From Tips for Brides and Grooms

Vietnam and Thailand Destination Wedding Photography and Films

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What’s The Perfect Time Of Day For Your Wedding Day Portrait Session?

Pre-Wedding and wedding Photography Mott Visuals Weddings www.mottvisualsweddings.com

MAGIC HOUR

I get these questions all the time and the answer is simple, magic hour. What is magic hour or golden hour or whatever you want to call it? It’s the last hour of the day when the sun is about to set and its rays are golden and simply magical (assuming you are lucky to get a nice sunset). It also happens the first hour of the day but I don’t know too many couples that want to get up at 5am on their wedding day to take pictures.

 

Why is magic hour better than other times of the day? In addition to a setting sun providing a beautiful backdrop for your pictures it also gives your photographer more creative options to either use the beauty of the sun to light you or shooting back into the sun for lens flare or a silhouette. Lastly, when the light comes from directly above in the middle of the day the light is harsh and it also creates unflattering shadows under your eyes. The photographer can offset this with fill light or a reflector but it still won’t look natural like it does when it comes from the side during sunset.

jbm_3620

 

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Cave Art Maros Indonesia

WHO DO I ASK FOR ADVICE, THE WEDDING PLANNER OR THE PHOTOGRAPHER?

If you have a wedding planner make sure they consult with the photographer. Most really good ones will do this but sometimes the planner isn’t thinking about the photography as much as they are with scheduling timeliness that work for their overall schedule.

If you booked the photographer directly put them in an email with the planner and defer to your photographer about this timing, you will be glad you did. If the wedding planners handled the photographer it’s still a good idea for all of you to be in an email together to make sure this is done right and it’s all clear for the big day. I’ve done weddings with hotel and resort event planners doing the schedule and they have the bride walking down the aisle at sunset and by the time the ceremony is over no more light is left for your portraits and that’s a big problem. Photographers can do many things but we can’t fake the sun.

If the photographer was hired by the wedding planner or does a lot of work with that planner they might not be as vocal about this as to not upset the planner because often they provide them with a pipeline of work. This shouldn’t happen but it can so make sure you take a few minutes and consult with the photographer directly and remember your images last a lifetime so listen to your photographer. He/she will know best about light and timing and what they need to get the shots you hired them to get and at the end of the day they only have getting you the best pictures in their best interest.

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HOW MUCH TIME IS ENOUGH?

I’d commit to a solid hour if you can because things run late sometimes and again along with your candid shots you’ll want some nice portraits to remember the big day. An hour is enough time for your photographer to get you a nice variety of creative shots that you’ll be happy with for a lifetime. I know you want to join the party and in due time you will but take a few members of the wedding party with you during the shoot to carry your cocktail and have fun with it.

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTION

If you simply don’t care that much about the portraits and you’d prefer to spend that time partying with your friends that’s completely understandable. What I would do in this case if you don’t mind seeing each other before the ceremony spend a little time then doing some portrait during the days and then at sunset maybe just 30 minutes. This covers you in case the ceremony runs late (it shouldn’t if you have a good planner) but it’s a nice insurance policy against pitch dark portraits and frees you up for more party time.

 

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CONCLUSION

Most wedding planners understand this but again some don’t understand the importance of beautiful light even if it is a matter of 30 minutes on the timing so when it comes planning the portrait session make sure you consult with your photographer and listen to their advice. Let your wedding planner know your plan and be strict about it. The last thing you want is dark or flash portraits because your schedule ran late and you’re left with the photographer and planner pointing fingers at each other playing the blame game. Your photographer will know exactly when and how much time he/she needs and if this is important to you make sure you make this clear and in writing to your planner.

My advice for the best overall light is to have your ceremony 2-3 hours before the sun goes down. You still get beautiful light for your vows and that leaves you with gorgeous light for the portrait session a win win.

Remember, this is only a suggestion from a photographer on how to optimize the day for the best pictures possible. Never forget it’s your big day and you should plan it and prioritize things based on what’s important to you. The planner and the photographer are there to give their input but at the end of the day they are there to serve you and make your day perfect.

 

Justin Mott is the founder of Mott Visuals Weddings, a boutique destination wedding photography and film business documenting weddings worldwide. Justin is also an accomplished photojournalist most notably as a frequent contributor to the New York Times.

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weddingshoes

5 simple tips to choose your wedding shoes

 

As a producer/wedding concierge at Mott Weddings, I know how many million things the bride needs to worry about for her wedding day. Finding a pair of perfect wedding shoes is absolutely no exceptional, especially when they come in all shapes, sizes, styles and colors. Here are 5 simple tips to help our lovely brides with this difficult task:

Get comfortable

As you will be on your shoes most of the time on your big day, you definitely need to feel comfortable. Shoes with extra padding can be quite helpful in this situation. The last thing you want is the pain on your feet that keeps you away from walking around, greeting guests and having fun.

comfortable, pretty wedding shoes taken by Mott Weddings

Consider the fabric

Traditionally, silk and satin are the two popular choices for wedding shoes. However, who says you ought to be traditional? Just find shoes that go well with your wedding dress in terms of texture.

Bedazzled, modern wedding shoes

Consider the color and style

While your shoes need to match your dress and your wedding style, they should also be able to reflect your personality. And please remember, white is not the only color for wedding shoes. Don’t be shy away from the color wedding shoes. If you are a little funky or plainly looking for something unique, shoes dyed in bright colors may be the perfect choice for you. On the other hand, if you are into fashion or the chic, elegant look, you may want to have your shoes embellished in crystals or jewel clips.

Super fun and bold wedding shoes

Find your heel height

As your wedding will be a fairly long day, it is important to have a pair of shoes that you do not only feel comfortable but confident wearing. It is better to stick with the normal heel height that you have been used to. If you usually wear flats, don’t go for sky-high heels on your big day. They will probably end up hurting you and making your posture looking strange during the day. Instead, try kitten heels or sturdy platform heels to add a little extra height.

Koh Samui Destination Wedding Photography by Justin Mott Mott Visuals Weddings www.mottvisualsweddings.com Thailand Destination Wedding Photography

Don’t forget about your wedding destination!

The setting of your wedding is also a crucial factor to choosing your wedding shoes. If the wedding is held on the sand at the beach, stylish flip-flops, sandals or wedges can work beautifully – even your bare feet with gorgeous accessories would do as well.

Wedding shoes for beach weddings, destination weddings

Hopefully, these 5 tips will be useful for any brides who are looking their ultimate wedding shoes. And for those who have already got a pair, please don’t wait until your wedding day to put them on, give them a try right now and master them. Good luck!

All featured images are taken by talented photographers of Mott Weddings.

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8 Pro Wedding Tips for Hotels and Resorts

What can a resort learn from a wedding photographer? My team has shot weddings all over the world at luxury resorts and hotels.  We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in regards to venues and their service.

I’ve personally shot hundreds of weddings and on the wedding day no one is closer to the bride and groom than the wedding photographer. If we are doing our jobs well, couples forget we are around so in addition to knowing more than I ever need to know about women’s hygiene I also hear all their complaints.

Don’t worry, I respect my client’s privacy and I’m not naming names. This article is good-natured and is only meant to help us all improve.  We all want to create the best possible day for our clients on the most memorable day of their lives so before you role your eyes listen to what I have to say.   Whether you’re a global hotel chain or a boutique resort, you can improve your wedding service and here’s how.

 

 

BRIBES

Problem- I know many of you don’t think your staff wouldn’t ever do such a thing but it happens all the time especially in Asia. It’s commonplace even if it’s against your company policy. Your events manager or event contact person might be recommending photographers and planners that give them kickbacks. In addition to violating your company’s policy, this is also a problem because they don’t always recommend the best vendors for your couples. You want the best of the best if you are putting your reputation on the line, not the best bribe.

Solution- This is easy to police, pick 3 official recommended photographers/planners/DJ’s based on merit, pricing, and client feedback. Check on your staff by sending secret shopper emails to your staff to make sure your they are recommending your preferred list.

 

WEDDING PLANNERS

Problem- I’ve heard brides complain about the hotel’s service when it was something the wedding planner’s should’ve handled.

Solution- Only recommend the best and survey your clients afterwards to see if they were happy. Even when the couple has a wedding planner, that doesn’t mean you’re staff is off the hook. Oversee the whole day and help out when things go wrong. Most importantly, before the wedding, set clear roles and communicate with them and the couple. Get everything in writing, not just a phone call.

 

REMOVE YOUR IN-HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER (IF THEY WEREN’T HIRED BY THE COUPLE) 

Problem- This is something I hear all the time from couples. “Who are those people taking photos of us and our guests?” Weddings are private events and your clients hired a photographer they carefully selected and they trust with their most special day. I’ve even seen an in-house photographer taking shots of the bride getting ready and they thought he was with our team. Later on when they found out he wasn’t with us and it was a huge issue, one that could’ve been easily avoided.

In addition to the privacy issue no matter how far back or how good they think they are they end up in the way of the hired photographers and that should NEVER happen.

Solution- I understand the temptation to get a bunch of shots for your social media outlets and I don’t blame you. When you work with your preferred photographers ask them to help you cross promote and share their detail shots with you so you have both benefit from each other. If you want to use shots of the couple, talk to the photographer and the couple first and get permission.

This isn’t to say you can’t have your in-house photographer take some shots of the set-up but only when no guests are present. There is absolutely no reason your in-house photographer (again if he/she wasn’t hired by the couple) should be photographing when guests are present.

 

STAY ON SCHEDULE 

Problem- (If your team is handling the day of planning). Lets say the bride scheduled the perfect time for sunset pictures after the ceremony (which is very common) and the schedule is an hour behind.  No sun, no sunset pictures and their vision of the beautiful beach wedding sunset pictures is ruined.

Solution- Drive the schedule, be gentle about it but remind the couple, make-up artists, aunty Susie, etc. the importance of being on time and stay on top of the make-up artist, and remind the guests about being on time. Find that balance of being gentle but reminding the couple the consequences of no sunset pictures when things are running behind schedule.

 

TAKE CARE OF YOUR VENDORS 

Problem– Vendors are dialed into the whole wedding community and yes they need you but you need them too. Social media and word of mouth are powerful tools so make sure your staff is helpful and accommodating to them. My team works 10-16 hour days on their feet and at some point we need to eat. Our contract with our clients is for 2 meals over the course of the day. We’ve had venues argue with us about being fed or feed us 4 hours late. If possible we need to eat at the same time as the couple to insure we don’t miss any big moments and typically that’s the best time for the photographers to break as photos of people food in their mouth aren’t typically sexy.

Solution- Talk to the couple ahead of time and ask them what the situation is with them in their vendors. If for example they agreed with their photographers to pay for two meals make it easy for them to schedule. Ask your vendors when they want to eat and have them sign it to the couple’s bill; it’s as easy at that.

See, we give back too. Our List Of Best Wedding Vendors in Hoi An, Vietnam.

BUGGY TRAFFIC JAM

Problem- We see a lot of weddings run late because the guests didn’t arrive on time and they didn’t arrive on time because the resort didn’t have enough buggies to accommodate all the guests.

Solution- Of course you can’t have enough buggies to accommodate 100 guests all at once but you can communicate with the guests ahead of time and send out a notice to plan for slow response time during the hour before the ceremony.

DON’T BE LAZY, TELL A STORY 

Problem- For destination weddings people are coming from all over the world and often it’s the first time they are in that country. At the end of the night you create an experience releasing lanterns into the sky or light paper lanterns and push them into the water. The problem I often see is no one ever explains any backstory.

Solution- Gather everyone and have the planner, MC, or events personnel you’re your property briefly explain the meaning or backstory of the lanterns, this will create a more memorable experience.

 

Assign One Dedicated Staff(If they haven’t hired a wedding planner)

Problem-So many things come up the day of the wedding for the bride and groom. They should be enjoying their day, not stressing out. I see the person in charge of the wedding day focusing on the vendors and the set-up and not the couple.

Solution-Whether you charge for it or not, it’s a great service to provide to your clients. Assign a day of personal assistant/butler that understands weddings and a bride’s needs. They should be at her side the entire day, catering to their every need.

I hope this was helpful, thanks for reading and if you have any questions for me please add them in the comments section.

By Justin Mott

Justin Mott is the owner and founder of Mott Visuals Weddings. Mott Visuals specializes in destination wedding photography and films covering Asia and Beyond. Visit our website at http://www.mottvisualsweddings.com

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5 reasons why 2 is better than 1 (photographers at your wedding)

  1. Having a second photographer will allow us to take more photos of the groom’s side getting ready
Noel and Bastian's Wedding in Nha Trang, Vietnam
Noel and Bastian’s Wedding in Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nicole and Bel's Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel’s Wedding in USA
Carol and Jose's Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Carol and Jose’s Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia

2. With 2 photographers we can shoot different angles during key moments

Nicole and Bel's Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel’s Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel's Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel’s Wedding in USA

3. It allows the second photographer to spend more time on group shots

Emma and Tom's wedding photography in Koh Samui, Thailand
Emma and Tom’s wedding photography in Koh Samui, Thailand
Nicole and Bel's Wedding in USA
Nicole and Bel’s Wedding in USA
Emma and Tom's wedding photography in Koh Samui, Thailand
Emma and Tom’s wedding photography in Koh Samui, Thailand

4. It gives us more opportunities to focus on “the little moments”

Carol and Jose's Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Carol and Jose’s Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Carol and Jose's Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Carol and Jose’s Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia

5. And it allows time for more setup and detail shots

Carol and Jose's Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Carol and Jose’s Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Carol and Jose's Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Carol and Jose’s Wedding Photography in Bali, Indonesia
Emma and Tom's wedding photography in Koh Samui, Thailand
Emma and Tom’s wedding photography in Koh Samui, Thailand
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