Wedding tips, ideas & stories, from The Photographer

Posts tagged “advice

If You Don’t Have An Album, You’re Doing It Wrong!

Have you ever asked yourself, “What do I really need a photographer at my wedding for?”

Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson. http://www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 

“You Can’t Print An Excuse”. It’s been almost 20 years since I heard those words for the first time. It’s what every photo editor, at any publication will tell you if you don’t get the shot, or miss the assignment all-together. Hopefully for your wedding you received photos and not an excuse, but chances are you’re like so many couples today who stopped at “getting photos” part of the process and didn’t move onto the “print” part.

 My wife & I paid for the majority of our own wedding, so I understand budget reasons when it comes to getting a heirloom quality album you can pass on to future generations, but if you’re thinking just sharing them on the internet is good enough, then I have to tell you “you’re doing it wrong“.

Putting all snark aside, I’m not suggesting you need to get an elaborate album like the one I just finished for a couple who’s wedding I shot last year (above photo). Believe it or not, while my wife has put together 3 small albums with various 4×6 photos printed out, ten years later we still have nothing close to the amazing albums I make for my clients, but we have something that is tangible.

What I’m really getting at is your phone, or laptop are no way to show off your wedding photos when you have guests over, or once your children are born and old enough to look at them. I bring this up because it just so happens that the day I was shipping off one of my latest albums, I also read an article from a journalism school on how text is making a transition to mobile, but photography might be getting skipped over.

Why spend all that time on picking out the perfect locations, design pieces, cake, dress and more? Securing a good photographer for your wedding day is a waste if you never print up the images beyond a few photos for your wall, or office desk. Beyond the love & vows of weddings, the day itself, above all else, is a spectacle and is designed to be photographed and displayed larger than the palm of your hand.

 

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 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 


Quick Tip; Cool In The Heat

California Hot

Hot California wedding

Even in April, it’s hot in California. These gummy bears didn’t have a prayer.

 

As Summer starts to heat up, just had to share a quick tip. If you’re having an outdoor wedding think about any desert items you might have for your guests.

A lot of attention gets paid to the cake, but going with items, normally not associated with melting, on a desert table could lead to a hot mess, or at the least a funny picture. Like these poor melted gummy bears, who were in the shade during the early afternoon California sun, but caught some rays later in the day.

Don’t be afraid to ask your caterer to stash those commemorative candy bars in the freezer till it’s go time for the reception.

 

 

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 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 


I’ll Photograph Your Wedding With an iPhone

 

I could shoot a wedding with an iPhone if you wanted me to.

Here’s my offer; I’ll show up at your wedding and take pictures with an iPhone for $150. Email me your wedding date & ceremony time and I’ll let you know if I’m available.

Don’t think it can be done. Well check out these images taken at the Olympics by from fellow photojournalist Dan Chung  , or the portraits of the New York Yankees shot using the Instagram app that are licensed by Getty Images.  The iPhone is being used in amazing ways and I know several professional wedding photographers, including myself, who take a handful of cell phone photos at weddings. It’s really more of an experiment, or a chance to be arty, but it could be and I’m sure it has been done already a way to shoot an entire wedding. So why not your wedding?

Ok, I’m not really expecting to have any takers on this offer and if there are please know I don’t have an iPhone and that isn’t a real offer. The reason I made that offer is to show an extreme of what a lot of people are thinking these days. That just having a good camera is what you really need from a photographer.

The reason those iPhone photos are so amazing is because the photographers using them are not just professionals, but craftsman at what they do and they could make great wedding photos with a disposable camera from Walgreens.

The best advice I can give for finding a photographer who truly is great at their craft is:

  • Ask to see at least 100 images from a single wedding.
  • look at their non-wedding work
  • go for someone with at least 5 years of professional experience
  • look for a background with formal training, basically more than just “self taught”
  • Ask if they shoot film and if you can see samples
Now, this isn’t a perfect metric and I will say there are great self-taught photographer and lousy professionals with 5 years of experience, but this is where I start when I’m looking for photographic talent.
And if you really want me to show up and shoot your wedding with an iPhone, I will add it in to my normal package for free. Just mention this blog post.

 

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 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


Image Friendly Wedding Tip #5; Dress To Impress. Grooms.

Picture 048

Image Friendly Wedding Tip #5; 10 Things Grooms Should Be Thinking About When It Comes To Attire

wedding tux for men
#8 Make it personal. My wife loves Audrey Hepburn, so if you’ve ever seen Sabrina, you’ll recognize this white Tux jacket. If you’re wondering why the odd look on my face, I was just told the DJ couldn’t find the processional music.

Gentlemen, I know its not easy. For months the focus seems to be on your bride-to-be, but when it comes to your clothing choice for the day, don’t just mail it in.

Sure you got her to agree to marry you, but that doesn’t mean you can just hit cruise control. People will be looking at you and feeling so-so about what you’re wearing shows up in photos. Here’s a top 10 list of things you should be thinking about when it comes to looking for your attire.

1. Put some thought into it. First are you even going to go with a tux, or will you be wearing a suit? Bow tie, or normal tie? Black, white or gray? If you’re getting married for the second time, or are doing a small low-key wedding, going with a suit might be an option. Getting married in Texas and want to show your inner-cowboy off, maybe you go with a bolo tie. Tuxes don’t just come in black, but as with all of these choices, talk with your bride-to-be the more adventurous you get. You want to look better than some schmo who picked something off a rack, not overshadow her.

2. Rent or buy? Just about every bride keeps their dress and just about every groom rents his tux, but it should be the other way around since, you’ll be far more likely to wear your tux again after the wedding. So you have to ask yourself, what are the chances I might need to rent a Tux again soon. The benefits to owning your own tux are limitless, but being 100% sure it fits perfectly is all you need to worry about now. Look for stores like Filene’s Basement, or other outlet stores that sell suits. I managed to find a tux for about $75 more than what I rented my wedding tux at. Even if I don’t find a black tie charity event to wear it at, I’m always solid on Halloween as James Bond.

3. Don’t just go with the first Tux the guy at the mall tux rental shop shows you. This goes back to my main point, you can’t just mail this in. It might be the one you go for in the end, but don’t just do what they say is the in style this year.

4. Do some research This goes back to the last point. Maybe read up on a few blogs and see if there is any advice for tuxes based on body type. Maybe do a few searches on the internet and see what the new trend is out there, or even better, don’t end up like those who got married in the 1970′s with baby blue ruffled shirts & cumber-buns, find something that is classic and will stand up to your children’s ridicule. Your hair style may be a different problem.

5. Try and find a store use to adult rentals, AKA not the mall. Not that being in a mall makes a bad rental store, but sometimes these places can be staffed with people who are use to dealing with a majority prom crowd.  This could lead to your fitting, or order not getting the full attention it needed because there were 150 other people renting tuxes that week. There are usually a few tux rental shops in downtown areas of larger cities. Try one of these places out. Chances are they’re use to dealing with adults who need the occasional tux for a black tie event and aren’t going to be over run during prom season. No matter where you go, its always a good idea to ask what their peak season is, so you can make arrangements not to get fitted then.

6. Read Reviews. Wedding web sites and consumer web sites like Yelp, are full of reviews on local businesses. Just because the tux you rented from a national chain for your friends wedding in New York was good, doesn’t mean their store in your home town is on point.

7. Stand out from the groomsmen. I did a white jacket while my groomsmen did black jackets. You can switch it up in several different ways. Vest color, tie color. I’ve even seen the groom wear a bow tie while his groomsmen went with a regular tie. What ever you do, make sure your groomsmen all stick with the same plan. Nothing looks worse than two guys wearing bow ties and two guys with normal ties. Dads, ushers and other tux wearing non-groomsmen have a little more leeway. While I’m not against groomsmen matching the bridesmaids color scheme, don’t make them wear teal green, purple, or some other less than flattering color. Black, grey, silver and other neutral colors won’t clash with the girls and the fact you’re putting some thought into it might help convince your bride-to-be not to put your buddies in pink bow ties.

#7 Going with a white jacket is a nice way to stand out from the groomsmen. It can also be as simple as switching up yoru vest or tie color.

8. Make it personal if you can. Did your dad and grandfather both have tails on their tuxes? Go with that if you can find the right style. My wife is a huge Audrey Hepburn fan and if you’ve ever seen the movie Sabrina you may recognize my white jacket. Custom cufflinks with a message or theme are another way to go.

9. Cuff Links. Yes Please. Two things I’ll say right now about cuff links, while they might not have always been the most popular, they have never gone out of style, or made someone wearing them look dated. Sure most rental places will give you standard cuff links, but why not go with something a little more stylish, or take a cue from tip #8 and make it personal. On top of adding just a little more style to your look, cuff links also make a great groomsmen gift. As a groom think about getting your own french cuffed shirt for your wedding day. Rental shirts have cheap cuffs, don’t always fit properly and you can always have your shirt tailored to fit you like a glove so it’s one less thing to worry about on the day of your wedding.

#9 Cuff Links Yes! At a recent wedding each groomsman had custom cuff links with an image of something that made them happy.

10. Make Sure You Feel You Look Good. I always say one of the top 3 most important things at a wedding is the dress. Why? Because if the bride doesn’t feel she looks like the most amazing person in the room, its going to show up in the photos. The same thing can be said about the groom. If you feel like you’re tux fit is to baggy, or to tight best, its going to show. Do you feel like it isn’t for you and was something you went with to make her happy.  Let her know long before the wedding so you can work it out. Either way, loving what you’re wearing makes all the difference in the world.

 

#1 Put some thought into it. Shoes are another way to showoff some of your own style.

If you are a former groom and have some dressing advice for future grooms, post in the comments section, or on my Facebook page.

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Preview of Posts to Come

lightning wedding reception
lightning wedding reception

Things got a little stormy at the end of Kate & Alex's wedding this summer, but they managed to miss bad weather. My advice & tips might not be able to stop storm clouds, but it could help you avoid disasters at your wedding.

It was a busy wedding season and I haven’t been posting as many tips and advice for couples about to get married, but there are a bunch of things lined up.

•Things to look out for with group photos

•Google for weddings

•Why you have a better eye for photos than your photographer

•Tips for the Groom

Plus ways to make your wedding more image friendly.

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com
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Imagine Friendly Weddings #3 – Grooming For The Groom

On your wedding day most of the people & cameras will be focused on the bride, but chances are the groom will end up in more than a few photos.

Here’s a day by day list I’ve made up from tips from around the internet & personal experience on how to prep before the wedding.

Grooming tips for the groom

The Week Before

6 Days Out: Make sure you’re really on top of your game plan for your teeth. You’ll be smiling a lot, so it’s good to make sure not only that your teeth are clean, but your gums aren’t overly irritated. A good week of flossing once a day & brushing at least twice should keep everything looking good. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, you’ll be doing a lot of kissing and you don’t want bad breath. Teeth whiting & a professional cleaning are options you might want to talk to you dentist about at least a month before.

Brush your teeth

5 Days Out: Hair Cut. The rule goes, it looks best 4 days after the cut and for the following 4 days after that (days 4-8). Professional stylist recommend you test any color changes a minimum of 1 month out. This gives you time to change it back in case you, or the bride don’t like it. (Ask your barber/stylist to groom your eye brows (see 4 Days Out).

4 Days Out: Moisturize. If you never used the stuff before, it’s not going to work miracles now, but a twice daily cleaning regiment, followed by a facial moisturizer this far out might just save your skin from a blow up on your wedding day. Ideally, you’d want to have your products picked out & tested by this point, as everybody’s skin is different, so what works for your best man, might cause you to dry out or become oily. Don’t forget sunscreen, at least SPF 15, nothing worse than have a facial sun burn a few days before the wedding . Several companies make a moisturizer sunscreen (I like Aveeno), so you kill two birds with one stone.

3 Days Out; Body Hair. Eyes, ears, nose, back, whatever. If your stylist/barber didn’t groom your eye brows, now is the time. Don’t forget your nose and ears. Back & chest, while it won’t show up in wedding photos, think honeymoon. Wearing a three piece Tux in the summer? I’ve even heard it suggested that you trim arm pit hair to lower the area for order causing bacteria.

2 Days Out: Hopefully you don’t have to much wedding stress, but either way, let somebody else do the work today. Get a massage.

Manicure

1 Day  out: Manicure. I’d have slapped the hell out of any of my friends who suggested this when I was getting married, but as a photographer I can tell you there will be several close up photos of your hands so it’s not a bad idea. At the very least, trim & file your nails and scrub underneath those bad boys.

The Day Of: Take a good hot shower & shave. make sure to really soak your face with hot water before shaving & for god sakes use an after shave balm, not after shave lotion. Save the Old Spice for the honey moon.

There are of course several things you should look at doing at least 1 or 2 months out, but that’s a whole nother post.

If you have any thoughts on what to include in this list, post a comment below.

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 


Image Friendly Wedding Tips #2; Dress Code

Dress Code? Or Dress Theme?

I will say this tip isn’t for everybody, but requiring, or suggesting a dress code isn’t as far fetched as you think.

There are two main reasons why you may want to have a dress code; First, either the you, or the reception venue want to maintain an appearance fitting for the location. Second, you feel there may be some confusion by your guests about how they should dress.

Black Tie & Jacket Required

Although not very frequent, there are still Black Tie & Ultra Formal weddings. Also, some country clubs & high end hotel venues may also have a “Jacket Required” policy. And while most venues might not stipulate that the policy be in effect for your guests, your guests eventually will have to enter, or leave the reception area and could end up feeling out of place, so a suggestion, or request to dress appropriately should appear on your invitations.

General Wedding Attire

Let be honest, in most cases, women are pretty clear on what to wear to a wedding, us men on the other hand can fail miserably. A personal shameful incident came while I was in college and after asking to be invited to a cousin’s wedding reception at a fancy country club, I showed up in mock turtle neck & a bad multi-colored sweater vest. I looked like the offspring of Steve Jobs & Bill Cosby, while everyone else was in suits & ties.

The point of that story is, even though I was well intentioned, I wasn’t aware at the time that most men wear suits & ties to weddings. Especially if you’re a young couple, you will most likely have guests who are at their first wedding where their mothers aren’t dressing them. Once again a suggestion on your invitation will help insure you don’t have any photos of you rolling your eyes when you see a friend in a work polo, or your cousin in a club attire.

Weather & Locations

The two examples above are both related to how you & the venue you might want the guests to dress, but what about how the guests themselves would like to dress? If you’re getting married outside in the summer, especially if the reception is outdoors as well, you might want to seriously think about letting guests know if you’re ok with dressy casual attire, so nobody shows up in a dark suit & tie for a beach wedding and women aren’t in high heals on the beach.

Themed Weddings

I’m not talking costume party here, but on occasion some couples like to have a theme, or style to their wedding. Often it sticks to decorations and the venue, but I have seen it incorporated into the guests attire. Last summer, Jinnel & Randy (pictured above) had a 40′s style swing theme to their wedding. While many of their friends showed up dressed to play along, it wasn’t a mandatory thing, but enough guests played along so that combined with the swing band & the ball room at the Mayslake Peabody Estates, the wedding took on the vibe they were going for.

Above all make sure your guests know they can come to you, or your wedding planner with questions about how they should be expected to dress.

Remember, keep it simple if you do a dress code. There may be one or two people annoyed by it, but best scenario it stops a few people who would only RSVP for the open bar from coming. Although chances are you still won’t be able to stop uncle Charles from wearing the fish tie.

Did you include a dress requirement for your wedding, or did you have any wedding attire nightmares? I’d love to hear about them, post in the comments section.

For a breakdown of wedding dress codes, check out this post from the You Look Fab blog
http://youlookfab.com/2006/05/15/the-wedding-dress-code-primer/

Doing an homage to your love for Star Wars as part of your first dance… Cool & funny.

Making your grandma dress up like a Jawa… Not cool.

VincentDaivdJohnson.com


Go Beyond the Top 3 Search Results

Searching for wedding vendors

Searching for wedding vendors

Finding a wedding vendor that stands out from the background noise isn’t as easy as locating the bride in this photo.

One of my main reason for doing this blog is to help couples plan out the best possible wedding day that they can. For most of us, this is our first (and hopefully only) time we’ll be getting married and even if we’ve recently had a friend or family member who tied the knot, coming across information, or tips from seasoned professionals isn’t always easy to do.

While the internet has put information at a bride’s finger tips, it’s also littered with disinformation as well and companies looking to game the system as much as they possibly can. Especially when it comes to the billion dollar wedding industry.

The tip I have today is basically look past the first page or two of results when looking for a wedding vendor. This stands true for search engine results from the likes of Google, Yahoo, or Bing. As well as vendor lists on sites like The Knot.com, Weddingwire.com & Brides.com. Common sense tells us that in most cases the companies listed at the top are the best, but unless you’ve done some internet marking yourself, you may not realize that all of these vendors are paying and paying big time to get in front of your wedding day eyes. Sites like The Knot can charge close to $4,000 a year just to be listed. Some of the bets photographers I know & don’t know in the wedding business aren’t even listed there.

If you devote a little more time to your search, you’re more likely to find vendors that aren’t paying to be number 1, and are using less of their money on advertising and more on the quality of their product, or staff used for the service part. These vendors aren’t usually high volume and will sometimes be willing to work out a sweeter deal to fill empty calendar dates.

As always, do your due diligence. Read reviews, or testimonials & ask for references from past couples.

VincentDaivdJohnson.com