Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wedding Photography Pitfalls - The 5 Common Mistakes Brides and Grooms Make

Mistake One: "I hired my photographer with his base package- we worry about discussing albums after the wedding". There is a huge variety of choices when it comes to albums and how to present your photographs. And to top that off, album prices vary greatly from one photographer to the next. A starter package can double once you add a coffee table book with some studios- so do your homework and at least get an idea of what costs you are looking at before you book.

Mistake Two: "I wanted a casual, less structured wedding day so I want to get photos that reflect a natural and relaxed look. Those are my favorite" It is true that i have taken some well received candid shots that really helped give the album a great look- but you cannot rely on pure photojournalism to get all of those images that you see posted on photographers portfolios! A really good and experienced photographer can naturally lead couples and their bridal party along and help guide them to great photo situations. Bringing out expressions is what really sets wedding photos apart from the mundane. You can get 'natural' looking shots without having the people stand around wondering where to put their hands for an hour or two.

Mistake Three: Timing of the day- plan out your day, have a timetable. You don't have to stick to it like clockwork, but letting your photographer know a schedule really helps keep him or her on track. I can't stand it when the couple out of the blue tells me "we are done here- we have to go now" Be fair to your photographer and let him pace the day so that he/she can get the images they need.

Mistake Four: We are not mind readers- no matter how long we have been doing this! Couples have to realize that we love to hear couples likes and dislikes before the wedding day. When you meet with your photographer before the wedding to sort details, go through some of the samples and discuss what you really like, and what images you could do without. To be brutally honest... lists suck! Nothing stifles the creativity and flow of the photo session than having to pull out a list of must have images! If you must have a list- make it a family list if your family is really large, and give it to a sister, cousin etc. Your photographer does not know these people from Adam- so no point in having them with the list.

Mistake Five: Enjoy your day! Seems simple right? I photograph at least a wedding or two each year where something goes wrong and the bride or groom let it affect them the entire day. "I can't believe that Uncle Steve brought his family with him without warning- now we have to fit him in at the reception". Then all of the images that I take of them throughout the day show a worried look on their faces. What a waste! Take a 5 minute time out, delegate the problem to someone you trust, and move on. When the day is over and you are looking at the photographs, you will have forgotten what went wrong that day (until you see the worried look on your face in the photographs!)

I just photographed a wedding for Adam and Caroline... and it rained all day! That was truly one of my best weddings that I photographed this year. They rolled with the day, the party never complained about the cold rain, and we go great photos!
If you are planning on getting married- please take at least some of this advice to heart, I have been doing this a long time. And if you need a photographer and you live in Southern Ontario, please give me a chance to prove my worthiness to capturing your wedding day. Please visit Wedding Photography Website by David Briggs Photography

All the best for your wedding... enjoy.
David A. Briggs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Guelph Portrait Photography - Childrens Christmas Portraits

We built this set in our studio for 'all weather' portraits of children. With real trees, artificial snow, and some props- I think that Nancy (Nancy G Photography) achieved the look that we were after. What do you think?

More information at: Christmas Portraits by Nancy G Photography

Book your portraits now- see special pricing at : Portraits by Nancy G Photography

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guelph Commercial Photography - 5 Reasons to Hire a Professional

Professional Photographers- who really needs them in this age of digital photography? Here are 5 reasons why it should be included in your advertising budget for your business.
  1. Consistency- there is nothing worse when visiting a website than having the photos, especially the business portraits, look like they were all taken on different planets! Having a consistent look for all of your photography really gives credibility to your advertising, whether on the web or in print. Why spend thousands on advertising and web creation only to put shoddy, poor quality photographs on it.

  2. Creativity- professional photographers don't just take the photos, they offer many ideas to get your business message across to your customer. As a professional, I have seen countless brochures, websites and print adds and really have an eye for what sells a company as one that a customer would really like to deal with.

  3. Lighting- have you noticed that different people can take photographs of the same person/object/room and have entirely different results? The key to good or even great photography is lighting. Having a good camera is just the start, the lighting systems that we use creates a much cleaner, clearer and dynamic image for your business.

  4. Studio Photography- having photography of your employees, building and process is just fine, but adding professional studio photography can really show off your products. This can also be a lot less expensive than you think, especially if you are dealing with a number of similar products that you want photographed like a catalog. Once the first shot is approved, we professionals can use our skill and equipment to produce those consistent and clear images- great for showing off in an online or printed catalog.

  5. Responsibility- why not delegate such an important task to a professional- one who really stakes their lively hood on delivering the best images possible to a business. As long as the professional photographer works in a responsible and creative way, the time and aggravation that you save from doing this yourself, or using an employee will be well worth the investment.

You may be thinking, this is all fine and dandy- but "I don't know any professional photographers and I am afraid that it will be a flop?" Contact a few professionals in your area, and not only get quotes from them, but spend 30 minutes and discuss your needs and look at their past work. In this competitive field of professional photography, they should offer this consultation at no charge, and come to your place of business to do it.
With 15 years of commercial photography, I have helped many companies, large and small, with their photography needs in all areas of their business. Contact me for a free- no obligation quote... or better yet, a sit down at your place of work to discuss your business plans. Go to Commercial Photography by David Briggs Photography

Adam & Carolyn's Wedding... in the wet!

To Adam & Carolyn- and the entire wedding party! Thanks for sticking it out in the rain last Saturday. If we had run inside with the first sign of rain, we would have missed out on these great photo ops! Also a heartfelt thanks to Nancy (Nancy G Photography) who was a second shooter on this one.

Here is a sample of the wedding pics!

For more information on our wedding photography visit :Wedding Photography by David Briggs Photography 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Hired a Professional Photographer - Now What?

When I started wedding photography, about 15 years ago, I really didn't know what I was getting into. I really didn't charge much for all of the work I put into it, film and processing was expensive, and it was a real time consumer. Really, as many aspiring photographers, I was just happy to be working. New, inexperienced photographers often find that they are 'watched over' by clients more than when they become more established, as couples tend to trust more experienced photographers with their day.

So, assuming that you have hired a seasoned pro- how much should you expect from them, and how much should you watch over what they are shooting? From being in the business for many years- and having worked with all sorts of couples, here is my strategy for getting the most out of your professional photographer- and in turn, the best photography possible.
Let's break this up into 3 sections- pre-wedding, the wedding day, and post wedding.

Read over the price list in detail, and ask...ask...ask so you know what you are getting into. This is critical to make sure that what you want is offered, and at what price. Do you want the full resolution images? Do you want full coverage? What about albums? I have seen some photographers charge little for the day- and then charge thousands for the images and/or albums. Know what you are getting into.
Plan the timeline for the wedding day in detail including driving time. This really helps me when I photograph weddings so I can help keep the couple on time. Nothing worse than being told halfway through my session that "we have to go now"- before I have what the couple and I discussed. The photographer should be willing and able to help you with the itinerary of the day- use their experience! If the photographer wants 2 hours with you and the party, family etc- give them the time. Guests expect to have a break while this is done so do not sell yourselves short on photography time.
The style of photography should also be discussed. Sure I have a certain way of doing things- but this does vary depending on what I think the couple wants. Just because you see photos you like in the photographer's portfolio does not mean he/she does that every wedding- let them know what your likes and dislikes are!

Wedding Day:
Number one advice- keep smiling! I cannot remember a wedding where absolutely everything went according to plan- there are just too many variables! When I see brides get 'hung-up' on small things like 'the hall has the wrong center pieces" it can really kill the wedding shoot. The best images come from couples who brush off the problems of the day and roll with the issues. (You can always deal with the problems of vendors after- do not let it spoil your wedding. This can really cramp any flow to the photo session- the worry and anger on couples faces really comes through in the photos. I tell my brides "go into the day knowing that you did all you can- and once it starts just enjoy the ride!" Positive attitude plays such an important role for your wedding day.
Do not spend 'all day' on the family photos. Don't get me wrong- I do take plenty of family photos- but the number of times I have couples asking for every combination of family photos to be taken, with every mathematical variable of relatives possible, until everybody is photo exhausted before the couple and party photos have even started! Parents, immediate family, large extended family- keep it simple!
Be willing to try what the photographer asks. Sometimes what I have wedding parties or couples do does not feel 'natural', but then it shouldn't! What is common about being at a photo location dressed up in expensive clothing for 90 minutes! Many unnatural actions are to bring out the expressions that we need to get the shots we wanted- so roll with it and you may be surprised what the results are. For example, if the bride and ladies are not giving me the fun expressions that I may want, I may ask them to drop their flowers, and run across a field holding hands- then stop and move in close together. This can be a great way of getting laughter and great expressions out of the bridal party. The worst thing you as a couple can say to your photographer is "this is stupid- can you take some fun photos and make us laugh?". That is usually when the crickets come out and the fun of the photo shoot shuts down for good.

Post Wedding:
Once the images have been taken, work closely with your photographer to get the images, albums etc. So much can be done with photography after the images are back in the studio- but this can also be a curse. Try to narrow down a theme or a certain style that you are looking for in your photographs, that is the way that they are presented. Even great photos will look poor if they are laid out or over edited with special effects etc. Do not try to 'get it all' with your album- be consistent for a cleaner looking album. Just as in successful advertising, a strong clean message usually delivers better results than a 'mish-mash' of ideas.

If you would like more advice on wedding photography- feel free to contact me. I only book one wedding per day, so if you are interested lets book a relaxing, no pressure meeting to go over what you want in your wedding photography. Visit wedding photography by David Briggs Photography

Remember, have fun- it's your day so enjoy it.

Wedding Photography - To Hire or Not to Hire A Pro

Years ago,when couples got engaged- they would all start their planning in basically the same way. Date,venue,professional services etc. It was a given that you would hire a well experienced photographer to capture your wedding day. After all, film was in- and there was no such thing as 'instant approval' or 'instant proofing' the way that digital photography offers now. There seemed to be far more 'fear' in couples worrying that their wedding photographs would not 'turn out'.

Then along came digital photography. At first this was regarded as more of a mystery- with often poor results. I would often just use digital cameras for reception and candid coverage rather than using it for the entire event. When talking to couples (potential clients) at wedding shows- i would still be able to sell my services on good quality exposure, lighting, posing and all around reliability.

Everything has changed! Now couples assume that all photography is virtually foolproof since one is able to view the image on the camera screen- so almost a monkey can do it! The value of having an experienced professional photographer has decreased significantly... but should this really be the case?

If you are a newly engaged couple trying to decide on a professional photographer or just hiring a student or friend, consider this:
Digital photography often gives labs (or home printers) less leeway when improperly exposed. Getting fill light, highlights and overall exposures is key to a great image- and I have seen far to many wedding photographs 'burned out' for poor exposure.

And then there is posing. What makes a great wedding photograph? Sure, capturing those candid moments is key to the overall feel of the wedding day- but those romantic images of the couple, or those great angles of the bride do not come from just shooting 1000 shots throughout the day... they come with professional direction. When I am asked if I pose couples, I like to explain that I 'guide them' to get the best images possible. So often I hear that I was able to give them images that flatter them where other photos of them have failed. This comes from years of experience (and study) in the areas of light, angles and expression.

Other things to consider:
Things can and do go wrong. Everything can break- and most pros carry back up equipment to cover this.
Professional retouching- makes those 9/10 images become 10/10.
Timing of the day. Use a professional photographers experience to help you plan your wedding day to run smoothly.
Capture the details of your day. All that hard work in planning should be remembered in great images.
Options with the images after the wedding. Great, now you have the images from your wedding- how do you want to display them. Go over your options with a pro!

I hear so often from couples that I meet that have had friends or relatives use non professional photographers for their wedding, list all of the regrets from their choice. It is one day to remember in your life, and what better way to remember it than in pictures.

I would love to discuss your wedding plans. Follow wedding photography by David Briggs Photography for more details and to view my portfolio.

Don't skimp out on the photographer, after the wedding you will never regret having a full collection of amazing images from your day.
David Briggs