Our clients often ask us about when their wedding day photography should begin. While this is a decision that each couple will need to make for themselves, we always hope that photography can begin early enough to allow us to capture getting ready photos. We LOVE getting ready photos! “Why?” you ask? Well, we’ve got answers! Here are our top four reasons for adoring getting ready photos:

1. Capture the Sweet Moments
Getting ready photos are an important part of telling the complete story of your wedding day from beginning to end. Preparing for your wedding is a time of anticipation and overwhelming joy. When you choose to have those moments captured by your photographer, you preserve them. You and your soon-to-be-spouse will be able to look back on those images for the rest of your lives and remember those feelings! Getting ready photos also allow for sweet, candid moments with your loved ones to be captured on film. This is often cherished time that a bride shares with her family and friends before one of the best moments of her life … the images are well worth treasuring forever!

2. Get Comfortable in Front of The Camera
Another great thing about getting ready photos is they give you a little extra time to get rid of your camera jitters! If you are someone who feels self-conscious when a camera is near, it can be very helpful to have some non-posed time to get used to the photographer and her equipment! The extended exposure might help you get so comfortable in front of the camera you barely even notice it is there! By the time you have your first look or ceremony, your attention will be right where it should be — on your fiancé, not on the camera.

3. Highlight Special Details
Getting ready photos provide an opportunity to capture all of the special details that make up your wedding style. You put so much thought into each aspect of your bridal look! And many of these details — your dress, shoes, and veil — are items you may not wear again. You’ll want to remember the intricate details that made each item so special to your wedding story! In 20 years you’ll love being able to admire all of the details that you carefully selected for your day.

4. Photographer’s Warm Up Time
When I arrive at a wedding, I strongly prefer to have a little quiet warm up time to get my creative juices flowing. It’s a little hectic to show up to a wedding, meet everyone quickly, and begin shooting them formally. Instead, I love arriving early to say hello before moving into a quiet space to work on your details. This time provides me with the opportunity to observe the emotions in the room, shoot your gown and other items, and remove any pre-wedding stress I had about shooting the day.

Without this time, I can still absolutely do a beautiful job; however, it does allow me a better opportunity to warm up for the day. This is one of the most major reasons why you need getting ready photos!

“So why do we love getting ready photos? Because they allow more opportunities to capture sweet intimate moments with your loved ones, while getting you comfortable in front of the camera AND memorializing your gorgeous wedding details. With SO MANY great reasons to have your photographer show up early, we hope you’ll opt to have them capture this special part of your wedding day!”

I’ve photographed a lot of big weddings over the years, but sometimes it feels like there is a disconnect between what is important on the day. There are times couples don’t have time to visit with their family and friends. Your wedding day is meant to be enjoyed! That’s exactly what Bryan and Angie did. They enjoyed each other and their day.

With his infectious smile and warm personality, Donald Holmes made an immediate, positive impact on me. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago when we both served for Life Fellowship.


I’m often fortunate to have a photoshoot that inspires me. Donald’s session was particularly relevant and inspiring. 

As his headshot session went on, it became apparent he is driven by an immense passion to help people. With the inception of his business, ATHFIT FUSION, Donald created a company to help people reach new limits. Not only does he offer personal training but skill clinics to become confident cheerleaders, dancers and tumblers. He has clearly found his calling.

He will help you navigate through: athletic coaching and fitness coaching for individuals, cheer squads, posing competitors and homeschool groups.  If you are ready to achieve fitness and athletic goals, give Donald a call!

Crystal and Ben Photography | Voted BEST Memphis Wedding Wedding Photographer

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’m always talking about the importance of quality photography. Well, one of the major reasons for this is because I made a big mistake – and one that I hope to prevent other couples from making.

I hired uncle Bob as a wedding photographer.

The fact is, when I was planning my first wedding in 1996, I had no clue about anything. I didn’t know what to expect costs to be, what to look for, or how to even figure out what I liked. The only resources I used were popular bridal magazines because that’s all I knew about and quite frankly, all that I could find back then. I did not even know internet was invented yet! When I used the budget recommendations of these magazines, the recommended photography percentage was way below what I was realistically seeing for photographer pricing. I didn’t have anyone to tell me what the “normal” pricing was for a good photographer, or even how to know what would be considered “good”. I was counting on the resources I used to help me, and they sadly didn’t.

So, at my first wedding way back in 1996, I hired my uncle with the big fancy camera (who was an armature photographer) to take our wedding pictures.

To make a long story short, this is one of the reasons why I set out to provide realistic information to brides about weddings.

One of the first things that would be crucial to know is the normal cost for decent photography, because I myself had no idea. According to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study, the national average cost of a wedding photographer is $2,679. In the Memphis, TN market you can expect to see pricing around $3500 for a professional wedding photographer with experience.

I definitely wish I had known more about what to look for when it came to quality! I got so fixated on price that I forgot to also look at quality. It can be quite difficult to compare based on price, because often times photographers’ pricing structures are different- not to mention that their experience and quality is going to be different too! So please, I beg of you- pay more attention to the quality than to the cost! When I remarried 3 years ago I followed these steps and ended up with an amazing photographer. To this date I am still OBSESSED with our wedding photos.

My Second Wedding
Photographer: www.danielepierangeli.com

It’s Not Just A Day’s Work

Keep in mind that photographers are not just taking photos of you for 8 hours on your wedding day. They also have to edit the photos (which can take up to 30 hours), design the album, answer your emails and phone calls, do your engagement session, and carry out all of the other administrative duties that owning a business entails. Sure, it’s easy to say that a photographer is making $3500 for a day’s work, but all of the work done before and after the wedding ends up being way more than just one day.

Bottom line: you get what you pay for.

If you have any questions about choosing your photographer, please ask! I don’t want anyone else to experience this regret, and this is one of the many reasons why I write this blog and why I entered the wedding industry. I want to help everyone have the absolute best wedding possible, and I believe that knowledge is the key to that!

My Second Wedding
Photographer: www.danielepierangeli.com

Congratulations on your engagement!! Now what? Here are 6 things to do after getting engaged!

1. Enjoy Your Engagement

I’ve known many brides who get engaged and within a few hours to a few days, they have a date and venue and immediately start planning. That’s great and it works well for some couples!  Being engaged is a new step in a relationship, so take some time to soak it in with your fiancé if there’s no rush!

2. Set a Budget

Discuss and set a budget with all of the people who will be financially involved in your wedding. This is so incredibly important! Wedding vendors and decorations can add up quickly. Without setting a total wedding budget, it’s easy to wind up spending much more than you had intended in the beginning and have little to no funds left for various vendor categories.

3. Create a Guest List

Yes, make a guest list for your wedding before you search for and book your venue! You don’t want to alter your guest list after you’ve booked a venue because it can’t fit everyone or because it’s too big and won’t create an intimate atmosphere. Start your list with family first, then close friends. Then move on to the other people you want to be present for your big day. Account for guests’ children and significant others, too.

4. Set a Date + Book a Venue

Set a date and book your venue. You can do these in either order, but be aware that your favorite venue might be booked already on your dream date and vice versa. Some venues are booked two or more years out.

5. Invest in a Wedding Planner

Even if you happen to be really organized and love planning, I recommend hiring a “day of” planner at a minimum. Better yet, book a full service planning package. You’ll gain some free time to spend with your fiancé and you’ll lose a lot of the stress you’d have with planning and coordinating the whole wedding by yourself.

6. Book your Favorite Vendors

If you’re considering bringing a professional planner on board for the vendor referrals alone, a wedding planner is totally worth their weight in gold.

12 months out is an important time where most of your vendors will be selected. Along with the DJ, contact potential caterers and photographers. Remember, the more in-demand vendors book more quickly so contact them ASAP if you have a preferred business in mind.

New camera for Christmas? Don’t know where to begin? Want to take better pictures? This class is for you!

Join us on February 8, 2020 for beginners camera class. You will learn the basics of your camera, what all those confusing buttons mean, how to use lighting to get incredible photos and most importantly you will come out incredibly confident and ready to use your camera with amazing results.

Contact us today to reserve your spot! $50 deposit holds your spot!

There is something so magical about photographing a wedding day.

Being able to capture the love, joy, and emotions from such a significant day in your life is something that I’m forever grateful to be able to do!  I love storytelling, chasing fleeting moments, and light. My style is a blend of photojournalism and thoughtfully curated portraits. Every wedding is such an important day and such an honor and privilege for me to capture. I love all the pieces that make up a wedding, from the little embellishments to the shared glances. I am there to soak it all up. I strive to create something original, raw, and honest.

Ben and I have been married almost 3 years now and we understand the overwhelming feeling of where to start, what to do and how to do it. So, we put together this guide for you guys to better understand what your experience would be like should you book us as your photographer!

Step One: Let’s Be Friends

One of the most important things to me is building an amazing relationship with you! This isn’t just a business transaction for me – I truly value you! I want you to have faith in the fact that although I am technically a vendor, I consider myself a friend first. I love to meet up for drinks or coffee to hear all about your plans and share in the excitement of your upcoming big day!

Step Two: Save the Date

Woohoo! You decided to be a CBP Bride! Once you make the decision to move forward, the booking process is easy-peasy! I will send you a questionnaire to gather some information and from there, I’ll write up our contract & send the invoice for your retainer. And that’s when we’re officially OFFICIAL!

Step Three: Engagement Session

THE ENGAGEMENT SESSION IS ONE OF OUR favorite parts of our time together because it gives you both a chance to be in front of our cameras before you get married, which is going to make your wedding day experience feel so smooth, seamless and comfortable. Not only that, but we get to create something so special together. You’re going to be married for over fifty years, but you only get to be engaged for this short period of time. We are so excited to capture the only time in your lives when you get to be each other’s fiancées.

Step Four: The Timeline

As we get closer to the wedding date, we’ll start chatting about your wedding day timeline! I believe it’s super important that we’re on the same page so I happily will chat with you and hear about your plans and ideas for your big day so I can schedule things accordingly. Whether it be over email, a phone call, or a quick cup of coffee, I’m more than excited to answer any questions or concerns you might have, too! I consider myself your “BFF” for the day so my goal is to make you feel as laid back and stress free as possible!

Step Five: The Wedding Day

Woohoo! The day where you finally get to marry your sweetie! We’ve been looking forward to this day for what seems like forever! At this point, all of the questions has been answered, the schedule has been set, and I will be there photographing all of the amazing moments throughout the day!

Step Six: Sneak Peeks

Something that I am so excited to include as part of your wedding experience is your highlight blog post! You can expect a full highlight post on my website of some of my favorite images that tell the story of your day for you to see! My favorite thing is being able to share these with you within the week after your wedding so you can relive your day over and over! But don’t worry – you’ll still have MANY more images that you’ll receive in your final gallery!

Step Seven: Gallery Delivery

My average turnaround time for wedding is 8-12 weeks! Right when they’re finished, I will send you a very special email that will give you access to your gallery for you to see!  Congratulations Newlyweds!

I have photographed over 100  weddings which has given me the tools and experience to handle any given situation. Rain or shine – I’ve got your back! I will provide you with wedding timelines and other tools to allow your wedding day to run as smooth as possible.

If you’re beginning your search for photographers, you might be wondering if you need a second photographer for your wedding.

First off, what does a 2nd photographer provides for your wedding? They can provide dedicated coverage of the groom getting ready, while the main photographer has uninterrupted coverage of the bride getting ready. 2nd photographers also provide different angles than the main photographer of the same moment. For example, two different angles of beautiful ceremony moments such as the groom’s reaction and the bride walking down the aisle.

Why You Need a Second Photographer?

  • When you and your fiancé are getting ready in separate rooms and you want coverage of both of you.
  • If you have over 50 guests, it becomes more difficult for 1 photographer to thoroughly cover larger weddings alone.
  • If you have an extremely tight timeline and it won’t be possible for your photographer to, say, get images of the bride and groom together and get images of the reception room details.
  • You want lots of candid images of guests and your family and friends that the 2nd photographer will take while the main photographer is shooting portraits or details.
  • You want to have multiple angles of the same moment.

When You Might Not Need a Second Photographer.

  • When your budget doesn’t allow for one and you really don’t mind losing out on the things they would have provided. Just know what you’ll miss out on so your expectations are managed properly.
  • When you have a really small number of guests. My recommendation would be that you don’t need a second photographer for weddings with a small venue and less than 50 guests. It’s really easy for one photographer to cover everything at intimate weddings, although it’s still beneficial to have two if you can.
  • When you’re eloping and it’s just the 2 of you 🙂

If you’re still unsure of whether or not you need a second photographer, know that it is always beneficial to have two shooters. I would always encourage couples to have two because you’ll gain so much more out of your images by having a larger variety of photos. 

When I think about all the past weddings I’ve attended as a guest and a photographer, I’ve got a pretty solid answer to how long wedding receptions should last. The answer comes from a few different considerations from someone who’s been to over 100 weddings in the last 10 years.

How Long Wedding Receptions Should Last?

4 hours will be your best bet for reception length. Some people think that less than 4 hours is perfect and I really feel that even 3-4 hours would be plenty. Others might want a 5-6 hour reception and that’s where I do have to chime in.

When you have a reception that’s more than 4 hours, not including cocktail hour, you typically have to extend your contracted time with your venue and its staff. That means more costs to you, in addition to the cost of your planner, photographer, and videographer staying until your grand exit.

Also, more hours of open bar could mean the difference between a little playful group of guests and an over-intoxicated nightmare that’ll repeat itself in your wedding photos.

If you’re dead set on a reception longer than 5 hours, consider stopping alcohol serving about an hour before the reception ends. This will save you money and will save your guests from next-day regrets.

Want to Party Longer?

But wait, we want more dancing! It’s no secret that many wedding guests, especially those who are older in age, leave the reception before it’s over.

Instead of dragging on the reception and having a tiny group remaining for your sparkler exit, consider ending earlier and taking your closest friends and family members out for an after-party. That’s a perfect compromise to letting guests off the hook and being able to keep dancing until sunset with age-appropriate besties.

It truly is more than possible to have a killer reception in 3-4 hours, I promise! Your guests will have had just enough fun and you’ll avoid all of the downsides to an extended reception. Just remember, if you’re a night-owl with a party side, you can always hit up a cool new bar or lounge to truly dance the night away.

CRYSTAL + BEN PHOTOGRAPHY | Elite Memphis Wedding Photographers

Visit us at: www.crystalandbenphotography.com

Contact us: 662-782-8795

E-mail us: crystalandbenphotography@gmail.com


As much as I love Pinterest for all of the good it does, there are absolutely some downsides to using the site for your wedding. Particularly when it comes to your photos, there are some major Pinterest wedding photography pros and cons that I’ll discuss.


  • Inspiration, really. One of the best pros of using Pinterest wedding photography to leave you feeling inspired about your own wedding photos. You can figure out what styles of photography you like most. Do you like everything light and bright? Do you like darker photos with more dramatic editing? This is helpful to know when looking for your own wedding photographer.
  • You can use Pinterest to find photos taken at your venue. By doing so, you’ll find out what locations you think look best in photos although ultimately the photographer will know what’s best. (Note, the lighting might not always permit shooting in some locations, but you’ll at least get an idea of options)


  • Pinterest can give you unrealistic expectations about your wedding photography. Every wedding is SO different, even for weddings at the same venue. The problem is that perhaps photos you love had a whole hour for portraits and you’ve only allotted your photographer 15 minutes. Even more important, the lighting that you see in your dream photo might allow for a beautiful sun-soaked photo. It might be overcast on your wedding day, which won’t look the same as a bright, sunny day. Use the photos as inspiration, but not as something you want to copy 100% as it will never turn out the same.
  • You could end up with copies of other bride’s photos, rather than beautiful, authentic photos created just for you. Images that aren’t staged always look best since they’re organic and real.
  • Not all, though many Pinterest wedding photography pins feature gimmicky ideas that become recirculated on wedding blogs and forums. The dinosaur chasing the bridal party was once one of these. The first one might have been interesting, though all recreations typically fall short of amazement.

It’s best to consider both the pros and cons of Pinterest wedding photography boards. Trust your photographer to create original (and Pinnable!) photographs from your own wedding. Pinterest is a great place for inspiration, but we see more Pinterest fails than anything when re-creating projects and recipes. It’s no different with photography.

CRYSTAL + BEN PHOTOGRAPHY | Elite Memphis Wedding Photographers

Visit us at: www.crystalandbenphotography.com

Contact us: 662-782-8795

E-mail us: crystalandbenphotography@gmail.com