2009 Best-Of: Portraits

Ah, the year in review... it's extraordinarily difficult to select my favorites from my favorites out of ALL the photos I took this year, but here's what made the cut!senior portraitbulldogmodel fashionpet sitterboudoir modelpound puppyblack and white high schoolerandrea's trash the dressmodel and junk cardachschundsWow. I totally didn't notice until posting them how many of my favorites included pets portraits.  <3

FAQ Friday: How to Get Amazing Photos on Your Wedding Day

You already know the biggest key to having great photos—whether they are of you or of anything else—is to hire a skilled photographer whose work you admire. (I should note, if you hire a photographer whose work excites other people but not you, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. You have to like your photographers' style in order to like your photographer's photos of you!)  That said, if you want to ensure that your kids’ jaws and your kids’ kids’ jaws drop every time they look at your wedding photos, here are the top 10 tips a lá Luminaire Images for looking spectacular on your wedding day:Hire a professional hairstylist and professional makeup artist. Nobody wants to repeat, “What on earth was up with my HAIR??” every time they look at their wedding photos. Hairstylists and makeup artists are often the first to be removed from the wish-list when planning a wedding on a budget, but from a photographer’s point of view they are essential.  If you’re going to great lengths to look incredible on your wedding day---bought a gorgeous wedding dress, scheduled some time at the spa---why skip the pro stylist?  Don’t forget that your whole dress may not be in every single picture of you, however your face sure will!Take ‘er for a test driveA few weeks prior to your wedding, do a test run of your makeup and hair to ensure you like how it looks on you, and that you’re not allergic to any of the products.  A practice run may also allow your makeup artist to move more quickly on your wedding day since she already knows what works for you. If it looks good, you don’t have to wash it off right away, either!  Schedule your engagement session for after your test appointment, or a night out on the town!Don’t forget touch-upIf your makeup artist won’t be there the whole day with her Magic Bag O’ Beauty to constantly refresh your face, put someone else in charge.  Enlist a bridesmaid to keep a “touch-up clutch” handy with lip gloss, pressed powder, and waterproof mascara, and tell her that it’s her job to re-do your face (and maybe your bridesmaids’, too!) after each cry, or in between events, and before each shoot.Practice, practice, practice!Make sure you schedule an engagement session with your photographer. This will not only prepare you and your fiancé for the types of poses and directions your photographer may use at your wedding, but also gets you more relaxed in front of your photographer’s lens.  Your photographer can also note and manage your weaknesses---for example, if you have a bad habit of blinking when the picture is taken, it’s good for the photographer to notice ahead of time so he or she is prepared.Consider wearing a veil.Veils don’t have to be ten feet long to add some extra “wow” to a wedding ensemble.  A birdcage veil made of netting affixed to a hairpiece looks chic and glamorous.  Longer, more traditional veils can be used for romantic, breathtaking creative imagery, especially if it’s a breezy day!

Find a dress that flatters your figure!This seems like a no-brainer, but amazingly some brides rely solely on the advice of whoever comes dress-shopping with them, instead of boutique assistants who may be more qualified to make suggestions on the type of dress you should be looking for.  If you have a big waist, avoid full, fluffy skirts, and if you’re more top-heavy, avoid strapless dresses.  Don’t forget that quality plus-size dresses are all styled to make curvy girls wearing them look slimmer! Everyone is built differently, and it’s silly to think that one style fits all.Select a visually interesting locationIf you are getting married in a boring, small, or overly-busy location then your photographer may be forced to find something more picturesque nearby for certain shots in order to avoid power lines and passers-by in the background.  If possible, try to scope a ceremony or reception location with dramatic scenery, wide open spaces, or at least one that has a variety of places that are visually appealing.  Chances are, if a location impresses you before you've even seen it with flowers and decorations, then your photographer will like it, too!Take formal photos BEFORE the ceremonyYou’ll be your photographer’s best friend! Before the ceremony is when everyone’s makeup is the freshest, everyone’s hair is still perfectly in place, and no one has red eyes from crying or shiny faces from sweating.  It’s the perfect time.  If possible, it is highly recommended seeing your fiancé before the ceremony for some photos as well---your photographer can arrange a “First Look” meeting so there is still a moment of “revealing” yourselves in all your finery to each other, if you prefer.  Not only will you both look your best during these pictures, but you and your guests won’t have to take as much time for photos following the ceremony, which is when everyone really just wants to just get down and party!Take your photographer’s suggestions seriously!Your photographer will rarely ask you to do something---whether it’s leaving in the middle of dinner for some sunset pictures or riding piggyback on your fiancé---unless he or she thinks that it will make for an unbeatable photo.  Let them know if you’re uncomfortable or unable to do what they ask, but if you’re ready and willing, then go for it!And last but not least…RELAXAs talented as your photographer is, if you feel stiff and forced, then you’re going to look stiff and forced.  Have a couple drinks, shake it off, reflect on how happy you are to have made it to the big day, and try to enjoy yourself.  Not only will you look more relaxed in the photos, your attitude will have an amazing relaxing effect on everyone around you and ALL your vendors produce better work when they sense that you're not stressing too much.  You, your fianceé, and all your guests are there to enjoy yourselves...so why not enjoy?