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Created by Javier Mendez

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This Guide is completely focused in Wedding Photography. I created it for all couples that are looking to have those amazing photographs that we all dream of and want to treasure for a lifetime Please keep in mind there are many other details you would probably need to discuss with your wedding planner. This is just a guide relative to photography moments. With more than 400 weddings done, I know our tips will help you to enjoy the most of your wedding day


Practice putting on the dress

getting ready

When planning where to get ready, it’s really important to make sure that you book somewhere that has plenty of space near windows/natural light or has make-up stations.
It’s most likely that the biggest window will be taken by the make-up artist, so you don’t want your lovely crew to have to battle for the remaining natural light, if they are doing their own make-up.

Think about who you want to help you into your dress.
It’s often something that isn’t thought about until the last minute, but make sure that person stays with you right up until you’re about to walk down the aisle.
Let that person practice doing up your dress, even if it’s just on the hanger.
Some dresses come with complex bodices, fiddly buttons and loopholes where you wouldn’t expect.
You could bring that person to collect the dress with you, as the bridal shop or dress-maker will often talk you through how it goes on and how to pin the skirt up.
Possibly the hardest dresses to do up are the ones with small buttons on the back, especially if your chosen person has long nails.

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When it’s just you it seems really empty, but add your bridesmaids, family, and suppliers, and it gets cramped quickly. It’s very easy for things to go missing and for the room to get chaotic.
Try to keep as much as you can in labeled bags in a designated area. Hobbycraft sells white paper bags, or you can splash out and get bags with names printed on them.
You could also buy personalized hangers from Etsy for the bridesmaid dresses or use cute brown paper labels, so your bridesmaids can see their dresses immediately.

What to wear

Planning what to wear doesn’t just apply to your beautiful dress. Consider what you would like everyone to wear during bridal prep.
I always tell my brides to make sure they and their bridesmaids wear something they are happy to be photographed in.
 The more comfortable you all are, the more relaxed you will be and the more fun you will have. It doesn’t have to be a silk gown, although they do look amazing. It could be that you treat yourself to a set of beautiful but simple white pajamas.

Practice putting on the dress

Some bubbly, perhaps? Let’s crack a few bottles of champagne and enjoy getting ready. Laugh, tell stories, your day is about having fun. Plus, such moments allow for awesome photographs

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Items to have prepared and ready for me to photograph (all may not apply):
NOTE: Please have these items together in one place (For example a shoebox). Your items in one box and your groom's in another. If you are getting ready at separate locations, then please keep ALL rings with the bridal items, including the groom’s ring.

HIS: shoes, ring, ring box, bowtie or tie, tie clip, pocket square, watch, cuff links, vow book, etc.

HERS: Invitation suite, shoes, ring(s), ring box, bracelets, earrings, necklace, hair pieces, vow book, perfume, etc.

Love the concept of the first look, but prefer to stick to the traditional aisle reveal? Father daughter first looks have just become your best alternative. You’ll have photos that will have the spirit of the first look without sacrificing your more traditional values. It’s a win-win!


Rather than simply approaching your father in a crowded hotel lobby or having him enter the bridal room in the midst of craziness, a father daughter first look provides a controlled and quiet environment to have your father see you completely done up.

Dad first look and
parent photos

Every time I capture a bride and her father seeing her for the first time, it’s extraordinary. There’s so much love, and it’s so special. Follow this up with some family photos of your dad and mom or sibling. It’s an emotional time, and often it’s the best for immediate family shots.

in addition

1) If there are any textured / sentimental details that you love that you feel like would make great accent items to your detail shots then feel free to throw those in there (lace, fur, miniature plants, pretty rocks, anything!!).
2) Please have your dress on a cute hanger. If you didn’t buy one specifically for it, that’s okay! Any nice wooden hanger will do just fine
3) I love to incorporate floral in my detail shots. If at all possible, I will grab the brides bouquet and incorporate it, if the bouquet can be arranged to be there along with the other bridal details, then awesome!

Get it on early

Aim to have your dress on at least an hour before you leave for the ceremony.
It may seem like being overly cautious getting into your dress so early, but often planning to get into it earlier means that you won’t end up in a total panic, and you will have plenty of time for last minute pictures and a glass of bubbly or two.



Planning Your Exit

Hand-write your vows rather than read from your phone – it will look better in photos and you won’t risk feedback in the sound system. This could be our favorite part from the ceremony, is where all emotions come up
Your vows are a gift to one another, so don't share them ahead of time.
Speak from your heart, don not worry about tears, that look beautiful in pictures

There’s no better way to mark the end of your ceremony and the beginning of the party than with an unforgettable exit. Flower petals, confetti, sparklers, and bubbles are all great options for your guests to literally shower you with love as you walk–or dance–down the aisle as newlyweds. Just be sure to check with your venue to see if they have any restrictions or clean-up fees!

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Over the last two years you've shown me what a great love looks like and every morning I wake up and fall more in love with you.”

Family Photos Formals

Wedding Party Photos

This comes immediately after the ceremony, so making sure family members stay put after the ceremony ends is so important.
Please provide a detailed family photo list, usually wedding planners are in charge of this in the wedding day or you could leave this to a friend

Once we finish up with family photos, we will bring in the whole wedding party (Bridesmaids and Groomsmen) for group photos!! If you’re having a first look, full wedding party photos might happen before the ceremony to leave more time for couple portraits.

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couple session

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I’ve normally set aside 30-45 minutes of couple portraits. But if you want to set aside more time and literally take a bunch of photos in your wedding dress and not stressing about time, because you have all your college buddies and family waiting for you at the reception, then I would really consider having a “Day After Wedding Session”.

natural light

Our style is based on natural light, so make sure to set this session before ambient light goes out. In Costa Rica at 6:10 pm is already dark
The best hour for this session is around 4:30-5:50 pm. We bet you want to take some photos with those beautiful Costa Rica sunsets




The couples that I work with tend to be more carefree and low maintenance than the average couple getting married. But even so, even if you’re already care free and low key, it’s way easier to be your 100% genuine, carefree, silly, goofy self in a more casual setting than in a more structured, planned event. So by nature, the photos taken on the next day will feel AND look more genuine and carefree, because you will literally haves less to think about and less to focus on. Your genuine personality is able to shine through a little bit more, and you’ll feel more free to make the silly faces, or talk about the goofy things you do as a couple. The little things that I absolutely love documenting, that dynamic that makes couples unique and quirky.

Day after session is a great way to take advantage & get stunning photos of the location you’ve been dying to get married in for months!
We can venture out to a gorgeous unique location beyond your venue! That’s right! You know those beautiful photos you see in magazines where they’re on a beach barefoot with the sun setting behind them
Or we can go to a beautiful waterfall
We can even meet in the morning to document your first post-wedding morning together, making coffee in your home, then get dressed and go find spots to shoot in. I’ve done day-after sessions 2 hours away, That’s the beauty of it! There are so many more possibilities the next day.

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Well, it’s essentially an engagement session, but better!! You get to throw on your wedding dress for one more time!! I mean how amazing is that! The dress you absolutely loveeeee and you get to wear it more than once!! 
So Day After Sessions, are amazing since even though we might spend 30 min of couple portraits after your wedding. Hence the word “might”…cause let’s be honest everything doesn’t go smoothly on a wedding day as we all hope for.
Sometimes family portraits take longer than usual, which will cut into couple portrait time. And it's totally understandable!! All the family members just want to come up to you and your bae, and literally give you a bunch of hugs and kisses, congratulating the both of you! It’s bound to happen lol.
Then, when I do pull you aside to take those gorgeous full-length photos of your wedding gown and his tux, it might feel rushed since you know you got all your friends and family members waiting for you at the reception.


Your wedding day is probably going to be the only day you'll ever have all your favorite people in one place at the same time, so I highly recommend a “day after wedding session” because, not only will you be able to spend every minute of your best day with your people, but you'll also not be stressed on a time crunch, cause you got all your best buds and family waiting for you at the reception.



After spending an entire day together, with me, and sharing so many emotions and moments, you’ll feel way more comfortable in front of my camera. It’s just human nature. Even if you were already extremely comfortable with me on the wedding day you’ll feel even MORE comfortable the next day, because there’s so much less riding on that day, and because by then you’ve experienced my shooting style for 6-8 hours. Let’s take advantage of that built-in comfort!


The Grand Entrance


This is when I’ll be shooting candid photos of you and your bae walking into the reception!!
I’ll also be shooting reception details.
Please communicate with your wedding planner or DJ to turn off any colorful lighting, strobe lighting, and any other distracting lighting. And to ONLY leave on the warm, ambient lighting for the entrance, first dance, any special parent dances, and during the cake cutting.

Since no one wants photos of open mouths full of food. I’ll be eating at the same time as you
Also, make sure to coordinate this with your caterer or wedding planner, they sometimes will put me in a back room, which is not ideal, since I won’t be able to see any important events happening, if I’m in a random room

Parent Dances

final tip

The wedding reception offers a time for you and your new spouse to share a dance with someone special in your lives, as you leave single life and officially embark on your forever journey together. Before you sail into the celebrations, you have the opportunity for one last dance with your father or mother (or maybe it's your sibling or grandmother). It is such a beautiful moment you don't want to miss

At the end of the day, I want you to be in the moment.
These are only tips and suggestions to help guide you through the creation of your wedding day. But what really matters is the time you will share celebrating the connection between you and your love, with your family and friends by your side.
The day of your wedding, I want you to feel the moments in your soul. The moment you are walking down the aisle toward your love, the moment you read each other's vows and promises to one another, and the moment you have your first dance as husband and wife. These are the moments that count, and these are the moments I will capture for you...that way they will be with you forever

All relationships are built on trust and common values. I want us to connect.