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February 2, 2016

Wedding albums are something I believe really strongly about. If you doubt me at all, take a look at this entire blog post I dedicated to wedding albums. I think they are absolutely worth the investment to have your wedding day told in a professionally laid out storyboard of images–your images. It is one of the greatest tangible articles you can pass down through your generations. Think for just one moment how much you would treasure your great-grandparent’s wedding album. This is why I place so much value in them.

While I’ve talked about wedding albums a lot, what I’ve written very little about are engagement albums and I think it’s time to shed some light on these beauties as well.

Do I think it’s necessary to have an engagement signing album? Not as much so as a wedding album. However, I do think an engagement album is a stunning way to display your photos (these last professional ones before you are married) and the best kind of signing album you could have at your wedding. The end result is two beautiful albums: one of your engagement photos with well-wishes from your guests and one of your wedding day from start to finish. Together, they are the complete treasure book series of this particular time in your life.

The Engagement Album by Emily Crall_0014

If you are using your engagement album as your signing album at your wedding, I’ll be sure to design the album with lots of white space for people to sign.

The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0006The Engagement Album by Emily Crall_0013

The Engagement Album by Emily Crall_0016

These are the beautiful linen colors that you get to choose from your the cover. The album shown above is in “midnight” and I think it complements Liz’s beautiful eyes perfectly!

The Engagement Album by Emily Crall_0015

The Engagement Signing Album is an 8×8 album filled with 20 pages of your session images, designed in a way to leave room for signatures and comments. This album comes wrapped in a beautiful linen cover with the option to have one of your favorite photos inset in the cover.

January 29, 2016

Everyone tells you to enjoy your wedding day. Soak it in. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy.

And you should!

But then the wedding day is over. You wake up the next morning married to your best friend. Maybe you’re jetting off for your vacation honeymoon right away or maybe you’re putting it off until winter. You’re lying there with thousands of sweet memories floating around in your head as you reminisce about the day before with a smile on your lips.

Now my true job as a storyteller comes into effect. I get the honor of taking the images from your perfect wedding day and putting them into a visual storybook for you. There’s something indescribable about holding a fine art album in your hands and opening the pages to see that fine art album is YOUR wedding day told only in photos.

The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0004

The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0005

Strictly from a design standpoint, I start the process with what I think are the best images of the day spread out in cohesive and clean layouts. I love white space. I love clean lines. I love that the photos get to do all the talking.

It’s not until I’m done with the initial design that I bring you in on it for review. There are hundreds of images from your wedding day and it would be so overwhelming (and what a disservice that would be!) if I said, “Pick 50 favorites.” No way.

The thing is, all of the photos are going to be your favorites because all of the photos are a part of your favorite day.

Most couples end up with anywhere from 12-40 spreads. It’s quite a range, I know. My average initial design has about 20-30 spreads and you can choose to add more, take some out, or leave it as it is. That’s the beauty of collaboration! You get the final product exactly as you want it.

Here are some examples of real wedding album layouts:

The only other thing left to do after the design is finalized is to pick a cover image and a leather color. My lab creates some of the most beautiful, stunning albums I’ve ever held and I’m so glad that my clients get to have that same experience as they cherish their album and pass it down to the generations that follow them.

The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0011

There are two sizes shown: 10×10 and 8×8. (The 8×8 shown is the linen engagement signing album.)

The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0007

Now it’s just up to you to look through it and enjoy the memories! And someday, in a very long time, your grandchildren will be looking through this same album as you tell them the story of how you met.

The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0009The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0008The Legacy Wedding Album by Emily Crall_0006

December 17, 2015

FILED IN: Photography, Tips

DIY Photo Backdrop

I have no white walls in my house. Zero. I rented for years before we bought our first home and I was so tired of white that I splashed color everywhere. I have no regrets; I love my walls. I love my dark floors. I love the rich feel of color and warmth in our home.

So when it came to having a white backdrop for photos, I knew I would have to come up with something other than a wall. I saw this brilliant tutorial for a D.I.Y. home studio backdrop, but I didn’t have a space like that available that also had directional window light. The concept stuck with me though and I started looking through our house for another space that could work.

We have a built-in for our TV. It’s not ideal since that puts the TV directly within Henry’s reach (and he is really, really tempted to touch that screen), but it’s there and so that’s that. I realized, however, there’s enough space above that I could rig a roll of white craft paper that would be completely hidden unless I was using it.

I measured the distance across to make sure my wooden dowel and roll of paper weren’t too long for the space. Then I put the roll of paper on the dowel (make sure to buy a dowel that will fit inside your roll), attached 2 key rings to each other, sliding on ring on the dowel and hooking the other ring on the screw hook that I had put into the wall. I got all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby, but you can buy them on Amazon as well or in any other craft store.

That’s it!

Based on the size of this roll of paper and the space I had to work with, I won’t be able to do any large product shoots here, but it is perfect for smaller set ups. If you have a bigger space, get a wider roll of paper and set your hooks up higher!

Here’s what it looks like in use. You can also switch out paper if you want something else (like this or this).

DIY Photo Backdrop2

And here’s what it looks like when it’s rolled up. (Enjoy those Halloween-esque fingerprints on the TV, folks. That’s my kid. He particularly loves the peacock logo on NBC.) DIY Photo Backdrop3

October 28, 2015

FILED IN: Tips

Let’s talk about hem weights. You may have never heard of them or, better yet, only heard of them used for curtains.

Hem weights are a brilliant idea for all bridesmaids gowns, but especially so if they are short. Here’s an example of what weighting a dress does when it’s windy.

There are a few options for hem weights:

  1. Individual weights that are sewn into the hem of the skirt like these.
  2. Weighted cord that’s sewn into the entire hem like this.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bridesmaids struggling holding down their skirt, while also carrying their bouquet and trying to smile and not trip down the aisle during outdoor weddings. Even if your wedding ceremony will be inside, most or all of your photos will be outside and those little weights in the hem will be a brilliant save both for modesty and for the final photos.

Also, Duchess Catherine’s dresses (and the Queen’s) have weights sewn into the hems so you know it’s a good idea, paparazzi or not.

September 17, 2015

FILED IN: Photography, Tips

I have a lot of couples ask if they can bring their dog along to their engagement session for a few photos. I end up photographing a lot of pups and yet, ironically, I don’t have any pets of my own nor do I wish I did. So when it comes to photographing dogs, I have little (actually, zero) experience as a pet owner, but I do have a lot of experience as a photographer and I rely heavily on that to get the best reactions from both the animal and the humans.

Here are 5 tips if you plan on having your dog in your engagement photos:

  1. Be realistic. What I mean is that animals are similar to children; they have short attention spans and are usually really excited to be in a new place (grass! trees! water! new smells! adventure!) with new people (me…with an exciting toy that I’m looking through). Expect that the first few minutes will simply be letting your dog explore a bit and get used to what is happening. Your dog may not look at the camera. Your dog may not want anything to do with your beautiful family photo. And that’s okay! Those happen to be my favorite photos! Play with your pup and let me capture real life for you. The imperfect is what makes it perfect.
  2. Have a friend help. This is especially helpful if your dog won’t want to stay in the car or tied on a leash to a tree. A lot of couples will bring a friend along so we can take photos with the dog first, then the friend will take him/her for a walk or back to your house or wherever works best. That way you can relax and focus on the rest of the session (you two!! in love!!) without any distractions.
  3. Bring treats. This is really helpful if your dog is a treat-incentivized animal or a young, energetic dog. This is usually the best way to get him or her to sit still if even for a moment, but even if he doesn’t, I kind of think he deserves a treat anyway just for going along with the plan and trying his hardest.
  4. Keep it short. I usually limit the pet portion of photos to 10 minutes. Again, the main focus of the engagement session is for you two, but also, see item #1. Short attention spans mean working quickly and getting genuine moments.
  5. Have fun. I’ll ask you to play with your dog and have fun. Laugh, chase, kiss, etcetera. Have fun and be silly (like you normally would at home!) with your pet and you’ll absolutely treasure the photos. 5 Tips for Including Your Dog in Your Engagement Photos

July 29, 2015

FILED IN: Tips

Back when I first start photographing weddings, I was frustrated when I’d arrive on a wedding day and there’d be no paper suite to photograph. I knew each bride was paying a lot of money to have her beautiful invitations, RSVPs, save the dates, and programs designed, compiled, and mailed out, but I wasn’t able to document that piece of her wedding for her. Then I realized that if I wasn’t telling her, it wasn’t her fault she didn’t know to bring along the paper suite to the wedding. Of all the things she was trying to schlep to the church or hotel, an original invitation was the last thing on her mind.

Now, a couple of months before every wedding, I send my brides a package in the mail with some gifts as well as a card that includes some final tips. One of those tips includes reminding her to bring a complete invitation set along so I can photograph it.

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