Looking your Best on your Wedding Day (Part 2)


In our last blog entry, we talked about the first 5 ways to make sure you look your best on your Wedding Day.  Here are a few more to consider:


   6.  Use Waterproof Makeup with Staying Power.  Maybe you don't plan on crying - but just in case - be sure to use a Foundation, Eyeliner and Mascara that are all waterproof.  There will be plenty of hugging and kissing, so your makeup will need to be up to the task, both in its durability and in the way it handles a little bit of tearing.  A little waterproof makeup will help you to avoid the "Alice Cooper" look.

   7.  Keep your Lips moisturized and colored.  Dry lips look dreadful in photos.  Have someone carry your lipstick for you and touch up often.  Matte and gloss lipstick both photograph well, and be sure to use blended lip liner for enhanced definition. 

   8.  Don't Sprinkle on Glitter.  In photographs, because Glitter is shiny, it tends to look like little white spots wherever it's used.  You may want to rethink using it.

   9.  Remember to apply foundation and powder to your neck, shoulders and decolletage - you want your head to look like it belongs to your body!

  10. And don't forget the Groom!   Sure, it's a given that your guy isn't going to be fond of the idea of being "made-up", but a little smoothing of the skin tones prior to his pictures goes a long way toward having a great looking Groom on your arm !



                     You never know when Waterproof Makeup may be needed!



Again, we thank Lorna Gentry for her insights into making your Wedding Day "look" unlike any other!  It's your day to shine, and, remember, we're here to help.  Give us a call, or send us an email! 


Until next time!



Categorized In: bridal makeup | helpful hints | lansing wedding photography | wedding day makeup | wedding photography | wedding tips and suggestions

Looking your Best on your Wedding Day

... You've done a masterful job planning your Wedding Day - from the style of Boutineers for the Groomsmen to the imprinting on the color-coordinated napkins at the Reception.  You've got every detail covered.  Maybe.


As a Wedding Photographer with over 30 years experience, I've found that the most overlooked detail of the Bride's Wedding Day may also be the most important:  The finished look of a Bride's makeup.


Since her early teen years, many young women have routinely started their day by reaching for the same collection of cosmetics and applied them habitually in the same manner.  But on a day as big as your Wedding Day, you may want to give your "finishing touches" a second thought.  For the Bride who wants to have "all her bases covered", we've enlisted the help of a number of Experts for you to look your best.  In the first of two instalments, make-up artist Steve Moore of the Moore Agency in Atlanta, and Deanna Rene of Scottsdale, Arizona lend their expertise in a Top 10 list of Tips and Suggestions for the discerning Bride who wants to look her best.  We hope you find them helpful.


  1. If you have the option, always Use a Professional Makeup Artist on a big day such as your Wedding.  Professionals are trained to see things you routinely overlook.  And they have the inside track on the latest styles and techniques to make you look your best!
  2. If you opt for doing your own make-up, the most important tip to remember is to blend, blend, blend your make-up.  Want to add a little blush?  Blend it seamlessly.  Under eye cover?  Blend it.  War Paint is out.  Natural is in.
  3. Use less makeup for a day wedding and be a little more dramatic for the evening. 
  4. For the under eye, use a moisturized concealer.  You may want to blend it with a skin cream if you need additional moisturizing. 
  5. If you make any changes from your day-to-day look, make sure you Do a Trial Run to make sure your updated "look" works.  The morning of your Wedding Day will be more stress free if you are confident in your preparation.


We have a few more Tips and Suggestions to add in our segment.  But remember, your Photographer is in your corner - even after your Wedding Day - helping to make your Wedding Pictures look their best!   Ask your Photographer for advice.  We're here to help!

          Shawna - Senior session (before)      


                                                           Shawna - with complete Retouching   


Make sure your Photograper will be providing Retouching on all your images.  You'll look great!


Until next time!



Categorized In: | helpful wedding tips | wedding make | wedding makeup tips | wedding retouching | wedding tips and suggestions

Wedding Photography Today

Having photographed almost 500 weddings over the past 30 years, I've been eye witness to a score of changes - some for the better, some not.  I've seen Wedding Photography evolve from stiffly posed "formal" portraits to a more realistic, effervescent radiant style.  I've seen the size of our tools shrink from the Medium Format heavyweights to the smaller SLR size.  And of course I've seen perhaps the biggest change of all:  the digital revolution which has supplanted the use of film.


With digital capture, there have been plenty of positive changes including

  • Finer detail recorded
  • Easier portability
  • Automatic features
  • Unimagined post-production possibilities
  • The ability to "preview" an image after capturing it


Aaaah... the ability to preview the image immediately....


Perhaps no other change in photography has opened the door to allow for a free flow of weekend wedding warriors than the "guarantee" that there will be ... something ... to present to a Bride and Groom after their "Big Day".  And sometimes that's a problem.


Last year I photographed Kori's wedding in June.  She is the middle of three sisters.  When they visited my Studio, they made reference to "the problems they had last year" with her older sister's wedding, and they wanted to make sure that didn't happen again.  Not wanting to pry, I let the topic pass. 


At Kori's Reception, I was approached by Katie, Kori's younger sister.  Katie was effusive in her praise and repeatedly mentioned how relieved she was "after last year".  So I had to ask.  "Last year", she explained, "the woman photographer came up to the head table just after the toasts and told us 'My battery died.  I guess I'm going home'".  "My battery" - as in singular?, I asked.  Indeed.  The woman had taken on the role of Wedding Photographer with (you guessed it) a single camera and a single battery.  "What happened?", I asked.  "She left.  She just left.  And mom told me, 'Katie, you'd better get your 'point and shoot' camera and take the rest of the pictures'".


I felt bad for her oldest sister, but accounts like you've just read are all too familiar.


Just this week I was approached by a wonderful woman who teaches Elementary age students.  She inquired about the possibility of being able to "work some magic" with the printed wedding images from her daughter's wedding from two years ago, saying "They are simply horrible".  I advised her to obtain the original files, since once an image is printed on to photographic paper, there is little that can be done to "rework" an image  Three days later, she texted to say that the photographer had deleted all the images from her hard drive, so the original files were gone.  


These two real life scenarios are tied together with same twine:  Just because an image appears on back of a camera, it most certainly doesn't guarantee the Quality of the images or Professionalism of the service. 


If your Wedding Memories are important to you, check around.  RCP has provided a number of blog posts which should make your search easier. http://blog.robertcharlesphotography.com/index/view-post/id/14    And if you have any questions, give us a call.  We're here to help make your day ... Memorable!


Until next time. 



Categorized In: digital wedding photography | grand rapids wedding photography | lansing photography | lansing wedding photography | michigan wedding photography | modern wedding photography | professional wedding photography | wedding memories | wedding tips and suggestions

Reception Tips and Suggestions


    One of the benefits of having photographed Weddings and Receptions for over 25 years is being able to witness firsthand what makes a successful Reception.  Unfortunately, it seems that very little information is available to the Bride who is looking for helpful Reception Tips and Suggestions in planning the second half of her Big Day.

    If you find you could use a little "coaching", then read on - this post is for you!  Here is a quick list of considerations which we think you'll find useful: 


    1.  Arrive on Time!

     We've all attended Receptions where the Bride and Groom have arrived an hour - or more - late to their Reception.  Most figure the Photographer to be the culprit.  More often than not, the delay can be attributed to something more basic:  A failure to follow a well-defined "game plan" for the day.  Remember, your Food Preparers will be anxious to dazzle you and your guests with their best efforts.  By arriving on time, you'll help ensure that your dinner will be as good as you envisioned.

     Solution:  Subdivide your Wedding Day into subparts, complete with "fudge factors" (built-in vacant time intervals which will help you get back on track, should the inevitable unplanned situation arise).  Your Photographer should be instrumental in designing a Schedule of Photography which will guarantee that you arrive to your Reception within 10 minutes of its designated Start Time making everybody happy.   



               With a well-planned agenda, you should know when you'll arrive at your Reception within 10 minutes!


     2.  Before you enter your Reception, decide when you will be cutting your Cake.

     Frequently, Reception Halls and Caterers will encourage the Bridal Couple to cut their Cake immediately upon their arrival to "get it out of the way".  Perhaps I'm a purist, but the "Cutting of the Cake" (the desert) prior to dinner is woefully nonsequitur and, in my opinion, diminishes the symbolism involved in the event.

     Although I understand there are times when efficiency may trump symbolism, you'll have to decide for yourselves which works best for you.




     3.  Be sure your DJ is capable of doing more than loading a CD tray

     Most Brides assume their DJ (or band) will be acting as a Master of Ceremonies by offering much needed structure throughout the night.  Sadly, more often than not, we've found this is not the case.  Much of the success of your Reception rests in the hands of your DJ, so if at all possible, be sure to see your DJ in action prior to your event to get a feel for his/her abilities. 

     Do you want a DJ who will recede into the background, or would you rather have someone who actively "gets the crowd going"?  It's actually a matter of preference.  Just remember, your Reception spans almost half of your Wedding Day!


     Over the years, we've worked with literally hundreds of DJ's and bands, and the Best of the Best include:

                                                   (also visit:  http://video214.com/play/WolDYGoavxP507zGkG6A7w/s/dark)     


  •            Zack's Tunes    (517)  819-0405   

                                                    (also visit:  http//video214.com/play/YPh1PKL8VhSGM1XuW25ytw/s/dark)                                            




                                                         Zack's Tunes                                                    Dean Rusch Entertainment


     4.  Throw the Bouquet and Garter early!

     Many inexperienced DJ's place the throwing of the Bouquet and Garter toward the end of the Reception, only to find that a vast majority of possible participants have already left.  Throw the Bouquet and Garter early-on while the level of enthusiasm is highest!




     5.  Avoid the dreaded "Dollar Dance"

     Dollar Dances have fallen out of favor in recent years - and for good reason.  They offer limited participation (two people at a time) and sometimes drag on for up to a half hour, dropping the crowd's energy level, and sending people to the exits.  Just a suggestion, but you may want to nix the Dollar Dance altogether.


If you are looking for more Tips and Suggestions as you plan your Wedding Day, you can find more hints at  http://blog.robertcharlesphotography.com/dashboard/edit-page/id/4



                                                           We're here to help make your Wedding an Incredible one!


Until next time,


For more information about Robert Charles Photography,  see us at  www.robertcharlesphotography.com   or call us directly at  517-394-2192



Categorized In: grand rapids wedding photography | michgan wedding photographers | michigan photographers | wedding hints | wedding photography lansing michigan | wedding tips and suggestions

Wedding Tips and Suggestions - Part 4

 This is the 4th article in a series of Tips and Suggestions for Brides to help you prepare for your Big Day.  To read more, click  http://blog.robertcharlesphotography.com/index/view-post/id/40


In over 25 years of photographing Weddings, I've met a variety of different Brides. 


Some are very Sanguine, effervescent, and exude an "Energizer Bunny" level of non-stop energy.  Others are more reserved, with a quiter spirit. 


Still others who are very "left-brained" and approach their big day with a meticulous precission, orchestrating and finessing the finest nuanced details in order to create the "perfect" day.  If you find yourself identifying with this third group of Brides, read-on:  This instalment is for you!


If you relish overseeing every aspect of your Wedding Day, because you want to make sure every "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted, you are in a special class of Brides.  You've probably discussed ad infinitum every possiblity and contingency which may arise - and have back-up plans for your back-up plans.  You've also probably arrived at your first Wedding Photography consultation with a fully tabulated notebook, replete with questions, lists, and pictures you've cut out from your favorite wedding magazines.


If any of this sounds familiar, let me give you a piece of advice which will make your Wedding Day everything you dreamed it would be:  Wedding Tips and Suggestions #14:  On your Wedding Day, Delegate the oversight of the details to a trusted friend.


Why?  On your Wedding Day, you need to "change hats" from that of "Wedding Planner" to that of "Bride".  


Sure, by the end of the day you may have a check mark next to every single item on the Wedding Day Checklist that you've created.  And sure, you may ultimately arrive at the end of the day, with a well-deserved smile of satisfaction, knowing you "pulled-off" the biggest, most complicated day you've ever planned without a hitch.  But, if you do, you will not have enjoyed the day as a Bride! 


Here are few suggestions in bullet point:

  • Hire only Vendors and trusted Professionals to be on your Wedding Day "team"
  • -  Because they are Professionals, loosen the reigns - and allow them to surpass your expectations!
  • -  Delegate - to a trusted friend - the responsibility of making sure everything on your Final Check List will be taken care of
  • -  Find a friend or relative who will be willing to act as "go-for" on your Wedding Day - to run errands when needed, etc
  • -  And here's the most important suggestion of all:  On the morning of  your Wedding Day, shift gears from "Wedding Planner"  to "Bride", knowing that you've done a great  job planning your Wedding!
  • -  Then enjoy - truly enjoy - you Wedding Day! 



                 You've done all the planning ...                               now enjoy your Wedding Day!


We've been helping to plan weddings for over 25 years.  Give us a call!  We're here to help.

Studio:  517-394-2192      or    Direct to Cell:  517-285-3688

Until next time!








Categorized In: grand rapids wedding photographers | michigan wedding photographer | ourdoor wedding photography | wedding hints | wedding photography lansing michigan | wedding tips | wedding tips and suggestions

7 Important Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer

All too frequently, Brides feel overloaded as they try to sort through the myriad of options surrounding their Wedding Day.  And when it comes to Photography, the options don't seem to get any easier.  "Where do I start?" is the common question.

Here's the problem:  Recent technological advances have opened the door to a flood of photo enthusiasts anxious to try their hand at Wedding Photography.  It seems that the appearance of an image on the back of one's camera provides enough confidence to make one's services available for hire professionally.  After all, a good camera will take good pictures, right?

Unfortunately it's not that simple.  To analogize:  Using the same pots and pans used by Rachael Ray will not make you a great chef.  They are only the tools of the trade.  Obviously something more is required.

What follows is a check list of considerations you may want to consider as you interview prospective Photographers:

   1.  What experience does the Photographer have?  Experience may include the number of years Professionally photographing weddings, but it should also include the variety - and yes, the quality - of weddings found on one's resume.

  2. Who will actually photograph my weddiing?  Although it sounds simple, you should know that many Studios have more than one photographer available to photograph a wedding on a given day, and they usually reserve the right to assign photographers as they see fit.

  3. Will I be able to see samples from the photographer who will be photographing my wedding?  Many Studios will provide a collection of images owned by the Studio - but not necessarily taken by any single photographer.  Our suggestion is to ask to see all of the wedding images taken at a single wedding, rather than an "All Star" collection of images amassed over the past 5 or 10 years.  In so doing, you will have the most accurate representation of the quality of work, and, more importantly, what will be placed in your hands when you pick up your pictures.

  4.  Is the Photographer versed in both Photojournalism and Assisted Photography?  Unfortunately, much of "Wedding Photography" today is nothing more than someone taking snapshots of people in wedding clothes.  If the images being presented to you for consideration resemble those of a backyard BBQ or family reunion, you may want to raise your aspirations to include someone who possesses both the skills and Craftsmanship which are due on such an important day.

  5.  Will my Photographer be using multiple flash units to light indoor pictures, or will he/she be using a single, on-camera flash unit, similar to "Uncle Henry's"?  Lighting - and the use of light - is perhaps the single greatest factor which seperates great photography from snapshooting.  Single flash, on-camera lighting rarely provides the awe-inspiring emotional impact you will hope to find on your special day.

  6.  What, if any, post-Wedding adjustments and enhancements will be made to my wedding images before I view them?  We are always dismayed by Brides who gleefully exude that their pictures will be posted within 24-48 hours of their wedding.  To us, that translates to:  "Little or nothing will be done to improve your images other than to edit some of the very poor ones".  Some Studios will, at a minimum, provide automated processes to remove color casts or improve them in other very basic ways.  Very rarely will a Studio correct, adjust, enhance and retouch every image prior to delivery.  We do.

  7.  Will I be able to obtain the copyrights to my images?  Before you ask this question, you had better know exactly what you are contracting for.  If all of your images have not been improved to the point of being "Lab-Ready", obtaining the rights to your images only means you will be able to enlarge as many disappointingly "unprepped" images as you'd like.  Know what it is you are obtaining, if you choose to contract for the "rights" to your images!


Although you may have additional questions for your prospective Photographer, you may want to include some of these considerations to help yo find the Photographer who will memorialize your special day for years to come.  And if you have any questions, please feel free to call our Studio.  We're here to help you!  517-394-2192  or see us on the web  www.robertcharlesphotography.com

Until next time,




Categorized In: michigan wedding photographer | wedding photographer lansing michigan | wedding photography lansing michigan | wedding tips and suggestions

Wedding Tips and Suggestions - Part 3

Today is the final instalment of our 10 Wedding Tips and Suggestions for your Wedding Day.  All too frequently I have seen some of the same situations arise which are well beyond the contemplation of the Bride and Groom.  Today we list the final three.



Recently, for some unexplained reason, some Ministers/Officiants have decided to locate themselves immediately in front of the Bride and Groom for the duration of the Ceremony.  This unfortunately obscures the view of the Bride and Groom during such critical moments as the Vows and Ring Exchange.

Obviously, if the Officiant chooses to stand immediately in front of the Couple, not only will you be hidden from the view of your guests, but there is a good chance your Photographer will be hampered in recording important parts of your ceremony as well.  Please discuss with the presiding Officiant where they will be located during the Ceremony.



Many ceremonies include the lighting of a Unity Candle.  If one is to be lit, consider placing the candle forward enough to allow for the lighting of the candle while standing behind it - facing your guests.  This way, onlookers will see the front of you, rather than your backs, as the candle is lit!



Aisle Runners are equipped with a pull-string that is usually tied in a bow and stuffed inside the tubing.  If the string is not untied, the string will appear to be inadequately short, and the aisle runner will not unroll correctly, causing an awkward moment for the unsuspecting ushers.  Before the Wedding Day, check to see if the pull-string provided has at least four feet of clearance from the Runner roll when pulled taut.


These are some of the many tips and suggestions we give our Brides when we discuss how to make her day flow as smoothly as possible.  We hope they are helpful!


If you have any questions, please feel free to call (517) 394-2192  or  email us rcharlesphoto@tds.net .  We're here to help!


Until next time,



Categorized In: wedding photographer lansing michigan | wedding photography lansing michigan | wedding tips and suggestions