Award-winning wedding photographer Lori Barbely is based in Orlando, FL and photographs weddings and events throughout Florida. Her unobtrusive style allows her to capture the emotional moments of your wedding day.
Celeste was in Orlando on vacation at Disney World with her son and her mother. Ryan was back home in North Carolina at work. Except he wasn’t! He flew down the night before Celeste and company were heading to the Magic Kingdom and let me tell you—getting to Florida wasn’t easy! His flight was super delayed and he made it to Orlando in the wee hours of the morning.
I told Celeste that Mickey knew it was her birthday and that he had a surprise for her. While we were waiting for the Big Cheese, Ryan snuck up and surprised her! So she was not only shocked to see him, she was even more shocked when he dropped to one knee and proposed! Of course she said YES!
I had so much fun photographing Alysha and Javier’s engagement photos at Lake Runnymede Park! We wandered the woods looking for gorgeous light and locations and found something new and beautiful at every turn! And can we just talk about how cute these two are together? I can’t wait to photograph their wedding this fall at Crystal Ballroom!
Katie and I met when we trained for our first marathon together with Orlando’s Track Shack running program. You learn a lot about people when you run with them at 4am (I wish I was kidding about the time!) We’ve logged many miles together and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her get engaged, then married to Robin. In the next exciting chapter, they’re expecting a little girl, Londyn Grace, and I was thrilled to capture these maternity photos for them at Playalinda Beach.
Recently I wrote this article for Wedding Venue Map and I wanted to share it here with you since the information is near and dear to my heart!
VHS, Betamax, floppy disks, Zip disks—what do all of these data storage mediums have in common? It’s all but impossible to retrieve data off them today. But at one time, they were the cutting edge way to store data, be it text, photos, or videos.
Now think about your wedding photos and how they’re stored. Are they on a CD or DVD? A USB drive? An external hard drive? The cloud? What’s to guarantee that you’ll be able to access your digital images in five, 10, or 50 years? Many newer computers are doing away with CD/DVD drives and some computers already require adapters to plug in USB drives (I’m looking at you, Apple).
Maybe the Cloud is the solution, but files can also get corrupt, lost, or accidentally deleted. All of this is to say that we have no way of knowing what the future holds, which is why I’m a huge advocate of wedding albums and of printing out your wedding photos.
All photos, really.
Why Wedding Albums are Important
Photographers by nature are storytellers. Wedding photographers spend hours creating images that tell the story of your wedding day. From the early moments of the bride getting ready, to the groom nervously pacing before walking down the aisle, to that stolen moment gazing at the stars during the reception, your wedding day is a story waiting to be told.
Let’s be honest, won’t it be more fun to flip through a physical wedding album to share that story with your future kids or grandkids rather than swiping through images on the Cloud or your tablet?
The tactile experience of flipping through a wedding album is far more satisfying. If your wedding photography package didn’t come with an album, or you chose to omit it because you were watching your budget, consider using some of your wedding gift money to have your photographer create a wedding album for you.
Wedding albums are another way to showcase your personal style. Gone are the days of basic black or white album covers. Photo covers, funky colors, leather (or vegan “leather”), linen, and other materials allow you to create a unique keepsake.
Each photographer handles the wedding album creation process differently, but keep in mind that they create wedding albums on a regular basis. Rely on their knowledge and expertise to help guide the process and you’ll end up with an amazing keepsake that tells the story of your wedding day. Each year on your anniversary, pull out your album and flip through it with your spouse, and be reminded of wedding moments and details that may have faded from your memory over time.
Why You Should Print Your Wedding Photos
You spent a lot of money planning your perfect wedding—from the dress to the details—and you hired a professional photographer to document your day, so clearly, the images are important to you.
Now that all the festivities are said and done, you’re probably left with a USB drive of images sitting in a drawer somewhere. Does looking at that piece of plastic bring back fond memories of the big day? Probably not! So get that drive out of a drawer and have some prints made and display them where you can see them on a regular basis.
Photographer’s packages vary, but if you’ve received a USB drive of photos, odds are good that you’ve also received a release that allows you to have prints made. You’ll need to have that handy to have prints made as photo labs will not allow professional images to be printed without a release.
Now, you could head over to CVS or Walgreens and use their photo machines, but consider using an online lab like Mpix that offers premium quality prints. You’ll pay a few dollars more, but you’ll get better quality paper and techs that ensure you get the best quality prints for your buck.
Now you’re probably thinking, “but I’ve got a home printer that can make photo prints, why should I spend money at a lab?” It comes down to quality and longevity.
Home prints can last anywhere from five to 100 years, depending on the ink and paper combination used. Prints made by a professional photo lab can last 100 years if properly displayed and up to 200 years if correctly stored.
For all photographic prints, fading over time is an issue. You can extend the lifetime of your printed photos by displaying them under glass in an area that’s free of direct sunlight, excessive humidity (no easy feat in Florida), and high temperatures. If your prints aren’t on display, you want to store them in a dark, cool, and dry place to increase their longevity.
There are also a number of fun options out there for displaying your photos. You can have them printed on canvas, wood, or even metal for a unique look that fits your personal style. However, the longevity of these types of prints are variable, so consider them a short-term display solution.
You always hear about the importance of backing up digital files and you absolutely should make a digital backup of your wedding images. In addition to that, consider a wedding album and prints to be a hard copy backup. You won’t regret it.
You’ve got wedding guests traveling from near and far to celebrate your special day and you’ve selected your central Florida wedding venue, but what about the rest of the festivities? Shannon Tarrant, founder of Wedding Venue Map shares some of her favorite group activities and fun things to do in Orlando for out-of-town wedding guests.
Located just north of Orlando, Wekiva Island is the best place to enjoy Florida’s natural springs. You can rent a cabana for the day and explore the Wekiva River by canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Not into the water? No problem! Enjoy land activities like a wedding guest volleyball game, a rousing game of corn hole, or just chill on the boardwalk overlooking the river. Grab a bite to eat or enjoy a drink at The Tooting Otter bar.
Enjoy a scenic tour of the Winter Park Chain of lakes aboard an 18-passenger pontoon boat. Individual tickets or private rentals are available. The knowledgeable tour guides talk about the area and some of the historic homes — including where Fred Rogers lived when he went to Rollins College — as you explore Lake Virginia, Lake Osceola, Lake Maitland, Lake Mizell, and Lake Minnehaha. It’s a great activity for all ages and especially during Florida’s cooler months.
Black Hammock Adventures is an exciting "Real Florida" experience. Experience an airboat ride across Lake Jesup, home to the LARGEST alligator population in all of Florida, and have your photo taken with a live baby alligator. Follow your tour with a taste of gator — blackened, Buffalo, Cajun or Florida style — at Black Hammock Restaurant.
Tavares, Florida is home to the area’s local seaplane base. Enjoy flight-seeing tours with beautiful views of Lake Dora and the Harris Chain of Lakes or take a seaplane charter to Mount Dora for a day of shopping and return via the Royal Palm Railway. Sunset tours over the Harris Chain of Lakes are a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Lakeridge Winery overlooks 80+ acres of vineyards planted with native muscadine grapes. Complimentary tours and wine tastings are offered daily, though you won’t be stomping grapes I Love Lucy style unless you attend the Winery’s annual grape stomp in August.
Winter Park is a cultural gem with a wonderful shopping and dining. Park Avenue boasts more than 140 boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and museums. Don’t miss the Morse Museum, Prato, and the Saturday Farmer’s Market.
The City of Mount Dora truly is 'Someplace Special'. This charming, one-hundred-plus-year-old historic village in the heart of Central Florida sits on the shores of beautiful Lake Dora. It’s the perfect town to simply relax and escape the hustle and bustle of Orlando’s busier tourist areas. The small town is perfect for shopping, dining and offers a variety of weekend festivals throughout the year.
New Smyrna is one of the most popular day trips to the ocean from the Orlando area. Located on the Atlantic side of Florida, the beaches are less touristy than Daytona or Cocoa Beach. With 17 miles of sandy coastline, NSB has a laid back and friendly atmosphere with tons of surfing, fishing, and boating opportunities.
The cobblestone streets of historic downtown Winter Garden are replete with myriad restaurants and shops to please every taste. Stop by the Saturday Farmer’s Market for local produce, merchandise, and food trucks, then head to the Crooked Can for a local brew.
Whether it’s daytime dining and shopping or nighttime shows and entertainment, Universal CityWalk is an all-encompassing mega entertainment complex that has plenty of convenient options to please even the pickiest of guests.
Hollerbach's is a family-owned German restaurant in downtown Sanford, just north of Orlando. This lively family-friendly spot often has live music and has a full menu of German offerings including beer, schnitzel, and wurst.
Located in historic downtown Mount Dora, the Goblin Market has been serving locals and visitors since 1996. The restaurant features three book-lined dining rooms and a cozy outdoor patio. Try the truffle mushroom burger or the twin 4-ounce fillets.
4R is a family-owned slow-smoked barbecue chain named one of "The South's Best BBQ Joints" by Southern Living. Homestyle sides and fresh-baked bread pair with to-die-for brisket and the restaurant supports local schools, churches, and charitable organizations.
Step into the ski chalet style Colorado Fondue Company and you’ll feel like you’re in Colorado, not Florida. This local cook-your-own fondue restaurant is a truly interactive experience, making it the perfect group activity for bridal parties or wedding guest get-togethers.
Making recommendations for your out-of-town wedding guests will make your wedding weekend unforgettable for them!
Your bags are packed and you’re ready to hit the road for your once-in-a-lifetime trip but you’re not really sure how to capture those killer Instagram-worthy images that will make your friends envious. I’m sharing my top five tips for taking better travel photos...with any camera!
The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada during Blue Hour
Light and Location
You’re a stranger in a strange land, maybe even in a strange time zone. Use that pesky jet lag to your advantage. Waking up before the crack of dawn can mean amazing sunrise shots...if you know what time the sun rises. Apps like SunriseSunset allow you to put in dates and a location to see what time the sun rises—and sets—while you’re on the road.
Dreaming of photos like the one above where the sky turns a bright, dreamy blue as lights in buildings come on for the evening? You’ll want to shoot at BlueHour, roughly 10-15 minutes after sunset. BlueHour App is a useful tool for planning your Blue Hour shots.
Do Your Homework
Homework sounds unnecessary and boring, but I promise you that pre-trip homework will inspire you and help you make better photos while traveling. Two of the tools I use to research locations before a trip are Google Images and Instagram.
On Google Images, simply type in a spot you’ll be visiting, for example, Castello di Amorosa and you’ll see photos made there at varies times of the day at different points of the year. For Instagram, go to the search feature and plug in your destination, Castello di Amorosa and click either the location option or the hashtag option to see photos taken there.
How is this helpful? It allows you to prioritize your itinerary based on photos you consider must-haves. I always visit locations on my must-have shot list early in a trip. This allows me to go back to the location and try again if the weather or the crowds don’t cooperate the first time.
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Get Away from the Crowds
Of course, you’re going to want to hit all the highlights of a location. You wouldn’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, right? But you’ll also want to leave some time in your itinerary to wander and look for off the beaten track spots.
Yes, in this day and age of the internet it’s hard to find something previously unseen, but it’s not only fun to wander without a purpose it can also lead to finding things that haven’t already caught the eye (or the lens) of Instagrammers everywhere. This comes with three caveats: do not trespass, take only photographs, and leave only footprints.
Had I not looked behind me while shooting the main portion of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, I would have missed this moment between two local men.
Look Behind You
You’ve got it, the perfect shot you’ve been dreaming of. Awesome! Take a moment to celebrate. Now turn around an look behind you. You might just find an even more amazing shot just waiting to be taken.
With computers and cell phones training us to have our heads down and eyes focused on a screen, we often suffer from tunnel vision. Don’t let your blinders make you miss out on other amazing shots because you’re so focused on a certain scene.
Make Friends, Make Portraits
Pretty pictures of places are nice, but portraits add another layer to the sense of place when it comes to your travel photos. Not only can locals be a valuable source of recommendations for everything from restaurant recommendations to hidden photos spots, but getting to know the people who live in a location give you a truer sense of its culture.
And I get it, asking a stranger to take their photo is one of the biggest fear points for many people who take photos. It took me a while to get past that anxiety, but once I did, it added a whole new depth to my images. And I promise you, good things lurk just outside your comfort zone. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t get rejected one, or two, or 10 times, but that just makes the “yeses” that much sweeter.
Once in a while, I get a crazy idea. This was one of those crazy ideas. when the Dressing Room instagrammed a shot of this incredible black Zander gown by Mattie Sottero Designs I knew immediately that it needed to be photographed. Then, whenRebecca, the manager of the Celebration store told me they were getting the same wedding dress in champagne, an even crazier idea was born. A fairytale, if you will, about finding love through the darkness and coming into the light. And I’m so, SO grateful to the team of vendors who brought this vision to life!
This little dude recently turned four and had an impressive Hot Wheels-themed birthday party. His mom did an amazing job with the decor—can you believe she handmade that giant 4?—and Addy Cakes created that awesome looking (and tasting) cake! When they weren’t bouncing in the bounce house, party goers were creating their own works of art using Hot Wheels cars to paint, and were custom coloring their own cards with markers. I’m not sure about the kids, but I certainly slept well post-party!