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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2021 Behind the Scenes – Hannah Barlow Photography

It’s here!  The 2021 Behind the Scenes wedding blog is coming at you!  It’s been a fan favorite over the years so don’t miss this one!  It’s also crazy long this year (and so much more than I expected) so this is a warning to you loyal blog readers!  Grab a drink and come back later if you don’t have your usual amount of time to read (times ten).  If you’re new here, well…it’s nice to meet you and let me tell you – I’m long winded on a good day.  Pack in 33 weddings worth of behind the scenes madness?  Well, that equals a very long blog!  Let’s go!

So…first, I’m going to be honest.  There were times I didn’t know if we’d make it to the end of 2021 wedding photography season.  That’s a true statement.  This wedding season tested me like NEVER before and I often feared we didn’t even get enough behind the scenes action to make this blog work.  We spent so much of our time trying to put out fires left and right that sometimes it didn’t feel like we walked away with anything but just what we needed for the couple.  To heck with the extra, right?!!  BUT…it turns out the Hannah Barlow Photography BEHIND THE SCENES blog for the 2021 wedding season will be longer than ever and thanks to EVERYONE (and I mean everyone) involved!  I have no idea how we managed but we did!  So, let’s do this!  The 2021 Behind the Scenes blog is here and live right now!  Enjoy and don’t forget to comment on your favorite moment after you’re done!

First things first, the Hannah Barlow Photography team came through like NEVER before for me.  They deserve all the praise!  I’m forever grateful! I can’t even count the number of dress fluffs that happened so those photos could be jussssstttt right.

…and veil and jewelry adjustments were happening right and left weekend after weekend.

…shoe fixes too!

…and dresses needed bustled!  We’re pros at this point, I think!  That’s Cassie and Ashley (Oglebay wedding coordinator and specialist) lending me a hand!

…and we always have those must needed test shots to keep things moving!  No time to waste at any wedding!  If you’re new here, I’ll explain the “test shot”.  I always have the Hannah Barlow Photography second shooter for that wedding stand in for the bride or groom or couple’s place so I can get exposure just right so save them some unnecessary standing around time while I get things adjusted how I need them.  That leads to this fun collage!

I think Kari wins for best test shot of the year!

I could go on and on and on with those collages…but you get the picture and that’s not exactly what this behind the scenes wedding blog is all about anyway!  I’m here to show you what REALLY went on behind the scenes during the 2021 wedding season to make all those beautiful weddings happen.  People tell me they always like to know how we make these shots happen.  Well, I’m here to show you!  Let’s do this!  I present to you…the traditional behind the scenes blog and a little of what was happening PLUS the finished shot!

Remember Rachel and Andrew’s wedding?!  It was the FIRST one of the year and it tested us with all that wetness from the snow.  This was Emily’s first official wedding too.  We threw her RIGHT in!  She was our runner this day for umbrellas and coats and hand warmers…you name it!  You’d never know it was cold and wet though!  This couple braved the elements for some fabulous wedding photos!

We had a few elopements after that snowy, wet wedding (which I’ll show you some of in a bit) but our next big wedding was Kassie and Dylan’s wedding in the spring and it really tested the “you’re just going to have to trust me” theory and to the tenth power!  Here I was in a full blown Hannah panic trying to figure out where the heck to do beautiful, spring wedding photos for Kassie!  Emily was here this wedding too and was probably rethinking her plans to join the team as I stressed throughout the day! HA!  I also had an asthma attack hiking back up that hill…Oy.  It was a day, I tell ya!  We’re all still laughing about it almost a year later (Kassie and Dylan included).

Ultimately, I took a risk and despite some hesitation on everyone’s part (including mine) the “you’re just going to have to trust me” motto came through and we made some forest, fairytale, MAGIC!  Emily caught that one of me and Ash (below) tag teaming what was a very fast paced wedding day and it’s so fun because you can see the finished result of BOTH our photos!

Yep.  “You’re just going to have to trust me” definitely because a thing in 2021!  One of my couples even got me a button to press when people doubt me.  If I had my T Rex hands up, that’s probably what I was saying!  Sometimes you can see the couple questioning my sanity…like Terry and Jake (two grooms below)! HA!

All us wedding vendors have that “just be calm” speech we give our couples!  Ashley had it below!

Then, later that month we had a snack break (after a marathon photo session) at Jordan and Terry’s wedding for pizza when it FINALLY quit raining!  It was a rainy spring day and the day I really should have foreseen ALLLLLL the rain and wet weddings coming at us for the rest of 2021!  It was an omen…but it didn’t stop their smiles!

We totally made it happen.  Kari was also trying to convince them we could do this…in the rain!  Kari’s a veteran to the Hannah Barlow Photography crew!  She’s the calm one too!

I was doing some convincing too earlier in the day as we moved to a covered garage parking lot tunnel thing.  It’s so random I don’t even know what to call it!  That one below (bottom left) ended up being one of Jordan’s favorites too.  She’s even going to have it printed.  See?!  Future couples…I promise…even if I’m panicking…I’ll figure it out! Double Promise!  Rain or shine…we’re getting pretty wedding photos even if we’re dodging traffic in a random tunnel behind a hotel.

The wet forecasts just kept hammering us – beginning of the year to the end.  It was so rainy at Megan and Jordan’s wedding in October we needed multiple umbrellas AND a table cloth on the ground and a whole car load of other gear and we STILL got soaked.  WORTH IT.  Talk about a couple that wouldn’t let anything get them down.  This was their THIRD wedding date due to COVID.

Summer proved to be JUST beautifully perfect though all the rain aside!  Remember Tara and Corey’s lakeside wedding at the vineyard!  TO DIE FOR!  Ashleigh was in a boot for a broken foot but she STILL managed to SOMEHOW get photos…from clear across the lake (I wouldn’t let her walk that far).

Kourtney and Brandon’s summer wedding was amazing too…even though it poured and we took a lot of photos inside!  This is a tiny little nook in the church basement.

Don’t let those finish products fool you though.  We put in a lot of effort to get some of those shots!

My dry cleaner probably sees me coming and just cringes.  My “business dresses” put in a lot of hours.  I really need to invest in a new wardrobe this year!  If any of you know of some good rompers…hook a girl up!  My dresses and shorts are on their last life.

It’s totally worth it though!  I mean…if 2021 gave us anything…it was some really beautiful sunsets!

It’s not just me though!  I bet all our dry cleaners would have a lot to talk about!  We’re probably going to need a good chiropractor too!

Another thing 2021 gave us?!  Allllll the fur babies!  This year had more doggie photos than ever before!  Enzo was a star…and Emily had her own way of keeping him company, and safe, AND all while shooting at the same time!

This guy gifted me with one of the funniest outtakes ever (coming later in the week).  But Lacey’s a dog person and she was able to calm him right down for his photo op!

And this guy stayed nice and dry so his momma could have those family photos she’s always wanted!  I’ll be sure to post the outtakes video over on IG (follow me HERE) of the groomsmen positively dying over the ridiculous sounds I made to make this little guy smile.

It wasn’t just me who loved the dogs though!  Everyone made friends with them this year!

Fur babies or not, sometimes I don’t make any sounds (or try not to) for sake of video.  Being a team player with the videographers is important and Andrea and Brandon slid right into their role as bride and groom for these beautiful photos at Oglebay!

Bouquets were a THING this year too!! SoooOOO amazingly gorgeous!

They photographed beautifully with rings too!  Those are Emily’s post 4th of July fingers helping me! HA! She’ll kill me!

I couldn’t get enough of these flower photos this year even on the men!

Speaking of the men, they all brought me Star Wars cuff links to photograph at Shae and Rob’s wedding!

Even with all my bossiness, the bridal parties killed it too!

Sometimes organizing bridal parties is tough but not this year!

Posing wasn’t tough either for my couples.  Sometimes I yelled “dead arm” at the grooms and they fixed it…like Zach!  SEE?!  Doesn’t it make a huge difference?!  So much better…and close and cozy!

Speaking of arms, mine got a work out this year to get those shots.  I used to stand funny when shooting (I would actually notice it when I read these blogs)…now, I keep my elbow WAY up apparently!

Hmmm…maybe it’s the new camera?!

Here…well, I was just trying to keep Andrew from seeing Rachel before the first look.  Reflectors?  Not just for redirecting light!  HA!  We actually use it more often to block people from viewing the bride.

Sam also used our flash umbrella to block Molly so the guests on the bus didn’t see her!

Dresses can be unbelievably heavy so it wasn’t just my arms burning!

The HBP team always makes sure they’re JUST right though and I appreciate it SO much!

People often comment how helpful we are and I so appreciate that people notice.  Honestly?  We often help…not only to help…but to keep things moving AND to keep the couple and their friends and family from stressing!  Need a flower pinned?  Need a dress taped or bustled?  Need a hair fixed?  Need a veil held?  You got it!

Lots of wind this year means lots of hair fixing!

Dresses in 2021 had a LOT of buttons!  I bring a crochet hook just for these moments!

Dresses needed sewn…clipped…pinned.  You name it.  Emily even pulled bobby pins out of her own hair to help a bridesmaid!  Seriously, she’s about as type A as I am!

Dresses need to look just right too and they need to stay clean!  I’m able to stand back and focus because the HBP ladies help my couples!

Seriously though, even I didn’t realize the work that would go into wedding photography when I first started and 2021 was a WHOLE other level.  I’d like to think we are seasoned wedding vendors but year after year I look back on these behind the scenes photos and I’m so proud of how much we got done each year!  It takes EVERYONE and you all know I love a good vendor friend who has my back!  So, let’s show it!  At this wedding, we couldn’t find the planner who had the toss bouquet and the couple wanted to get going so DJ Brian Oliver and I created one ourselves…out of a centerpiece!

I have some of the best DJ friends who are always there to play the best music, keep the crowd going, and keep us entertained!  DJ Jonathan Mihellis in the house!  There’s something to be said about rolling into the reception and knowing you can just sit back and relax because they guys have got it!

I made some new DJ friends this year too!  He helped me get this group shot for the couple!

I had a great time getting to know CJ at Chelsea and Tyler’s wedding.

Sometimes the flowers need a wee bit of adjusting to be JUST right after announcements.  You know me…I need everything to be CENTERED.  If you know me…you know!

This was round two for Chelsae’s flowers and they JUST made it.  I had to do some repair work here.

Lacey (and Cassie from Oglebay – not pictured) helped hand out ribbon wands.  I knew the bride REALLY wanted that photo so right before the ceremony they jumped in and made sure to help me make that photo happen!  Forever grateful!  When my couples request photos, you know I NEED to get them…so having help like this to make the photo requests happen is important!

Speaking of Cassie, she taped a vase together for me!  And that’s DJ Brian Oliver moving a random table out of my photos for me.  That’s right!  DJ, photographer and coordinator all working together!

I can’t say it enough…I’m always grateful for my vendor friends!  We’re all hands on deck all the time!  Sometimes they even pose for my test shots when no one else is available!  See this shot (below)?  I take test shots so I know what I need…and I needed more light!

She carried dresses for the long walk to the iron gates too!

I need that second angle and my second shooters get that for me! Go, Sam…Go!

Sometimes even their husbands are there (David was a groomsman and guest) but they don’t stop working!! ALSO, that’s my dress Kari put on! HA!  She was a guest for the reception and changed out of her black professional dress.

AHHHHHH!! The floral vendor friends I made this year are absolute gems and provided me with the much needed “extra details” I needed to make my couple’s detail photos have that extra spice that makes them spectacular!

I got a whole bucket from this florist at Kayla and Zach’s wedding.

We had lot of couples in my car this year!  Tight timelines were definitely a hashtag for 2021!  My assistants didn’t hesitate to help them in and out when they came in their own cars too.

…but the beautiful thing about having a team is that they know the drill and they’re willing to do just about anything for my couples!

True story!  Emily hid behind this sign to get the angle we needed for cake cutting!

…and he may not be a part of the team but this State Trooper let me up on a “security key access only” balcony at Meghan and Alex’s wedding.  THEN, Ashleigh was down below trying to get a bunch of reception goers to make a heart!  She did it!  I couldn’t believe it!

Emily held Lynn’s bouquet for me so I could get the shot I wanted! HA! You’d never know, right?!

I made some video friends this year too!  They were just as good as directing as me so I stepped aside and let them do their thing!

Always happy to help!

I would MUCH rather let the professionals do the cake moving!  The speed at which the staff and coordinator at Belmont Country Club moved this cake was amazing!

Jay Morris and I did some last minute cake decorating at Lyndsey and Zack’s wedding!

Ashley (Wedding Specialist at Oglebay) helped guide my couples on cake cutting.  She’s clearly better than me (or maybe it’s the mask).  She doesn’t appear to be yelling at them! HA!

I helped my DJ friends get ready for some money dances this year too!! Don’t worry…no alcohol was consumed…by the vendors. 🙂

I wasn’t the only one working together!  The DJ and Officiant were getting a plan for the ceremony!

It appears Emily was confirming the plan too! HA!

Cassie was dress fluffing at a different wedding at the West Spa Patio!

I love the Oglebay ladies SO much!  From scattering rose petals to carrying ceremony decor…they got it!

OOO yes…decor!  Somehow, Emily ended up with all the later evening weddings.  Bless her!  We had a good amount of late nights together this year.  She was outside stringing lights in a tree for me for Kassie and Dylan’s wedding.

Her attention to detail is just like mine and she made sure everything was JUST right for this night shot Chelse requested!

…during the day they worked hard for me too.  Gear took a beating this year and I blame the speed at which we moved this year.  If it wasn’t for the Hannah Barlow Photography team, I’d have no gear left…for real.  I tend to leave it here and there and everywhere and they are real saints for following behind me and making sure everything is back where it needs to be.  If I don’t say it enough, THANK YOU.

It’s those details they don’t miss either.  Sam had noticed Mike’s collar was flipped up and RIGHT before the first look!

Lacey noticed there were magazines that needed to be hidden for a few photos…and she always makes sure to put things back!  We like to leave the places like we found them.

Emily even pulled weeds AND posed for her shot! HA!  It’s the little things, I tell ya!

Jay posed for my test shots too while Brian set up the cold sparklers for the couple’s exit.

In conclusion…we all helped!  Again, 2021 were a team effort like never before!

We had so many weddings with DJ Brian Oliver…he made it into a lot of the behind the scenes!

OOoO hey there, Matt!  We saw him a lot too!! He’s my favorite officiant!

…Brian convincing Lacey one of his crazy plans would work (they usually do though…hate to admit it).

It’s crazy to think Emily’s been with us a year.  She started out just assisting and built up to full blown second shooter!

Then…early 2021.

…and now!  End of 2021!

I always tell my couples not to let the hotel rooms scare them.  We can make beautiful photos ANYWHERE!

Churches too…I’ll just shove you in a random corner and the world will never know (until I post it here…HA!).

More of what’s happening…vs. finished product to wind down this blog.

This wedding had one of my favorite color palettes of the year!

More hotel room magic!

How come I don’t remember my knees being wet?!

Ooo Molly.  I still get the warm fuzzies thinking back on this May wedding.

Some beautiful blondes in June!

Brunettes too!

…and I got to spend lots of weddings with “friends” this year – past couples whose siblings hired me for their own weddings.

…and I could keep rambling…and rambling…and rambling…but I won’t.  AHHHH!  So, I’ll just end this right here with a few selfies with some of favorite vendors and new vendor friends!  That’s Atit (middle right).  I’ve worked with his company before but this was my first wedding with him so I figured I’d give him another shout on the HBP blog!

WOW…that was a long one!  If you made it this farm, I applaud you.  Let me know in the comments you made it…AND what you favorite moment was in 2021!  Outtakes blog coming soon!  I’ll try to make it shorter (my famous last words, right?!).

Happy Tuesday!

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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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