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Pitfalls for brides to avoid (reprinted by permission)

Last week I was doing a search on the internet about Digital Images. More specifically why or how photographers give a disc of images to the client, and why a wedding client really wants those images. I came across this post “Pitfalls for brides to avoid” from Lindsay Novak down in Florida. I am absolutely thrilled another photographer can explain how she does business, and how that relates to a bride choosing her photographer. This post she created resonates with every fiber of my being. If you’re a bride or groom, I would definitely read this knowledge and think about what you really want in your wedding photography. Give a read. Enjoy. 🙂

Pitfalls brides need to avoid

 

The following are common mistakes brides make when searching out a wedding photographer. I call them pitfalls, because all too often, a bride realizes she has made these mistakes too little and too late, and ends up with a horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach.

1. Choosing a photographer because he/she includes a high resolution CD.

2. Choosing a photographer because he/she is cheaper.

3. Choosing photographers because they advertise two photographers will cover your wedding.

 

Imagine this…Your whirlwind of a wedding day is over and after much anticipation, you finally have been notified that your professional images are online and ready for viewing. You sit down, hand on the computer mouse, excitedly/nervously awaiting your gallery of images.

You mouse through them, one by one, and then you feel it– that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’ve done something wrong. What you may have realized is that you chose the wrong photographer! Your photographer did not meet your expectations. There is not much you can do at this point, but move on and go through the motions until you have your album printed and in your hands.

 

We’ve all had that “bad feeling” in the pits of our stomachs. Please take the time to read the paragraphs that follow to educate yourself on how to avoid that hopeless feeling and to see how and why I serve my wedding clients the way I do.

 

3 Pitfalls to avoid and how to avoid them:

1. Choosing a photographer because he/she includes a high resolution image CD.

 

Some packages today are centered around giving clients a CD of all of their images. This type of final product is not geared toward putting together a wedding album. In my experience as a photographer, giving clients large amounts of images at one time ends up in a situation that completely overwhelms the client. With a smaller portrait session, a photographer can end up with 150 images of a child.

Oftentimes it takes the parents 3 weeks to a month to decide which ones they want. Part of your photographer’s job is to narrow down the images for you, so that you don’t have to spend hours combing through them! Weddings often result in galleries of 500-2000 images, depending on your photographer.

Think about all of the pictures you have taken with your digital camera…Where are they? The answer most likely is that they are still on your memory card or computer! To pay for professional photos and never have them put together by the professional you hired is an artistic travesty.

Make sure you hire an artist and professional. For example, my work does not stop with the simple task of putting images onto a CD and handing it over. Rather, my work and relationships with my clients endure because I provide my clients with a flush-mount, vibrant family heirloom that they can cherish for the rest of their lives and show off to friends.

Some economical brides prefer getting a full resolution CD with the intentions of going online to create an album of their own. As a professional who has taken part in many weddings and designed many albums, I have a wealth of experience, not to mention artistic perspective, that a do-it-herself bride will miss out on. A true professional takes the photos with your album in mind, color corrects them, and organizes the images. I can assure you that doing your own book for the first time will not be the same as it being done by a photographic professional.

All of my wedding packages revolve around your wedding album. I shoot weddings with a plan to design your album. Because my style is completely geared toward creating an album, you are going to end up with a memorable, stylish, cohesive, album that will last the test of time.

All of my wedding packages include a low resolution CD that is perfect for printing 4×6 images.  This gives  you the peace of mind that you can always come back and view the images that did not make it into your album.  Scrapbookers can also use these files since they are large enough to print 4×6 images. For those clients who absolutely must have the full resolution images, a wedding image CD is available for purchase on my A La Carte list.

 

2. Choosing a photographer because he/she is cheaper.

 

Research your photographer!! Depending on how important photography is to you, it might be the most expensive wedding purchase you make. Everyone knows that name brands tend to be more expensive than generic brands because name brands are associated with higher quality or services. The wise consumer, to make sure he/she is getting a good deal, has researched this brand, talked to friends about it, and seen samples.

The brand concept also applies to photography. Not only are you buying into the physical goods such as prints, albums, and gallery wraps, but you are also buying into a professional service.  Keep in mind that a photographer can spend just as much time processing your wedding photos as he/she took taking them! You can find “one and done” photographers who book you, won’t speak to you again until the wedding, and ultimately hand you over a CD or album of unprocessed, uncolor-corrected images, and that is the end of your service.

With higher-end photographers you will have much more communication than that! Your photographer will very likely be your most intimate wedding vendor relationship. When clients hire me, I require a personal meeting to make sure that we are a good match for each other. After all, I will be spending an entire day with you! Up until the wedding and even after, we are exchanging emails and calls, and meeting in person to make sure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day. It is important that I know your wedding day timeline to make sure you get all of the shots we need for a stellar album. We’ve discussed how an expert photographer will provide you professional service from the initial consultation through the album creation and delivery. The price you pay accounts for those hours of communication, as well as the physical goods you will receive. Prints and albums vary in quality just like any other products. A good photographer will have his/her own professional lab with correct color calibration, high quality paper, and high quality albums. This assures you a long lasting album and true-to-color photos. Your local Walgreens or mini- photo lab won’t cut it folks! If you are paying money for professional service, you should get a product that is just as professional.

Albums tend to be another area where a photographer can cut corners. Quality can range from something similar to a paperback or hardback children’s storybook, to a very impressive leather, fabric, or exotic wood cover with flush mount pages. You will find fancy covers and flush mount pages are the highest quality albums available to brides today.

A flush mount photo album is created of a hard bound cover and rigid pages consisting of photo prints dry mounted on a heavy duty card with full magazine style spreads. Lesser albums with thinner pages or cheap covers will wear, wrinkle and tear easily over time. These are the types of books a client can make online from a business like Walmart.

Photographers who market these as wedding albums may choose a more upscale printer and not mention that 10 years down the road your album pages will be torn and the corners will be ripped or worn. These photographers offer this lesser album as a more budget-friendly album because it makes their prices more attractive.

I do not sacrifice quality in my wedding albums. I refuse to.

The albums I sell are completely custom-made with superior color quality, flush-mount hard pages, and a unique protective coating on each page that is “tear-proof” for those emotional moments you will have when viewing it. The protective coat and texture is something you have to see and feel to believe. The unique texture amazingly camouflages fingerprints that photographic papers show so well. Wedding albums should last your lifetime, maybe longer. I do not want to sell a product that won’t survive that test of time.

3. Choosing photographers because they advertise two photographers will cover your wedding.

 

One would think that having two photographers is certainly better than one. I must reiterate that brides must research their photographer to make sure they are really getting two seasoned photographers. Having two true professionals is the ideal situation, but many times it is not the reality. A seasoned professional is often better than two novice photographers.

The seasoned professional already has specific ideas of the shots that need to be taken to put together a great album. The novice photographer will often take a blind approach, shooting as many images as possible in hopes of getting some good ones. The professional does not hope, rather he/she plans. To make sure you are getting your money’s worth, ask to see a portfolio of each photographer’s work. This way you can be sure you are hiring what is being advertised.

For brides interested in having two photographers, my husband has his own photography business and is a wonderful photojournalist.  Some of his work is in my galleries.  Please, don’t be afraid to ask if you prefer a second photographer.