My Journal

Thoughts, tips, and tricks for everything wedding and engagement photography related.

This is a collection of everything I’ve learned as a Southern Idaho wedding photographer. Read about my most recent weddings, engagement shoots, and my advice on how to have  the perfect wedding!

Your Favorite Wedding Resource from your Favorite Southern Idaho Wedding Photographer

 

As a wedding photographer, it’s my job to not only deliver stunning images, it’s to also help you in any way that I can to help you have the wedding of your dreams. This is how I do that! Read on to learn more about weddings, engagements, and what Southern Idaho has to offer.

When I was a bride, I hated having to scour the internet to find wedding planning advice. I made this so you don’t have to do that! Although this is a wedding photography centered blog, I post a lot of general wedding advice. If you have any questions, or ideas for my next blog post, please let me know!

Most Popular Posts

 

Here are some of the most-read blogs! Check them out!

Spirited Away Inspired Wedding Photography

Love Studio Ghibli? And you're getting married? Here's how I'd implement the ethereal, nostalgic feeling of the studio with Spirited Away inspired wedding photography.   Every wedding is beautiful in their own way. However, I can't help but to crave more personal...

Is 8 Hours of Wedding Photography Enough?

There’s a reason why so many couples choose 8 hours of wedding photography. Typically, this is how long the average wedding is! With this amount of coverage, you won’t have to worry about your photographer leaving before you toss the bouquet or cut the cake. Your photographer would be there for most, if not all of the time.

The Best Wedding Mood Board Inspiration

If you're planning out your wedding mood board, here's some of my favorite pictures for inspiration. While I was shooting at my last photoshoot, I took some beautiful detail shots. As I was editing them, I started thinking how wonderful these would be for wedding mood...

5 Best Free Wedding Planning Sites that Every Couple Needs

You’re engaged! Now what? Planning a wedding (or elopement) can be crazy stressful. I get it; I’ve been there. There’s so much to do and you don’t know where to start. As a former bride and a wedding photographer, I’ve used a lot of wedding planning sites and I’ve curated my top 5 best free wedding planning sites.

Wyoming Bridals

Beautiful bridals in beautiful Wyoming! A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to go to String Lake, Wyoming for bridals. It was my first time going to String Lake and I instantly fell in love. Getting to photograph this beautiful bride was an absolute dream....

Wedding and Engagement Photography Blog

 

This is it! Right below this paragraph is all of the wedding advice I have as a Southern Idaho Wedding Photographer. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or ideas for future blog posts. Happy reading!

Spirited Away Inspired Wedding Photography

Love Studio Ghibli? And you’re getting married? Here’s how I’d implement the ethereal, nostalgic feeling of the studio with Spirited Away inspired wedding photography.

 

Every wedding is beautiful in their own way. However, I can’t help but to crave more personal and customized weddings. Thankfully, as a wedding photographer, I have some power over that! My main goal is to show your unique love story, not some run-of-the-mill one. This blog post is the first in my new series I’m calling “Wedding Photography based on your Comfort Fandom”. I’m going to create poses and photo ideas inspired by your favorite show, book, movie, or anything else you can imagine. We’re starting off this series strong with making Spirited Away inspired wedding photography. Studio Ghibli is an amazing animation studio and many see Spirited Away as their Magnum Opus. Let’s combine the ethereal dream-like feel of Spirited Away with your wedding.

 

 

The Aesthetic

I don’t think anyone would argue that Spirited Away isn’t beautiful. From the vibrant colors to the composition, Spirited Away is a visual feast. When it comes to editing, I would try to implement the color scheme of the movie into my photos. I would make the pinks a little muted to match Chihiro’s outfit and tweak the blues to match the movie’s sky. I’d use a lot of the same composition found in the movie, specifically symmetry and people facing the camera directly.

 

 

Flowers are everything in Spirited Away Wedding Photography

Spirited Away inspired Wedding Photography by Chihiro's bouquet
Chihiro's bouquet from Spirited Away

Photo Credit: This is a scene from Spirited Away

It’s very telling that the very first scene in Spirited Away is of a bouquet from Chihiro’s friends’. Flowers are super important in this film. Thankfully, it’s not too hard to find flowers at a wedding. Instead of the cute note in the film, I placed the Bride’s wedding ring in the flowers. It’s a subtle nod to the film without it being in your face.

Bride surrounded by bridesmaids' bouquets wedding photography inspired by Spirited Away
The iconic scene in Spirited Away where Chihiro is running through tall flowers

Photo Credit: This is a scene from Spirited Away

I couldn’t do Spirited Away wedding photography without doing something inspired by this iconic scene! When people think about this film, the first thing that might come to mind is Chihiro running through the Rhododendron flowers.

To pay homage to this clip, I would put the bridesmaids’ bouquets close to the bride’s face. (Bonus points if they’re Rhododendron flowers or even Hydrangeas. But you can really do this with any bouque.) When I took the photo on the right, I chose not to have her making any motion. Even though it’s not true to the scene, I wanted the photo to be happy and peaceful.

If I did want to do a photo with more movement, I’d have the Bride or Bride-figure run next to a flowering hedge.

 

 

 The Bridge

 

Spirited Away inspired Wedding Photography couple kissing on red bridge
No-face by the red bridge

Photo Credit: This is a scene from Spirited Away

Okay. Here’s where we need to open a can of worms. When making photos based on a film, location is vital. Your wedding venue might not have a red bridge, or a bridge at all, and these poses just won’t be possible. This can be said about other photos that require a prop or specific background. You can certainly get creative but location matters- a lot.

Now back to Spirited Away Wedding Photography. The red bridge in Spirited Away is not only beautiful but the perfect place to have some photos. Like in the right image, I would have the couple kissing. But a lot more can be done! A bridge is gorgeous place to show the couple holding hands and crossing it.

Another idea I have is inspired by Spirited Away. I couldn’t find a reference photo so please use your imagination. There’s a scene where Chihiro is leaning against the rail and looking down below. I think it would be so cute if the couple did that!

 

 

The Train Scene

Traditional Chinese Wedding by Orchid Photo Studio Spirited Away inspired wedding photography

Photo Credit: Orchid Photo Studio

A scene in Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away where Chihiro sits by No-face on the train

Photo Credit: This is a scene from Spirited Away

This scene always reminds me of traditional Chinese wedding photos. It would be a great way to add some formality to your wedding gallery. Not only that, it could easily swing towards editorial photography. I’m just swooning at the thought! If you don’t want a super form look, it could easily be switched up with kissing, laughing at each other, etc. 

This doesn’t have to be done on a train. It could be a subway, a bus, or even a limo. Just remember that whatever you choose, the aesthetic will change.

 

 

Water and the Railroad

 

Chihiro walking in shallow water by sunken railroad tracks

Photo Credit: This is a scene from Spirited Away

This is strictly for “trash the dress” shoots! Pro tip: doing this on your wedding anniversary would be so sweet! We’d go somewhere with calm, shallow water. My first thought is Bear Lake, Utah. Even though it’s a lake, its so big in some areas that you can’t land on the other side. Also, did I mention that I shoot there? 

There’s a myriad of poses we could do here but the most true Spirit Away inspired wedding photography I could possible do is the bride walking away from the camera. Maybe, like Chihiro, they could be holding their shoes or a bouquet.

I don’t know of anywhere that has an underwater railroad but that’s what photoshop is for, right?

 

 

Spirited Away inspired Wedding Photography Conclusion

 

I don’t know about you, but I had a blast with this. If you’re getting married and want to incorporate Spirited Away into it, I hope this helps! I’ve also made a Pinterest board with a lot more Spirited Away inspiration if you need it. Always mention to your photographer any special movie, show, book, or anything else, that you want in your photos. If they’re anything like me, they’d be thrilled! 

Speaking of which, if you’ve gotten this far, we’d probably get along perfectly. If you’re in need of a wedding photographer, message me!

What movie or fandom inspired Wedding Photography do you want to see next? Comment down below! 

 

Until next time!

xo chat soon, Kaylee

Is 8 Hours of Wedding Photography Enough?

How much wedding coverage do you need? Here are the pros and cons of hiring a wedding photographer for 8 hours.

Let’s be honest, wedding planning can be confusing. When you add finding the perfect photographer and finding how much time you need them for, it can be a huge headache! But don’t worry. That’s why I’m here. As a professional wedding photographer, I know all about how much coverage you’ll need. In this article, we’ll be going over all the great and not-so-great aspects of having 8 hours of wedding photography.

The Good – Why 8 Hours of Wedding Photography is so popular!

There’s a reason why so many couples choose 8 hours of wedding photography. Typically, this is how long the average wedding is! With this amount of coverage, you won’t have to worry about your photographer leaving before you toss the bouquet or cut the cake. Your photographer would be there for most, if not all of the time.

You may be thinking, “I’m not having a micro-wedding, but it’s certainly not going to last 8 hours!” That’s another reason why so many couples choose this package. Most photographers, including me, want to be there at least an hour before the guests even arrive. This will give me time to get photos of the couple and wedding party getting ready, flat-lays, and of the venue. So even if you don’t plan to have your wedding last very long, this will give you plenty of time to get all of the photos you want.

Another thing to consider is how many guests you’re planning to have. A rule of thumb is to have an extra hour of wedding photographer for every 100 guests. Basically, the more people there the more time it will take to get photos of them. Whenever I’m at a wedding, I try to get a candid photo of every guest. If I don’t have enough time, I could miss out on a photo of your great-great-aunt that you would have loved! Not to mention how long group photos can take, this is a very important thing to consider!

Let’s do a quick overview of the main reasons you really should get 8 hours of wedding photography.

  • The average wedding typically lasts 8 hours
  • You won’t have to worry about your wedding photographer missing out on key moments at your wedding
  • You’ll get Getting Ready photos, flat lays, and images of the venue.
  • First look photos are easily achievable!
  • There will be enough time for group photos of the guests (for about 150-200 guests)

blue wedding ring case flat lay

The Bad – What about Pre-wedding Coverage?

I sort of mentioned this in “the good” but I want to make it clear. The average wedding is 8 hours. That means if you hired me, or any wedding photographer, to start taking photos right when the wedding starts, you’ll get the entire wedding celebration covered. When planning a wedding, this is typically the only thing the couple is thinking about. But like I said earlier, most wedding photographers like to come at least an hour before the wedding celebration starts. This is to get all of the detail shots, setting-the-scene pics, and getting ready images. Not to mention, we always want to be there early in case the wedding starts earlier than planned!

If those type of photos are important for you, or you have a cute pre-wedding tradition you want photographed, you should really take that into consideration. If you’re wanting the entire wedding covered as well as before the wedding starts, consider getting a wedding photography package with more hours. Or, if your wedding photographer is anything like me, they’ll have an a la carte system where you can add extra hours to an existing package.

If you don’t care about getting any of those photos and just want the photographer to come right before the wedding starts, you’re golden! 8 hours of wedding photography is perfect for you!

bride getting ready with 8 hours of wedding photography coverage

The Ugly – Eyes Bigger than Your Stomach

If your wedding ends before 8 hours, you’re most likely not going to get any money back. This is because your wedding photographer reserved that time for you and turned down any other photoshoot opportunities so they could dedicate 8 hours to your wedding. This can be really disappointing!

Now, some photographers may allow you to put that money you paid for those unused hours towards a couples photoshoot. For example, if your wedding ended an hour early, some photographers will allow you to use that hour for an anniversary shoot. But not all photographers do this. Talk with your photographer before you sign a contract and ask them!

If you know that your wedding just isn’t going to last 8 hours, maybe 4 hours is good for you! Not to brag, but I wrote an amazing article all about 4 hours of wedding photography. Check it out if 8 hours sounds like too much.

Is 8 hours enough for me?

I hope this has helped you find out if 8 hours of wedding photography is the perfect fit for you. If you want to do more research, I highly recommend this wonderful blog post by the Aisle Guide and this wedding timeline by Vivo Photography.

Looking for a cinematic and artistic wedding photographer in the Northwest US? Let’s talk! I’d love to go through your wedding timeline and find the best amount of coverage for you. Not in the Northwest? Let’s still talk! I want to help you have the best wedding experience possible and I’ll answer any questions you might have!

I hope this has helped you and I look forward to talking to you!

 

xoxo chat soon,

Kaylee from LaShay and Light Wedding Photography

Is 4 Hours of Wedding Photography Enough?

Let’s talk about why you should or shouldn’t get 4 hours of wedding photography.

When starting your wedding planning, it can be really confusing figuring out how much wedding photography you’ll actually need. If you book too many hours with your wedding photographer, you may end up overpaying. If you don’t book enough hours with your photographer, you may look back and really regret not getting some parts of your wedding captured. Take it from me. When I was a bride, I firmly believed that I only wanted bridals and one hour of wedding coverage just to get group photos. I wish I could go back in time and give myself a talking to, especially now that I’m a wedding photographer myself. So if you don’t want to take it from a wedding photographer, take it from a bride. Most of your budget should go towards wedding photography and videography. It’s an emotional investment for your future. Let me help you figure out if 4 hours of wedding photography is enough for you. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Plan out your timeline before you book a wedding photographer

If you haven’t guessed it already, this is so so so important. If you don’t know how long your wedding is going to last, you’re more likely to under or over book your photographer (or really any wedding vendor). It’s absolutely crucial to have your wedding timeline planned! The internet is full of timelines you can draw inspiration from. Brides has a wonderful post on timelines, I highly recommend looking into it.

bride and groom kissing at ceremony with 4 hours of wedding photography coverage

Think into to the future. Which photos will you treasure?

Once you’ve planned out your timeline, it’s time to think about what photos you want. And you may really think you know what you want right now. But before you make any final decisions, I want you to imagine something for me. Imagine that you’ve been married for 30 years now. You’ve just got back home from a really hard and stressful day. As you kick your shoes off, plop on the couch, you see you wedding photo album out. You decide to pick it up and look through it. Which photos make you laugh? Cry? Reminisce? What are the photos that completely changes you mood and makes you run up and hug your spouse?

Now, no matter what, when, and where you imagined those photos, you now know what you want your photographer to capture. If you pictured smashing cake into your spouse’s face for that exercise I had you do, make sure your wedding photographer is there for that! Jot down a list of all the photos you imagined and compare that to your timeline. This should help you get a clear picture of how long you need your wedding photographer for.

mom hugging bride as she's getting ready

4 hours of wedding photography is perfect for elopements and micro-weddings

Still not sure if 4 hours of wedding photography is enough? Let’s look at how many guests you’re planning to have. Typically the more wedding guests you have, the more wedding coverage you’ll need. Having a lot of people at a wedding typically draws out the individual events, such as catering, dancing, and greeting guests. If you’re planning to have a small wedding or an elopement, 4 hours could be perfect for you! With such a small number of guests, you can have your wedding done by that time. Again, like always, look at your timeline and see.

Great to cover the ceremony, group photos, and bridals

When you imagined those photos in your future wedding album, did you only see the ceremony, group photos, and some individual photos of you and your spouse? 4 hours is generally a good amount of time to capture all of that! If you pictured any other events such as photos of the grand exit, consider getting a wedding photography package with more coverage.

bride and groom about to kiss at bridals part of a 4 hour wedding

Is 4 hours enough for your wedding?

I hope by now, you’ll have a better sense of how much coverage you need for your wedding. If 4 sounds perfect, great! If you’re looking for a Southeast Idaho wedding photographer that offers 4 hours of coverage, let’s talk and see if we’re a good match! I’d love to chat with to you! Does 4 hours sound like too much or too little? Let’s still talk. I offer multiple packages with varying amounts of coverage. Not only that, I also offer fully customizable packages where you can decide exactly how many hours you want photographed.

I hope this post has helped you and I hope to hear from you soon!

xoxo chat soon,

Kaylee from LaShay and Light Wedding Photography

 

Stunning Engagement Photoshoot in Melba, Idaho

I shot the most beautiful winter engagement photoshoot in Idaho!

Idaho is a beautiful state. Living here means that there is a ton of amazing photoshoot locations. I recently shot the cutest engagement photoshoot in Melba, Idaho! Here’s how it went.

Getting to Celebration Park

The couple (let’s call them Keith and Millie for anonymity) actually lived in the Boise area. However, after discussing photoshoot locations, we decided on Celebration Park in Melba, Idaho. It’s about a half hour drive from the Boise area and offers really diverse background options. But getting there can be tricky. Google Maps took me to a really weird route to get there. I arrived at what Google told me was my destination. However the “private property” signs and lowing cows told me otherwise. Thankfully, I always come to my shoot locations early.  After looking at a map, I was able to get to Celebration Park with time to spare.

After getting all of my camera gear ready, I met with Keith and Millie to start our engagement photoshoot in beautiful Melba, Idaho!

The Guffey Butte Bridge

Whenever I’m doing an engagement photoshoot in Idaho, or anywhere really, I always try to get diversity in my photos. No one wants to get there gallery and see the same bush, river, or mountain in every single photo. It’s important to get angles! We first started at this beautiful bridge called the Guffey Butte Bridge. I really wanted to make sure we got some photos of the bridge from a bunch of angles.

engagement photoshoot in idaho guffey butte bridge

engagement couple smiling in photoshoot in idaho

I first started by taking some photos inside the Guffey Butte Bridge, then I moved to outside the bridge. The sun was setting in just the right place to make a beautiful glow coming through the bridge. It was so beautiful!

wedding photographer engagement couple by melba idaho bridge

candid engagement photoshoot guffey butte bridge idaho

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do candid engagement photography. Many photographers make the mistake of just letting the couple roam and just hope that they’ll get some cute photos. Over the years, I’ve found that to get gorgeous candid photos nearly always start posed. I always pose my couples, give them a prompt, and let them take it from there. So, for these photos, I first posed them. I arranged their hands, angled them, and then I prompted them to kiss. Millie broke off the kiss, laughing. And I was in the perfect place to click away!

My favorite location for engagement photoshoots in Idaho: Snake River

The last two photos gave you a little sneak peak of the beautiful river that runs through Celebration Park. It’s called Snake River and it creates stunning engagement photoshoot locations all across Idaho, Oregon, and even Yellowstone! Rivers give such a beautiful touch to any photo, so I try to add them whenever I can.

documentary couples photographer over snake river

The river is subtle in this one but it adds something really cool to this photo. Can you see it? The reflection of the sun in the water is creating a beautiful sun flare right below Keith’s arm. I love using light like this. It gives this photo a sort of out-of-this-world look, almost like the background is flipped upside down.

cinematic engagement photoshoot man kissing woman on temple

I always add black and white images in my galleries. It gives my photos such a soulful artistic look that I’m obsessed with!

couple piggy back riding by snake river

couple sitting on a bench looking at snake river idaho

Angles are super important, not just with backgrounds. In this photo, I had Keith and Millie look out and imagine their future.

Rocky Mountains

Okay, maybe Celebration Park isn’t part of the Rocky Mountains but it does have some rocky mountains. That counts, right? I absolutely love these mountains. They are so beautiful!

engagement photoshoot in idaho dip kiss romantic photographer

documentary engagement photographer southeast idaho

Conclusion:

Keith and Millie, you’re amazing! Thank you so much for choosing me as your engagement photographer.

For those reading and looking for an engagement photographer in Idaho, let’s talk! Tell me all about your love story, your vision for your shoot, and let’s make magic.

xoxo chat soon,

Kaylee from LaShay and Light Wedding Photography

Eloping vs. Wedding: How to say “I do” right

The battle of the century: Eloping vs. Wedding. How do you know which one’s for you?

To elope or not to elope, for that is the question. Most likely, you have a bunch of people telling to do different things for your wedding. Perhaps your friends are telling you to elope because they’ve eloped and loved it. And maybe your family is pushing for a traditional wedding so all of your relatives can be there. There’s a lot to consider. So I’m giving you what I wish I had when I was engaged: a pros and cons list about eloping and traditional weddings. But before we go all eloping vs. wedding, let’s discuss what the differences are.

What does a traditional wedding look like?

A traditional wedding is basically a giant party with around a 100 guests or more. With there being so many guests, weddings tend to be very structured with a timeline and schedule.

What does an elopement look like?

Unlike a wedding, elopements have 20 guests or less. This leads to a more unstructured celebration with a lot of leeway.

Now that we’ve gotten the definitions of weddings and elopements, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Wedding vs. Elopement: Elopement Pros

eloping vs wedding bride hugging groom elopement

Pro #1: Cost

Because of the smaller guest count, elopements are a lot more cost effective than weddings. Instead of paying for hundreds of people, you’re only paying for 20. That’s an incredible price difference!

And because you’re only paying for 20 or so people, you can allocate you budget to higher quality vendors and experiences. Let me explain. Let’s say you have a budget of 20k. You could definitely have a traditional wedding with that budget. However, a lot of that budget is going to go into ensuring that there’s enough of everything for each guests. You’ll have to cut corners. But with an elopement, you wouldn’t be paying for hundreds of guests. You could spend that 20k budget on higher quality services. For example, let’s say you couldn’t afford a good photographer for your large wedding because you’ve spent the budget on the guests. With an elopement, you would be able to get an amazing photographer (cough, cough me).

So basically, you could have a lower quality wedding with a bunch of people or you could have a higher quality elopement with a small guest count.

elopement couple reaching out to hold hands

Pro #2: Location

As sad as it is, you can’t have a giant wedding in a National Park. But you can have an elopement there. So if you’re an adventurous couple, this is an enormous reason to elope. Even if you’re not adventurous but you want beautiful photos, this is something to consider. Just imagine what your photos would look like! Maybe it’s just the elopement photographer inside of me but I’m drooling at the thought.

bride holding hat near lake in grand teton national park

Pro #3: Intimacy

This Pro might be a con for you. If you’re extroverted and want a ton of people to celebrate your wedding with you, a small guest count sounds terrible. In that case, an elopement may not be the best option for you. But if you really value just a handful of people coming, an elopement will be amazing for you. So put this as a point for or against elopements in our little eloping vs. wedding battle.

Wedding vs. Elopement: Elopement Cons

wedding vs eloping couple having a boho elopement

Con #1: Peer Disapproval

This one sucks. I really wish I didn’t have to make this a con but I think this is something to consider. If you’re planning to elope, some friends, family, or acquaintances may be upset that they’re not invited. It may stir up some drama. Even though it would be amazing if everyone accepted your decisions, that doesn’t always happen. Before planning your elopement, sit down as a couple and discuss who you want to invite and who may cause issues if they’re not invited. This will help you prepare and decide if an elopement is for you.

wedding ring with ferns and daisies around it

Con #2: Less Wedding Gifts

If your really looking forward to getting wedding gifts, an elopement may not be for you. Sure, you can definitely send people your registry but people are a lot more likely to bring if they’re invited. With a small guest count, lots of gifts may not be in your future.

bride and groom about to kiss in the woods with a colorful bouquet eloping vs. wedding

Con #3: Dirty Wedding Attire

This con is specifically with destination elopements. If you’re going to be hiking in your wedding dress, be prepared for a muddy train. Climbing up rocky hills and hiking through the woods can cause rips and tears in your beautiful outfit. Even if you decide to wear hiking attire and change near the ceremony location, your hair and makeup may be messed up. So if you mind getting dirty, consider hiring a hair and makeup artist to come along and change into your wedding attire after hiking.

Wedding Pros

marble wedding flat lay wedding pros

Pro #1: All your loved ones

You don’t have to pick and choose for a wedding; you can invite as many people as you’d like. Traditional weddings are great if you have large families or if you’re just a social butterfly! If your extroverted and love having lots of people celebrate with, a wedding is the clear cut winner in this eloping vs. wedding battle.

bride laughing with wedding guest in traditional eloping vs. wedding

Pro #2: Traditions

If you’re a lover of traditions like throwing the bouquet, first dance, and cutting the cake, you’ll get to enjoy all of those moments at a wedding. There may even be some family wedding traditions you can only do at a traditional wedding. For example, its a tradition in my family to have a picture slide show of the couple starting from baby pictures to wedding pictures. I couldn’t have had kept that tradition if I decided to elope in a forest or a desert with little to no cell reception.

couple about to kiss at wedding with brick wall behind them eloping vs. wedding

Pro #3: Themes and Color Palettes

Maybe this was just me but I’ve always been obsessed with wedding themes and color palettes. For eloping vs. wedding, I think weddings really takes the cake when it comes to themes. With a traditional wedding, you can really dive into a theme. You can add it to your invitations to your table centerpieces. With an elopement, a theme may not be as clear or even possible.

teardrop wedding ring in gold and turquoise box

Wedding Cons

Con #1: Price

My goodness, weddings are expensive! The cost of the average wedding is about $30,000. If you have that kind of money to spare, by all means, spend it! But for many, this may be a hard pill to swallow.

colorful wedding bouquet with wedding ring in it

Con #2: Stress

If you’re not already stressing about the price of your wedding, don’t worry, there’s a lot else to stress about. Whether that’s people not RSVP’ing, finding vendors, or things just not going to plan, get prepared for a few stressful moments. But there is a plus to this con. Nothing like planning a wedding helps show you another side to your fiancé. You get to see how they handle stress and how you can help them.

idaho wedding photographer from Zola the best free wedding planning site

Con #3: Time Flies

One of the most common regrets I hear from couples is that they didn’t have time to enjoy their own wedding. Couples often find themselves too preoccupied with making sure their guests are enjoying themselves and everything is going to plan, that they forget that this wedding is for them. Talking to all of your wedding guests is great but don’t forget to spend some time with your spouse!

bride and groom kissing at a backyard wedding eloping vs. wedding

Conclusion

Eloping vs. Wedding! Who wins?! It’s up to you. Seriously consider both. Ultimately, it depends on what you want to remember when you look back at your big day years from now. I hope this pros and cons list has helped you make a decision. If you want to do more research, which I highly advise, check out this amazing article on weddings and elopements.

And remember, no matter if you decide on a wedding or an elopement, I’ll always be there to photograph it.

xoxo chat soon,

Kaylee from LaShay and Light Photography

5 Best Free Wedding Planning Sites that Every Couple Needs

Engaged and don’t know what to do? Here’s the best free wedding planning sites for you.

You’re engaged! Now what? Planning a wedding (or elopement) can be crazy stressful. I get it; I’ve been there. There’s so much to do and you don’t know where to start. You might not even have a mood board yet. And that’s okay! As a former bride and a wedding photographer, I’ve used a lot of wedding planning sites and I’ve curated my top 5 best free wedding planning sites.

Just so you know, I haven’t been sponsored by any of these sites. This is just me showing you what I truly think are great sites that every couple should use.

 

Zola – Best Free Wedding Planning Site All-around

idaho wedding photographer from Zola the best free wedding planning site

Zola guides you from being engaged to newlywed. Everything you need to do to plan a wedding or an elopement can be done on Zola. I could go on and on about why Zola is absolutely amazing but I’m going to narrow it down to three reasons: vendors, registry, and website.

Vendors on Zola

Before looking for vendors on Zola, you first take a small quiz. This quiz helps give you a personalized curated list of vendors you’d like. Not only that, it shows a list of why they matched with you, whether it be their prices, style, availability, or location. This makes finding vendors you genuinely like a breeze. Not only that, you can also see what vendors you’ve talked to and which ones you’ve booked. This keeps finding vendors organized.

Speaking of vendors, I’m also a vendor on Zola. Booking through Zola is incredibly easy and intuitive. Clients that have booked me through Zola have never had a complaint!

Registry on Zola

The wedding registry is amazing. To start off, Zola’s wedding registry has over 1,000 top brands to choose items from including KitchenAid, Delta Airlines, and Kate Spade. Wedding guests can purchase gifts, experiences, and fund your honeymoon all in one place. There’s free shipping, price matching, and registry gift exchange! But I haven’t even told you the best part. You get a 20% off discount your entire registry for six months after your wedding.

Website on Zola

Your registry can also be linked to your personal wedding website. Zola’s website builder has nearly 300 designs and layouts to choose from so they have an option for whatever style you’re going for! The website builder is easy to use and you can make a website in just a few minutes. It’s also very easy for guests to use so even great-grandma Rosie would be able to use it! Zola also offers wedding invitations that matches your website so you can have a running theme.

 

Wedding Chicks – Best for Wedding Inspiration

Best Free Wedding Planning Sites wedding chicks bride kissing groom

If you’re getting married and don’t know what you want to do, Wedding Chicks is one of the best free wedding planning sites you could go to. Wedding Chicks offers many of the same features Zola does, website builder, search for vendors, printing invitations, but their main focus is on wedding inspiration and a blog to help you plan your wedding.

They have a wide collection of posts all about planning a wedding. From Wedding Day Must-Haves For Every Emergency Kit to Shades of French Blue Wedding Ideas they have something for everyone.

 

Joy – Best Guest List

best free wedding planning sites joy bride moving dress

Joy is one of the best free wedding planning sites for big weddings. It has a registry and a website builder but the highlight of Joy is it’s guest list. Sorting and categorizing guests is a breeze! You can group guests into parties, send mass emails, track RSVPs, and -my favorite part- add tags. You can add tags to a guest or party to categorize them. For example, you can tag them as family, friend, maid of honor, from your side of the family or your sweetheart’s, and so much more. Once the guests RSVP, Joy’s guest list automatically updates with the new information. It’s great if you have a large family or just a bunch of friends you want to keep track of!

 

Carats & Cake – Best Style and Theme Options

bride and groom holding each other

You’ve got a very specific theme you want for your wedding; it could be edgy, industrial, or romantic. Whatever you’re going for, Carats & Cake has the vendors and the inspiration. Carats & Cake allows you to see photo galleries from dream weddings and also lists every vendor that participated in making that wedding happen. This makes finding your dream vendor a reality.

However, it’s important to note that Carats & Cake does not have website builder or a registry, it’s mainly used for finding vendors and inspiration.

 

Online Wedding Planning Assistant – Best Variety

bride and groom about to kiss in the woods with a colorful bouquet

Online Wedding Planning Assistant has all of the bells and whistles. You can find vendors, create a budget, make a website, form a wedding timeline, create a seating chart, and so much more. For being free, its an amazing resource that can be incredibly helpful. I love Online Wedding Planning Assistant but there are a few reasons why its not higher on the list. Creating a website on Online Wedding Planning Assistant is not intuitive and has very few customizations. It doesn’t have a registry and, this may seem arbitrary to some, I’m not a fan of their aesthetic. However, if you’re tech-savvy and want a site that offers great customizable seating chart planning and forming wedding timelines, this is a great option.

Conclusion

Those are my top five best free wedding planning sites! I hope this has helped you plan your wedding. If you’re using these websites or have used them in the past, let me know! I’d love to hear your experiences with them.

As a little side note, if you’re looking for photographers for your wedding, check me out and let’s talk about what I can do for you!

xo, Kaylee from LaShay and Light Photography

The Best Wedding Mood Board Inspiration

If you’re planning out your wedding mood board, here’s some of my favorite pictures for inspiration.

While I was shooting at my last photoshoot, I took some beautiful detail shots. As I was editing them, I started thinking how wonderful these would be for wedding mood board inspiration! So here are a few of my favorite photos from my last photoshoot. They’re warm and magical photos, perfect for wedding inspiration.

But before I go any further, I highly recommend reading this article on how to make an effective wedding mood board. Read that so you can use the photos I’m about to show you to their full extent.

best wedding mood board colorful bouquet

I love these flowers so much! The deep burgundy and yellow are such a beautiful color combination. I highly recommend Brides to get bouquets like this! Or have your color scheme for your wedding be burgundy and yellow. Either way, this photo is definitely wedding mood board inspiration worthy.

closeup of colorful wedding flowers with wedding ring inside

Now this may just look like a closeup of the previous photo but don’t be fooled! A beautiful diamond wedding ring  is in the flowers. You can’t have wedding mood board inspiration without showing a beautiful wedding ring and your color palette! So, I decided to put the two together?

But that’s not all I did. I was imagining a film-like, nostalgic wedding. So I added grain and matted the image to make it look like it was from an old movie. I love this look and I hope you do too.

wedding mood board bride holding bouquet

This is the last bouquet photo, I promise. But I just needed a shot with the wedding ring, bouquet, and the wedding dress. It was a necessity! I love the brick pattern in the background, the texture in the flowers, and the lacey details in the wedding dress. How could I not share this one?

ballerina wedding performer

Maybe you’re a ballerina or maybe you just love ballet, but can you imagine a ballet themed wedding?! Just imagine ballerinas performing at your wedding. Yep, put that on your mood board. Ballet is just so elegant and romantic, everything you want your wedding to be like.

wedding musician strumming his acoustic guitar

Now I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you like music and you’re going to play some music at your wedding. Was I right? Well, can you imagine having actual musicians at your wedding singing the sweetest serenades for you and the love of your life? I thought so.

I hope these photos helped you determine what you want in your wedding! If this has helped you decide that you want someone like me as your photographer, well, you can always contact me here on my website!

Bridals at The Venue in Rigby, Idaho

If you’re in Rigby looking for a place for Bridals, check out The Venue!

Rigby, Idaho has some beautiful locations for Bridals. If your looking for an indoor venue with a chic, urban, and rustic flair, The Venue is what you’re looking for. I shot some bridals in Rigby, Idaho at the Venue and it was so beautiful! I really loved the brick texture and large windows at the Venue so I took most of my photos there. This bride and groom were so darn cute! I barely had to pose them for these bridals.

Bridals in Rigby bride and groom kissing

 

As you may have noticed, I’ve really been focusing on my editing style. I’ve been trying new things and this is what I’ve gotten. My style may continue to evolve but I’m happy with what I have right now!

bridals in rigby bride hugging groom

 

The bride had some beautiful flowers in her bouquet. I new I just had to get some photos of it! This is one of my favorite poses to do for bridals and this one really shined. It’s so simple and romantic. I love it!

bridals in rigby bride pulling grooms tie

For some people, bridals -or photos in general- can make them nervous or camera shy. But this bride and groom thrived being shot! I barely had to pose them! They were so cute and in love.
the venue bridals in rigby idaho couple kissing with sunflare

As much as I loved the bricks at the venue in Rigby, Idaho, there was a beautiful setting sun outside and I just needed those sun flares! So, I pulled my bride and groom outside and snapped a few shots. So worth it.

I had so much fun shooting these bridals in Rigby, Idaho. The Venue was beautiful, the bride and groom were beautiful, everything was beautiful! If you’re interested in getting some amazing bridals, I recommend The Venue. If you’re looking for a photographer in Rigby, well, I’m your girl.

Wyoming Bridals

Beautiful bridals in beautiful Wyoming!

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to go to String Lake, Wyoming for bridals. It was my first time going to String Lake and I instantly fell in love. Getting to photograph this beautiful bride was an absolute dream. The location was beautiful, the bride was beautiful, you can’t get anything better than that. If you’re looking for a place for an elopement or bridals, definitely go to String Lake, Wyoming! For these two bridal photos I had the bride interact with her surroundings and her outfit.

bride holding hat while looking into string lake

bride lifting her dress in front of a lakeFor these two bridal photos I had the bride interact with her surroundings and her outfit. In the first one, I had her holding her hat and looking towards the lake. With the next one, I had her lift up her dress.

 

bridals bride holding bouquet at glacier national park

It’s super important to get some close ups too! In this photo, I had her look away and hold her bouquet.

 

Conclusion

I loved String lake, Wyoming! It was incredibly beautiful and I can’t wait to go again!

3 Things NOT to ask your Wedding Photographer

You’ve seen dozen of those “50 things to ask your photographer” articles. Which is awesome! If you’re looking for another one to read, check the one I made. Although there are some really amazing articles, I disagree with some of them. They tell a lot of brides to ask for things or expect things that are really not in their best interest. So, straight from a photographer, here are a few things I advise brides and grooms NOT to ask. Or, at least, know exactly what you’re asking for.

shot of just the bride and grooms body with a sun flare encircling the bouquet

1. DON’T ASK FOR RAWS

 

This is the big one. You don’t know how many photographers feel dread when they’re asked about raws. A lot of sites tell you to ask your photographer for raw images. They tell you that these are just unedited images the photographer is keeping away from you. This isn’t correct and there are multiple reasons why photographers don’t give out raw images. First, they’re huge files. They are going to take up all of your storage. If that’s not bad enough, most programs won’t even open raw files so you won’t even be able to look at your photos.

The next main reason photographers don’t typically give out raw files are because they look gross. Raw isn’t like jpeg. Jpeg are like the photos you take on your phone. Those colors are pretty close to life. Not raw. Raw is typically very gray and bland and the colors are not even close to life. Not only that, these are unedited. Which, if they’re anything like mine, the photos will be very dark. You might not even see the subject in the photos. If your photographer sent you these, you’d probably be very disappointed. They don’t represent the photographer’s work or their art. Most of the magic happens in editing!

If you’re just wanting more images, discuss with your photographer how many photos you’re hoping for. Most photographers will be happy to give more edited photos, either for free or for an additional charge. But please, for your best interest, don’t ask for raws!

groom dipping the bride with a large sun flare behind them

2. WHY DON’T I GET ALL OF THE PHOTOS?

 

Most of the photos you don’t receive are ones where you’re blinking, making a silly face, duplicates of the same image, or they’re blurry.  So don’t worry! You’re not missing out on anything.

But before we go to the next topic, I do need to mention one thing. Some photographers give you a certain amount of photos. Let’s say the photographer allows you to keep 30 images. Typically, they let you pick and choose your favorite images to keep. If there are any more photos you’d like, they often allow you to purchase them for an additional price. Photographers typically do this so they don’t waste any time editing photos you don’t want. This way they can focus on giving their all editing the photos you really want. This helps give you a higher overall quality in images, instead of just a bunch of “meh” photos.

Like always, quantity is not quality.

If you’re dead-set on getting all of the images that turned out, talk to your photographer. Just remember it may cost extra and may take longer to edit.

bride and groom with their noses touching

 

3. CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR STYLE FOR OUR PHOTOS?

 

To be honest, this one kind of breaks my heart. I always hope that people hire me because they like my style, and who I am as an artist. Let me put it this way. Would you hire Leonardo da Vinci to paint a Picasso? Of course not. You would just hire Picasso. This is the same thing with photographers. Photographers are artists. If you want someone with a certain style, just hire that person.

It takes years to develop style. So if you ask a photographer to mimic another person’s style, it won’t look right. It will most likely just look like a knockoff.

Now I understand if you have a budget and can’t afford your dream photographer. I get it! But there’s a reason why they’re expensive. It’s because they’re amazing at what they do. Photographer that shoot for less, reflect their skills. I say this with love, but don’t expect phenomenal luxury photos from someone off of Craigslist doing it for free. You can’t simply choose a cheap photographer and hope their photos look like a professional’s.

cake with sun flare on amber stand

 

Annnnd that’s it! If you’re looking for more questions to avoid, I recommend reading Jaimie Mackey’s article. I hope this helps you find the right photographer. And if that right photographer is me, well, my contact form is down below. 😉

3 Things to Ask your Wedding Photographer

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re getting married soon. CONGRATS!!! Being married is seriously so amazing. And what’s a better start to a marriage than a dreamy, romantic celebration of your union? I can’t  think of anything. The key to a great wedding really isn’t the food, the dress, or the flowers. The key is the photographer. The right photographer can capture those priceless memories and can make your wedding a breeze. The wrong photographer is. . . well. . . not equipped for the job. Picking the wrong one can really ruin the experience for you, your guests, and you won’t have any good images to look back on.

I hope that didn’t scare you! But don’t worry. I’m here to help. Here are three things to check before booking your wedding photographer.

bride and groom standing together with a sun flare encircling the wedding bouquet

1. WHAT’S PHOTOGRAPHY WORTH TO YOU?

Okay, okay, I know. This isn’t something you ask your photographer but I think this is such an important part about finding the right person to shoot your wedding. Soooo many brides simply bargain shop their photographer, which I can understand. I was a bride with a budget once too. But that doesn’t mean you should go with the cheapest photographer you can find.

So I want you to do something for me right now. Imagine three years from now. You and your spouse are happily married and your wedding day was absolutely beautiful. You’re lounging on the couch, just on your phone, and you see your spouse grab your wedding book and start flipping through it. He or she smiles as they flip through the pages, sometimes giving a light chuckle to a few of them. You decide to scoot closer to them and look at the images to. When you see them, you smile and you’re filled with the wonderful feelings you felt when you got married.

What did those photos look like? Find a photographer that can shoot what you were just imagining.

Hopefully, that brought some clarity on what wedding photography is really worth. This is something you, your children, and your grandchildren will look back on. I tell my clients that you should spend at least 15% of your wedding budget on your photographer. Think about how important those photos will be to you. A cheap photographer isn’t going to capture those.

Groom dipping Bride with a sun flare above their heads

2. WHAT’S YOUR PRIORITY WHEN SHOOTING WEDDINGS?

Every photographer is different and every photographer has different priorities. Nothing is wrong with that, just make sure that both you and your photographer’s priorities align.

When you ask your photographer what their priorities are, you’re going to get a better idea of what type of photos you’re going to get. If they say they focus on capturing vogue-like photos, you’re going to get a lot of posed images. Other photographers may say they love capturing the little things, you can expect lots of detail shots and candid photos.

This may not be the most important question to ask but it’s one of my favorites. You can really understand your photographer’s style and you can start imaging what your photos look like.

bride and groom with their noses touching

 

3. HOW MANY PHOTOS SHOULD I EXPECT TO RECIEVE?

Some photographers only give a certain amount of photos which is OKAY. Hearing that a photographer will only give out 30, 100, or whatever, often makes brides and grooms back out. Trust me, quantity isn’t quality. Typically, photographers will let you choose which ones you want to keep. If you see any others you want, you can purchase them individually. This is my preferred way to shoot. Normally – although they’re all great images – my clients find that there’s a select number of photos they really love and really want. And those are the ones they get.

Photographers who give out all of their photos is OKAY too. But just be warned, sometimes those photos aren’t the best. To make it look like you got a lot of photos, they add in some that are a little blurry or you’re making a weird face in. Not all photographers do this but it’s something to think about.

Just remember, quantity isn’t quality.

wedding cake on top of an amber cake stand

 

Annnnd that’s it! If you’re looking for more questions to ask, I recommend reading Lin and Jirsa’s article. I hope this helps you find the right photographer. And if that right photographer is me, well, my contact form is down below. 😉

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