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!

N + J best of chicago history museum wedding lux wed photographer best of the knot photography-51.jpg


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!