Wedding Planning


Your fur baby is a part of your family.  For many new couples, a dog, cat, horse, iguana, pet crab and goldfish are the very first steps to having a human pack of their own someday.  For many people, having fur babies is not just for fun, but it actually makes people healthier.

For one, fur babies are great companions.  You are never alone when you have a fur baby.  They love unconditionally.  Dogs and other fur babies also keep their people more active decreasing blood pressure, and managing cholesterol levels.  All in all, snuggly fur babies make their people happy.  Why not include them on the wedding day?  Here is a list of ways:

Ring “Bear”

Make your fur baby a ring bearer.  Place the wedding ring on a sparkly collar as he walks down the isle delivering the rings.    As he cutely walks down the isle, he will be a hit with the entire wedding ensemble as you hear “oohs and ahhh’s”.

Escort Down the Isle

If you are having a farm or barn wedding, invite your horse to walk you down the isle or usher you in a horse drawn carriage to the ceremony.  After the ceremony ride away in a getaway to spend a few moments alone with the groom.  You will treasure the portraits the photographer captures of this moment.

“Family” Portraits

Portraits of the bride and groom with their fur baby are something you will always treasure.  How often do you get a chance to get professional photographs of your snuggly cuties?  Dress them up in something adorable for the wedding photographs.  

The Hit of the Party

Fur babies are always the hit of every party.  They know just how to capture the heart of your guests.  Some fur babies become quite adept at dancing.  Our Havanese loves to entertain us by her cute spin/karate/dancing.  You may not want to do this with a clydesdale though.

They Relieve Stress

Fur babies have one job:  to love you.  They will be there on the wedding day to give kisses, affection and treats.  Mostly they will help you not to become stressed.  Wedding days can be hectic and stressful.  Take a fur baby vacation throughout the day to relax.

Always remember to have a member of the family in charge of the fur babies so you can enjoy your guests and husband.  Weddings happen once in a lifetime!  Enjoy the day!

Read this blog post to learn more about us! Why Hire Tim Ray Photography to Photograph Your Wedding Day?

Contact us!

In this article, learn ways to make sure you receive the portraits of your dreams when you choose to tie the knot in a farm or barn wedding and events venue.

Non-tradition reception venues are a recent trend among the newly engaged.  Formal black-tie weddings have decreased 20% in recent years.  Homemade chalk board signs, distressed vintage furniture all reflect the charm of “rustic chic”.

Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding
Barn Wedding

As a result of the trend away from the more formal wedding locations, a wave of faux barns have become popular around West Virginia and the surrounding areas.  Like many generations before them, young brides want expensive weddings, but instead of the formal venues, churches, restaurants, ball rooms and hotels, millennial instead wants barns, metal pole buildings, and breweries.

The new approach to weddings is to personalize one’s wedding.  Millennials choose to make the wedding an expression of their identity.  As a result, we see the rise of themed weddings, weddings in unique locales such as historic homes, vineyards, farms, and mountaintops.  According to recent articles, cost is not the deciding factor as to whether to choose a formal venue, or choose a farm wedding.

Farm/Barn Wedding
Farm Barn Wedding
Farm Wedding

Pros and Cons to Having a Barn Wedding


  •   Picturesque. Rolling fields of golden grass set on the hills of the Appalachians are masterpieces when paired with professional artistic wedding photography.   A wedding ceremony set among a meadow of waving grass with dramatic clouds in the distance, makes for a masterpiece portrait you will treasure all your life.  
  •   A Blank Canvas.  According to Wedding Wire, many couples choose to tie the knot in a barn venue because they can truly capture the rustic chic trend.  A bride may have a “hands-on” experience with all the little delightful aspects of decorating her wedding day to express her personal style and capture the charm in all the ways she has always dreamed to encapsulate a rustic chic wedding.  
  •   On the other hand, a more formal venue or church will have restrictions on the decorations.  Many formal venues have their own professional decorators who add cheer to the venue for holidays, etc.  Additionally, some venues charge extra to come the day before the wedding in order to decorate, or charge for cleaning, etc.
  •   Privacy.  A wedding in a faux barn will offer privacy for the reception party.  Sound that a live band or a DJ might produce, will not be hindered by the fear of keeping the music down low.
  •   Space.  In a barn wedding, the guests will have plenty of space to dance.  The little children at the wedding will have enough space to run around.
  • Furry Friends. From dogs, to horses to cows, your furry friends will have no problem being a part of your ceremony and reception.

Cons to Having a Barn Wedding:

  •   Paving and wheel friendly.  Make sure the venue has paved area for the cars of your guests.  You don’t want anyone getting stuck.
  •   Portrait opportunities.  Many newly made “barn” wedding venues, are just a pole building with a parking lot.  Little consideration has been taken for beautiful landscaping.  If the venue is not placed in a beautiful field or surrounded by landscaping, make sure you arrive a day before to scout out perfect location for you and your photographer to go after the wedding to take portraits.  There is only so much a photographer can created with metal siding, parking lot and parked cars if there is no flowers, grass, trees, or space where there are points of interest.  Driving from A to point B after the wedding may take time away from timely getting to the reception and may throw your wedding time frame off.
  •   Wheel chair and handicap accessible.  Make sure the faux barn wedding venue is handicap accessible and has handicap accessible bathroom facilities in place for your guests.  If not, you may have to rent portable bathrooms.  We have photographed weddings at barn venues where there was only one bathroom with steep stairs for all the guests.  You don’t want the elderly or handicap to trip and fall.
  •   Finished or unfinished flooring.  Does the barn have a dirt floor or finished floor?  With dirt, hay and dust, many of your guests may have allergic reactions.  Spiders love to live in barns.  We recently photographed a barn wedding where the bride stepped on a nest of spiders which flew up into the floods of her lacy gown.
  •   Can you bring your own photographer?  Some barn venues require you to use their own photographers.  You may experience a loss of quality photography if you have to rely on the barn venue’s hired photographers.  The photographers may not be experienced qualified wedding photographers and may not capture the romance of your wedding of which you had dreamed.  If you choose to have your wedding at a barn who insists on their own photographer, ask to see entire weddings the photographer has photographed.  Speak with the photographer beforehand and ask how many weddings he has photographed.  You don’t want to be stuck with disappointment after your wedding day by receiving blurry, dark, and poorly composed images of the most important day of your life.  
4 T Arena, Fairmont, WV
4 T Arena

If you’re having a barn wedding, call us today and tell us your ideas!  We would love to speak with you regarding your wedding.  Call us for current wedding sales and specials.

Why Hire Tim Ray Photography to Photograph Your Wedding?

Photography:  What Is The Difference Between An Experienced Professional, a Photo Mill, and a Hobbyist Photographer?

Lakeview Golf Resort Wedding

You’re getting married!  Although this is a great time of celebration for you and your fiancé, your mom and dad, and your friends, it is also a time of decision making.  Wedding planning can seem overwhelming at first.  You have to decide on the dress, the rings, the photographer and the venue for the wedding.  And oh so many more decisions!  How do you even start?  

This article will help you understand the difference between different photographers, how to choose the best option for you, how to avoid being scammed, what questions to ask in a consultation, and how to ultimately receive the wedding portraits of your dreams:  portraits that you treasure, portraits with which you can decorate your home, portraits that are conversation pieces, portraits of loved ones, and most importantly, portraits that capture the romance and tell the love story between a husband and a wife. 

Most who call themselves professional photographers are hobbyists who make money on the side by photographing weddings illegally not paying any sale’s taxes, venue insurance, municipality taxes, etc.  Hobbyist attach the word “professional” to their name on their facebook page, but don’t be tricked!  The word “professional” is self proclaimed! Be wise as a fox and understand the terms.  Don’t be scammed into hiring someone who says they are “professional” but their work shows something opposite.  A wedding photographer’s work will always tell the true story to tell if they are truly professionals or scam artists.

Wedding photography at West Virginia State Capitol Building

What Is A True Experienced Professional Photographer?

A True Experienced Professional Photographer is one who has successfully photographed with consistency beautiful portraits for 21 or more weddings. Not only that, but his sole income is by photography.  He knows how to create beautiful art, how to enhance his portraits, and how to create beautiful light when there is no natural light available.  He knows how to bring out the natural expression of his subjects without making them look posed.  Most people when they are in front of a camera for the first time, don’t know where to look or what expression to have.  That awkwardness may come through and inhibit beautiful facial expressions in the portraits. A true experienced professional wedding photographer knows how to get relaxed natural looking expressions from the bride and groom.  He will understand how to light portraits in all lighting situations.  A true professional will understand the poses to use in order to enhance the best qualities of his subjects and deemphasize the less attractive qualities.  He understands the angles to use to make people appear thinner, younger and appear their best selves.  He will understand how to make your venue, your details, you dress, and you look spectacular.

WV Church Wedding

What Is A Hobbyist?

A Hobbyist is one who works another job as a main source of income.  His photography work is supplemental.  He is not registered with the state as a professional, does not pay taxes, is not accountable to anyone to make sure consumers are safe. Many hobbyists are public school teachers, or work some other type of job.  They are not true wedding photography professionals, do not provide the quality of work a true professional provides, can charge a cheap price because all the work is “under the table”.  They may not have good equipment or back up equipment, they may not have external light sources or understand how to photograph in different lighting situations.  A consumer will not be able to enlarge these portraits because they may not be enhanced, they may have poor composition, or they may be blurry. A Hobbyist is one who photographs for fun and may even give away photographs.  He may have photographed 1 to 10 weddings, none of which provide consistent quality to the newly married couple.  A hobbyist most likely will not use flash, or use too much flash so that the subjects look pasty and the venue is unevenly lit.

Weddings and vintage cars

What Is An Assistant Photographer?

An assistant photographer is one who has worked with a registered experienced professional photographer on a regular basis in order to learn.  He is an apprentice of photography.  He may have photographed 6-10 weddings on his own.  He may not provide consistent quality if he was photographing a wedding alone.

Black and White Wedding Portraits
Black and White Fashion Wedding Photography

What Is A Photo Mill?

A Photo Mill is a wedding photographry scam.  We have had many brides and grooms tell us in the past that they made the mistake of hiring a photo mill agency who promised to provide nearly everything for their wedding from DJ to wedding album. But all their pictures were low quality. And by the time they received the final product, so many fees were tacked on that they actually could have hired a slightly more expensive experienced professional photographer – in many cases they wanted Tim Ray to be that experienced professional. These photo mills have a website that portrays lots of beautiful images.  However, what the consumer doesn’t understand is that these images come from many different amateur photographers.  It’s easy to get one photograph from a series of a thousand to look good.  Many of the good images you see on the website is one good portrait out of a 100 per wedding of terrible, blurry, dark, and poorly composed images.   The photographs from each wedding are not consistently good.  Their prices may be initially cheap, they may even tack on additional services to use as bait to get a bride and groom to hire.  But when the wedding is over, the consumer may find that there is additional fees (traveling fees, retouching fees, print release fees etc.).  The photographs may be in a low res/low quality form which may inhibit enlargements.  By the end, the bride and groom are left with nothing of value from their wedding.

Ask The Right Questions:

Here are some questions to ask!

  •   How many years have you been photographing weddings, and how many weddings have you  photographed?
  •   Can I see complete weddings that you have photographed?  You should see consistency in their work.
  •   Can I view entire weddings?  Also can I view weddings from my venue or church?
  •   Can I read reviews of your work?  Do you have reviews on your website?
  •   Do you do this full time?
  •   What kind of equipment do you use?  What kind of back up equipment do you use?
Church Bridal Portrait

Why Is It Important What Type of Equipment A Wedding Photographer Has?

A professional camera body perform better in low light.  Professional lenses focus faster, are sharper, have crisper images, more beautiful colors, and are vibrant.  If a camera focuses faster, the professional photographer will be able to catch the fleeting moments of a wedding.  If a camera fails to focus, he misses those moments.  Other professional equipment is professional external lighting systems, backgrounds if the wedding day is rainy, and reflectors to capture the sun.  

Stonewall Resort Wedding

Understanding Professional Wedding Photographer Verses Hobbyist

  •   1-5 weddings – inexperienced hobbyist
  •   6-10 weddings – amateur (could quality as an assistant)
  •   10-20 weddings – experienced amateur 
  •   21-30 weddings – experienced
  •   31 plus weddings – professional wedding photographer
Fall Wedding

Tim Ray Photography has photographed over 1000 weddings.  He has never missed one job.  

Why Hire Tim Ray Photography?

Contact us today for our wedding specials!  We would love to show you around our studio and help with any wedding ideas you have!  We would love to capture your fairy tale wedding for you and give you portraits you can treasure for a lifetime.