7 Tips For Great Wedding Day Photos

Non-cluttered bridal prep room

Most likely, the photos of the day will start here. In the Bride’s room where she may be getting final hair and make-up touches before she slips into her dress. As a photographer, I know how important these photos are to brides. Especially if they are investing in an album.

If you are preparing in a hotel room, I suggest booking a room that has an adjoining space. You can keep all your bags and prepare in one space, then get ready in the other. If you only have one room, try keeping a good amount of space near a window clear for photos of you putting on your dress, details, etc.

Prepare / Bring the Details

Every single detail is important on your weddings day. So don’t forget your details! These may include; rings, invitations, shoes, perfume bottle, earrings, dress, etc.

By providing all your details, the photographer can help put together a more comprehensive story of your day.

Tip: Purchase a nice wooden hanger for the photographer to hang your dress on.

Location, Location, Location

The location where you get your photos taken can make a huge difference in how they turn out. Obviously, photographers will adapt as best they can to get you amazing photographs no matter the situation, but by thinking through locations ahead of time you can save both you and the photographer a headache.

Try and pick locations that are cohesive to your theme, as well as fit your and your partner’s style! If you’re into the urban theme, find spots around downtown. On the other hand, if you’re more nature lovers, find a spot that you love outdoors in a nice park!

When picking your photography locations, don’t forget to factor in travel time to save you from rushing! Which leads me to…

Set aside enough time

Wedding days are no fun when you’re rushing through it all! Work with either your wedding coordinator or photographer to free up enough time for photos. For ceremonies that start earlier in the day, you will usually have an ample amount of time before you’re to arrive at the reception. For the ceremonies that start later between 3pm-5pm, you’re better off doing a first look before the ceremony.

Prepare for the weather

We can’t manage the weather, but you can manage expectations and prepare for it!

If your wedding is in February, most likely you’ll be shooting in snow (unless you live somewhere warmer than sunny Ohio). If you have a summer wedding you have a chance that it’s storming, super hot, or just right. Be sure to keep an eye on the 10-day forecast and prepare for your day.

If it looks like it might rain, be sure to grab some gorgeous umbrellas for the day or be prepared to shoot indoors. Also, don’t be afraid of a little dirt, mud, or water on your dress! Get the shots you want, because you can always clean your dress when it’s all over.

I recommend these clear umbrellas on Amazon!

Hire a phenomenal Hair and Makeup Artist

You won’t just get amazing photos back, but your photographer will have to do much less editing which will hopefully result in a quicker turn around with your photos!

Do a trial with a HMU artist to ensure you know what you’ll be getting on your wedding day.

Book a photographer that fits your style and ROCKS!

This is the key to it all! (Obviously) Every photographer has a different style of shooting/editing, and it’s important that you find a photographer that fits yours!

I also suggest booking your engagement session with the same photographer that will be photographing your wedding. By working with your photographer before your big day, it will give you and your partner an opportunity to get comfortable in front of that camera!

Are you currently feeling overwhelmed with your wedding planning??

I’ve created this Wedding Planning checklist that you can download for free! Click the photo below!

Shifting Priorities

Najran, Saudi Arabia village I visited when I was 10!

Not too long ago I turned 30, and as you can tell by my last few blog posts I have recently been doing a lot of reflecting on life. I’ve unearthed and learned a lot about myself in the process. I accomplished a lot in my 20’s, but I still feel like there are things missing in my life, and I don’t feel 100 percent fulfilled. I’ve taken note of the things that make me happy, and the things that just down right make me stressed and sad. As I look back over the years I’ve noticed that I’ve felt happiest when I’m traveling and doing the things that I love. Essentially, I LIVE for adventures. I’ll blame it on the six years I live overseas in Saudi Arabia with family when I was younger. I had the incredible opportunity to explore a new cultures, and out of that grew the desire to travel.

We moved back from Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2001, and I’m sad to say I have not traveled outside the U.S. since. My passport has even expired, and it’s been on my list of things to take care of for the last two years. In all honesty the problem hasn’t been having the time to travel; it’s been not having the money. I’ll admit, I’ve been stupid with money. Over the years I’ve cared more about how I’d be perceived rather than worrying what’s right for me. Social media has been a larger influence on the decisions I’ve made, and lately I’m over it. Peoples perceptions of me are not going to make me successful. I don’t need the nicest clothes, a nice car, the newest iPhone, unnecessary gadgets, and a large apartment. These (things) have no bearing on my success, or more importantly, my happiness.

When I turned 20 I decided to make a list of ten things I wanted to do before I turned 30. Looking at the list today, I realized that at least six items on the list were experiences rather than material objects or financial goals. I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and even FLY IN A FIGTHER JET. These were all completely feasible to complete before 30, but somewhere along the lines I lost focus on these goals, and my priorities got shifted to putting more value on material objects rather than these experiences.

After coming to these realizations, and feeling a little disappointed in myself, I’ve made the objective to shift my priorities for my 30’s. First step, working my ass off to create financial freedom. This includes working hard to increase my income, learning to live with less, and no longer giving a shit about how people perceive my life. The only thing that will lead me to success is hard work, focus, and persistence; not the validation of others. 7 years ago I graduated from college with a degree in engineering, and I’m still working to pay those student loans off. It’s defeating when I realize how little of the percentage I’m paying monthly is g0ing towards my principle balance. So yeah…wiping those out of my life very soon…

With that said, I’m going to have to change my habits and come up with new systems that help me stay on track financially. It’s also going to require me to find new sources of income. My goal by the end of the year is to have 2-3 passive income streams created. This is a top priority because it will allow me more freedom to live a life of more adventures. I’m excited to get started on this new lifestyle, and I’m even more excited to share updates with you. I’m determined to make 2018 the BEST YEAR EVER, and I hope you join me on my journey. If you have been in a similar boat and have found the freedom to live a fulfilling life I’d love to hear from you! If so, please leave a comment below! In the meantime, check out my new list below of ten things I want to finish before I’m 40. (Yikes that was hard to write….FORTY) Sigh….


  1. Become DEBT FREE
  2. See the Eiffel Tower
  3. Skydiving in Dubai
  4. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef
  5. Get my pilots license
  6. Visit Iceland
  7. Fly in a fighter jet
  8. Run a marathon
  9. Launch Social
  10. See a SpaceX launch


I know this is a lofty list….but I have TEN years to complete the list, and I’m more determined than ever.


Lauren + Gary | The Club at Hillbrook Wedding

I introduce to you Lauren and Gary! They were our last couple of 2017, and I can’t tell you enough how much fun we had with the two of them! Before their wedding date we never had the opportunity to meet them in person due to them living in San Diego, but it amazed me just how well we hit it off in person! We had an absolute blast with Lauren, Gary, their bridal party, and family, and the entire day was nothing short of an awesome celebration for them. See for yourself in the photos below! 🙂

January Reflection | February Goals

What an amazing start to the year this last month as been! Right before the end of last year I set out a list of goals that I wanted to complete in 2018, and January was a solid start at getting closer to reaching all those goals! In regards to the wedding photography business, this time of year is always slow when it comes to shooting. I’m still booking and meeting with couples during this time, but without editing thousands of wedding photos during this period it gives me much more free time. With that extra free time during the winter months, it’s always a time I take to reflect, plan, and focus on personal development.

For me personal development refers to focusing on my mental wellness, fitness, and educating myself on a myriad of topics. It also includes taking the time to focus on personal passion projects that bring me happiness and also take me a little out of my comfort zone. For example, I have been increasingly falling in love with creating videos. I have no desire to make a career as a videographer, but by creating my own personal videos it helps to spark more creativity and confidence in myself. There’s something about cutting and editing a video together over editing photos that really ignite my creative fire. This month I filmed and cut a couple short videos with footage from around the town I live in. (I’ve included them at the bottom of this post)

In February I’m going to maintain my path of personal development, but increase my focus on creating. I want to create more videos, paint a few pieces of art, take more photos, write more blog posts, and share my work with the world. Unlike the wedding photos I take, everything I create outside that realm is for myself and brings me happiness. I’m excited to see what I come up with. 🙂 Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing everything with you either on here or over on the “Life with Andrew” Vlog!


February Goals

  • Book 4 2018 Weddings
  • Read 3 books
  • Paint 3 pieces
  • Run 85+ miles / Sign-up for 2 races
  • Upload 4 videos to YouTube



2017 Reflection / My 2018 Goals

Happy New Years!!!


Better late than never right? I want to start making these reflection/goals posts a regular monthly thing. I firmly believe that by reflecting and setting goals more often and consistently it will help me make better progress in the things I want to accomplish this year. 2017 was a breakthrough year for me. I ended 2016 on a horrible note, and I was struggling with so much. I don’t believe in making New Years resolutions, but I knew something needed to change in my life, and I was determined to figure my shit out.

2017 was all about prioritizing and planning. Priority #1 was ME. When you start a business, it’s so easy to get consumed in the everyday tasks it takes to run it. Not to mention the stress and worry that comes with all the unknowns. At the end of 2016 I was feeling down, I wasn’t eating right, barely exercising, and felt completely unmotivated about life. It was certainly not a great position to be in. After doing some personal reflection I realized that I always feel amazing and full of energy after working out. I absolutely love to run, so I set out to run at least 4 times a week. Within no time I went from being able to barely run 3 miles to going out for an easy 10. Running became my addiction, and I craved more miles. In April I was running close to 50 miles per week, and sometimes going out for 20 miles at one time. At this point I decided I would sign up for my first full-marathon. In the past I’ve ran a handful of halves, but I made the decision it was finally time to complete a full! (Seeing my longest distance runs were only 6.2 miles short of a full) Then the unthinkable happened, and two weeks before the big race my IT band start bugging me. It created a sharp pain on the side of my knee that rendered my right leg useless. I only made it 11 miles during the race and had to call it quits. I can’t even begin to explained how pissed off I was after 4 months of running an average of 100 miles/month to only incomplete a race.


After the race had ended, and I began to heal I realized that something more important than completing a race happened. During those 4 months of running and lifting almost everyday I saw a complete change in my mood and attitude. I gained back the confidence I lost at the end of 2016, and I now felt unstoppable. Running had taught me a valuable lesson about consistency, and how well you can progress when you stick with something. On top of running I also began to read more, revisit old hobbies, and overall just create more ME time. Setting my priorities in 2017 was a real game changer, and it’s something I’ve gotten into the habit of doing.


Now, as I enter the new year my focus is on consistency and planning. I want to take the same lessons I learned with running and working out, and apply them to other facets of my life. Just as I planned out my runs and built up my mileage over the months, I want to take that same concept and start applying it to my businesses. I have BIG goals for this year, and it’s going to take planning and consistency to properly execute them. I’m so excited about where life is headed, and I look forward to sharing my journey with you on this blog and on my new vlog! Honestly I haven’t been the most consistent with blogging and vlogging, but like I said, this year is all about turning that around! Below are my big goals for this year, and I plan to update you monthly by reflecting and setting micro goals that will help me achieve my objectives. Feel free to share in the comments some of your goals for this year, and what you might be focusing on becoming better with!


2018 Goals

  • Launch ONE physical product
  • Photograph 25 Weddings
  • Setup two passive income streams
  • Launch Social
  • Witness a SpaceX launch in Florida or California
  • Finally finish a marathon 😉
  • Run 1200 miles

Emily + Tyler | Columbus Engagement Session

Today I’m so excited to share Emily and Tyler’s engagement photos with you! Emily and I have been friends for the last six years, and when she asked us to shoot their wedding next July in Lexington Kentucky I was beyond happy. A couple weeks ago I drove down to Columbus for a weekend full of engagement sessions. I started the weekend off at Inniswood Botanical Gardens with Emily and Tyler. It was such a perfect location, and we had no shortage of scenic areas for photos. I had an absolute blast with these two! After their session we finished off the night with pizza, some beers, and watching the Buckeyes game! Congrats you two!


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Megan + Blake | Engaged

I’ve photographed so many engagement sessions in Peninsula, Ohio, but last Fridays engagement session was my favorite! I don’t know if it was the amazing light we had, or the fact that my couple was soooo much fun, but I just couldn’t wait to get these up on the blog!

Megan and Blake came down from Michigan for their engagements, so I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting them beforehand. When that happens I never know what to expect. However,  right off the bat these two were incredible, and they had so much fun with it! I had to give little instruction to Megan and Blake, and I swear they had some practice beforehand. Their personalities are both so amazing, and you can see them shine in their photos below! Enjoy!

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Katie Jo + Bryant | Cleveland Engagements

Today I’m excited to get BACK to the blog and share these two awesome people with you! It’s been almost 6 years since I graduated college from The University of Akron, and during my time there I had the pleasure of meeting Katie Jo! She was a room mate of a mutual friend of mine, and since then we’ve stayed in touch on social media. I was so excited to hear from her when she got engaged to Bryant, and even more excited when I learned I’d be shooting their wedding!

Katie Jo and Bryant were complete naturals during their Cleveland engagement session! Honestly, for most couples it takes a few minutes to get comfortable in front of the camera, but immediately after I started shooting they were getting into poses before I told them to. I couldn’t be more excited for them, and I can’t wait for their big day next July! Check out some of their engagement photos around the Cleveland area and show them some love in the comments below!

Happy Friday!



Alexandra + Brandon | Engaged

So happy to have these two as my first post on the new blog!!  Emily has known Alex since high school, and I had the pleasure of first meeting her when she attended my DSLR basic workshop a few years ago! I was beyond excited when she got engaged and reached out to me to shoot her wedding and engagements! A couple weeks ago we had the luxury of shooting their engagements mid-February and 60 degree weather!! The sun was out, and these could not have been anymore fun to photograph! They both looked like they came right out of a Banana Republic magazine! Check out some of their pictures below and be sure to show them some love in the comments! 🙂



In person/Skype Mentoring Session Giveaway!!

I can’t believe I’m only two days away from launching the new Andrew Smith Photography website!! If you couldn’t tell I’m beyond excited to share it with all of you!

I decided a few months ago to start redoing my website because as my business has grown I have developed my style, as well as my brand. As much as I love my current website, I felt like everything needed to be updated to reflect the changes! It was certainly time…

In addition to my photography style becoming more refined over the years I have also began meeting with other entrepreneurs and photographers! A little over three years ago I made the leap from full time mechanical engineer to full time wedding photographer. Before I could do so, it took a lot of planning and learning! I would learn mostly through reading other photographers and business owners blog posts, but what I found most beneficial was meeting these people in person or over skype and doing one-on-one mentoring!

I discovered this year that I have a unique perspective when it comes to quitting a day job and going all in on my passion and dreams. Since going full-time entrepreneur/photographer I have started another business with Social!

It takes a lot of courage stop what you’re doing and start doing what makes you passionate. I’ve decided recently that that’s what I want to help people with. Starting, and seeing out their dreams. Anyone doing so needs support, and I want to be there for those who decide that’s what they want for their life!

So today I’m giving away one TWO hour one-on-one mentoring session! During this session we will discuss your passions, personal strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a plan to START living the life you want, and create ways to start taking ACTION!

I believe we all have the ability to live the life we want. Sometimes we just need that extra push and the support to make it happen. If that sounds like you, and you’re needing that extra push I’d love to meet you and figure out how we can turn your DREAM into REALITY!

Enter to win a chance to meet and start planning below! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway