Traci and Troy Blog » Indianapolis Wedding Photographers

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Monthly Archives: February 2017

We all do it. Days before a wedding, we watch the forecast for RAIN because NO ONE wants rain on their wedding day, right? It was two years ago when it felt like most of our weddings were in the rain. We became self-professed rainy wedding experts that year, and we learned a few things. Yes, rain is considered good luck on your big day, but it’s also an opportunity for an amazing story with a celebration like no other! Here’s our favorite tips on how to handle a rainy wedding day!

1. Plan Ahead

This is undoubtedly where a professional wedding planner is invaluable. We worked with Sarah of Plum and Poppy at Katie and Kevin’s rainy wedding in June. Katie was free to enjoy the day regardless of the weather; Sarah was available to make alternate arrangements and execute Plan B while working with the venue, rental company, florist, musicians, videographer, and the other vendors! A professional planner makes sure all your bases are covered on the wedding day. She is also aware of vendors’ contracts. What about your string musicians? What happens if a florist’s vase falls over and breaks from the wind? If you’re not working with a professional planner, please keep these things in mind. Delegate someone outside your family that can help execute your Plan B!

2. Embrace It

The way we see it, you have two choices:

1. To be stressed about the rain
2. To embrace the rain.

We know that after months of planning it can be disappointing when things don’t go as expected. Sadness is a natural emotion; we understand you will be frustrated. We would encourage you to collect yourself, realize it’s out of your control, and then make the most of it!

CHOOSE to find JOY and embrace the day! Your attitude will set the tone for the entire wedding. If you celebrate the rain and choose joy, your bridal party and guests will join you!

3. Trust us

We have to be overly prepared to shoot in pouring rain. Depending on your location and the amount of rainfall, we have three options:

option 1: Go outside with umbrellas. We always travel with clear umbrellas that won’t cast shadows on your faces. We also travel with a white sheet to protect the bottom of your dress if needed!

option 2: Find a covered porch. WE will stand in the rain, but you won’t have to!

option 3: Go inside. With a heavy rain falling during Tyler and Sarah’s portrait time, we opted for portraits at their reception venue.

Ross and Kaitlyn’s outside wedding was the epitome of a rainy wedding and if we ever write a book, their story deserves a whole chapter! I think brides can learn from this incredible story!

“I have heard of other brides having the moment when a family member or bridal party member walks up to them and says the words ‘Don’t panic but….’ and it usually ends with ‘so-and-so forgot their shoes’ or ‘she doesn’t have a bouquet.’ On my wedding day, I woke up and the first words I heard were, ‘Don’t panic, but we have no power.’  The wedding venue was on my parent’s property so no power at home meant no power for our venue. Did I mention the no power situation was caused by rain, and I am not talking about a slight sprinkle or drop here and there, I am talking about a torrential downpour the entire night leading up to the wedding and a steady rain still continuing that morning?! My outdoor, June 27 wedding was nothing what we had planned, but let me be the first to tell you that it is everything I could have hoped for!

To say my parents and I planned the wedding would be an understatement. Although the wedding was on our property, it was in the middle of a field so we did a lot of preparation work including building bathrooms, putting in a drive for people to enter the field off the road, building a platform for Ross and I to get married on, cutting down dead trees, renting a tent, and the list goes on and on. In all of the preparation, we planned for extreme heat and light drizzle, but we could have never imagine a ‘monsoon’ as my mom now calls it. The ‘monsoon’ and losing power were just the beginning of our problems. The tent started to fall down, our vendors were not able to get their vehicles & equipment back to the tent because of the mud, the field parking was too muddy, and my morning walk through the tent consisted of muddy rain boots and a heavy sweatshirt drenched in rain. My dad asked me during the walk-through if we needed to find a new location. After looking at my white table cloths and chair covers with mud soaking the bottoms, the decorated tables with all of their contents blown over, and the once grass turned to mud puddles, I looked at him with a smile on my face and said, ‘It’s happening!’

At the end of the day I was going to be married to the man of my dreams; nothing else mattered. I had always dreamed of getting married by my family’s pond; I did not want the rain to ruin my dream, and it didn’t. For the rest of the day the smile never left my face. 

As I finished getting ready and put on my beautiful wedding dress the rain slowed to a drizzle but the sky was still gloomy. I was no longer worried about the rain but worried how the skies would affect the photos, and as if on cue, Traci and Troy walked in with huge smiles on their faces saying, ‘You might think we are crazy, but this is perfect photography weather. And we have our umbrellas!’ From then on nothing would dampen the day. Ross and I had our first look in the rain and wind. Guests arrived dressed in their wedding attire but finished their looks off with tennis shoes or flip flops accounting for the mud. Everyone was embracing the mud and wind and when the rain stopped, everyone started pitching in to get the ceremony space ready. Our wedding had become an effort of the masses.

Looking back now, I can truly say the rain helped make my day special. Many of the things I loved about our wedding happened because of the rain. For instance, originally, we planned on having the chairs from the tent carried out for the ceremony, but because the chairs would sink in the ground, everyone stood for our ceremony. It felt so special to not only have everyone we loved watching us profess our love and commitment to each other but having them stand around us as if they were all giving us a huge hug and embracing us from all angles. The rain made our day more casual, fun, and personal. Almost two years later we look back and can do nothing but laugh about everything that could have been a disaster but turned out amazing. I look back at the photographs that Traci and Troy took, and I can do nothing but smile from ear to ear. I would not change anything even if I could. My wedding was more than I could have hoped for, and I can thank the rain for that!”


“I could never work with my brother!” I’m not exaggerating when I say at least one person says this to us at every wedding! Never in a million years did I imagine I would be a wedding photographer and in business with my brother, but I love our business, and I love that we can do it together. So what’s our story?

Troy and I are the only kids in our immediate family, and we always got along. I distinctly remember our mom saying “Traci and Troy never fight” when friends/strangers/acquaintances would comment on our demeanor. I think it was a self-fulfilled prophecy; she said it so much that we didn’t have a choice! (and just to be fair, if you ask Troy, he’d say we got along because he did everything I told him to do!)

His interest in photography started before mine. When he backpacked through Europe after college, he used his old Canon Elan ii, played with shutter speed with cars driving past the Arc de Triomphe and experimented with exposure while photographing the Eiffel Tower at night. I remember loving the photos.

When my son was born, Troy and I were living in different states about 15 hours apart. I asked him to bring his camera when he traveled to meet his nephew.  Photography was nothing like it is today, but I still love the simple, intimate newborn photos he gave us.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m a typical mom with a camera. Have you heard the name “mom tog?” That was me. I saw a friend find success as a mom and photographer and was intrigued. Soon I was smitten with the art form. When I had time away from my babies, I would go to Borders and sit for hours, taking notes so I wouldn’t have to actually buy the photo books. I read voraciously about shutter speed, exposure, and Photoshop. It wasn’t long before I owned a Canon Rebel, two lenses, and officially started Traci Falder Photography.

In the beginning, I primarily photographed kids, families, and seniors.  Two years later, I shot my first wedding. I loved every part of it. The beautiful bride, the interaction with the bridal party, the story of the day…

Troy lived in Seattle and was finishing a degree in Mental Health Counseling. After he completed school and was looking to move closer to family, I tempted him with the idea of joining my photography business. We didn’t really know what it would look like, and when he moved to Indiana four years ago, we were still shooting it all–  seniors, families, open air photobooths, headshots, weddings, and some commercial work.

While weddings were slowly becoming our favorite, it wasn’t until spring of 2016 that we officially declared a specialization in weddings.

I manage the business every day while Troy works full time at his private mental health practice. On the weekends, we join forces to create beautiful images for our couples.

We often joke about the cute “dates” we experience on wedding weekends while our spouses are home with our kids– or the typical conversation I have while checking into our hotel room:

Traci to hotel clerk: “Just to clarify… that’s two double beds, right?…. He’s not my husband….[oh, wait, why would I be in a hotel room with another male if he’s not my husband]…he’s my brother.”

Troy to Traci: “She doesn’t care.”

But really, I love that we can share this business together. I love Troy’s gentleness when dealing with people and his fun-loving nature with everyone he encounters. And I love the “presents” I get to open after every wedding when I see his stunning, creative images.

As our website states, “At the end of the day, we’re different people with different strengths, but our parents instilled in us to love people, to value authenticity, and to always give our best to others. We love bringing our family to yours.”

How do you differentiate between the good, better, and best? My first boss always said that the “GOOD is the enemy to the BEST.” I think he was referring to my choice in men at the time :),  but it really can refer to finding the best wedding photographer too! You may know a good photographer, but is he/she the BEST one for you?! Here’s where I would start: As you decide on a wedding photographer and your photography budget, you must answer the question How important are wedding pictures to me? We’re a bit biased and believe that your pictures should be very important.  Your photos are an heirloom so finding the BEST photographer to create your heirloom is invaluable! Here are ten questions to ask potential wedding photographers:

1. Can I see a complete gallery?
If you ask to see a complete gallery, you can see how a photographer documents every part of the wedding day– the details, the getting ready images, the portraits, the ceremony, the family formals, and the reception.

I learned something this winter. My son was a photographer for his school’s yearbook and he was in charge of boy’s basketball photos. Because he has no photography knowledge, I set the camera up for him and he shot throughout the game. By taking plenty of pictures, he shot ENOUGH that he had a few good ones! Most people could take my camera for the wedding day, and if they shoot enough, they would have a few good shots.

We take great pride in the DEPTH and CONSISTENCY of our wedding galleries. We hope you have so many favorites from your wedding day that it’s impossible to choose.

2. How many weddings have you shot?
This is a question to ask so you can get an idea of a photographer’s experience. Some companies use associate photographers and seek to photograph multiple weddings in a weekend. These companies will naturally shoot more weddings over time. Our brand is personal. We limit the amount of weddings we accept each year so we can give fair time to our brides and our families. As of today, we have photographed 67 weddings– enough that we feel like we’ve seen it all, but not so many that we don’t remember each of our couples and seek to stay in contact with many of them!

3. What kind of equipment do you use? Do you have backup equipment?
Photographers’ equipment and backup equipment does set the tone for how serious they are about their businesses. You can see a list of our equipment on our blog post, “What’s in our Bag?”

4. How would you describe your working style?
You can tell so much about photographers after an initial meeting. Were they warm? Did they smile? Are they organized? Are they flexible? Are they polite? You will spend your entire wedding day with your photographers. You want to make sure you ENJOY being with them!

During the first part of your wedding day, Troy and I keep track of the timeline and make sure things are moving along as they should. Typically, I take the lead with posing and giving directions. We do enjoy talking and laughing with our couples during portraits. We want pictures to be fun, and we want you to be relaxed!

We take pride in how we handle the ceremony. Sometimes a couple requests a particular shot and asks us to be invasive, but outside of that circumstance our goal is to be inconspicuous so the focus is on the sanctity of the ceremony and the vows you are speaking. We’ve had many officiants offer their thanks for how respectful we were during the ceremony.

During the reception, we seek to be unobtrusive. We are always there, shooting constantly, and we document events as they happen.

5. How do you manage your work without adding stress to my wedding day?
Photographers should have a specific plan they’ve created with the bride’s input. There should be very clear expectations about the timeline, the pictures that are important to you, managing family formals, transportation, and where the bridal party needs to be at any given time.

We feel strongly that communication with our bride is invaluable to the wedding day. We want to educate our brides and help them in any way they wish. We seek to absorb stress– not create it. We know if you’ve done the work to help your wedding day run smoothly then all the hiccups can just be part of your story!

6. Do you have insurance?
Professional photographers should have insurance that covers theft, equipment, and professional liability. If a photographer doesn’t have insurance, chances are they’re new to the business or haven’t taken appropriate professional steps. We carry general business, equipment, and professional liability insurance.

7. If my event lasts longer than scheduled, will you stay? Is there an extra charge?
You’ll want to know the photographers’ policies on overages.

If you know your event will last longer than our contracted time, we will discuss additional payment before your wedding day. On the day of your wedding, about 30 minutes before our end time, we’ll check with you and your DJ to make sure everything will be finished within the timeframe. If you’re starting your bouquet toss at the exact time we’re supposed to leave, don’t worry, we’ll stay! Our goal is not to rush out of your wedding as fast as possible! Heck, I may have to pull Troy off the dance floor, and full disclosure, we’ll probably eat a piece of cake before we leave too! Have I told you how much we love wedding cake?!

8. What happens if you are ill on my wedding day?
It happened to me early on in my career. I was shooting an outside wedding and started the day with a slight headache. I tried to cover it up by taking ibuprofen and drinking plenty of water, but it got worse. Significantly worse. I ended up quite sick and was shooting the wedding by myself. Fortunately, I had the most gracious and understanding bride, groom, and wedding party. I’m still thankful for their kindness, and I learned something that day. I would never attend a wedding by myself again. And I didn’t.

We’re fortunate because we have two photographers. There have been weddings when one of us is not feeling well, but we’ve plowed through the day. We’re professionals. We do what we need to do.

Life does happen, though, and if one of us is so ill that we cannot attend the wedding, then we have a network of professional photographers to help us if needed! We have a wonderful community of friends in the wedding industry. Last year, Troy called me the day before a wedding from the bathroom floor. I immediately called a wedding photographer friend and had her on standby should the need arise. We didn’t need her, but we were prepared!

9. How long until we receive our final gallery?
We’ve all heard horror stories of brides who haven’t received their wedding images until a year after the wedding day, and although I think that’s rare, it’s always good to have an expectation of when you’ll have your photos in hand.

We have a goal to have your photos in your online gallery by your one month anniversary. Sometimes it may be five weeks, but it’s important to us to get them in your hands ASAP!

10. How many images can I expect to see from my wedding?
Although many photographers offer “all your wedding day images” in a digital file format, you’ll want to clarify what this means.

You can expect to receive approximately 1200+ images from your wedding day from Traci and Troy. Of those 1200+, we flag approximately 400-500+ or more as favorites. We spend extra time perfecting photos in your “favorites” folder– removing a blemish, obtrusive road sign in the background, etc.

I hope you find this helpful! Are there other questions you’d ask? Comment below!

I’ve always made a valentine photo session a priority with my kids. I love that I have these documented memories of them as they’ve grown. You can see a few of them here, here, here, and here.

I knew there was no way I could talk my 13 year old son into joining us for this year’s session so I had a quick brainstorm.

Lydia is a competitive gymnast and spends three evenings a week at the gym. Her teammates are like sisters to her. They’re always together, and we often describe her teammates as her “gym family.” They encourage like sisters, they laugh together like sisters, they pray together like sisters, and yes, they even get annoyed like sisters :).

These girls are such an integral part of her life that I thought it would be meaningful and fun to photograph them outside the gym! You’d never know from their sweet smiles how brave and tough they are. I have a lot of respect for each of them and all for different reasons– for conquering her fears, for continuing to work on that one skill that she just can’t master, for giving up her medal when her teammate didn’t receive one, for showing humbleness when she’s often on the podium, for getting back on the beam after taking a hard fall in front of the judges.. I could go on.

But in spite of the poise and maturity these girls show every week during practices and competitions, they’re still 7-11 year olds, and I wanted to celebrate that! Happy Valentines Day!

Brides have so many decisions to make– venues, invitations, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, jewelry, wedding day hair styles, boutonnieres, cakes, centerpieces, djs, videographers, planners, programs, groomsmen attire…and the list continues!

In the midst of these decisions, its easy to get overwhelmed. I get it. I get asked often what I’ve learned from being a part of so many weddings, and truth be told, professional wedding planners are INVALUABLE and BRILLIANT when it comes to helping you make smart planning decisions; I’m no substitute for their expertise! There are a few things, however, that we’ve learned when it comes to guaranteeing a memorable experience for guests and setting a foundation for dynamic photos.

Here are our 5 smart ideas when planning a wedding:

1. Allow your wedding style to match your wedding venue:

One of the smartest decisions a couple makes is choosing a wedding style that is consistent with their wedding venue. Lauren, with Every Last Detail blog, wrote a post a few years ago on determining your style and it has excellent advice that still holds true today. Your can read it here.

It comes down to this: If you’re having a church wedding, don’t plan an eclectic, quirky styled wedding. If you’re having a country club reception, don’t plan a bohemian styled wedding.

Are you drawn to casual, traditional, modern, romantic, rustic, vintage…?

Once you choose your style, make sure all your decisions are filtered through this lens. This includes your stationery, your dress, your hairstyle, your shoes, your flowers, the groom’s attire– everything!

Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule with blending two styles together, but as a general rule, use your venue as your guide!

2. When choosing a wedding dress, be conscious about wedding trends and fads.
If I were to get married and choose a wedding dress, I would walk into a bridal boutique and have a conversation that goes something like this,”I would like to feel special and unique on my wedding day. What are the current trends in wedding dresses? I would prefer to stay away from those trends so that my dress won’t look like so many other brides this year. Can you show me some unique dresses that are still classy?”

3. Arrange for professional hair and makeup.
This is a big deal for me. I didn’t do this for my own wedding, and it’s always been my biggest regret. There really is a difference. Professional bridal makeup is invaluable to your wedding day pictures!

4. Plan to get ready in a large room with windows.
What does the getting ready room at your venue look like? Does it have windows to allow for natural light? If getting ready photos are important to you, you may want to think through your options. We photograph a lot of church weddings. Avoiding brightly colored walls, stacks of chairs, and Sunday School chalkboards is all too familiar. Is there another location that makes more sense to get ready? I recently read a photographer’s blog that advised looking into AirBNBs for getting ready rooms. Think outside the box! Then think about the people you want surrounding you during this time. Does everyone fit in the space?

5. Focus on your bridal bouquet.

Every budget is different, and every bride will have a different idea about how much money they want to spend on florals, but don’t skimp on YOUR bridal bouquet.  A bride’s bouquet is a focal point for your wedding images so we recommend investing in your dream bouquet! If you need to cut your floral budget, look for other ways!

As always, let me know if you have questions! Happy planning!