Juan and Brian's Wedding at Gaylord Palms | Love is Love

I had so much fun shooting Brian and Juan’s wedding at Gaylord Palms. They said their vows in the atrium, surrounded by loving family and friends and danced the night away in the Orange Blossom Ballroom!

Claude's 80th Birthday!

If I have half the energy at 80 years old that Claude had when I photographed his 80th birthday party, I’ll be doing pretty darn well! Claude has led an amazing life and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, threw a party in his honor. Surrounded by family and friends, they celebrated and danced the night away!

How to Choose a Wedding Venue for Great Wedding Photos

The only thing left after your wedding celebration is the memories… and the photos of course! How can you make sure to choose a wedding venue for the best photos ever? 

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Shannon Tarrant, founder of the local wedding venue search, WeddingVenueMap.com, shares some questions to ask your potential venue and tips to guarantee amazing wedding photos. 

Where am I getting ready?

Be sure to ask the wedding venue if there is a place to get ready at the venue or if you need to arrive already dressed. If they have a wedding getting ready room, make sure to see it in advance! Some ready rooms are more like a conference room, painted a unique color or really small. Look for a venue that includes a bridal suite that is decorated with nice furniture, has plenty of space for you and your wedding party, a place to hang your dress high and great lighting. 


How much time is included in my rental?

Have you thought about doing a first look before your ceremony? These days nearly 40%of couples choose to do one! Make sure to get a clear understanding of how much time you have at the venue before your wedding ceremony begins. Some venues allow you on property very early while others open only two hours before. If a first look is a part of your plan, make sure to find out if there is enough time. 

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How big is the venue? 

Consider the size of the venue when deciding if you should add a second photographer to your wedding photography package. If one person is getting ready off-site at a hotel, while the other is getting ready at the venue, how can only one photographer capture both? Will there be time for your photographer to capture the reception details during cocktail hour or would you benefit from having a second photographer to do that because the portrait photo spots are farther away? If you aren’t sure, ask your venue contact.

What is the ceremony lighting?

Are you planning your ceremony indoors? Wonderful! Check the space around the time of your ceremony see if the light streams in through the windows and if there is enough lighting. 

Tying the knot outdoors? Perfect! Time of day and the location of the sun in the sky is really important for your photos. If you tour the venue in the morning, be sure to ask the venue sales manager where the sun rises and sets and where it would be in the sky on your wedding day and time. Also keep in mind that seasonal time changes affect sunrise and sunset times. If you’re set on not doing a seeing each other before the wedding but your ceremony starts at sunset, your portraits will be lit differently than if they’d be shot prior to the ceremony.

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What happens if it rains? 

Let’s be real, your wedding is in Florida where the weather is unpredictable and it rains often, especially in the summer. Does your venue have great photo ops undercover or in cool indoor spaces? What is the lighting like in those areas? Having a Plan B not just for photos, but for the comfort of your guests, is really important in Florida. 

Where is there natural light? 

The wedding portraits are the most often saved, printed, framed and displayed. Most photographers would prefer to shoot these pictures in natural light. When touring at the potential wedding venue, pay attention of how far away the potential natural light locations might be from your ceremony and reception space. 

Will there be another wedding going on? 

This is another really important question to ask your venue. When venues host more than one wedding at the same time, sometimes there is a fight for the great photo spots. Find out how the venue handles this situation in advance instead of finding out on your wedding day. 

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Any chance of sunset photos? 

One of the most iconic photos re-pinned on wedding PinterestPinterest boards is couple sunset photos. Does your venue have a great spot for this special moment? If this is important to you, make sure that the location for sunset photos is not too far from your reception space as you may have to duck out during dinner with your photographer to grab this shot. 

If you have a specific photographer in mind, be sure to ask their opinion before you book the wedding venue. They may have already shot a wedding there and be able to give you some valuable insight. 

Haven’t found a photog that you love?

Consider checking to see what photographers have shot at the venue by using google image search. Search “venue name and wedding”, then click on images you love to head to that photographer’s website. Contact them and ask what they think of the photography options at that venue. You can also ask the venue for their list of preferred vendors to see what photographers regularly shoot there.

Most wedding photographers are happy to do a walkthrough of your venue with you in the weeks leading up to your ceremony so you can scope out some photo ops and make a plan for your wedding portraits. 

Remember to do the research in advance of choosing your wedding venue. The wedding pictures and video are the only memories that will last a lifetime. Pick a wedding venue that sets everyone up for success! 





Cuba: Half of My Heart is in Havana

Cuba is one of those places that’s tough to put into words. We all have preconceived notions about Cuba based on the US’s storied history with the island, but part of travel is putting those ideas aside and experiencing a place and its people and learning from them. There is beauty in Cuba, and resilience. Yes, there is struggle and there are numerous challenges, but there is also hope and kindness.

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