready! For 2017, I won't be charging travel to Nashville, due to the relocation. If you want to take me along for your destination wedding, get in touch and let’s put together a custom travel package based on your wedding!

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Year in Review: Best of 2016 | Tampa Wedding Photographer

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Year in Review: Best of 2016 | Tampa Wedding Photographer

2016 was a year of change. Changes that included where I was going, and what I was doing, and what direction I wanted my business to go. Changes that involved a big move back to my home in Tampa, Florida, and changes within my family. We welcomed a new baby brother into our already huge family (that's right folks, my momma had a baby!) and I found myself head over heels in love with a man that I have known since I was 13. I started my last semester of nursing school (last semester, y'all!!) and I expanded my portfolio to include families, babies, and horses! I lived in a horse barn at one point (it's an interesting story - but don't worry, I had walls and doors and even a bathroom!) and I spent a lot of my time dedicating my life to patients in the hospital. I spent quite a bit of time traveling - mostly to Tampa, but there was a trip to North Carolina, Savannah, and even Miami in there! I'm pretty sure I have racked up nearly 17, 000 miles this year traveling. It's been an interesting year, to say the least.

Despite all of these changes and steps forward, one thing has stayed pretty consistent, and that is the fact that I continue to be blessed enough to share my talent with so many incredible people in this wonderful city. I have documented love stories for so many couples, and I have captured photographs for families that they will cherish forever. I have photographed horse lovers with their favorite four-legged friends, and I even took pictures of my brand new baby brother - and I always swore I wouldn't do newborn photography! What I do is not for a paycheck, and the reason I do it is not for recognition - it is because I understand and appreciate the importance of documenting those little moments. I know what it's like to pull that old album out and reminisce about the moment captured. I do what I do because it matters to me. 

Being able to look back over my entire year and seeing the growth in my style has really been inspiring to me as an artist. I'm also so thankful to Aly Greer of Wild Cotton Photography, Chesley Summar, John Myers, Alex Blackwelder of Alex Bee Photography and Janelle Sutton of Janelle Elise Photography for giving me the opportunity to photograph weddings alongside them throughout the year. Some of the images sprinkled in this post are from weddings I photographed with them! I'd also like to thank my second shooters, Rachel Lombardi and Chelsea Rochelle, for being so wonderful to me and my clients this year, and for talking me off the crazy train a couple of times throughout the hectic wedding season.

So, without further ado, I hope you all enjoy this culmination of what my 2016 looked like! I can't wait to make more memories in 2017!

 

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Heather & Alan | Loveless Cafe Wedding | Nashville Wedding Photographer

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Heather & Alan | Loveless Cafe Wedding | Nashville Wedding Photographer

It was such a joy to photograph Heather and Alan's beautiful wedding at the Loveless Barn back in November! This was my last wedding of the season (and all the wedding photographers around the world shouted YAY!) and what a way to end the season! The bride and groom were so incredibly laid back, their bridal party was so much fun, their families were warm and welcoming, and the food was OH SO GOOD! I'll never forget when Heather first emailed me about photographing her wedding - she bribed me with those infamous Loveless biscuits! How could I say no?!

I truly enjoyed documenting this day for both of you, and I wish you so many years of happiness down the road! Thank you for trusting me to tell just a little part of your incredible love story!

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