Monthly Archives: August 2018

3 More Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

I’m sure you’ve seen your share of Top 1 Billion Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer.  You know the ones. Question #1 What gear do you use?  Question #29 How many photos will be in black and white vs color?  Question #154 What do you love about weddings?  Question #782 Will we be best friends forever?  I love reading these.  Some are so obvious.  Some, maybe not.  But many of those questions mean nothing to you when it comes to finding a photographer that you can rely on.  There are quite a few really important questions to ask your photographer.  Here are just 3 of the big questions that I’m never asked.  Maybe they aren’t important to you but I’ll explain why they should be.

 

IMGL1863Tell me about Backups. Do you have backups for your backups?

Obviously, your photographer should have a back up camera.  In the event that their camera is dropped, dumped in a fountain, or just simply fails, they should be able to reach for their backup to finish out the day.  Aside from that, did you know that your entire wedding collection could be lost from a memory card failure!  Not trying to scare you, but guys, this is a real thing.  Your photographer should be able to handle that situation.  Whether it be that they shoot the entire wedding on multiple smaller memory cards, or their camera allows them to write each image to multiple cards.  Check with them to see how they can ease your mind about this situation. They should also be explaining how they protect your images after the wedding with backups.  I could go on and on about image backups.  Ask me what I do about someone stealing my gear bag before I get the images imported!

 

CK8A4350Can we go over the timeline?

Will your photographer know where you will be throughout the day? Will they let you know in advance when the groom and guys need to be ready for photos? Will they have the chance to explain to you that noon is the worst time to schedule your outdoor formals? What if the timeline starts to fall apart? Is your photographer experienced enough to handle that situation? If there’s been enough communication about the timeline, they will know if things can be adjusted. Going over a timeline in advance will give everyone peace of mind on your wedding day.  

 

CK8A4971How do you handle reception lighting?

Receptions are one of the top areas where your photographer’s experience and ability will make or break your gallery. Up lighting, twinkle lights, and candles are sometimes the only source of light during a reception. Camera’s these days are seriously amazing but even with the highest light sensitivity, photos can end up grainy, blurry, or can be left with an odd color tones.  Sure, they captured the moments, but it can be hard to look at images that just aren’t sharp and well lit.  

If they say they use flash, is it off camera?  Do they plan to “bounce” their flash.  Note: This just isn’t an option in some venues with too tall or too dark ceilings.  Will they just use on camera flash or will they have multiple flashes set up? Either way, they need experience in low light situations and should be prepared with multiple options to cover your venue’s lighting. If you have any concerns on their response to this question, ask if you can see a sample of their typical reception lighting. 

 

What other questions do you really want to know from your photographer? What did you wish you knew before your wedding?  I would love to hear!

Justin & Lindsay’s Red, White, & Blue Wedding – Twin Tails Event Farm

Last Saturday started with lots of clouds and rain.  But rain on a wedding day is good luck, right? Either way, it didn't keep the smiles off of Justin & Lindsay's face because they knew this was a good day no matter the weather!

We started at Twin Tails Event Farm where everyone was getting ready.  The spaces they have for everyone is perfect!  All of the girls had room to enjoy brunch, get their makeup and hair done, get dressed, and just enjoy this special time.  The guys took over the space at the celebration pavilion so we got a nice sneak peek at some of the beautiful details there!  Right when the rain started to pick up, it was time to head out to the ceremony at the beautiful St. Peter Apostle Catholic Church.  It was a gorgeous ceremony that also felt like a celebration!  Beautiful prayers, happy tears, and even some laughs.  After the ceremony, everyone made it back to the farm to celebrate. With friends, music, corn hole, food, pie and ice-cream, bourbon and cigars, everyone was sure to have a great time.  I even heard pizza made its way to the after party!

Thank you again Justin & Lindsay for letting us be a part of it. Here's the list amazing vendors and some of my favorite images from the day. Special thanks to my 2nd shooter Kaitie for so many of these!

Venue: Twin Tails Event Farm

Florals: Green Acres Flower Basket

Catering: Magnolia Catering Co.

Music: Dapper DJs

Desserts: Pie - Mountain Flour Bakery | Ice Cream - Lakeside Creamery
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Renting Photography Gear

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Its no secret that the cost of photography can seem insane when you really look at the gear and maintenance involved. It’s hard to keep up with the growing demand for hobbyist and pros alike. Whether it’s lack of money or not knowing where to spend the money you do have, it can feel overwhelming.

Purchasing any gear is a big investment and it’s hard to know if it’s worth it. I’ve heard so many photographers ask the questions “What’s your go-to lens?” or “I need a new lens, what should it be!?”  My first response is always “Well, it depends.” I know no one wants to hear that. They just need a pro to tell them “what’s in their bag” so they can go out and buy the exact same thing. That should make them equally successful…right?? Really, you need to ask yourself a few questions before jumping into this big purchase. What do you currently have? What type of photography are your interested in? What is it about your current equipment is making you feel limited? If you don’t have all the answers…or even if you do, try renting.

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Renting allows you the opportunity to really try that new lens or camera on for size. Does it make magic like everyone tells you it will? By renting, you can decide if the 35mm Sigma Art can really stand up against the pricier Canon 35mm. You can decide if the revised ISO range and AF system on the 5D Mark IV are worth the extra $1k! I rent every piece of equipment before purchasing. It’s the only way to know for sure what works for me and what doesn’t.

If you’re just starting out, you should definitely look into renting!  Let’s say you have a shoot coming up that will require a pro camera body, fast glass, or additional flashes. You can rent what is needed to get you through the shoot and not feel limited. After I managed to purchase (and finally pay off) my first pro camera body, I just didn’t feel comfortable relying on my starter camera as a back up incase things went wrong.  I decided to rent a nice reliable body and, even though I didn’t get it out of the case, it gave me peace of mind to have that back up with me.

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There are other great options when renting that I hadn’t really noticed until recently!  In May, while trying out a new lens, I added a lens calibrator to my cart. I followed a few online tutorials and was able to calibrate all of my lenses before the start of the wedding season! Many renters also offer extra camera batteries, battery grips, and remote shutter triggers!  If you are looking for a reliable rental company, Lens Pro To Go is my favorite. These guys are so helpful and will call you after your first order to make sure you are getting everything you need.  If you're worried that some lenses may not work for some camera bodies, they'll walk you through it! They also have a Rental Reward Program where every rental contributes towards a gear credit!  I now have over $100 in rental rewards to use next time!  Who knows what I’ll be trying out next!

Fitting Photography Into Your Timeline

I get it.  You want to make a timeline that works for all of your vendors, the venue, and of course your guests.  If you have a great wedding planner or coordinator, you have nothing to worry about!  They'll walk you through that whole process.  They know weddings and they know what it takes to make your day perfect!  However, if you don’t have a planner and the job falls solely on you, you may start to feel a little lost.  My number one piece of advice is to check with your photographer!  Here are a few reasons why…

CK8A9644Coverage Time.

Your photographer may be there for 4 hours or maybe up to 12.  You know what’s in your contract.  We need to make sure that whats most important for you can be documented in that window of tme.  Do you want to have lots of getting ready candid moments?  Are you planning a sparkler exit late into the night?  Or do you really have your heart set on both. Having this in mind will help you to determine how you day should flow and if you need to plan for extra hours with your photographer.

CK8A9292How Long it Takes.

This is your first wedding and you're probably guessing how long to plan for portions of the day.  When it comes to Timelines, guessing gets you no where. Here are a few examples:

  • Bride getting into her gown

    • You’d think this isn't something to allot much time for, right?  Well it depends on a few things.  Is it a lace-up, button-up, or zip-up gown?  Will a veil need to be added after?  Do we need to wait until mom is dressed and ready before you can begin the process?
  • The dreaded receiving line

    • I know, I know.  They can be great and you really want to show love to your guests.  But, did you know that a receiving line can take up to 20 minutes for just 100 guests?! That can really cut into your family formals!
  • Family formals

    • This is also dependent on some things.  The size of your family. The variation and number of individual portriats needed. What about extended family? Will your great aunt and uncle need to be included? Do they know to wait there for their turn before heading out to the reception?
  • Traveling between locations

    • Will you need to travel to alternate locations for wedding party photos? Could there be traffic? What transportation will you use?  How long does it take to get there and back? You’ll want to know all of this so you don’t end up late to your own reception!
  • Dinner, cake cuttings, money dance, sparkler exits, etc

    •   These can all end up taking longer than you are expecting.  I recommend mapping out this portion of your timeline with your DJ or Band.  They'll have great advice for you on how the reception timeline will likely look like.

CK8A2669The Best Light.

Sun-light at various times in the day is another key part to photography.  I know we don’t have control of when the ceremony starts but when I’m planning portraits, I know that noon is the worst time to go out for photos.  When the mid-day sun is right over your head, you can expect dark shadows to show in your eyes, greenish color casts on your face, and don't forget squinting. It’s just all around a bad time to shoot! Talk to your photographer about what can be done.  Off camera flash can be used, or maybe photos should be moved inside for a more even light.  Either way, if you have your heart set on those warm glowy outdoor photos with amazing natural light, you’ll need to plan your timeline so that you are outside a little closer to sunset.  We call it golden hour, you may call it magic.

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In the end, before you make any major plans, just check with the pros.  We want everything to run smoothly and we REALLY want you have the photos that you and your family will love.  So, reach to your photographer.  We’re happy to help!

Oh, and if you’re thinking this could all be easier with a planner... you’re right.  I know some really amazing ladies that you'll be happy to have on your side!  Shoot me a message and I’ll send you their info!