How to prepare for the best wedding photos: True confessions of a portrait perfectionist!

Dear Diary,

Hi I’m Rose and I’m a Portrait Perfectionist! As I begin to share more about the process that drives me and my team of real life, professional wedding and portrait photographers, I am really excited to dig into offering up many ‘best practices’ in a variety of areas to help ensure you receive the best wedding day photos, ever! And now that Rose Photo is also offering video, what better way to share the methods we use in creating perfect media than to give a few #bestpractices so you can ensure your wedding day photos and video are stunning and totally true to your love story!

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As type A as you may ( or may not be), I have found over the past 12 years in the wedding world that an extra curated timeline that helps to prioritize your priorities, can be super helpful; after all, it is your wedding!

Planning for enough time to gracefully and gently move through the wedding day as you wake up and begin to get ready is key to arriving at your ceremony calmly and excited for the party ahead.

If you can guide the start time of your ceremony later than earlier, this frees up so much more time for time with your people as the day starts, beautiful getting ready photos, and maybe even a first look!


This may seem like an absolute no brainer but we can’t say it enough! From your trial updo for your wedding day hair through your wedding planner, your ‘I do Crew’ should be made up of serious pros!! One of our extremely helpful dream team favorites is a bridal dresser.

A bridal dresser can assist you with the transport, storing, displaying, dressing, buttoning, zippering, bustling, unbustling, bustling again and keeping that train on full display, amongst many other Wedding Industry tricks!

He or she is undoubtedly also very attentive to detail and will rest your qualms about dress dealings, back boob, bustle blunders and a million and one other things we’ve seen and things they’ve fixed! Pair their fashion eye with our camera eye and you won’t even know they were there.


Ok let’s break down the first look, shall we?? There are generally two camps for the First Look.

Camp A: ‘Heck yes let’s do first look and ugly cry in that cute way together, privately and have Rose + Co perched in the stairwell, treetop, rafters, or atop a nearby cab car! That would be so sweet and then we can take fun photos with our crew around the area before the ceremony even starts and maybe even knock out family formals, too’!!

Camp B: ‘Hmmm, well both of our families are SUPER traditional and we aren’t sure if we really want to see each other beforehand. Maybe it’s bad luck? Maybe I’m just really old fashioned? Either way we really just want to keep it real and walking down the aisle will be the magic!!’

Whichever camp you are in is totally cool. Again, it is your day! From my experience over the past dozen years, I will say this: If you are on the fence, planning for more time for just the two of you is never, ever a bad idea. The wedding will zoom by in a snap and whilst it is so key to celebrate with all your amazing pals you’ve brought together for the occasion, a few minutes here and there with just the two of you, #priceless!

My crew and I are actually photo ninjas so you won’t even know we are there. And, if you choose to stick to the isle for the eye contact experience of a lifetime, we will be sure to follow all the rules of the altar and swing from only the strongest chandeliers to get that first emotional look!!

Think about it and in the meantime, enjoy Nina + Jim’s picture-perfect first look brought to by two photo ninjas and one video sansei.


Much like a prime timeline, locations for the best wedding photos ever are very important. Quite literally they are the backdrop to create next-level portraits of you, your boo and your entire wedding crew.

Now let’s say your wedding party is just the two of you and you are super low key, private and maybe don’t even want that many photos. PERF!! We will dial up the best, most intimate little spots, en route and dodging traffic to get you to your party on time, even if you make a later appearance ;)

Now let’s say your wedding party is 12 people on either side, 4 flower girls, two ring bearers man, a mini labradoodle and a cockatoo!? OK we can work with that, too!! Buttttt, we would highly suggest a separate set of transportation of the children and animals. Just saying!!

Either way, we need wide-open spaces where everyone fits, can form a ‘Flying V’ ( I still dream in Mighty Ducks speak and Ducks fly together, ok!?) and also have the opportunity to set up the penultimate cover shot I know you are dreaming of with your entire possé!


Shiny is the new…everything! I’ve confessed this in other RP Diary Entry and I promise to be buried in a pile of sparkle or at least be shot from a canon in the midst of a glitter bomb! But that’s just me ;)

The point I’d like to share here is the details of your day, whether they are shiny, matte, lacey, velvet or whatever your hearts desire, the little details deserve as much limelight as they can get. If you have all your goodies together in one beautiful, big day box, we can be sure to give each item it’s own mini fashion shoot, promise!

You can start from the ground up and build your detail box from your shoes, onto your **unmentionables**, to your jewelry, hair accessories, and even your fab sunnies! Of course, it goes without saying any family heirloom or VIP piece of shiny gets bumped up the shot list. Keeping that previously suggested timeline in mind, we love to have about 30 minutes or so with all the good props of your fabulous wedding style to get those detail shots. Carve out a few more minutes for us and we get to comb the venue for amazing decor and architectural shots, too!


I honestly catch myself saying this line almost every, single day! ‘We direct you naturally!’ Meaning, I will ask you and your bridal party to line up with a general directive, ‘Dresses over here! Suits over there!’ and then give people a minute to find their way to a spot.

Here’s where it gets fun- I sorta glaze over in a stare and figure out how everyone would stand if I didn’t tell them how to stand a certain way and just adjust their attire, flowers, chin, sunglasses, red solo cup…you get the idea! Once we have a comfortable but distinguished looking crew in front of the RP lens, we get snapping. As mentioned, I’m always on the lookout for that Vanity Fair cover shot!

I also like to make sure there is an equal amount of candid photos or, candies as we love to call them! My very favorite yet ultimate cheesy directive to give is literally ‘LOL!’ I sometimes even scream it!! And people, naturally, LOL bc WTF is our wedding photographer doing right now?! Getting your best side, that’s what she’s doing, baby!!


When you are looking to hire your wedding photography and video team that will seamlessly produce the best documentation of your love story, be sure to track them on all the outlets where you can find their work.

Ask to see their vision through and through if it does not stand out initially to you. Requesting website links to weddings shot in your wedding venue, work showing your preferred florist or hairstylists’ creations, or even having worked in very specific lighting conditions is a great way to see that the crew you hire shares your aesthetic and vision for the exact end result you would will love to review for years to come.

Websites are great places to dig into once you’ve found your way out of the Instagram rabbit hole. Almost true story: we actually live in IG land and only venture out of our phones for weddings !! Really though, we do spend a lot of time curating our Rose Photo feed to reflect our most recent projects including our couples’ anniversary shout outs, new members of families and of course, we get super excited for our wedding to be featured publications both online and in print!

Our Rose Photo + Video web experience contains even more photo gems and video tear-jerkers to show our vision through and through. We often get asked to send specific links we can reference back to our URL and even other vendors that share our same vision of wedding day perfection.


How did you two meet? When did you get engaged? Do you live together? Where’s your favorite spot on a sunny afternoon to hang out? Are you so excited for all the fan fair or would you rather not be the center of everyone’s attention for the day? These are key points for your photo and video team to know about you so they can see you best.

I’ll just say it: I’m downright nosy! love to get into your business about your love story. The more details I know and can share with my team on your coming together, the better the output of good, juicy moments. I mean it. It’s real.

It’s our job to tell your love story with multimedia tools, pro tricks, and secrets of the trade. I endlessly fall in love with my job over and over again; I tend to cry at almost all my weddings and I promise it is not out of sheer exhaustion. Weddings inspire and energize me because it’s a love story and I’m a big old, hopeful romantic.

Even as our RP team of storytellers grows to include more trained photojournalists and videographers, portrait perfectionists, and image creators, I get to keep dreaming up big shots for the best wedding day experience for our couples so we can tell that love story seamlessly.

I hope this entry was helpful and if you’d like to hear tips from other areas of wedding daydreams, drop me a note! I would love to hear from you.

I’ve got to get back to my tripod as I set up the next perfect portrait!



Dear Diary, I'd love a love that's this real!

Dear Diary,

In keeping with my quasi-regular diary entries, I thought to continue on the ‘keeping it real’ kick I’ve been on and talk about a real hot topic, the hottest one I know: LOVE and just how every special real love is!

real love

So whether you’ve been married for 5 years or 50 years, if you’ve been killing it on the dating apps or swear them off all together, orrrr if you’re like me and join book clubs, synagogues and coffee klatch thinking you’ll meet THE one, we all have one thing in common: WE WANT TO BE LOVED. #amiright?!

Anyone who has read my blog (Bueler, Bueler,Bueler? I know, you’re mostly here for the photos but I gotta get the SEO in here ok !? Hang in there!) You may have noticed a new trend I’m kicking around. It’s called being real and I thought this would be another window into my warm, throbbing soul that is just so darn lovable but yet so darn single! I write this not exactly as a cry for help but more to connect with you, my love savvy reader so we can together rejoice in our quest for love and hopefully, your fruitful conquest of it. After all, I’m the fearless leader of a wedding photo collective

To say we know it when we see it ( as wedding professionals) is a vast understatement. Shoot, it’s like going on a first date where you aren’t exactly a third wheel but you can’t help but notice the insane chemistry ( or lack there of) when you are, indeed, a wedding photographer. Thanks be to everything holy, our beautiful clients tend to be head over heels in love with one another, have had more than one date and really are excited for the next chapter! This makes our job soooo much fun; because let’s face it people, love is palpable. Whilst I’m not exactly a scientist or even a sociologist ( though I do love to pretend) I often like to wax poetic about how the energy between our couples works real well when they really like each other AND that makes our imagery really, really dreamy. Sure, you can skip to the rest of the photos now but I do have some more getting real for ya, so read on, if you’re so inclined!

I’ve been doing this thing called dating alot lately. I had previously been on a looooong hiatus due to a somewhat awful ,broken heart-itis, again, playing scientist on myself! What I’ve noticed quite a-lot on my many, and I mean many quests for love is that relating with people is easy for me, being open and understanding that we all have our own sh*t and that we take it one day at a time, I got that and this gets me asked on many, and I mean many second dates. Now here is the tricky part, actually getting that gaga, can’t get you out of my head, loop of love feeling is rare. LOVE IS RARE. That’s why we love it so much because it’s so damn hard to pin down. And so, the quest continues…for this hopeless romantic anyways.

If you are still reading you may be wondering, where the heck is this chick going with this diary entry!?! In fact, I do have more than just antidotes about my love life - which by the way- may one day be a touring, one woman stand up routine so caution to those sliding into my DM’s with date requests ;)

Really I was giddy to get into the edit bay and see the captures of Lisa and Steve’s perfect wedding day last weekend at Chicago’s iconic Hilton on the always fabulous Michigan Avenue. Their’s the kinda of ‘let’s do this thing called life’ and keep loving each other love. The kind of love that really has you nodding your head like ‘yea! wow, I want THAT!’ The MADE FOR EACH OTHER kinda love. You know what I mean??

Again, not exactly a cry for help but really just talking LOVE and how truly wonderful it is when you can nail that elusive, heart racing, love you till the end, kinda love down and #putaringonit!

Annnnd should you know any eligible suitors, feel free to send them my way.



Dear Diary, it's true. I sh**t glamour!

Dear Diary,

Last I wrote I was confessing my secret love of milkshake pink. It’s true and really, quite surprising. It’s a color I keep finding myself covered in, from head to toe. And prior to this summer, black on black on black was my go to, no lie!! But this entry isn’t more about that, I swear. Though it is about fashion; a true fashion confession. I’m just getting super real with you lately, aren’t I?

I am the daughter of a costume designer and as a result, can never have enough tulle, lace or sparkle in my life. Yes, I have been known to send glitter bombs. Use caution when opening mail with my return address! I like the shiny so much, that it lead me to a pretty decent career, as a very well-costumed, show pony, on stage throughout my 20’s. Fast forward the tape, to my current life, as a wedding and fashion photographer, I must admit, my love of all things shiny still persists.

I swoon like crazy, over seeing the wedding day fashion, displayed just right for that shot of color and texture, and I literally obsess for far too long, over positioning the wedding ring just right for that bling-bling detail shot; omighad if I don’t get a full body shiver when it’s time for those killer portraits of my couple, dressed to the nines. I LOVE GLAM and I WISH EVERYDAY COULD BE A DRESS UP DAY. I swear!

The preverbal statement ‘devil is in the details’, is most commonly attributed to Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, a Chicago favorite, for sure. But upon digging a bit further, I found that to be a misattribution and is actually linked to an earlier German proverb - "Der liebe Gott steckt im detail", which translates as 'God is in the detail' - which I tend to like a whole lot more, and can more easily justify my obsession of photographing le shiny, in both material goods and human form! See, I find inspiration in the godliness of the shiny, of the divinity of the human form and perfection of the love story.

I especially love the detail shots, featured below, from A+E Chicago Athletic Association wedding . Did you know the White City Ballroom has it’s own ‘devil in the details’ association? And the history doesn’t stop there. I am on a constant quest to find these awesome architectural gems in every city I get to photograph. Chicago is layered in such rich details of history. When I’m in town, I can’t get enough. On any given, non winter weekday ( see early snowbird status) you can be sure to find me hanging out at the Chicago Cultural Center or at Harold Washington Library, seeking out more good details to fuel my passion for old school glam.

I started my photo career in The Windy City working in weddings, over ten years ago, at the same time I was shooting for print publications. I got cold feet, pardon the pun, and retreated to photograph portraits on non wedding days instead. Then five years down the road, I had more experience and thus more confidence, I returned to my first love of story telling, adding in a confident portrait piece and Rose Photo was born.

Now I draw the parallel of reportage / documentary style and making perfect portraits. I love to find my subjects acting in ways they normally would, and only direct them slightly, to capture the best light on a situation they were already naturally doing.

See, I want that glamour shot, but I don’t want it to feel too poised, cheesy or inauthentic. I think this sets my wedding and portrait work apart from other photographers. There, I said it. Again, just getting real with ya, Dear Diary!

I’m getting really real with you and I kinda like it. I’m not going to share much more today, because I have to get work on a grant application for program to connect really awesome kids, with really awesome camera gear, to empower and inspire more creatives in our world. Dear Diary, if you know any one that wants to help on this project, send ‘em my way, will ya??

It’s been real!



Dear Diary, It's me Rose, destination wedding photographer!

In my last entry, I confessed this has become a diary of sorts for me. So I figure I share a bit more about me, IRL. (IRL is what the kids shorten for ‘in real life’! Confession, I am still learning all the short cuts and often use them all wrong, kinda like my favorite IG personality Lili Hayes., even though I’m most technically a #millennial! ) My usual go-to on blog entries is to wax poetic about my day job and the amazing RP Crew I get to work with creating wonderful wedding day imagery. Lately, though, I’m working on challenging myself to share more about me and why I work the way I do so I can connect better with you all. After all, we all put our pantsuits on one leg at a time, right?? I’ve also found myself very inspired by other artrepreneurs. I’d really love to continue to build these authentic connections all around the world that allow me to make more genuine portraits, wedding or editorial.

Right out the gate, you must know I’m border line obsessed with flowers. So much so that about 15 years ago I choose to skip my first name and only be called by my middle. A few years after that, I had an idea to bring my bossy, big sister attitude of production, imagery making and the love for all things shiny into a proper business plan and launched Rose Photo. My crew and I work often on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, travel a ton for #destinationweddings and have recently opened a second studio in gorgeous Asheville, North Carolina. You can probably guess that my airline points are sky rocketing lately and I drink a lot of caffeine to keep up on work between all the time zones! My crew’s most recent travel has taken us Bloomington, Indiana for a perfect pastel set of wedding nuptials we captured on one of the hottest midwest days all summer long.

I have always really despised the color pink: especially milkshake pink. But when my dear sweet angel of a bride featured in this Indiana, soft-hued wedding blog told me her colors for her wedding day included that color and I always direct my crew to dress in line with the colors of the day, I thought: ‘sh*t! I’m gonna have to wear milkshake pink, aren’t I?!’ The week I began to pack for this destination wedding, I could find zero shades of said pink hues in my wardrobe, obviously. Then, as luck would have it and to my great astonishment, I found a perfect pantsuit in the exact shade Erica had shown me. I was doing the whole Mari Condo thing and dropping off some treasured yet unneeded fashion pieces at my fave consignment shop and the dear shop owner pulls this milkshake pink suit out from the backroom as if she knew??!! She then said, ‘Would you just try this on please!?’ Stunned and also always a sucker for an older lady, mom like request, I did just that.; can I just tell you, it looked hella good on me!? So now, now I like pink!

Part of the reason that I love photographing weddings so much is that I love storytelling. I think this is really quite common with most photojournalists turned wedding photographers as a natural progression to using a camera as a microphone to tell a love story. I’m also a theater geek that has had many mini bouts of storytelling through performance on stage. It’s occurring to me now, dear diary, that I’m maaaaaaybe jonesing for a little more live audience experience. Who knows?? Maybe I’ll turn up that IGTV channel soon!?

As a young kid on through high school and evening in college, I was kinda a social butterfly and didn’t’ keep just one posse of pals. I most certainly learned this from my mama. She never met a stranger and cared greatly for all her relationships. In many ways, I’m a lot like her. My love of fashion and my creative soul are absolutely inherited from her. One of those really special relationships my mom developed was really with a secret agent angel and she is the bride featured in this very dear, diary entry. Erica showed my mom such grace in Mom’s last two years before she passed and for that, I am forever grateful to Erica and the family that raised such a beautiful person.

I don’t like kids but I love to photograph them. I started photographing weddings 12 years ago. Once, on a really big wedding day when I was just a little, baby intern, my mentor told me: ‘If you mess up wedding photos, you would mess up the couples’ life!’ Ok, no pressure!! This naturally this scared the ba-jezus out of me so I stepped away briefly from weddings onto the next most challenging subject: children. I took to these tiny subjects easily, likely because I’m really just a big kid myself . Then, because life is real funny life this, a studio that hired me to handle their kiddo content convinced me to take another go with weddings and I fell back in love all over again.

I’d say my very favorite part of a wedding day is the first look because I really love playing producer, staging the scene and slowing down the rush of the day to totally focus on our couple. I love to remind our love birds that the two of them are the reason for the season and truly, this day is, in fact, all about them! Pausing to acknowledge this and also set up a slow-motion shot is why I do what I do! Oh and one day, when I grow up, I want to be a director of photography.

I love location scouting before our weddings begin and the wedding venue we had the pleasure to photograph for Erica + Jared’s wedding was just so sweet and sooo beautiful. The Wilds is just a quick drive from super cute Bloomington and the venue owner worked previously as a professional photographer. She absolutely has her eye on good lighting, the exactly right back drops for perfect detail shots and the surrounding areas are picture-perfect, even in the smoldering, high temps of a July summer day!

well Dear Diary friend and fans of Erica + Jared, you now know more about why I love the love and my reason for the season of being a destination wedding photographer. Have camera, will travel! I love story, perfect light, and dear souls. I hope to cross paths with more of all the good stuff that makes wedding photography a dreamy job and my life’s work!

Rose + Co

Anatomy lesson, Chicago Indian Latin wedding included!

I’ve started to realize my blog post are becoming more and more like diary entries lately and so I’m going to embrace this instead of trying to avoid it! I began this chapter with the intention to break down the various components of an Indian wedding including the super exuberant baraat through the Ganesh Puja and onto the ceremony under the mandap. I wanted to compare and contrast the traditions of South Asian weddings to other cultures and highlight how same they really are; there are loads of parallels including the pre-parties i, mandap to the chuppa, the #bridetribe, etc, etc but I changed course on this entry about halfway through my first draft. Instead, I want to focus not on the anatomy, per se, but the extremities that hold together a union, any union in fact.

When I sit down to write, I pause about every 5-10 minutes not only because I have the attention span of a gnat but also so I can review our team’s photo captures to be sure what I am writing is parallel to what we’ve shot. I started to notice many of the shots I chose for our blog post outside of my favorite portraits - face forward captures of people- are shots featuring hands and feet. After taking another break to pontificate about the possibility of a hand or foot fetish, I realized that quite literally, the hands hold the union together and the feet carry it to the next adventure and thus did not edit my photo selections. So, dear diary, I want to divulge my admiration of the ways that we hold onto love and take it to the next level.

That sweet biology based, old Roman idea that rocking your diamond on your left hand was anatomically correct based on that fourth finger’s job to house the one vein directly to your heart is just a little bit outdated and also not entirely correct; as it turns out all fingers have veins that run to your heart! So really one could don wedding rings on any or all of your fingers if it is truly to express a union coming from the heart, right?! Alas, ever the hopeless romantic waiting for my chance to rock a diamond and a big fan of shiny distractions, let’s get back to the topic on hand, shall we?? Hands are, indeed, an extension of our hearts, whether we are speaking anatomically, metaphysically or just as an accessory. We extend our hand to greet one another with handshakes, high fives and even hold hands to show our intimacy with someone dear to us. It seems fitting then that our grip on life, love and all things physical are ‘held close’, be it in the ‘palm of your hand’ or one even could be ‘wrapped around your finger!’. I love all these references to ‘handling’ love and how we have a ‘hand in’ making our own choice in love.

Certainly in Indian culture, choice in your partner is not traditionally the way marriages have been made. Lucky for Veronica + Kapil, their getting together was kismet when the stars aligned them on Coffee Meets Bagel. Her traditional Latin roots paired with his Indian heritage made way for this really unique, cultural fusion of a wedding where East meets West, and you know how we love a good cultural exchange!! Hand in hand, these two made really sweet intentions of unifying their very different families into one big celebration that ultimately showed more similarity than difference. In a time when small variations cause major riffs, it’s so important that we handle the opportunities to come together in the most conscious ways we can. We, too, have a hand in making choices that can lead us forward instead of backward. And our sweet couple did that so perfectly on their wedding weekend! From the pre-party at the mariachi lead sangeet all the way to the wedding reception dance floor where Kapil’s parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary, the spirit of love of was handled so kindly and so perfectly.

And dance they did! There were many sweet moments captured on the dance floor including breaks for samba, bhangra and even some sweet beats from Bruno Mars. I have not soon forgotten about the multitude of good footwear at this awesome wedding. Kapil made certain his crew of dapper groomsmen could stand up for him in comfort throughout the day and gifted all the guys a pair of classic, Air Jordans! After all, #Chicago ya’ll! Even Veronica kicked off her high heels and rocked a pair of her own Nike’s and helped keep the dance floor energy all the way up!!

They say feet are your biggest access point to the rest of your body as the pores on your tootsies are the largest. It is also said that the reflexology which connects your hands and feet to other organs in your body can truly help circulation not to mention your connection to the rest of your body. Obviously, I’m no Dr. Oz but having been a wedding photographer for the last decade, I’ve become very versed in the world of post-wedding foot rubs so I can walk again in the days following. That said, a proper pair of shoes for all night dancing or just for fashion's sake is always a great idea in my book. Again, fashion and function are totally able to live in the same arena and especially if that ballpark has you dancing with your boo! And so far as feet carrying us forward to other amazing adventures off of the dance floor, let’s go ahead and be hopeless romantics together, shall we? I know you clicked on that Bruno Mars link and are singing along. It’s totally cool!

My challenge to you is to do a little hokey pokey this weekend! Put your hand in, put your hand out and shake it all about!! Repeat with the feet and everything in between. I promise, you will feel better afterward and nobody has to know you did it. Orrrrrr you could invite your whole crew over, make a video and post it in the comments on this little Dear Diary entry with #loverosephoto and follow along to me #dancinglikenooneiswatching on IG @rose_kaz and our crew page @rosephoto.official

To Veronica + Kapil, thank you so very much for having the RP crew to document your love story. You know it’s our favorite thing to do and truly an honor to meet your families. Your clever ways of introducing cultures to one another had our team in stitches and we love your love!! Can’t wait for the next chapters!!


Rose + Co