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Megan Yanz


a photography guide exclusively for MYP couples.

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Megan Yanz


a photography guide exclusively for MYP couples.

megan yanz

WELCOME

It’s happening!  You’ve found your mate, and now you’re only months away from a huge celebration. CONGRATULATIONS!  While planning your dream wedding can be just that… dreamy…. it can easily become overwhelming.  And I’m here to help!  As you can imagine, I’ve been to many weddings.  I’ve seen what works great and have taken note of what doesn’t.  I want you guys to get the most out of your wedding photography, so I’m passing my notes onto you!  

While this guide is in no way a means to curate your wedding day, I do hope you find tons of valuable information in here to help you plan one hell of a get down.  So grab some coffee, or a cocktail, your iPad, a pen and paper.  Cuddle up with your better half and read on, my friend!

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Engagement Session


the what, why and when.

Engagement Session


the what, why and when.

An engagement session is great for a number of reasons.  It gives me a chance to learn more about you as a couple.  How’d you guys meet?  What do you do for a living?  What do you guys like to do in your leisure time?  But I also get to learn about your relationship with my camera.  Does one person need more direction than the other?  Do you have any insecurities I can help you feel more comfortable with?  How do I get you both to interact most naturally?  These are all beneficial things to know before your wedding day. 

It’s also a chance for you to get to know me as a photographer.  We learn about personal space during your engagement session, and how I’ll be all up in yours.  I’m kidding.  No, I’m not kidding.  But you’ll love the photos, so you’ll most likely just roll with it.  You might also think I’m staring at you blankly, and I probably am.  But I’m just seeing which way the light hits your face best.  Mostly though, you’ll learn that I’m laid back, love to laugh, and am pretty damn passionate about what I do and the people I photograph.

 

When should we schedule our engagement session?

My availability fills up quickly, especially May - November, so please schedule as early as possible.  Since weddings normally take place on the weekends, I usually schedule engagements on weeknights starting two hours before sunset.  If you’re planning on using these images for Save the Dates, don’t forget to allow plenty of time for that as well!

What can we expect? 

I don’t put a time limit on engagement sessions because they really are all about us getting to know one another.  I want you guys to think of it as a night out with a new friend!  Typically they last about two hours long.  But if you tell me ahead time that one of you is more camera shy, I might suggest we grab a drink before we start!

What should we wear?

Dudes.  Do not stress about this part.  Please do not stress about this part.  Wear whatever you guys feel most comfortable in.  Stick to your own personal style, and if you want to rev it up a notch with fancier attire, do so.  If not, I’m just as cool with that as well.  We usually have time for up to two different outfits.  However, if we’re doing a lot of exploring, I suggest sticking to only one.  Simply for the fact that I’ll be taking photos of you guys the entire time, and a bag of clothing over one’s shoulder isn’t something you want captured.

WHAT TO WEAR TIPS

  • Consider the environment you’re being photographed in.  If we’re exploring the city, bold colors jive well with an urban setting.  If we’re hiking up a mountain, a casual look may be more appropriate.  
  • Coordinate, but NO MATCHING!  If one of you is wearing a solid colored shirt, your significant other can repeat that color in a patterned shirt.  It’s a great way to add contrast to your images, and is a helpful design element in a photograph as well.
  • Avoid shirts with logos on them.  I.E. nike, adidas, general electric… Because it looks as ridiculous as it sounds.
  • Accessories are a great addition to any outfit.  Hats, scarves, jewelry, blankets, etc. Get creative!
  • Don’t overthink it.  I’ll be capturing the relationship between you two.  Rest assured, I won’t be handing out trophies for Who Wore It Best.  So bottom line, be comfortable.

Where should we go?

Super important for you to know - my best work is heavily influenced by light.  Which also means I get inspiration on a whim… from everything to anything.  Think about your favorite place to visit.  Or where you guys met.  A museum, a bar, a grocery store, the library.  Get creative!  I’ll have you guys give me a general location to start in, and we’ll spend some time exploring the surrounding area together.  If you are urbanites and favor a specific part of the city, we’ll pick a spot to meet at and literally walk around stopping wherever we find inspiration.  If you guys love nature, we can meet at a State Park, Nature Reserve, etc., and do the same.  I love to explore. My hope is that you do as well.

  • Certain locations will charge a fee for professional photographs to be taken there.  Please call them ahead of time if you think this might be the case.

When do we get to see our engagement photos?

I’ll be sure to post a few sneak peeks to social media within a few days after your session - so you guys can see how much you killed it ;)  Approximately three - four weeks after your session, I’ll send you a link to your password protected gallery where you can download your images and share with family and friends.

 

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Your Wedding Day


the skinny.

Your Wedding Day


the skinny.

GETTING READY

1 - 2 hours for the bride.

30 - 45 minutes for the groom.

 

Because my approach to capturing your day is truly in the likeness of a documentary, I always start from the very beginning - documenting the “getting ready.”  Not only are the images from the beginning of your day so emotionally charged (you’ll be crying and laughing…  maybe a little nervous, and even more so anxious), but it’s the last few hours of your life you are single.  Solo.  Independent.  A big chapter is ending, just as an even better one is about to begin!  We should probably get that on camera.  Don’t you think?!  The best part is that there is so much going on before a ceremony… You won’t even know I’m there.  That’s why these moments are my favorites.  They are raw, honest and filled to the brim with emotion.  A true representation of you.

 

In most cases, photographing the bride takes longer simply for the fact that there are more details to photograph!  And if I haven’t lectured you about this part already, here it comes…  I strongly encourage you to get ready at a place that holds sentimental value to you.  Whether it be your childhood home or the residence you currently reside in, pick a place that means something to you.  And girl… Don’t tell me “The place we live in is really small… It’s not that pretty…”  Because I will in turn tell you…  The size of the space does not matter.  Be proud of that space.  You work hard to live there!  More importantly… How rad will it be to look back at these images decades from now, and be able to revisit a place that holds so much meaning?  Maybe you shared your first kiss there.  Maybe it was the first place you guys rented together.  Maybe that couch we’ll photograph your dress above is that same couch you spent countless nights watching Stranger Things on.   If it’s your childhood home, how awesome will it be when you’re able to look back at these images decades from now, and remember exactly where you spent your youth?! Surround yourself with familiarity, and naturally, you’ll feel more comfortable.   

 

Now, if you’re getting married out of town, these locations obviously won’t be possible.  But do not worry, my friend!  A bed and breakfast is a great place to capture these images as well.  Or, consider renting a place on AirBNB!  These quaint little homes usually give off great natural light (so important), the rooms are cozy, simple and already clean!  And they are furnished giving me tons of options for photographing your details.

 

After I am finished capturing your preparation photos, I usually head over to where the groom is located (or have a second shooter visit him if we’re short for time).  His photos are just as important as yours are, however he won’t have nearly as many items to photograph, nor will it take him that long to put on his attire.  

 

GETTING READY TIPS

  • Spray tan.  I will get down on my hands and knees and beg you not to get one.  I know tanning is a personal preference, but I'd encourage you to embrace your natural glow!  Remember the umpa lumpas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?  These spray tans have a tendency to do just that in photographs.    
  • The hours before your ceremony will go by the fastest.  To make the most of our time, I recommend gathering all your details and accessories the night before, and put them in one corner of the room where they won’t be in the way.  I typically begin with these items when photographing the beginning of your story.  
  • Bridal accessories can include but are not limited to: wedding gown, shoes, floral crown, bridal bouquet, perfume, jewelry, something borrowed, something blue, paper goods such as invites (don’t forget to mail me one so I can bring it with!), programs, a love letter/gift to your dude, etc.  
  • Groom accessories can include but are not limited to: shoes, socks, cufflinks, tie, jacket, cologne, suspenders, wedding rings, a love letter/gift to your lady, etc.
  • Consider swapping the plastic dress hangers for nicer wooden hangers.  It can make a huge difference in that beautiful wedding gown shot.
  • If bridesmaids, moms, etc., will accompany you while getting into your dress, it’s a good idea to have them in their wedding attire before you put yours on.

 

LIGHTING!

  • If at all possible, avoid getting ready at a church.  Churches are often dimly lit, and almost never have natural light in their dressing rooms.  The moments spent getting ready are captured most exquisitely when lots of window light is available.   

 

And now… Sit back and relax.  Let’s be real for a second.  No wedding goes exactly according to plan. Don’t stress about things that are beyond your control.  Something will happen that isn’t planned, and guess what… No one else will notice.  The most important part of your day is that the handsome guy standing next to you, will be standing next to you till death do you part.  So while you’re surrounded by your favorite people, remember to embrace each moment! 

 

First Looks


First Looks


FIRST LOOKS

15 - 20 minutes.

 

I know… The controversy.  Yes, it’s a myth that if you see your groom before your ceremony, your marriage will end abruptly.   And I fully understand the superstition thing.  Maybe not with this, but I sure as hell won’t walk under an open ladder.  So I would never pressure you to do a first look.  But if you are on the fence about this, my advice is to make a pros and cons list, and tailor it to your own expectations.  Here are a few reasons people are either for or against the “first look.”   

  • Con: The surprise factor is ruined.  
  • Con: We’ll get divorced.  
  • Pro:  There is still a surprise factor, but instead of having an audience witness this special moment, it becomes a much more intimate and personal surprise that only the two of you will share.  
  • Pro:  Your man won’t feel like he has to hide his emotions.  Dude, you can cry your eyes out in front of me.  I would love that (says the photographer who thrives on emotional images).  Your bride would also love that.  And we promise we won’t judge you, nor will we tell a soul.  
  • Pro:  The nerves are no longer there.  Walking down an aisle in front of tons of people can be terrifying.  A first look calms the nerves, so instead of concentrating on not tripping, you can direct all of your attention toward McDreamy.  

 

LIGHTING!

  • Because first looks typically happen later in the morning or early in the afternoon, I always try to capture these in a shaded outdoor area, or in a gorgeous naturally lit indoor area.  The sun casts the harshest light from 10am - 3pm, leaving us with unwanted, and unflattering shadows.  Unless it’s cloudy out, we’ll do our best to stay clear of it.
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Ceremony


to have and to hold.

Ceremony


to have and to hold.

CEREMONY

20 - 75 minutes

 

This is it guys!  The part where shit gets real!  Where you feel all the feelings!  I’ll document your ceremony as I see it unfold, while being unobtrusive and utmost respectful.  This is the part of your day that is most sacred.  Your family and friends will be there to witness a beautiful moment as the two of you profess your love to one another. 

 

CEREMONY TIPS

  • With technology now in the hands of absolutely every single person out there (even great-grandma), a popular wedding trend is to request an “unplugged” ceremony, asking family and friends to put away electronic devices for a brief time so they can be fully present in this moment you have so kindly invited them into.  If this is something of interest to you, feel free to include this request in invites, or have your officiant make an announcement before the ceremony begins.  Pinterest has an abundant amount of ideas on how to word this in a manner that is both constructive and polite.   
  • An outdoor ceremony can be absolutely gorgeous, especially if you time it right.  The later it is in the afternoon, the more likely you are to get that beautiful golden glow of light.  Like stated above, afternoons provide the most flattering light; soft, warm and romantic.  While early afternoons can cause just the opposite, and lots of squinting… You want to be able to see each other!  Again, if you can, try to avoid planning anything in direct sun between 10am and 3pm.
  • Receiving lines.  While thanking your guests is a necessary gesture, receiving lines can often suck the life out of your wedding day.  It’s easy to get tied up in conversation.  And then BOOM, there goes an hour of your wedding day.  This is me crying, guys.  For real.  Thankfully, it is becoming increasingly popular to thank your guests during the dinner hour.  Chances are that you and your significant other will finish eating before the majority of your guests are even served.  Maximize this time by making table rounds, thanking your people for their love and support.  

Formals


Formals


FORMALS

45 minutes - 1 hour

 

While formals are often thought of as the most tedious part of a wedding day, they are important to capture.  I’ll do my best to make sure this goes quickly and smoothly.  Formals are the one part of your day where I’d love for you to plan for much more time than you think, as it is a given that relatives will congregate and wander off.  This is also the only time I’ll ask you for a shot list.  On this list, please include who you would like to be photographed with - and tell me their relationship to you so I can avoid pairing the wrong people together.  If formals aren’t your thing, don't be afraid to be selective.  We'll have time to photograph you with extended family once the party gets started.

 

TIPS FOR FORMALS

  • Make sure all who are included in formals are aware of this ahead of time!
  • Designate a maid of honor, best man, relative, etc, who knows both bride + groom’s families.  This individual will be our go to person for gathering groups together. 
  • For the sake of time, it’s suggested that groups are limited to immediate family.
  • For planning purposes, it often takes a minimum of 5 minutes to gather each grouping together, with additional time to photograph each group.

Wedding Party Photos


Wedding Party Photos


WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

30 minutes

 

Wedding party photos are just that… a party.  Laid back, fun, pretty straightforward…  A time for you to hang out with your closest friends and family.  I make an effort to capture these soon after your ceremony, mostly because your wedding party hasn’t started drinking yet.  Rephrase… mostly because your wedding party hasn’t had too much to drink yet.

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THE VOW


I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands.  To speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not. And to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.

THE VOW


I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands.  To speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not. And to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.

Couple PORTRAITS

1 - 1.5 hours

 

Your wedding portraits are the part of your day I get super mega stoked about.  It’s a lot like your engagement session; laid back but in fancier attire…  As your wedding party heads back to start the evening off, we’ll sneak out to create a collection of awesome intimate images of just the two of you.  You’ll get a chance to take it all in, without any distractions.  We can explore the area around your venue, or if time allows, travel to another location.

 

PORTRAIT TIPS

  • Here’s the thing guys… You get what you give.  These are the shots of your day that you'll actually do something with - display on your walls, in your album, etc.  So be sure to dedicate enough time to these (I recommend a solid hour).  
  • No couple wants an audience.  In order for me to get the most honest, natural moments between the two of you, it’s better to shoot these without the presence of your wedding party. 
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Let's eat.


Let's eat.


DINNER

1 - 2 hours

 

More or less, much of the rest of the night will be full of candids galore.  My photography is about capturing relationships, so of course I’ll be documenting your guests interacting with each other.  If you guys plan on cutting a cake, making toasts and having speeches, you bet I'll document those as well.     

I have found that no one likes to be photographed while shoveling food into their mouthes, so my assistant and I typically use this time to sit down and eat our meals quickly.  

 

LIGHTING!

  • Candlelight and lots of it, is a great way to add a soft romantic ambiance to any room!
  • String lights, galore.  Imagine beautiful bokeh everywhere. Bokeh is the out-of-focus “blur” effect light produces when photographed in a particular manner.

Sunset Portraits


Sunset Portraits


SUNSET OR AFTER DARK PORTRAITS

15 minutes

 

If times allows, and you are feeling up to shooting a few more frames, I’ll grab you guys during your dinner, or at some point during your reception for a few awesome sunset or after dark shots.  I feel like these are a must have!  Not only do they give you another opportunity for one last awesome capture, but dusk is one of my very times to shoot.  The light gets moody, and emotions are euphoric!

First Dances


First Dances


FIRST DANCES

20 minutes

 

I use particular lighting equipment for first dances which requires some set up.  Definitely keep me posted if you choose to do a first dance with your spouse or parent so I have enough time to make you glow in the spotlight.  If you do choose to do a series of first dances (i.e. involving the parents or wedding party), it works best to do these back to back.  This way your guests can have the dance floor for the rest of the night without any interruptions, and you'll also have their fullest attention in the very beginning of the evening before too many drinks go down!  

 

LIGHTING

  • Assuming your DJ will bring their own lighting, consider asking them to turn off their colorful laser lights during your first dance.  We’ll avoid those unnecessary dots on your beautiful faces!
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The get down.


The get down.


PAR-TAY

1 hour

 

I typically like to stay for a solid hour after the dancing has begun.  I’ll no doubt capture the party atmosphere if folks have been visiting the cocktail bar for some time now.  A solid hour is just enough time to achieve those awesome candid party photos.  Perhaps for blackmail?  I’ll let you decide what you’d like to do with these ;)

 

LIGHTING

  • Bulb light strings provide a beautiful bokeh backdrop, and have the tendency to create a very timeless, charming atmosphere.  Bokeh is the out-of-focus “blur” effect light produces when photographed in a particular manner.

Buffer Time


Buffer Time


ADDITIONAL TIME TO CONSIDER

 

  • Travel!  Don’t forget to include travel time in-between each location.  From your getting ready location to the ceremony, from the ceremony to your portrait locations, etc.  
  • Traffic!  Because weddings often take place on the weekends, be prepared to run into traffic due to sporting events, marathons, etc.  Especially if your wedding takes place in the city.  
  • Buffer time!  As organized as we try to be, life is unpredictable.  I always recommend throwing in a half hour of buffer time for the “just in case” circumstances. 
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Rain


it's good luck on your wedding day!

Rain


it's good luck on your wedding day!

RAIN!

 

Guys. Don't waste time worrying about this. The weather is completely out of our control.  We know that.  I want to advise you though, do NOT, absolutely not let rain ruin your wedding day.  My advice, embrace it.  Embrace it with every bone that you have.  A few of my favorite weddings have happened entirely in the rain.  Not only does the sky create a perfect soft box for perfect light, it adds a heightened drama to an image we’d never be able to obtain from a golden sunset.  GO WITH IT!!  

To make you feel better, I carry 12 clear umbrellas with me at all times.  I mean, I’d never ask you to act out a scene from the “Notebook”, but… if you’re down… I’ll have my camera and rain gear ready!

 

Wedding Photography Process


Wedding Photography Process


WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PROCESS

 

Initial Consult//  We’ll grab a drink and you’ll tell me all about your dreams for the big day.  This is the start of our very awesome collaboration together!  When you guys decide you’re ready to move forward, we’ll both sign a wedding photography agreement, and you’ll shoot over your retainer payment ensuring that this day is set aside solely for you.  

Engagement // Even if it’s months out, let’s get a date on the calendar as soon as we possibly can!

2 months before // Schedule a wedding venue walk-thru if possible.  Usually these take place a month before your wedding.  But let’s get a date on the calendar around the 2 month mark.  I always try to visit your ceremony location and/or wedding venue with the two of you.  Doing so helps me visualize what I’m working with for light.  It also gives us an opportunity to scope out a few locations for wedding party/bride + groom portraits.  

1 month before // Final payment is due 30 days prior to wedding.  Venue Walk-Thru takes place.

WEDDING DAY // The day you’ve spent so many months planning for is finally here! Sit back, relax and enjoy! 

Sneak Peeks // The anticipation!  Of course I’ll put a few teasers up on social media to hold you guys over until your gallery is ready. 

10 Weeks after // The second biggest day of your lives.  I kid ;)  But this is an exciting day!  Your completed online gallery is delivered so you can relive this day over and over again for the rest of your lives.

12 Weeks after // Initial album design is sent over via email.  You’ll be asked to review, request up to two changes, and then give me the thumbs up for approval once it is designed to your liking.  This is a collaboration between the two of us.  Your planning and my vision will be bound, or unbound, in a beautiful piece of heirloom art that you and your family will be able to enjoy for generations.

16 Weeks // Assuming the album design process is wrapped up within a week or two, your heirloom art will be delivered to your door.

 

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Listen Up!


advice from the married.

Listen Up!


advice from the married.

ADVICE FROM THE MARRIED

 

“Unplugged Ceremony!  Because you want your guests to truly be present.  You hired a professional to capture how the moment looks.  Don’t let your guests be distracted, or even be a distraction!”

 

“Don’t worry about things going wrong.  You probably won’t even notice until after the reception, and if you truly love the person you are marrying, it won’t even matter!!”

 

“Enjoy every moment, because it will be over before you know it!”

 

“If you are even contemplating a first look, absolutely DO IT! Stress level goes down immediately, and you get a special moment between the two of you that you will never forget!  And you’ll have amazing pictures for the rest of your life ;)”

 

“Take a few minutes to have time to yourselves.”

 

“Don’t sweat the small stuff… everything won’t go as planned.  Embrace it and love each moment of your day!”

 

“EAT.  Everything goes by so fast.  Before you know it, it’s 5:00 and all you had was a banana for breakfast… Make sure you eat that dinner you paid for!  No one wants to pass out on their wedding day!”

 

“Don’t lock your knees!”

 

“Don’t hold back any happiness!  Allow your emotions to run free!”

Inspiration


Inspiration


BLOGS

Green Wedding Shoes // “Wedding inspiration for creative and fashion forward brides.”

Junebug Weddings // “For brides with extraordinary personal style! Helping artistic couples plan the wedding of their dreams.”

Rock N Roll Bride // “All about the charm and unique nature of ordinary peoples’ extraordinary weddings.”

Magnolia Rouge // “Where style and romance walk hand and hand.”

Style Me Pretty // “A wedding blog for the style-obsessed bride.”

Ever Ours // “A focus of love and wedding imagery, still and moving.”

Design Seeds // “An inspirational guide to putting together the perfect palette.”

 

Gift Ideas


Gift Ideas


 
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gifts for the ladies

Iron Oxide Designs // “A handmade line of jewelry that celebrates the dichotomies inside us.”

Directive // "Directive is a leather and hand painted canvas accessories line using high quality Milwaukee, WI tanned hides as much as possible and water based permanent fabric inks to paint unique designs rooted in the handmade tradition."

Sparrow Collective // “A collective of jewelry, clothing accessories + home goods handmade by indie artists.”  Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Janelle Gramling Designs // “Limited edition and one-of-a-kind fiber, ceramic and found-object art and adornment for you and your home.  Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Parris Chic Boutique // “An online home + wedding décor shop specializing in hand lettering, pretty pillows, and all things lovely!”

 

gifts for the dudes

Tactile Craftworks // "Quality leather goods handmade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin."

Damn Handsome Grooming Co // “We partner with craft breweries to re-purpose their brewed ingredients into sustainable goods.”

Cyberobtix Tie Lab // “Ties that don’t suck.”

Richer Poorer // “Makes socks as versatile as the American landscape.”

Scoutmob // “Fine gifts made by independent makers across the country.”

Megan Yanz Photography // Gift him an album with your very own boudoir session!

 
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Keep In Touch!


Keep In Touch!


WEB // www.meganyanz.com

EMAIL // hello@meganyanz.com

TELE // 262.424.7654

INSTA // instagram.com/meganyanz

FACEBOOK // facebook.com/meganyanzphotography