Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Choosing Your Photographer" Lesson #5

Here are a few questions you may want to remember when you are shopping for a wedding photographer.

  1. Does the price include everything, from engagement photos to reception coverage?
  2. Do I get any free black & white photos for the newspaper announcements?
  3. Are all photos retouched & enhanced before they are received by a customer?
  4. Are ANY photos retouched & enhanced or straight out of the camera? (Let them know you can tell the difference - click here to see a samples post).
  5. Are special effects included?
  6. Is there a limit on the number of special effect photos I can get at no charge? If yes, how much are extras?
  7. Is an engagement session, formal bridal, final fitting, bridal luncheon, etc., included or are those extra?
  8. How many hours do I get?
  9. Are those hours JUST wedding day coverage only?
  10. Can I choose what items I want in my package/plan?
  11. If no, why not?
  12. I want a nice coffee-table album. Can I help design it?
  13. Do you offer several options for albums or must I take what you have in your package?
  14. If I want to do a silly engagement that ok? Is that extra?
  15. Do you do a slide show presentation at the reception?
  16. Do you offer my friends and family the ability to view the slide show on your website...for FREE?
  17. Do you offer my friends and family to view an online album of my wedding...for FREE?
  18. Do you offer the ability to purchase the slide show on a DVD?
  19. Do you offer Gift family and friends can help pay for my photography?
  20. Are you set in the pictures you take, or can family and friends request photos at the wedding and reception?
  21. How many hours will you invest in my wedding photography (that's pre & post production, etc)?

(I will try and think of more - email me if you have some to list)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Perfect Computer Screen Cleaner

"Choosing Your Photographer" Lesson 4

Ok, so you just got engaged. Now what?

In addition to your wedding location you need to shop for a photographer (and a lot of other things).

There is nothing more discouraging than to find a really good photographer, only to learn they are booked for your date.

So many brides wait to even start looking for their photographer until after they have everything else accomplished. That is a very bad scenario. You need to start looking for a photographer immediately, more often than not, at the same time you are looking for a wedding and reception location.

Choosing your photographer is not just about getting some "pictures" taken at your wedding. The good photographers are booked well in advance.

How can you tell a good one from a mediocre photographer (or worse)? First thing you need to do is look at their website. Is the website professional looking or something that maybe a 10 year old created?

Do the photographs displayed look like they are straight out of the camera? You may say, I have no idea. The easiest way is to check for color saturation, sharpness of photos, special effects. I have noticed a few part-timers use so many pictures straight out of the camera. This is very bad because this is what you need to expect for YOUR final pictures.

No retouching, no color or image enhancements, no nothing. It is very sad to see what a bride can expect from some photographers, many of them part-timers.

I have posted a sample a few posts back of what a photograph, straight out of the camera, looks like and the retouched and enhanced version. It would be very wise to check it out, so click here!

Never, ever compromise on your wedding photography. You are NOT saving money by hiring a photographer for $500.00 when most legitimate photographers are charging $1500+. You will be grossly disappointed in the quality and the creativity (and lack there of) of the photographer.

Snapping some pictures at a wedding does not make you a photographer.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't Forget The Bridal Show!!

I want to invite you to a bridal show at:

Marriott in Prattville
2500 Legions Drive
Prattville, AL
(Capital Hill Golf Course)

February 24, 2007
Time: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Directions: Marriot

If you are getting married this year, this is the place to be. Come out and look over everything and let's talk.

I look forward to meeting everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Interesting Wedding Statistics

I just read some results from a wedding survey posted online. There are some other things that I will post later, but I wanted to post these up now.

89% of married couples hired a Professional Photographer
13% had a friend or student shoot their wedding
2% had no one

Of those who hired a Professional Photographer,

59% were very happy
32% somewhat happy
8% not happy at all

Couples spent:

Under $3,000 53%
Between $3,000 and $5,000 34%
Over $5,000 13%

When asked how they found their photographer:

Word of mouth 59%
Internet search 35%
Phonebook 3%
Another Vendor 2%
Bridal Fair 1%
Advertisement 0% (wow!)


Monday, January 21, 2008

"Choosing Your Photographer" Lesson #3

Compare very carefully!!

I get so many brides that inquire into my services and I try to teach them what to look for in comparing photographers. You have to compare accurately and fairly.

If Studio A is charging $1500.00 for 6 (or more likely 4-6) hours of coverage. That means several things:

  • The 6 hours is for wedding day coverage ONLY (usually). I have heard of additional hours ranging from $125.00-$250.00 per hour.
  • If you want engagement, or bridal formal pictures that is extra. Some photographers will charge you $250.00 just for their time (some charge $125.00) for each additional session. That equals $500.00 for an engagement and formal bridal shoot PLUS the cost of any photographs.
  • Want your bridal shower photographed? That's another $250.00 just for time.
  • Oh, you want your bridal luncheon, final fitting, buying your shoes pictures, tux fitting, etc, etc, etc? That will be $250.00 for each event.
  • Review the "package" contents carefully. More often than not, they will include the cheapest priced items. If you want to upgrade, then that's where they get you.
  • So, you want to upgrade an album, etc...Sorry. Many photographers will not allow you to upgrade anything, period. IF they do, it is at a very high premium.
  • So you need black & white photos for the newspaper announcements (engagement & wedding)...that is extra.
  • Want your rehearsal and/or rehearsal dinner photographed? Oh, that's extra too.
  • Want to add spot color on a B&W photograph? Extra...or they will allow you a certain number of photographs for special effects. Any more than the allowed number? Extra. Don't even inquire into other special effects...probably do not offer it.
Don't be fooled into what is being offered. Read everything carefully and ask a LOT of questions.

There is something even better. If you have questions about a "package" from a photographer, call me and I will be happy to go over it with you, AT NO OBLIGATION! Wow, how much better can it get!? No pressure, no nothing. If it is a good deal, I will tell you!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Congratulations go to Savannah Garner and Jason Peregoy on their upcoming wedding, June 7, 2008.

The ceremony and reception will be held at Jasmine Hill Gardens. I have photographed there before and it is a wonderful place for a wedding and reception.

Check the website often to view the engagement pictures. To get to their listing, go to the Wedding Spotlight graphic, click there and you will then need to click on the "S" (for Savannah). You will see their listing on the page that opens.

Or, you can just click here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

NEW...Gift Certificates!!!

I have added a feature to allow people to purchase a gift certificate. This is intended to give friends and relatives a way to help people, including a bride and groom, to buy photographs, WebShows, nicer Albums or whatever they may want.

You can order them from the homepage. Just click on the graphic on the right-hand side to access the shopping cart. Just select the dollar level and proceed to the check out.

If you are buying a certificate for someone else, please indicate that person's name and address in the comments section. A letter will be sent to them.

This is a great way to help a new bride and groom purchase a nicer album than they may have been able to afford.

Ok, you can start ordering them now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Choosing Your Photographer" Lesson #2

When shopping for a wedding photographer, it should be about more than just price, much more. While everyone has a limit, way too many brides have no budget, in mind, for anything. Your wedding photographer should account for 8.5-12% of your total wedding budget. Some spend a LOT more and others spend less.

Many brides sign-up for a lower plan with the intention of spending more. I call those brides...very smart... :)

Your wedding photographer is going to capture an event in your life which should be worth more than just a stack of "snapshots."

I get brides (& sometimes grooms) that tell me they "...just want some snapshots" of their wedding. Well, you do not want me then. I don't do snapshots. I have turned away many brides because they were just looking for "...nothing special" in their wedding photography.

I am amazed that people will spend THOUSANDS of dollars on location, even more on food, cake, flowers, limousine and a host of other items for their wedding, but skimp on the photographer. Even worse is their uncle or brother has a camera...

When the wedding is over, the food eaten, the flowers have died, and the wedding dress has been stored, what do you have? MEMORIES. If your wedding photography exceeds your expectations then your album becomes even more special!

Who wants just a plain album with some "pitures" (I get that a lot, "we just want some 'pitures'") .

I had one bride who bought the lowest plan I had. It was actually the worse value for any bride. But I figured they were on a very tight budget. When I got to the reception, I was floored by the extravagance on food, flowers and let's not forget the open bar. While those things ARE wonderful to have for your wedding, skimping on the photography should not happen. The photography is the ONLY thing you have when the wedding is over.

Your wedding photographs should EXCEED your expectations.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A 'Choosing Your Photographer' Lession #1

The photograph on the left is straight out-of-the-camera and the one on the right shows a retouched and enhanced version. (Click on the picture to enlarge it) Quiet a difference!

Many photographers will shoot a wedding and only provide you with pictures (I call them snapshots) like that one on the left.

You may ask, "How do you know that?" Well, because I have had brides bring me their discs with their wedding photos on it and they have asked me to FIX them. They think the photos are horrible...that's how I know.

Many shoot-and-burn (to a CD/DVD) "photographers" will only provide you with photos like you see on the left.

Never, ever compromise your wedding photography to anyone that provides this level of service. You will regret it. You may THINK you are getting a good deal, but unfortunately, you are not.

One bride in particular received 288 pictures on a disc for $1000! Geezzzzuuuummmm. They were not only poorly composed, but they were straight out-of-the-camera. It looked like a 9 year old had snapped some pictures. Besides the quality, there were ONLY 288 pictures...TOTAL for her entire wedding! I will shoot that many before the wedding even starts!

I would never, ever give a bride (or anyone) something straight out-of-the-camera.

This is a very typical result of many part-time or novice wedding photographers and their standard operating procedures. I would say you get what you pay for, but for more than one bride, they did not even get that!

Just be aware and ask a lot of questions.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bridal Show Coming!

I want to invite you to a bridal show at:

Marriott in Prattville
2500 Legions Drive
Prattville, AL
(Capital Hill Golf Course)

February 24, 2007
Time: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Directions: Marriot

If you are getting married this year, this is the place to be. Come out and look over everything and let's talk.

I look forward to meeting everyone!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Wedding Season is Here!

The 2008 Wedding season is officially in full force!

After the 1st of the year I believe I sent out in excess of 15 brochures, and it is only the 8th of January. Quiet a contrast from the end of last year.

Wedding inquiries seem to be down last year and for this time of year, but this was the case with most studios around the country. Brides are waiting longer to begin their search for a wedding photographer. That just means you better book if you find someone you like. With so many brides waiting to even start looking for a photographer, it is first-come first serve.

To get a jump-start on your search, click here. It will help you in your search. There is so much more to finding the right photographer than just price.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Albums Available!

I am very particular in the types of premium albums I offer. I hate being part of the same crowd.

I just came across a new line that is so unique, I just had to start offering it.

The photo is an image of just one of their lines. This is the Italian/Toscana album. Virtually all of their albums have the "look" of a very old book. Each one is hand-stitched for a very unique look. But it is really more unique than that. Each book's stitching is different. I cannot wait to get a sample in.

They print the pages on a paper that gives that old-world look and feel but the photographs are superb.

To get a better look, you can click on the picture to open it up to a larger version.

If you march to a different drummer, this is definately for you!