An Open Letter to Brides-to-Be

 

Dear Bride-to-Be,

I’m speaking to you as your photographer.  As a professional with multiple years of experience and dozens of weddings under my belt.  I will provide you with the best images possible because I am a Professional.   This will be the one part of your special day that you shouldn’t have to worry about.    But……..  Please do us both a favor and stop looking at Pinterest right now!  Though I think Pinterest is a great place for ideas and possibilities, please keep these thoughts in mind.

  1.  Those beautiful images you see take time to craft.  (Not to mention organize) So don’t think you’re going to get that gorgeous image with your dresses hanging from the beautifully backlit window and all of your bridesmaids in front of them in the two minutes you’ve graciously allowed in between getting your make-up and hair finished and needing to leave for the ceremony.
  2. Please, Please, PLEASE hire a coordinator or designate somebody not in the wedding party to be your timekeeper and people wrangler.  This can go a long way to help relieve some stress and anxiety on you.  Which ties into the next thought.
  3. Allow yourself plenty of time for your formals.  This is especially true if you have a large wedding party and/or family.  Also make sure you’ve allowed enough travel time if you are doing the formals away from the ceremony or reception venue.  Also make sure you’ve allowed some set-up time for your photographer.  Those images you see on Pinterest don’t just happen.  They take a little preparation.  This is the place where the coordinator/people wrangler will definitely come in handy.  If you don’t take the time for great images your images won’t be great.
  4. This is the “Big One”.  Take the time before the big day to communicate with me.  This can be a phone call, an email, or even a text,  This one, simple,  little thing can save both of us confusion, frustration and disappointment.  In this communication let me know if there are specific shots or types of shots you want or if there are specific locations we will be going to and who will be going there with us.  Give me a basic time line that we can discuss and maybe modify if need be.  I’ll be able to tell you if the amount of time you’ve allotted will be sufficient.  After all with my experience I can tell you if the 10 minutes you’ve allowed will be enough to shoot your bridal party of twenty and your entire extended family.  Let me know who the contact person is at the ceremony, the reception location and who the coordinator or helper for you will be.  The more information you can provide, the more prepared I will be and the better the images of your special day will be.
  5. Remember it’s YOUR big day.  And while the coordinator and venue have a schedule they would like to maintain, if you want to take an extra 10 minutes for pictures before the introductions at the reception, that is completely up to you.   Trust me none of your guests are going to mind or care.  But you will forever remember the fact that you didn’t get the one image you really wanted.
  6. I’ll consider this the second “Big One”.  If you’ve hired a “photographer” from Craigslist you can expect to get what you’ve paid for. The “photographer” you hired from Craigslist might be somebody who got an DSLR for Christmas, or a student or an Uncle Joe with a camera.  Part of the reason those images on Pinterest look so good is because the bride and groom have shelled out a descent amount of money for a professional.  Part of the process of being a wedding photographer is the post-production.  You don’t see this work but you see the results.  I spend hours and hours making your images look great.  In most instances it’s more time than I spent at your wedding day.  This is what really defines my style and why you to hiring me in the first place.  If you’ve hired that Craigslist photographer for $400 to cover a 12 hour day, don’t anticipate that your images are going to be stellar.  They just won’t be.  In the end you’ll be disappointed.  You’ll blame the photographer for this and that’s just not fair. Why is it your fault?  You have not provided the photographer the time or budget needed to properly finish the images. In wedding photography, like everything else, you get what you pay for.

So.  In the end the bottom line is;  A) Hire a professional photographer.   B) Be prepared to spend some money on them.  C) Be realistic about your timeline for the day.                         D) Communicate with your photographer.  E) Be realistic in your expectations of the product you wind up with based upon all of the factors listed above.   F) And most of all enjoy YOUR day!

 

Sincerely,

Your Photographer

 

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Brooklyn Bound

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a little bit.  What can I say?  Been busy.  Since I last blogged I’ve done 4 real estate shoots, an event for the JDRF and a wedding up in Brooklyn.  A week and half ago I did my first Friday wedding. A little odd considering it wasn’t the height of wedding season but the families were Seventh Day Adventists so a Friday wedding it was.  Kim and Alton were a great couple.  She was originally from Bermuda and he was from Jamaica.  Kim was great.  A wonderful personality and stunningly gorgeous skin. (I’ll post a couple bridal shots at a later date as I haven’t finished them yet) The ceremony was small (and fast) with family and just a handful of friends.  It was a quick 20 minute ceremony.  It seemed like I blinked and it was over.  After the formals I ventured to a small street with bride and groom that had a view of one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Kim and Alton wanted to get some shots with the bridge in the background.  I readily agreed since I wasn’t familiar with the area and didn’t get anytime to scout things out and it was Winter.  The location presented a couple of issues.  Bright Sun on the bridge and cityscape.  We were in the shadow of a building.  It was necessary for us to stand in the middle of a street.  There were cars parked on either side and snow to contend with.  And it was only about 20 degrees.  Since we rode together I didn’t pack all the gear.  The cameras, a flash and a 42″ reflector.  While I wish had brought more I was still able to get some good shots with the aid of a variable neutral density filter that is.  Here’s a couple of shots.

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It’s ALL about the Client

Yesterday I started watching a webinar on CreativeLive by Scott Robert Lim.  He’s an amazing wedding photographer based in Southern California.  Yesterday was the first part of a three part series he’s doing titled “How to Shoot like a $10K Wedding Photographer”.  His high energy and coupled with a great approach to the job is just amazing.  He is SOOOOO into it.  Most of the day was spent on posing the bride and groom and what he does to capture some of images he gets.  Well it got me thinking.  How much time does he spend with these clients before the actual wedding day?  More importantly.  How much time do they spend getting the images that day?  Well it got me thinking even more.  How much of this is really about the client taking the time and effort to make these images great.  He makes a point to note that in all of the wedding images he’s displaying neither the bride nor groom are professional models.  As he said.  It’s easy working with models.  They know how to pose.  The trick is getting people who are not models to pose like one.  Here again it all gets back to the client.  I started to think about a wedding I couple of weeks ago.  Granted it was a slightly different situation.  I was called last minute.  Had no opportunity to talk to the couple prior to the day of the ceremony.  And was just handed a scheduled and told where to be.  A tough position for even the most experienced photographer.  I knew it was going to be a tough day when the bride showed up at 3:15 for a scheduled 3:30 shoot on the beach.  Oh.  Did I mention she wasn’t dressed, didn’t have her make-up done and didn’t have her hair finished.  Then the groom showed up an hour and 15 minutes later.  The bride wasn’t done getting ready for another hour. Oi!  Not a great start.  NOT a great start.  That left us a little more than an hour to get all of the formals, the group formals and the family formals.  (I knew that we weren’t going to get half of the shot list done.) Well it turns out that neither bride nor groom were really into getting the formal portraits taken.  This is the point of the this rambling.  The biggest factor in getting great wedding portraits is…………… the couple.  Understand that I’m not talking about getting nothing but beautiful people.  I’m talking about a bride and groom that really want to be there.  And most importantly are into getting beautiful images. They have to be into it.  If they’re more into being with their friends and family (or eating) then the images are going to show that.  A large part of it too is connecting with the couple.  It’s a tough thing to do when you’ve only met moments before the shoot.  I guess it all just comes down to getting it all together.  Sometimes no matter how hard you try to connect with the couple it’s just not going to happen.  So make the most of those times where you get the convergence of a couple that you connect with, a couple that’s into making beautiful images and beautiful venue.

Jessica and Julian

On the 23rd of November I did a wedding for Corey at Faymus Media.  It was the wedding of Jessica and Julian Reyes and it was held in New Rochelle at the Davenport Club.  It was a cold, windy day so we didn’t get outside except for about 5 or 6 frames before everyone was too cold to continue.  A beautiful late 19th century mansion the Davenport club is very nicely set-up for weddings.  With an intimate area for the ceremony and very nice reception area replete with bar and dining area.  The ceremony area was a little tight but was beautifully appointed.  The reception area was large and three walls of windows looking out on to the bay.  All in all it was a nice wedding.  Jessica and Julian are beautiful people and made a nice looking couple.  We did a little bit of scrambling and improvisation but we got them everything they were looking for.

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Wedding Time

A few weeks back I shot wedding in West Virginia covering for my friend Reid (Mason Photographics) who had double booked himself.  I haven’t done many weddings to date so I was a little nervous.  I have grown to appreciate the skills and talents of the really good wedding photographers I’ve seen.  It’s a lot of hard work to say the least.  Just the people wrangling for the formal pictures is a chore in and of itself.  I have also come to the conclusion that an assistant is a must on these adventures.  Unfortunately I did not have one for this shoot (or the other that I did for Reid).  Here’s a couple of samples from the first one.  As always I’d love to hear what you think.  Thanks.