Some of the best things in life are the things we never saw coming - sometimes that phrase rings true on a wedding day, too! While I’m a big fan of location scouting and planning locations, poses, and ideas in advance, the truth is, on a wedding day, you never know exactly what you’re going to get in terms of photos! There are so many different variables that can impact a wedding day and cause things like the timeline, weather, or even location to change!
This is simultaneously one of the best and toughest things about weddings. Some photographers love to wing it, other photographers (hi 💁♀️) love to have a plan. But I’m always reminding myself, again and again, that some of my FAVORITE photos ever have happened due to things outside of my control, and were shots I never actually planned for - everything just sort of fell together at the right time!
So today, I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite photos that I didn’t actually plan for!
This shot, for example, was one I never saw coming because: 1) you never know what the weather's going to be like in January in Pittsburgh 😂, so this sunset?! Totally unexpected. And 2) these horses literally came up at JUST the right time. They were so interested in Kirsten and Travis, and right after this shot tried to (what it looked like to me) lick Travis' head 😂
While I had seen Tess and Phil’s gorgeous wedding invitations in advance, this shot was one I didn’t see until I was packing up to head to their ceremony location! I had just finished photographing Tess’s bridal details when I moved my gear into a different room in her parents’ house. I saw this table and tray - both of which perfectly matched the color and style of Tess and Phil’s bay front wedding in Maryland - and arranged this in about thirty seconds! I even had a piece of ribbon that happened to pull everything together!
Also, as a side note - many of the detail photos I take I don’t really plan for, because I don’t know what details I’ll have to work with, or what those details will look like! I love trying to bring in elements that compliment or the details, so many times that means looking for items around the immediate space to incorporate into the detail photos (like the example in the photo above!)
I know this isn’t a wedding photo (this one’s from a senior session!) but one of the best things about unexpected rain at a session or wedding is getting to create an epic photo or two!
I had no idea this couple was bringing this “B” wreath with them, and it just so happened to fit perfectly on a nearby window pane in the little town of Harmony!
When you think of a December wedding, you might think: huh, maybe it will snow! But surely no rain! Nope. In Pittsburgh, it might be 6 degrees or 60 degrees on a December day, you never know what you’re going to get! For Chiara and Patrick’s wedding, it pretty much rained all day. There was maybe a 10 minute break directly following the ceremony, but other than that - nada!
So, we needed to get a little creative with bridal portraits pre-ceremony. Typically, I will try to take the bride outside for some portraits while her hair and makeup is fresh. But on this rainy December day - there’s no WAY that was happening! So instead, Chiara’s mom and bridesmaids helped me clean up/rearrange her parents’ sitting room. And wa-la! A portrait that I couldn’t have planned any better myself was born.
This wedding was quite a few years ago - but this photo is still one of my favorites! Our timeline was shortened drastically the day of this wedding, giving us about five minutes for bride and groom photos. I had planned for the photos in a completely different location - but it would’ve taken at least five minutes to walk to that location for portraits! So, I took the couple literally right outside of their hospitality room where hoerderves were being served and worked quickly within this little hallway to make this portrait. Lucky for us, this hotel had the most beautiful hallways ever, so we didn’t have to walk far to find a great location in a pinch. This definitely wasn’t planned for, but it’s still one of my favorites!
In the photo in the hallway with the yellow doors above this one, you’ll notice a pair of double doors at the very end of the hallway, which were locked for the entire wedding day… until an employee walked through while we were standing in the hallway! Curious as to what was back there, I stopped the door before it could close (and lock), and low and behold, this adorable little room was there! This little room made the perfect spot for another quick portrait!
And there you have it! A few of my favorite photos that I didn’t even plan for. As someone who loves security and planning, I have to remember that sometimes some of my favorite work comes when I least expect it. I’ll always stand by solid planning and timelines, but you never know what you can create when you least expect it!