I have decided to collaborate my efforts with select Nashville area wedding vendors other than photographers, featuring articles about what they do, their company, and tips they offer to wedding clients about selecting the right vendors. Of course staying relevant to their area of expertise. I am currently working on doing a guest blog exchange with a DJ, caterer, and cake maker. I also hope to do this with a makeup artist, hairstylist, florist, wedding planner, and any other vendor type that would be relevant and of interest to my readers. Of course they would all be Nashville wedding professionals that I have either worked with, know through professional organizations and come recommended. Not yesterday’s bride turned service provider….people with experience and proven track record. This also gives brides and couples more resources available to them on this blog about other areas of service. Their readers can also get tips from me about choosing a Nashville wedding photographer, if they have blogs and we exchange unique articles. Cool idea? I am hoping it proves to be not only fun, but helpful, here’s to innovation
I certainly will never look down on anyone for being a beginner or trying to learn photography….in fact over the years I have helped many, and several master photographers have helped educate me as well….it’s just common decency and helping raise awareness and education in the craft I love and want to preserve. Helping others make it a better place for all….now that the fairly derogatory thread title got your attention, here is the distinction between someone newer and trying to learn, and someone whose intent with photography is clearly displayed in their work, not in the most flattering way. There’s nothing wrong with being a hobbyist photographer, but “playing” professional photographer by making it a business, it’s an entirely different thing to actually be one. Yup, my pet peeve is someone thinking this craft is easy money and getting into business without knowing the craft as well as they should….or have any idea how the business operates. Therefore watering down the standard for our business.
So, a client might think a photographer is a “wannabe” if he or she pitches their service to them, but they don’t have a strong example of what they need in their body of work, or are not equipped to serve them. I hear this connotation most from models, because they deal with more photographers than the average person, and deal with a lot of solicitations. Lots of Model Mayhem models refer to those photographers as GWC…..guy with camera. That does not mean beginner or someone trying to learn the art or craft of photography. It means that the clear motive in that person’s work, is just to shoot with pretty girls. Their subjects are not being captured creatively or in a flattering manner, or cheaply. Other things that give models those feelings are seeing images in that photographer’s portfolio they can not use, poor and careless Photoshop….examples are over whitening teeth and eyes, soft focus or too much smoothing or airbrushing of skin, mixed saturation (part black and white, part of the image color)extremely large image logos on the photos, etc….which I agree, that makes the photos useless for any other purpose besides a few people saying “cool photo” on Myspace or Facebook. Also poor lighting, dull composition, and having only one kind of subject (and in their mind, not captured well) Most people with a discerning eye know that every photographer has their areas of specialty…..but a good photographer can command similar attention of a photograph of their 75 year old neighbor, as they can a pretty 18 year old female model, if captured right.
Now, someone fitting that description just doing it for enjoyment is fine, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. Of course, those who fit that description, are often thought of my models as those who hit on them or are just using this hobby to have female company. And those are based on what their work says, and how they converse back and forth about setting up a shoot. Do what you enjoy, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, but be ready for repercussions whichever road you take. Hopefully this helps clear up the honest perception of others. Happy shooting!
Probably a majority of guest books I have seen while photographing weddings, are either the generic office store sign in books with name and address lines, or the scrap book kind, which is the more creative choice of the two. What I am about to show you is a unique and relatively affordable alternative for the common guest book. It is a collages.net coffee table book with a matte cover (though I prefer the uv coated cover), and lay flat pages, standard finish. The purpose of the book is to showcase the photos from the couple’s engagement session, and leave some negative space for guests to sign and write a random message if they choose. Yearbook style, no lines, to make it interesting and off the cuff. This particular design shows the couple on the cover, and all the left pages contain engagement photos, and the right pages are blank for signing. This particular finish requires an acid free pen so it won’t smear.
One thing I tell my wedding clients, that if they opt for an engagement photo session as part of their package, they really should do at least one of the following things to justify their time and investment. Prints or gallery wraps in their home of their engagement photos, make a story board for display at the wedding (always a great idea), and later at their homes….And / or this guest book option. This way guests get to enjoy the photos and get creative when signing. But, for this to work, the couple needs to make this a part of the event, and make it a fun game….like instead of leaving it on a table, pass it around at the reception and everyone write a brief and fun wish or note to the couple, then it’s a valuable memento for the couple. And the photos help tell the story. There isn’t much reason to do engagement photos if putting them on Facebook is the only thing you plan on doing with them. This is certainly a nice unique option to showcase the photos, and have a priceless keepsake to keep and enjoy the rest of your lives. Here are a few samples, pretty neat concept
In this days and age, everyone is busy and has a full plate, I totally understand that and relate to that myself. There just isn’t enough time to review every place I do business…..but I do try to cover the most noteworthy experiences, especially with small businesses whether it be Yelp (which I can’t stand but that’s another story, lol), the business Facebook page, or an endorsement on www.weddingwire.com if a fellow wedding vendor I worked with or was hosted by.
Giving reviews of your service providers accomplishes many things. Small business has a harder time between having to compete against bigger business, and the prices of the wannabe’s who aren’t even a legal business….as far as photography goes, whether you are getting family portraits, a new headshot, or hired a wedding photographer, most of us are small business. Your referrals and reviews are what helps us stand out from the others and helps us be seen by other clients. This way, we can enjoy future success and be here to serve you in the future. Also it helps us track how we are doing, or if there is anything we need to work on. I would always ask that if I were being reviewed, that they provide an honest review of my services. Of course my hope would be that if any customer is not satisfied, that they would first give me a chance to resolve the issue. All the more reason why to be a successful small business owner, you have to evolve, and be interactive with your client base.
Also it gives every consumer a voice. Those who run their business with integrity are rewarded…..and those who do not, their foul deeds are exposed. In this day and age of the internet and public reviews, there are all kinds of opportunities to let your voice matter and be heard. It might just help someone else make a well informed decision, paying it forward. Teamwork all the way around
This is exciting and ground breaking for me, and a first I have seen anything like this on any photographer’s website. I felt it was necessary, because I know that it has to be nerve racking for brides to search for photographers, and have no idea what is being offered to them….or not have a visual of the products that are packaged. The best thing is to meet with prospective wedding photographers in person and see the studio samples each one has, but I think having that preview helps viewers better understand and establish an initial sense of value of what they would be getting.
I decided to put coffee table books in my wedding photography packages, except the introductory one, so that there are tangible goods that my clients have, instead of just a disc of photos that more than likely they will never get around to doing anything with. It’s the perfect product and type of book that is still a high end product, yet trendy and fashionable, yet it’s very affordable. And it gives me a chance to finish telling the story of my clients’ wedding day, and the beginning of their life together. And when this product is packaged, clients enjoy a discount price from ala carte. So it’s win win for everyone…and it’s win win for me as well, as it’s a great representation of my work too.
So, when viewers are reading my packages and prices on my site, they might think…..exactly what is a coffee table book? Does it have photos already in it? Are they printed on the pages? What does the design look like? Well, this video gives them an idea what the product is. Of course this is not a substitute for meeting with me in person, and seeing these products in their own hands, but it is intended to help the viewer visualize what I am offering, and build interest, because I know they have many choices. This product tour video is featuring the Red House sample book, so far the UV coated pages and glossy cover are my favorite options, what a wonderful looking book, and I love the print quality and the presence the book has….and I am very picky about my print materials. This book passes with flying colors. Without further delay, here is the link to my wedding info and pricing page with the video embedded. More product tours and video learning tools coming soon to my Youtube channel.
I met with Colin and Camille months back, who had gotten married while on vacation in New Orleans, one of my favorite cities! They wanted to avoid a huge production for the wedding itself, but decided to have a nice reception instead so they could enjoy a nice party with their friends and family, at a really nice upscale venue! Sambuca is in the Gulch, an up and coming trendy area of downtown Nashville. The entire room used to be open air, but they enclosed it and the glass doors all open. Either way, you get a great view of the city, the walls are mostly all glass. It looks great, and has some really nice furnishings, and photographs so well! My assistant and I got there early to capture some of the venue details and decorations and centerpieces. Shall we begin with the photos?
The limo rolled up with the bride and groom, was a beautiful time of day, near sundown, and soon we would enjoy a nice sunset that we would see from the reception area! It was nice to see how happy the guests were to see them and the excitement and love that surrounded them! The next things to capture was the couple interacting with the guests and enjoying some food, wine, and dancing!
Was definitely a good time to be had by all, and was nice to see how people of all ages really mingled and interacted and had fun together. I hope you enjoy this story and the photos from this elegant and fun event! Thank you to the good people at Sambuca for your hospitality and providing us plenty of water to drink while we worked, and for the delicious food after we were finished working! Their website is here. I would encourage you to consider them for your event, or just to enjoy a couple drinks, or dinner and a band. http://www.sambucarestaurant.com/nashville-lunch-dinner.php And thank you Colin and Camille for letting me tell your story, and congratulations on your new life together! I will soon begin work on a coffee table book for them of this event. Now a couple of the Gulch nightlife, including some dragged shutter of passing by cars.
I will use the last blog post on Kalli and Javier’s blog post as the subject of natural light photography, in this article. Since I knew we would be pretty mobile and walking on terrain to get to our shooting locations, I wanted to travel as lightly as possible, and not bring lighting etc. We had one thing going for us, we were at the time of day that was approaching the golden hour, as in the final hour or so of daylight, a much less harsh sun than midday. The photos of them sitting in under the trees, they had direct sunlight on their faces, but had them relax and shut their eyes, and open them before I started shooting, this way I get less squinting. The key is not to take all day, lol. The sun was shining in their direction and the light was golden, and not causing shadowing on their faces. That time of day, I often drop my white balance color temperature so the light is still golden but not so yellow. In normal outdoor conditions I use 5200-55o0 depending on the subjects and surroundings, which is the kelvin temperature of the sun…I may drop it to 4900 or 5000 in this setting, so it’s less post work. The quality of light improves, but the temperature also changes, and when the sun is going down, you have a very short window of time to capture that magical light….and settings can change in a matter of seconds.
If you like some funky lens flare of hazy lighting, that can be fun for some of the photos….but I’d never do a whole session like that. Traditional photographers usually consider that a flaw in a photo, but many find it to make the mood of the photo different and interesting, but similar to using light, it too should be controlled. That’s your job as a photographer. I kindof like it when paths of sunlight shine through trees, and using that to create a halo of light around the subject(s) and some dreamy haze or flare, but not throughout the whole frame of the photo. In which case, I line myself up to that path of light and I can use my reflector to light the subjects a little so there isn’t as much contrast between the high key background, and the exposure of the subjects. It’s about control, or else it’s just bad photography. There is a liberating feeling to going unplugged sometimes, the focus is more about controlling the light that’s available, and not setting up my lights, though there are times and places for either occasion or method.My histogram would tell me in a case like that when exposed correctly that my highlights are slightly overexposed, and the subjects slightly under, but the presence of a reflector helps balance that out and still you get that nice contrast and dramatic dreamy sun shaping the mood of the photo.
In the photo below, I relied on the haze of the sun to create that peaceful dreamy feel of the photos….as if to say their world stopped, since they were together and time stood still. Time wasn’t a factor. Their cell phones weren’t a factor. Nor were the negativity of the news and current events. This is something people still imagine and love to see, and some aren’t lucky enough to actually feel it. The halo of light around them was a result of me shooting in the direction of the sun, off to the side some, to avoid blowout. If you wanted no haze, and a normally exposed photograph, face them the other way and shoot from the sun’s side. Isn’t that cooler than doing it in Photoshop? Lastly, when you get in shaded areas, itmay be necessary to bump your kelvin WB to 6000 or so, because without direct light, it is likely to be cold in temperature….the boat photos were like that, and I shot 400 ISO and wider aperture to let more light in. In the presence of foliage or grass, some magenta in post production or white balance compensation may be necessary, or simply do a custom white balance, to avoid green spill. I really love this photo not only because of it’s mood, but simplicity and composition and the vanishing perspective of the dock….and the couple looks so well connected. Stay connected and be one with the light. Don’t fear it, but understand it and when you know how it works, you can control it and work with it, instead of fight it.
I met Kalli about a year ago on the Wedding Wire pro forums, she is a Murfreesboro TN. based photographer and we have met to talk shop….she has even worked with me on a couple different shoots and is very eager to gain knowledge. So, now is her time to be the subject, as she is engaged to Javier and they needed engagement photos. They weren’t quite sure of the theme, but they both love the outdoors, walking together, and being near the water…..so what better place than the lake, and then find a nice dock for them to unwind towards the end of the session? It was about an hour and a half before sundown, so we had beautiful natural light to work with, and the temperature had cooled off some because of some rain we got earlier in the day, so no one had a heat stroke, and it was an enjoyable time for all Here are some photos to prove it actually happened, LOL.
And we finished up, and left the marina area, and we saw these boats on the side of the access road, and Kalli stopped….I was thinking, maybe there is something interesting here that she visioned. Sure enough, we gotta give this a try, good call Kalli, this was a pretty cool and unique finale.
It isn’t uncommon for me to be asked to keep photos from boudoir / intimate sessions to be kept private, and of course I oblige. As a business owner providing a service, especially as personal a service as photography, I have an obligation to look out for my clients’ interests….that’s part of how customers, and those referred by them establish my worth, not only as a photographer, but also as a professional and a human being. However, being requested by a wedding client to keep their photos private and offline, I have heard of it happening, but have yet to experience that request myself. What sparked this discussion was a recent online conversation I had with a few other Nashville area wedding photographers about this topic.
The standard practice, as stated on most wedding photography contracts, is that the studio shares usage rights with the client. But the studio retains the rights to the photos to use for it’s self promotion and marketing. Usually clients are fine with that, and are so proud of their wedding, and their wedding photos, that they love them being shown off. This is especially true today, since most couples will even put their wedding photos on social networks for the world to see. There are some people out there who don’t want that, but for that reason, I don’t think it’s as common. BUT….suppose it does. There are two options. No photographer has to agree with those terms but rather stick to what is in their contract. Or, respect the wishes of the client because they are paying you, and sometimes we have to go the extra mile to help our clients and give them what they want for their hard earned money. I would choose the latter, obviously.
One reason why most clients are fine with us using the photos of their wedding, besides the fact that they usually share them, is that they feel honored that we want to showcase their event they worked hard on, as examples of our work. Also, unless they hire their wedding photographer through a major corporation, that all of us are small independent business, and us doing a good job for them makes them happy for us to use photos from their event. But if I had a client who wanted their wedding kept private, I would respect their wishes, because I will shoot other weddings that I can use photos from, and this way I also have a discerning client who speaks highly of me because their needs were important enough for me to comply with them, while others may not.
This may be off topic but I am hoping this topic comes up in search for anyone who has a pool, deciding between the Baquacil and chlorine systems. Even if my readers don’t have a need for this particular topic, can’t win them all LOL. The chlorine smell isn’t my favorite, never has been….the truth is many people who have chlorine pools over treat their pool to kill problems, but go overboard. When I first got my pool I went with the Baquacil system to avoid the smell of chlorine and the skin drying it can do etc. Baquacil is soap based, and there are oxidizers and calcium used as well to keep the sanitizer balanced, as well as a CDX cleaner. I have always enjoyed the feel of it, and it doesn’t smell like chemicals. The concept of the product is really good. However, it doesn’t come without a price.
Unfortunately, water conditions can change dramatically. Sometimes, you test the water and it’s perfect….other times you are walking out of the pool store with calcium, sanitizer and oxidizer, etc. A pool tech I know calls it crack for pools, LOL. The pool can’t get enough of it. The other drawback, there are no Baquacil products that can kill algae. Only prevent it. I used Baquacil for 2 years since I first got the above ground 24 foot pool, and it was nice to be in it, but seemed like an endless fight to keep the water right, and it got expensive. Recently, I had some sand issues and the water turned green…I cleaned the sand, and even changed it, no chemical could clear it up. The other disadvantage of Baquacil is is gels the sand, and whitewater mold inside the filter is not good, and eats up the oxidizer. Let me tell you, what they say about Baquacil gelling and hardening the sand is true. I vacuumed out what I could, it was pea green, and I had to use a hose and beat it with a broom handle to break up the sand….took me 2 hours just to get the old sand out. I didn’t see that a couple of the laterals that spin the sand had breaks in the teeth….and you guessed it. I had not only a green pool, but one with a bunch of sand in it when it came out the jets.
I decided to drain all but about a foot of the water, and had a pool guy come out and put chemicals to convert to chlorine and kill the algae, and help me replace the laterals in the filter and refill it with new sand. The next morning, the algae was dead, and I refilled the pool….the next day the water had never looked so clear. If not over chlorinated, it’s not so bad, as far as smell or skin drying, and it’s still refreshing and doesn’t kill your wallet. A fine tradeoff.
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