Weddings from Heaven and Hell!

wedding photographerThat’s not just a bunch of hyperbole either. I get a lot of clients who hire me to do their wedding and engagement photos but they still don’t have a lot of ideas for the actual day itself. Some of them just want a simple affair with family and friends gathered around to celebrate their union, others want a big production with a running theme for the day.

The themed weddings are usually the strangest. I’ve been to superhero themed weddings, a costume party wedding on Halloween, there was a Game of Thrones style wedding, a Hello Kitty wedding. I’ve worked some pretty unique wedding days, there’s no doubt about it.

But among the strangest were two different weddings on two different days, two different couples. A Heaven theme and a Hell theme. Both of them were out of the ordinary, to say the least. Continue reading Weddings from Heaven and Hell!

The Secrets of Great Wedding Photographs

great wedding photoLet’s be perfectly honest here, after the “I do’s” have been said, the best man’s toast made, the dancing and laughing have since ended and the happy bride and groom have gone off on their honeymoon, there is one item in particular that has to be absolutely perfect when everything else is but a pleasant memory.

The wedding photos. They are the ever-lasting document of the day’s events, a day that these couples will cherish for the rest of their lives. No one will remember if the chicken was too dry at the reception, the cake not sweet enough, or if the wine was lousy; but the photos from the day will live on forever.

If the bride and groom aren’t satisfied with those, but instead, reluctant to show them to friends and family because they turned out so horribly, then the pictures are no longer a memento of true love but a testament to your incompetence and lack of skill behind the camera. It’s the quickest way to lose business and, let me tell you, you can build a bad rep just as quickly as a good one. Continue reading The Secrets of Great Wedding Photographs

Planning for Your Most Awaited Prenuptial Photo Shoot

Everybody is looking forward to the day they get married. This is true both for a man as well as a woman. Perhaps that is just how God intended us, humans to be. We were created a social being and designed to spend our lives with another person. This is why, unconsciously we are excited in meeting that other person; and when we do, tying the knot will always be hovering at the back for our minds at all times. Some men may deny this but, whether they like it or not, that is just the way it is.

weddingA wedding is a huge day. This is true not only for the couple themselves but also for their respective families. It is a time of celebration. This is why preparations for such a day are often times done in such a lengthy manner. Couples prepare for their wedding months or even a year or two before the actual day. The thing with preparing for a wedding is that the actual day is not the only ones to prepare for. The couple should also prepare for events such as prenuptial photo shoots and honeymoon vacations.

These days, prenuptial photo shoots are becoming more mainstream. Couples are opting to have it because it adds color to the whole wedding memory. However, planning for one is just as demanding as planning for the actual wedding day. All those beautiful sceneries and amazing pictures are products of a lengthy and oftentimes challenging preparation.

If you are planning on having your prenuptial photo shoot, it is best to take everything into consideration for you to maximize the benefits of such an activity. Remember; do not go for a prenuptial photo shoot just because it is the trend today. The reason for doing it should be clear between you and your partner. Otherwise, the whole thing would just be a waste of money and time.

One of the best reasons for having a prenuptial photo shoot is to use the pictures for the invitation and other items such as the guest book for the wedding. It would be very convenient to have pictures handy for such purposes. You would not want to pull just about any pictures of you two and put them all together for the invitation and guestbook. That would not be very romantic.

Here are some very helpful tips for planning your once-in-a-lifetime prenuptial photo shoot:

Choose your photographer

You are preparing for a photo shoot. On top of that, it is not just about any photo shoot. This is your prenuptial. You will be making lasting memories, one that you and your grandchildren someday will browse through. You do not want to look uncomfortable in those pictures, would you?

It is only proper than you identify the right photographer to work with. It should be someone you can be comfortable with. Make sure that you can get along with him and his attitude or personality. He should also be someone obviously with a very good eye. An excellent photographer is someone who can make ordinary things look amazing in a picture. This requires a good eye and exceptional skill. He should also be experienced and passionate with what he does.

Identify your theme

Do not go into a prenuptial photo shoot without thinking out your theme. The theme will provide character for you photo shoot. Among the best things you can use as a tool to identify the theme is to look at the things you love doing as a couple. Adventurous couples can have an outdoor type theme. Music lovers can have a music-related theme.

The key here is to have a theme that best represents you as a couple. If you love Jason Tosh, you can actually have an informal photo shoot in one of his concerts. Click here for some Daniel Tosh tickets for you and the photographer. It would be awesome to enjoy his concerts while getting a portion of your prenuptial photo shoot done. Who knows, maybe you can even ask Daniel Tosh for a pose with you.

Find a great location

Location is also very important for a photo shoot. If you are looking for diversity in your prenuptial photo shoot, be sure to have a location large enough for you to move around. A good location can have 4 or 5 places where you can have a number of pose. This will give you a set of pictures that does not always have the same background.

It would also be helpful to research and ask around a particular location as to what time it would be best for a photo shoot. Some places are perfect for a sunrise or sunset shoot while others are perfect with the sun already up.

Lastly, go and enjoy the photo shoot. It may be very demanding to prepare for but it is also a great time for you and your partner to enjoy. Enjoying the whole experience can greatly help in producing the best images.

Try a Rock Band for Your Wedding Reception

rock bandThere are a lot of wedding details that you have to attend to and everything must be perfect. This is why you get all the help that you possibly could to plan out the best wedding of all. Of course, you still can’t help it but be hands on despite the fact that you have already delegated the tasks to other people. The wedding usually has two parts. The first part is the ceremony and the second part is the reception. Both parts are of equal importance and both parts also need attention to details.

If you are now focusing on the reception, there are a lot of things that you have to consider. This includes the food, setup of the venue, number of tables, seating arrangement, order of events and many more. The good thing is that if you hire someone to cater the food and provide the venue, all you have to do is to choose and they will do the rest. You will do the food and wine tasting. You will also select the theme. You also have to choose the best location. Once it is done, they can do the rest for you. However, if you really want a personal touch on your wedding, then choose the right band. They will provide music throughout the reception. Therefore, you need to choose the best performers. Besides, the most memorable dances are done at the reception. From the first dance of the couple to the last dance with the father, everything has to be perfect.

Going outside the norm

Traditionally, bands hired at wedding reception are classical bands or traditional acoustic bands. They will play soft music and sentimental ones at that. People are moved by the songs and a lot of them are brought to tears. If you are not this kind of person and you hate all the dramas during the wedding, then try to shake things up and go for a rock band. This is something that might catch your interest. If this is also a shared interest between you and your partner, then you will most likely love this idea.

The good thing about a rock band is that they keep the moment alive. Everyone is happy. For most people, weddings are very emotional. They tend to cry over almost everything. From the love shared by the couple to the idea that they are finally living a life of their own, everyone has a reason to cry. However, this event is also a celebration to begin with. Everyone has a reason to laugh and cherish the moment. It is a start of a new beginning for the couple. It is also a celebration of love. There are a lot more reasons to laugh. Thus, a rock band will sum everything up. They will play songs about love and happiness in a way that will entertain the people.

Choosing the right band

Of course, since rock bands are not usually present in weddings, you can’t easily find one that can cater to what you need. However, if you lay out your plan and you know exactly what you want them to play, then they will surely find a way around it. You might have some songs in your mind already. If you think having a rock band is something that the older generation cannot relate to, think again. Rock and roll has become popular in as early as the 1950’s. Thus, if you can ask the band to play some old rock songs, then everyone can jam with them.

For the last dance with the father, you can just request any song from your father. Even if this is a slow song, you can always ask the band to throw a rock spin on it. For you and your partner, a rock song is definitely a must. However, you need to practice the choreography since this is something different. You might not even find samples from other weddings.

Attend a rock concert

To let you feel more the rock vibe, go ahead and attend a rock concert. This will give you an idea on what kind of band to hire and what kind of songs to play. This will also inspire you to really go for rock even if this idea will eventually be met with violent reactions. After all, this is your concert. If you are a big fan of Imagine Dragons that popularized the songs Radioactive, I Bet My Life and Warriors, then you are in luck. They have an upcoming tour for you to catch. If you want more ideas on how to buy Imagine Dragons tickets, you can check this out.

Once you have already been inspired, then go ahead and make this plan happen. For sure, with your choice of music, this wedding will be memorable not just for you, but also the people who are attending it.

Don’t Be Afraid of Black and White

black and white photoDigital photography lets us do so much more than we once could with cameras. Nowadays, our photos can be edited in the camera itself or you can do extensive amounts of post production work on them. Even the filters have changed, allowing you to do all of that electronically now, by just changing the settings with the push of a button.

That includes altering your photos from color to black and white. What’s great about this little feature is the confidence to shoot photos with the lighting, contrast and exposure of a color shot and the versatility to convert into black and white after the fact.

Now some cameras don’t have this feature but you can certainly change the look of your pictures in photo editing suites that you use on your laptop or desktop computer. You wouldn’t necessarily want to do it the other way around (shoot black and white and convert to color afterward), because you’d be making all kinds of creative choices for a black and white picture, rendering any useful color post-conversion a moot point.

You get a lot more autonomy and creative freedom shooting for color because it offers you more choices. Shooting in color, you know your shot is going to look great, and doing some work on it in post to change it to black and white won’t take nearly as much time as it would the other way around.

The best way to do all of this is by shooting in RAW files. Not all cameras offer the RAW format option, but if so, learn how to work with those types of files. What’s great about RAW is that it’s an uncompressed format that captures all the possible visual data through the sensor for a high quality full resolution image. It gives you the complete range of information from which to work with when you’re doing touch ups in post, and it’s ideal for black and white conversion from color because you can really get in there to tweak and correct virtually every aspect of the image.

Best of all, RAW files keep all of the color information of the original version of your image, so if you ever want to go from color to black and white…and then back to color once again, you have all the necessary photographic data to reproduce it accurately.

If you’re going to shoot directly in black and white, you need to keep your ISO low so you have less visual grain in your original image for a clearer picture. If you like the grain and want to increase it but don’t feel comfortable with how much you think you’ll end up with in your shot, you can always add in some artificial noise for increased grain in post.

But more importantly, use the primitive aspects of the subject in your shot when you’re lining it up, because you won’t have colors or hues to help you. Focus your eye on texture, shapes of objects and the relationships between them to measure your image. Empty space plays a big role in framing your subjects and use that to design what you want to see.

So don’t feel intimidated by monochrome. If you’re unsure, shoot it in color and then fix it up later.

Personal Fortune

weddingI’m one of the lucky ones. My job is doing something that I love. I’ve always had a passion for photography, but when I realized I could make a living at it, then I knew it that it could be more than a passion but instead, a calling. We don’t all get to focus entirely on the thing that we feel God has put us on this earth to accomplish.

The world is filled with unfulfilled dreams, abandoned by people who didn’t have the patience, the energy, or the ability to reach them. Those unfortunates who, for whatever reason, gave up their struggle to achieve their ultimate bliss. Life got in the way, perhaps. Priorities changed. We all change over time, of course, the things we think we want at one time are no longer the ideals we desire as we grow up, grow older, grow apart.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I got to find my footing early, able to prove that I could produce and provide something of value. My art was worth paying for. Sure, I can take photographs of my own choosing, pictures of compositions that you might want to hang on your wall. I certainly have plenty of my own photographs on the walls of my home and office.

I also have the work of other much more prolific, more successful, more talented artists than myself. But where I really find my privilege and honor is in those jobs that I’m hired for by couples tying the knot. They’ve chosen me to document the day that they celebrated their love, the day of their everlasting union. A moment in time, one of the most important events in their lives, and I’ve been tasked with memorializing it through images.

Capturing the emotion, the happiness, the promise of an amazing future. This is a milestone that will never happen again. The cynics will discount such a romantic notion of the wedding day being a sacred, one day only landmark, but I like to hope that each and every wedding I shoot will last forever. My photographs living on for an eternity, a record of the special day that the bride and her groom will have for posterity. Proudly displaying them for friends and family, showing them to future generations decades from now.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I knew what I wanted to do early on. There are so many people out there who still don’t know what they want from life. They can’t find a job much less a career, they can’t find a mate. They don’t know what they want in either. But it’s not too late. It’s never too late to find your passion, chase your bliss. Live your life to the fullest. Don’t let indecision stifle you. We were all put on this earth to do something…and there’s someone out there for each of us.

I’ve been lucky to find the first. The second still eludes me. But all in due time.

Budget Doesn’t Have to Mean Cheap

cheap weddingI’ve worked incredibly lavish, expensive weddings and I’ve been to small, intimate affairs where the bride and groom invited thirty to forty of their closest friends to celebrate their nuptials. Believe me, it’s not about how much money goes into the wedding, it’s all in the planning. Some of the best events I’ve ever attended didn’t cost much. Less money spent doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to cheapen your day. Times are tight but that doesn’t have to preclude you from having a memorable wedding.

You may be pulling your hair out right now, trying to find inventive ways to cut down on quickly spiraling costs. So here are a few ideas that I’ve seen implemented, first-hand, at more than a few terrific weddings. Hope some of these help!

Get Creative with the Venue

You can find a whole bunch of low-cost venues that are a great alternative to costly reception halls and swanky hotels. I’ve been to weddings in the backyards of beautiful homes and outdoor public parks. Even an aquarium once, which cost a heck of a lot less than the high-class banquet hall that the couple had been eyeing. Maybe you have a favorite location that you frequent a lot. There was a couple who loved Dave and Buster’s, and guess what – that’s where the reception was held. It cost a fraction of what they were expecting. Come up with something unique and inherently YOU.

Keep the Guestlist Under Control

Forget obligation, this is YOUR wedding. Invite only the people you want there and who are absolutely essential. Don’t start inviting casual acquaintances because you think there will be hurt feelings. This is going to sound cruel, but hurt feelings are better than a hurt wallet. Thirty close friends is going to feel more personal than having a few hundred people there, most of which you’ll see once or twice throughout the day or evening.

Pick Your Day Wisely

Most weddings are held on Saturdays or Sundays, when the most people can come, right? But you’re going to save a lot of money on venue, hotel accommodations, food, just about everything if you have your wedding on a less “popular” day. How about a Thursday afternoon with an evening reception at the place of your choosing. I guarantee you, the prices on most rental spaces and rooms will be a fraction of the cost on a weekday versus a weekend. Ever notice how a hotel room in Las Vegas can be $99 a night on a Thursday and $499 a night on a Friday? Same thing applies, especially if you’re having your wedding in Vegas.

Flowers and Decorations are Fleeting
So don’t spend inordinate amounts of money on them. By all means, decorate, just don’t go overboard on buying umpteen bouquets of expensive flowers. They’ll be dead in a week. Instead, choose a few carefully placed bouquets or give the bridesmaids singular flowers that are the bride’s favorite. Roses are wonderful but if the bride loves irises or lillies or sunflowers, why not go with those instead? The bride can have an understated and tasteful bouquet made of same. As for decorations, shop around at art and supply stores for the best prices or even big sales with deep discounts. This would require you not to wait to the last minute, but instead shop year round to get everything you want for the venue.

Food is Important

Catering can get costly. So you can either make all the food yourself (or get help from friends or family who can cook in case you’re not one of the culinary-inclined) or find some local mom and pop owned restaurant that would be willing to work with you on a reasonable price for what you could classify as a very large order for takeout. There’s no better advertisement for a dining establishment than an event where many potential customers will be eating their food. It could drum up a lot of business if your guests really enjoy the appetizers and dinner at your wedding.