AMW Studios | Modern & Dynamic Asheville Wedding Photographers » Asheville & Destination Wedding Photography for Adventurous Couples

Silhouette of couple in castle arches by the ocean during their weddingpintopinterest Adorable bride and groom pose looking at each other on castle draw bridgepintopinterest

Marina and Dan got married just two weekends ago at the always gorgeous seaside wedding venue, Hammond Castle Wedding in Gloucester MA. This was our first wedding of the 2015 season and I can’t think of a better way to kick it off!! Their day was absolutely stunning and Hammond Castle made the perfect backdrop for their seaside wedding!

Because Marina and Dan had us show up the day before to capture their beautiful rehearsal dinner we treated their wedding very much like a destination wedding 🙂 For destination weddings we try to capture some images of the local landscapes and people. In Marina and Dan’s case, we chose to wake up at sunrise and head down to Good Harbor beach which is arguably the most gorgeous beach on Cape Anne… we grabbed our cameras and captured the sun coming up the morning of Marina and Dan’s destination wedding.

Twin lighthouses are silhuetted at sunrise of Good Harbor beach in Gloucester ma  pintopinterest Silhouette of seagull on the rocks at sunrise pintopinterest Couples name written in the sand at good harbor beachpintopinterest

Marina made such a beautiful bride! I absolutely loved that she chose to incorporate a bit of her love of country music (and big trucks) and wear cowboy boots for the first part of her wedding day! She also picked out a gorgeous reception dress with a set of beautiful white high heels to change into for dancing in the castle!

Bride with her gorgeous bouquet poses for a quick portraitpintopinterest beautiful engagement ring on top of brides cowboy bootpintopinterest wedding dress hangs  silhouetted in doorway in black and white pintopinterest silhouette of wedding shoespintopinterest Gloucester MA marina is always packed with boatspintopinterest beautiful brides gets zipped into her wedding gownpintopinterest groom fixing his hair before the ceremonypintopinterest cuff links being put on the groom before his weddingpintopinterest Beautiful bride with her bouquet poses on castle drawbridgepintopinterest Groom gets ready to see his bride for the first timepintopinterest two adorable flower girls pose laughing with the groompintopinterest cute bride and groom pose with their dog for a quick portraitpintopinterest beautiful wedding program inside hammond castles great hallpintopinterest bride waits patiently for the ceremony to beginpintopinterest adorable flowers girls and the bride and grooms dog  smilingpintopinterest flower girls run through Hammond Castle for the wedding ceremonypintopinterest silhouette of bride and groom during their seaside wedding ceremonypintopinterest bride and grooms first kiss as husband and wife after their seaside wedding ceremonypintopinterest bride and groom happily walk down the aisle after their wedding ceremony at Hammond Castlepintopinterest beautiful bridesmaid bouquet pintopinterest Beautiful bride and her bridesmaids pose for a portrait  by some stone arches at Hammond Castlepintopinterest Handsome groom and his groomsmen get goofy for a picturepintopinterest black and white image of bride and groom by the arches at Hammond Castlepintopinterest gorgeous bride and groom pose for a quick portrait after their wedding ceremony at hammond castlepintopinterest beautiful couple kisses by the ocean during their hammond castle weddingpintopinterest the tent and chuppah in gorgeous early evening light during the wedding reception at hammond castlepintopinterest wedding cake during wedding reception at hammond castlepintopinterest a view of the reception tent through a window at Hammond Castlepintopinterest

When I heard Marina and Dan’s first dance was going to be to the tune of “Shut up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, I knew it was going to be awesome… Matt and I had just been talking about how that is a must for a first dance song. They definitely didn’t disappoint their guests!

groom dips his bride during their fun first dance pintopinterest flower girl shares her drink with the groom during wedding receptionpintopinterest guests at wedding reception show off their dance movespintopinterest Bride lifted up in chair during the Hora pintopinterest adorable couple dances during wedding reception at Hammond Castlepintopinterest Flower girls and a guest take a self portrait during wedding reception at hammond castlepintopinterest the reception tent all light up at night with twinkly lightspintopinterest bride and groom almost kiss in gorgeous spanish archwaypintopinterest bride and groom run across a castle drawbridge during their sparkler exit pintopinterest

Marina and Dan, thank you so much for having us be a part of your fabulous wedding! We had a blast capturing your day and we hope you love your images!!

A huge thank you to all the other amazing vendors who worked hard on Marina and Dan’s wedding! We had a blast working with everyone!!

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If you’re in the process of planning a wedding you’ve probably figured out that this is a huge undertaking!!! Each item on the task list probably has 10 subitems and each have 5 things to do of their own. <-- I may be over-organized but I think you get the idea. Ultimately, we can't blame anyone for taking an opportunity here and there to cut a few corners. We highly recommend that you take the time to prioritize your list that way you're sure to not cut corners on your top 3 items!!

For Ariel and I the top 3 are finding a venue, photographer and caterer. We’d love to think that finding a photographer is #1 (occasionally we get couples where this is the case and it’s always fun to help them find their dream wedding venue) but for most finding and booking their venue is priority #1.

Next week I intend to post a list of 3 ways to avoid regretting your venue selection but today we are talking about choosing an Asheville wedding photographer, so here we go!

    Wedding photograph taken over the shoulder of a guest with a point and shoot camerapintopinterest
  1. “My Uncle Offered to Do It for Free”

    Uncle Bob may take a lot of photos but if he doesn’t photograph events for a living, just say thanks…but no thanks. Wedding photography is extremely fast paced and stressful (aka. exciting!!). Not to mention the vast variety of lighting conditions (including very very dark receptions!!). Most uncle Bob’s simply haven’t been in a situation where they need to get it right the first time every time. Don’t let your wedding be the day that he finds out wether or not he can pull it off.

    I know I’m biased but if you are going to splurge on any one item on your wedding day, it should be on photography. These images will allow you to relive all the big, little, in-between moments of your wedding day for years to come; the joy, laughter, emotion… your friends and family all in one place for a day to celebrate you. Going back to the top 3 items on the wedding planning to do list, if you it’s not in the budget to have all three, here are some recommendations to save a little here and there:

    • Depending on your must have attributes for a venue; backyards and public spaces should be on every venue list as far as we’re concerned. Some of our most favorite weddings have taken place right in the backyard of someone close to the bride and groom
    • Consider thinking out of the box when it comes to catering…Some of the best tasting food Ariel and I have had at weddings, has been potluck! Yes, you generally sacrifice presentation but you maintain taste and save a ton of money!
  2. A beautiful bride smiling at her Asheville wedding photographer on her wedding day while getting into her dresspintopinterest
  3. Overlooking Personality

    Why add stress to your wedding day? Hire someone you enjoy spending time with.

    On a typical wedding day Ariel and I spend 6-8 hours with our couples. Half of that time is spent in direct communication with the couple, the wedding party or the couples family.

    Do you really want to spend, or subject your friends and family to spending, that much time with a pompous “artist“. Worse yet do you want to be stuck with a socially inept bore? Maybe you do… If so we probably aren’t the photographers for you, we’ve been called many a thing “boring and pompous” definitely not…

    Meet your photographer before you hire them. In person, via video chat or phone. Whenever possible we meet with our couples over coffee or a beer and generally spend a good amount of time chatting about both wedding and completely non wedding related things, like hiking, traveling, food etc… You get the point… The important part is that you have a conversation and make sure that you click!!

    During your meeting they should be focused on you and your wedding. If they take the time to brag about themselves and inform you of what they require on the wedding day move on to the next photographer on your list.

  4. Bride and Groom posing for photo on their wedding day with shock and aww on their face as something surprising happens off camerapintopinterest
  5. Hiring Your Sisters Photographer Before Meeting with Anyone Else

    You and your sister may be close…but you are not the same person. You have to like your photographer. Add her photographer to your list and meet with them the same way you meet with every other photographer on the list.

    We love being contacted by sisters, brothers and friends of past brides but we still insist on a meeting before booking. Going back to the second item on our list of mistakes to avoid; personality matters!

  6. Couple enjoying a moment alone while they wait for direction from their Asheville wedding photographerpintopinterest
  7. We Liked Photographer A, But Photographer B Included an Album

    Remember…You can always add product later…but you won’t want that included album if the images were all underexposed and out of focus. You only get one shot at this, there are no redo’s when it comes to weddings. Make sure the photographer you hire is going to capture your wedding day beautifully.

    Once you have the images you love they can be put into any variety of products that you would like. Having images that you absolutely love should be your number 1 priority when it comes to selecting the right photographer to capture your day! Purchase an album for your anniversary, but at least you will have images that you are over the moon excited to display!

  8. A night image of a couple on the beach after their weddingpintopinterest
  9. Only Considering Photographers That Are Within Budget

    Rank the photographers you meet with by attributes first then add price into the equation. Style, reputation, personality and flexibility all have value. If you love the work you see from a photographer; never cross them off the list based solely on price. Meet with them and learn more about their pricing.

    Wedding photography is anything but standardized. Obviously you need to know how much it will cost, but try asking some of these questions as well:

    • If I can’t afford an album now can I come back to you for one later?
    • Can I print the digital images that I get from?
    • Do you retouch images for printing?

Wedding planning truly is a big task, but hopefully now you can avoid a few of these mistakes while you are choosing your Asheville wedding photographer.

Did you find any of this useful? Do you think we left something of value out? Tell us. Leave a comment below or contact us directly. If you like what you read; tell everyone you know with the social buttons below!

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  • I can definitely vouch for #5 – Brett and I did an evaluation ranked according to style, personality, etc, before bringing price into the equation. Once we brought price in, we cut back on what we were going to do… but by the end of our engagement/time for the wedding we realized we had way more room in our budget and added two separate sessions with the wedding party/friends outside of the wedding itself!

    As for the rest – Personality was super important to us – you really want to have photographers that can make you laugh and that you feel at ease around – and Ariel & Matt are, in our opinion, the best choice.


A couple poses for a photograph at the top of Acorn Street in Boston Massachusetts during there engagement session pintopinterest

If you are anything like Ariel and I you probably get a bit nervous at the thought of having your photo taken. For me, the idea of posing for a camera over the course of 2 straight hours brings anything but a smile to my face.

Of course, luckily, I’m not in a position that I have to pose for those 2 hours. If I were though, there are 3 effortless tips that I would hope someone would share with me to improve my Asheville engagement session. You read that right, just 3.

A colorful young couple poses against a deep red brick wall  standing at either side of an iron framed red door during there engagement sessionpintopinterest
    A quirky young couple peering over the top of there self chosen books for an engagement session imagepintopinterest
  1. Eat something!

    Seriously! Wolf down an energy bar or two right before the session. It will do wonders to keep your energy up and you won’t be wondering when you get to eat toward the end of the session.

    Ariel and I have a habit of letting sessions run late. After you give us the 2 hours we scheduled for the session we are happy to let you go whenever you need, but we would hate to have you cut out just because you’re hungry.

  2. A visibly passionate couple poses near the Copley T stop in Boston Massachusetts with the Boston Public Library in the background at nightpintopinterest a couple poses in front of a covered bridge in Woodstock Vermontpintopinterest
  3. Don’t be afraid of color!

    This is where I tend to get a little bit to technical. I will spare you most of the discussion about the difference between density and hue. The point to this tip is simple.

    “Don’t be afraid of color!” ~ AMW Studios

    Bright colors, pastels, earthy tones; they all work. Just try to avoid extremes in density. Very, very light and very, very dark are hard for the camera to capture accurately in one exposure. Black and white is easier than light pink and a deep dark red so don’t worry about the wedding dress against the tuxedo. Again, at Ariel’s request I won’t go into the tech side of dynamic range. Just know that color is great in photos and we are happy to talk you through it!

  4. A beautiful couple poses in front of a vibrant colorful polka dot painted brick wall during there engagement session in Cambridge Massachusettspintopinterest Silhouette of a wonderful couple  on top of a hill in black and white with the moon framed between thempintopinterest
  5. Choose a significant location!

    Capturing real emotion requires real emotions! Part of what we do as professional Asheville wedding photographers is to bring out emotions in our clients. A lot of this emotional persuasion can be done through conversation, jokes and general sociability. Some of it however, has to come from our clients. Being in a location that induces emotions makes that side of things much much easier.

    First date locations are a great place to have a session. The place where the proposal took place can make for some great images too. It doesn’t have to be a spot where something earth shattering happened, just a place that makes you smile when you think of going there or doing that!

    We are more than happy to call a restaurant and inquire about access before they open! Maybe even getting some items from the kitchen for the table!

Attractive couple posing in front of a vibrant red barn board wall on Cape Cod during there engagement sessionpintopinterest

If you don’t do any of the tips above, just trust your photographer! You hired them for a reason!

Have any questions about a session you have coming up? Think we should have put something else on the simple 3 list? Leave us a comment!

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