How to Choose Your Photography Collection

Hooray!  You’re engaged.  The venue is booked, maybe a bridal gown made you fall in love all over again.  Perhaps, you’ve even found the perfect photographer. 


As you begin looking at packages and pricing, your eyes glaze over.  Ugh.  This is not the fun part of marrying your man. 

How do you know what you want in a wedding photography collection? 

Early in the planning process it’s tricky making large price-point decisions with little knowledge and experience.  There are four areas of investment when booking a wedding photographer.

1. Images

2. Time

3. Services

4. Products




Before anything else, consider how you would like to receive your actual images.  That may seem obvious, but every wedding photographer is different.  Some photographers require you to purchase the digital files (especially high resolution files) in addition to a package or their time.  Make sure you check what is included in the most basic coverage. 

I highly recommend investing in this, as a top priority.   Then, you have your images, digitally, and can use them in creative ways. 

All Debra Eby Photography Co. brides receive digital files.  These files are web resolution images (for online sharing) and high resolution images (for personal printing). 




This is one of the biggest areas of question for inquiring couples.  How many hours of wedding photography do you need on the wedding day?

The answer is completely different for each couple.  For most couples, eight hours is enough for all of the essentials.  But, if you want complete coverage, and have a special send-off, you may need to invest in more. 

Let’s walk through a few wedding day samplings to get an idea of your coverage needs.


Wedding coverage typically begins towards the end of hair and make-up.  It then lasts until the final important event of the evening. This could be a first dance or a sparkler send-off.  


6 Hours

This is for a wedding requiring simple coverage.  These weddings tend to be shorter, or couples who are on a tighter budget.  It’s worth hiring an amazing photographer, even if it’s only for six hours.  Remember, when on a tighter wedding budget you want quality over quantity.


Sample 6 Hour Schedule

  • 1:00 pm - Getting Ready
  • 2:00 pm - In Gown
  • 2:30 pm - First Look, Portraits
  • 4:30 pm - Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm - Family Portraits, Cocktail Hour, Reception Decor
  • 6:30 pm - Reception begins
    • Announcing in bridal party
    • First Dance
  • 7:00 pm - Photographer Departs


8 Hours

This is the ideal amount of time for most wedding coverage.  It is my most popular booking since it covers most of the essentials, telling your wedding story. 

Depending on how late your celebration lasts, 8 hours may not see you to a send-off.  Consider what you want to do at your reception and what you need captured by a professional.  For dancing pictures, the first hour will always be your best images of the night.  As time passes -  speaking as the sober girl at the party - it gets a little sloppy.


Sample 8 Hour Schedule

  • 1:00 pm - Getting Ready
  • 2:00 pm - In Gown
  • 2:30 pm - First Look, Portraits
  • 4:30 pm - Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm - Family Portraits, Cocktail Hour, Reception Decor
  • 6:30 pm - Reception begins
    • Announcing in bridal party
    • First Dance
    • Dinner Service, Toasts
    • Dancing
    • Cake Cutting
  • 9:00 pm - Photographer Departs


10 Hours

Ten hours of wedding photography allows for full coverage, for most couples.  This sees you from those final hair and make-up moments to your send-off. 

Sample 10 Hour Schedule

  • 1:00 pm - Getting Ready
  • 2:00 pm - In Gown
  • 2:30 pm - First Look, Portraits
  • 4:30 pm - Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm - Family Portraits, Cocktail Hour, Reception Decor
  • 6:30 pm - Reception begins
    • Announcing in bridal party
    • First Dance
    • Dinner Service, Toasts
    • Dancing
    • Cake Cutting
    • Bouquet and Garter Toss
    • Bride & Groom Exit     
  • 11:00 pm - Photographer Departs




Each photographer is different with the services they provide their clients.  This part of the experience is based on what a professional does for you vs. a tangible product. 

My services include: engagement portraits, bridal portraits, and a second shooter.


Engagement Portraits

Engagement sessions are the rehearsal of the wedding day portraits.  It is an opportunity for your photographer to get to know your couple personality and how that translates on camera.  The photographer learns your best angles and what makes you light up.  Plus, it's a really fun date experience - life in front of the camera.  

Consider how you would use engagement portraits.  You could have a guestbook make from the images of your engagement session.  Framing portraits for décor, creating save-the-dates, your wedding website, so many options. 



Bridal Portrait

This one is for my southern girls out there.  You know what this is. 

For those of you unfamiliar, a bridal portrait is a photo session with just the bride on a separate day, prior to the wedding usually. 

This is a time for you to have that hair and make-up trial and put on that designer gown.  We get gorgeous you in front of that camera for some serious fun modeling playtime. 

While this may not be for everyone, it’s secretly one of my favorite things in the world to do.  Time alone with a bride, no timeline crunch, we get to play with posing, angles, and Cinderella twirls.  It also saves time on the wedding day. 

One of my brides wrote a sweet message on a chalkboard, “Always Daddy’s Little Girl”, then purchased a print, framed it and gifted it to her father on the wedding day.   Tears everywhere. 

Another bride purchased a massive print, framed and displayed it at the entrance to the reception.  The guests completely gushed over it. 



Second Shooter


A second shooter offers a rich wedding photography experience.   This service adds more images as well as different images when we divide and conquer. 

A second shooter:

  • Captures the guys getting ready
  • Offers alternative angles to things like a first look
  • Captures candids at the cocktail hour
    • If you do not have a first look, this is not something I am able to do without a second shooter.
  • Ensures abundant wedding detail coverage
  • Overall more images of your day

If any of these things are really important to you, then investing in a second shooter is the way to go.  Any large and detail-intensive weddings should invest in a second shooter. 




Many photographers bundle products into their packages.  You choose what you want based on a combination of services and products. 

Products vary from photographer to photographer.  If they offer an album, it can look totally different than another album a different photographer offers.  Make sure you see a picture or hold an album in person to view the quality.  

My products are very high end.  I'm super picky about quality when it comes to wedding products.

My approach to products is a little different.  Everything is a la carte in the marketplace for all Debra Eby Photography Co. couples.  The marketplace is an online marketplace for all wedding photography products.  

The convenient part about a marketplace is that you can invest in heirloom-quality products at any time in this process.  Even after the wedding day. 

You may not know what products are going to be right for you until closer to the wedding day.  That’s okay, because you have time for all that shopping after the planning is further along. 

The guide below helps you understand the product function so that you see if it is the right fit for your wedding experience.



Luxury Fine Art Album

The Luxury Fine Art Album is the most gorgeous wedding album I have ever seen.  The album has thick, lay-flat pages with rich color and elegant sheen.  This is a 12 x 12 album that functions as the art gallery of your wedding day. 

Couples select the images, cover textiles, and lettering or image cut-out through the album design form.  Then, I design the album, create a digital proof, finally, you approve the proof for printing. 

This is my favorite product – by far.  Most of my couples choose to add this to their collection.  This album is built to last for generations to come, truly an investment piece. 



Engagement Guestbook

This is another popular product since it serves such a useful function.  Not only is it a lay-flat album, it can also serve a guestbook on the wedding day.  You can also have it designed as a coffee table book, with no space for writing.



Parent Album

 The Parent Album is a duplicate of the Luxury Fine Art Album.  It is 6 x 6, so convenient for parental bragging on the go.  This product is only available upon purchase of a Luxury Fine Art Album.  It is an add-on product.



Luxury Fine Art Prints

These are images from your wedding day printed through my high-quality lab.  The colors and texture of these pieces of art make them into beautiful wall art.  These can be ordered any time after receiving your online gallery.  Friends and family are also welcome to purchase these through the marketplace. 

Couples often order prints through me for the actual wedding day décor.  Engagement and bridal portrait prints are very popular. 

If you're still unsure, talk with any girlfriends who recently were married.  They can tell you things they wish they would have done and will have other tips for you as well.  

The best thing you can do is meeting up with your photographer.  Explain your vision and they can help you customize your dream collection.


xoxo Lovelies




Engagement Portraits 101

You know that moment, when your closet stares back at you?  It feels like there isn't a thing to wear.  You text your BFF asking what she's planning to wear.  You don't want to be the one overdressed or - even worse - under-dressed for the occasion.  For the next 10 minutes you go over options together until you reach the final verdict.  Evening saved.

Picture of ruffles and lace textiles in beautiful blush, purple, and rose hues. | Debra Eby Photography Co.

Most of our significant other's are not quite as sympathetic to our plight.  This is just the beginning.  Living with our love means no roommate or sister bailing us out with the perfect borrowed necklace.  When I married and moved away, my shoe fashion suffered greatly.  

As a wedding photographer, one of my most frequently asked questions is, "What should we wear for the engagement session?".  The tricky part of answering this question is that it depends on your couple style.  You should maintain your look, yet in a best-hair-day-ever way.  Both of you should look the glowing versions of yourself.  

Engagement Style Prep


Beauty Department

Picture of a man shaving his beard for his engagement portrait.  | Debra Eby Photography Co.

For hair, I recommend getting a blowout.  This gives you that salon-finished look that we all absolutely love (um, why can I never re-create this on my own?).  I do recommend wearing your hair down, unless you want to do an up-do halfway through as part of your wardrobe change.  

Since guys tend to get haircuts more often, I recommend scheduling the haircut with enough time for it to grow to the favorite length.  For my Ben, that's a few weeks after a fresh cut.  Also, make sure any facial hair is properly groomed.  I even had one groom shave in the middle of the sesh for two different looks.  It was amazing!

For make-up, this is a great time for a make-up trial for your wedding.  You achieve a professional look while having honest convos with your MUA.  If you opt to do your own, just go a little heavier on the concealer/foundation, especially under your eyes.  Speaking of eyes, play those up, girlie.  Work those brows and wear falsies.  That makes a dramatic difference in pictures.  



Image of a stylish couple having an engagement shoot in St. Augustine, Florida | Debra Eby Photography Co.

Think back to that time when an outfit made you feel smokin' hot.  What did that look like?  Those colors and that cut are likely going to unlock your personal style.  

Consider what colors and cuts look best on your body type - for both of you.  There are oodles of resources out there on Pinterest, just run a quick search, "your body type, fashion" and you'll see so many helpful charts.  Like this one for her and this one for him.  There are resources for skin tone and colors as well, like this one for her and this one for him.

Once you each have an idea of what looks best on you, then find the common ground.  Choose colors that flatter both of you.  

Choose wardrobe with your location in mind as well.  You want your fashion to be cohesive with the overall feeling of the shoot.  


The Engagement Style Guide

This brings me to the exciting part.  We can get super practical by using The Engagement Style Guide.  This is a look-book offering visual concepts and tips as you get your style on.  Take time to see what looks may be right for you, then customize according to your couple identity.  

In this book we break down four different looks:

  • Casual Sophisticate - Uptown modern with down-to-earth fun.
  • Cozy Romance - Fashion meant for cuddling.
  • Dressy Chic - Fashion for an upscale night on the town.
  • Coastal Style - Style for seaside escapes.

Each section offers tips for her and tips for him to achieve a similar look.  Then, you can see how that translates to a real life location background.  Plus, looks from other real engagement shoots.



Engagement Style Guide

click here

This quiz is another tool I use to customize advice for my couples, towards their personal style.

All right, Gorgeous, it's time.  Get back to that closet, or maaaaaybe that Nordstrom sale?  It's photo shoot time.


xoxo Lovelies

Cocktail Hour Wedding Photography Tips

When Ben and I started dating, we had a very different approach to the relationship.  I felt like we needed to read every relationship book, talk about expectations, and set boundaries.  Ben would just laugh it off.  It’s not that he didn’t care about the relationship, he just didn’t care about following a rule book. 

Picture of a nightstand with books and a mug, propped up against a lamp.  The mug has hand lettering on it that says, "Hot Stuff". | Debra Eby Photography Co.

While Ben is a man of tremendous integrity, he’s not one for following the rules for rules sake.  I, on the other hand, am a "people pleaser" and avoid trouble, even if it means following silly rules. 

This is why Ben is so good for me.  He lightens me up, and I make him read books and follow silly rules every once in awhile.  This is one of the many ways that our opposites attract. 

Just like Ben, modern weddings are breaking silly rules like crazy.  Personally, I love it. 

If you don’t care for a stuffy reception of caviar and champagne, then break out the giant Jenga or pastel darts.  Fill the day with custom fun. 

This new style of entertaining guests helps with mingling.  It also avoids the awkward conversations with strangers around the bar. 

How to plan your Cocktail Hour Wedding Photography.  How to break rules to create fun for your guests.  | Debra Eby Photography Co.

Immediately following the ceremony, your guests transition to cocktail hour.  This is a time of mingling, refreshments, and sometimes even entertainment. 

During the first 20 minutes, family will be taking a few portraits.  As long as everyone is present and ready, this shouldn’t take up too much valuable time. 

If you had a “first look”, you are free to go enjoy time with your guests, or sneak away for a private time of refreshment.  If you opt out of a “first look”, then your bridal party and you will continue on with portraits for the duration of cocktail hour. 

Something to be aware of, if there is no second shooter and there is no “first look”, there will not be any cocktail hour coverage. 



Image of cocktail hour wedding hors d'oeuvre platter at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida | Debra Eby Photography Co.



Cocktail hours, as with most parts of a wedding, have evolved greatly.  Lounge areas are now popular, with cozy seating areas.  Pinterest is brimming with ideas from other weddings. 

I love capturing a wide angle look of your cocktail hour set-up, then I go in for close ups of each detail you carefully put into your day.  I capture any signature cocktails, even trays of food circulating. 



Candid Images


Once I have the overall look of your cocktail hour, I find natural groupings of guests and request to take a picture.  I find this works much better than rapid-fire candids where guests have awkward posture and chewing shrimp.  Everyone feels better when given a chance to pose a little. 

If you are mingling, feel free to grab a few friends and family for spontaneous portraits. 

Guest portraits on a wedding day with a bride at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. | Debra Eby Photography Co.





If there is live music, guests playing games (like cornhole), or any other form of activity going on, I will be sure to capture this as well. 

  • Research interactive wedding games on Pinterest and then customize the playing pieces for your wedding brand.  
  • Live music is another way to create a beautiful guest experience.  
  • Create guestbook fun with polaroids or other creative custom signing options.
  • Bring in an artist to paint the setting or a caricature artist for a more interactive experience.
  • Make food fun with a popcorn or donut bar.

All of these pieces of your day tell the story of your couple brand. 

Wedding Day Cornhole Game, customized couple logo.  TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Florida. | Debra Eby Photography Co.

Be a wedding rule breaker.  Find ways to customize your wedding day, filling it with all you love best.  

Now, onward to the reception celebration.


xoxo Lovelies