Wedding Wednesday

Bridal Parties Love Shadows

Wedding Wednesday

filed in:

there is SO much to think about when you’re planning a wedding. Cake, colors, favors, vendors, invites… the list is HUGE! I retweeted someone yesterday who mentioned that there is an average of 43 businesses used to make one wedding happen. WOW. That’s incredible! So much goes into planning a celebration like this and while little details can be overwhelming, it’s worth it to talk over locations, timelines and portrait details with your photographer before hand.  Most of my clients this year are opting for a First Look and I am THRILLED.  First Looks reduce stress, allow time for TONS of portraits and relax nerves like you wouldn’t believe!



However, when you do a first look, normally this means you’re shooting mid-afternoon and that can be a photo challenge! It’s worth it though! I would rather deal with some bright light than not have enough time after the ceremony/family formals/bridal party portraits to capture  the bride and groom’s romantic images! (aka, the images that you actually PRINT after the wedding day!).  These are some things to think about when planning portraits and so this post is for brides AND photographers!


When you’re doing a First Look before the ceremony and shooting at 12-2ish….the light is going to be BAD.  Unless you have a nice, overcast day….you will be in desperate need of some shadows! Tall trees, large buildings, barns  and porches will become your best friends! I’m using our wedding as an example because we shot our portraits at about 2:00pm.  I had been scouting out locations for MONTHS. This old, french plantation home had tons of trees (that still had leaves, it was October!) and so it was perfect! You can see that the light on the ground (in front of the bridal party) is super bright, but we found a large shadow to fit our 18 person bridal party in for portraits! Perfect!!! Because the tree was changing colors, the light looked glowy and soft and I was so pleased with these portraits! So today’s WEDDING WEDNESDAY lesson is to find a lot of SHADE if you’re shooting mid-day and have a huge bridal party! Your photographer will love you for it! Below our wedding images, I’ll show another example so you’ll really see what I’m talking about!

Obviously Jstar doesn’t normally post crazy-pics on her blog… it doesn’t match her classy, editorial style but she took a few of these for us and we love her for it. Photographers…. if a bride asks you to shoot something that you know isn’t “blog worthy”… do it anyway. She will love you for it.


The girls!

Reason #1 why a second shooter is a GOOD idea!

And reason #2… love this one. For those of you who don’t know, that’s my brother and sister… this image is perfect and it’s hanging in our living room:)

The guys! Loved their group shot!

My boys! So handsome!

Brides…. please don’t “skimp” on your photographer. Be picky. Choose the one that you connect with and LOVE their style.  These images are SO incredibly precious to us!!! Jasmine or Jd….whoever took this one.. we love it. It’s in our album:)

Here is another example from Holly and Erik’s wedding last August! This first shot was ok, but I knew it wasn’t going to cut it. The light was harsh and the background was so blow out. These were actually taken LATER in the evening! These weren’t taken mid-day but the light was still SO bright and hard to work with!

So we walked and found a patch of shade just barely big enough to fit the whole bridal party in there and it was MUCH better!!!

Be sure to notice where the shadow is on the ground. I fit them in that shadow on purpose so that the light would be even and my editing process would be simple!:)

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

Samantha + Evan Private Estate, Backyard Wedding

I’m so excited to share this final 2020 Wedding with you all!! It’s a special one! We photographed this beautiful wedding day on our own 10 year anniversary! Ten years ago on this day, we were celebrating in my parent’s backyard under a massive white tent too! This was my brother-in-law’s baby sister’s wedding day and celebrating with the Malizia family was such a treat! They are a family MADE for weddings!


Well, I realize this isn’t normal for KJ! I don’t shoot portraits these days but this session was my first non-wedding shoot with my new Canon R6 and I’m obsessed with how these images turned out! It was the most perfect evening for this early fall shoot and the light was incredible!


Nick + Katherine | Maternity Oatlands Historic Home and Gardens Portrait Session


KJ Student Spotlight October 2020

I’m so excited to share another addition of Student Spotlights from our KJ Education community! It’s so funny to us, but quite often, we find that our friends who know us in everyday life but aren’t in our industry really have no clue what we do! They think we shoot 10 weddings a year and that’s the extent of our work these days but oh… that couldn’t be further from the truth!


Jesse + Hope | Engaged A Fan District Engagement Shoot

When we first decide if we’re a good fit with our potential KJ Couples, we’re looking for a few things…. one of those things is that this couple keeps joyful! We’ve found over the years that couples what take themselves super seriously aren’t always the best fit for us! We love it when couples let their guard down and allow us to get to know them during their engagement session.


For some photographers, bridal details seem like a fun part of the wedding day… but for many others, it’s stressful. It’s the part of the day that throws them off, makes them wonder if they’re actually artistic and leaves them feeling flustered and panicked because they never get everything done in the time they have allotted for detail shooting. In my opinion, this is a REALLY tough way to start a wedding day.


How To Photograph Bridal Details KJ Bridal Details Mini-Course

Ask Anything

Jonathan+Melanie Grand Ivory Wedding

Oh, this wedding day!! What a beautiful Texan dream! I met Melanie when she attended one of our workshops years ago in our home. She had the sweetest spirit and such a kindness about her. I remember loving how she made personal marketing her own and did headshots in a pile of Skinny Pop!! I loved her creativity and her ability to envision what she wanted in her brand.




Unedited, unfiltered, real-life behind-the-scenes education delivered monthly! Come be our Virtual Third Shooter for FREE!

A wintery boston wedding

w/ inside, dark ceremony

"Best money I have EVER spent on education! ... and I've spent a lot!”


"I love all the lessons I'm learning from KJ All Access! Thanks Katelyn!”

- Shannon Drummond, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"I find very few educational resources worth it ... this one is!”

- Kate gansneder, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Being able to see behind-the-scenes of Katelyn interacting with her clients has been SO impactful!”

- Angie mcpherson, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"SO worth it! It's amazing the amount of knowledge you get out of them!”

- Brittany Lowe, ALl ACCESS MEMBER

"I learned just as much in one All Access as I did in a whole course! SO GOOD!"

- Joanna Krueger, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER
10 Steps to Starting Your Photography Business
Helping a friend survive a season of Infant Loss
How to photograph a first look in Harsh Light
A Lake Como Destination Wedding - Greg and Kate
A Letter to the Go-Getters fearful of Motherhood

The KJ blog

The KJ Blog is where you get to know me, where you meet our KJ Couples and see their beautiful wedding days, where I have been building an archive of education for over a decade and where I let you see a peek into our life, our home, and hear about our purpose! 
don't miss the
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ


Join 10,000+ others and learn, grow and get connected via our Youtube Channel! This is where I'm constantly sharing new content, talking all things gear, business, tips, tricks and letting you into the behind-the-scenes of our everyday life! 

"I have invested in all of KJ’s education!

The way she teaches makes so much sense and I’m so grateful for her! My business will be forever changed!"

- Renee Nicolo

"KJ education has been life-changing

 It has elevated my work so I could quit my day job and work from home with our baby boy!"

- joanna k.


and none compare to what I get from KJ!"