The Story Behind a Set of Keepsake Photo Albums

The Story Behind a Set of Keepsake Albums

A destination wedding was inevitable for the Marr family. Daniel Marr met his bride, Sara, soon after he moved to Sweden to attend graduate school. The two fell in love, got engaged, and set their wedding date for August 2019 on the Island of Gotland, southeast of Stockholm.

The downside of a destination wedding? It can be difficult for everyone to make the trip. But to the delight of the groom’s parents, Dave and Lis Marr, a large group of their family and friends from the United States (including me and my husband Tom), traveled to Lis’s native country of Sweden to join in the festivities.

And we brought our cameras!

This is the story of how we helped Lis gather photos from family and friends to create some beautiful keepsake albums. (more…)

How We Create a Video Slideshow Celebrating the Bride & Groom

How We Create a Video Slideshow to Celebrate the Bride & Groom

If a family wedding is in your future, you might have “create a photo slideshow for the rehearsal dinner” on your to-do list. 

Video slideshows are a fun way to celebrate the joining of two lives by reminiscing with photos of the bride and groom at different stages of their lives and relationship. Photos of the bride and groom with family and friends also honors the important people in their lives.

The months of wedding preparation are full of busy tasks. If you’re tight on time, and don’t want to learn the technical side of creating a slideshow for the happy couple, our team is available to create it for you. Here’s how to get your photos ready for us: (more…)

Let Us Create Your Dream Wedding Album

Brides, grooms, and their families work hard for months to create a perfect wedding day.

When the dancing is over, the guests are gone, and some of the memories have faded, the one thing that lasts for generations are the wedding photos. A few short weeks after the wedding, everyone who was part of the day is excited to view the photos!

It’s no wonder that’s survey of 18,000 newlyweds in 2018 showed 90 percent of them hired a photographer for the big day.

Whether you want to display your own wedding photos, or give a gift to newly married children or grandchildren, we’d love to help you turn those treasured photos into something beautiful to that will last for generations.

Start to finish, here’s how we can create your premium, keepsake wedding album for you. (more…)

How My Kids' Weddings Became Part of Our Family Legacy

How My Kids’ Weddings Became Part of Our Family Legacy

In a span of just 15 months, all three of our children got married.

Our daughter Molly married Michael in Washington state in July, 2017. Then our youngest son Sam married Nicole in May, 2018, and our oldest son Ben married Amberlee in October, 2018. We traveled to Texas for both our sons’ weddings.

Helping our kids plan their weddings was a wild ride! But each one gave us a mixture of sweet moments, as well as a few inevitable funny mishaps, providing stories we’ll never forget.

At Picture This Organized, our mission is to help our clients preserve their legacies, and I can’t think of many other events that contribute to family legacies the way weddings do. (more…)

How to Choose the Right Photographer and Videographer for Your Wedding

How to Choose the Right Photographer and Videographer for Your Wedding

It’s wedding season in the Kessler family! Our daughter Molly is getting married this July, and our son Sam’s wedding is in May 2018, so our family is in full wedding mode right now as we plan these two big events.

Finding good vendors for your wedding (like caterers, DJs, etc.) can be a challenge. For both of our upcoming family weddings, we are utilizing the services of wedding planners to make the process go more smoothly and keep our sanity. I’m not an expert on event planning, so I’m happy to release control to those who are – but when it comes to anything photo-related, or the best ways to tell the story of the big day, I have lots of opinions!

Because we’re in the middle of making these decisions right now for our son and daughter, I wanted to share some insights I’ve gained about how to select the best photographer and videographer for your wedding. These vendor selections are really important to get right, because there’s nothing worse than seeing poor-quality, badly-composed wedding photographs.

Unfortunately, when bad wedding photos or videos happen, there’s no “do over,” and there’s no way to go back and make it right – so it’s critical that you select qualified, dependable professionals to help you tell the story of your day in a unique and personal way.

Here are my best tips on selecting a wedding photographer and videographer for your wedding.

How to Choose the Right Photographer and Videographer for Your Wedding

Why You Should Hire Separate Companies to Handle Photography and Videography

These days, we have the technology to capture photos and video of your event – and I recommend doing both. If you have the funds to do so, I recommend leaving room in your budget for a photographer and a videographer.

And yes, I believe these two roles need to be handled separately. There are companies who provide both photography and videography services, which is fine, as long as they have two different individuals providing these services on the big day. You don’t want to have a photographer who is distracted by running a video camera (or vice versa!). Capturing still moments is very different from recording videos with movement and sound. You get the picture (no pun intended)!

My Best Tips for Hiring the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Here’s a list of questions and things to think about when you are screening wedding photographers:

Check out the photographer’s style in advance. Get examples of his work, and see if each wedding seems unique and personal. Most well-established photographers have websites these days, so having a high-quality site with a solid portfolio is a good sign.

It’s okay if the lighting and style seems similar from wedding to wedding, but you want to avoid a photographer that shoots every wedding in exactly the same way. You don’t want cookie cutter wedding photos! You should like how the photographer captures the wedding party and the guests, and feel like he has a professional yet personal style.

Ask about costs upfront. Of course, you want to make sure the photographer’s services are within your budget. You do want to make sure you get a high-quality photographer, though, since it’s such an important choice, so you may need to make adjustments to your budget so that you can hire someone who will do a great job for you.

Ask about the photographer’s experience with weddings. Is this a business or a hobby for the photographer? We all know that person who takes great casual photos of family and friends, but that isn’t the individual you want to hire to take photos of your nuptials.

Being a wedding photographer isn’t just about knowing photography – she also needs to be able to manage large groups of people, multitask during a very busy day, and be at the right place at the right time to capture the best moments of your day. She also needs to know how to deal with variable lighting, because she will most likely be capturing images of people both inside and outside.

Check to make sure they’ll be working with their own equipment. Make sure she will be working with their own equipment on the day of your event. Your photographer needs to be very familiar with the camera equipment she’ll be using….this is not a time to borrow someone’s gear for the day!

Make sure the photographer is thorough and professional. Inquire about whether or not he will be working off of a checklist of images for the day. You want your photographer to work from a list on your big day, so he gets photos of all your important moments!

I also recommend asking if they will be working with an assistant. Two photographers are always better than one, especially for candid (non-posed) moments.

I recommend asking whether the photographer has worked at your venue before. If they haven’t, request that he checks it out well in advance of your event.

Getting references from each professional photographer is a must. Call the person’s references to find out if the photographer acts professionally, is easy to work with, shows up on time, and provides the services promised.

Find out how you’ll get the finished product. It’s a good idea to inquire about whether the photographer’s price includes some editing – including color correction, straightening, and/or retouching. As perfect as you’ll look on this big day, there are likely going to be some imperfections and color issues. You’ll thank yourself later for investing in someone who is a skilled photo editor. Of course, if you have photo editing skills, you may be able to save some money and do this yourself, but you’ll need permission from the photographer to do it.

Also ask what happens after the photos are taken and edited. You’ll want to know whether you can get copies of the images once editing is completed (you’ll want this, especially if you want to handle printing and making an album yourself).

If you want some help from the photographer to create your album, you can also ask whether they do printing and album design. There will be a separate fee for these services, so make sure to get pricing up front if you’d like your photographer to handle this. In my opinion, it’s investment one you won’t regret – all too often, I hear stories of folks who had a great photographer but they never got around to getting anything done with their photos. Nothing makes me sadder than finding out that someone’s amazing wedding photos are hidden away in a photo box in a closet!

Do’s and Don’ts for Hiring a Top-Notch Wedding Videographer

Wedding videos are typically a film of the sights and sounds of your wedding from start to finish. You will get what you pay for when it comes to videography (just like wedding photography!) so you’ll want to make this decision carefully.

Here are some do’s and dont’s for hiring a professional videographer:


  • Check out their work. Most legitimate videographers have websites where you can see some examples of their previous work. Look for good quality filming, sound and editing. Can you hear the vows and toasts clearly? Does the film move smoothly through transitions, with visuals and with the sound?
  • Get to know your videographer. This person will be spending the day with you and your guests. If you enjoy spending time with him as you interview him, you and your guests will be comfortable having him film the big day.  
  • Interview videographers, and check references. Ask for names of references, and call them! Ask the reference how the event went, if they were happy with the final video, and if there were any hiccups. If there were any problems or issues, ask how they were resolved.
  • Ask how involved you will be in the making of your video. Will you have input into what is filmed? Do you get to decide what music will play in the background on the finished film? Do you get to request edits? How many revisions will there be?
  • Understand the videographer’s style. Some video professionals film in a “highlights” style, which can include people as well as inanimate objects (such as the dress, the rings, flowers). A “journal” or narrative style is more about capturing the events as they happen and showing people, and very few object shots are captured. Narrative style is my personal preference, as it keeps the people and the story of the day at the center of the video – but you need to decide what style you prefer!


  • Make a hasty decision. Check references and give yourself time to choose the best option for your preferences and budget.
  • Hire a hobbyist. Like the photographer, we all have that friend who would LOVE to film your wedding, but ask yourself if that person is really the best choice. This is one of the most important days of your life, and a great wedding video is an investment that will last a lifetime.
  • Limit yourself. Ask the videographer if she can also film the rehearsal dinner. This is typically an intimate setting where folks will feel comfortable sharing personal stories and anecdotes about the bride and groom. It’s a great idea to capture those moments on video!

Making the right choices for you

It’s worth the time to do your research and ask a lot of questions, so you can hire photo and video professionals that will capture the very best moments of your special day.

When you hire a top-quality wedding videographer and photography, you’ll have photos and videos of your big day that you can’t wait to display, share, and pass down to future generations!

The 4-Step Process for Creating a Meaningful Photo Guest Book for Your Wedding

The 4-Step Process for Creating a Meaningful Photo Guest Book

Our daughter Molly recently got engaged to her boyfriend Michael. We are thrilled for both of them, and can’t wait to officially welcome Michael to the family!

As we start to plan the wedding, I started thinking about different ways to create a guest book for their wedding. I’ve focused my business on telling stories with photos (and it’s one of my favorite things to do), so I’d like to design a book that focuses on Molly and Michael’s relationship, and on their guests. After all, their guests are the people who are most important to them, and they will all be gathered in one place for their big day!

Photo credit: Grace Adams,

Here are four tips for making your wedding guests the stars of your guest book:

Step One: Finalize Your Guest List.

Start the process by making the final decision on your wedding party and your overall guest list. It’s important to finalize this list as your first step, because it will make your guest book design easier from this point on.

Then take a look at the names on your list, and think about why you’ve decided to invite each person. There will be some key players, like your wedding party, your immediate families, and your closest friends. These key players are the folks who will be highlighted in your guest book.

Step Two: Gather Your Photos.

Next up, it’s time to gather photos of all your closest family members and friends – all the people on your “key players” list.

When you’re looking for digital photos, make sure you have a full resolution copy of each image. If you don’t have a full resolution version of a particular image, you can always ask your friends for help.

If you have print versions of any photos, you’ll need to scan them to put them in your guest book. Make sure you scan at 600 dpi for good reproduction resolution. We can help with the scanning process if you need assistance!

As you gather photos, put all the digital copies in one folder on your computer – this will make your life easier later, when it’s time to compile your guest book.

Consider including photos of:

  • The people who introduced you to your fiancé (if you were introduced by friends of family members) or pictures of moments in that friendship related to bringing you together
  • The first time you met each other’s families
  • Childhood photos of you and your fiancé with friends and family members
  • Childhood photos of long-time friends
  • Older photos of your family members – your guests will love looking at the hair and clothing styles from other eras!
  • The moment you asked your wedding party to be your attendants, if you had a creative way of asking them

Remember, you’ll know of your guests better than others, so don’t worry if you don’t have photos of everyone. You can simply include a guest list at the end of the book and include everyone that was invited.

Your friends and relatives can also provide the stories of how you met, and their favorite memories of your relationship. It will be fun to go down memory lane and recall your shared history, and you’ll need these stories for one of the upcoming steps in your guest book creation process.

Step Three: Add Stories.

To create a really personal guest book, leave plenty of room in your book for your guests to include a short story or caption about your relationship.

For those guests who are more connected to your parents, you can ask them for stories of how they met your family, and how that relationship has grown. It might also be fun to include first impressions from your family when they initially met your fiancé.

If you plan to finalize the guest book close to the date of the wedding, your guests’ stories can be submitted along with their RSVPs, and you can put them in the book when you compile it.

Step Four: Compile Your Guest Book.

Once you’ve collected all the photos and stories you want to use, it’s time to put them all together into a printed guest book.

You can use a service like Shutterfly, Mixbook, Picaboo or Artifact Uprising if you’d like to do this yourself. If you’d like someone else to manage this for you, let us know – designing and publishing guest books is one of our specialties!

When you compile the book, you can include all the stories you received ahead of time. Also make sure to leave some space for other folks (anyone who didn’t submit a story ahead of time) to write something on the day of the wedding.

Time to Get Creative!

Creating a personalized guest book for your wedding is a fabulous way to honor your friends and family on your big day. It also gives them a lovely way to share their favorite stories and anecdotes about your relationship.

Your customized guest book will be a treasured keepsake that your fiancé and you can cherish for the rest of your lives.

Have fun with this process, and if you need any assistance with gathering your photos or putting your book together, contact us here at Picture This OrganizedWe’d be happy to help!

If you’d like some additional ideas on creating a guest book for you wedding, check out this board on our Pinterest profile!

6 Creative Ways to Incorporate Photos Into Your Wedding

Congratulations! You’re getting married!

You and your fiancé will be gathering all your closest friends and family members together in one place for the day. Very few people at your ceremony and reception will know everyone else in the room, so using photos in your wedding can be a fun way to let your guests get to know one another. You can also snag photos of informal magical moments from the day that won’t necessarily be captured by your professional photographer.

Here are some ideas for incorporating photos into your ceremony and reception:

1. Include older photos to showcase your families’ histories.

Featuring photos of your parents or grandparents on their respective wedding days is a lovely and meaningful way to acknowledge your closest relatives and convey the importance of family in your relationship.

Everyone loves going down memory lane and seeing the fashions (and hairstyles) of older generations, so this can be really fun for your guests! You can showcase photos of your parents and grandparents on your reception entry table or cake table.

If you’d like to acknowledge loved ones who are no longer with you, you can also include their photos on your “Family History” table. I recommend choosing photos that help you recall a happy memory or moment with your relative.

2. Reveal special moments from your and your fiance’s childhoods.

You can showcase photos of you and your fiancé as children by making customized photo signs for your guest tables. Table nine can feature photos of you when you’re nine, table ten when you’re ten years old, and so on.

Check out this example on Pinterest for further inspiration! 

3. Share images of your courtship and partnership when you’re communicating the logistics of your big day.

Wedding websites are a popular and practical way to share the details and logistics of your big day, and “Save the Date” cards are a great way to give your guests a heads-up about the wedding date (so they can reserve the time in their calendars in advance). 

You can personalize both your wedding website and your “Save Date” cards by including photos your relationship with your fiancé.

Consider including photos of how you met, your first date, your favorite places to go, and things you like to do together. You can also include your formal (or informal) engagement photos, too!

Your proposal could even be part of the engagement photo shoot!  Some couples stage a proposal with a photographer ready to capture the big moment. If you’ve got those photos, you can include them in your website or “Save the Date” cards, too.

4. Create a personalized guest book using photos of your friends and family.

You can create a beautiful and memorable guest book that includes photos of your guests! For more information on creating a photo guest book, check our upcoming post, “3 Steps to Creating a Meaningful Guestbook,” (which will be published soon, or get inspiration from our Picture This Organized Pinterest boards, specifically our “Wedding Guestbook” board.

5. Create an entertaining way for your guests to snap one-of-a-kind photos at the reception.

6 Creative Ways to Incorporate Photos Into Your Wedding

You can capture fun and memorable pictures of your guests by setting up a designated photo area or a photo booth at your reception.

I recently attended a wedding reception where they set up a camera in a little “photo area,” where guests could have fun taking impromptu pictures of one another. You can supply a regular camera at the photo station, or use a Polaroid camera (so your guests can watch as the photos develop instantly). Here’s an affordable little Polaroid you can buy for this purpose.

You can provide a giant frame with your name and your fiancé’s name written on it, to use as a backdrop – your guests can pose inside the frame and snap photos of each other. Or you can try one of these backdrop ideas. 

Supplying fun props like party hats, feather boas, and giant sunglasses will inspire your guests to get creative with their photos, too! Take a look at this fun example from Pinterest

You could rent a photo booth to accomplish the same thing — rental costs are usually between $350 and $900. When your friends and family take pictures in the photo booth, two photo strips are printed right after the picture is taken: one for the you (the bride and groom) and the other as a memento for the guests.

To find a photo booth rental company near you, check out the Photo Booth Rental Directory which includes questions you should ask before you rent from a booth company.

6. Share photos your guests take during the ceremony and reception.

These days, everyone has a camera at their fingertips, and many of your guests will be snapping photos during your special day.

It’s such fun to see photos of your magical day right away (without having to wait weeks or months to get pictures back from your professional photographer) and your friends and family will love sharing their informal pictures with you.  

Here are a few tips for sharing photos of your ceremony and reception:

  • Social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram are the quickest ways for guests to share photos. However, there are limitations for getting photos from these social sharing sites. Facebook typically compresses the heck out of photos, so if you try to download the pictures, the image quality will be very low. Instagram doesn’t allow you to save someone else’s photo directly from the app, so all you can do is view the photos from your guests’ Instagram profiles.
  • The best way for your guests to share photos with you (and the rest of the group) is by setting up an online group album that all your photo-taking friends can upload to. I recommend using Flickr or iCloud to do this. With Flickr, you can set up a wedding album and give your guests the log in code. Using iCloud, you can set up a Shared Album for folks to share photos with you. With both of these options, the photos will be high quality, so you can download the images and add them to your albums or frames later on.
  • If you want to share your professional photos, always, ALWAYS make sure you have permission from your photographer to do so. Most photographers will have a clause in their agreements that addresses this topic. Even when you have your professional photographer’s permission, be sure to give them a photo credit by adding a caption or other acknowledgement next to the photo. If you’ve paid your photographer to capture your big day, it’s a wonderful gesture to thank them by sharing their amazing work with your social media community — just make sure you ask before you share (or address this ahead of time, in your contract).

Photos Can Add Richness, Laughter and Light to Your Big Day

Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of all the most important people in your lives, and adding photos to your day is a wonderful way to honor your ancestors, personalize your event, and gather memories that you and your new spouse will treasure for many years to come.

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas for including photos in your big day. If you incorporated photos in your wedding in a unique way in your wedding (or if you’re planning on using some special photo-related ideas in your upcoming wedding) tell us about it in the comments below.