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2018 Wedding Season: Behind the Scenes!

January 3, 2019

Guys…. I’m not going to lie. I’m trying my hardest to keep the copy on this post short because I am filled with so many feels that I don’t think I could possibly write them all down without writing a full book. This year has been nothing short of a dream come true… my first full time wedding season, the kindest couples, the most amazing supporters, and a million memories made that I know I will treasure forever. Thank you, so very much for making this all possible.

I know it sound silly to say, but the fact that I get to make this post today means the world to me. I have looked at countless other photographer’s “Year in Review” posts and always wanted to press publish on one of my own. Making this post meant the literal world to me… I was reminded of learning moments, breakthroughs, so many laughs, and just how much I love my job.

This year has been one crazy adventure, and even more than that, it has been a literal dream. Never in a million years did I think I would be able to say that I am a full time wedding photographer at the age of 24. Thank you so much for helping to make this life of mine a reality.

Now… I know you’re not here for feels, so we’re going to switch gears REAL quickly. Welcome to my 2018 Behind the Scenes post also known as: My Self Inflicted Most Embarrassing Blog Post of the Year. I have recently learned that I have a lot of people that wonder what exactly it is I do when I say I am headed to a wedding for the weekend, so now is your time to see! Spoiler alert: my life looks a lot like embarrassing facial expressions, personal hairstyles that can’t withstand a 10 hour wedding day & the same dress in many, many different colors.

Before we get started with the images, my year in numbers:

3 Educational Workshops Attended 

I attended Hope Taylor’s Workshop, The Gathering 2.0 and Katelyn James’ Final Workshop Experience

1 Full Time Job Departure (Cheers to going full time with CKP!)

1 Full Website & Branding Makeover 

10 CKP Weddings

22 Weddings Second Shot

Over 1 Month Spent at Weddings

10,290+ Business Miles Driven

Side note here y’all: Log your miles using the Mile IQ app. It will change your life.

319,521 steps taken during the season. Shoutout Fitbit.

Now… as we get started with some of the world’s most embarrassing photos, I think I need to specify: Yes, I am still somehow a professional, even though I look like a ridiculous human in 99.9% of these photos. I promise. Also… yes, I am working on ways to tame my hair on a wedding day. Things vastly improved once the humidity rates decreased to a normal range.

I wasn’t really sure how to start off this post, so I’m doing it the only way I thought fitting: Dogs. If you are wondering if your four legged family should play a part in your wedding or engagement session, my answer will always be: YES. 

  This was the very first year that I finally started to get comfortable with (and actually began enjoying!) detail shots!  I was blessed to have the opportunity to photograph so many different and stunning styles of dresses this year! Anything to get the dress set up perfectly… right?Now… if I ever complain to you about back or neck pain, I’m just going to need you to send me this following snippet of images. I don’t know what it is about having a camera in hand that makes everything I know about posture fly out the window!

2019 Resolution: shoot with a neutral spine.  As wedding photographers, our job extends far beyond just taking pretty photos! Assisting during the getting ready portion of the day happens more often than you would think! Before going any further with this post, I think it is about time I introduce my girl Savannah of Savannah Smith Photography. If you have followed along this year, you probably have followed along with our wedding season shenanigans. We have known each other for years, and she is one of my biggest mentors. I am fairly confident that I am where I am in life because of her. She loves me and my clients so incredibly well throughout the year and on wedding days. We had so much fun second shooting for each other this year and I am so thankful to have such an amazing friend to do life and business with.   She also brings the best facial expressions for all of my light tests.  Don’t mind me… just shooting some bridal portraits in a bathroom. But can you blame me?! Check out that wall paper!  TBT to that time I photographed Mike and his guys getting ready from the shower… Quick pause for an Instagram story! Posing for light test shots in the most awkward way possible is apparently my specialty.I think my thought here was: grooms sometimes cry during first looks, so I should too? Again… world’s most awkward stand in for testing light.And now I present to you… me and my team accidentally photobombing first looks: One of me and Savannah’s most commonly used phrases this season was: “Hey could you stand over there and get married really quick?” I think we both practiced getting married at least 15 times each. Note to guests: We are testing light when we stand up on the alter… not looking for a new head shot 🙈  That one time rain blew in and the temperatures dropped about 20 degrees overnight and all we had were a few backup rain jackets that Savannah keeps in the back of her car. I told y’all… she takes such good care of me. And now, I’m sure to keep cardigans and coats in my car on wedding days.   Let’s play a quick game of Where’s Caity?   “Quick pretend like you’re walking down the aisle and then go over there and pretend to get married.” I wish I could explain what is happening here… I think I’ll always remember 2018 as the year of the rain. There was A LOT of it. Fortunately, my clients didn’t seem to mind.  Our poor umbrellas…Portrait time is hands down my very favorite time of the day! Instructing posing is one of the things that used to intimidate me the most but now is my very favorite thing! Thankfully, my clients always look much better posing than I do!  “Here… soften your front knee and hinge just a little bit towards me. Yes girl!!! Just like that!” I look good when I want to look good, what can I say? (Really what was happening here was that we wanted a few veil-less photos but the ground was muddy. I needed to find another way to continue shooting! Wedding day chic?) Just some gals that really love their jobs For those of you wondering what I really do on wedding days: I fluff dresses. A lot of dresses. Will stop traffic for a first look.  Still haven’t figured out what I’m actually doing here…  We were having fun… I swear.  Left: Peter making the bridesmaids laugh. Right: Literally no idea.  This poor bridal crew had to power through a literal Nor’easter and were champs about it… I think I was instructing them to huddle to stay warm here? I got to shoot some GORGEOUS reception details this year! Quick chat about light with one of my sweet assistants Cassidy while guests took their seats.Who let me out of the house looking like I do on the left?! (Please note this was at the end of a double header weekend!)I have one dance move and one dance move only when it comes to testing light for reception entrances…Luckily, Savannah has a few.  Ran into a previous CKP couple (Hi Megan and Ryan!!) on the dance floor and then continued to be the world’s most embarrassing human…I don’t know what we were chatting about here, but I think it may have been when I let Katie and Charlie know that they would be getting a sneak peek of their images that week… I know it may look like I am telling them that I broke something very important, but I didn’t… promise 😂

As a wedding photographer, I usually find myself instructing my couples on how to cut their cake! (and often practice cutting the cake myself…)  …and help brides clean up after a cake smashing incident.  Someone remind me NOT to warm up the dance floor with one of my lenses tucked under my arm. LUCKILY, no gear was harmed this year. Stole poor Molly’s bouquet (for their anniversary dance, of course.) That one time I got to shoot sweet Liz’s wedding and ran into a ton of my fitness instructing friends from college 💕

More light tests… more facial expressions on point.  While Savannah helped me out for many of my wedding weekends, I also had quite a few ladies help me out when she was off shooting weddings of her own! Meghan, Marie, Liz & Cassidy, THANK YOU!   I also had the privilege of working with some of my amazing friends in the industry. Thank you for having me along this year, ladies! You know who you are, and you should know that I am so incredibly grateful for you and your friendship.When I’m not working a wedding, chances are good, you can find me hanging with my pals at at the Jefferson Memorial at 7AM.  I know that one on the right there looks crazy, but Anna is one of my dear friends and let me photograph her rings on her dress! Worth it!! Convinced my sister, her boyfriend and our friend Alyssa to come be my test subjects for a surprise proposal on top of a mountain. Should I mention that it was my sister’s birthday? Thankful to have such supportive people in my life.  Big cheesing during headshot session swaps…   All in all, 2018 was a year for the books… I am so, so blessed.

2019 goal: get a photo with allllll of my couples! 

Thankful is an understatement… quick un-curated cell phone dump from this season because these in between moments bring me too much joy not to share.

Select images by Savannah, Meghan, Marie, Liz, Cassidy, Vanessa & Manali.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

THE ONE CHANGE I THINK YOU SHOULD MAKE IN THE NEW YEAR | FRIDAY CHATTER

CHARLESTON BEHIND THE SCENES

A WALK THROUGH MY WEDDING EXPERIENCE | FRIDAY CHATTER

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  1. Amanda Johns

    January 5th, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Awesome review and fun. While doing weddings those test shots are always the best. Quick question you must have been very intentional to get so many of you working shots. On the wedding day myself and my partner are so involved with shooting the wedding we never have time to get us behind the scenes. Only the test shot stuff. How did u manage to get so many of you working without sacrificing focus to capture the wedding? Were these your second shoot jobs.

  2. Caity Kramer

    January 7th, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Amanda! Great questions! Yes! A lot of the time, my second shooter will capture a few quick photos of me working throughout the day! (Typically it is as we are getting set up or after they have captured a few photos of the couple from another angle.) As the main photographer, I do the posing and positioning and my second photographer works to capture what I have set up from another angle. I am familiar with who I work with and trust that they know how to capture the couple efficiently! BTS photos are actually something that I never expect or ask my second shooters for! They typically just happen naturally throughout the day 🙂

    (Truthfully though, most of the photos do come from when we are testing light and getting settings correct in camera! Hence all of the silly faces!)