Joshua Walker Photography | San Diego Wedding Photographer

December 12, 2007

Your Picture Perfect Beach Wedding | Sun, Sand, Surf, and I Do’s (and Don’ts)

Filed under: Articles, Weddings — Tags: , — joshuawalkerphotography @ 4:51 pm

Nothing embodies romance more than a beach wedding. Warm sun, a cool breeze, bare feet in the sand, and waves crashing in the background as you say ‘I do.’ A true storybook scene.

Yet as simple and carefree as a beach wedding may appear, there are a number of important details to consider and a few steps one can take when planning to ensure your seaside ceremony goes off without a hitch and is truly picture perfect.


1. The most important detail to consider when planning a beach wedding is the time of day that it will take place; early morning or late afternoon are best. Midday should be avoided if at all possible. In addition to being the warmest part of the day, the midday sun directly overhead is less than ideal in regard to photography. The intense glare and harsh shadows it creates are very difficult to avoid. Keeping in mind that an evening reception follows most ceremonies, late afternoon is typically the clear choice. You and your guests will be more comfortable and you will certainly be helping your photographer capture the best possible images.

2. Shade is good, particularly for the bride and groom. Even at the most ideal time of day, direct sun can create shadows and cause squinting. A little bit of shade provides a nice, even light and eliminates hot spots, which are magnified by perspiration. Palm trees are the ideal natural source of shade and certainly add to the ambience of a beach ceremony, but aren’t always present in the desired location, especially if the ceremony is taking place close to the water. chuppah3.jpg A small canopy, or better yet, a chuppah draped with white cloth is a simple alternative and provides ample shade for the bride and groom in addition to contributing to the light, breezy feel of the beach setting.

3. Most beach weddings are more casual than traditional church ceremonies, which the choice of clothing should reflect. No heavy bridal gowns or black tuxedos, not only will you look out of place, but you will undoubtedly be uncomfortable as well. Light materials and colors are more pleasant to wear and more fitting to the scene. And don’t forget to remind your family and guests. If you and the rest of the wedding party are comfortable, everyone will enjoy himself or herself much more and it will certainly show in the photographs.

4. Remember, Mother Nature is always in control. The very things that make a beach wedding so appealing can also spell disaster. Weather, wind, blowing sand, and extreme high tides are just a few of the many elements beyond one’s control that can put a serious damper on your ceremony. Research the local weather when planning and choose the most stable month if possible. Unfortunately Mother Nature isn’t always predictable, so definitely be prepared with a plan B.

5. Sand, sand, and more sand. If you intend on having the entire wedding party stand for the length ceremony, it’s best to keep it short, particularly if there will be seniors in attendance. If, on the other hand, you are considering the use of chairs, their legs tend to sink in the sand, causing them to become unstable. You certainly don’t want your guests tipping over into the sand or onto each other. Some rental companies offer flooring that the chairs can be placed on, but that increases set-up time as well as cost and complicates things considerably. If you do plan on having a large wedding party with a more extensive set-up, find a grassy area at a park or overlook in front of the ocean. True, it isn’t the same as being on the sand, but it will be much easier to deal with.

6. Crowds. The very same tranquil, romantic spot that you scouted during the week will be crawling with sunburned tourists on the weekend, even more so if your wedding date is on or near a holiday, so plan accordingly. Try to find a secluded spot off-the-beaten-path if possible and have someone stake it out earlier in the day so that it doesn’t get overrun before you arrive. Nothing kills romance more than a rowdy bunch of drunken revelers cheering you on during your ceremony and they certainly don’t make a very appealing backdrop for photographs either. Don’t forget about traffic and parking either, which will certainly be an issue on the weekend. Give yourself plenty of extra time and warn the rest of the wedding party; you don’t want to throw the entire schedule of your wedding off because you or family members can’t find parking.


7. Keep it simple. The true charm of a beach wedding lies in its simplicity. All that is inessential is stripped away leaving friends, family, you, and the love of your life surrounded by the beauty of sand and sea.

August 21, 2007

08.15.07 A Photographer’s Wish List: How You Can Help Your Photographer Capture The Photographs You Desire

Filed under: Articles, Weddings — Tags: — joshuawalkerphotography @ 5:10 pm

By Joshua Walker

Finding and hiring a professional photographer to document your wedding day is a sizable investment, in not only money, but time as well. By doing your research and hiring a professional that suits your style, you can rest assured that he or she is going to capture your day exactly how you want. But achieving the best possible results doesn’t end with the signing of the contract. Below are a few simple things you can do as a client before and on your wedding day to help you and your photographer capture the photographs of your dreams. 


1. Develop a personal relationship with your photographer. Hopefully you have selected a photographer whose personality meshes well with yours, besides your fiancé, they are the person you will be spending the most amount of time with on your wedding day. By the time your wedding day arrives, you should consider your photographer a friend, not just another vendor. This can seem like a difficult task to accomplish, considering how busy and hectic the months leading up to the big day can be, but it can be done. Most photographers understand the importance of this dynamic and will take the initiative, but it does take a little bit of effort from you as well. You must make yourself available. Though most beneficial, it doesn’t necessarily have to take place in person. Phone calls, emails, any form of conversation will work. And it most certainly doesn’t need to pertain to the business of your wedding. The stronger this sense of friendship is between you and the photographer, not only will you feel more comfortable and relaxed around him or her, the rest of the wedding party will as well. As soon as the guard comes down, the photographic magic happens.

2. Be yourself. This may seem like common sense, but it can be more difficult than you might think. Most people aren’t used to having a photographer document their every move, especially with intimidating looking professional equipment. Though they may not realize it, people tend to carry themselves and act differently as soon as a camera is pointed at them, which looks stiff and unnatural in photographs. Others just freeze up altogether.e006.jpgUnless your photographer is giving you specific direction, the best thing you can do is relax, be yourself, and act as if the photographer wasn’t even there. Pay special attention to your hands, they are a good indication of how tense you really are. Relax your hands and the rest of you will follow. No need to put on an act, simply be yourself.

3. Don’t rush your wedding day. When planning the schedule of the day, allot a realistic amount of time for each separate event. Planning a shorter, more casual wedding is one thing, but attempting to pack an eight-hour event into four makes everything feel rushed, like you’re trying to run a race. Not only does it make it difficult for everyone involved to enjoy the day, it makes it more difficult to capture natural looking photographs when you’re sprinting from one thing to the next. Pace your day and cherish every moment, it is, after all, a once in a lifetime experience (hopefully).

4. Look through magazines, on-line, and, of course, through your photographer’s portfolio for specific examples of images, scenes, and body positions that appeal to you and share these ideas with your photographer before hand. It will give both you and the photographer a better sense of direction when working together. Also, if you internalize these ideas and are able to carry and position yourself in a similar way without having to be completely directed by the photographer, the photographs will look much more natural. The more the photographer must direct, the more awkward you will feel and it will show in the images. 

5. Communicate with your fiancé about the photography. Often photography is of much greater importance to one half of the couple, typically the bride, but occasionally the groom. Sometimes the photographer wont even meet the groom until the day of the wedding, as everything related to photography was arranged and booked by the bride. This usually translates to the groom and groomsmen standing around in complete disinterest, with a ‘this is her deal’ attitude. If you communicate openly with your fiancé, and, even better, the core wedding party, beforehand about the photography, it will make it much easier and enjoyable to achieve your desired results.


6. Enjoy your wedding day. Again, this may seem like common sense, but with the anticipation and stress involved in planning the perfect day, it can be difficult to actually enjoy it. While there is certainly no way to eliminate the stress and worry completely, you can minimize it. If you don’t have a professional day-of coordinator, appoint someone you trust to handle the logistics of the day and let them worry about the details. You have been planning this day for months, even years, once it finally arrives, relax and enjoy it. You certainly deserve to and doing so will translate to more natural looking, joyous images.

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