I am so excited that you're here! This is where I share my latest sessions, personal photos, and funny life stories. You'll quickly hear about my obsessive cleaning habits, my adorable pup, and probably a little something about fruit pizza (only the best food ever created). So grab a drink (something iced for me... yes, even in the winter), and scroll through the archives! 


welcome to THE






October 3, 2014

How I photographed my sister’s wedding

I wanted to share a little about my experience photographing Jenny’s wedding! I’ve had a lot of people ask about it! How I did it, tips, and just lots of confusion ;) If you are thinking about photographing a sibling’s wedding, or even a close friend’s, then this post is for you! Basically, here is the gist of this post: DON’T DO IT ALONE. ;) Haha! But I’m not joking. If you want to get out of this wedding alive, get a second-shooter!!

Something I really want to mention, is that photographing the wedding of anyone you’re close to is HARD. I always said that I would never photograph a family member’s wedding {either immediate, or cousins}. However, that didn’t work out, as I photographed my cousin Lindsay’s wedding ;) BUT, it can get really tricky. Weddings are super high stress, and it can make anyone cranky. If you feel that you may ruin some friendships by taking this wedding on, please don’t do it!! It’s never worth losing friends.

So let me start from the beginning. Even before Jenny got engaged, she was looking at wedding photographers! Everyday I would send her a list of photographers I had found that she should email ;) {wow, that seems like so long ago now!!} It was so hard though, because Jenny wasn’t even engaged yet!! Then once she finally was engaged, she was having trouble finding a photographer that she loved on such short notice! One day she said to me “Emily, I love your photography, and I wish you could be my photographer!!”, but until that point I had considered it out of the question! I was a BRIDESMAID, after all ;) 

But hey, it’s my sister, one of my best friends :) So I decided to try to figure something out!! I messaged my friend, Megan, from Megan Kelsey Photography, and I told her my situation!

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 1.57.44 PM

Screenshotting it is much easier than trying to explain the whole situation again ;) It was a pretty crazy plan! But I needed freedom to be a bridesmaid also, and not just a photographer!! Megan, being the angel sent from Heaven that she is, agreed to help me with my strange request!! When I told Jenny that I was going to be able to both photograph and be a part of her wedding day, she about cried! And ever since then, I haven’t been able to imagine anyone else photographing her wedding but me {and Megan, of course ;)} 

On the wedding day, Megan and I worked together to cover all the bases! Here is a basic timeline of our day!!

9:30am – Mom, Jenny, Joelle, and I arrived at the getting ready house {which was only half a mile away from the venue!}. We got settled in, and I took a few pictures at brunch!

10am – Megan arrived and we got started!! We began with all the dresses, and then moved to Jenny’s dress

10:30am – I began taking getting ready photos of all the girls, and I gave Megan all the details {rings, bouquet, invitations, etc.}, and told her to be creative and do whatever she wanted!! I loved how her detail photos turned out :) After I had taken a lot of shots, I had to get ready myself!! :)

11:15am – Megan came back up to our room, to get some getting ready photos that I was in :)

11:45am – Megan and I went down to the groomsmen suite, and I had her photograph Thomas and his groomsmen there, as well as him opening his letter from Jenny, because I had to finish getting ready / packing up all my stuff / getting a few more ‘finished’ getting ready photos

12pm – Megan came back up, and it was time for Jenny to get in her dress!! I’m so thankful Megan was there, because she was able to walk around the house while I was getting ready, and she found this beautiful spot of light in the dining room! We photographed her there, and they turned out lovely!!

12:20pm – We both photographed dad & Jenny’s first look, each at a different angle!

12:30pm – Jenny & Thomas’s first look!! I photographed the main side angle, and had Megan photograph their faces closer!

12:40pm – Time for bride & groom portraits!! This was fairly easy to tag-team, because I posed them for the most part, and Megan got beautiful different angles from me! 

1:15pm – We began with the bridesmaids! I knew I had to be in these, and I also knew I had to send Megan down to the barn to get a few photos of it untouched! So the girls went first, and then we did the big bridal party, and then Megan went down to the barn, and I photographed the groomsmen!

2:15pm – We started family formals! We decided to just let Megan photograph all of them, even though I would only be in a few! That way all the photos would be exactly the same, and I could just sync them later to make editing easier ;) It worked out really well, because I directed everyone, moved out of the way, Megan snapped the photo, and then I rearranged everyone again!

2:45pm – Megan I drove down to the barn, because we needed to figure out how to photograph that nasty entrance!! :) We took a few test shots, and then I had to leave to be a party of the BRIDAL PARTY!! :)

3pm – While Megan was the main photographer during the ceremony, I also had one of Jenny’s friends {who is a videographer/photographer} use my camera to capture some shots! I’m really glad I did that, because it offered two perspectives, instead of just one!

3:30pm – The ceremony ended, and I grabbed my camera for more bride & groom portraits! Megan and I both photographed this.

3:45pm – The bridal party re-entered the barn, and Megan grabbed photos of us coming in! Right before going to get my food, I grabbed my camera again for a few photos of Jenny & Thomas dancing underneath the marquee letters!

4:pm – Everyone was eating at this point, so Megan and I put our cameras away and ate! Nobody wants pictures of them stuffing their face ;)

4:30pm – I couldn’t decide if I wanted to photograph the toasts or not, because that’s one of my favorite things during a reception! There’s so many tears, laughter, and it’s just so beautiful. But now, looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t, and I let Megan handle it herself. I absolutely loved being a part of the toasts, instead of being behind my camera.

4:40pm – Jenny & Thomas walked around to all the tables to greet all the guests! I followed them for a little bit, and I also set up my laptop at a back table so Megan could start uploading all her photos to my hard drive! 

5:30pm – “Shake It Off” started playing, which started a dance party ;) I also wanted to photograph this, but in the end I’m glad I didn’t :) Megan did a great job, and it was fun dancing with my sisters :)

6pm – It was time for their exit!! Yet another thing I was torn between ;) Do I photograph it, or experience it? Megan told me to experience it, and I’m so glad I did :) 

I couldn’t have done it without Megan! She was an essential part to the wedding day! I hope this timeline helps you understand a little bit about how we split up the responsibilities!

I have just a few tips for those who are looking to conquer a similar task :)

  • Make sure you pick a photographer that you trust!! I knew from the beginning, that if for some reason I was unable to photograph the wedding at all, Megan would do an amazing job! I completely trusted her. Our style is also very similar as well! We tend to have similar poses, so I knew that she could pose them like I would, if for some reason I had to leave.
  • It is so important to be present in the day!! Especially when it’s someone like your sister getting married :) I couldn’t imagine not photographing it, but I also really wanted to be able to at any point put down my camera and just BE. :)
  • Some people are not capable of ‘switching roles’, so to speak, so if that’s you, it’s probably best to pick one role and stick with it! I knew I’d be able to quickly switch from ‘photographer’ to ‘bridesmaid’, but that’s just my personality! 
  • DON’T WEAR HEELS. Just. Don’t.

Megan took some photos of me doing my job during the wedding day, and I love them! Some of them are pretty hilarious ;)

Behind the Scenes-1

Figuring out locations


Behind the Scenes-2

Behind the Scenes-3Behind the Scenes-4

Haha!! I love this so much ;) I can just hear myself saying “THOMAS. Get over here now.” ;)


Behind the Scenes-5Behind the Scenes-6Behind the Scenes-8Behind the Scenes-10

I’m a professional bouquet-holder-while-photographing-the-bride-and-groom. It’s a challenge.


Behind the Scenes-11Behind the Scenes-12

Directing family formals!


Behind the Scenes-13Behind the Scenes-14Behind the Scenes-16Behind the Scenes-17

Jenny looks thrilled with my posing choices ;)


Rustic Linville Virginia Barn Wedding-838

Thank you so much Megan! You’re the best!!

Overall, it was a great experience!! It was definitely challenging at times, but oh-so rewarding :) I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

2 Comments on How I photographed my sister’s wedding

  1. MargaretAnn

    October 3rd, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    This is so impressive!! You are AMAZING. Your dress is also gorgeous.

  2. Emily Ruth

    October 4th, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I’m so glad the day went well! Megan is an amazing photographer and it’s so cool that she was able to help you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



More Categories »


+ Personal

+ Portraits

+ Proposals

+ Couples &                Engagement