Everything Photography

Cesar Chavez Photography Blog

Read our Blog

Celebrations at the Bay Wedding Photos

Recent Images
A Waterfront Wedding Venue in Pasadena, MD

DC IS a great place to get married!

The excellent weather, best quality wedding venues and the outdoor activities available for the guests make Washington DC one of the best places available throughout United States for you to get married. In addition, getting married in Washington DC is more affordable than you think. Here are some mind blowing facts that prove why Washington DC is the best place to have your wedding.

1 – DC is easy to get to. The city is a short drive from NY, PA even the Carolinas. If you want to fly, most plane tickets from neighboring cities are less than $100.

2 – DC has a ton of world-class venues offering something that many different style celebrations. From traditional to contemporary, many venues offer wedding-planning packages filled with what you need to take the stress out of your big day.

3 – DC has a number of wedding vendors you can hire to make your day extra special. Limo services, cake, flowers, etc are at your fingertips at a lesser price than what you would find in other major cities. Bargain shopping is right around the corner.

Grab your marriage license, pick a venue and lets get married!

Ready, Set, PLAN!

You’re engaged! (YAY!) And wedding planning is now in full swing. From selecting your venue, to photographer to choosing the dress, each step of the way is going to require some thoughtful consideration to what your plan is going to be for your budget. Here are a few steps you can take in order to stay on track and make the next year of your life as stress-free and worry-free as possible, I hope!

  1. Hire a professional wedding planner. It is very important to hire an experienced wedding planner who understands the basis of how to analyze the costs for each element of your wedding. These wedding planners are usually generic to the average wedding and you may need to briefly explain to them the type of event you want and the budget you are willing to dedicate.
  2. Prioritize the elements of your wedding. This is an important thing to be carried out first in order to ensure your budget is allocated to the very necessary bits like the ceremony and reception venue. This will ensure your budget is allocated properly and keep you rest assured that you won’t end up with fabulous wedding favors with no ceremony.
  3. Open a dedicated bank account. As the day of the ceremony approaches, you may have to open an account mainly for the occasion in order to ensure it doesn’t get swallowed up with other personal expenses.
  4. Make sure you reallocate whenever you overspend on something. It is important to maintain the set budget but should in case of any overspending, always make sure you reallocate fund from other areas to make up the difference.
  5. Consider various ideas for saving money. When planning your wedding, you need a bit of creativity in your mode of saving money like making your own table centers and stationary. Likewise you should consider negotiating with suppliers over prices and packages. By so doing, you can make lots of savings with very little effort.
  6. You have to compromise some elements to ensure you keep within your budget. This could mean reduction in bridesmaids, selecting a wedding dress that is not designer and opting for cheaper menu for your wedding breakfast.
  7. Lastly, don’t ever consider borrowing extra money such as bank loan to fund your wedding.  if you don’t have the cash, you don’t need it.

Winter Weddings are AWESOME, Here’s why:

  1. You can be creative with your wardrobe-

Forget the classic white dress. A winter wedding gives you the amazing opportunity to style your appearance yourself by adding a unique accessory – a fur wrap or a romantic velvet cloak.

  1. Less competition means more availability-

Your dream wedding venue is probably booked for months in advance, and your preferred photographer has already a packed schedule. Because winter weddings are far less common, this also means you can easily snag that stunning hall or wedding vendor you’ve been dreaming of! Additionally, this also means you won’t have to settle for a less-than-ideal date.

  1. Stunning photos-

There’s hardly a more beautiful time during the year than the winter months. Winter holds a special type of romantic, charming appeal. Just imagine yourself in your striking white dress and your significant other by your side, and the breath-taking snowflakes dancing in the background. And, thanks to the cool, your cheeks would look rosier than ever, adding up to the romantic ambience of your wedding.

  1. More guests-

Cheaper venue means you’ll have more resources to spend on the guest list If you want a big wedding with all of your friends, family and distant relatives attending, a winter wedding is the perfect option. Apart from being more affordable, a winter wedding – or any out-of-season date – makes it more likely for all of your guests to attend!

Keep Cool at a Summer Wedding

It’s already crazy hot outside in some parts of the country hotter than others, eh hem… FLORIDA! The only way you’re going to survive those sweaty al fresco nuptials is using a great product to help cool you down.  Browse below for some of our favorites ways to stay cool at a hot-weather wedding.
Avène Thermal Spring Water – This refreshing facial mist feels fantastic after a long drive to a wedding or a day spent outside.
Dessy + Pantone Wedding Parasol – Stay cool in style with a parasol that matches your dress! (they come in many colors)
Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths – Give your arms, chest and legs a swipe with one of these cooling cloths for instant refreshment.
Nivea Express Hydration Body Gel – Slather on this cooling gel after a sweltering outdoor ceremony.  Your entire body will thank you!
BHLDN Crinkle Fans – This is a good option to buy for guests for an outdoor ceremony.  They are beautiful, fun and of course, functional!
MAC ‘Magically Cool’ Liquid Powder – Arm yourself against a blazing hot afternoon with MAC’s liquid powder; it will set your foundation and refresh your skin.
Snake Brand Prickly Heat Cooling Powder – Don’t let the brand name scare you off; apply this cooling powder after your shower to prevent heat rash and we guarantee you’ll feel refreshed from “I do” to after party.
Whish Deodorant Swipes – After sweating through an outdoor ceremony, use these easy-to-carry deodorant swipes to clean up for cocktail hour.


How to Pose for your Wedding Photography

Looking naturally beautiful on your wedding day is something that’s often referred to by some as a bit of a given. “On your wedding day you’ll be so glowingly happy that you will look as stunning and radiant in the photographs as you did when they were taken” they say…and they’re right…right!?

Well yes and no. I’m sure you’re all with me in some degree on this one, that there are certain areas of your body that you’re never going to be happy with. No matter how often your fiancé says you’re beautiful, when you look at a photograph of yourself your eyes are always first drawn to your arms/nose/chin/stomach aren’t they?

In order to help you look as awesome in your photos as you feel on your wedding day, here are a few tips:

The best way to avoid getting a double/dimply chin raise your chin by a few degrees and twist your head slightly away from the camera. Then, either focus your eyes a point above your natural eye line or look back down the lens. Tilting your chin upwards will elongate the neck, pull the skin tight and smooth out any wrinkles/folds. Even if your photographer is shooting from a low angle or straight on, this pose will look a million times better than looking straight at and directly down the camera.

Smooshy arms will be seen long and lean if you put your hand on your hips or keeping them slightly away from you body but remember to keep your shoulders relaxed and down. If you’re next to a wall don’t lean on it too hard. Again this will make everything look wider. Instead lightly lean on the wall – almost just brushing it with your body.

Firstly twist your body 45 degrees (a good photographer should be able to tell you the exact point where your waist looks it smallest) and put each leg in a slightly different position (again, your photographer should be able to direct you toward which positions look good). Put all your weight on one leg (usually the back) and stick out those hips.

As with slimming the waist, to have hot looking legs in photographs it’s all in the angles. Point those toes, bend those knees and position each leg differently. Legs that feel a bit awkward in their position tend to look really great in photographs! It’s all about shifting your balance from one leg to another…

If you are able to follow these tips, I am sure you will be really happy with the result of your photos!

What to wear for your Engagement Photos

We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to engagement shoots, but with so much riding on one set of pictures, we want them to be perfect — and to feel like us. The trick isn’t just having the right photographer or great lighting, a lot of it is what you and your partner are wearing. That’s because what you wear is likely going to dictate how comfortable you are moving around, or how you and your fiancé look together.

Like we said, there’s a lot riding on these photos (just like your wedding photos!) — you’ll have them for a long time and may even use them for your wedding invites or save the dates. So the necessary attention must be paid: we’ve come up with a set of tips to help you get the look just right.

1. Show off your shoes – With a simple background and neutral colors, a bright pair of heels — and a pose like this to show them off — lets your personality come through.

2. Wear standout jewerly – With close-ups, a beautiful necklace will help balance a lower-cut neckline and adds interest to photo, without upstaging the ring.

3. Show off your best assets – If you have a part of your body you’re intent on showing off, go for it! Have fun with a shorter hemline and keep your leg line even longer with nude pumps, then have your photographer capture the perfect shot to show off your stems — or whatever that feature may be.

4. Dress for your surroundings – If your shoot involves being active or playful outdoors, let your clothes speak to that same easy vibe.

5. Channel your wedding day look – Save your wedding dress for your big day, of course! But there’s something so romantic about a pretty white dress. It’s a bit bridal and foreshadows the joy to come.

6. Be praticle – If you’re thinking about an active shoot, where you’ll be lifted or carried, think about coverage. You don’t want to be wearing a minidress when he’s scooping you up, and you want to feel like you. If jeans and boots are more your thing, don’t be afraid to stick to what works.

7. Coordinate with your partner – Don’t be matchy-matchy but try to play up suble color coordination that feels balanced and easy. While you don’t want to look like twins, you do want the photo to feel even, and it will be even easier to find light that flatters you both if you’re dressing in the same color family.

8. Pick clothes that move well – A floaty dress can look gorgeous from the right angles. Play up an asymmetrical hemline with a shot of you and your fiancé walking.

9. Dress for style and comfort – Your engagement shoot should be a reflection of who you are. If you and your fiancé are the outdoorsy type, show that side of yourselves with comfortable clothing that’s, again, just slightly coordinated.

10. Dont shy away from brights – Don’t be afraid to take a bit of the spotlight. If your man opts for neutrals, go ahead and slip into a bit of color. The contrast will look beautiful on camera!

11. Dont be afraid to stand out – It can depend on the setting, but wearing a bright patterned dress in a more stark location can really be the perfect way to stand out in your pictures. Choose a silhouette and a print that flatters you, but don’t be afraid to bring the brights. It can look particularly striking if your man dons a classic suit.

12. Get all dressed up if you want to – If you’re feeling more glamorous, show off your best looks with a fancy cocktail dress. A richly hued party dress is going to look even better next to his black-and-white suit.


10 Steps to Finding a Great Wedding Photographer

Unlike the work of your other wedding vendors (music, flower arrangements, cake), photographs aren’t things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at first — you don’t really know what you’re getting until after the fact. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style and personal demeanor are extra-important when choosing your photographer.

Step 1: Settle on a Style

Before you begin researching photographers, you’ll need to first decide what type of photography style you prefer, as that will help determine which kind of photographer you’ll want shooting your wedding. Do any of the following appeal to you?

Documentary: Instead of a series of posed photos, these are candid or spontaneous pictures (read: not styled) of people, decor and the action. Typical shots might include the lavish raw bar before guests start digging in, your motley crew of cousins dancing or you and your bridesmaids laughing, champagne in hand. With a purely photojournalistic photographer, you’ll very rarely see people staring at the camera — the photos capture the moments exactly as they happened, and together they tell a story.

Portraiture: If you prefer classic portraits (think: your parents’ wedding album), go with a traditional photographer who specializes in portraiture. These are posed shots of the two of you, friends and family in front of various backdrops. That’s not to say there isn’t room for creativity in this category. While some photographers will pose subjects in more traditional spots (like at the ceremony altar or out on the lawn of the country club) and in more formal poses (standing as a group together), other photographers take portraiture further into the creative realm with a more dramatic composition (the couple sitting on a lounge chair at their hip hotel reception venue, or the couple holding hands in the middle of a nearby dirt road with the mountains in the background).

Fine Art: Though it’s similar to documentary photography, this style gives the shooter greater artistic license to infuse their particular point of view and style into your photographs. So while the shots reflect reality, it’s the photographer’s reality. The photos are dramatic and gorgeous, but are — or look as though they were — shot on film with a grainier, dreamier, more muted appearance. Usually the object (or couple) is in focus and the background appears to blur. Motion also looks very natural in this style of photography. The few wedding photographers in the world who shoot only on film tend to fall into this category, and typically they shoot in black and white, though some will do a mix of both. That said, a photographer using a digital camera can still capture this style with the right gear and camera lens. And some photographers will alternate between digital and film. Not all photographers who take a fine-art approach shoot portraits, so if it’s really important to your mom to have posed family shots, look for someone who does both, or consider hiring a second shooter for the portrait sessions.

Edgy-Bold: This style of photography, an offshoot of fine art, is marked by outside-the-box, tilted angles (called “Dutch angles”) and unconventional framing. So instead of a straight-on shot of the couple exchanging vows at the altar, the photo might look tilted, with an object like an altar arrangement or a candle in the foreground. Or the photo of the bride having her makeup done might be shot from above, with an emphasis on the eye shadow brush rather than on her face. Even a single portrait of a bridesmaid might be shot so that her face takes over only the bottom right of the photo and the rest of the space is filled with the wall or whatever’s behind her.

Many wedding photographers can do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots, and will do a mix of black-and-white and color images, but if there’s a special style you love, make sure to focus on photographers who specialize in it.

Step 2: Do Your Homework

Start your search by reading reviews from recent brides and browsing hundreds of local listings . Carefully review potential photographers’ websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings they’ve shot, which will give you an idea of their style. The design of the website may also give you clues about the photographer’s personality and sensibility. Check out their Facebook and Twitter pages too, if possible — is the feedback from clients good? How does the photographer respond?

Step 3: Set Up Interviews

This is not a decision that can be made on looks alone — you must meet your potential photographers in person. If you like what you see on their sites — and their fees are in your ballpark range — call to see if they’re available for your wedding date. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate or can recommend another shooter with a similar style. Set up in-person meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work and assess whether your personalities mesh. Be prepared to talk about your venue, your wedding style and what you envision for your photos.

Step 4: See a Few Full Wedding Albums

Don’t base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer’s highlights gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you’re seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you won’t get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they’ve shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery (that is, they’re all so good it’s impossible to choose!), you’re on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if you’re planning an indoor affair with dark lighting, don’t just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if you’re planning to say “I do” on a beach at sunset, you’ll want to see examples of that.

Step 5: Review Albums With a Critical Eye

When reviewing a photographer’s album, look for the key moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of images, thoughtful compositions (does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame?) and good lighting (beware of washed-out pictures where small details are blurred — unless that’s the style you’re after). It’s also very important that you detect sensitivity in capturing people’s emotions; make sure the photographer’s subjects look relaxed, not like deer caught in headlights. While you two are, of course, important, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.

Step 6: Make Sure Your Personalities Mesh

Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they timid? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way. Remember: They’ll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don’t want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.

Step 7: Confirm Your Shooter(s)

Many larger photo studios have more than one photographer on staff, and unless you specify it in your contract, the lead photographer may not be the one shooting your day. Since every professional has a different style, technique and personality, you need to make sure that the one you interview and “click” with will be the same one who works your wedding. Also, include specific stipulations in the contract about who will cover for the photographer should something happen on the actual day. Check whether the photographer will bring any assistants to your wedding, and if so, how many? If you have room in your budget, consider hiring a second shooter. Many top-notch photographers include a second shooter in the contract, but if this isn’t a part of the deal, you may want to ask about the possibility. The main benefit to having two shooters is that you, of course, get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you’re having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so that your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.

Step 8: Compare Packages

You won’t be able to nail down an exact dollar amount until you’re sure of what you want, how many albums you need and where your photographer is based, and packages range from $2,500 all the way up to $15,000-plus on the higher end of the spectrum. When interviewing candidates, ask for a general range based on the photographer’s standard “shooting fee” and package, plus their standard rates for the type of album you think you’ll want and the amount of coverage you’re hoping to book them for (day-of, full weekend). It’s important to find out what’s included in the standard package, plus the basic range for any extras you may want, like an engagement shoot, special effects or additional coverage, so you can compare rates. In particular, find out exactly how many hours of coverage are included. Ideally, you want your photographer to be there for your full wedding day: from when you start getting ready until after you make your grand exit from the reception. While packages vary, most include about 6 to 12 hours to cover everything from preceremony events (getting ready with your bridesmaids or first-look photos) to the end of the reception. It’s usually better to pay for more coverage if there’s a chance you’ll run over and you definitely want your photographer there until the end (overtime is usually charged at a higher hourly rate). Also consider whether you’ll want to do an engagement shoot or have your photographer shoot other events during your wedding weekend (the guys’ golf outing, the bridesmaid lunch).

Step 9: Ask About Your Rights

Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even use them in ads). That also means that you can’t just post the digital proofs they send you — most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you’ll have to buy the rights to the images.

Step 10: Get the Postproduction Details

It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files (in order to correct color levels and so on). It varies, but many photographers say that they spend an additional 40 hours editing images from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks (or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are) to get proofs back. Here’s what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high-resolution or low-resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects (which can range from simple white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like super-saturated colors) and the additional cost for both.

Do I feed my Wedding Vendors?

The Q: I am planning a wedding and I only have about of about $7000.  I found one caterer that would cost me about $5500 but now I have to worry about a DJ and Photographer/Video man.  Should I have to pay for their meal for that night?  and also how can I save on a photographer/Video because my party is small since I’m only having 50 guests.  I am on a budget since my fiance and I plan to also purchase a co-op the same year. – Worried Bride to Be

The A: Don’t worry, Worried!  I realize you are on a budget, but why don’t you talk to your venue about negotiating down the number of vendor meals, or see if any are included in your package.  Often, because they only eat 1 course of your meal, the vendor meal should be at least half price.

If that doesn’t seem to work out or be the case, re-read your vendor contract and see if they are required to eat the same food as your guests. If that is not the case, then perhaps you can arrange for a lower priced meal option for them.

However, no matter what, you MUST feed your vendors.  They are devoted to shooting your day or keeping your party going for many hours and they do require to be fed.  You wouldn’t want your photographer to miss the moment you and your grandpa hit the dancefloor because he was hunting down a sandwich, huh?  While I recognize your budgetary needs, try and work with your vendors to figure this out, they will appreciate your consideration!

In terms of saving on the cost of photography/videography services – I would highly recommend having your wedding on an off peak night like Tuesday-Thursday.  Prices tend to be a little less that day because there is less demand on these days however, the price of the wedding photography/videography package has nothing to do with the size of the wedding.  You are paying for hours of service so if you should want to spend less then contract the vendor for less time.

Trash That Dress

Day after wedding photos are, for me, a unique invitation to your own private photo session.  Day two presents infinite options:  you can bag the dress and clean the tux, take them out for another spin, or ditch them all together and put on that dress you’ve never found the perfect occasion for.  The day after session presents the couple and their photographer with more time than on the day of the wedding, and the freedom to work without the concern of a little dirt on your beautiful gown.  We love the idea of being able to take a little more time with our clients, free from schedule and weather constraints of the wedding day.  Whether, the ceremony was too late in the evening to accomplish natural light portraits, or you are looking for more than what another photographer gave you, we jump at the chance to grab our gear and connect with clients to get even another opportunity to guarantee their happiness. Consider it weather insurance.  We will stop at nothing to deliver incredible pictures that are more than you expect and everything you deserve. Take your time and get a little more edgy with your posing in order to master the editorial style of high fashion that takes on the personality of a glossy magazine photo, provoking emotion and encompassing what the first days of “man and wife” feel like.  You have already documented the first kiss and the first dance, why not the first day of marriage?  It’s a reason to wear your dress again and a chance to really push the boundaries of imagination to make pictures that will live on through generations and prove that marriage is not only a beautiful commitment, but it’s sexy too.