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