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Wedding Day Preparation

I’m here today to talk about wedding day preparation! Here are some tips to help you look and feel your best!

Wedding Day Preparation
  1. Tanning:If you’re going to tan before the wedding, be sure to avoid tan lines – especially if you have a strapless dress. If you’re getting married in the summer, make sure that in the two to three months leading up to your wedding you’re tanning evenly to avoid tan lines. If you’re going to do a ‘fake’ tan, make sure you do it about a week before your wedding to avoid looking orange, or having sweat runs in your tan!
  2. Hair & Makeup: Get your hair and makeup professionally done. Be sure to do a trial run beforehand to ensure you like the look before your big day. Its actually really great if you can use the same person or service for your engagement session, bridal session and wedding. This will help you to build a relationship with that person and ensure that you get exactly what you are wanting the day of the wedding.
  3. Accessories: Try on your dress with different accessories you think you want to wear on your wedding day. This way, you know what it looks like with the dress so you know for sure what you want to wear, and are not trying to decide on a necklace, etc. on the day of your wedding. This takes away getting ready time and causes unnecessary stress. And take pictures with your phone of the different arrangements so that you can go back, really think about them and know for sure what you are wanting.
  4. Shoes: Walk around in your wedding shoes prior to the big day to get them worn in (wear socks in them the first time or two to help keep your feet from getting sores). Also, take some sandpaper to the bottoms to scuff them up a bit so you don’t slip down the aisle or on the dance floor. If you are going to walk around in grass, you’ll want to get some high heel protector caps so you don’t sink in the grass. Lastly, be conscious of walking on uneven grass so you don’t face plant in your pretty white dress.
  5. Eat & Drink: The best way for you to look your best is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water the days leading up to, and the day of, your wedding. Also, be sure to eat on your wedding day throughout the day so you don’t pass out or get a headache. And if you’re going to drink alcohol, don’t get drunk before photos – especially if it’s red wine that can stain everything (including your mouth). Alcohol will dehydrate you so make sure that up until the reception, you have a glass of water after each alcoholic drink to stay hydrated. Save the big drinking for after all the big events at your reception.

I hope that this article on wedding day preparation helps you prepare for your big day! If there is something important on wedding day preparation that I missed, let me know below and I’ll be sure to add it!

Still looking for a Chattanooga Wedding Photographer? I’d love to chat!

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    PDA During The Engagement Session

    Engagement sessions are about love and romance and the chemistry between the engaged couple eagerly awaiting their wedding. It’s only natural that with love comes PDA. That’s right, folks: public displays of affection. PDA during the engagement session is expected and totally ok!

    PDA During The Engagement Session

    Don’t worry, I don’t mean I’m going to have you completely grope each other during your session – those aren’t pictures grandma wants to hang on her fridge.

    During your session, I will ask you to hold hands, hug, cuddle, and even kiss! This is part of my normal workflow for engagement sessions. I just wanted to give you a heads up before your session so you know what to expect and have time to practice if you’re currently not OK with PDA.

    Let me know if this is something that you aren’t ok with or if you have any other questions about PDA during the engagement session!

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      Why a First Look is a Good Idea

      First, what is a first look? A first look is a private moment, approximately 20 minutes, set aside right before the ceremony to see each other. This goes against the tradition of your groom seeing you at the ceremony, but don’t count it out just yet.

      Read on to find out how a first look can benefit you.

      First Look

      Many of my couples ask me whether or not they should have a first look and now that you’ve answered the question of ‘what is a first look’, you can come to your own conclusion.

      In my professional opinion as a wedding photographer, I think they are an excellent idea. I love first looks. I know that they are a tad bit ‘untraditional,’ but let me take a minute to explain the benefits of a first look.

      1. Your wedding day will be crazy busy. No getting around it. You have so much to do and so little time to do it in. If you have a first look, it helps to calm down the day a bit. Instead of trying to rush around to get everyone together and have pictures taken between the wedding ceremony and reception while your guests are waiting, you’ll have that time to relax and enjoy your guests and not have to worry about being late to your reception. We can do all of the main portraits before the ceremony even begins – at the very least, the bride and groom and bridal party photos. This way, your hair and makeup are still perfect, as they were just finished. If your family is coming earlier, we can do their photos beforehand, as well, or we will only have to worry about those portraits after the ceremony and not the bridal party shots.
      2. A first look also gives you a very special, intimate moment with your new spouse. If you are nervous or stressed out, this will especially help to relax you, and your spouse can comfort you and let you know it will all be OK. During the ceremony, there are many of people around and you can’t fully take in the moment because everyone is staring at you. With a first look, that moment is just between you and your spouse (and your photographer, of course – which you won’t even know that I am there, I promise).
      3. Even if you have a first look, your husband will be just as happy to see you walking down the aisle and you’ll still take his breath away. Don’t worry that you’ll be spoiling the moment by seeing him prior to the ceremony. Every groom I have asked says that the moment of his bride walking down his aisle is breathtaking even though he’d seen her moments before.

      Click here for information on hiring Jennifer Anderson Photography as your wedding photographer!

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        Timing The Engagement Session

        When planning and timing the engagement session, you want to get the timing just right and there are many factors to consider during this process.

        Timing The Engagement Session

        Here’s a list of things you need to take into consideration when picking a session date:

        1. If you are going to display your engagement photos at your wedding, and you are doing outside portraits, try to plan your engagement session in the season that you are having your wedding. This way, it matches your wedding décor.
        2. Keep in mind that whenever you are planning the engagement session is probably a busy season for photographers. Be sure to book early so you can get a good spot. You also need to remember that if you’re doing outdoor photos, you have to cater to the weather. Sometimes the weather is crazy and we have to reschedule. We’ve had clients have to reschedule four times before due to rain, etc. Be sure to book a backup date in case your first one gets rained out and that when timing the engagement session, you have plenty of time to reschedule a few times.
        3. Remember that you and/or your fiancé may need to take some time off of work for the session. We may not have any availability when you’re available because, even though we try to be accommodating, we don’t shoot every day or may already be booked on your day off. This is especially true on weekends.
        4. When timing the engagement session, book early enough to use your photos for Save the Date cards, etc. Don’t forget about editing, printing, and mailing times. Allow enough time for the whole process and still have them to your guests on time.
        5. If you’re doing a slideshow at your wedding and want to use your engagement photos in it, don’t wait until a month before your wedding to take your engagement photos and then stress and worry as you try to hurry to get them back and into the presentation. You have to allow editing time in your schedule.

        I hope that this article helps you when timing the engagement session! If you have anything to add, or any questions, just let me know!

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          Do I need a Makeup Artist for my Wedding

          As a Chattanooga wedding photographer, I know that you’ve spent a lot of money on your wedding and you’re trying to see where you can save money.

          Do I need a Makeup Artist for my Wedding

          So the question is

          Do I need a Makeup Artist for My Wedding?


          You’ve made a big investment in photography (and possibly videography as well) to help capture your big day. You want to make sure you absolutely look your best. Although, I’m sure you do a very nice job on your everyday makeup, I strongly recommend looking into hiring a makeup artist.

          Here’s why:

          Even though you’re great at doing your own makeup, a MUA can do it so much better. I mean, after all, that is their job. We especially recommend hiring a good MUA if you don’t normally do your own makeup. They know what will look good on you and can make it look natural and flawless.

          Makeup artists use high-grade makeup – nothing runs, shines, or smudges, ensuring that you don’t have any makeup malfunctions during your big day. They also know what works well with the flash, the lighting at different times of the day, etc.

          On your wedding day, you’re going to be moving around all day and you want your makeup to last. You’ll need to be wearing about 30% more makeup than normal. It may seem like a lot in real life, because you’re not used to it, but it won’t look like a lot on camera. Makeup artists know exactly how much to put on.

          A MUA knows how to accentuate your features to make sure you look your best for portraits and close ups. They know that cameras alter lighting and colors and how to avoid common makeup issues with photography.

          Some everyday makeups can make you look oily or shiny on camera – MUAs make sure the makeup they use will photograph perfectly. Also, on your wedding day, you’ll be wearing a lot of white. You don’t want to look washed out in your photos and a MUA knows how to make sure that doesn’t happen.

          And lastly, they know your schedule and can help keep you on track by making sure to have you ready in time.

          So, do I need a Makeup Artist for My Wedding? Yes, you do. Trust me.

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            Incorporate Hobbies Into Your Engagement Session

            Things to remember when trying to incorporate hobbies into your engagement session.

            Incorporate Hobbies Into Your Engagement Session

            Clothing– If you are super into sports, you can dress up in your favorite team’s jerseys or other team swag. If you’re having a vintage wedding, you can go along with that theme with your attire. If you like to dress up and go dancing, you can dress the part in your photos. Use your clothing to express your interests and hobbies as a couple. PRO TIP: Make sure that you also take photos in normal clothing, too!

            Props – Bringing props is going to be the easiest way to incorporate your hobbies into your session. It could be a guitar, a Scrabble game, your bikes, some paint for a colorful, messy session, etc. Bring your pets, take your boat for a spin around the lake, pack a picnic…the possibilities are endless. PRO TIP: Only choose one or two things. A session with 10 ‘prop’ themes is going to get overwhelming and extend the session exponentially.

            Location– Another way that you can incorporate hobbies into your engagement session is to think about locations that have significance to you. Where did you meet? Where did he propose? Where is your wedding going to take place? We can go to the lake, a sports stadium, the theater, your favorite bar or park, a hotel, the fair, etc. Think about places you love to hang out together. We’re open to ideas here, so just let us know what you’re thinking! PRO TIP: Make a list and bring it to your consultation with your photographer and use their expertise to help you narrow down the list!

            I hope this helps you to incorporate hobbies into your engagement session! If you ever have any questions, just ask me! And if you’re looking for an engagement or wedding photographer, I’d love to chat!

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              How Many Hours Do I Need a Wedding Photographer

              How Many Hours Do I Need a Wedding Photographer

              As a Chattanooga Wedding Photographer, one of my most frequently asked questions is: How Many Hours Do I Need a Wedding Photographer for? This is a great question, and we’re here to help you find the answer.

              What do you want covered?

              First, you need to decide what important details you want covered. Do you want a lot of getting ready shots prior to the ceremony? Do you want me to stay for the entire reception? These details will affect the length of time you will need us there. If you want us to stay until your reception exit, and you want a lot of candid, getting ready shots, you will need full day coverage. If you just want a few getting ready shots, that will knock off some time. If you want us to stay for just the main events in the reception and not until the last guest leaves, then this will also shorten the day. By deciding on a start and/or end time, this is the first step to booking your required time.

              Ceremony Length

              Next, you need to think about the ceremony length. For a Catholic wedding, the ceremonies tend to be longer, so you will need to allot more time for that. If you want us to cover you getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception, I suggest 10 hours for Catholic weddings. If you have a shorter ceremony, you won’t need to take out as much time from your schedule.

              Location Transfer

              Now let’s talk about location. If you have a shorter ceremony and your reception is at the same venue as your ceremony, then you won’t need as much time because you can take out travel time. I would say something like this would be good for six to eight hours, depending on the formal photos.

              On that same note, if your reception is at a different venue, you will need to include travel time into your schedule. Also incorporate the amount of time it takes to pack up all of your stuff to take to the reception. If you are going to take photos along the drive to the reception, more time will need to be added for that as well.

              Formal Photo Requirements

              For formal photos, you have to consider how many people are in your bridal party, and how many people are going to be in your family photos. If you have a small bridal party and a small number of family members having photos done, (and you’re at the same location the whole time), then six hours will suffice. If you have a larger family or bridal party, you will need closer to eight hours.

              Special Exit

              If you’re doing a special exit from the reception, like a sparkler exit, you’ll need to have full day coverage.

              So, How Many Hours Do I Need a Wedding Photographer? Some weddings can be covered in just six hours and some will require up to twelve. It’s all dependent on your wedding day.

              If you’re still looking for a Chattanooga Wedding Photographer, I would love to chat with you to see if we’re a good fit! Click here for more info.

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                All White Photography Mini Sessions

                All White Photography Mini Sessions are fifteen to twenty minute sessions with a simple, all white, indoor setup. These sessions are designed to give you a sample of what Jennifer Anderson Photography has to offer as a Chattanooga Family Photographer.

                About Jennifer

                My name is Jen and I am a fairly new photographer to Chattanooga TN. (Hence the reason for these awesome priced mini sessions!) I am honored that you are considering me as your photographer!

                I have been in the photography industry for over 13 years. I have trained with some of the best teachers in the industry. I have photographed all genre’s and love photographing weddings and families.

                On a personal level, I am a wife to a handsome helicopter pilot (who sometimes shoots with me!), a mom to four awesome kids + one border collie. I LOVE to travel, and take a few trips every year to someplace new. I’d love to hear more about you!

                Sample Images

                Session Details

                Date: March 14th, 2020

                Cost: $30

                Location: My home studio in Ooltewah, TN


                These photography mini sessions are being held in my home studio. I do ask that you be respectful of that.

                This cost is introductory as I am fairly new to the Chattanooga area and looking to build my client base. (Click here for regular session pricing.)

                5 digital images are included in the price noted above. Additional images, prints and other products are available for separate purchase.

                Once you’ve chosen your time below, you’ll be emailed an invoice. If that invoice is not paid within 24 hours, your time slot will be opened up to the next person in line.

                Book Your Photography Mini Session

                Join the Waitlist

                Not available for this date or any of the times left? Join the waitlist!

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                  Barn Wedding Venue: Zach + Emily’s Wedding

                  Zach and Emily got married at a local barn wedding venue, the Gray Dove in a gorgeous ceremony at the bottom of the hill looking up at the barn.

                  The Gray Dove is a gorgeous barn wedding venue. It is a family farm owned by the Cain Family. The farm is an actual working farm with horses who roam in the nearby pastures, which makes for a gorgeous wedding photography backdrop. The Cain family tirelessly restored the 100-year-old barn and stacked stone fireplace as well as added a similar open-air pavilion to provide the most space possible for wedding parties. 

                  Read more about The Gray Dove

                  Emily and Zach met in a very millennial way. When they went on their first date, Zach was adamant it wasn’t a ‘real’ date. Well, he sure could have fooled us, because he ended up marrying Emily!

                  The bride is a school counselor and the groom is in sales. They go to church together and Zach’s youth pastor performed the ceremony in a beautiful spot under the trees on the Gray Dove’s barn wedding venue property.

                  They enjoy running and hiking together with their two pups, and you’ll see in the video below, a nod to that pastime during their wedding.

                  Emily and Zach’s wedding was beautiful and went off without a hitch. The weather was perfect for an October wedding, and the barn venue was such a perfect setting.

                  As a Chattanooga Wedding Photographer, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed in this venue as it photographs beautifully and provides all of the details you’re looking for.

                  If you’re interested in booking this fantastic barn wedding venue, do it quickly as they book up 12-18 months in advance.

                  Click here to visit the Gray Dove Website.

                  See more Chattanooga Wedding Venues

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                    How To Hire A Wedding Photographer

                    When it comes to how to hire a wedding photographer, I understand your frustration. There are dozens of options for a Chattanooga Wedding Photographer, and lots of variations in what each one offers. Hopefully this article sheds some light on how to hire a wedding photographer for you.

                    Part #1: Research

                    The best way to know how to hire a wedding photographer is to figure out what you need first and then find a Chattanooga Wedding Photographer that suits that need.

                    Your needs should consider:

                    • the style of photography– light and airy or dark and moody or something else entirely.
                    • pricing + inclusions– how much you have budgeted and how much you get for your money is a very important aspect of your search. Most Chattanooga Wedding Photographers range from $2000 to $5000. Determine if you want digitals included and how important that is to you.
                    • product offerings– what physical products are important to you? Albums, flash drives, wall art, digitals, etc. Make sure that the photographer in question offers these things to you if they are important. And, no, printing things at Walmart or Shutterfly will notbe the same thing, I promise.

                    Part # 2: The Consultation

                    The second part of how to hire a wedding photographer is to schedule a consultation.

                    Once you’ve found one or two that you like (and are available on your date) based on these ideas, meet with them in personto get a feel for them, see if you’re a good fit and make sure to ask them these questions. Also at the consultation, you’ll have an opportunity to touch and feel their products and samples. This is a great time to make sure that they live up to what you envision for your heirlooms.

                    1. How many weddings have you shot? Obviously the more the better, but someone just starting out may very well know what they are doing. I would suggest choosing someone who has shot at least 3-5 weddings recently. They will be familiar with how the day will run and can anticipate shots better than someone who hasn’t shot any in the last few months.
                    2. When was your most recent wedding?This can be tricky, because there are wedding ‘seasons’. And some wedding photographers only work certain months out of the year. As long as they’ve shot a wedding within 3-4 months, you should be good! Very important: Ask to see the full wedding photography gallery that was delivered to the client (see the next question).
                    3. May I see a wedding you’ve shot from start to finish?If they aren’t willing to share a full gallery start to finish, that is a red flag. It could mean that they ‘borrowed’ images from another photographer (which is illegal). Or they shot it themselves and aren’t confident enough to send it to you.
                    4. Do you shoot digital, film or both?This is going to be more of a preference thing for you. Understand that film comes with longer turn around times and your photographer MUST know what they are doing. You can expect to spend quite a bit more money for a film photographer.
                    5. How long before I see my images?A typical turn around time is six to eight weeks, some pushing twelve weeks. Be prepared for that. But, some wedding photographers, like myself, guarantee your photos within three weeks. You could also ask your photographer if they will rush edit them for you for an extra fee.
                    6. Are the digital images included with printing rights?Digital photographers should be including at least some digital images in their packages for you to print from – via a USB or online gallery. Find out how long your online gallery will be live and make sure you can download from it. Film photographers may not do that due to the process that is required. Every wedding with Jennifer Anderson Photography includes the digitals with printing + sharing rights.
                    7. Are you the person that will be present at my wedding?Some wedding photography companies hire outside photographers to shoot their weddings for them. Usually this is totally fine, but there is a slight chance you get a new photographer who isn’t totally sure of themselves and might bomb the wedding.
                    8. What happens if you get sick?EVERY photographer needs a backup plan. If they don’t have one, run. Period.
                    9. Are you photographing other events the same day as mine?It’s not necessarily a deal breaker if they are photographing two events in one day, but just know that they will be time restrained, and if you’re the second event, they may be exhausted.
                    10. Is it ok if guests take photos?It should be fine if guests take photos. Obviously, Uncle Bob can’t be in the way of the photographer and the guests can’t hold up  yours &  the photographers schedule, but it should be fine if they take photos during your event. The only restriction would be during formal portraits due to the time constraints and making sure things go smoothly – so be prepared for that as well.
                    11. If my event runs over, will you stay? And what is there an additional charge? Most photographers will stay for an hourly fee. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you are aware of how it works from the beginning. Here is a great article on making sure you have enough hours of coverage.
                    12. What is your refund/cancellation policy?Even though we know you aren’t cancelling your big day, it’s good to know where you stand if there is an emergency. Make sure to ask about date transfers too if you need to change the date of the wedding.
                    13. Do you have insurance?Yes. The answer here is always yes. Make sure they have liability and equipment insurance. No exceptions to this one.

                    At the end of the consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to book your photographer, usually with a bonus if you sign the contract that day so be prepared to sign a contract and pay a deposit if you love them.

                    Part #3: Booking

                    The last step in how to hire a wedding photographer is to book the one you love!❤

                    The Retainer– Once you’ve chosen a photographer, usually at the end of the consultation, be prepared to pay a retainer of 30-50% of the fee. All professional wedding photographers require this in order to take your wedding date off of their calendar. You are retaining them for that date. The balance will most likely be due approximately 30 days before the wedding.

                    The Contract– Make sure you sign a contract when you make the retainer payment. If the photographer does not have a contract, that is a big red flag, and you should not be hiring them. This contract protects you as much as it protects the photographer. Make sure that you understand the terms of the contract and ask questions if you don’t understand.

                    I hope this article helped you to determine how to hire a wedding photographer. If you’d like to set up a meeting with me as a candidate for your Chattanooga Wedding Photographer, click here.

                    Want more? Read this post on The Importance of Two Wedding Photographers.

                    Happy Wedding Planning!!! 

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                      Jennifer Anderson Photography

                      Serving Chattanooga & Beyond

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                      Red Poppy Drive, Ooltewah, TN | (423) 521-5879 |

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