Easy Posing Tips for Wedding Photographers

Over in our Facebook Group, I asked what should the next topic of Tea with Jainé should be and everyone voted for posing tips and tricks for wedding photographers. I’m excited to share my top three tips all about how to pose your couples naturally and with confidence. Posing people does not come easily and I truly believe the more prepared you are, the better photos and photo session you and your couples will have.

Also, you can watch my video about the same topic on my IGTV Instagram Channel and get a bit more Tea time with me!

Here are my three favorite tips for posing…

No. 1 - Create a Posing Flow - When I was first starting to work with couples and clients, I realized pretty quickly that posing people did not come naturally to me. I need a way to lead the session and create some pretty amazing photos in the process. What I started to do was create a Pinterest board with all of my favorite posing inspiration to help me in my process and what I discovered was that the photos I like, were just different variations of the same pose. A little tweak here, and there, a new lens, a different expression and boom - we had a brand new photo that felt totally new. It was a big light bulb moment for me!

I started to create my own posing flow for my couples moving from a few standard poses and then having several derivative of that pose. For example, let’s say the couple is standing looking at me with both shoulders, well, I could start with them walking towards me, than away, and then have the bride (or groom) look back at me, then at their partner, then give a give a kiss, and then make them laugh. Each of these actions are just one set of “poses” in a single standard pose.

By creating your own Standard or Base Poses and talking out loud the flow to yourself as practice will help you do this when you are with your couples during their engagement session or wedding day.

No. 2 - Do Your Homework - Yes, folks, you have to do a little bit of homework here to understand why a pose, or poses, is successful or not. You need to understand how the brain interpret an expression, a hand gesture, how the feet are placed, etc… to truly understand how to create great poses for your couples. As I mentioned before, posing isn’t something that comes “naturally” to most people and we all need to be taught how to pose. How to look for things that might make our photo more successful than others and I truly believe you need to do some homework and read few books to get a better understanding on how to pose properly.

One of my all time favorite books is Picture Perfect Posing from Roberto Valenzuela. I’ve read two of his books and watched his Creative Live courses and they have helped me so much in my own posing evolution. I love that he can create beauty out of nothing all from knowing the “WHY” behind making beautiful photos. He teaches you about how the hands should be posed and positioned, facial expressions, body language, and so much more. I would highly recommend picking up a copy!

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No. 3 - ALWAYS Be Positive Behind the Camera - Want to know the key to making your client or couple confident and relaxed in front of the camera? You have to always talk to them giving them positiver affirmations and encourage from the moment you take your very first photo till the very last photo in the session. I am always talking, encouraging laughing, telling a silly joke, and letting my couples know that they are doing great - even if I need to tweak a few things here and there.

If a pose isn’t going well, never say “this isn’t good” or “let’s not do that” or “this isn’t working you guys”. They DO NOT want hear that and boy, watch their confidence go down the drain in two second flat. Instead, you need to use positive terms to correct any situation or pose that isn’t working they way you would like. I always say “hey, let’s try this” or “you know, can you move over here for second?” or “why don’t we move your hand this way instead?”… i’m correcting but in a softer tone that is still has positive inflections.

I hope these tips were helpful and give you a bit of insight into how I create my Posing Flow and use positive feedback to encourage my couples. Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share with our community? Please leave us a comment below - we’d LOVE to hear from you! xo


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Tips on How to Photograph a Wedding While Pregnant

As a wedding photographer, working while pregnant is a topic that doesn’t get talked about very often. People ask me “when did you shoot weddings until?” and “when did you go back to work after you had a baby?”. Having my first baby was very overwhelming, especially with juggling my wedding photography business. As most of you know, being a wedding photographer is a very labor intensive job (we carry so much gear!) and being on your feet for 8+ hours at time is can be very grueling on your body especially when you are carrying an extra 10, 20, 30+ lbs because you are making another human being. So, I wanted to share some advice and things I’ve learned along the way from my own experience when I was expecting my Daughter.

Oh, and I also shared my thoughts on my latest Instagram IGTV episode of Tea with Jainé. Be sure to hop on over and watch the episode for even more advice! Let’s jump in…

No. 1 - Know Your Timeline - Once I confirmed that I was in-fact pregnant, we celebrated and then panicked about the timeline. My daughter was going-to be coming right in the heart of my wedding season so I had to start planning what I was going to do for my upcoming wedding season. I decided to photograph my last wedding at 36 weeks, and to be honest, I will never do that again. I was so H U G E at the end that it was totally uncomfortable for me. No one ever tells you that you gain ALL THE WEIGHT at the end of the pregnancy and the baby gains 1-2 lbs a week in the last month alone so you go from “semi-big” to “huge” pretty quickly. Well, at least it was for me :)

No. 2 - Tell Your Couples In Advance - Once I figured out my timeline, I started to let my clients know the good news and let them know I was expecting. For the majority of my weddings, I was going to be able to make the date but for one couple, I had to gracefully bow out of covering their day. I was so sad that I didn’t have an associate to fill in but if and when it happens again, I will look for someone to fill my spot vs. refund the retainer and cancel my services. I do regret not photographing their wedding (they were one of my favorite couples to date!) BUT I helped them find someone new, refunded their retainer, and gave them their engagement session as a gift to make up for cancelling. Not that you have to do that but for me, I wanted to end on a positive note.

No. 3 - Hire A Backup Photographer/Extra Assistant - For most of my couples, letting them know I was expecting was was not a big deal. Everyone was really happy and thanked me for letting them know so far in advance. I assured them that I would be at their wedding and I would be bringing along a third photographer/assistant to cover me when I needed a break. This was an additional expense that I paid for out of my own pocket because I wanted them to know that I had on-site backup when if necessary. My assistant also carried all of my gear and food for me throughout the day so I only had to wear my two cameras on my body. It was very helpful to know that I didn’t have to lug my gear anywhere or wear any additional lenses.

No. 4 - Bring ALL THE FOOD - Depending on your pregnancy, and your cravings, you could be hungry like ALL THE TIME especially when you are working. For me, I knew that I was eating every few hours and brought a little cooler filled with food to keep me fed throughout the day. It might have looked like “A LOT” to some but I really did eat just about everything in my cooler when the day was done. A snack here, a bar there, it all adds up, and you want to make sure you are fed to keep your energy levels up. I also drank a ton of water to keep me hydrated.

No. 5 - Take Breaks Throughout the Day - This might seem obvious but when you are photographing a wedding, you never rest. We are always on the go, standing up, bending down, and going from place to place so when you are expecting, remember sit down and takes breaks whenever you can. This is why having the third photographer/assistant was so important for me. Whenever I needed a break, especially towards the end of my pregnancy, I would sit down and my third shooter would go on the dance floor to cover the crowd. I would save my energy for the key moments like speeches, dances, and toasts and then go sit back down while people were dancing or eating their meals.

No. 6 - Wear Comfortable Shoes and Supportive Undergarments - If you know me, you will know that I HATE (no, LOATHE) sneakers. I only wear them to work out and if I had a choice, I wouldn’t even wear them then. Ha! I just do not like how sneakers look and I’m always searching for an “prettier” alternative option.

When I was pregnant, I wore a pair of Women's Jambu JSport Spin Encore Ballet Flats that I absolutely LOVED! They were very comfortable and supportive for my body weight and were not ugly sneakers ;) For me, this was a happy medium that I could still do my job and look cute. Hey, it’s important to me!

I also wore a pair of supportive Maternity Spanx to give my belly some extra support. The weight of your gear plus the weight of the baby gets very heavy over the course of the day and having a bit of support to lift your belly actually felt amazing.

No. 7 - Hire Help - To get my work done, I hired an outside editor to work on my weddings and intern to take care of my social media while I was “out of the office”. I found out that I could no longer sit at my desk for hours because I needed to walk around and move my body so editing became very difficult for me. I strongly encourage you to outsource and hire help whenever you can to help you when you are pregnant and go on maternity leave. I still use my digital editor to this day because it makes taking care of my daughter so much easier. It’s worth the investment!

No. 8 - Decide When to Go Back to Work - After my daughter was born, I wanted to have 3 months off to be with her and let myself readjust to my new life as a mother. Becoming a new mom is truly life changing and one of the biggest joys of my life, but it’s also really stressful. Simply put, you do not know what you are doing and have to figure it out as you go, so having that time off was invaluable, at least for me. I also liked NOT having the pressure of a client looming over me while I was on maternity leave.

I photographed my first engagement session 8 weeks and my first wedding 12 weeks after delivery. For me, this was perfect timing. I was physically well enough to get back to work and excited to get out of the house too! It was definitely more emotionally challenging for me to leave my baby for the first time, but it gets easier as they get older. Heck, now I”m like “see you later!” when I leave the house :) but I’m always excited to come home to a big smile and good hug!

I hope that was helpful for you expecting or plan to be expecting mom’s out there who are wedding photographers. I’d love to hear from you or answer any additional questions you may have. Please leave a comment below and let me know how I can help you! xo - Jainé


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Podcast Interview with NST Pictures - Jennifer Thompson

I’m so thrilled about our latest Tea with Jainé podcast episode because we are chatting with the HQ Director of NST Pictures Jennifer Thompson! We chat about how wedding videographers and wedding photographers can work together seamlessly on a wedding day. How being prepared and in open communication will ensure that your couples have the best day along with the best photos and video!

You can listen to Tea with Jainé on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other major podcasting platforms. We’d love for you to leave us a review to help other listeners find out about us. Want to support Tea with Jainé? You can make a monthly contribution by using the Support this Podcast button in our profile.
Thank you so much for all of your kind support!! xo

NST Pictures - Jennifer Thompson - Wedding Videographers

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Personal Safety Gear for Wedding Photographers

I wanted to share a few items that I recently purchased for my own personal and business safety. Being a female wedding photographer can feel a bit ominous at times, especially when I have to walk back to my car at night or when I’m taking the gear out of the trunk to head back to my apartment alone. I don’t like thinking about the “what if’s” but I always like to be prepared. Here are some of my new tools to help me feel a bit safer and track my gear while I’m working on a wedding day!

Again, I love GMA DEALS and highly recommend you guys follow them to score some great deals on items whenever they are posted! xo

Safety Gear for Women Wedding Photographers

The Glammer : Emergency Escape Hammer by Bling Sting - This super cute and very function personal emergency escape hammer is one of those items that the fire department always recommends you have in your car but you never actually purchase it until now. Why? Well, because it’s so darn cute (hello ROSE GOLD!) and it can save your life if you ever need it. You can cut your seat belt and break the windshield to get out of your car as well. I will carry this in the front seat with me just incase I ever need to use it when traveling.

Ahh!-larm! Personal Alarm by Bling Sting - This super cute confetti glitter keychain heart is not only cute to carry but it’s an ear piercing 115 decibel alarm - YIKES!!! It includes an LED safety light that will blink so people know where you are and you can replace the batteries too! This keychain also comes in a bow shape and gem stone so you have a few choices and colors to choose from. I like that it looks cute and can make a bit impact to scare off someone who might be following you. Hey, we all know that walking back to your car late at night (alone!) can be scary so be prepared!

Tile Mate - I mentioned this previously but I forgot to put it in my IGTV video which you can watch here. I love these little Tile Mates because they are small, discreet, and I can put one in each of my gear cases and track their whereabouts while I’m busy photographing a wedding. Also, the new Tile Mates allow you to replace the battery once a year which is great and very environmentally friendly! You can use the Tile App to track your devices and play the tune to find your cases (or keys!) quickly.

Is personal safety something you think about on a wedding day? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below! xo


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Sharing Photos with Wedding Vendors

Should or shouldn’t you share the wedding photos with the other wedding vendors? This is definitely a hot button topic that pops up every few months or so in the wedding photography groups. There are both sides to every story but honestly find this question really interesting because the answer, at least for me, has always been YES!

Of course I will share the photos with the vendors who were involved with the wedding I photographed because why wouldn’t I? It’s there work too, right? Let me explain why I share the images and how I deal with image usage. You can also watch my latest IGTV video to hear me talk about this topic too!

How to Share Your Images

Once my wedding has be delivered to my clients, I will do a few things afterwards. I will either submit their wedding for publication (online or print) and reach out to the vendors to let them know they can now view the images and pick out their favorites. I give them limited access to the gallery so they can only view the images and choose their favorites to use on their website and social media. Once they are done with their selections, I’ll download the files, rename, resize, and send them to the vendor via Dropbox.

Allowing each vendor to pick their favorites has proven for me to the best and easiest way to handle requests for photos. This way, they can see the full gallery, pick out all the photos that they like and I still have full control of what images are shared online. Sometimes I will omit images that I know the couple doesn’t want released on social media, especially ones with children photographed. I’m always keeping my couples privacy in the back of mind.

I usually wait till have I have a few requests in my inbox and set aside some time to process each request. It can take anywhere from 10 -30 minutes per request so I need to do it when I have some available time in my calendar. If it’s my busy season, or I’m slammed with editing work, I will let the vendors know that their request will take some time as my priority is always my couples. No one has ever complained!

Photo and Usage for Vendors

In my initial email to the vendor, I let them know that if they want to use the images, they need to credit them properly. If they can agree to that, I’m more than willing to give them to them for usage. Just about everyone agrees, which is great, and I also send a very detailed Usage Agreement with the final photos.

I clearly state how the photos can and cannot be used. How they cannot be altered or edited in any manner. How they cannot submit the photos without my permission and if they want to use them for Advertisements, they need to get my written permission to do so. I also state that since the images are given to the vendors complimentary, if they do not follow these rules, they could receive an invoice for improper photo usage.

I do this so they know what the rules are and how to ensure that we have a good standing relationship. I want to give them the photos and I want them to use them everywhere BUT I want to make sure I am given proper photo credit where credit is due.

Also, I should mention that I would never CHARGE a vendor for images. I own the photographs but they wouldn’t have happened without the other vendors decor, design, flowers, vision, and artistry. They want to showcase their work too so why not make that happen as easy as possible for everyone?

Create Great Vendor Relationships and Networks

Do you know that the number ONE thing I hear all the time from every single new planner or vendor I work with is? It’s that that NEVER get any of the photos of their work - EVER!! How is that even possible? <scratches head>

By simply sharing images with the wedding planner, florists, caterers, venues, officiants, and every other vendor at the wedding, you are creating a great vendor relationships. They are going to be SO HAPPY you contacted them and shared your photos of their work, they are going to love working with you. And you know what happens from there? They show of your work on Instagram, or their website, or their blog and more couples see your photography. More potential clients SEE YOUR WORK!! Isn’t that worth everything to you? Well, it is to me! The vendor becomes your walking talking billboard for anyone who needs a photographer. You are the one they love working with because you share the images and you take great photos too!

I always say this but being nice in this industry is going to get you a lot further than being over protective about your photos and NOT sharing. Yeah, I said that! They will remember you if you don’t share, were rude, and terrible to work with. Do you think they are going to recommend you every again?

By sharing your photos, you are creating a network of vendors who want to work with you, who will support you, and hopefully recommend you in the future.

What Is Your Return On Investment?

I get it. It takes TIME to email the vendors, get their favorites, and send them the final images. I understand that maybe you didn’t get a referral from each and every vendor but hey, that’s how it goes, right? If you have a system in place and guidelines for vendors to adhere by when using your images, I (personally) think you are really going to be putting yourself at a HUGE advantage as a wedding photographer.

For me, the ROI (return on investment) takes time. It’s the long game that you have to play. Creating and cultivating lasting vendor relationships is so important. At least, they are in my opinion if you want to be doing this for a long time!

What If the Vendor Doesn’t Credit Me?

If you’ve given vendors your specific guidelines and they didn’t tag you on Instagram, Facebook, etc… feel free to nudge them with a quick DM. Just say “hey, can you tag me?” and most vendors will add the tag quickly and say they are sorry for leaving it out of the post. If they don’t respond, or continue to fail to give you the proper credit, feel free to email them about the issue. Last resort is to send an invoice for photo usage. I have YET to do this but hey, it’s in my usage clause so I could if I needed too.

If a vendor continues to leave off your photo credit, well, you know for next time that maybe you won’t be so eager to share with them before having a talk about your past experience with them. Speak up for yourself and make it known that it’s 100% NOT ok to do this! You deserve the credit because the photo are yours and they wouldn’t have them without you. It’s a two-way street!

And what if you didn’t like working with a particular vendor all together? Well, that’s at your digression if you want to share the images or not. You have to do what’s best for you!

Make it a WIN/WIN

Personally, I want my work to be shared everywhere with everyone, and I want to receive the proper credit when it is shared. I’ve had numerous people reach out to me over the years because they kept seeing my photography pop up for a few of their favorite wedding vendors so they wanted to work with me too. In my opinion, it’s a win/win!


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Blogging Workflow and SEO Tips from Cinnamon Wolfe

The latest episode of our Tea with Jainé Podcast has been released and it is jam packed with amazing blogging advice and SEO tips from Cinnamon Wolfe. Cinnamon is photo editor and business coach who specializes in helping creatives maximize their business potential. This podcast is so incredible and packed full of helpful advice that you will definitely have to listen to it twice. Seriously, it's so good!

You can listen to the latest podcast episode of Tea with Jainé on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and much more. Visit our Anchor Profile for a full breakdown of supported platforms.

Cinnamon Wolfe Photo Editor and Business Coach

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My Favorite Camera Lenses to Use Throughout a Wedding Day

One of the most common questions I receive is "what lens do you use?" and "what is your favorite lens to use on a wedding day?". I thought that this would be a great topic to discuss on the blog and over on my Instagram IGTV channel. I use several lenses throughout the course of a wedding but I definitely have my favorites and must-have lenses. I've listed each lens below including why I love it and how I use it for each part of the wedding. 

Oh, and I should mention that I do not use zoom lenses. Yep, you read that right. From the compression, higher aperture's and slower speeds just do not work for me in my own wedding photography. I prefer prime lenses for their speed, low light capabilities, and overall sharpness. They are, however, VERY expensive and unfortunately there is no way around the price of prime lens so if you can find a good one used, I say grab it while you can!  I hope its helpful!!

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Let's start with my all time ride or die lens - the 50mm 1.4. I absolutely love the 50mm focal length because it's as close to our own eyes as possible. I love that there is no distortion and the perspective is exactly how we see it. It's very flattering on our faces and bodies keeping everything as natural as possible. I have two 50mm's but the one that spends 95% of the time on my camera is the 50mm 1.4 Sigma Art lens for Nikon. This lens is simply the best 50mm out there in my humble opinion. It's unbelievable sharp (which I actually turn down in post-processing) and is a true workhorse. I purchased this lens 3 years ago and it hasn't left my side since! I photograph everything from the details, getting ready, bridal portraits, bride and groom photos, reception details, wedding toast and speeches with this lens. However, when I do get to the reception, I will switch out the heavier Sigma lens for my lighter Nikon 50mm 1.4G. This lens is so small and light that it's perfect for receptions when my back starts to ache from running around all day. This lens has zero distortion or vignetting (dark shading at the corners of the frame) which is exactly why I prefer the 50mm lens to any other. Also, the 1.4 aperture allows me to shoot very wide open and let in a lot of light in low light situations like wedding receptions or sparkler exits. This is hands down my number ONE recommendation for any wedding photographer looking to build their gear kit. It's a must-have, can't live without kind of lens for me!

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the 35mm 1.4 Lens is a fantastic wide angle lens that has very minimal to no distortion on the edges of the frame. The 35mm is the perfect lens for those tight hotel rooms or stunning ceremony locations. I will use the 35mm for getting ready photos in small hotel rooms. I always use this lens for clean wide ceremony photos just after the bride and groom have walked down the aisle. This is the perfect time to take a few stunning wide photos of the ceremony space with everyone seated so the couple can remember what it looked like. The 35mm is great for large bridal party shots and always on my camera body for family formals. Especially, the extended family! This lens is great for cocktail hour photos when asking guests to smile for the camera. Last, I will use this lens for the first dance, father-daughter/mother-son dances and speeches/toasts to include more of the reception room in the photos before switching to a tighter lens. When guests are eating, I like to include a few ambient photos of the space so the couple can get a full sense of their wedding venue during their reception. I think it's a nice way to add to more photos into their final wedding gallery. I will put the 35mm away after the last toast and switch it out for a wider, lighter lens. (see below). A less expensive option, would be the 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art Lens for Nikon.

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the 85mm 1.4 Lens is a beast! She is perfect for getting in close without being noticed and still has the power and speed of a prime lens. I use the 85mm during my engagement sessions when we are just starting and couples can be a bit nervous. I'll walk away and give them an action to do and capture them from afar so they can start to get comfortable. I like that I can get a close up shot without being directly in front of them. I love this lens for wedding ceremonies and getting close up reactions from family members, the bride and groom and wedding guests during the service. It also produces the prettiest bokeh (blurry background) in the photos. I always use this lens during the reception for couples first dance, parent dances, speeches and toasts. It's just the right compression with no distortion to create a beautiful photos capturing real authentic moments. I will say that it's incredibly HEAVY (all that glass!!) and once the last speech is done, it's put back in my rollie and it's finished for the night.

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The 105 Macro 2.8G Lens has just one purpose in my gear collection. It's for ring detail shots and ring shots alone. It's an expensive lens for just one thing (I KNOW!) but it's worth every penny to make those epic ring shots for your couples. I manually focus this lens around f/6.3, f/8, or even f/11 to created a incredible detail shot of the rings. Since it's a macro lens, the compression and depth of field are still extremely low at higher apertures BUT shooting higher lets you get the prongs, diamonds, engravings in focus each and every time. I do manually focus this lens because the autofocus is just a waste on a macro images. I usually get very low to my subject (the rings) and take my time manually focusing my shot. I'm usually sweating at this point during the detail photo process because of all the concentration I have to do to nail the foucs. It's not a pretty sight!!

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The 28mm 1.8G Lens is perfect for wedding reception dancing photos! I purchased this lens a few years ago when it was released from Nikon and boy, do I LOVE it! It's so little, light and the perfect wide angel lens for getting in close on the dance floor and capturing all the action. I'm usually in the middle of the dance floor (I have several bruises to prove it!) with the 28mm capturing really fun wide shots from the heart of the party. There is some distortion on the edges of the images but that is to be expected with such a wide lens. I'm ok with this look during the reception but only at the receptions! It's a prime lens which means it's still fast in low light situations (ie. candlelight dinners, receptions) which is exactly why I prefer this lens to a 24-70mm 2.8 Zoom. In my opinion, it's just too slow and doesn't open up wide enough to let in the pretty ambient light I love for my style of photography. My back loves this lens too because it's so light and easy to carry around for several hours during the reception.

BestLensesForWeddingPhotographers-135mm.jpg

The 135mm 2.0 Lens sits in my bag 95% of the time throughout a wedding day. Since I do not use zoom lenses, I needed a lens that had a longer focal point past 85mm but was still sharp enough to create great images. I found this 135mm Lens from Nikon used and it's amazing for ceremonies where I'm not allowed to be in the first few aisles. Some churches have very strict rules about where the photographer and videographers are allowed to be during the actual ceremony, so having this long prime lens in my kit is definitely handy in those less common situations. It's a 2.0 aperture which is just fast enough to let in a lot of light if needed in a dark church or synagogue. Usually, I have already spoken with the facility director and know what my limitations are for the ceremony space, so I already know if I need to dust off this lens and use the day of my wedding. It's a great long prime lens to have "just in case" I need it and I always like to be prepared. I do, however, love when my second photographer has a 70-200mm for the ceremony to get in nice and tight to the Bride and Groom or reactions from the guests. It's a great addition to the couples overall wedding gallery but not a lens I'm going to purchase anytime soon.

And finally, I also use the Black Rapid LensBling Caps on each of my lenses so I can quickly see which lens I'm reaching for inside my Shootsac or Thinktank Rollie. They are so helpful and by the end of the night, I can never find any of my front or rear lens caps. It's the truth!!

So, those are MY favorite lenses. What are yours? I'd love to hear from you jn the comment section below. Am I missing any amazing lens options out there?!


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How I Backup and Archive My Wedding Photography

I was recently asked by one of my viewers what is my process after the wedding has been photographed. She wanted to know what I do after each wedding and how do I backup and archive my photos, which I thought would be a great topic to discuss. However, I'd like to preface this post with a friendly disclaimer that this is just my way of doing things. There is absolutely no right or wrong way to do something but I would strongly suggest that you have one additional back up somewhere other than your on camera and computer. I'm happy to share my some-what lengthly data backup and archiving process so grab a fresh cup of tea, and get ready to read along!

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My Gear:

The most important part about backing up and archiving system starts with what gear you invest your money in. Without reliable gear, it really won't matter how you back it up. This is what I use:

Digital Camera - I have two Nikon D810 cameras in my gear kit at all times. They are identical copies of each other and setup the same way so that if one goes down, I can just pick up the second one and continue photographing my couple without any down time. One of the reasons I purchased the D810 was because it offered Dual Memory Card slots - Compact & SD Flash Memory Cards. I prefer to use the secondary slot as my in-camera backup as it automatically writes a duplicate JPG version of the RAW file that is being written to the primary card. You can set this up to be your "run off" card, duplicate RAW copy and sort forth. There are a few setup options and this just happens to be the best for me because if anything happens to my Compact Flash card (RAW) I will have already have a duplicate copy (JPG) on my SD Flash card. 

Compact Flash Cards - The ONLY brand I use is SanDisk for my memory cards. They actually invented the technology so why not stick with the best, right? I purchase a few new Compact and SD Flash cards every year and retire cards at the beginning of every wedding season. I label each new card with their purchase year so I can easily see which ones need to be discarded.

Card Reader - I have two card readers - Lexar USB 3.0 and the EC Technologies Card Reader in Rose Gold (which I keep out on my desk and use the most). The Lexar is a bit faster than the EC Tech but that's ok with me because well, it's just prettier.

Hard Drives - Western Digital is my favorite brand for portable hard drives. I've been using them for as long as I can remember and (knock on wood) I've never ever had a problem. My preferred model is the Western Digital Passport 3.0 USB because it's so light, compact and well designed. I purchase 2-3 per year and rotate them throughout my entire backup process.

My Backup and Archiving Process:

Import, Sort and Copy:
After my wedding or session, I import my photos using Photo Mechanic. Once the import process is completed, I will sort by Capture Time and then Rename the photos to be in the correct order. I will do this for my own photos as well as my second photographers. Next, I copy the Photo Ingested folder (a Photo Mechanic term) and copy it to my RAW FILES hard drive. I like to keep a clean, untouched copy of the RAW files in case of any data corruption once my editing begins on my computer. I keep the RAW files for a certain amount of time and then replace the data on the drives.

Culling & Backing Up:
A few days after the wedding, I will sit down and cull the images to a smaller more manageable amount of files. I will create the couples folder layout and copy the selects to their images folder. Next, I will copy their folder to TWO hard drives (Backup A and Backup B) that are exact duplicates of each other. This way, I have two working backups of their images and complete working Lightroom Catalogue at any moment in time. Each week I will go through my working files and copy the new data to each of these two hard drives. How do I know what I'm working on? I label my "in progress" folders in Green and my "completed" folder in Red. You could use Carbon Copy Cloner to do the same exact thing. Finally, I will copy the FINAL folder one last time to the hard drives for safe keeping.

Uploading and Delivery:
Once the images are completed, I will upload them to my online hosting provider and deliver the final images to my clients. They receive the high resolution jpg images with all of their collections. Their images are hosted anywhere from 90 days to a year and each receive a 30 day reminder that their gallery is about to expire. As soon as I deliver their gallery, it becomes my couples responsibility to archive and back up their images. After their gallery expires, I move their folder into my online archives which gives me another yet another backup of the final images. If a past client contacts me because they lost their images, there is a fee to reinstate their gallery.

Backing Up My Computer:
I am a Macintosh user and use Apple's built-in backup software called TimeMachine. I run this once a week to have a complete backup of my computer on a separate Western Digital Passport hard drive. In the rare chance my computer were to fail, I could buy a new machine and install the latest version of my TimeMachine backup and could (potentially) have little to no downtime. I always like to be prepared for the worst!

Offsite Archiving:
The last and final step to my backup process is to physically take my hard drives off site to my safety deposit box at my bank. I like to have at least one hard copy some place other than my home just in-case of theft or fire. But, if the bank burns down, there isn't much I can do about that now, right? So I like having my online and off-site archives to work together.


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