Spring Announcement & Giving Back

sunset austin

Hi, everyone! Did you know that I have 100% 5-star reviews on Yelp? Yup. I’m not saying that I’m making a post just for that, because that’d be incredibly self-serving, but when it hit 25 reviews of 5 stars (though with Yelp’s algorithm of hiding reviews, it’s actually 36) I thought maybe I should make a commemorative post. Recently, some kind words people have shared on my Yelp page have been:

I couldn’t be happier that Elissa shot our engagement and wedding photos. Everything was above and beyond expectations, from the photos themselves, to turnaround time, to her communications with us. – Jordan

I cannot recommend Elissa enough for wedding photography! Elissa came recommended to me from a friend, and I am beyond happy with how our wedding photos turned out and my entire experience working with Elissa! – Shelley

So happy to have run across Elissa on another friend’s post.  She photographed our elopement and I just got the pictures back–couldn’t have asked for more!  I’m an awkward picture taker but she made us feel at ease and had great suggestions.  She was also very down to earth and I barely even noticed her during the ceremony so I could concentrate on getting married :) – Tricia

Also, remember those donation-based elopements I offered a couple of months ago? I’ve decided to expand on that idea as a more permanent structure of Elissa R Photography!

Starting with my 2017 season, a portion of every wedding I shoot will go to a group that is doing good work and needs our support. Those include, but are not limited to, these organizations:

A big thank-you to my couples who support my business and thereby help to support civil and reproductive justice and climate science. ❤️

Cassy & Matt | University of Texas Engagement

engagement session with dogs

How can I start this post without first saying that I’ve known Cassy almost as long as I’ve known my husband — because, as his cousin, we have celebrated numerous family Christmases together! Cassy and Matt’s wedding this December will be a happy family reunion for all of us. This was my first time meeting their two dogs, however, and as we shot their session on the University of Texas at Austin campus on National Puppy Day, we drew a few looks. I’m super excited to see Matt joining the family :)

UT austin blue door engagement session at UT austin engagement photo with gorgeous texas sunset university of texas six pack buildings artistic austin wedding photographer night skyline of austin

So A Friend Asked You To Officiate A Wedding…

This is a shoutout to all of the friends who are tasked with the incredibly high honor of officiating your friends’ weddings. Your good friend asked you because you have that silky voice; you have a way with words; you have that je ne sais quoi of commanding everyone’s attention; you’re funny but sincere; you’re basically totally awesome.

So imagine this: you’ve written this gorgeous ceremony. You have all of your notes, with cues as to when to call up a friend doing a reading or the moment to ask for the rings. You’re ready to go. And you’re about to start walking up the aisle with your good friend behind you, to wait at the altar, and you are a minute away from starting your big speech.

Here are the things I wish I could tell all friendly, non-professional officiants before they start their ceremony. Three really easy things that sometimes get overlooked by the big-picture stuff.

tilt shift wedding photos

One: Tell everyone to sit down.

This is something that gets completely forgotten! Guests are conditioned to stand when they see a bride start to walk down the aisle. (It’s usually a bride. Sometimes it’s the couple, walking themselves down. Sometimes there isn’t even a bride at all.) Guests will do this, unbidden, because it’s part of the wedding tradition.

But they don’t really know when to sit down. Customarily, there was a time when everyone stayed standing for the father-daughter giveaway, or a religious recitation, and were asked to sit afterwards by the priest. You’re a friend who is in command of this crowd now. Gently remind people that they can take a seat after the aisle walk but before all the long, official stuff.

I’ve actually seen a few ceremonies where guests weren’t prompted to sit, so they remained standing. It’s a little awkward. It’s not super comfortable for them. And it makes for some uneven photos. Do your friends a solid and remember to insert that little bit into your ceremony.

mixed faith wedding in austin

Two: If you’re miked up, remember to share.

Let’s hear it for the people in the back! Oftentimes, the officiant is the only one who is miked up by the sound engineers because it’s what makes the most sense: you’re standing in one place and you’ll be doing most of the talking. But folks attended the wedding to hear the couple recite their vows.

If you have the little microphone pinned to you, ask the sound engineer if it’s sensitive enough to pick up the couple’s voice if they’re standing a foot away, or if there’s a way to pluck it off and hold it in front of the couple while they talk.

If it’s a larger microphone on a stand, point it in the direction of the person speaking so everyone can hear what’s being said.

same sex wedding ceremony

Three: Step to the side during the kiss.

Any side! Take a step to the left, take a step the right.

The traditional “first kiss” shot of the ceremony is usually straight down the aisle, and if you are still standing in the middle of them, we get a tiny hint of your grin in the space between the couple’s necks. It’s eerie.

If you step to either side, your entire face can be in the photo, and you won’t be in between them. It’ll make for a better photo and you’re still in the shot!

Photos from various weddings where the officiants did fabulous jobs! Rachael and Andrew’s officiant had everyone sit. Deb and Zach’s officiant shared his microphone. Katie and Lacey’s officiant stepped to the side. Yay!