Joel Carter Photography

Please enjoy this guest post by our friends at Joel Carter Photography:


wedding photographer and family

Hello friends! This is Joel and Kara Carter, and together we are the driving, creative force behind Carter Photography.

We are advocates for the awesomeness of marriage, and believe that it is absolutely worth celebrating as one of life’s biggest (and best) occasions. We have been married for over 13 years ourselves, and it literally just keeps getting better!

After graduating from college, we moved to Kansas City and spent 10 years growing our business and finding our unique, creative voice there. We moved back to Iowa in late 2015, so we are still relatively new to the wedding scene here. It has been an awesome change to return to our eastern Iowa roots and raise our kids closer to family. Iowa has been, and always will be, home.

As far as our business is concerned, we try to build our brand around two primary pillars:

  1. Awesome Images.

The goal is to create timeless photos that you can feel. You want to remember what the day looked like, sure. But it’s even better if you can remember what the day felt like through emotionally rich images. Words that should describe every one of our photos: real, genuine, colorful, vibrant.

Bride with dad.

2) A Great Experience.

We want your time with us to be simple, stress-free and lots of fun, from the first correspondence through the final delivery of images. We hope to inspire confidence so that you will have the peace of mind to be fully present in life’s most important moments without worrying about what your photographers are up to.

It’s good to consider the essence of what your wedding is about, because it’s easy to get lost in all the planning, the venue, the day-of details, the photos, the video, the flowers, etc, etc, etc. Did we just stress you out there? We want you to be able to enjoy your big day, totally present with the people—and more specifically, the person—you love most. That is what every wedding is about, and we encourage you to never lose sight of that. So, you want awesome photos and an awesome wedding day experience? Here are some tips that can put your mind at ease.

  • Do an engagement session!
    They give you an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera and build trust and familiarity with your photographer. The difference between our couples that have had an engagement session and those that haven’t is pretty big. When couples have seen their engagement photos, their confidence in what we will be able to deliver on their wedding day is far greater. Peace and confidence on your wedding day is a beautiful thing. And when we have photographed an engagement session, it’s literally like we are walking into the getting ready room as friends.
  • Create a scheduleGive your photographers an opportunity to be successful on the wedding day. Mind-blowing photos don’t just happen in 5 minutes. Involve your photographers early on in the scheduling process, and collaborate with them to create a timeline and location plan that you both feel good about. If you are able to create a schedule months in advance, you can exist in the moments of the day, rather than stressing over details and timing.
  • Avoid a lengthy detailed shot listAvoid handing a shot list to your photographers. If you want documentary photos that capture the essence of your day, allow your photographer to capture the events of the day organically. We try to encourage the Pinterest inspired must-have photos to be no more than 2-3.
  • Include family photosHand your photographers a shot list for photos. The list that we do want for a wedding day is one of each family photo that you would like to have taken. This ensures that there is order around a relatively chaotic time, and that no important people will be missed.
  • Be presentPretend your photographers don’t exist on the wedding day. Seriously. The best photos come when you are not aware of the camera. Not only that, but being unaware of your photographers encourages more authentic moments, as you are free to be more present with the people that you love.
  • Incorporate your unique sideConsider what makes you and your relationship unique and really lean into it. If you have locations, hobbies, interests, traditions, etc. that are special to your relationship, try to incorporate them into your wedding or engagement session. Weddings are more fun and memorable when you inject your unique personality into them. Your story doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.
  • Emotions matterLaugh. Cry (please cry). Love. Your wedding day is not a performance. If you want authentic photos, let your guard down and be beautifully you. Don’t aim for perfection. Remember how loved you are by all the people that are there to celebrate you, regardless of whether every detail is perfect.

These are all things that we consider critical for awesome wedding photos and a wedding day experience that you will be delighted with. If you are in the market for a photographer for your wedding day and want great photos and a great experience, we would be honored to have you consider our work.

Joel & Kara

Thank you, Joel and Kara, for guest posting on our blog! You can find them on the Carter Photography website, on the Carter Photography Blog or on Facebook at Carter Photo and Design.