My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images

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Behind the Scenes – 2020 Hannah Barlow Photography Weddings

It’s here!  One of your favorite blogs of the year is live right now!  Just in case we have some new blog readers here (and I sure hope we do), I’ll catch you up on what this blog is all about – just what it’s titled…ALLLL the Hannah Barlow Photography behind the scenes action!  Since I started this journey as a wedding photographer, I prided myself in being a wedding photographer branded to not be JUST a wedding photographer but a confidant, troubleshooter, helper-outer…and friend…and so much more!  And well, you all know I love to talk and blog!  We went over and above to make sure the 2020 wedding season was special especially given all the hardships this year (and the global pandemic) that were brought to my couples.  This blog will show you how we go about getting a certain shot (with the finished result provided), some funny stories (with accompanying photos, of course), shots of us making things happen and I even threw in my vendor friends!  So, please sit back and relax and enjoy this little (ok, big) glimpse into what goes on during the wedding season!  It’s a long one!  Enjoy!

Well, we started off the year having NO idea what 2020 was going to bring.  In a way, I’m so very thankful for Sarah and Tristan’s wedding.  It was “normal”.  It felt normal…masks weren’t even a thing yet!  Who would have EVER thought?  This was also the only wedding Sam ended up shooting this year because the schedule ended up being changed so many times among other things.  Don’t worry though.  She’s back at in January!  We’re hoping to hit “reset” and start next year off the way we’d hoped 202o would go!

In a way, these photos are so bittersweet (below).  We were all so carefree!  Not a worry in the world…just happy to be starting wedding season off on a very WARM, January day!

You all know I love my vendor friends!  I especially love the ones who go over and above like me!  I caught DJ Brian Oliver hanging with the kids during some down time at this wedding and was showing them some card tricks!  These jobs are so much more than just the service we offer…it’s about the memories too!

Also, do you remember Sarah and Tristan’s wedding blog (HERE)?  It was TOO funny the way the whole day panned out!  It was so laid back…so laid back Brian and I were “panicking” trying to fill in the down time.  So, he asked if I would take a group photo (something we don’t normally do…let alone have time to do).  I agreed and he proceeded to call everyone up.  It was such a large group I needed to get way far back and high.  I STILL can’t believe he let me HANG over the thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment he has set up.  If you look closely, Brian was standing REAL close…hovering…just in case.  HA!

OoooOO I missed Sam this year!  The schedule got so thrown out of whack that we only got to see her and Kari ONCE.  I hope she’s still got these moves rolling into 2021.  Her poses for test shots always make me laugh…and make guests raise an eyebrow!  Seriously, it’s bittersweet looking at these…we had NO idea what was coming in just a few short weeks.

Sam 2.0 (as we called her) also helped me later this year and ironically, she has the poses too! HA! Maybe it’s in the name?!

Shortly after this that first wedding, the whole world shut down…literally.  It was many wedding cancellations and reschedules later that I was able to sneak out and photograph Brooke and Cody’s wedding in her sister’s garage.  Man, I felt like I was breaking the law at this point and I cried on the way there because I was just so dang happy to be with my couples again (and out of the house).  Also, this was the second weekend in May and when the snow fell.  So, we had a warm January wedding starting off…and a snowy May wedding for the second wedding.  Lordy…I should have known what was coming for the rest of 2020!

Then, just a few weeks later things warmed up and the green came out.  Joanna and Geoff decided to go for it and tie the knot at a local park!  Forget the dresses (that’s for next year)!  I got to see Jay too (of Jay Morris Video Productions).  I was just SO dang happy to see more people!  He even got in my car and we drove around!  It felt weird after all the lockdowns!

Then, the very next weekend I got to see Jay again!  EEEKKKKK!  I was so happy to be with people, for real!  I was also very happy to have him around so we could take the dress outside.  You all know I don’t traditionally take dresses outside but I always love this shot!  He’s tall too so I didn’t have to worry about it dragging on the ground! Win!

I’ve taken a lot of photos on the Wheeling Suspension bridge but I’d never taken one from the reverse angle!  Jay suggested it and he was right.  I loved the pop of blue sky!  I get to see these three again next year for their reception and I’m totally pumped about it!

Indoor wedding ceremonies started in June again…masks included!

Then, I was finally allowed in Pennsylvania to photograph Rachel and Jim’s wedding!  Check out this angle by Aaron of Off Center Productions! HA!

At this point, we were mid year and I was just happy to be inside photographing weddings again…even with masks!

Ugh! 2020!  Remember how it rained at Rachel and Jim’s wedding?  We faked it until we made it!

…and those Christmas lights HAD to go.  We had to photograph under cover and I wanted to make it look like we weren’t actually undercover!  Christmas lights in June?  No way!  I DID put them back!

This was a HILARIOUS moment and maybe even the funniest one of 2020!  Jonathan (of Finest Events) had a surprise for the couple.  That’s Ted, his main assistant and one of my favorites!  We were all prepared and ready to go.  Wellllllll, Ted didn’t QUITE angle that “smoke” the right way and BOOM…next thing I knew, I was buried in it and blind (you’ll see that photo I took below when I realized I could not see a thing).  I ran out of there and looked over and saw Lacey just doing her thing!  HA!

If you look REAL closely in my photo, you can see Jim’s sleeve! HA!  Lacey’s is the one of the right!

Then, life “kind of” started to feel normal again!  Emily’s mom’s bedroom had AMAZING light!  I stuffed myself right in that corner and got some amazing detail shots!  Ashleigh took these of me and was cracking up.  I always wedge myself in the oddest places!

I’ll use any location too!  You can see here the “illusion” in the photo (below) isn’t really what was happening in reality behind the scenes!  This was taken in your traditional church basement!

…and I don’t discriminate on props either!  Television remote to prop the Bible up?  Sure!

Speaking of details…I can’t get these shots without my amazing assistants!  Lacey loves to style details.  This definitely came into play (and calmed my nerves) when she helped Ryan (of R. Nolan Photography) style details for the wedding I missed due to COVID.  I don’t have any photos of her doing that but I do have some from other weddings.  She’s one of the best!

Sometimes we let the videographers take the lead too and photograph from afar!  Naz (Dorosh Documentaries) did an amazing job incorporating Emily and Michael’s theme!

His wife was just as amazing and helped arrange the ladies for this great shot!  Also, they had their baby now!  Congrats to them!

I seriously could NOT do it without the help of so many amazing people!  My assistants are on the lists when we do family formals (which you all know I advertise as the most stressful part of the day).

I appreciate all their help with the bouquet carrying too!

…and alllllll the dress adjusting!  It was Kari’s only wedding this year and she went over and above being 6-7 months pregnant (bottom photo below)!

Even the grooms get in there to help with dresses! HA!  Ash always likes things to be JUST perfect so she climbed up there to help Kenzie!  I’m not sure Kenzie knew what to think! HA!

I DO adjust dresses myself too because I love to help out especially when I’m not shooting.  I helped Sam here for the videographers’ shots (Thompson Video Productions).  I did get my own too, of course!

Seeeeeeeeeeeee?!  SOOOOO much dress fluffing by all!

It’s not just the bride’s either!! Sometimes other people need a hand like Chelsae’s mom!


Sometimes I shoot by myself though and don’t have assistants or videographer friends sharing in all the prep!  Remember when Lori left her bouquet in western Ohio?  Yep!  I ran and got flowers and Cassie and Lauren from Oglebay put it together for me!

I do love up close bouquet shots even with the smallest details on them!

Gosh.  I love the behind the scenes blogs, don’t you?!  Isn’t it fun to see how the photos come to life?  Also, my flash isn’t on…JUST to be clear.  I get calls/texts about that every year.  That flash on my camera is simply a “trigger” for my off camera flashes.

I get real close for flower shots.  I know that.  Apparently, I get real close for butt shots too! HA! This wasn’t my intention though.  I was getting dress detail shots for Sydney but it’s still funny to see behind the scenes!  Also, I always try NOT to step on the dress which ends up with some interesting foot placement angles.

I was super excited about those shots too!  SO excited that I was showing people and I hardly EVER do that!

…and again, do NOT discriminate on locations.  Trust us!  We can make just about any location work!  Sydney’s parents’ back yard was PERFECT.  She already knew that though.  She said all her high school dance photos were taken back there!

We’ll get in the weirdest spots to get the shot and it’s not just me!  I mean, check out Ashleigh! HA!

She did it twice at this wedding but this was also one of the most laid back and enjoyable weddings of the year in terms of timelines so we had some time to play!

Ashleigh definitely wins the award for “most random places I can find to take photos”.

Ok.  I do it too…my foot was IN the water on a rock here!  Again, my flash is NOT lighting the sky.  It’s just a trigger!

Apparently, I get real close for getting ready shots too.  MAYBE I’m just real close all the time! Oy!

I’m going to need a sign that says “I have no personal space awareness…even in a global pandemic” BUT I couldn’t pass up this opportunity at Kenzie and Tyler’s wedding!

…and before that reception, Ash and I rushed around to get detail shots of the BEAUTIFUL reception!

Veil shots were more popular than ever this year too!  Emily is an absolute DOLL!  Her photos outside were some of my favorites!

You all know I love a good veil shot!  Ashleigh even managed to sneak her own angle while we did Candice and Dan’s photos!

Veil shots for everyone who wants them!  We doubled up on Candice’s!

A huge part of wide angle veil shots is someone “throwing” them ever so elegantly!  Well, somehow it evolved from the standard veil shots to, “Can I please have a shot of Ashleigh throwing the veil?” and that meant I had to give them a version of her IN the photo…and then out! HA!  I loved it!  It cracked me up all year!

That also didn’t mean she got out of it for her sister’s wedding!  She was maid of honor AND veil thrower!

An absolutely essential part of getting those veil shots is FIRST making sure they are SECURE in the bride’s hair.  When we’re holding them and throwing them, lots of times the wind is blowing so they can pop right out (it’s happened more times than I can count).  So, sometimes the hair stylists get them in nice and tight…and sometimes I have to do the job!

I remember telling Kenzie, “Ok.  It’s going to go in HARD.  Are you ready?!”  It literally *crunched* when it went in and we all cringed!  She said she needed SO many people to help get that baby out! HA! But HEY!  It stayed, right?!  You can see me giving her the pep talk right before I slammed that baby in there! HA!

WORTH IT, though! GAH!  These are some of my very favorite getting ready window shots EVERRRRR!  Remember, this was in a kid’s dinosaur bedroom.  Do NOT discriminate on locations, people!  We got this!

Those veils going in and out can be hard on the hair!  Have no fear, we’re there to help with that too.  I always have bobby pins in my bag JUST in case!

Dresses need to be buttoned just right too!  Long nails can make it difficult so I don’t mind jumping in to help!

My assistants help too…like Lacey here!

I’m a nut about the guys’ flowers too!

That includes the little men too! We had a good talk about Spider Man while we did this!  Isn’t he darling?!

Other people get in there and help pin flowers too!  Ashley from Oglebay helped me at this wedding get those flowers on right before the ceremony!  All hands on deck and these ladies are some of the BEST!  I caught her from afar!

Speaking of Oglebay ladies, Lauren and I were SO pumped about this wall!! I still get excited when I see Grace’s wedding and all the unique beauty!

Man, I’m ALL over the place this year with this blog!  Apparently, I’m a crazy person about alllll the details.  I mean, I KNOW I’m a little nuts but after seeing this photo Lacey took, I’m realizing maybe my “attention to detail” is a little extreme.  I even want the leaves to look a certain way! HA!

Speaking of detail, I’ll never get rid of my “dead arm” rule.  Just look at the difference when Corey caught himself with dead arm and corrected it! AHHHH!! It matters and makes a HUGE difference, right?!

Just seconds prior to that, I was telling Corey to “lean like men lean”. HA!

I do chill out for wedding ceremonies though!  Here (below) you can see me clearing my photo locations with one of the church’s staff and then staying REAL low to not create a distraction!

Standing draws people’s eyes to you and I want people to focus on the wedding ceremony (especially at Catholic weddings).  When I squat down, the only people who notice me are the people right beside me AND I’m not blocking anyone.

I chill out with the kiddos too at the receptions when they want to be front of center for moments.  I always invite them over to sit with me.  I know a lot of parents come and get them thinking they are bothering me or in my way…BUT this is just really my way to make them feel included…while keeping them behind my camera! HA!

…and sometimes I’m not so calm like this moment when Chris realized the aisle runner wasn’t going to stay put and I RAN and grabbed my “boob tape’ (also know as garment tape) and we taped that baby down (literally seconds before the wedding ceremony started).  THIS is why I always wear shots under my dresses! HA!

Wait.  No.  THIS is why I wear shorts under my dress.  I remember Ashleigh giggling her heart out and me saying, “YOU BE QUIET!  I know I look ridiculous!”… but in the name of great photos…yep, I’ll do it!

Once you get comfortable in your skill as a photographer, the options are endless.  It’s all about the illusion and the light and the angle!  I remember asking, “Can you see my reflection, right here?!”  Confirmed!  I had to yell…she’s a lot farther away than she looks!

Different angles in the SAME spot give a lot of variety to a gallery!

Sometimes I have to tell my couples to just trust me.  This was the most random spot ever for Candice and Dan.  You can even see my face, “You’re just going to have to trust me here”…and this couple 100% did trust me!  Look at her face…I didn’t even finish my sentence and I remember her saying, “Hannah, I TRUST you.  Do whatever”.  THIS is right off the parking lot!

Same here with Sydney and Corey.  It was SO cold and I didn’t want to risk going outside (in the cold) AND killing the amazing party vibe they had going at their reception.  I was saying, “Here’s my plan…you’re just going to have to put your trust in me…”  This was for their “send off”.

AND they did trust me.  With the help of their DJ, we were able to get all those light sabers working and off we all went through the tunnel!

Whewww…we’re coming down the homestretch!  We had some giant bridal parties this year.  Here is one of them below…it took quite some time to get them to a spot that could fit ALL of them AND then get them arranged! HA!

We had smaller bridal parties too and I love how Ryan posed this group!

My gear took a beating this year too.  I always tell my couples not to worry if my flashes fall over but they always worry anyway which is totally sweet!  Tyler and Kyla were trying to fix my flashes here! HA!

David helped me too at this wedding…groomsman, HBP assistant’s husband, past HBP groom…yes, yes and yes!  He’s also a dear friend!

I mean…where do I end this blog?!  AHHHHHH!! Maybe with this random guy who waved to us from the balcony and wished my couple “congrats”?!

Or maybe Ted…with his shoes off…behind the curtain at this wedding?! HA!  I was originally going to put this in the outtakes blog!

…or maybe just me walking through a field?  Yes.  I’m always like this at weddings!  Stressed or not…it’s just a good day to be a wedding photographer!

Yep!  I think that’s the keeper!  I hope you all enjoyed this Hannah Barlow Photography behind the scenes blog!  A LOT goes into making a wedding day successful and mostly stress free!  To all my couples, their families, their friends, their guests…to the random people that say “hello” on the sidewalks  and all my vendor friends…and most definitely my assistants…THANK YOU!  This job would be as amazing without you all!  That’s it!  That’s a wrap!  One of my favorite blogs of the year is complete!  Thank you all for reading!  Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images





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