“How Do I Choose a Wedding Photographer?” | Tips for the Bride to Be | Wedding Photography

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Choosing a Wedding Photographer Editing Retouching Photo

If you want to look like the image on the right: ASK your potential wedding photographers the below questions! If you don’t ask you can’t be upset if you still see that last minute breakout, etc… Remember: “EDIT” to some photographers doesn’t mean “retouched”!

I used to plan weddings way back before I ever picked up a camera professionally, and here’s a list I compiled way back then to help find the photographer you’re looking for when you email prospective photographers.

I urged my Brides to ask these questions to make sure quality expectations are met, and that there were no surprises when they got their finished images back.

Truthfully I’m saddened every time I hear a story where a bad photo experience could’ve been prevented.  All it takes is a few simple questions.  Since different Photographers have different styles, AND since some HIDE their real work behind only a few “best” images on their site….make sure your style and skill level expectations mesh with theirs! :)

One gal recently told me her friend’s wedding photographer only edited the first 100 images, and had a charge per image after the first 100 to edit more. A fact she was only made aware of AFTER the fact…that was a sad, and unnecessary blind side. So, KNOW before you sign a contract…and by all means…SIGN.A.CONTRACT!!!!

Here are a few popular questions to ask your potential Wedding photographer
(or Senior, Boudoir, Family, newborn, etc…) Because really it’s a once
in a lifetime memory…and you don’t get a “do-over”!

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1) Do your dress shots show the details of the dress? My dress has beautiful __________ (lace, beading, feathers, gathers, etc…), and I want to make sure I can see those details in my images…instead of just looking like a white washout.
2) What retouching do you do? Do you retouch at all? If I have wrinkles, dark
circles or big under eye bags will you remove or soften them? Whiten
teeth? Soften skin? Remove blemishes or stretch marks?
3) Does the disc of images I get contain Hi, medium, or Low res images?
What size can we print up to?
4) Will the disc have your watermark on the images?
5) Do you know what angles to shoot (or NOT shoot) from if I’m slightly
plump or have larger folks in my pictures?
6) Natural light…Do you know how to shoot indoors with and WITHOUT a
flash? I don’t want shadows or red-eye in the Church or reception!
7) Do you know how to handle “blinkers” or “squinters”?
8) How many images do you retouch? What are the charges to retouch more?
9) How many images do you actually edit? What are the charges to
edit more?
10) Will you show me an entire gallery from a wedding that you’ve shot?
11) Do you give instruction on how to pose or move?
12) My venue is a Church and they have a restriction on photographer’s not being allowed in the sanctuary during ceremonies (or they’re allowed only behind the last row of pews).  Is this a problem for you?
13) What kinds of professional products do you offer to help me display my images around our new home?
14) What’s your turnaround time?
15) Do you travel? How far? Have passport, will travel? Travel fees?
16) If I have family and friends who want images are you equipped to handle their orders so I don’t get stuck with the bill, and ordering all of those images?

Once you have these answers review the entire wedding gallery they link you to CAREFULLY!  

Do people look professionally posed or awkward?  They may say they edit every image, but do they all look cohesive…do they all look edited the same way?  If not are you OK with that edit/not edit style?  If you’re wanting more “candid” images, and they have mostly “smile and look at the camera” images you may want to keep looking, and vice versa if you want more traditional “poses” or “mom shots”.

NOTE: Some photographers may say they retouch, but look at close-ups of the bride and groom specifically.  Are their pores deep, dark, and harsh? Do they have dark bags under their eyes…I call them “laugh bags”? Yellow teeth? Blemishes? Stretch marks? Red Eyes? Harsh shadows or strong orange or yellow casts in the inside shots? Are the images STRAIGHT or crooked? Glasses glare? And so on. Ask yourself “AM I OK WITH THAT?”

Not every professional photographer is an editing and retouching freak like me…it’s not their style, or maybe they don’t know how yet. And to each their own, but make sure you’re not expecting super smooth, flawless skin, and white teeth when they only do color and b&w editing. Make sure you’re not expecting slimming angles for fluffier frames when the skinny people in their gallery look wide.

Note:  “EDITING” does NOT = RETOUCHING! DO NOT ASSUME this! Ask!

Why do I urge every Bride to ask these questions  Well….If you don’t ask you have no right to be upset later.  Of course we put our best work out front for the world to see, who doesn’t?  It’s the actual full Monty of a recent wedding that will speak VOLUMES. So, ask and review, and above all have PEACE about your decisions. Weddings are meant to be fun, so make sure you’re going to be able to relive that fun AFTER the fact…through your images!

Happy Wedding Planning & Rock ON!

-Braska Jennea

BONUS!  Guess what!  There’s MORE great Wedding Planning Freebies at your fingertips.  Check out the links below for more outside the box Wedding Planning Wisdom.

Part 1: Your Best Photos

Part 2: More About Budgets, Locations, and PHOTOS!

Part 3: Maids & Men, Looking Your Best, and TIME Management!

Part 4: The W.E.A.K. Wedding Emergency Aide Kit

Joann + Brian – A Birthday Surprise Lifestyle Session – Cleveland, TN Photographer


Warning: This session may cause boyfriend envy. Brian contacted me a few months ago about a plan to surprise his gal Joann with a portrait session for her birthday.

We worked out details which included me putting together a bouquet of summer flowers, a balloon bouquet, and a giant cupcake for the session.

Brian secured his uncle’s GORGEOUS vintage blue Chevy pick-up truck he’s fully restored, and if you know me at.all. you know I LOOOOVE old cars and trucks!

We started out at Brian’s childhood friend’s home in Charleston, Valley Event Barn, which has a stunning large pond, and beautifully landscaped grounds.

The session kicked off by Joann’s flowers, balloons, and cupcake waiting on her as she exited the house. Tears started to flow as she whispered “This is the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me!” I think he did well ;)

We headed to the dock for some portraits where Joann was scooped up in a canoe by her fella for a sweet ride across the pond.

A few wardrobe changes, and we used the cabin’s front porh as light flooded around them on the porch swing. I’m a sucker for killer natural light, and this day there was no shortage of it!

The truck was brought to another family member’s home just down the road for the final sunset part of the day. When the truck was brought in I think I might have squeeled like a little girl…it.was.AWESOME!

The night ended with some fantastic horse wrangling, and finally a lovely silhouette of Brian and Joann in the truck’s headlights.

Possibly these two took the prize for new favorite session…and Brian scored MAJOR points for not only getting her a photoshoot…but for happily being IN the pictures as well. Fellas take note ;)
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Angela + Jacob – A Southern Backyard Wedding – Athens, TN Photographer


There’s just nothing like a Southern Wedding. Angela + Jacob’s sweet, intimate, wedding took place in his sister and brother-in-law’s stunning backyard near Downtown Athens, TN.

Angela chose a gorgeous gold hued gown, and paired with Jacob’s ivory suit and striped tie the two look like they stepped out of a magazine!

Rain showers came and went, but didn’t dare dampen the spirit of the day…even when a persistent shower started just before ceremony time it was a smooth transition to the covered back porch with everyone jumping in to help rearrange the reception setup and make room.

Decorated with beautiful oranges and peach colors accented with succulents and burlap, these two love birds said “I DO” not only to each other, but to the son of their new spouse.

They incorporated special vows and necklaces that they each gave to the other’s son to seal their new covenant as one family. “Today and always, son, brother, family” were enscribed on one of the charms for one of the sweetest parts of a ceremony I’ve ever witnessed. When they all joined hands to pray with the boys hugging their parents was probably my favorite moment of the day.

The homeowner, and Groom’s brother-in-law, was the master chef for the reception meal which was my first ever taste of a Low Country Boil. Not only was it beautiful fodder for my lens, but it was even more delicous than it looked. These families know how to do a backyard wedding right!

As the rain clouds passed everyone spread back out into the courtyard for dinner, and as the evening light faded to dusk the twinkle lights and candles lit up an already beautiful site to make it something more out of a fairy tale.

Cheers to the new Harmon family, and thank you for inviting me to document such a special day in the start to your new lives together.
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Cristy + Dustin – Whitestone Inn Wedding – Knoxville Wedding Photographer


Cristy + Dustin’s Whitestone Country Inn Wedding Memorial Day Wedding was simply breathtaking. The weather was answered prayer, and we didn’t have a single drop of rain…despite the forecast. Prayer works for the weather too ya’ll!

We shot their engagement images back in the Spring, and that day the weather was marvelous as well…but this day it knocked that day out of the park!

They opted to do a First Look in the Chapel with just the two of them, and I always love the expressions on a Groom’s face when no one else is there for him to focus on…Dustin’s smile was beaming as he walked towards his Bride.

After the First Look we started a great few hours of leisure shooting around the grounds…even commondeering a Golf cart which I used to drive around the maids + Cristy. Not THAT was entertainment ;)

We headed back down to the water, now green and lush, where we’d shot some engagement images a few months before. A snake was sighted, but quickly slithered away into the bushes as the Groom and Groomsmen sought it out. Southern Weddings ya’ll…you never know what critters are going to try to crash your session!

The Bride’s sister did her GORGEOUS peach and yellow bouquets, and my favorite “Vintage Chicks” from Vintage Inspirations gave the ceremony site and reception hall one EPIC hook-up.

Since the Bride’s father had gone on to Heaven just months before his little girl’s wedding day her uncle gave her away. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I had a feeling, watching him treat her like she was his daughter in lieu of his brother being able to do the honor, this was possibly the most precious “Escort” I’ve ever witnessed. I teared up…thankfully on the rarity a moment gets me I have a camera to camouflage the tears. Later her uncle told me he had a feeling it’s exactly what her dad would’ve wanted, and he felt like he was there the whole time.

After a sweet sermon and ceremony by one of the greatest Officiants I’ve ever heard the couple was whisked away in their Carriage Ride, and then on into the reception.

A sparkler send-off was to signal their “depart”, but I wasn’t done with them just yet…they wanted an image with the gazebo all lit up like they’d seen somewhere before. I’m not one to copy so we made it our own, and I captured the beautiful background city lights with tiny stars, and a purple hued night sky. Mission Accomplished…and it was worth all the time to get it!

Orrrr so I thought I was done…God had something else in store for not just me, but for the Bride and her family.

It was THE LAST image of the night. Literally PITCH BLACK, no speed-lites, nothing.

I had the camera in Manual focus still from shooting the gazebo shot, and was in such a hurry I NEVER EVEN CHECKED THE FOCUS.

I adjusted my settings, shot this ONE image, first try, showed it to the Bride and Groom, the wedding planner, and the few family around, and then tried to “do a better one”…didn’t happen.

Even after 7 more tries with the focus finally fixed…something was off about each subsequent try. This image was absolutely meant to be, I say it was a Gift from Heaven to me, and I cannot wait to make it a Canvas for my personal collection!

Though I can find things I’d liked to have technically done better in another try, I’ll always cherish THIS single shot as a reminder that even when I plan things out strategically, there’s extreme beauty in just letting God paint the picture that He alone allows me to capture.

The icing on the cake came while editing the image.

I noticed “a gray spot” on the bell tower…I zoomed in, and it’s actually a rainbow. Like a prism kissed the top of the steeple….in the pitch black night! I firmly believe that was meant just for Cristy and her family as a “topper” to a wonderful day. A message from her father that indeed he was there with his little girl on her big day!

So, THANK YOU Cristy, Dustin, and both of your fabulous families. It was my extreme honor capturing this start to your new life together, and I cannot wait to see what all else God has in store for you!

XOXO, B
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Alyssa + Craig – Camp Columbus Wedding – Chattanooga Wedding Photographer


Alyssa + Craig’s Memorial Day weekend wedding took place by the lake in Hixson, TN at Camp Columbus. It was PERFECT weather for an outdoor wedding featuring shades of purple, teal and grey with their Nautical themed reception.

I believe great weather follows these two around actually.  Their Rock Quarry Engagement session had STUNNING light and weather earlier in the spring when we descended on a beautiful Greenway park in Hixson, TN.

For their wedding I donned my Wedding Planning and Floral Designer hats for thy got ready is affair, and had a BLAST doing so. Purple is my favorite color so naturally I was alllll in when the Bride’s sister, a long time friend, asked me to shoot their day.

She loves animals, even raises chickens, and he supports her critter habit…though he admittedly wanted to “free” her ducks to the lake during the weekend ;) She wouldn’t budge…even though he kept reassuring his new Bride that “they’ll have friends here”, and low and behold there was a duck that appeared out of no where while we were shooting by the lake. Her ducks though weren’t going anywhere! :)

Both of their families were a blast, and everyone pitched in to give them the most wonderful wedding. It truly was a family affair…a beautiful family affair!

They even had tiny anchors attached to the programs, and on the bases of the fruit parfait glasses, as well as blue striped straws to match the napkins.  The idea to wrap the silverware, and straw with the napkins, and place them in everyone’s Mason Jar drinking glasses at their table was a brilliant touch…and helped make sure this “always forgets a fork” photographer had everything she needed ;)

The sun was sinking low so we grabbed a few images up on the hill near the reception site with the lake behind them…a cool blue hue to top off their day greeted us in the sky!

Thank you to the new Mr. and Mrs. Leonard for allowing me to take part in your day. I LOVED every second of it, and pray you both a wonderful lifetime of happiness!

XOXO, B
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Venue: Camp Columbus

Floral Designer: BraskaJennea Photography and Floral Design

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

It’s Time to Update Your Headshot – Profile Image Mini-Sessions


How many business cards do we see?  Which ones are we drawn to? Most people are drawn to the visual cards…the ones with an image to catch our eye.

I know for me personally I’ve always been drawn to the cards with images of people.  The person offering the service having their image on their card, website, profile, etc…usually gets my business.
Headshots - Athens, TN Photographer - BraskaJennea Photography_0009Why?  Because I already know based on their picture if they’re someone I want to inquire about doing business with.  If you look at yourself I’d say you’re the same.

Therefore, August is “Head-shot & Profile Image Awareness Month” here at BraskaJennea Photography!

It’s time to show your clients your face, have a “non-selfie” on your social media profiles, and update your dating profiles with a recent image!Lynn-Mashburn-Headshots-Athens-TN-Photographer-BraskaJennea-Photography_0004.jpg

Come by the studio for a quick 10 or 20 minute head-shot session to update your lovely mug on all your social media sites, web presence, cards, and so on.

A great head-shot should reflect your personality, instill confidence in you/your brand, and convey a warm, open nature that draws potential clients to you.

Mini Session options will be as follows:

$95 for 10 Minute, One outfit, Studio session complete with Color makeup for women. *False Eyelashes available for $10*
-Professional Facial Retouching (Fine lines, crows feet, blemishes, teeth whitening, stretch marks, etc…)
-3 Finished Images (Edited and Retouched) with marketing and print releases
-Hi-Res Digital Negatives available via immediate online download once images are finished. 
-1 5×7 Professional Print of Photographer’s choice
$145 for 20 Minute, Two outfit, Studio session complete with Color makeup for women. *False Eyelashes available for $10*
-Professional Facial Retouching (Fine lines, crows feet, blemishes, teeth whitening, stretch marks, etc…)
-6 Finished Images (Edited and Retouched) with marketing and print releases
-Hi-Res Digital Negatives available via immediate online download once images are finished. 
-1 8×10 Professional Print of Photographer’s choice
Session appointments are limited so e-mail us from BraskaJennea.com to reserve your appointment now. Deposit of $50 required at booking to hold your session, and is non-refundable, but with notice appt may be rescheduled.
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