How to Get Epic Sunset Wedding and Engagement Photos with Your Photographer

Summer's here, and that means longer days of gorgeous sunshine. So it's the perfect time to brush up on how to capture great sunset photos with your photographer at your wedding or engagement session. 

Timing

The most important factor in achieving epic sunset photos is, of course, timing. You’ll want to start at least 30 minutes prior to the actual sunset time, when the sun dips below the horizon. If it’s a cloudy day, you may even want to start an hour before sunset, as the sun will tend to disappear earlier. You can find the sunset time for your wedding or engagement session date and location in most cell phone weather apps, and online at www.timeanddate.com .

If you want sunset photos at your wedding, this will involve some careful planning to make sure you’ve given yourself enough time in your schedule. At a minimum, your wedding ceremony should start 1.5 hours before sunset. This will give you 30 minutes for your ceremony, 5 minutes afterward to sign the license, and roughly 20 minutes for some family portraits. Then you’ll have a good 30 - 40 minutes of golden light to work with for those gorgeous sunset photos. Planning in advance is key, so that everyone--the wedding coordinator, DJ/MC, caterer, etc.--are all on the same page, and know when to start your reception and how to keep your guests occupied in the meantime.

Comfort

To get a clear, unobstructed view of the sky at your wedding venue or portrait location, you may have to do a little walking. So bring some comfy shoes (flats or sneakers) that you can do a little offroading in. You can always change back into your dress shoes or heels once you get to the best spot for sunset pics.

Lighting

It seems like taking sunset photos is pretty simple--just point and shoot. That might be okay for a dark silhouette of the two of you against a bright sky. But to get a truly exceptional sunset photo, your photographer will need to work a little lighting magic. This involves some off-camera flash, to light you up in relation to that colorful, glowing sky. Your photographer should be working with at least 2 off-camera flashes to set up a nice ratio of light, so that your photo has depth and the lighting has direction. They may even use a third or fourth flash to help brighten up part of the foreground closest to you--think trees, vegetation, etc.--so that your photo is truly dimensional and not flat.

State of Mind

It goes without saying that the happier your state of mind, the better your photos will turn out. Working with a photographer, especially if this is your first time getting professional photos, can require a bit of patience on your part as they change lenses, meter the light, set up flashes, and of course pose you. If this is your engagement session, take some time to reflect with your partner on how excited you are for your upcoming wedding! Forget that there is a camera following you, and remember that the point of all this is that you are with the most important, lovely person in your life. The moments your photographer captures of your natural expressions toward each other will be the images you’ll cherish over time. If this is your wedding, chances are that this is the first time you are alone together as newlyweds! So let the stress melt away and get cozy with each other while your guests are enjoying cocktail hour.

Posing

You’ve probably spent a lot of time on Pinterest curating a board of your favorite poses. So share your top 5 with your photographer. This will help them understand your unique personality and style. Also don’t forget to be open to posing guidance from your photographer. They have the experience to know which angles are the most flattering for your respective body types, and will help you get every detail--hands, clothes, hair--into the right place. Above all, know that some of the best “poses” actually happen when the two of you just relax and hang out together. So don’t be afraid to be yourself with your partner. Remember that your photographer wants you to look good too!

Be sure to check out our Pinterest board for even more sunset photo inspiration!

Now get out there and create some beautiful memories!

Cosplay, Superhero Comic Book Wedding

davidorrphotography_cosplay-wedding

Newly engaged couples often feel overwhelmed by the traditions and expectations that go into planning their wedding day. But the truth is that you can break away from tradition, while still creating a special event that your guests will love attending. JeriLyn and Randy are the perfect example of a couple that made their wedding day truly their own, in a way that both celebrated their unique hobbies and loves (comic books, cosplay, gaming, superheroes), while still honoring and actively involving their family and guests. JeriLyn and Randy were awesome enough to share the details of their wedding day, and even some DIY and cost-saving wedding planning tips.

davidorrphotography_costume-wedding

How did you come to select the theme for your wedding day? Why was this important to you?

Randy: "Instead of a traditional wedding where you buy/rent clothes and supplies that we knew we were only going to use once before throwing in a mothball-ridden closet for years to come, we decided we wanted to do something we could reuse. Because we are both so heavily inspired by comics, movies and games, and attend MANY pop-culture conventions in a business and pleasurable capacity (as well as a lot of our friends and family) we felt doing a sort of 'cosplay' themed wedding was ideal. People could dress up as their favorite characters/people and the costumes could be reused. We now use our outfits as our 'cosplay' clothes at conventions we attend."

(JeriLyn and Randy make amazing collectible art glass pieces. You can catch them at the upcoming Phoenix Comicon on May 25 - 28th, 2017 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Visit FireChilde Glass Studio for more info.)

davidorrphotography_borosilicate_glass_marble.jpg

 

How did you encourage guests to participate?

Randy: "It didn't take too much encouragement as a lot of our friends and family are as quirky as us and really enjoyed the experience. An added bonus was that Halloween was a week and a half prior to our special occasion, which made the costume-building process as difficult or as easy as people really wanted to make it. Also, the promise of free booze helped a lot."

davidorrphotography_comic-book-bouquet

Describe any personal or handmade touches that you incorporated in your wedding.

Randy: "We had made flower bouquets (including the bride's) out of paper flowers we painstakingly made out of comic books that were repurposed from our comic shop, as they were just titles the shop had amassed but couldn't really sell. (Fun fact: the more violent the comic book, the prettier the flower... because blood.) We also used some of our favorite comic book titles as table decorations for people to read and look at while dining, and to take as party favors."

"We also wanted to avoid having a traditional wedding cake as they're not something people typically go gaga over anyway. It was actually suggested to us to do a big stack of donuts, which were a big hit with our guests (out of 8-9 dozen, we walked away with a small box of 6 donuts at the end of the evening). It definitely was a fun addition that we feel was better than a traditional cake."

Tell us about the design of the wedding dress. Did JeriLyn make it herself? What inspired her? What were the advantages of doing a custom-designed dress versus purchasing from a chain store?

Randy: "The wedding dress was basically made from pieces and parts we'd found from different vendors at the conventions we attend. The inception was from JeriLyn's love for Superman... so she dubbed herself the 'Bride-of-Steel,' and we worked around that. The outfit consisted of a black leather corset, a black skirt with white petticoats, a Victorian-era high collar, white button-down shirt with frills, a leather Victorian-era riding hat (that we emblazoned with a silver and black Superman logo), black and white 'spat'-esque boots (later exchanged for black Chuck Taylors for dancing later), and a silver Superman pendant on a silver chain."

davidorrphotography_superhero-wedding-dress

"The main advantage of doing a custom designed outfit was really the fact that we were able to help out a lot of the other vendors we attend conventions with, and not throwing money at a big chain store that wouldn't consider my ideas but would rather show me the dresses worn by a hundred other brides that day alone. It was a treat to spread our joy around to independent artists who we've known for years. We also have the opportunity to mix-and-match aspects of this outfit into other designs in the future for other fun events."

davidorrphotography_superhero-groom

Tell us about the design of the groom’s suit. Did Randy make it himself? What inspired him?

JeriLyn: "Randy's "Bat-Groom" outfit was inspired by his favorite character Batman (obviously). The relationship between Batman and Superman over the years has been (what we describe as) a 'Bro-mance.' They always have one another's back and rely on each other in times of need. His costume was a little less elaborate as it consisted of a regular black button-down shirt, a black vest with silver striping, black jeans with a Batman belt buckle, black Chuck Taylor shoes and a giant top hat with the Batman logo on the front. It was simple, but matched the overall fun-aesthetic we were going for."

Were there any special traditions that were a part of your wedding day?

Randy: "The only semi-"traditional" aspect was we had decided that we wouldn't see each other as soon as we hit the venue until the moment of the ceremony. Other than that, we were making it as easy-going and stressfree as possible. Throwing tradition out the window allowed us to really cut loose and not adhere to a bunch of rigid guidelines that'd sap the fun out of the whole process. The only real stress was being the center of attention and making damned fools of ourselves in front of our most cherished people ... and even that was great."

What were some of your favorite moments from your wedding day?

JeriLyn: "As generic of a statement as this is... the vows. We had them written for us by one of our best friends who knows us to a "T". Being able to speak words that were funny and eloquent to my husband-to-be was a great feeling because normally I just stare at him slack-jawed and drooling on myself wondering how I got so lucky. But honestly, the whole thing feels like a quick blur and I loved every moment."

davidorrphotography_comic-book-vows

Randy: "As JeriLyn said, the vows were my favorite part. Talking about superheroes and cats and bad comic movies right before getting hitched was a good laugh for us as well as our guests. My other favorite is that David Orr piled us in his vehicle right after the ceremony, and we went down to our comic book shop (about a block away), and we had a good time goofing off and having pictures taken."

davidorrphotography_comic-book-wedding

How did you come to select the location for your wedding? What was special about this place to you?

Randy: "We wanted to be in an area we frequent fairly often. Regency Garden is about two blocks away from the Mesa Arts Center where JeriLyn works and also really close to our comic book shop we frequent as well. We found Regency kind of by chance. The well-deserved awesome reviews, located in an area we know and frequent, with extremely nice employees and they already had David Orr working as their photographer (which we didn't know until our initial visit when we all bumped into each other at the venue the first day), and the fact it was fantastic looking with reasonable pricing and all inclusive... it felt like it was meant to be."

What advice do you have for couples who are planning their wedding? (Best ways to incorporate a theme, tips to keep costs down, pitfalls to avoid, etc.)

Randy: "Simply put, walk in with a bit of skepticism. Wedding magazines, bridal expos, traditions being jammed down your throat, et cetera ... these resources are meant to sell you something that was already used a hundred times over. There's no need to spend tons of money on customized party favors that guests are going to toss in the trash the next month or that big elaborate stark white dress that will never be seen after that special day. So what if it's 'tradition' to do this, that or the other thing ... whose tradition? This is your day. You or someone you are close to are the one footing the bill. Why would you want it to be the next generic one sold out of an overpriced catalog? You be you--don't let tradition get in the way."

JeriLyn: "You know those folks who are hired with the venue typically? The 'wedding coordinators' ... listen to them. There's no need to micromanage since these folks do hundreds of events a year. They'll certainly know what is unique, what is overdone and what is possible ... and they'll be the first ones to tell you. Also, keep things simple. The more elaborate it is, the more expensive, labor intensive and stressful things become. As much as I want a hundred pure white doves to be released over my head from a hot air balloon with me and my husband's name on it ... it just seems like a lot of unnecessary work for something that people will say 'huh... that was cool. Okay, where's the bar?' "

 

Come see David Orr speak on the Phoenix Comicon wedding panel "Geek Weddings on a Budget": Friday, May 26, 2017 at 12noon at the Phoenix Convention Center.

21 Creative Ways How To Use Your Engagement Photos

By Amanda Orr

davidorrphotography_engagements-in-phoenix

At David Orr Photography, we like to think of an engagement photo session as more of a date night, but we’re following along behind a camera, encouraging couples to try fun poses in natural light scenarios. We could walk around downtown Phoenix together, explore the scenic Sonoran desert, soak up the fragrance of fresh desert flowers at local gardens, and basically get out on the town—or even out of town to a gorgeous Arizona destination! Our job is to capture the two of you in love, in a beautiful setting, naturally enjoying your time together.

So, what on earth are we going to do with all these engagement images, you ask?

Oh, there’s lots you can do—here are some suggestions below on sharing these images of your personal style with your friends and family before and after the wedding, and a few resources we searched high and low for on the web to share with you!


Engagement Photo Uses Before the Wedding:

davidorrphotography_save-the-dates

Save the Dates

Be it a printed card you mail out to your guest list at least 6 months ahead (especially for those traveling from out of town), or a simple postcard, your guests are bound to get excited to see a glimpse of what’s to come! When you hire us, we’ll provide you access to our online invitation shop. You’ll be able to order and customize your own invitations, save the dates, thank you cards and more with our easy online system. Select fine-art papers, hand-pressed foils and lined envelopes!

Bride and Groom Website or Blog

Nowadays it is becoming more common to create a personalized website to share registry information, maps to venues and general information about the wedding festivities for guests—go ahead and sprinkle in some creative engagement shots to tell your love story and build upon your unique wedding theme!

davidorrphotography_invitations

Invitations

At least 3 months before, the wedding guests will expect to see the official announcement and invite to RSVP. Images designed into the invite make for a great historic and formal keepsake.

Stickers

Think photo booth style; you could have a little fun with your facial expressions when taking photos. Decorate your invites with that fun personality. Visit stickeryou.com

Timeline

Show your guests a chronological retrospective on how you found your way to each other—design a large chalkboard, corkboard, or magnet board of major life events, and then add in photos from your childhood, first car, high school graduation, college days, etc., all the way up to the present engagement.

Photo Tree Card Holder

It’s fun to give photo gifts to guests. Hang framed engagement photos or image porcelain ornaments from either a traditional wire cardholder tree or a crafted bundling of strong, decorative limbs from a craft store. This is a great way to make a striking display: pinterest.com/davidorrphoto/engagement-photo-uses

davidorrphotography_signature-book

Photo Guest Signature Book

One of our most popular products, our stylish Signature Books allow you to share your Engagement photos, and your guests can sign and write personal dedications in your unique, lay-flat book. We’ll take care of the design, so all you have to do is choose between Hard Cover or Padded Cover, for only $150. Schedule your engagement session here: davidorrphotography.com/portraits-contact

Photo Candy Tins

Ever seen an image printed directly on an aluminum tin? It’s so cool! Or you could have a photo printed directly to a porcelain keepsake box—either way, if there’s candy inside, it will be a big hit. Visit Evermine.com

Ceramic Photo Tile

You could customize a special message, add a monogram, or place your wedding date on top of your image, and then have it glazed onto a tile.

Photo Confetti

Sprinkle some fun expressions with different pics on the guests’ tables. Check out Photofetti: photofetti.com

Photo Hershey’s Kisses

Use up that same confetti and glue it to the bottom of a Kiss!

Bottle Cap Magnets

Don’t throw out those beer bottle caps–I mean soda caps–just yet. All you need are some small magnets, scissors for cutting up pics, Diamond Glaze for cap filling, and a glue gun. Here’s a resource: bottlecapco.com

davidorrphotography_pinterest-engagement-photo-uses

Be Sure to Follow David Orr Photography on Pinterest!

For more ideas on using your Engagement photos, go here: pinterest.com/davidorrphoto/engagement-photo-uses

Trivia Cards

On one side you’ve got a cute photo of you two, and on the other side are fun questions about your lives. Then have your DJ ask a series of those questions during the reception. The first table to answer correctly will get to be next at the chow buffet line!

Photo Cookies

Just what everyone wants, to eat your beautiful faces! If you have a great sense of humor and like to eat cookies, check out the Picture PerfectTM Collection by Eleni’s: elenis.com

Photo Lollipops

Or if you prefer a different method to savor your likeness, there’s chocolate lollipops from Beau-Coup: beau-coup.com/personalized-chocolate-lollipops.htm

Photo Wine Bottles

Your guests will love this splurge! Design your own photo wine label with Bottle Your Brand: bottleyourbrand.com/personalized-wine-labels/weddings

Soda Pop Bottles

Jones Soda comes in a variety of refreshing flavors and colors, and you can add your engagement photo to label the soda: jonessoda.com/

Photo Vases

Your DJ can help you craft a guest game to give away your special photo vase centerpieces at each table: http://bit.ly/14Db0Jn

davidorrphotography_videos

Slideshow

Sure, you could opt to create a PowerPoint or Keynote slideshow, or David Orr Photography can show you a modern take on visual entertainment for your guests. Our music video slideshow is definitely not boring, and just $95! Watch one: davidorrphotography.com/music-video-slideshow

Engagement & Wedding Photo Uses After the Wedding

Thank You Cards

Come full circle with your theme and send your guests folded image cards—but now that the wedding is over, you could add in a wedding photo instead!

davidorrphotography_metal-prints

Metal Prints, Artistic Shapes

With a variety of cool shapes and sizes, you could create a memorable wall of image-fused aluminum prints, with a shiny or satin matte finish to reflect your personal style. Ask us for more info: davidorrphotography.com/contactusform/

Canvas Wraps and Gallery Clusters

Canvas wraps are a frameless, ready-to-hang, wall-sized presentation of your favorite wedding moment. Depending on your taste, you can select high gloss, glossy or satin matte finish, and even create a cluster of different image canvases, slices, or arrangements.

davidorrphotography_engagements-in-phoenix2

If you want to learn more about how to get your own gallery cluster prints, start here:

davidorrphotography.com/wall-photo-prints