Rikki Rivera | Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography

I don’t really know how possible it is to love a family you just met, but the Perry’s are pretty incredible! With limited time to get family pictures taken before the oldest, Jaiden, ventures out to Montana, we really  had to work with what we had. And that meant a truly PNW day – rain, rain, and more rain. I don’t mind the weather, but I was really hoping and praying for sun, since many surrounding days had been pretty decent. However, I think this is just becoming my thing. The best part is that no one seemed to really mind. I mean, we ended up pretty darn soaked, but we made the best of it and I really love that we just hung out and had some fun!

Before I close out, can we just give a little love to Mr. Perry, who did a photo shoot with his kids. Dad of the year award right here! All of my friends and family who are often around me, or waiting me to finish a session, always ask how it went (bless them and all their love + support!). When I finished with our rain soaked dad and kid adventure, the first reaction is, “Just the dad and his kids?” Yeah, we need more of this. More dad’s like this. More families and love like this. I love it!

Can’t wait to see your family again this summer! Have a great time in Montana, J!

Back in October, I had the incredible honor of flying out to Maine (!!!) to capture Liz and Ed saying their vows. None of us (Liz, Ed, or myself) had ever been to Maine before, so there was just so much excitement between all of us! I instantly fell in love, of course, as I had a few days to myself traveling down the East coast, and being apart of the sweetest intimate wedding of the year. Ed and Liz found the absolutely best place in Maine for me to stay, Mill Hill Inn in Bethel, owned by the greatest couple, Woody and Lee. The two nights I was there, I hung out with Lee and we chatted about their business and mine, and Woody made sure I was fed. We were sad to part ways that last night, and I’m so very grateful for connecting with them. Not only did they take such good care of me there, I was able to feel completely at home and relaxed in a new place while totally outside of my comfort zone. If and when I take my family to Maine, I will undoubtedly visit them again.

Maine is so full of color and life, slow living, and kind people. We had arrived just in time for their famous fall views, and I couldn’t take it all in fast enough! There was so much to see and do. I kept it pretty simple, but enjoyed sunrises, back roads, new people, new places, the window down, and the music up. The history and open countrysides are really worth stopping for. If you’re ever in Maine, take the time to soak it all in, every little bit is worth it!

Hi friends! I wanted to talk to you a little bit about hiring a wedding photographer. I’m not one to try to talk you into anything you don’t already have your heart set on, because if there’s one thing professional photographer’s know, it’s that if someone doesn’t already see your value, it’s likely they never will. In turn, they simply aren’t your ideal client + you aren’t their ideal photographer. End of story. However, a little education never hurt anyone and if there’s one thing I’ve learned a lot about over the past few years as a photographer, it’s the ins and outs of a wedding day.

I’ve seen a lot of newly engaged couples begin planning their wedding and their friends and family start encouraging them to skip the photographer and spend it on an epic honeymoon. Because your sister, Uncle Tim, or Aunt Sally has a good camera and she will do it for free!

But the thing is, they likely don’t have years of experience, passion, and talent. It’s not likely they will help you plan and come to your wedding prepared to do whatever it takes for you, because a photographer absolutely will. I’m sure their everyday pictures turn out just fine, but a wedding day? There’s no replicating that day, it’s only going to happen just once. Read on to learn more…

I’m never one to miss an opportunity of amazing travel, especially with my darling husband, but there are other ways to get that trip together. Instead of not having irreplaceable photos, consider trading all those weddings gifts for a honeymoon fund. Encourage your guests, family, and friends to donate to your fund what they might spend instead of actually spending. While I’m not encouraging not investing in all areas of your special day, there are a few other little things that you could save money on if you really wanted to.

Many photographer’s have had inquiring couples respond with ‘you’re out of our budget’ or ‘we’re only looking to spend a few hundred’, and ‘aren’t you only taking pictures for one day?’, and of course, that so and so has a nice camera. But, what you might not think, is that wedding professionals exist for a reason. They have made it their career to be insanely talented in what it takes to pull off an incredible wedding! They want this to work for you and for them and they want to do it all of the time, because this is truly what they love to do! They’ve invested in the best camera gear, the best editing software, and are prepared to give all of their time and expertise to you. A few years ago, I actually had a couple respond with that sticker shock and politely said that they will have a friend take photos. It happens to the best of us, we’re sad, but what can we do? Well, she came back some time later and sent me the gallery of those photos taken by her friend. There was a shockingly good variety of images, but not one that really stood out, that really showed the effort they put into their wedding day, none that showed off that amazing dress she had, the flowers, or her stunning hair. She actually apologized to me and hired me to take anniversary photos, because that day will never come around again like it did that day. You’re putting all of this effort into a wedding venue, into how you are presented, what you eat, dance lessons, and celebrating this momentous occasion, why not make sure that each detail you’ve poured your heart into is beautifully documented.


Since you’re busy planning your wedding, and of course, you aren’t a wedding photographer already, let me fill you in on some of the things that photographer’s actually do for you. Hint: We don’t ONLY take pictures.

  • Good photographer’s will ensure that you are given an experience. You will connect with them. So much in fact, that one of my brides was my bridesmaid a few years later. No kidding.
  • Just so you know, a wedding schedule rarely goes according to plan. But your photographer will be running around like crazy, talking to the DJ, coordinator, and you, to make sure no special moment is missed, no matter how chaotic things might be.
  • We all love those beautiful candid moments, but a few beautiful poses never hurt either. A wedding day is so intense, it’s easy to forget to take a little time with just the two of you + isn’t it so beautiful when you do?
  • Many photographer’s have a special little list with some of the best in the wedding industry. They’ve shot more weddings than you can imagine and I guarantee they’ve taken note of who did an amazing job coordinating, playing music, baking cakes, catering, setting up florals, etc.
  • With all that experience from weddings, your photographer will help you and answer any question you might have. What is the best time of day? Where is the best location? Will this schedule work? What do you think of this? How will that look?
  • You may not realize how much LIGHT can have an effect when taking pictures. Your photographer certainly will though and can even use it to her advantage to ensure it’s amazing, not harsh and unflattering.
  • Yes, your photographer is only shooting your engagement and wedding day. However, she’s going to spend countless hours and days to perfect each photo, to print your beautiful pictures, and wrap them up beautifully just for you. Because there is nothing better after you get married and go on your honeymoon, then to come home and be welcomed by reliving that day through someone else’s eyes. Truly, it is the very best thing.
  • Photographer’s will know all the best moments and shots to take at a wedding. Remember dancing with your dad, how you were so happy you cried? Now you will have the moment forever.
  • You can’t be apart of every moment at your wedding, but don’t worry, it will be documented and you’ll love to see that your best friends had the best time, or how your Grandma got down on the dance floor!
  • A professional is just that, a professional. Your photographer will show up looking fantastic, and excited, happy, and full of creative ideas to share with you. It’s emotional and it’s exhausting, but it’s all of the best things. Just know, that your photographer is feeling those moments too, every.single.time.
  • Photographer’s are artists, they are often transparent + there is all sorts of information and photos they share online just for you to find. You can see all of their personal and professional work, you can read their words, and see where their heart is. If you’re wondering if you’ll connect with them, if they’ll match your style, take some time to research all you can.

With all this, if you aren’t feeling it, that’s ok. There’s a reason we all choose our own career paths and just because wedding photographer’s LOVE weddings, that doesn’t mean that you have to. You don’t have to care about what we care about. Just know that we ARE counting on you to believe in what we do, to trust us, and let us do the work that we love to do. You go enjoy your wedding and we’ll make sure you have the best possible documentation of that day possible. While wedding photography can be one of the more expensive parts that make the day happen, it’s also the most lasting. You are investing in your story being told. Basically forever.

Lastly, most of this information can be applied to hiring most wedding professionals and any type of photographer.