wedding photography advice

What Worked Best in 2018 + a BONUS!

What Worked Best in 2018 + a BONUS!

I’m sharing the things I did differently in 2018, how they made a HUGE impact on my biz + workflow, and why YOU should implement them in 2019!

Why You NEED a Wedding Hashtag


It’s no secret - I LOVE wedding hashtags. And while some may think they’re trendy, they’re actually the OPPOSITE. They’re the most functional tools EVER!!! 

With a hashtag, the couple and their guests can find all the wedding photos
on Instagram and Facebook in one click.

BONUS - you and your guests can see all the official photos from your photographer when sneak peeks go live! That way, guests can find your full wedding blog and photos that much quicker and easier without bothering you for links.

If you’re struggling to create a hashtag, don’t worry. SIMPLE IS BEST. Witty hashtags are always cute, but if it’s long, hard to remember, difficult to spell or you’re just plain trying too hard, keep it simple. #kateandbarrygetmarried is a great witty one, but works JUST as functionally as #doucettewedding17. Just make sure to search the hashtag on Instagram to make sure no one else has used it before!

Happy hashtagging!!


6 Things Look For When Hiring a Wedding Photographer

6 Things Look For When Hiring a Wedding Photographer

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words... but do you really know what to look for in a wedding photographer? Don't underestimate the importance of #4!

How to Find Your Perfect Coverage


The first question before booking is always “How many hours do we need?!”

The answer is simple my friends - most weddings range from 6-8 hours.

I’ve found that the sweet spot of coverage is 1 hour before the dress goes on to 1 hour into open dancing. I arrive during the tail end of hair and makeup, photograph all your beautiful details, then getting dressed. At night, people start to get sweaty and tipsy not he dance floor, so an hour is plenty of dance floor coverage.

If you’re in-between coverage hours, I recommend trying for at least 30-60 min before getting dressed before the wedding and cutting a half hour off of dancing. 

Let’s craft a timeline together and find your perfect window of coverage!


3 Reasons to have an Unplugged Ceremony


Thinking about having an unplugged ceremony? Make sure to consider these three reasons why you should opt for an unplugged ceremony before you say "I do!"

1) Your guests can be present in the moment

I bet you hear of lots of photographers complaining about people getting in their shots. Yup, that happens more than we’d like it to. However, I personally think the saddest thing about a wedding day is watching the couples’ closest friends, family, moms, dads, and siblings watch the event through their phone screens.

With an unplugged ceremony, the most intimate and anticipated part of the day can be enjoyed by everyone in the moment. Your mother can look you in the eyes when she tears up, and you can wink at your best friend and actually see her unobstructed face.


2) Your photographer can get the best photos

This is almost as important as your guests being free to be present. Everyone wants the perfect shot… and in doing so, many people lean into the aisle at all parts of the ceremony - especially when the bride is making her way down the aisle. I have had a LOT of close calls when guests jump out of their seats and block the precious moments the professional was hired to capture. During the ceremony, I like to photograph the guests reactions - which is impossible when their face is covered by a Samsung Galaxy. If you don’t want to jeopardize your professional photographs, have an unplugged ceremony.


3) No distractions

Have you ever been at a wedding where someone’s embarrassing ringtone goes off during the vows? I have. Get rid of all accidents and distractions by banning phones altogether.



If you’re having an unplugged ceremony, put out a sign AND have the officiant make an announcement. Some guests may miss the sign or blissfully ignore it, so a verbal announcement works like a charm. After all, it's only for the 20 minute ceremony - they can go camera crazy for the rest of the night!

XOXO, Lena


Lena's Wedding Day Survival Kit // What's In My Bag



It took me seven years to write a
“What’s In My Bag” post…

But as I sat down to write it, I realized there’s a whole lot more that powers me through a wedding day than camera gear.
I crafted this list to showcase all my favorite things to help me rock a wedding day, from shoes, to hand cream, to my go-to lens.


Canon 5D Mark IV

My main body is the 5D Mark IV - with wifi, a touch screen, and unparalleled low-light noise handling, this camera purchase was way overdue. I can send a photo to my phone during dinner, edit it on my phone in VSCO and Lightroom Mobile, and post it before the wedding is over! Hello extreme sneak peek!

Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip

I have never owned a camera without a battery grip. It may make your camera a bit bigger, but it holds two batteries (which often gets me through an ENTIRE wedding day without ever even changing them). The biggest reason I use it? SIDE BUTTONS! I can shoot vertical (which I do for 7/10 photos I take) without straining my elbow to the sky. The shutter, along with focus point buttons are on the side of the grip, making your camera right-side-up regardless of vertical or horizontal shooting.

Canon 5D Mark III

My backup camera is the 5D Mark III. This was my main body for over 3 years and 230,000 shutter clicks - and still looks brand new. 

Canon 50mm f/1.2

My one true love. I could (and have) shot an entire wedding with just the 50. This incredible piece of L glass performs miles better than the 1.4 - it’s sharp, with unparalleled bokeh, great with low light, and minimal lens distortion (which you correct in Lightroom anyway). If I were to use one lens for the rest of my entire life, this would be it.

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

Ok, sometimes we need to go wide. The 24-70mm is my favorite for the reception, because I can hold it above my head on the dance floor and shoot, shoot, shoot! Getting pullbacks of the bride getting ready, fun dance shots, and full venue shots are key with this lens.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB CF Card

The fastest out there. Tried and true, I have 7 of these and buy fresh ones every year.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB SD Card

My camera has dual card slots for CF and SD. When you shoot with both, your camera will read and write at the slowest speed (always the SD), so make sure you get a fast SD card or your camera will have a hard time writing the files while you’re on burst during the first kiss.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Simple, effective, and can even flash on BURST - which is why this makes this my favorite flash. The built in diffuser is so handy, and the commands are simple. It's not a battery guzzler, I go through one set of batteries on 1/4 power for a full wedding day and use fresh ones for the next shoot.

Locho Satchel Camera Bag

I love this bag! I have purchased from the Cheeky Lime family before and had that bag for 3 years (before passing it down in the family to my second shooter). This bag doubles as a messenger bag, shoulder bag, AND backpack. I love wearing two straps, but needed to find a “backpack” formal enough for weddings. This bag is large, has a nice amount of zipped pockets, and the leather is gorgeous. 

Locho Camera Strap

Still keeping it in the family, I couldn’t pass up a $9.99 camera strap from Locho as well. It’s so comfy and more padded than the original Canon strap. 

AmazonBasics AA Batteries

48 batteries for $11… *adds to cart*

They’re packaged in sets of 4, so it’s super easy to throw in 2 sealed mini packs for my flash for a wedding. I will never buy batteries at the store again!

Macro Filters

Did you miss my love letter to the $9 macro filters? Instead of spending $800 on a macro lens for a handful of ring shots, get these - $7.99 for 4 macro filters, and you can stack them, too. These ones fit the 50mm 1.2, but you can search any mm lens thread!

Zazzle Business Cards

I've printed with Moo and Vistaprint, but my favorite is Zazzle. These extra thick, glossy business cards are sophisticated and simple. You can upload your own designs or customize pre-existing designs (and boy are they snazzy). Zazzle is constantly running sales - wait until you can get 40-50% off packs of 100, so you'll pay around $15 for them!

Kate Spade Business Card Holder

For so long, I didn't keep cards on me because of how dirty they would get in my purse. Then, I'd have an embarrassing exchange where I would write my info on the back of a receipt. I got this as a gift and I can't stop showing it off! Card problem solved!

Safety & Bobby Pins

Take a trip to the dollar store and grab some packs of safety pins and bobby pins to keep in your bag - you never know when they'll come in handy.

Command Hook

Just in case there isn't a convenient place to hang and photograph the dress, bring a command hook with you. They hold up to 5 pounds and you can stick them anywhere for perfect hanging.

Bride Hanger

I keep this wooden custom bride hanger from Etsy in my car in case the dress is on a plastic generic hanger - mine says "Bride" on dark wood with a white bow.

AmazonBasics iPhone 5/6/7 Cable

6 feet cables smoke the 3 footers. I’ve had two for over a year and they still work perfectly.

Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm

For the creamiest lip balm out there made with honey, a hint of mint, almond oil, shea butter, and white chocolate. 

Lush Charity Pot Hand Lotion

I keep a mini 1.7oz container of this in my purse at all times - it’s self preserving, which means there are a lot of cocoa butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe, and more. Plus, 100% of the price goes to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.

Lush Dirty Solid Perfume

Just in case it’s a really hot wedding day… I keep solid perfume, which is the exact same size as my lip balm tin, in my purse to rub on my wrists or neck in case I need to refresh.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

For eyebrows that don’t melt on a wedding day or get smudged pushing your camera up against your face all day… this stuff changed my life. A container lasts me about 5-6 months! Smudge free, waterproof, LIFE. SAVER.

Tom's Natural Moroccan Crochet

For breathable, comfy shoes on a summer day, definitely wear Toms. I can’t wear heels while working a wedding, so I spend the past two years wearing these - they’re simple and cute, however they do not provide arch support.

Photo by Mei Lin Barral

These are the tools that help me rock a wedding day!

Do you have any products or rituals you swear by to have the best wedding day?

Share in the comments!

XO, Lena