Let’s Revisit: Getting Ready!

by Lauryn on April 17, 2014 in Wedding

Let’s Revisit is a mini-series I am doing “revisiting” popular wedding photographer blog topics that I have not covered in quite some time.  It’s time for a refresher! 

Today I want to talk about a part of the wedding day that for the most part doesn’t get much thought.  Or, the thought it does get, is not sufficient or thorough.  Where you get ready and dressed for your wedding day…matters.  It matters for the Groom too!  Most of the time when Brides and Grooms think through where they will get ready, they think about proximity to the Ceremony, cost, and what the location means to them.  Proximity to the Ceremony space is an important one!  You don’t want to waste 30-60 minutes of your Day of Timeline driving all over the place.  Cost is also very important.  Let’s be frank: Weddings are expensive.  Even when you plan a smaller budget wedding, things are costly!! And, lastly the meaning of the location to the couple holds a lot of weight, as it should.  Getting ready at home, or a friends home is very special!  However, even though all of those things are very important, I would say there are a couple things that are more important.  I am biased because I look at this from a photographer’s perspective, but its truly out of care for my clients.  I want to deliver stunning images, and not just stunning images of the Ceremony, Reception, and Portraits, but the entire day.  That’s why it matters to really think through where you will be getting ready!

Getting Ready Location Matters_0006
David and Connie


It has been said that a photographer’s main tool is not their camera, but light.  I agree with this.  Photographer’s are manipulators of light!  This is the number 1 priority when choosing a Getting Ready location.  Is there beautiful and plentiful light?  Without it, your photographer will have a harder time delivering those stunning images.  Tungsten and Florescent light do not count.  Natural light is best and the most flattering! You need windows or doors, or a private outdoor area!

Getting Ready Location Matters_0008
Brandon and Jessica


This is the 2nd most important bit.  If you are having an outdoor/country/barn wedding, why would you get ready in a hotel room?  Continuity between venues will allow your photographer to capture moments that are really representative of the day.  If you are having a barn wedding, consider a quaint Bed and Breakfast instead of a hotel room.  If you are having a beach wedding, consider renting a pretty beach cottage.  If you are having a modern city wedding, go for the hotel room.  Old city architecture wedding?  Get some rooms at a gorgeous 100 year old inn.  Your photographer will be photographing your details during this time as well.  So, if you’re having a vintage wedding and there is nothing vintage around to use for your necklace photograph, it’s not going to make a ton of sense image wise.  This piece is especially important if you are ordering an album!  You want the whole day to coordinate well together!

Getting Ready Location Matters_0003
Trace and Natalie


This really depends on your wedding party and how many family members will be with you while you get ready.  Having 20 plus people with you?  Don’t book 1 room at the B&B, book the master suite.  And, don’t forget that your photographer is going to be there as well; probably with a lot of gear to boot!  He/She will need room to move around the space to capture candid moments and to really photograph the over all feel.  They will not be able to do this if they are relegated to standing in one corner while you slip into your dress!

Getting Ready Location Matters_0005
Mark and Tegan


Maybe the space doesn’t meet one or more of the criteria listed above, including cost, location, and meaning.  What do you do?  If you love a certain place but it’s an hour away, consider hiring your photographer for an extra hour that day.  Found the perfect place, but it’s too costly?  Consider cutting the budget somewhere else.  Your parents want you to get ready at home with them?  Clean out a bedroom, replace bed linens, remove clutter and unnecessary furniture, and make sure there is plenty of light.  Or maybe the perfect place doesn’t have a lot of light?  Make sure you are okay with images that have more grain and a moodier feel.  Your photographer may give you a lot of black and whites!  Have to get ready in the church’s nursery rooms even though you are having your wedding in a field?  Bring some props to the room with you so your photographer can still create continuity in your images.  An old chair, some extra lace, leftover flowers, etc… Can’t afford the honeymoon suite at the hotel to accommodate all your family that wants to be with you while you get dressed?  Consider having them come after you are dressed for a big reveal!  Unless you have unlimited resources and book things so far in advance, chances are you will have to compromise in some way.  Make a priority list, and go from there!

Getting Ready Location Matters_0007
Mark and Ashley

Picking the right place to get ready can really change the way your entire wedding day feels, especially through your images.  Photography is one of the most important parts of the day, and maybe even one of the most expensive.  Make sure you have done everything you can to help your photographer capture the full story of your day! Those images are forever!


Weekly Pregnancy Pictures!

by Lauryn on April 11, 2014 in Personal

Wow.  What a project!

When Jared and I found out I was pregnant, we quickly started talking about taking a weekly picture to document the pregnancy.  We wanted to do something that was somewhat unique, and we wanted to do something that we could actually do.  We started on Week 11.  Before that I was really afraid to own my pregnancy.  Getting pregnant is a miracle.  Growing a baby (any number of hours/days/weeks) is a miracle.  Birthing a baby is a miracle.  So, I was afraid of starting this series.  I knew very well that this was a gift, and we weren’t guaranteed anything.   Jared convinced me it was time though, and I consented.

We drove around The Fan one day, up and down many alleys.  I had this image in my head of where I wanted to take my picture each week.  I wanted a cool door.  We picked out a few that we liked and then were finally able to narrow it down to just one.  I love that door, and I am so glad we chose it!

Weekly Pregnancy Pictures Lauryn Galloway_0001There were a few things that made this difficult for me.  One, I don’t have that many clothes.  My parents were so gracious and generous to me and bought me maternity clothing for my birthday.  I loved everything we picked out, and Im sad I don’t get to wear them anymore!  However, when you are taking a weekly picture, you don’t really want to wear the same thing twice, and certainly not the same outfit twice.  Unless, of course, you are wearing the same outfit in EVERY picture.  I am no fashionista and I had to come up with 30 different ensembles!  Even when I wore the same article a few times, I tried to be mindful of switching it up a bit.  I also tried to do my hair differently throughout the process.  Not something different each week, but I tried to throw in variety!  The other difficult part?  After a certain point, you think you don’t even care anymore about the pictures.  At least, that’s how I felt.  I can’t remember what week it was, but at some point I really didn’t want to do the project anymore!  I rarely get all dolled up, and so it was a big production each week on picture day! I am so thankful that Jared made me stick it out though.  Here are some of my favorites…

Weekly Pregnancy Pictures Lauryn Galloway_0005

Weekly Pregnancy Pictures Lauryn Galloway_0006 Weekly Pregnancy Pictures Lauryn Galloway_0008Weekly Pregnancy Pictures Lauryn Galloway_0010

First and last picture!

Weekly Pregnancy Pictures Lauryn Galloway_0004

We weren’t able to take my Week 39 picture!  I went into labor on Tuesday and we were planning on taking my picture that Wednesday.  Im also bummed because I really wanted to take a picture right before we headed to the hospital.  However, once it was time for us to head to the hospital, NO WAY was I in a picture taking mood.  We should have done it right away!  Mamas-to-be, take note!  Take a picture the moment you know you are in true labor!!

I am hoping to order an album with a picture on each page.  Maybe for my birthday or Christmas?

**I also wrote out my birth story, but I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in reading that on here!  I loved reading them, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  So, if you would like to read it, I am happy to share!  Shoot me an email or leave a comment! :-) 


Blogging Calendar

by Lauryn on April 9, 2014 in Business

One of my business goals each month is going to be mapping out my blogging for the following month.  I have no skills in PS and so I went to Pinterest to find a pretty, blank, printable calendar to use for the year.  I was so delighted to find this one.  Isn’t it great?

Blogging Calendar Lauryn Galloway Photography_0003

I printed it out on some 60 lb. card stock and will hang it above my desk each month with some cute washi tape.   I try to keep a running list of ideas of blogging material in my day planner.   Since the printable is going to be displayed, I plan on writing out each day on a scrap piece of paper to organize everything and then transferring the final ideas onto the Calendar.  Another idea I had was to place the printable in a frame each month and use a skinny dry erase marker to write out what I want to blog!  I might switch things up if I feel like the process/display isn’t working for me, but for now I am excited about it!

How do you keep up with blogging?  Does it just flow naturally from you week to week?  Or, do you like to have it all planned out?


Let’s Revisit: First Looks!

by Lauryn on April 3, 2014 in Business,FAQ,Wedding

It’s been a while since I blogged about a few key things for Brides and Grooms to consider on their wedding day.  The last time I talked about First Looks was in 2011!  The off season provides a wonderful opportunity to talk logistics and I thought a small series revisiting topics would be great!  First things first…First Looks.

What Is A First Look_0002

What is a First Look?

This is a really common question.  Because I work in the industry, I wrongly make the assumption that my Bride’s are all as equally interested in it’s current trends.  I do hope that my clients are reading current blogs and magazines, but I shouldn’t assume they know or understand what all the lingo means.  A First Look is when the Bride and Groom see one another BEFORE the Ceremony.  This is still quite controversial, especially in the South, but thankfully it is still gaining ground and becoming popular.

The First Look is a private time between the Bride and Groom while the Photographers are present to capture those emotions.  They are unbelievably sweet, shocking, funny, joyful, and nerve-wracking, all at once.  The best part about a First Look?  It’s PRIVATE.  No one is watching.  No one is waiting.  It’s just you and your soon to be spouse.  The photographer usually picks a secluded space with good light, either at the Ceremony location or the Getting Ready location.  Typically the Groom is waiting while the Bride approaches.  She can either tap his shoulder to turn him around, or she can call his name and have him turn around while she is still a few feet away.  The photographer is there with a longer lens, standing back, snapping away while the Bride and Groom revel in the moment.

What Is A First Look_0001

Why consider a First Look? 

I always approach this question from two sides: Logistically and Personally.  Let’s start with logistics.  As the wedding professional, I prefer and recommend doing a First Look.  The kinds of images I am able to capture are NOTHING like the kind of image you capture where the Bride and Groom see one another from opposite ends of a long aisle.  In the best way! The images alone speak for themselves.  Because it’s private, it is very emotional.  Some couples start laughing, some cry, some are speechless, and some cannot stop complimenting one another.  It’s a truly unique moment that the photographer is able to discreetly capture.  You cannot recreate these kinds of emotions or images later!  The other business-y reason for me to recommend this is because it really helps my couples out with their Day of Timelines.

Wedding days are very hectic and there is a lot to pack in in a short amount of time.  This is especially noticeable in the hour after the Ceremony is over, before the Reception starts.  Guests are anxious to mug on the newly married couple and they are hungry.  This prompts people to rush through whatever is planned during that hour, no matter how important it may be.  Typically Family Formals, Wedding Party, and Private Bride and Groom Portraits all need to be taken in that hour if there is no First Look.  Each of those activities however takes on average 30-40 mins.  It’s very easy to see how things get rushed! When you choose a First Look though… You get all Private B&G Portraits done, all Wedding Party done, and are sometimes even able to get immediate Family Formals done, all before the Ceremony even starts! That means that the B&G have more time for extended Family Formals after the Ceremony and are even able to join the cocktail hour if they wish.  You can actually spend quality time with your guests!!

What Is A First Look_0004

Now, why I personally recommend First Looks…

I have been a bride, and I am so thankful that Jared and I did a First Look!  Jared is my very best friend, and I was nervous on our wedding day.  I basically cried for hours while getting ready because it was all very overwhelming to me.  Despite my wonderful bridesmaids best efforts, I really just needed to see my best friend.  I needed him to ground me.  Even if I was feeling the opposite, over zealous joy, who do you think I would really want to be sharing that with?  My best friend.   By choosing to do a First Look, Jared and I were able to really relax into the day and focus on what we were doing.  I was able to really see what was happening as I walked down the aisle with my Dad.  I saw Jared’s tears.  Yep!  He still cried when he saw me!  Seeing one another before the Ceremony didn’t change that moment because that moment was still so monumental.  I was walking down the aisle to become his wife, to make vows to him, and to celebrate what God had done for us.  During our First Look we talked about our clothes, our thoughts, emotions, nerves, and we hugged it out.  I was able to reach out and touch him.  I could be close to his face and whisper in his ear as he held me.   We got to do all of that so that when the monumental aisle moment came, we could focus on it.  I have never regretted our choice for a second! And this whole paragraph is coming purely from a previous Bride’s heart, not a photographers.  This is what I tell all my friends and family when they ask, its not a part of the sales pitch!

What if I don’t choose a First Look?

This is a somewhat new trend, so if you ultimately decide to not do one, it’s not like your wedding is going to be any less great!  There are a few things to consider and think through when you don’t choose a First Look though.  First, what are your Ceremony Locations rules for Photographers?  Am I allowed to walk around freely as long as I am discrete?  Do I have to stand in the back?  The balcony?  Am I allowed to photograph the Ceremony at all?  How does the Officiant feel towards Photographers?  You would be surprised at some of the rules!  You may need to come to terms with the fact that there is no way your Photographer is going to be able to get a clean, close up shot of the Groom’s face as soon as he sees you at the end of the aisle based on the Location or Officiant rules.  Thinking through these rules and what that means for your Ceremony images is really important.  That way you won’t be disappointed later!  You also will need to find time in the itinerary for those 3 activities I mentioned earlier: Family Formals, Wedding Party, and Private Bride and Groom Portraits.  Doing all 3 in under an hour is not ideal and it won’t be that fun.  There are normally a lot of people to wrangle and it is almost always stressful.  You may need to make time during the Reception to sneak off with your Photographer to do your Private Portraits, or you may need to really cut back on how many Family Formals you would like to have, or you may need to have a longer than normal Cocktail Hour and have your Guests wait.

What Is A First Look_0005

Professionally and personally, I cannot recommend First Looks enough!  I don’t see any cons to doing one, except perhaps having to explain your choice to people, but there can be a lot of cons when choosing to not do one.  To me, it’s a no brainer!

Did you do a First Look?  Would you ever consider one, or maybe now you are reconsidering one?  Tell me your experiences, I’d love to hear!


April Goals!

by Lauryn on April 1, 2014 in Business

Hello!  Remember me?  It’s been a while friends, but I am glad to be back.  I have so much to share with you!  Some exciting things, some hard things…so much!

First things first though: monthly goals! I honestly can’t believe it’s April, but I am so happy it is because I am READY for warmer weather.  This is saying a lot because I am a cold weather person.  The Fall and Winter have always been my favorite seasons.  My favorite day of the year is the Winter Solstice.  I love the sun setting early and being forced inside to cozy homes, snuggled up with blankets.  But!  This winter has gone on long enough and finally this week we are having some *consistently* warmer days.  Yahoo!!

It feels good to be starting fresh in April and I am excited to get going with my monthly goals again!  Let’s look at my goals from February…


  • Have a birth experience I am happy with and a healthy little babe!
  • Cross Off Some Of Our To Do List.
  • Make 15 More Freezer Meals.This got done, but not by me! Mac came a couple days after I made the first 5 freezer meals!
  • Make Jared a Valentine.
  • Go Walking a Few More Times Before Baby G Appears.
  • Read Through Deuteronomy 13 and Pslam 60.


  • Create March Blogging CalendarDoes it count if I made one, but didn’t blog?!
  • Keep Up with February Blogging, as best I can
  • Keep Up with Emails
  • Send Off/Clean/Calibrate Half of LGP Gear

April Goals:


  • Read one book for myself.  Im going to read Caleb’s Crossing!
  • Get a Haircut.  I’ve been wavering…keep it long, or go short again?!
  • Walk 3-4 times a week, weather permitting.
  • Start Jesus Calling Devotional.


  • Blog twice a week.
  • Book 2 more weddings.
  • Send off Non-Essential Gear for Cleaning/Calibrating.
  • Taxes!

{Spring means Cherry Blossoms to me!}

What are your goals for April?  Are you just as excited as I am for warmer weather?  Look out for my 2nd blog post of the week on Thursday!  Keep me accountable!



Mac Galloway.

by Lauryn on February 25, 2014 in Personal

You may already know this if you follow me on Instagram, or you may have just guessed, but we had our baby!! And, it’s a boy!!

McKinley (Mac) Cooper Galloway
February 4, 2014
5:05 PM
6.6 lbs
19.5 in

We are so thrilled and in love with him.   He has been such a sweet little guy and we are super thankful for it.  A little about his name… McKinley is my maternal grandmothers maiden name and the nickname Mack is Jared’s great grandfather’s name.  We chose to leave off the ‘K’ just because we like it that way.  It worked out perfectly that Mac is a great nickname for McKinley!

Here are a couple pictures we took with him when he was about a week old!

As you can imagine we are still getting the swing of things.  I hope to blog a little bit more this week and next.  Thank you to everyone for your warm congratulations!  Mac is surrounded by so many people who love him already!!


What Will Baby G Be?

by Lauryn on February 4, 2014 in Personal

You may or may not know this… but Jared and I did not find out the sex of our baby!  Jared has always wanted to not know, and even though I am the Queen of Finding Things Out Before I Should, I agreed and we don’t have a clue!  Not a single one of our friends thought we would be able to do this.  Well, no one thought *I* would be able to do this.  I love to read the ends of books before finishing them (I always still finish them!!), I cannot wait to open gifts on the day they are supposed to be opened, and in general do not like being surprised when its the kind of surprise you know is coming.  A surprise party?  Sure, thats a REAL surprise.  But, a gift?  That’s not a surprise.  You know its there.  Just sitting there.  Taunting you.  So, no one really had any faith in me about this!  But, we stuck it out and I am really excited to have Jared announce what little Baby G is at the birth!! Should be a really special moment.

I thought it would be fun to have a little poll for people to guess the sex of Baby G!

I am technically due on February 10th, but as everyone knows that is just a guess and I could go early or late. We shall see when He/She decide to arrive!

Questions that we have gotten a lot, that is a bit surprising actually, is how we decorated the nursery, how we bought clothes, etc… We basically restricted ourselves from overtly Pink or Purple items, and then picked what we liked! Girls can wear blue!! We don’t have a dresser full of yellow and green, I promise! :-) If we have a Girl, I have some head bands and bows picked out to order. Easy peasy. Here is a peek into the nursery. We wanted it to feel like a kids playroom, not really “baby-ish.” We love it so much! It’s not finished just yet, but I will be sure to share when it is!


February Goals.

by Lauryn on February 3, 2014 in Business,Personal

I did it! First day of the month!! Woohoo, that’s progress friends!!

January Goal Recap:

Personal January 2014 Goals:

  • Make 5-7 Freezer Meals for after Baby G arrives!
  • Hang Felt Ball Garland in Nursery
  • Clean Upstairs Bath and Tub
  • Read through Exodus 40 and Psalm 31 (Jared and I are doing the Eat This Book Plan!)

Business January 2014 Goals:

  • Finish Up 2013 Album Orders/Mail
  • Create Blogging Calendar For February
  • Clean Out Hard Drives
  • Send Off/Clean/Calibrate Half of LGP Gear

Not too shabby! We haven’t been able to hang the Felt Ball Garland because it hasn’t come yet! Its been “shipped” for over two weeks now and I have emailed the Etsy shop owner about it. Hopefully it gets here soon! I also just realized that my CPS membership expired so I wasn’t able to ship my gear off just yet. That is now a February goal!


February Goals:


  • Have a birth experience I am happy with and a healthy little babe!
  • Cross Off Some Of Our To Do List
  • Make 15 More Freezer Meals
  • Make Jared a Valentine
  • Go Walking a Few More Times Before Baby G Appears
  • Read Through Deuteronomy 13 and Pslam 60


  • Create March Blogging Calendar
  • Keep Up with February Blogging, as best I can
  • Keep Up with Emails
  • Send Off/Clean/Calibrate Half of LGP Gear

February is also going to be a bit light as we will be learning how to be parents! My main goal is to just rest/heal and keep my head above water. If March 1st rolls around and I don’t want to curl into a corner and cry, I will be happy!

What about you?  Anything big happening in February or is it kind of light for you this time of year?  I am really liking posting and reviewing my goals regularly.  It keeps me motivated to do it!


New Favorite Candle.

by Lauryn on January 30, 2014 in Personal

Jared and I went shopping several weeks ago and buying a new candle was on our list.  Shopping at Target Tip: Go in with a list.  Always. Don’t go in otherwise.  I mainly wanted a new candle for the Living Room, something simple and pleasing to everyone.  I was on the hunt for a Vanilla one.  Well, cute packaging always gets the best of us and we started just browsing and smelling.  Jared picked this one out and we both really loved the scent… as well as the label.

Thankfully we still love it!  Its a little spicy, sweet, and really light.  Not overpowering at all the way a lot of candles can be.  I keep it in my office and light every few days.  We also got a Vanilla one for the Living Room, but I secretly just love this one the most!!

Do you have a favorite candle?  Have you ever smelled this one?  I think I could buy candles based on labels alone…


Dealing with Copy Cats.

by Lauryn on January 29, 2014 in Business

*I am by no means an expert on this subject as I could count the times it has happened to me with just my 10 fingers, but it did happen quite recently and I wanted to share some thoughts on the subject.*

What is the best way to deal with someone who has copied your work?

I received an email from a super sweet blog reader who had discovered someone who was ripping off my website.  My first reaction was laughter.  I literally was laughing alone in my office while I clicked through the basically IDENTICAL website.  Maybe I am naive, but I never really think that people do this sort of thing.  Honestly, why would you?  But, the truth is that people do do this and it happens often.  So, there I am sitting at my desk laughing… my next thought was: do I respond?  I quickly wrote the reader back and thanked her for sharing with me, and then I emailed Jen, my web designer.  Truthfully, I think that this particular incident is more about ripping off Jen and her designs than me.  Sure, it’s my website, but its something that Jen created out of nothing so I really feel like it was her place to be offended and concerned.

Next, I threw out a question on Twitter asking for opinions and advice on how creatives deal with such things.  I got a few responses.  My main question was, do I even need to respond at all or should I just let it be? After talking with a few different people about it, mainly with Jen, we decided that we would email them and ask them to take down the site.  If they refused to do so, we would address that next.  Thankfully within 48 hours the site was changed.

Things to think through when deciding how to respond:

-What is driving my response?  Am I reacting out of anger?  I think balanced approaches filled with grace are always the better way to go.  If you need to drive a hard line later, you definitely still can, but in the beginning I find that graceful reactions tend to work out better.

-Am I being selfish? Initially I ok’ed Jared to post something to his personal Instagram about it.  However, after about 15 minutes we realized this is not how we wanted to respond and we took it down.  Calling someone out publicly without having given them a chance to respond is selfish.  We were doing it to show who was “better.”   We wanted to embarrass them.  Once we identified those emotions we knew we had made a mistake and moved quickly to fix it.

-What if YOU are the one who actually copied, even by accident?  I NEVER ever thought this even for a second, but it was brought up to us as we were talking with people about it.  What if somehow we had actually copied them?  What if Jen wasn’t the amazing person and designer that she is and ripped off someone else’s work and sold it to me? Here I am blasting off about how they are out of line, but it could have been the other way around without my knowing it.

I also have found this post to be supremely helpful, Design Sponge’s How To Deal With Copy Cats.  It’s from a Designer/Creator perspective which is definitely different than that of a photographers, but is still very applicable to my situation.

You may decide that publicly calling someone out is a better way to deal with Copy Cats, or you may decide that just not saying anything is the best way to go.  Either way, thinking through the WHY of your response is crucial.  You don’t want to regret your actions, that could potentially hurt your business, a few weeks or months down the road.

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you decide to respond?  Did you make a mistake like we did, and quickly try to fix it?

*All images in this post are from MY site, not the copiers.  


All content and photographs ©Lauryn Galloway 2009-2011 | WordPress customization and design by Deleted Space Creative

Archive | RSS