10 Tips to help your wedding day run smoother (photographer’s point of view) by Lauren Dinh

1.     Emergency wedding kit

This should be an essential kit to stash in your bag for the day. You might not think its important but the last thing you want is your strap breaking (which has happened!!) and you not being able to fix it. Tip: Most wedding coordinators will have their own wedding kit so be sure to ask them if they have one handy!

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2. Timeline details

Of course your wedding timeline is super crucial. I always try and follow up a month prior to any wedding to get an updated timeline. From there I’ll be able to give suggestions on any changes you should make to maximize photo time cause that’s what I’m all about! On top of all this, be sure to remember to include a wedding detail section such as the one below. It should provide all the important addresses (getting ready location, ceremony, and reception) and day of contact (which btw should not be you!). Tip: Day of contact should be your wedding coordinator or a bridesmaid/groomsmen that is good with answering their phones. If you’re going to put someone on the bridal party as day of contact, I’d choose one from each team.

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3.     Bring a wedding dress hanger

You might not think to look at what your hanger looks like on a daily basis but when it comes to your wedding day it makes a huge difference. Professional photographers (aka Playful Soul Photography) and videographers will be documenting your dress up close and you won’t want to your gorgeous dress being hung on a plastic hanger. Tip: Get a hanger with your name, word “bride” or even just a beautiful hanger like the one we have pictured! Also if you have a bridal squad make sure they all have the same type of hanger so it looks all consistent in the photos. You don’t want some girls to get the nice wooden hangers and some to have the plastic ones.

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4.     Clear out the space for getting ready

Pick the best spot in your house to get ready in with big windows for that natural light! Be sure to try and keep that area nice and tidy for your photographers and videographers to come in to get right to doing what you paid us to do….photograph! This minimizes clean up time and maximizes photo time! Tip: Have your wedding party get ready in one area of the room and to tidy up once they are done! Move everything away from the “getting ready spot” as much as possible. Another thing you might want to consider is booking a hotel room. Its already furnished and prepped to be photo ready so there’s less hassle on your end.

5.     Bride should keep the rings

The groom still keeps the rings PRIOR to the ceremony. However, in the morning/getting ready time, the bride or maid of honor should hold onto the rings. This way, we can document close up shots of your rings with all the other pretty details! Tip: After we are done photographing the ring, your maid of honor can bring the ring back to the groom’s side!

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6.     Prepare a bag of details

The day before the wedding, have a bag of wedding accessories available. Put every wedding detail in there that you can possibly think of. Everything from invites to jewelry, veil, vows, and even shoes! This way when we arrive, we can get right to photographing your wedding details as you finish up your final makeup touches. Tip: Label the bag FOR PHOTOGRAPHER or WEDDING DETAILS so anyone can easily locate it. Trust me, your getting ready area will be a war zone.

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7.     Coordinate with makeup artist

Be sure to have your makeup artist finish the same time your photographer arrives on site. This way we can get straight to photographing you! This also is one of the most common parts of the timeline that causes major delays. Tip: Just tell your makeup artist she should finish up at a certain time!

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8.     Family shot list

Have a family shot list available and printed out! It should be as detailed as possible (similar to the one pictured below). This helps increase our family photo efficiency and allow us to knock them all out in timely manner. Tip: Have your wedding coordinator or maid of honor stick around and call out each group off the list. This will help ease my process and help keep us stay organized.

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9.     Vendors should eat when guests eat

It doesn’t make sense to have us standing around and waiting for guests to finish getting their food before we (as vendors) start eating. No one wants to be photographed while they eat, so instead have the caterers bring us our food when dinner time starts this way we can be sure to come back right before the next activity is about to start! This is both efficient and also gives us more than 5 minutes to eat (which we REALLY appreciate). Tip: Just tell your coordinator or catering company to feed your vendors when guests are also getting theirs.

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10.     Have an amazing wedding coordinator (or extremely amazing maid of honor)

Trust me when I say it is worth it! It makes our jobs easier as well when you have a solid coordinator who is keep everyone on schedule. Your best friend could also do the job but she may be too busy having fun especially if she’s in your bridal party. Tip: if you have it in your budget, DO IT!

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Bonus TIP:  Remember to smile and have fun!

Lastly, just remember to smile and have fun. You’re getting married!!! This is a joyous occasion, don’t let the small hiccups bring you down!

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To all my clients who feel "awkward" by Lauren Dinh

Being a photographer doesn’t mean I’m always comfortable in front of the camera!”

Believe it or not, I am terrible at having photos taken of myself. Just cause I can direct others on how to stand and pose for a shot, I feel lost when I’m staring at the camera myself. Truth be told, it happens to everyone unless of course you are a model and you’re used to this on a daily basis.

Some of the reasons why we feels “awkward” in front of the camera & what we could do to change that!

(1) You don’t know what you look like. Without knowing how you look IN camera, how will you know what you look like or what you should change! Why do you think we look at ourselves in the mirror when we’re getting ready?!?! Best way to change this is to ask your photographer after a few poses/shots to see the photo on camera! Once you see it, you’ll know exactly change up! As a photographer, I usually show my clients what they look like in camera for this very reason! This way I also know if they don’t like a particular side or not!

(2) We overthink! Goes back to #1, SINCE we don’t know what we look like, we’re constantly thinking that exact thought and secretly hoping that whatever the photographer is telling us to do ACTUALLY looks okay. I always tell my clients to relax and enjoy it! Don’t overthink because once you do, you start to tense up and it shows. Come in with the mentality that you’re here to have fun and let me do the rest!

(3) Self-Confidence. Probably one of the biggest factors is having confidence in yourself. We are our worst critic and we pin point the tiniest of flaws when realistically no one even noticed it to began with. The more we learn to have self-confidence in our own bodies, we will learn to let go of what others might think we look like. I ALWAYS tell my clients how they look! You’ll definitely hear me say “you guys look awesome,” “totally nailed that", “PEEERRFECT!” But again this also goes back to #1, once you see how good you look, it does help boost up some of that self confidence.

(4) Social Media. In the world of social media with instagram, it has somehow created an illusion that people’s lives are perfect and the “I just woke up this way” look. Although having your professional photos taken is a notion to have beautiful perfect images but it’s also about capturing the real you. You have to remember that not every photo you take is going to be amazing but don’t worry because its MY JOB to make sure you guys look your best! I also personally like the candid moments the most So screw the social media norm and just let loose and have fun!

Personally, I deal with everything that’s listed! Which is why I am totally awkward in front of the camera, or at least I feel that way.In fact, everyone feels awkward and it is completely NORMAL! So to encourage positive body image and feeling entirely comfortable in front of the camera, here are some shots of me.

Noemi + Steve by Lauren Dinh

Noemi and Steve celebrated their 10 year anniversary with a fun session out in Downtown Long Beach, the heart of Long beach, CA! The area spans several neighborhoods ending around 7th street. Every street of downtown is different in its own way, with fun murals scattered throughout the city walls such as the ones from the POW WOW events!

We decided to stick around 2nd street with cute colorful boutique shops and restaurants. The bustling and unmistakable vibe of downtown complemented Noemi and Steve’s personality and chemistry! We had fun running around the streets finding alleyways and fun textural backgrounds to photograph! So glad that after several many location suggestions, we decided to go with this! Just wanted to post some sneak peaks of these two to mark their 10 year anniversary! Can’t wait to share the rest of the images!

Laura + Adam's Wedding by Lauren Dinh

Laura and Adam’s wedding was a relaxing day by the beach with close family and friends. Their day started off at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa suiting up to look their best! We then headed out to their gorgeous wedding venue at Salt Creek Beach, tucked away on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Dana Point, California. Salt Creek Beach is actually part of the OC Beach State Park and can be accessed on foot after parking at the top of the hill or in their case a golf cart shuttle! This location features a ceremony held on the sand with staircase leading directly up to a grass park for a sweet reception. Their entire wedding was practically DIY with everyone coming together to create something magical. Even without alcohol, it was the liveliest wedding event I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone danced the night away celebrating these two to one of the most nostalgic playlists I’ve heard in a while!

Hotel: Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa

Venue: Salt Creek Beach

Makeup/hair: Stephanie Myers

Florals: The Sweetest Blooms

Party Rentals: Yennis Party Rentals

Caterer: Touch of Paradise Catering

DJ/MC: Ultra Star Events

Videography: The Vision Field

Golf carts: Capistrano Golf Carts

Strings: El Real Chamber Players

The DeGuzman's by Lauren Dinh

We were set to photograph at the Anaheim Packing house, a hip and modern indoor location that houses multiple food vendors! The day started off with all sorts of stress! Not only was it the season’s first rain fall but we didn’t have a permit to photograph inside the venue! Neither the less, the DeGuzmans pushed forward and I’m so glad we did! The security guard surprisingly let us find shelter inside the building so we snuck some photographs discreetly! Of course at some point, he caught on and kicked us out but we still managed to come for what we wanted! I just love when my clients are a little rebellious and just go for it because you never know what you might get! To be honest, I was pretty scared the whole time but boy was it worth it!

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