Sharon and Andrew | Rodeo Beach Engagement Session

Sharon and Andrew’s engagement session was at Rodeo Beach in Sausalito, California. Their wedding is this Saturday, so I figured there’s no better time to share these photos than now!

San Francisco has no shortage of beautiful locations for engagement sessions: Sutro Baths, Golden Gate Park, Lands End, Baker Beach, Marshall’s Beach, to name a few. For this one though, it was exciting to explore outside the city, past the Marin Headlands but before hitting Muir Woods. I always ask my couples if there are locations that are meaningful to them and we usually choose spots based off of that. If they’re torn, I ask them if there’s a particular vibe they’re going for or a feeling they want for their photos. From that I’m able to recommend various spot throughout San Francisco or in the surrounding area.

Sharon had been to this exact location for a company retreat not long before, so she knew exactly where she wanted to photograph her engagement session. We started on the beach where she wore the cutest red, off-the shoulder dress. I loved the contrast of her red dress with the rocky scenery. Sharon and Andrew were both so adventurous and were so eager and excited to climb the rocks and play in the water. Even though it wasn’t sunset yet, the sun had already set past the cliff on the far right side of the beach, so we had the most beautiful sunset-esque light.

For their second location, we followed a path up a hill that took us to a tree tunnel and then to the side of the bluffs. Sharon’s light green dress was a perfect compliment to the golden grass. The sun from up here was quite different and dramatic, which fit perfectly with the dramatic landscape and view.

Photographing Sharon and Andrew’s engagement session was a blast. I know their wedding is going to be even more incredible and I can’t wait.

Are you interested in doing your engagement session at Rodeo Beach? Reach out through my Contact page! Can’t wait to be in touch!

Janine Licare
3 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing your Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer can feel like one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your wedding. There are so many photographers out there, how do you pick the right one? Here are three tips to help guide you through the process:

1. Know what your style is: To put it plainly, do you like “light & airy” photos or “dark & moody” ones? I might get some flak for this one, but thinking about photography from this perspective might be the easiest way for you, as someone searching for a wedding photographer, to discern between what you like and what you don’t. As you're browsing different photographers, should that be through Instagram, Pinterest, Google searches or wedding blogs, you may start to notice these two overarching photography trends in the wedding industry. Once you know which style you're most attracted to, it should help you narrow your search for your own photographer. Now that you've settled on a style and you're choosing between a few different photographers, which are standing out to you the most? Do you like their work? Does your heart flutter when you're looking at their photos on Instagram? Can you envision yourself and your groom in one of those photos? 

2. Ask to see an entire wedding gallery: Instagram is a highlight reel. You're seeing the best of the best and not much else. You're typically seeing Bride and Groom portraits, pretty details, ring shots, reception spaces, the best candids, and all the photos you're most likely to "double-tap". This makes sense, though. Why would you "like" a large family portrait of a family you've never met? Would you stop scrolling to look at a photo of someone you don’t know laughing during a speech? As important as those images are to those who attended that particular wedding, there's a reason they don't make it to Instagram for the masses to see. However, when choosing your photographer, it's crucial to know how they capture those less-instagramable parts of the wedding day. Those family portraits, candids of guests, and dance floor photos actually do matter. You need to make sure you're aware of how your photographer captures the entire wedding day, from beginning to end. I recommend you ask to see an entire wedding gallery (all 700+ photos), from a single day, to get the most accurate overall picture of what your own photos will look like. 

3. Would you road trip with them? Ok, I get that a road trip is excessive, but it’s important to keep in mind that you spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than you do with anyone else, even each other! My time with the couple begins several hours before the ceremony. I'm with you as you're having your hair and makeup done, as you're getting dressed, during your First Look, sunset photos, and I'll still be by your side during your cake cutting and bouquet toss. Make sure your photographer is someone you'd enjoy spending time with on a day other than your wedding, whether it be to grab a cup of coffee, an evening glass of wine, or your Engagement Session! Even though you share a professional relationship, it's important that there be a level of trust and comfort that extends beyond that. You want to feel at ease, comfortable, and be able to let loose when you’re with them.

Have any other questions about choosing your wedding photographer? Reach out through my Contact page! I can’t wait to hear from you.

 

Janine Licare
Madison and Rivers | Charleston, South Carolina

Photographing this beautiful inspiration shoot made me feel like I was stepping into a chapter from a Victorian romance novel. The scene set amidst the cascading Spanish moss of modern-day Charleston. The vibrant colors of Madison’s bouquet popped against the shades of greenery that surrounded her and Rivers. Her romantic makeup and hair perfectly complemented the stunning Alexandra Grecco gown, and her Bella Belle shoes further amplified the romantic sentiment, the gold lace resembling Victorian fabrics that are no longer made. Step into the past with this shoot and experience how this old time period can be a perfect fit for the modern bride.

Beautifully designed for the Michael and Carina Workshop, every detail was styled to perfection by East Made Event Company. Emily Artistry did a stunning job with Madison’s hair and makeup and the floral arrangements by La Fleur du Jour were flawless and a perfect complement to the venue, RiverOaks Charleston (see all vendor credits at the end of the post).

See this shoot featured on 100 Layer Cake and Port and Union!

Vendor Credits:

Photography: Janine Licare Photography / Venue: RiverOaks Charleston / Creative Direction: East Made Event Company / Workshop Host: Michael and Carina / Florals: La Fleur du Jour / Hair & Makeup: Emily Artistry / Calligraphy: Maurelle Calligraphy / Cake: Wildflour Pastry / Dishes: Chris Targoni Clay / Ribbons: Frou Frou Chic & East Coast Trimming /Dress: Alexandra Grecco / Ring: Susie Saltzman / Earrings: BHLDN / Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes / Models: Madison Schaffer & Rivers Atkinson of TouT Models / Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab

Janine Licare
Melody and Michael | San Francisco City Hall Wedding

Melody and Michael will be having their dream wedding at Hotel La Marois in Paris this December. However, as with most of my destination wedding couples, a civil ceremony in the U.S. is usually also required. Luckily for these two, San Francisco City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in San Fransisco. The stunning Beaux-Arts architecture is breathtaking, and the sandstone interior makes you glow during your Portraits. It’s always a dream to photograph a San Francisco City Hall wedding.

We met for their portraits at 9:30am. Fridays tend to be busy days for weddings at City Hall, so the earlier you start, the fewer strangers in the background of your photos. As soon as they walked in, Melody’s sophisticated and elegant white cape wedding dress immediately took my breath away. Her whole look reminded me of something straight out of by a 1940s Hollywood movie. Her hair was side swept with soft glam curls and her makeup was elegant and understated. Michael looked so dapper with is coat and pocket square. We started the shoot on the 4th floor and worked our way down. The top floor is my favorite for portraits. The lighting is always spectacular and the view of the inside of rest of building is awe-inspiring from so high up. We then moved to the 3rd floor, which has the prettiest windows and balconies, as you’ll see below. The ceremony itself took place under the Rotunda at the top of the grand staircase. The Rotunda itself feels so romantic once you’re under it, the perfect spot for “I do’s”.

I can’t wait to celebrate with these two and photograph their winter wedding in Paris in just a few month!

Are you having a San Francisco City Hall wedding? Reach out through my Contact page! Can’t wait to be in touch!

Janine Licare
Should You Do A First Look?

This is a question I get from a lot of my couples. Tradition tells us that "it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding," but this is one tradition that I've seen slowly creeping into oblivion (along with the one that says the Father of the Bride is the only one who can walk the bride down the aisle).  As the wedding industry becomes more progressive, old traditions are taking on new forms or are being left out of weddings entirely (goodbye, garter toss). Here's what you need to know about the First Look:

What's a First Look?

A First Look is where the bride and groom schedule a time to see each other before the ceremony. This is usually after she's had her hair and makeup done and is completely dressed (gown, earrings, shoes, the whole 9 yards), as is he. They are seeing each other in their wedding attire for the first time. 

Why do a First Look?

Wedding days are chaotic. As soon as the ceremony is over, you'll be surrounded by your friends and family through the end of the night. I'm not kidding. Chances of you having a moment alone together are slim to none. First Looks give the two of you a chance to be alone together and celebrate your wedding day before the chaos begins. 

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What does this mean for photos?

From a more logistical standpoint, First Looks make a lot of sense. You get to be photographed in a beautiful and completely candid moment, without the time constraint of needing to get back to the reception for dinner or toasts. Usually, right after the First Look is when we'll photograph your portraits. Together, we'll explore your venue and photograph the two of you alone. This can add up to 40 minutes of creative photo time (lots of candids and fun moments) on your wedding day.

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Does it affect my guests?

Only in the best way. Doing a First Look also allows you the option to take your Bridal Party photos and Immediate Family portraits before the wedding as well. This means that you'll actually get to spend your Cocktail Hour with your guests. Usually, when couples opt out of a First Look, Portraits of the Bride and Groom, Bridal Party photos, and Immediate Family portraits are done after the ceremony, during the cocktail hour. This means two things:

  1. We have only one hour to photograph: the two of you alone, your entire bridal party, and all of your family photos (immediate and extended). This likely means 15 minutes of Bride and Groom photos, 10 minutes of Bridal Party photos, and 15 minutes of Family Portraits (and that's assuming everything and everyone is running on schedule).

  2. You won't get the chance to spend all that much time with your guests on your wedding day: As soon as the reception begins, your guests are ushered to their table, you to yours, dinner begins, toasts begin, dancing begins, etc. Sometimes, cocktail hours are your best shot at getting to celebrate with all the people you invited to your wedding! Take advantage of it!

"But will it still be special when I do walk down the aisle?"

Absolutely! When you start walking down the aisle and you and your soon-to-be-spouse lock eyes, nothing else will matter (it sounds cheesy but it's totally true). The moment is here. Whether or not you did a First Look won't even cross your mind. 

If you're torn between doing a First Look or not, save the veil for the ceremony! Wearing a veil can completely change your entire bridal look! It'll be like your First Look all over again. 

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"I'm still feeling like I don't want to do a First Look..."

That's totally fine! Whatever you decide, I will make it work. It's your wedding day!

~

Are you doing a First Look? Did this post help you decide whether to do one or not? Let me know below! If you have additional First Look questions, feel free to comment, reach out through my Contact page or email me at janine@janinelicarephotography.com.

Janine Licare
Morgan & Justin | Carmel, California

Last year, Justin took Morgan on a weekend trip to Carmel, California. They explored 17-mile-drive and when they got to the Lone Cypress, he proposed and asked her to be his forever. When Morgan and I were discussing locations to do their engagement session, 17-mile-drive was a must. The California coast has so much to offer, and this 17-mile stretch includes Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, Monterrey, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. It has so much variety within a short driving distance and I knew it would have everything we wanted for their engagement photo shoot. 

We started their session at Pescadero Point. It had the perfect combination of ocean views, walkable paths, and dramatic boulders. Our second stop was at the Lone Cypress, where Justin proposed. Since we shot their Engagement Session on a weekday, we had the entire lookout all to ourselves. Our last and final stop we timed perfectly with sunset. Their dog, Indi, joined us for the end of it. At this point, it was getting colder and colder by the minute, so the blanket they brought (and intended to sit on) came in exceptionally handy to keep them warm. Indi looked like she'd never been happier and that, combined with the beautiful sunset at Seal Rock Beach, was the perfect end to an amazing session.  

Janine Licare
4 Things to Tell Your Photographer Before Your Wedding Day

I've learned a lot about weddings. I consider myself to have a wealth of wedding knowledge and am always happy to share what I've learned with clients and even non-clients! However, there are always a few things I won't know until you tell me. Here are 4 of those things:

1. Do you have a side: This one sounds silly, and it may not apply to you, but it's very real for some people. If you have a side (or angle) that you prefer to be photographed from, tell your photographer. For example, if you really don't like how you look when photographed from your left side and you haven't told your photographer, speak up! We can't read your mind. And if, while your photographer is photographing you and it's clear they've forgotten, speak up again! Occasionally, we'll have to photograph you from the other side for various reasons, but make sure we're aware of your preference. 

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2. Family situations: This one can be uncomfortable, but it is so important that we, as photographers, know if there's any family drama or unusual circumstances that may influence the way we photograph certain situations. If your parents are divorced and are not amicable, tell us so we don't accidentally ask them to stand next to each other during family portraits! If your grandpa recently passed away and your grandma's been lonely, let us know so we can be extra kind! If you have a family member that's sick, make sure we know so we can take more photos of them than we otherwise would. I know this is all very intimate information, but hopefully you've booked a photographer that you feel comfortable sharing these tidbits of your life with. It'll make things easier for you on the wedding day and you'll be happier with the photos later. 

3. Is there anything special you want photographed: On a wedding day, we're focusing on capturing every single special moment and detail. However, there are certain things that we won't be aware of until you tell us, and if you don't, we might miss it. Some examples of this include: your wedding date embroidered on the inside of your dress, engravings on the inside of your rings, special details that you put a lot of thought into (ie: your table numbers, escort cards or any DIY decor that have a personal touch), the initials on the handkerchief that belonged to your grandmother, the groomsmen's matching socks, that one yellow rose in your bouquet that's there because it was your grandfather's favorite flower. If there's anything that you can think of that's meaningful to you in one way or the other, please tell us ahead of time. I always carry around a printed list of these things with me on your wedding day. By telling us ahead of time, we can both be sure that the things that are most important to you will be photographed. 

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4. A very detailed list of every single family photo you'll want: I always have my clients give me a very detailed list of ever single family photo they'll want taken on their wedding day, including their names and relationship to you. Photos on the list can be as small as "bride and mom" and as large as you and your entire maternal family. It can be easy to forget to include someone in family photos on your wedding day, so by creating a list ahead of time, you can make sure you don't forget anyone. This is another thing that I print out ahead of time and carry around with me on your wedding day. This way, I won't need to ask you any questions about who you want in what photo. The family portrait process becomes extremely efficient, which helps make the most of you and your guests' time.

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Is there something else you feel is important to tell your photographer before your wedding day? Was this list helpful? Let me know below! If you have additional questions about what you should tell your photographer before your wedding day, reach out through my Contact page or email me directly at janine@janinelicarephotography.com. I'm always happy to answer any questions that come my way!

Janine LicareComment
5 Ways to Prepare for Your City Hall Wedding | San Francisco, CA

Congratulations! You're engaged and you've decided to get married at City Hall! City Hall is one of my favorite wedding venues in San Francisco to photograph couples. The architecture is stunning and the light is unbeatable - there's nowhere quite like it. Now that you've decided to get married there and you've reserved a date, you're probably wondering, now what?

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1. Book your photographer: The first thing you're going to want to do is book your photographer (and I'm not just saying that because I'm a wedding photographer). You can only reserve your date 3 months out, but photographers may book-up way before then, so reach out to a San Francisco-based wedding photographer (wink*Janine Licare Photography*wink) as soon as you have chosen a date to get the ball rolling.

2. Decide who you want there: Will it be just the two of you? Will you have friends and family? This will help your photographer guide you in the right direction in terms of the amount of coverage you'll want. I've photographed several City Hall weddings where it's just been the three of us. I've also photographed many ceremonies where guest numbers have ranged from 2 to 15+. If you do decide to have a sizable guest party, keep in mind that this may influence your photography timeline. 

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3. Dress for the occasion: It's your wedding day! You deserve to feel and look beautiful. I always recommend you have your hair and makeup done (Benefit and DryBar are great options) or do it yourself! And don't forget to wear a wedding dress - whether your style is boho, classic, modern, or even Hollywood glam, wear something that will feel special. And make sure your groom matches your look. If you're more of a boho bride, you might not want him in a tux.

4. Get a bouquet: Having a bouquet on your City Hall wedding day will certainly make you look and feel more bridal. It adds an extra element to your overall look and is a beautiful addition to your photos, and let's be honest, it gives you something to do with your hands. Since you likely won't be having a reception with centerpieces, garlands, or other floral decors, having a bouquet is your way to express your personality and personal style. Farmgirl Flowers makes beautiful ones, but I've had several brides make their own and they've turned out beautifully as well. You can stop by your local market (or even Trader Joe's) and pick an assortment of flowers to create your own floral arrangement. If you do choose to design and build your own, there are tons of tutorial online on how to do so. Make sure you do it the day of your wedding though, the last thing you'll want is a wilted bouquet. 

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5. Plan to take photos at a second location: As much as I love City Hall, there's something truly special about going to a second location with your photographer to take additional photos. Right after your ceremony, you'll both already look fantastic, why not take a few more photos at some of your favorite San Francisco spots? A few of my favorites are Sutro Baths, Lands End, and Lover's Lane.

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This list could be endless, but for now I feel 5 is a good number. If you have unanswered questions about how to prepare for your wedding at San Francisco City Hall, feel free to comment below, email me, or reach out through my Contact page on my website! 

Janine LicareComment