Brianne and Ryan had the picture perfect day for their wedding so I thought they would be the perfect example for our guide to shooting Castle Hill Wedding Photos. If you’re planning a Castle Hill wedding this may help you imagine what your day will look like.
We usually arrive as the bride and bridesmaids arrive. I love seeing them coming in their robes, toting the wedding gown and all their accessories! Trish and I divide and conquer at the start of the day, I photograph the women while she photographs the men. Usually the bride and bridesmaids take over the chalet and that’s where Brianne and the girls are headed.
The chalet has two rooms joined by a common area/ sitting room. My advice is to hang all the dresses and drop all the bags in one of the rooms, keeping the other room clear and clutter free for the getting ready photos. That being said, if you have seven bridesmaids like Brianne, keeping the clutter contained could be challenging. Not to worry, if I can’t shoot around it, I’ll move it away from the spot I’ve picked for dressing photos (usually near a window = nice soft light).
With the ladies commandeering the chalet, the question remains where should the poor ousted groom and groomsmen get ready?! Not to worry! Castle Hill has a fun spot for the men too (maybe even more fun than the chalet!) Trish likes to meet the men up at the bar in the main house. It’s usually empty (everyone is outside on the lawn) and it has great light, a big mirror, and it’s a bar … so beverages. It’s has a very manly feeling- perfect for manly men! 😉
Trish’s advice is for the men to show up dressed except for ties and cuff-links because she likes to get candids of the bow tying activity. Another piece of advice … someone other than the groom ought to learn how to tie a bow tie otherwise you’ll end up like Ryan tying everyone’s ties for them!!!
I’m looking to photograph the finishing touches too, for the bride … her jewelry, belt, veil, etc. I don’t usually start photographing the bride until her hair and makeup is done. I like the sort of “buttoning up” photos right before the bridal look is complete.
When we shoot a wedding we are often thinking ahead to the wedding album. We imagine how the pages will lay out and tell the story of the day in your finished book. We shot these photos at different times in the day, purposely choosing the same spot for Brianne and Ryan to read their cards, so that these images would complement each other in their album.
Brianne and Ryan decided on a first look and chose the lighthouse for their special spot. I like the lighthouse for the first look because it’s private. Trish rode in the CH golfcart with Ryan and got him in position (sailboat was a nice bonus), then they waited for beautiful Brianne (and me) LOL. This is one of those occasions when it’s really good to have two photographers on hand! #teamsnap 🙂
Ryan’s reaction was priceless, he was totally overwhelmed by Brianne. I like that Trish shot the first look from this direction. The lighthouse is cool but it would have been a distracting element in these emotional photos. I think the soft, natural background really complements the emotion of the moment. These are the kinds of decisions and quick calls that we make all all day long.
LOVE LOVE LOVE lucky shots like this that you cannot plan. You just need to be in the right spot at the right time. If there’s one element in Castle Hill Wedding Photos that I love emphasizing, it’s all the beautiful boats that go sailing by.
Note about the lighthouse: you can’t walk out to it (too far) so we go out there by CH golf cart which is really fun! Also, the ground it is a bit uneven, not treacherous per say but definitely a little challenging in heels. Just take your time and of course the help of your sweetie to maneuver the rocks.
This is the view I like best out at the lighthouse … Castle Hill, the bridge, the coastline, you can’t beat it! This dramatic spot is to the right of the Lighthouse.
We take the “must have” shots and always sprinkle in some art and romance too.
Some advice about formal photos: Tell your bridal party to be waiting for us just inside the tent or on the lawn. That way, when we get back from the first look we can jump right into formal photos. These guys were a little rowdy but they did follow direction. 😉
We’re always looking for the best light for formal photos. Background is secondary when the faces are the main concern BUT luckily for us, this spot had beautiful light and a gorgeous background. In case you were wondering, the date was July 21st and the hydrangea was definitely in full bloom.
It’s almost like we planned it!
Trish is the master bridal party arranger. She gets everyone whipped into shape and positioned in just the right spot. Time permitting, she’ll create a couple of iterations of the bridal party photo, usually one causal and one formal. I included both so you could see what I mean. The top photo is a little more casual and the bottom photo, more traditional.
I also wanted to demonstrate the different lighting. These two photos were taken about 5 minutes apart and the lighting is completely different. From a photography perspective, the lighting in the top photo is preferred because it is flattering and even. From a “we paid for an ocean view” perspective, the bottom photo might be preferred even though the lighting on the faces is uneven and the subjects are squinting in the sun a bit. Which do you prefer?
Most people don’t know where the garden is at Castle Hill. Here’s a little visual for you. The entrance is to the right of the tent and the driveway behind a storage building. Sounds un-glamorous I know, but when you get back there it’s dreamy!
We suggest strongly that you do the family photos in the garden. It might be alright for your 20-something bridesmaids to have harsh shadows on their faces but your over-40 moms want soft lighting!!! See how pretty? Also, it’s shady and cooler so your grandparents will not melt and there are a few benches so they can sit.
With the formal photos out of the way, we’ll take a few minutes to photograph the details of the tent before the beginning of the ceremony. By this time the florist and the CH staff should be done with the set up. After all, your guests are about to arrive!
Green Lion was the florist at Brianne and Ryan’s wedding.
We’ll also photograph the ceremony site, welcoming details like this refreshment station and the guests arriving.
While one of us is shooting the photos above the other will take candids like these … a few cool refreshments for the bridal party while they wait for the ceremony to start. #teamsnap
We want to make sure you have lots of photos of your most important peeps and we focus heavily on getting great candids of the bridal party and family. For instance, during the ceremony one of us hangs back in the tent and the other photographs the processional. I love both of these options for the couples.
Like in films, having different camera perspectives and angles as well as using different lenses immerses you in the story of the day.
Sometimes a series of photos tells the story best. Love the FOG photo bomb. 🙂
During the ceremony, one of your #teamsnap photographers will shoot wide while the other will shoot closeups.
Always my favorite moment of the day!
For us, it’s all about those moments of real emotion! We love real moments best of all.
Another piece of advice we give is to spend 5 or 10 minutes right after the ceremony on your own (with us) for some “just married” photos. The feeling following the ceremony can’t be beat and it definitely translates to the photos.
We’re back in the garden for these images, see … dreamy!
After we’ve snapped for a few minutes you can rejoin the cocktail hour in full swing!
We’ll typically take candid photos of the guests…
…we’ll also use the tail end of the cocktail hour to take any extended family photos you want.
During the reception in the tent, Trish photographs the main action and I help with lighting and candids. You may have noticed that we have dynamic lighting in our reception images. We pride ourselves in that! You can read more about how we achieve our reception lighting here: Off Camera Flash
Castle Hill can have amazing sunsets, if you luck out and get one we will take you out for some quick pics. We keep our eye on the light and also the timing of dinner so that when we get a window, we jet out for some sweet sunset action. 🙂 The best spot is generally on the lawn closest to the main house so a stroll is in order.
If there’s a little lull after dinner while the band is having a break, that’s also a good time for some casual photos in the evening light…
and also some photos with friend groups like college pals and work buddies. Chances are they’ll be outside at this point enjoying the sunset or the fire pit anyway!
The rest of the night is relaxed… parent dances, cake cutting, candids, fun dancing …
and of course one last photo (to end the wedding album) before we go!!!
Hope you enjoyed that glimpse on how we tackle Castle Hill Wedding Photos. Of course, every wedding day is different but hopefully you found some helpful tips and insights here. Best of luck to everyone planning a Castle Hill wedding!