Fern in focus, couple in backround

A little welcome guide to help you through your
wedding photography process.

Photographer Shonda Michelson

What to expect

Yayy!! You're booked!!

First off, I want to express so much love & gratitude for trusting me to document this great adventure you are about to embark on. We're going to have the best time together!

Engagement Session

Now that the contract is signed, and the retainer is paid, the next step is to think about your engagement session (if you are doing one!). An engagement session is a great way for us to hang out and get to know one another. It’s kind of like a practice run and helps the two of you to be more relaxed on your wedding day.

The first thing to consider is what season you want your session to be in. Northern Michigan has so much beauty in every season. Yes, even winter, lol! It’s important to think about the time of day in regard to light. Ninety minutes or so before sunset (or sunrise) will offer the best light. An overcast or gray day is even better for any time of day since there is no sun casting unflattering shadows across your face.

The next thing to consider is the location. The options are endless here in Northern Michigan! Your favorite park or hiking spot. Sunset at the lake. A special date spot or in-home. There are lots of ideas to think about.

Wedding Ceremony with tall pines as backdrop

Ceremony Time

Everything on your wedding day is dictated by the ceremony, so picking a ceremony time is usually one of the first things to schedule. I highly recommend checking out the ceremony spot as close to your wedding date as possible to see what the ceremony site looks like at that time. Take note of which direction the ceremony will be facing. Some venues choose a location where the sun is behind your guests. Of course, that’s nice for your guests, but that means that you and your beloved may be standing in the full, glaring sun while you’re vowing your love to one another. You may be squinting, one of you may be in harsh shadow while another is in full sunlight, and both of you may end up very warm and perspiring.

Bride and groom hands with hand written vows

If possible, choose a location where the two of you will be in full shade or back-lit, meaning you are standing with the sunlight coming from behind you. This makes for more even photos with more flattering tones. If your ceremony is under trees, think about how the dappled light could affect your skin tones. There is a lot to consider when thinking about light. Of course, I will work with any situation, but it’s best to know what works best for your big day, make your photos look beautiful.

Also, no matter what time of year you’re getting married in Northern Michigan, plan for unexpected weather. You just never know. The forecast will call for the perfect weather day, then all of a sudden it randomly rains. In my opinion, a little rain never hurt anyone, lol. And your photos will be that much more unique to your story. However, if you are worried about the weather, it is always a good idea to have a backup plan.

Groom and bride holding each other in black and white

Wedding Day Timeline

About 3-4 months before your wedding, I will send you a wedding day worksheet. This will help me help you create a timeline for the day and make the day go more smoothly.

Then, 1-2 weeks before your wedding day, we will go over any last-minute details and confirm addresses, times, and necessary contact info.

I know planning can seem stressful. It doesn't have to be. Remember, this is all about the two of you. Simple, intentional & genuine.

I'm always here to help! If you have questions or are unsure of anything, just ask.

Engagement photo on the beach

Paying Your Balance

Your remaining balance is due 30 days before your wedding date. I will send a reminder about 4 weeks prior. Remember, you can make payments in any amount at any time as long as the balance is paid in full 30 days before your date.

Bride & Groom celebrating

It's Wedding Day!

It’s your wedding day!!
Love. Laugh. Be in the moment.
Let's celebrate!

Bride holding bride's dress while walking away

After Your Wedding

Your wedding day has come and gone faster than you could say “I do,”  and it was AMAZING!  I know how eager you are to see your photos.  I do my best to have some previews ready for you within 4-5 days. 

Within 6-8 weeks your full wedding gallery will be ready.  I will send you an email with a link and instructions on how to access, download, share & purchase prints from your gallery.  

In the meantime, soak each other up and enjoy this new beginning of your beautiful life together.