Orlando Wedding Photography Blog

By Kevin Graham

Congratulations on your engagement! Now you are searching for wedding photography only to find that wedding photographers often use a whole bunch of confusing phrases.

I am guilty of it myself — I catch myself discussing leather-bound, flush mount, seamless albums to someone who has only been engaged for a short time.

I figured it would be good to put together a list of terms that we wedding photographers frequently use. If you ever have any questions, please ask.

Album Spread

When you open your wedding album, you will see a series of two page spreads with your photos on them. Some photographers will describe an album as pages (or sides), others will describe the album in terms of spreads.

Canvas Wrap

A canvas wrap is a gorgeous way to print your photos. Your image is printed on to canvas that is then mounted to wood and ready for framing.

Wedding Photography - An example of a Canvas Wrap.

An example of a Canvas Wrap.


As a bride, you spent countless hours picking out all of the special details of the day — your shoes, your rings, your flowers, your dress, the centerpieces etc.

We like to capture photos of these details as they help tell the story of the day and show how beautiful your wedding was.

Wedding Photography -  Wedding rings are a frequently photographed detail

Wedding rings are a frequently photographed detail

Digital Negatives

Digital Negatives are just another way of saying digital versions of your wedding photos. These photos are generally in a .JPG format and can be viewed on your computer, television, phone, etc. In addition, if you have a print release, you will be able print these photos.

First Look

A first look is when you see your fiancΓ© before the ceremony. It allows for an intimate moment that makes for fabulous photos.

Traditionally, couples chose to see each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle. However, first looks have become popular recently as a special moment of your day.

Example of a First Look

Example of a First Look

Engagement Session

Engagement sessions are generally a photo session with the recently engaged couple. The session takes anywhere from an hour to several days, based on the type of session you book.

Engagement sessions are a lot of fun and a great way to get to get some photos together as a couple. I find that couples that choose to do engagement sessions are much more comfortable in front of the camera come their wedding day.

You can do so many things with the photos. Traditionally, the photos were published as an announcement in the newspaper. Today, the photos are being used for so much more — engagement albums, save the date cards, sign in books, sharing on Facebook. Not to mention, it is great to have non-wedding photos of you as a couple.

Please feel free to browse our blog posts featuring engagement sessions.


These are the traditional portrait session with family and attendants. Formals are generally more posed and usually take place close to the ceremony location.

Wedidng Photography - Formal Wedding Photos at Cypress Grove Park in Orlando

Formal Wedding Photos at Cypress Grove Park in Orlando

Flush Mount Album

This isn’t your parent’s wedding album. Traditionally, photos were printed and then slid in to the pages of the album.

Today, pages that have the photos printed on them. The pages are then bound together to assemble the album.

Online Gallery

An online gallery is a collection of all of the photos from your wedding. It’s a great way to share the photos with all of your family and friends.

It also allows for you and your guests to purchase any prints of the photos. We also use the online gallery as a way for our clients to choose the photos that they want for their album.


Some photographers call their pricing, “Investment”. I call it Pricing. πŸ™‚


Different photographers use different terminology. It’s a choice of different options, each bundled with various components. When you choose “option B”, you get all that is included with it.

I call it Packages. Please check out our package and pricing information.

Print Release

Without permission from the studio, you are unable to print professional photos. The print release is a document that you need to take to the store, in order for them to be able to print the photos.

If you purchase a DVD of the Images as part of your package, it comes with a print release.


Proofs are the collection of photos from your event. Proofs can be either digital or in print form. Proofs may not be the “Final Edit” of your photo. If you order a print of a one of the photos from your proofs, additional tweaks and edits may occur.

Rock the Dress/Trash the Dress

Rock the Dress portrait sessions are a chance to put on your wedding dress again and take some fun photos that you could not have done on your wedding day.

These photos usually take place in locations a little “untraditional” for a bride and groom. I’ve done these sessions in a bunch of places including in the ocean, on a fire truck, and in a park.

Sometimes Trash the Dress can mean the dress is “destroyed” as part of the process, which is why I prefer Rock the Dress. Worst-case scenario with a Rock the Dress – the dress may need a trip to the cleaner when it’s done.

Read this write-up by one of our clients, Denise, about her Rock the Dress session.

An example of a photo from a Rock the Dress Session.

An example of a photo from a Rock the Dress Session.

Save the Date Cards

Protocol for weddings is to send out the invitation a couple months prior to the wedding. However, that might not be enough notice, especially if guests are travelling from out of town. Couples will send Save the Date cards further in advance just letting people know to block this date on their calendar.

Quite often, guests will use photos from their engagement session for the save the date cards.

Seamless Album

A seamless album means that the album has no “gap” in the center where it folds. Although there is a small crease where it folds, it doesn’t take away from the layout.

Seamless albums allow us to be more creative in our album layouts, placing photos covering two pages.

An example of a seamless layout spread in a wedding album.

An example of a seamless layout spread in a wedding album.

Shot List

A shot list is a list of all of the key photos that should try to be captured on your wedding day. Although the shot-list usually refers to the formal session, it can be a lot more than that.

I usually work with a couple to determine the shot-list in advance, keying on which photos are important to the couple.

I hope that this list helped with some of the confusion when it comes to wedding photography. Are there any expressions you’ve heard that aren’t in the list? Please let me know in the comments.

5 Responses to “Guide to Wedding Photography Terminology”

  1. Hannah says:

    Good idea for a post. Some things are just part of my every day vocabulary and it doesn’t cross my mind that our clients may not know exactly what I’m talking about!

  2. Great blog post. It’s easy for us as photographers to remember that our clients don’t know or understand our “lingo.”

  3. Liesl Diesel says:

    Great idea to write all this out for your clients! very helpful!

  4. haha, I never would’ve thought to put a post together about terminology, but it’s a good call! These terms do become second nature, and it’s nice that you thought to educate your clients!

  5. Leon Bailey says:

    This is a very good idea. Great inspiration as well! Very informative and every bride or potential bride should not have any problems understanding what you have written. πŸ™‚

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