All posts by Ly Sue

Ava Aerial Arts Portraits Sneak Peek at Moss Park, FL

When Jessica, Ava’s mom, contacted me for an aerial arts shoot I think I jumped up and down! Ava is amazing at this art form and I am so happy I was there to capture her artful aerial moves. Here is a sneak peek of what I captured 😃 

 

Lindsey + Logan Wedding Sneak Peek at The White Room in St. Augustine, FL

I’ve been pretty silent on the blog lately because I’ve been pretty busy shooting instead (yay!), but today I’m breaking the silence to share a little sneak peek of Lindsey and Logan’s wedding at The White Room in St. Augustine.

Cannot wait to finish editing the photos and sharing this beautiful wedding!

10 Actionable Steps to do After Getting Engaged

I remember getting engaged was one of the best moments in my life, and also one of the craziest because I had never planned a wedding in my life, and at that moment, I was not a wedding photographer and I was not involved in the wedding industry at all! That being said, I get how you can be stressed out about what to do next following your engagement.  With that in mind, I created The top 10 things you need to focus on right after you get engaged to get you organized and on the right path to a successful wedding planning experience.

1. Soak it all in!

This might sounds like a contradiction to everything you hear out there, but seriously, take a couple of days to connect with your significant other and be in the moment. If you are anything like me, you might feel like you need to start planning right away, but I encourage you to stop and take it all in, before you know it you will be in the middle of planning wishing you would have taken a couple of days to relax and enjoy the fact that you just got engaged.

2. Get yourself organized.

Grab a binder or an expandable folder that closes to keep everything (ideas, magazines, contracts, information) together in one spot. I also recommend getting a wedding planner/organizer so that you know what to expect and can keep organized.

3. Come up with 3 ideal wedding date options.

Sit down together, and come up with 3 date options for your wedding date preferably one year out. The reason why I say this is because most wedding venues book at least a year in advance, and most vendors do as well. When thinking of a date for your wedding, consider the location and the time of year especially if you want to have an outdoors ceremony. For example, in Florida, it rains late spring and most summer afternoons and the heat is almost unbearable during the summer, so a fall or early winter wedding is ideal. Also, consider the day of the week. A popular day is Saturday because most people don’t work weekends and you will have Sunday to recoup from the party the day before ;). For the same reason, Saturdays get booked faster and venues tend to charge more for a Saturday wedding. Venues tend to charge less for Friday or Sunday weddings, but something to consider would be that it might be somewhat of an inconvenience for guests because of work or travel arrangements so there is a possibility that some of your guests might not be able to attend.

4. Get an idea of what your wedding budget is.

It is completely ok to feel lost when thinking of a wedding budget, but getting and idea of how much you are able to spend since the beginning will save you so much time in the end. I suggest starting with how much you and your fiancé are able to contribute monetarily, then reach out to both your families if you know they are going to help out. Here, on The Every Last Detail, is a great guide on how to create a wedding budget.

5. Get an idea of your guest count.

This is a crucial step as it will play an important part on how much money your wedding will cost in the end. If your guest count is big, know that your wedding will end up costing more as you have to provide food/drinks, tables, gifts, a bigger venue, etc for all of your guests. If you are on a tight budget, maybe having an intimate wedding with your closets family members might be a good idea that way you don’t sacrifice quality of the vendors and details.

6. Establish your Wedding Style.

Start thinking of the style you want for your wedding. A great place to start searching for ideas is Pinterest, and starting a Wedding Pinterest board to get your inspiration all in one place is a great place to start. There are also great wedding magazines out there with beautiful inspiration so a trip to your local Barnes and Noble to check them out is a great idea (bride and bridesmaid’s day out…heck yes!). A word of advice would be to gather inspiration, but think of ways to make the ideas your own and unique by not copying exactly what you see, but rather taking the overall concept and adding your personal style to it. To get you started, check out my Wedding Details Pinterest board here.

7. Consult with and hire a Wedding Planner.

It is a great idea to speak to and hire a wedding planner earlier in the game rather than later. I recommend setting up an in person consultation with your top 3 choices to make sure you are a great fit with whomever you choose. Make sure they answer all of your questions. A good wedding planner will guide you in the process, will help you establish a timeline, will help with allocating your budget correctly, and help alleviate stress and even save you money in the long run. Hiring a wedding planner before choosing your venue is recommended. As Shannon and Jenna, with The Busy Bee Events and Design explained, “Our best recommendation would be to hire your wedding planner prior to selecting your wedding venue so you can utilize his or her expertise in choosing a space that will complement your design aesthetic while also falling within your wedding budget. Plus, it will save you the time needed to research and narrow down options.”

8. Book your venue.

After narrowing down your venue options with your planner, schedule a time to see each venue. Make sure to ask what is included/excluded in the price, sometimes venues include catering, chairs, tables, etc. Make sure you scout the location for the ceremony and reception and make sure you like what you see aesthetically as you will be taking photos in and around the ceremony and reception space. Make a list of pros and cons of every venue, discuss with our wedding planner, and book your venue. Most venues book at least one year in advance, so make sure to have your 3 wedding date options ready.

9.Consult and hire your Photographer, Videographer, and Caterer.

As I suggested earlier, try to meet in person with your top 3 from each category, and narrow down your choices from there. They should be able to answer all of your questions and ease any worries you might have. A word of advice is to focus on quality of work rather than what they charge (within reason of course!) especially when it comes to a photographer and videographer. They are the ones that will capture/film all the moments of the day and you need to make sure you hire them based on their work and experience. Start with your photographer, videographer, and caterer as they are the ones that usually book faster. I suggest hiring the rest of your wedding team as soon as possible to make sure you are hiring the team you want and not compromising on quality because you waited too long. Make sure to check out my top tips for booking the right wedding professionals here.

10. Choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Now that you have an idea of your budget, know your wedding date, and have booked your venue, you can choose who will be part of your wedding party. Take your time choosing as they will be the ones there to support you during the wedding planning process, and will be by your side on your wedding day. After you choose your wedding party you can think of cool ideas on how to ask them to be your bridesmaids/groomsmen. After your bridesmaids have been confirmed, you can have a girl’s day out to go shopping for your wedding dress! Here is an editorial shoot we designed along with an amazing team to give brides an idea on how to ask their bridesmaids to be a part of their wedding.

I’m so happy you are getting your hands on this checklist! I wish I had a checklist like this one when I got engaged 13 years ago! Hopefully with this list I can help ease the stress a bit and get you on the right track to start your planning with a clear view of what’s to come. I have also created a downloadable version so you can start your planning today. Grab it here, and feel free to share it with your friends!

 

Spring Mini Sessions for a Cause

So happy to announce our Spring Mini Portrait Sessions in partnership with The Color Blue and Hope!

They are making big waves to help bring hope to mamas in the journey of bed rest during a high risk pregnancy or the journey of life after infant or pregnancy loss. This is so dear to my heart as I battled with four miscarriages before we had our baby boy Andy. We are donating $15 for every booked session! The mini sessions are for everybody like couples, families, just you, mommy and me, daddy and me, friends, etc. Make sure to fill out the form below for availability and to reserve your spot today! And for the chance to win a free Spring Mini Session, click on the image at the bottom of the page!

[* Session Dates: May 21st and May 28th * Limited spots available * 50% Retainer to reserve your spot.]

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO ENTER TO WIN A FREE MINI SESSION!

FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW TO CHECK AVAILABILITY, TIMES, AND TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT!

* indicates required field

Fauxjito Recipe

Mojito Mocktail Recipe

As you might know, I have a healthy addiction to mojitos. Anywhere I go, I ask for one, but extra sweet and with extra lime juice (Sweet tooth ugh!). So as you can imagine being pregnant twice back to back has made me come up with a non-alcoholic version of my most cherished drink, as I like to call it “Fauxjito”.

Today I am sharing my recipe so that all the mommas out there can enjoy sipping on one! But also my non-pregnant friends, you can just add Bacardi Limón and it’s just as delicious!

Yields: One full glass

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Juice of 2 limes

1 lime cut in quarters for garnish

8-10 Mint leaves

1 mint spring for garnish

Splash of La Croix Lemon

Splash of San Pellegrino Limonata

3-4 teaspoons of sugar or simple syrup

Supplies

Drink Shaker

Muddler

* If you don’t have a drink shaker, just use a cup and seal the top with wrap paper to shake.

* If you don’t have a muddler, use a spoon to muddle the ingredients together.

Directions

1. Gather all the ingredients, style, and take a photo for Instagram (joking! But if you must, I won’t stop you ;)).

Mojito Mocktail Recipe, Ingredients to make a mojito

Mojito Mocktail Recipe, Ingredients to make a mojito

2. Wash and cut 2 limes in half, and squeeze the juice into a drink shaker.

3. Wash and cut 1 lime in quarters, and set aside for garnish

4. Wash and roughly cut 8-10 mint leaves, and add to the shaker

Mojito Mocktail Recipe, Ingredients to make a mojito

5. Add 3-4 teaspoons of sugar or simple syrup to the shaker

6. Muddle the lime juice, the mint leaves, and the sugar together, and shake the mixture.

Mojito Mocktail Recipe, Ingredients to make a mojito

7. Add ice to a cup, and add the quartered lime pieces to the cup

8. Add the muddled mix of lime juice, mint leaves, and sugar to the cup

9. Fill the cup with a splash of La Croix Lemon and a splash of San Pellegrino Limonata in equal portions until the glass is full.

Glass, La croix, and ingredients to make a mojito

10. Taste and adjust the sugar/simple syrup to taste. Add a straw, serve, and enjoy!

Mojito Mocktail Recipe, refreshing mojito in a glass with colorful straw and mint leaves

To make this recipe with rum, just add Bacardi Limón to taste when you are muddling the ingredients together!

Enjoy and Cheers!

Click here to download the print friendly recipe!

And to receive my Ideal Wedding Photography Timeline Template, to follow my photo/life journey and for freebies don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

 

 

Laura + Brian’s Classic Elegance Wedding at The Country Club of Orlando in Orlando, FL

I am so happy to be sharing Laura and Brian’s wedding! I love how the details were simple yet elegant and timeless.

One of my favorite moments was seeing Brian’s face when he turned to see Laura on her wedding dress for the first time during the first look.

They were both in tears (and I was too!). Here is what Laura had to say about their story and wedding day…

Tell us your story…

We met in college and spent our first few years together as friends bonding over our love of food, comedy and the gators. We started dating towards the end of college and continued to date as we both entered into the adult world and learned to navigate our careers and new responsibilities. We’ve always strived to support and encourage each other as we continue to grow. After dating for 4 years, he proposed in the most amazing way. After a boat ride around the lake, he proposed with a big banner and a beautiful ring. We celebrated that evening with our family and close friends. We’re very excited to embark on our next adventure together.

What was the overall theme and style of your wedding, and how did you come up with it?

Elegant with simple and natural details. We wanted a style that match both us and our venue.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

Our first dance. We took lessons, and we were very nervous about our routine. Out on the dance floor, it all came together and we spent the whole time smiling and laughing.

If you could have changed|done something different about your wedding day, what would it be?

No changes!

Any advice for you would like to give to newly engaged couples?

In the end, all that matters is each other and the marriage license!

Is there anything else you would like to share about your wedding day?

We are very blessed to have been able to celebrate with so many amazing people.

Here is a list of all the wedding professionals that made this wedding happen:

Photography: LH Photography
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Country Club of Orlando
Wedding Coordinator: Ann Marie Carroters
Videographer: TLC Film Productions
Make up & Hair: Amy Leve
Florist: Kay Shuman
Officiant: Rick Lioni

6 Proven Tips to Feel your Best and Stay Confident During your Boudoir Session

A boudoir session can be a bit intimidating specially if you haven’t had one in the past, don’t know much about it, and are uninformed, but it can be lots of fun and so empowering if you prepare and know what to do to feel you best and stay confident during your engagement session. And that is exactly what I am going to go over today, my Top Tips to Feel your Best and Stay Confident During your Boudoir Session.

1. Make sure you are comfortable with your photographer.

It’s so important that you meet your photographer or talk to them on the phone before booking them and before your session. This will let you know if you are the right fit for each other. They should let you know what to expect, and what is their approach to boudoir photography. Make sure they answer all your questions, and that you feel comfortable with their answers. Also, make sure to ask them if there will be any other person present at your session like an associate photographer or a make up/hair artist. I think boudoir sessions are very personal, so I usually don’t have an associate with me unless they are female and my client knows about it ahead of time. Sometimes my clients add hair and make up to their session, so the H&M artist will be there to provide that service, but usually leaves right before it starts. Ask to see a full boudoir photo gallery and make sure you like the photographer’s style. I usually shoot for a more natural effortless feel as I think those type of photos look the best and stand the test of time. Ask if they help direct you or if they have a more “hands off” approach, and then decide what makes you feel more comfortable.


2. Choose comfortable lingerie and bring options.

Choosing lingerie that you feel comfortable in is so important. Focus not only on style, but on what makes you feel your best. If you are more conservative, it is completely ok to be more covered up and still look beautiful and sexy. Choose lingerie styles that fit your personal style; there are pieces out there for every woman from more conservative to more risqué, and they can all look very flattering and make you feel beautiful. Remember boudoir photography is more about evoking a feeling than “baring” it all! I suggest trying every piece ahead of time and walking/sitting with them on to make sure everything stays in place and you look the way you want to. Bring several outfit options in case something is not working out, you can change.  If you are looking for lingerie, Adore Me is one of my favorite lingerie online stores, and their selection and style is amazing!


3. Have your hair and make up professionally done.

I suggest you get your hair and makeup professionally done. This way you get to relax and get pampered before your session instead of having to worry about doing it yourself, time, plus getting ready. Make sure you let your make up artist know about any blemishes and marks, both in your face or body, that you might be self conscious about. I suggest a more natural polished look for hair and make up to make sure everything looks effortless, but wearing a bit more make up than usual is a good idea. Make sure you let your hair stylist know any preferences ahead of time so that they can come up with a look that you will love. During the session, make sure your photographer allows for hair and make up touch ups. I always allow time for changes of clothes and to touch up hair and make up, and I am always available to help touch up if needed (it helps I used to be a modeling instructor back in the day, and have plenty of backstage experience! ;)).


4. Have music playing in the background.

Music always helps my boudoir clients relax. Ask if they will have a speaker on hand or if you can bring one to play your music. As for myself, I always have speaker on hand, and will let my clients hook up their phone to it, or if they prefer I can play music from my “boudoir” playlist. If you are a wine or bubbly lover, ask if you can bring a bottle of wine or champagne to sip during your session; this can help calm down your nerves.


5. Make sure to communicate any concerns to your photographer during your session.

If something is bothering you or if there is a side or feature of your body that you rather not put emphasis on, make sure to let your photographer know right away. If they know what’s going on, they will try to fix it, and will try to make sure you feel comfortable. Communication and trust between your photographer is key to a great boudoir session. As a boudoir photographer, I rather have “too much” information than not, because this helps me conduct and direct the session better and ensure we are on the same page.


6. Have fun and forget about everything!

This is the one tip that might sound silly, yet is the most important! Your hair, make up, and wardrobe are all on point, the only thing left to do is to let go, and let your photographer do their work. During your session really just let go and focus on the reason why you are doing this in the first place. Embrace yourself just the way you are, and let go of any fears and insecurities. If you are gifting the photos to your boyfriend, fiancé, or husband, believe me they will love the photos and will so appreciate that you are doing this for them.

Believe me, if you follow these tips, and choose a photographer that empowers you and that you can trust, you will absolutely love your photos and will cherish them for years to come.

I would love to hear what you think in the comments below, please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences! If you would like to see some of my past boudoir sessions, click here!

 

Is a First Look Right For You?

A First Look is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony on their wedding day. It is a term that has become more and more popular in wedding terminology, and it is a decision most couples have to make when discussing the timeline of the day with their wedding photographer. A lot of couples struggle with whether or not having a first look mainly because of tradition, and usually they do not know the background behind this tradition and the reasons why it was put in place.

In the past, the groom waited to see his bride until she was walking down the aisle; a tradition that originated with arranged marriages. In fact, the bride and groom did not see or meet before their wedding day at all so they wouldn’t have be able to back out once they saw what each other looked like. Crazy right!? I believe that is a couple’s personal decision whether or not to have a first look, and I also believe in educating and preparing my clients so that they can make the best decisions related to their wedding. Even though I waited to see my husband until I walked down the aisle 11 years ago, I wouldn’t have done so if someone would have taken the time to explain the real purpose behind this tradition, and the benefits of having a first look. Also, all I wanted to do when I walked down the aisle was to hug him, kiss him, tell him how much I loved him and how handsome he looked, ask him if he liked how I looked and just be together. Instead, all we got to do was hold hands and the ceremony began. Based on my experience as a past bride and as a photographer, I strongly believe having a first look is the best option for several reasons. Here are a few:

1. You get the chance to share a special private moment of connection between the two of you…

One thing any wedding vendor knows for a fact, is that a wedding day is hectic, especially after the ceremony, and most couples do not get to stop and talk to each other privately and share the emotions and feelings they are experiencing. Once you walk down the aisle every moment is very scheduled and sometimes even rehearsed. Every time that I shoot a First Look it’s so special because the bride and the groom get to express their feelings without all the guests present and looking which puts pressure on the couple. It is one of my favorite moments of the day because the moment is that special and the connection I get to capture is so real! After the First Look we usually take photos of the bride and groom during and after so that your couple portraits are out of the way. We also like to photograph the bridal party right after the First Look; that way the bridal party can get to enjoy the cocktail hour.

2. Enjoy more time…

You can get your formal photos out of the way before the ceremony. After the First Look, we usually take photos of the bride and groom so that your couple portraits are out of the way. We also like to photograph the bridal party and your family right after the First Look so that way the bridal party and your family can get to enjoy the cocktail hour. The bridal party and family can wait in transportation or meet the couple at the First Look location.

Below are two scenarios showing a schedule with and without a First Look…

Photography portrait schedule if you do a First Look:

– (2.5 hours before ceremony) First look then Bride & Groom portraits alone
– (1.5 hours before the ceremony) Bride & Groom portraits with bridal party
– (1 hour before the ceremony) Portraits with families
* You will be done with portraits approximately 30 min before the ceremony giving you time to freshen up and get ready to walk down the aisle.

Photography portrait schedule if you don’t do a First Look:

– (1 .5 hours before ceremony) Bride and Bridesmaids portraits
– (1 hour before ceremony) Groom and Groomsmen portraits
– (30 min. before the ceremony) Pause portraits to give you time to freshen up.   At this time guest start to arrive.
– (Right after the ceremony) Family portraits
– (30 min. after ceremony) Bridal party portraits
– (1 hour after ceremony) Bride and Groom portraits alone
– (1.5 hours after ceremony) Done with portraits

3. You will be able to attend the cocktail hour…

One of the main concerns of couples that choose not to do a First Look is not being able to enjoy the cocktail hour and greet their guests, and that is a legitimate concern because most likely they will not be able to do so due to time restraints. When we do the majority of the photos before the ceremony, the schedule opens up more allowing you to attend some if not all of the cocktail hour to enjoy some time with your guests, bridal party, and family.

4. You will feel more relaxed and able to you enjoy the rest of your day and soak it all in…

One of the things I hear the most from my couples is that after the First Look their stress went away and that their nerves were gone for the ceremony. Like I mentioned before, a wedding day is very scheduled after the ceremony, and most couples do not get a chance to soak it all in by themselves. A First Look allows you to do that, and in addition, you will get beautiful photos of that special moment.

Those are my top reasons why I believe a First Look is the way to go based on my experience as a bride first and as a photographer; it is now up to you to balance the pros and the cons, and see if a First Look is right for you. If after balancing the options, you are not set on having a First Look, then make sure you communicate this to your photographer so that they can help you come up with the best wedding day timeline. As for myself, I go with what your wishes are, so if a couple decides they don’t want a First Look, I will help them come up with the ideal timeline that accommodates their wishes as best possible; after all it is your wedding and I am there to guide, support you, and capture all the beautiful moments of your union.

Talking about beautiful moments, here are some photos we have captured of our couples during their First Look…

I would love to hear your comments and questions in the comments section below!

Make sure you are following us on Instagram to connect and stay in touch with the latest happenings!

 xo, Ly Sué

 

Laura + Brian’s Woodsy Engagement Session at Mead Botanical Garden in Winter Park, FL

Laura and Brian met in college, and spent their first few years together as friends bonding over their love of food, comedy and the Gators. They started officially dating towards the end of college, and continued to date as they entered into the adult world and learned to navigate their careers and new responsibilities. After dating for 4 years, Brian proposed in the most amazing way! After a leisurely boat ride around the lake, he proposed with a big banner and a beautiful ring. Needless to say they spent the evening celebrating with their family and close friends! As a couple, they love to support and encourage each other as they continue to grow and live life together!