Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brides! How do you pick your photographer?

For Brides trying to pick a photographer, I know how frustrating it can be! I once was in your shoes. I thought I would share some information I have learned on how to choose a photographer that is right for you!

First you have to take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and dive into the photography world! It really is not as frustrating as it seems. There are a few things you should know before you start looking.

1. If quality is what you are seeking in a photographer expect to pay for it. You get what you pay for.
Every married woman I have talked to that went the cheap route (aka rookie photographer or uncle Bob who has a nice camera but is not a professional) has said to me the wish they had paid the extra money to hire a professional because everytime they look at their photos they want to cry, and not the good cry.

2. A professional photographer will have a portfolio (book and website) for you to view. View it!! You can also ask to view images from other shoots, not just weddings.

3. A professional photographer will have a professional quality camera AND a backup camera. The last thing you as a bride needs is for your photographer's camera to break halfway through YOUR wedding and then they cannot capture the remainder.

4. Ask the photographer to show you an ENTIRE wedding, not just the highlights. You will see the quality of wedding YOU will get by viewing one entire wedding from start to finish. Any photographer, professional or rookie can get a few great shots, but only a good professional will get you hundreds of amazing, breathtaking images to have for the rest of your life.

5. Look at the photographers style, does it fit you? Can you see your personality being shown through their style? If not, move on. Every photographer has a style and personal flare to their images, make sure it fits with you or else you will look back at your photos and wish for more.

6. Okay, so what is your budget for your entire wedding? How much of that have you set aside for a photographer? When I got married I knew I wanted a professional so I made sure to set aside enough money for one. Since the photographs and or video will be the only things that can actually capture the most important day of your life, be sure to plan on paying for it. It is TOTALLY worth it!

7. Take recommendations from your friends and family but don't book blindly! Make sure you meet with the photographer, look at their portfolio book and website, go over what they are going to offer you, look at the contract (PLEASE read it all the way through before you sign and or give them money), and what the cost is.

8. If you have questions about what you are getting for the money you are paying ask it BEFORE you sign! The worst thing for you AND your photographer is thinking that you are on the same page when you are not. That is why it is important to read the contract and all of their e-mails. I make sure to tell my clients EVERYTHING before they book with me but sometimes I have gotten a client that does not read the correspondance and then the day of the wedding they are upset that they are not getting something they thought they were, even though I told them in the contract and e-mails. READ IT and ASK!

9. Is the photographer legal? I mean, are the a legal business? Do they pay taxes? Do they have a business license? Do they have insurance? These are important factors. I have a friend photographer that mentioned liability insurance and how if -heaven forbid- something goes wrong, say a memory card was stollen or destroyed in a fire, the liability insurance your photographer has will pay to recreate your entire wedding! Also, if your photographer does not pay taxes they run the risk of being shut down. Wouldn't you hate to pay your photographer and then they are shut down for tax freud and then you are out a photographer AND the money for one.

10. Finally, make sure you click with your photographer! Personality clashes can make for an even more stressful day. Make sure you like your photographer, that you can call them a friend after it is all said and done. If you like your photographer then your wedding day will run smoother. Your photographer should be able to calm you down and help you solve issues one your day, I mean, they are with you the entire day, make sure you get along!

I hope this post helps! If you can think of anything else please leave a comment! :) Happy hunting!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Abbi | High School Senior Fashion Editorial

Abbi, you are wonderful! We had a great time with this photo shoot! I woke up at 5:30 am but Abbi woke up at 4:30 am so that she could be ready to go bright and early literally at the crack of dawn. I always wanted to do a shoot at sunrise and Abbi was willing! So we went to the Rappahanock River first... there was beautiful light but not as bright as we had hoped because of hurricane Irene coming to town. We started shooting at about 6:30 am. We then moseyed on over to downtown and got some shots while people were still sleeping, except the tattoo parlor, they were open... Then we finished down river from where we started on the river, by the end the clouds had shifted enough to give us to die for lighting. Here are some of the highlights...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What to wear to your family portrait session

Family portrait season is fast approaching! Can you believe another year has passed? What better way to celebrate another year with your adorable family than with portraits, and no, I don't mean the flat lighting, smile for the camera, say cheese, portraits. Lets think of something a little more... you. Well, as you contemplate when and where and who to go with for your portraits you may also be worrying about "What should we wear?" You are in luck! Todays post is all about what to wear to your photo shoot!

Some families like to be completely matchy-matchy, and that is fine if that is you.

My personal opinion is to find a theme, a color pallet that allows each individual family member to be, well, individual. So, you are feeling brown, great, go with it, find shades of brown and tan that compliment each other. You will want to throw in a second or third color to accent the brown (or whatever your main color choice is). Pink? Teal? Baby-blue? Pale yellow? Mix it up. Have some accessories that bring a pop of different color so you don't look too much like mud...

Tell your photographer what your theme or color pallet is so that they can add some props or find the perfect location for you and your style. Remember, your photographer is (or should be) an artist and with some information from you as to what you are thinking they will be able to create a work of art that you will be proud to hang on your wall.

Think about your home. Do you have a decoration theme? A color scheme? This is a great way to compliment your home with your family portrait wall art! Say your living room has deep reds and soft pinks. Well, plan your outfits around that and it will totally match your home decor!

Perhaps you don't really want it to match your house. Totally cool. Just think about what may help your family express themselves in a way you are comfortable with.

So, here are some ideas:

Sweaters. It's a theme, it's cute and here is an example:

Here is an example of a family that went with a color pallet they really liked:
So, my advice, try to be creative with your clothing options. Each of you is individual and different from one another, express that. There is NOTHING wrong with studio photography, I personally love to do it, I just don't have the facility to do large families yet. Outdoors is always beautiful and you can get natural ambient lighting mixed in with flash and studio lights to give your family portrait even more character. I am not a pro when it comes to fashion and clothing options, I just know what looks good in pictures. We should all try to think outside the box every now and then and see what happens!

I am currently booking family portrait sessions at Maymont in Richmond, Va. There are SOOOOO many opportunities there with so many different gardens that we can for sure give you something unique and gorgeous! If you want to see what it looks like go back to August/September of 2010 here on my blog. I did a renaissance photo shoot there. We didn't even make it to all of the gardens, so there's more!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby Girl | 1 Year

Guess who's one! We have had an opportunity to watch little Emily grow throughout the year. All the way from when she was still cookin' in her momma's belly. Here is her one year birthday session. She really loved those strawberries!

Here is the recap! :) Maternity, 3 weeks (Newborn), 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fashion Editorial | Tea Time

I love this family! They are so much fun! So I have to first give props to my assistants, Abbi and Sariah. You rock! I grabbed everything I could possibly think of for this fashion editorial "Tea Time" photo shoot. I love having a concept, it make the photo shoots and the editing a lot more fun.
So the night before I went over to the family's house and helped with the outfits for the boys. Then the next morning I loaded up the SUV... packed it roof high and picked up my assistants. Being 5 months pregnant means I cannot lift as much as I would like so these girls did ALL of the heavy lifting. We went to the park and tracked down the perfect spot all the way down this trail just before you get to the woods. Originally we were going to go into the woods but when we got there it was too dark for all the trees and I walked through a few spider webs (yuck!) and we saw poison ivy. Next best thing? A break in the trail! We lugged all of the equipment and props, and it took a lot of trips. The sun was pretty bright so we had to one, two, three it with eyes closed then pop those peepers and smile!
The Matteson's were a delight. They did whatever I asked them too, "You want me to eat whipped cream? If you insist." ;)
So behind the editing... I love paintings, some of my favorite classes in art school were the art history classes (I took 4). I want to adorn my home with these beautiful paintings, these great works of art. My taste in paintings is very eclectic, I love Rococo and impressionism and well a lot more. Depending on the photo shoot, the idea and concept, the editing will differ. Everything has a purpose in this shoot. I am in love with England thus a tea party. The clock is turned to 4:00 which is tea time in England. The china is old and patterned with flowers. There are flowers everywhere that add visual interest and color. I am still learning new and cool ways to work it. So this shoot I wanted to be modern/vintage and painterly. Did I succeed? Well, I love it, but you can decide for yourselves!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Amber | Maternity

My dear friend Amber! We have been friends since 2000. We met when I moved to Pittsburgh the first time for school. Amber is expecting baby number 4! We found a beautiful location and took some gorgeous photos of beautiful Amber!