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Behind the Scenes 2017 | West Virginia Wedding Photographer | Hannah Barlow Photography

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!  

I can’t believe it!! The end of 2017 is almost here and it’s that time of year again…the end of another wedding season is coming!  I still have just one more to go but wanted to go behind the scenes with you all right now!!  Oftentimes, I look at a photographer’s photo and wonder “How were they standing?  What was their angle?” and sometimes I generally just wish I could see what was going on from the sidelines.  Do you ever do that?!  Maybe it’s just a photographer thing but I also like to watching “the making of…” clips when it comes to movies too!  Maybe you don’t, but I am hoping many of you find this blog fun and interesting to see what really happens to a wedding photographer and his/her clients and how we work together to make those pretty pictures happen! 

I’m sooooo excited to be sharing some behind the scenes photos as well as some of their respective finished shots!  A big “thanks” to my second shooters and assistants who let me be in some of the photos too!! YAY!! I NEVER get to be in the photos!  It’s totally fun and weird all at the same time!

So, let’s do this!  Enjoy!  Brace yourself too, it’s going to be a LONG one!


Megan and Tripper’s wedding started off my wedding season and right at the beginning of 2017.  I was blessed to photograph their pretty winter wedding in Wellsburg, WV!  Here’s is a behind the scenes shots I took while Tripper was getting ready.  I always joke with my grooms when taking these shots and say…”Wait…don’t you always have someone standing close, invading space, and taking pictures of you when you’re getting ready in the morning?  NO?!  Ooo so this doesn’t feel normal?” HA!  Carrie White, my second shooter that day, took the shot of me, of course!

 Left Photo Credit: Carrie White of Carrie Leigh Photography

Left Photo Credit: Carrie White of Carrie Leigh Photography

I think these photos below will end up in all my end of year blog posts! HA!  I had found a high spot I wanted them to stand on for formal photos at the golf course and Tripper didn’t miss a beat.  He picked up his bride and proceeded to take her to their assigned photo spot.  You can see Carrie getting the shot from behind.  Isn’t it fun to see both angles?!  You can also see the high spot behind them!

 Right Photo Credit: Carrie White

Right Photo Credit: Carrie White

Here is a little secret (maybe not such a secret anymore) that I’ve talked about a lot!  I really do sweat when it comes to photographing rings.  It gives me serious anxiety.  I love the finished product but I hate shooting them.  I’m so afraid I’ll lose one.  That’s A LOT of responsibility and I take every effort possible to not lose them…I don’t take them outside anymore if I can help it.  I don’t EVER shoot near a vent or anyhwere they could fall, roll and get stuck.  A very wise photographer (shout out to Bre Thurston) told me in a class to wear them on my fingers with my own rings!! So, I do that!! Those puppies aren’t going ANYWHERE!

…and some finished shots!

 Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

 For behind the scenes hand/ring shots, I always tell my couples not to worry about their faces because they won’t end up in the photos anyway.  So, they usually talk and make faces at me instead!  This was taken at Nicole and Jim’s Youngstown, Ohio wedding.  We were hot and sweaty by the end of picture time on this May day… Can’t you tell?! 

 Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

It was Kari’s idea for me to shoot from the floor at Erinn and Andrew’s wedding.  We photographed  this spring wedding in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania at the BEAUTIFUL barn at Irons Mill Farmstead.  The people setting up the tables got a good laugh when I was doing this!  

 Photo of me: Kari DeShong

Photo of me: Kari DeShong

This photo of me and Erinn still makes my brain hurt.  I was so confused when I first saw this shot! It was ALL WRONG….angles and everything! THEN, I realized Kari took a photo of the mirror that showed Erinn and I’s reflections! HA! Clever, Kari…clever!  I often stand on chairs to get these kinds of shots and the bridal suit at Irons Mill does not disappoint so I couldn’t resist! 

 Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Jane and Zac’s St. Clairsville, Ohio wedding was beautiful and warm and vintage themed.  The weather was perfect!  I had to bargain with this little flower girl though.  The poor thing was so over picture time and I don’t blame her!  So, I promised her if she would pose for me just a few more times, I would let her take big girl pictures later in the day!! Wouldn’t you believe it…she held me to it!  Check out how excited she was to play photographer for a little bit at their reception! 

 Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

…and here’s a little more behind the scenes of their wedding. I was organizing the bridal party… and then you’ll see the after shot!  I always ask for persmission to use my “bossy professional Hannah voice” OR just my “bossy Hannah voice” especially when we’re on a time crunch.  It works during these times and makes things go so much more smoothly! AND look how pretty!  I also JUST realized that you can’t see one of the groomsmen! HA! Jane, did you ever notice that?! AHHHHHH!! Hannah freak out moment!

 Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Do you remember Jane and Zac’s GORGEOUS first dance photo?!  Well, Kyle Mac (of Smash Weddings) was the DJ for this wedding.  We’ve worked quite a few weddings together now and he’s blinded me by his first dance lighting in the past.  That works to our advantage though because the beauty of working with the same vendors over and over is that we learn from one another and we make a plan.  I used his lights instead of my usual flash to create this masterpiece.  And if any of the guests were wondering why the heck Kari was in the middle of the dance floor busting a move before the couple’s first dance….now you know!  I needed a lighting check, please and thank you!! We wanted to get it just right, of course, and I bargained for just 30 seconds of low spotlight so I had one chance to get it right!  

On a random note, I’m noticing my stance was much better at the beginning of the year!  Just wait until you see some later on! HA!  It’s horrendous!

 Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Here is another secret.  Some of us photographers aren’t just photographers during the day…we sometimes do so much more!  No one really sees this part of the wedding though.  I particularly love to be a helper too!  I almost ALWAYS pin the guys’ boutonnieres!  I also frequently button up dresses.  I have lots of experience so I may as well help, right?!  Erin’s dress buttons were really tough to fasten and everyone had their nails beautifully done.  So, after we got the “must have” shots, I jumped in and finished the job! No one cares about my nails anyway! I have to laugh though.  I handed my camera off to one of the bridesmaids and I didn’t notice her hands until I posted this. She’s holding the camera out like it might bite her! HA! So funny!  Check her out on the right hand side!

 Top Photo Credit: Carrie White

Top Photo Credit: Carrie White

I told ya…I frequently pin flowers!  The guys traditionally like to joke with me about poking them.  The joke’s on them though because I’m a nurse so I’m good with a needle!  I’m also pretty anal about NOT seeing the pins in photos (I’m all about those tiny details, ya know) so the control freak in me would just rather do it so I don’t have to photoshop them out later!

Also, I’d like ALL the girls who were worried about their double chins this year to take notice.  MANY of us have it! I told you…even me!  It’s genetic!  I just roll with it!  I’ve had it my whole life!

 Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Ashleigh is a good pinner too!  Kari…not so much! HA!  Kari…girl…you know it’s true!

Ashleigh is a good dress holder too! HA!

Emily and Aaron gave me an amazing time schedule to get all their photographs taken in August.  We did all the guys photos and all the girls photos outside and Emily’s beautiful, timeless gown got a little dirt on it.  Did you know we also clean dresses?! HA!  We sure do!  None of the bridesmaids were comfortable helping with this task so I jumped in!  My husband always said I was a master spot remover and I guess I can still claim that title!  Here is a shot of me cleaning off Emily’s dress before we headed off for the ceremony.  I ended up using a lens cleaning cloth I had in my bag to gently dab, dab, dab the area until it was as good as new (or close enough that no one would notice)!  I keep lots of extras in my bag now that I know they are multi purpose!

 Photo Credits: KarI DeShong

Photo Credits: KarI DeShong

…and now that’s why I try to carry the trains when possible! 😉  This wedding was right after Emily’s wedding!  I learned my lesson!

 Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

Shoutout to Carrie White for taking these amazing black and whites of this stunning bride, Erin!  Her use of natural window light here is just perfection!

 Bottom Photo Credits: Carrie White

Bottom Photo Credits: Carrie White

Carrie and I also had to stop some golf games for these fabulous photos at Erin and Dennis’ wedding at the Summit Inn in Farmington, PA!  I hope those aren’t glares from the guys!  Honestly, this wasn’t OUR idea…the owners at the Summit are amazing and offered this spot to us! 

BUT seriously…look how pretty!  So, thank you to the golfers who had to wait on us!

I’m not sure what I was fixing here but I was fixing something and the wind was blowing! Jeesh!!

 Top Photo Credit: Carrie White

Top Photo Credit: Carrie White

I don’t think it’s really a secret how we get those dresses and veils flowing.  SOMETIMES we can use the wind to our advantage, but most of the time we do this…….and then the “thrower” gets cloned out in PS!  Sorry, Carrie…you had to go! HA! 

Ashleigh is an amazing veil thrower too!

 Bottom Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

Bottom Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

Now, let’s move on to some reception behind the scenes!  We were all set up and ready to go when Erinn and Andrew looked at me and said “Help!! What do we do?!”  I think us wedding professionals might sometimes take advantage of the fact that most couples haven’t done this wedding thing before so they need a few tips.  I have no idea what I’m telling them but I’m long winded so who knows!  I’m also VERY sweaty in that photo! HA!

 Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Laura and Brian also gave me the “help me” look!!  You can also totally tell these weddings were shot at two VERY different times of the year  Above….hot and sweaty!  Below…nice and warm! HA! 

 Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

We like to have fun too at the receptions!! There were some very entertaining guests at Erinn and Andrew’s wedding!  Kari was getting a kick out of it!

Hayley and Todd’s wedding in Annapolis, Maryland was a HUGE success! Here’s a peek at how I take some of those amazing bridal portraits! I stick the bride by the window….face her toward the light…juuuuuuuuust right and CLICK!  It’s magic!

 Left Photo Credit: Kathryn Bonorchis

Left Photo Credit: Kathryn Bonorchis

OoOO man.  Annapolis, Maryland…you are beautiful but you are BUSY with people!  I shot across the road for these images (while waiting for pedestrians and bikers to move along…and cars too! (LOTS OF CARS).  I had to remove the “no parking signs” and turn those red curbs brown!  TA DA!  I want to thank all my couples for allowing me to put them in places they think won’t work and let me work my magic!  I can only imagine what goes through their heads at the time!

 Top Left Photo Credit: Kathryn Bonorchis

Top Left Photo Credit: Kathryn Bonorchis

Hayley and Todd’s wedding was also a destination wedding for us.  My photography friend Kat came up from Virginia to be my second shooter and we’d been going to HOURS at this point in the day!  We had a nice break in the activity and headed back to our hotel room to grab multiple bottles of water and a quick snack!! Wedding photogs know….if you don’t drink water, you will feel like death! Dehydration is no joke on the wedding day!

 Photo Credit: Kathryn Bonorchis

Photo Credit: Kathryn Bonorchis

See…I told ya, I always seem to find myself standing on chairs and I always ask first, of course!!  Here’s a behind the scenes shot and it’s after photo of the invitation.  I photographed this wedding at the Osiris Shrine in Wheeling for Emily and Aaron!

 Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Kari and I pride ourselves on our attention to detail and organization skills!  Kari’s always got her pen and paper in hand to check off those formal photo lists..apparently she carries her lipstick too! Bahahahaha!  I am also the WORST when it comes to names though and here I overheard her getting the low down on who was who…she’s a gem!

 I had also said “Kari, run down there and walk toward me so I can meter”….she literally ran!  Check out the photos on the left!  

At this same wedding, Emily had a very unique train so we had to exploit it, of course! These always make me giggle!  I cloned Kari right out of this baby! 

It was HOT at Andrew and Haley’s mid September wedding in Steubenville, Ohio.  I opted to keep them out of the hot afternoon sun for the guys’ photos!  Check out these brothers for their “fun shot”.  Also, remember how I mentioned how my stance and posture declined toward the end of the year?  Well, take note.  THAT is how I should NOT be standing! HA! I have no idea what is going on there and I have no idea how my photo is in focus since I’m standing practically on one leg! HA!

 Left Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

Left Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

I’m telling ya.  Sometimes it is just easier if you manhandle (no pun intended) the guys into the position you need them in!  I always ask permission and they usually say “Yes, please.  We need instructions.”  This particular group of guys were so great and easy to work with!  The whole bridal party this day was amazing!

 Top Photo Credits: Jenna Brisson

Top Photo Credits: Jenna Brisson

Seriously, what is wrong with my posture and my legs this day?!  Don’t take pictures like this people! HA!

 Photo Credits: Jenna Brisson

Photo Credits: Jenna Brisson

Haley and Andrew’s wedding ceremony was tricky with the tent.  So, I had to sit down so I could avoid the top of the tent! It worked out pretty well!

 Left Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

Left Photo Credit: Jenna Brisson

My amazing photog friend and fellow wedding photographer Jenna Brisson came all the way down from Vermont to shoot Haley and Andrew’s wedding with me.  When you’ve got an experienced professional with you like Jenna who knows what she’s doing, you gotta let her take the reigns for a bit!  I became the train fluffer for a little bit while she captured these beauties! 

 Right Photo Credits: Jenna Brisson

Right Photo Credits: Jenna Brisson

At the beginning of October, Kari finally got to be the bride and as a result I needed an assistant!  Christie Montgomery, another photographer friend of mine, was kind enough to drive up and take Kari’s spot and assist me for this beautiful, Pittsburgh wedding!  She did a fab job and even became the shoe runner when Kari needed a change!  I so appreciate all her hard work!  It worked to our advantage too because then we got this amazing shot with Kari holding her now too long dress up! AHHHHHH!! It’s the little things! When your bride needs a shoe change, run…because magic can happen when you least expect it! Thanks, Christie! 

But then sometimes when the sun is too bright and your assistant Christie is too short, you enlist the bride’s brother to help!  Thank you, Adam!  I appreciated your help immensly!  Kari said..make sure you get a picture of that! So, I did! HA! 

These were taken the morning of Amanda and Tom’s October wedding.  Amanda’s mom had one of the best living rooms to shoot getting ready shots!  Every detail needed to be perfect and Ashleigh was quick to make sure that happened! She was adjusting all the blinds for me!  The finished product proves those tiny details are important! 

Ashleigh is also one of my best veil throwers!  Look at the concentration on her face! HA!  I do believe Amanda was my only bride to have a long veil too!  I also had to yell at the groomsmen to “STAY OUT OF MY PHOTOS! WE’RE RUNNING SHORT ON TIME HERE!”…that was also using the “Bossy Hannah Voice” I mentioned earlier.  This guy still got his photo op though!  I can’t remember for sure, but I bet I yelled at him good for that one! LOL!

Sometimes I think Kari is taking detail shots of her own.  Sometimes I get home and realize she was taking photos of me instead! HA!  Check out Chelsea’s unique Doctor Who ring!

 Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

You’ll see it in the outtakes blog, but Kari and I searched the whole church for the perfect place for Chelsea and Kevan to say a blind “Hi” before she walked down the aisle at their warm October wedding!  It turned out the perfect location was in the same room where the girls were getting ready.  Per the usual, Kari struck a pose so I could make sure I was metered correctly before we inserted the happy couple! 

You all know me by now!  I’m a people person and generally just love having any kind of company!  We are lucky to get to work with a lot of great vendors.  Videographers and photographers, in particular, MUST share space and avoid being in each other’s shots when possible!  This was the first wedding I worked with Jay of Jay Morris Video Productions and I was not disappointed!  He was happy to go shoulder to shoulder with me and plan ahead so we could both get the best shots possible for our couple! We were making sure we had a game plan and were on the same page for Chelsea and Kevan’s Weirton, WV wedding!

 Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Speaking of amazing vendors…I LOVE working with Jonathan of Finest Events!  Can’t ya tell?!  We were chatting a bit while everyone finished their dinner.  We also got him in on our usual dance floor selfie!  When you’re having a blast, you gotta show it off! 

 Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Yes.  It’s true.  I mentioned it before.  Sometimes I just man handle my couples (gently and nicely, of course).  By the time their wedding rolls around, they’re prepared and totally used to it! HEY! Half the time the things that come out of my mouth don’t make any sense anyway when I’m directing so it’s just easier to push them into the poses I need! HA!  It’s all in good fun, I promise!

 Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Top Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

This was a fun shot!  Bystanders were probably wondering what the heck was going on!

 Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Left Photo Credit: Kari DeShong

Sometimes I think Kari likes taking cookie table pictures so she can sneak one! HA!  Laura’s mom was SO sweet and even offered to bag us up some cookies to take home!! I’m not sure who baked all these but WOW…well done!  Here’s the behind the scenes shot and its after shot!

And sometimes, when you need to prop a bouquet for a photo, you use whatever you have handy.  We found this no smoking sign in the bathroom and made use of it for a moment!  It worked perfectly!

We also found good light in this same room and took advantage of a folding table we found!  I turned Kari loose on groom detail shots since we had some extra time!  They turned out great!

And last but not least (and not even my last wedding yet but my most recent one)…Kassandra and Derek’s wedding!! I’ll definitely be sure to include any outtakes from Jaimee and Eric’s wedding on the 23rd!  Again, here I am manhandling my cold couple into their positions and then running! HA! The less time in the 32 degree weather the better, right?!  They were making fun of my shoes in that top right photo! MY SHOES of all things!  They asked if I needed boots too.  I’m not sure if they were making fun of me or serious! Bahahahaha!  And yes…I’m wearing carhartts!  Camera shake is a real concern if the photographer gets cold!  Gotta do what you gotta do!  I promise I only wore that when we were outside! HA!

 Right Photo Credits: Kari DeShong

Right Photo Credits: Kari DeShong

Well, that’s it, folks!!  I hope you got some enjoyment out of that!  Many of these photos were purely “accidental” in that they were taken as a test shot to determine exposure and all that photography jazz but ended up being something I kept for the end of the year!  I hope to get to do this every year because it’s so fun to look back on all the weddings and the memories we made!  Check back next week for a REALLY fun outtakes blog!  I can’t wait to post it!  It’s a good one!

Have a great day, everyone!


I worked with SO many amazing people (friends, vendors, clients) this year and it is nearly impossible to name everyone!  We do our best on each crazy busy wedding day to snap some memory photos for ourselves but it doesn’t always happen, of course, so I’m grateful for many of these accident photos that turned out!  My clients always come first!  Because some people were specifically mentioned and photographed for this blog, I’ve provided more information on those particular individuals below in case anyone is interested in more information!  Please note that each of these people/companies operate independent of Hannah Barlow Photography.

Carrie Leigh Photography (Carrie White) – Long Time Friend/Second Shooter (…and was gracious enough to let me second shoot for her when I was a newbie!)

Jenna Brisson Photography – Photog Friend/Vermont Wedding Photographer/Second Shooter

Jay Morris Video Productions – Videographer

Smash Weddings – Kyle Mac/DJ/Decorator

Finest Events (Jonathan Mihelis) – DJ/Uplighting/Decor and MORE!

And, of course, a HUGE shoutout to Ashleigh Barlow, Kathryn Bonorchis, Christie Montgomery and Kari DeShong for ALL their help throughout this year!  I couldn’t have done it without you!

I hope I didn’t miss anyone! <3 Toodles!

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