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The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings: Photography

The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings: Photography

Photo credit: Boogietek Photo + Cinema

Wedding season is upon us! Now that Spring has officially sprung, I’ve got no less than three weddings to attend this month alone. Perfect for a gal who blogs for a website dedicated to weddings, no? Anyway, for weddings in my community, it takes a village. That is, we who are able chip in financially to make the big day happen for our family members. So, it behooves us to score as many bargains as possible so that we all save some money while still creating a beautiful ceremony for the lovebirds. Perhaps the most costly item on the to do list is photography. It’s also one of the most vital components of the special day. How else can we remember that special day without pictures- lots of pictures? And of course, if you want great, high quality pictures (and everyone does), it’s not going to come cheap.

We’ve come up with a few ways to save your dollars for the big day.

1) Smartphone cameras - Put that ultra expensive fancy schmancy high tech phone to use. With amazing photography apps like VSCO, it’s possible to take beautiful pics from the comfort of your phone.

2) Social Media - Speaking of apps and smartphones, most people have them, so it’s a sure bet that most of your guests will be snapping away during the festivities. You can go online and create a hashtag just for your day. So, whenever anyone takes a picture and posts it to social media, they add the hashtag, and boom! You can collect different perspectives of your day of wedded bliss. #nofilter (Actually, you should probably expect quite a few filters).

3) Get a "professional amateur" - Craigslist is a great resource for all things - well all things period! You can always find a photography student or one who is starting out and needs to beef up their portfolio. Just make sure you check out their previous work, so there are no bad surprises on the big day.

4) Barter - As a bargainista, nothing gives me a greater rush than bartering. Offer whatever talent/service you have in exchange for beautiful images of your wedding day.

Whatever option you choose, try not to stress. This is meant to be a joyful event.

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Finding the Best Photographer for Your Wedding Day

"Picture quality is mostly determined by the camera, but composition is determined by the photographer." - Robert Shields  

b2ap3_thumbnail_1529973_570161293070510_123422380_o.jpgPhoto courtesy of One Shine Photography

Many couples don't understand the prerequisites for finding that right photographer for their special day.  One who can deliver quality photographs is extremely important, and I'm here to explain how to narrow your choices.

First, get to know your candidates by inspecting their work, talent, experience, and most importantly their prices.  Keep it simple. You are hiring someone to do a job, and that job should be done to your satisfaction, so quality should be extremely important.  Quality tools help make quality work, but  it also takes a vast amount of skill/talent, hard work, and efficiency to make sure that the photographer can tell your story behind the camera.  

Because you'll be looking at your photos years from now and showing them to family and friends who couldn't make your wedding, the pictures should be expressive and show a great deal of emotion.  The photographer's job is to be able to capture those best expressions in your best light!  Picture quality is mostly determined by the camera, but composition is determined by the photographer.  Photos should make a person looking through them feel like they were almost there.  That's why it is important to browse through a photographer's photos and check out their resumes to get more insight on their shooting styles and compositions.

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Photo courtesy of One Shine Photography

Experience is also a major factor in locating a photographer.  Just because it's your special day doesn't mean that you should spend your whole life's savings on hiring a photographer.  Research your selection of photographers, and, if possible, look for any known references who you could contact.  Also, read testimonies on their website/fan pages.   With the experience comes the love for the art of photography.  It all falls back on quality work.  You should get what you pay for and be able to trust the photographer can deliver your vision.  

Meeting and interacting with your photographer is important as well.  Don't be hesitant to call or meet up with a potential candidate before his shooting on that special day.  You should want to know what kind of photographer you're dealing with beforehand.  Look for an audacious, confident, and charismatic photographer who is 110% sure they can deliver.  That degree of comfort will only make you more certain that you've made the right decision.  

Capturing those special candid moments of you and your significant other are priceless. They are moments that you can't get back, so thoroughly research your choices of photographers to make sure that your wedding day is just as perfect as you envision it!

- Robert

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What Style of Photography is Right for Me?

This is a very common question for a bride-to-be to ask herself. Sure, you may have a vision of what you want your photographs to look like when everything is all said and done, but how do you convey this to your photographer? The first step is differentiating between the different styles of photography. Here are a few of the basic (and most popular) styles today!

Traditional/Classic/Formal

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This is a style of photography in which the majority of your photos will be posed and/or staged.  The photographer will place you perfectly in order to capture the traditional wedding photos.

The photographer will be highly involved in this process, sort of like a director. Everything from the way you stand, to where you look, to how you hold your bouquet, the photographer will tell you exactly what to do.

This is a classic form of photography that will definitely be pleasing to all generations attending your big day! These do make for timeless album photos.

Photojournalistic

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This style of photography concentrates more on telling a story. Rather than capturing a specific moment in time like the Traditional style, this style captures feelings and emotions throughout the day.

With this style you can expect your photographer to follow one step behind, almost like quiet, less interfering paparazzi. This will result in more candid, natural photographs. There is minimal editing done to preserve the naturalness of the images captured.

The photographer will be less of a director and more in the shadows. With this style of photography you can also expect to say, “Wow, I don’t even remember…(insert “seeing my mom tear up,” “your sister laugh at the best man’s speech,” or “my niece twirling around on the dance floor”).

These will also make for amazing album photos.

Artistic/Editorial/Modern

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This is a style of photography that is going to leave almost everything in the hands of the photographer. These photos are going to have different angles, unique lighting, and unexpected composition. 

There can be more post-processing that goes into these images to create a specific vision.

It is important to thoroughly look over a photographer's portfolio to make sure you both have similar tastes and visions.

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Hiring The Right Type of Videographer

Hiring The Right Type of Videographer

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Choosing a videographer can be an easy task if you know what to look for.

I put together a top 5 list of items, I feel, most professional photographers or studio owners would agree with.

Current trends use words like, “cinematic,” “dramatic” or “documentary” to describe the style of video a particular company offers.

The reality is that all wedding videos are documentaries, which by definition is a “motion picture consisting of factual sequences.” What that means is nothing in a wedding is staged or rehearsed (in the formal scenes), creating moments spontaneously, which are captured and edited.

Cinematic video is yet another way to describe a style or format; however, the true meaning of cinematic is “motion photography or motion picture,” and therefore by description all videos are both cinematic documentaries.

What really differentiates one video production studio from another is the video equipment they use, the editing systems, the people who both shoot your wedding and edit it and the formats they offer.

Here are 4 easy suggestions (not in any specific order), which will help any couple identify a quality videographer or video production studio.

  1. EQUIPMENT:When differentiating videographers and video companies to capture your wedding, you must make sure that the company offers the following:

  • 3 chip digital video cameras, or, preferably, HD ready cameras, as High Definition becomes the new standard for wedding video, delivered on Bluray DVD.

  • Wireless microphones  and low light, on camera lights and on camera microphones.

  • A dolly or any other device which will help the shooter steady their shot and remove/reduce any shaky footage.

  1. EXPERIENCE: Experience is also easy to qualify by identifying how long a studio or videographer has been in business. You can also find reviews on various web sites about the videographer or studio you are considering, which can help you learn a great deal about what you can expect to get.

  2. VALUE $$$: What are the costs for the service or product, what do you get for your investment? Get at least 2-4 quotes to have an idea of what is being offered. If the price you are given is way below the average cost you found, then you must know why. If the cost is much higher, then you must, again, find out why. Many factors will affect cost:

  • Keep in mind cost is always higher in higher rent areas or locations, which may require higher overhead and increase the price you would receive.

  • Do you have one videographer or multiple? The more shooters, the higher the cost.

  • The more shooters, the more video footage, which means a higher cost for post production.

  • Additional Equipment, such as lighting, glide cams, etc. (most unnecessary for a wedding, but requested).

  • Length of coverage. A simple rule to follow is the more footage captured, the more footage edited, the more your video package may cost.

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  1. POST PRODUCTION: Who is editing your video and how is it being edited? Is your videographer also your video editor (which is always a nice advantage)? What kind of equipment do they use (if you have some knowledge of video production)? Remember: a full-time editor, depends on the quality of his work and has an incentive to make every couple happy for future referrals. The edit is a critical part of your video. The edit is what makes a good video great; it is why the films you watch on television or in theaters take as long or longer to edit as they do to film. The videographer captures hours of video footage, and the editors select only the best footage for your final video. A seasoned professional has the insight and experience to know what footage is good and what footage is bad. You will also have the added benefits of post production magic with video filters such as Soft Focus, Old Movie and more. Each enhancing the final product.

In the end, a little education will help you ensure your wedding is captured the way you envisioned it.

Here are a few Video Sample to check out.

  1. Theme Wedding Video Highlight

  2. Highlight Video Sample

  3. Highlight Video Montage

  4. Best Man Dance

Thank you,

Alex Ruchaevsky

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Engagement Session 411

Engagement Sessions are a great way to document this amazing milestone in yours and your future hubby's life! And there are always a ton of questions that come along with planning an engagement shoot, which is why I decided to write this blog today :) I hope you enjoy!
 
Engagement Session 411:

Congratulations, you are officially betrothed!  This is such an exciting time for my pre-newlyweds, and most love to document their new milestone with photos.  For many couples, setting up an engagement shoot proves to be a fun and meaningful journey into their upcoming wedding planning.  Of course, some may worry they can’t handle the stress of arranging for the perfect engagement shoot, what with the larger task of ‘The Wedding’ looming in the future.  Undoubtedly, it can seem like a lot to take on, but with the right tools and a committed photographer (ahem!) to help you along, the planning and shoot can be both simple and fun!  To get you started, here are a few of my personal tips on how to ensure your engagement session is absolutely awesome:

engagement photo dc

1. Location, Location, Location
One of the very first questions I get asked when preparing for an engagement session is, “Where should we go?”  Quite honestly, the answer to that inquiry is unique to each and every couple.  Usually I probe a couple’s history by asking leading questions; i.e., “Where was your first date?,” “Where was your first kiss?,” “Where was the proposal?”  I typically advise my couples that it is important to consider places that are meaningful to them.  And not to worry - most photographers are more than willing to work with you regarding location choice… for instance, one couple I know had their photos taken in front of the Eiffel Tower at King’s Dominion!

2. Wardrobe Considerations
Ladies, here’s your chance to tell the men, “Yes, clothes are important!”  Of course, this depends on your own sense of style, but my suggestions always include the following:
·    Nothing too busy that will take attention away from you - here we’re talking crazy florals, bold prints, zigzags, etc.
·    If it looks like it belongs under a black light, it’s generally a bad idea - no neon pinks or highlighter yellows.  Sticking to neutral and subtle tones will bring out your natural skin tone and eye color.  
·    Playing Matchy-Matchy can be cute when done properly, BUT you probably don’t want to show up in perfectly matching plaid flannel shirts… unless you have a lumberjack theme, in which case we could make that work!  
·    Variety is the spice of life!  Always bring a few extra tops and/or bottoms.  In this aspect, you can easily change your outfit, which will provide us with a larger variety of photos.
·    For the love of Pete, be comfortable.  If you don’t typically wear it in ‘real life,’ it’s probably not something you’ll want to go with here.  Comfy couples make happy couples and happy couples have fun on their engagement shoots - I promise.
 
 
3. Accessories
With the use of props becoming more and more popular, I suggest that if you like and want to use props that you bring items that, again, have meaning to both of you.  Will you be using these photos for your Save-the-Dates?  A cute heart shaped chalk board or a hand-made sign with your wedding date on it would be a great idea.  Other cute ideas include picnic set-ups, balloons, kites, bicycles, pets (yes, it’s totally OK to bring your furry loved ones along!), etc.

 
4. Hair and Make-up
If you are like me (hair and make-up challenged), I highly recommend having a professional do your hair and make-up before your engagement shoot.  Not only is it a great way to test a salon for your Big Day, this will also take the stress off of you having to do it yourself!  If you have budget issues, perhaps a friend or family member that does great hair will help you out.  Take the opportunity to have fun and experiment with different styles; my only further advice would be to keep things relatively natural.  The focus should be on you and not your make-up; too much make-up can sometimes be distracting.

 
5. Have fun!
This is a ‘no-brainer’!  It may take a couple of minutes to get warmed up, but once you get comfortable, photo shoots can be a very enjoyable experience.  Be yourselves.  Kiss each other when the time feels right, hold hands, jump up and down, crack jokes!  If you’re silly, be silly. A good photographer will want to capture you in that pure state of being head-over-heels in love, so pretend like we’re not even there!  Ignoring the camera and being relaxed is the best way to handle these shoots, you’ll have a lot more fun if you’re not constantly worried about what we’re doing.  Just have a good time, we’ll make sure you look awesome :).
 
>>Photography Credit:  Brittany Marie Photography<<
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