Candid Wedding Photographer

What is a candid wedding photographer you might ask? The official definition according to Webster is:

candid photography: marked by or showing honesty: frank a candid discussion. 2: relating to the photography of people acting naturally without being posed.

My background is in photojournalism. I graduated from the College of Charleston with a BA in Mass Media. I worked for a daily newspaper for two years as a staff photographer before I opened Captured by Kate Photography LLC on Archdale Street in Downton Charleston, SC in 2004. Yes, I have been at it a long time, and I still love every wedding because they are filled with emotion and action (as well as fashion and design, but that's a bit off subject).

I also freelance for national newspapers. The New York Times is one of my biggest clients. I have been their Charleston stringer for 12 years.

Here are a few recent articles I photographed. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/business/a-vibrant-turnaround-for-a-neglected-charleston-neighborhood.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/03/style/tile-mosaic-design.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/jobs/garden-gun-magazine-office-design.html

I also have a marketing and editorial website www.katethorntonphotography.com

Back to candid wedding photography, I do direct you a bit. For couple shots before or after the wedding, I will put you in an ideal backdrop and ask you to hang out. I might also suggest you hold hands, walk along a scenic path, stop and kiss, wrap your arms around each other and talk. Yes, you will need a little prompting. But I’m also looking for the in-between, true moments when the wind takes the veil, or the groom is holding the brides' bouquet while she fluffs her dress. 

Group and family photos are not candid, but they do have sweet moments to look out for: the ring-bearer being silly, the grandmother congratulating the couple. I do speak up and direct the family photos quite a bit. The goal is to get them done as swiftly as possible. Think large groups. Smaller groups like the brides family or the bride and each of the bridesmaids can be photographed before the ceremony. 

The most important thing about candid photos is, they are timeless. You are going to enjoy looking at them for generations, and they will tell the real personalities of your family and friends. 

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Planning an Outdoor Charleston Wedding

An outdoor wedding at a Charleston plantation or the beach can be a magical and romantic night for you and your guests. No matter what type of Charleston, South Carolina venue you have picked out, these are the 7 tips to keep in mind so that your wedding will be truly unforgettable.

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1. Talk with Your Wedding Vendors
Discuss the outdoor setting with each of your wedding vendors. The most experienced wedding professionals in the industry know how to advise you on proper equipment, scheduling out the day-of timeline and may offer insight on coming up with a great backup weather plan as well. 
Especially important, make sure to talk with either the photographer you've booked about what the sun will be like during your ceremony. Facing one direction vs. another may mean having harsh shadows across your face, terrible sun flare, or squinty eyes in a vast majority if not all of your pictures. Taking the time to consult a photographer that knows your venue will drastically improve your photos!
Also, don't forget to consider the time of the day that you plan to start the ceremony. If you're wanting family photos and couple photos after your ceremony, make sure that you're ceremony isn't going to be too late for that time of year. For example, if your wedding is in late October, the sun sets in Charleston, SC at 6:30, having you're 20-minute ceremony at 6pm means you probably won't get any good outdoor shots afterward.

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2. Look for Shade
This is especially important for outdoor weddings during peak summer months. Shaded areas with a decent amount of tree cover will allow your guests to feel comfortable during the ceremony and reception. Plus, the shade will keep harsh sunlight from creating unflattering shadows and squinty eyes in all your photos.

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3. Have a Backup Plan
No matter what time of year you'll be celebrating your wedding, there's always a chance that nature may not cooperate. If you're planning an outdoor wedding, have a rain plan in place. A great secondary choice to stay outside may be a tent or a cover porch.

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4. Dress Accordingly
If you're planning a fall or winter wedding but love tea-length or strapless dresses, you may want to consider other options or provide pashminas or mink shawls. The same is true for summer: avoid long-sleeved dresses and heavy materials. Charleston humidity is no joke. 

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5. Offer Pre-Ceremony Refreshments
An essential for an outdoor wedding is serving plenty of water at drinking stations. Set up a few refreshment tables and make sure these are easily accessible (not directly next to the bar) so guests have a few places they can go to stay hydrated. In addition to water, ice-cold beverages like lemonade or iced tea are perfect summer drinks. If you want to add a twist of fun, serve a signature cocktail. 

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6. Prepare for Glare
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to throw on a hat and sunglasses when the sun gets strong. It will be a long, hot day, so make sure you keep powder on hand for touching up your makeup to prevent extra shine in your photos. Remember, photographs will be taken of you continuously throughout the day, so you want to stay prepared. 

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7. Keep the Bugs Away
If your venue allows, you may consider having a professional company come and spray the area the day beforehand to keep any pests at bay. As another option, keeping individual containers of bug spray on hand at the venue may also be a smart idea. If your ceremony is near the marsh be sure to check the tides, bugs are more prevalent at low tide. 

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Sources:
Bride Box
Jeff and Michele Photo

Tips for Planning a Wedding in Charleston

Last year the Post and Courier reported that 5000 wedding licenses were issued in Charleston County... What that sounds insane, but it's true. With so many weddings and so many wedding details to look after, it gets difficult to time hiring decisions. But don’t worry, I've got you covered! Most couples that get married in Charleston, SC take at least a year to plan their weddings. So, I've gathered some resources and put together a tentative timeline to help you decide on when and how to hire your vendors. So let’s get started!  

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12 MONTHS BEFORE
Wedding planner: Wedding planning can be fun, but it’s also a trying process, requiring a lot of patience and research. If you don’t want to handle everything by yourself, let the professional planners share in your responsibilities.
Wedding venue: Your wedding venue is one of the most critical decisions. Choosing and acquiring your dream venue requires diligence because days fill up fast. So, find your venue first thing and set a date!

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10 MONTHS BEFORE
Photographer: We can only handle one wedding a weekend and some weekends are especially popular in Charleston. Get us booked ASAP before another wedding couple snatches us up. 
Florist: Research your favorite florists and get them onboard as early as possible as well.
Caterer: Your venue may handle your catering needs, but if not, get recommendations from the venue staff. Schedule a tasting as well, this is one of the fun parts of planning!! 
Musicians: Finalize your favorite band's availability and music selection before the wedding to ensure no last-minute mix-ups.

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8 MONTHS BEFORE
Engagement portraits: This is a significant step in your life you are combining families. LIt's important to document this time and get to know your photographer.
Officiant arrangement: No officiant, no marriage. So start interviewing them to find the best fit.
Wedding dress: Finding the perfect dress takes up a lot of your time, energy and patience. So you can even start earlier with your search, especially if you want a custom-made dress!
Guest accommodations: Research your hotel options for any discounts or wedding-packages, and book a block of rooms.
Save the dates: Inform your loved-ones well ahead of the wedding date to ensure that no-one misses your special day.

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7 MONTHS BEFORE
Cake: Even with a small cake for cake-cutting, cake tasting, and designing is one of the most fun activities. Don’t rush this excellent wedding detail.
Bridesmaid dresses: Plan a day out with your girls to choose their outfits for the big day. It’ll be a relaxing, fun activity to take your mind off of any wedding stressors, too.

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6 MONTHS BEFORE
Invitations: Send out the wedding-invitations by now to set aside time for RSVPs and confirmations.
Guest accommodations: Research your hotel options for any discounts or wedding-packages, and book a block of rooms.
Hair & makeup appointments: Get your favorite makeup artist booked ASAP before he/she is snatched away.
Rentals: Your venue may handle these but if not, get the reception décor and dining arrangements sorted by now. Think tables, chairs, serving ware, and linens.
Transportation: Think about you and your guest's transport needs at the wedding and make arrangements accordingly. Trolleys and rickshaws are favorite modes of traveling around downtown Charleston. 

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5 MONTHS BEFORE
Men’s attire: Suits or tuxes? Get it sorted soon.
Accessories: Details like the veil, shoes, and jewelry can be finalized when you find the wedding dress as well. Choose whenever convenient.

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3 MONTHS BEFORE
Bridal Portraits: Are an opportunity to work with your hair and make-up team, florist and photographer before the big day and take creative portraits. 
Wedding favors: Put some thought into your wedding favors to make your guests feel special. Local snacks, bottled water, a list of your favorite Charleston restaurants are a few fun details to include!

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Amanda & Preston Dole
Venue: The River Course on Kiawah
Wedding Coordinator: A Charleston Bride
Invitations: Studio R