Wedding tips, ideas & stories, from The Photographer

Posts tagged “photography

Brett Surprises Kelsey at Starved Rock – Proposal Photography

Fall Colors & A Pro-Photographer Dressed Like a Tourist

For the second month in a row I found myself at the Illinois State Park Straved Rock to shoot a proposal. Luckily for me, this time I wasn’t the rouse in-front of the proposal. It was actually pretty easy this time around. Especially once the weather held out and the couple came away with some beautiful moments captured on camera.

161015-engagement-1067

Brett got in touch with me about doing the hidden photographer thing while he popped-the-question to Kelsey on one of the paths at Starved Rock. His plan was to find the right moment when nobody else was around on the path and get down on one knee. I just had to look as ordinary as possible so as not to create any suspicion. So I threw on some hiking boots, cargo pants and a backpack and made my way out to the path he planned on using.

I made sure to arrive nice and early and the place was already packed, as the fall colors were just starting to come out and I was worried that Brett was never going to find the right time to pop-the-question as the trails were almost as busy as the Chicago lake front path in the summer. A few text messages after they arrived I spotted the couple walking down some stairs towards me. Ironically I was giving some camera tips to some other fall color fans and I’m sure that helped me blend right in.

161015-engagement-1029I kept watch out of the corner of my eye as the two walked past. It really is a wonderful part of my profession to be able to be in on the secret and know something like this is about to happen. After a brief walk up some stairs Brett slowed down and dropped to one knee at the end of a long straight-away. Prefect placement on his part as I was far enough back to not be noticed and yet still have a perfect view. It took Kelsey a few steps before she realized Brett had stopped, at which point her phone just dropped right out of her hand.

I think the images below will help fill in the rest of the story. Like “did she say yes?”

Also, I have to give a big thank you to the random family who helped make the photo shoot even better, by helping me make it rain leaves in front of the recently engaged for one of the portraits we took.
161015-engagement-1042
161015-engagement-1064

161015-engagement-1061
161015-engagement-1082

161015-engagement-1150-edit2

Hey, random family at Starved Rock, I don’t know who you were, but thank you for throwing some leaves in the air to really make this photo.

161015-engagement-1100

161015-engagement-1156

161015-engagement-1153

See more photos from the engagement here.

 Like or follow me Facebook / Twitter /Google + / Instagram

 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 


Congratulations: Jackie & Jason, March 24th, 2012

First Wedding of 2012; No Wild Horses

As far as March weddings go in Chicago, you can’t complain about 68 degrees and overcast, unless of course the last 12 days had been sunny and 80 degrees, but as most couples will tell you, the day goes by so fast with so much emotion, it would take a natural disaster to make you anything south of happy.

Part of my process of getting to know a couple, I often ask how they met, how did you propose and so on. Jackie & Jason have to have one of the more interesting stories I’ve heard and I’m sure the set backs would have had them prepared if there was another “Snowpocalypse” this year on their wedding day. To keep this brief, Jason had basically planned to pop the question at a picnic they were having while horse riding. As the couple made the trek from the Chicago burbs to downstate Illinois, Jason’s truck had a mechanical problem which essentially forced him to drive no faster than 45 miles an hour. This trip can take up to 3 to 4 hour trip at normal speeds. Finally on their picnic, it’s almost go time for Jason, and one of the horses comes undone and runs away.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, Jason didn’t take this as an ominous sign and went through with his proposal.

The ceremony took place at  Ascension of our Lord in Oakbrook Terrace. We made a stop at a local park for some informal portraits and then made our way to the Carriage Green Country Club in Darien, ironically the site of the reception for the last wedding I photographed.

Not that I’ve ever had to say different, but it was a pleasure shooting their wedding. Jason is an all around stand-up guy and Jackie, is a breath of fresh air with a contagious smile.

Congratulations once again.

Getting ready to tie the knot.

I always take care of my grooms too. You want a photo riding your Harley on your wedding day? Done. Not sure about letting one of the groomsmen drive my truck, but oh well. Got the shot.

Bridesmaids relaxing before the reception.

A littler fakery on the toss.

 

See more photos on my pages on Facebook and Google Plus

 www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #15; Choosing Between Black & White

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #2

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

Question #15

Is it possible to get black and white photographs as well as color photographs, or do couples typically have to decide between one or the Other?

 

Any photo taken in color can be changed to black & white with ease in the digital age. My web galleries allow couples to order photos in B&W, or a slew of other color shades if the photo was originally taken in color.

 

Choosing black & white for this photo was an easy call. The drab decore in the bathroom didn't do anything for the image and the purple dress was a distraction from some nice lines in the photo.

 

I've always been a bit torn on this image to go black & white because I like the small pop of yellow color, not to mention the image has a B&W feel to it even in color, but its the extra colors over the bride's hands that made me do it. The best part about most print ordering services today is you can do either as long as the original was shot in color.

Coming up tomorrow

Bonus Questions

I take a look at a couple of key questions I think were missed in my interview

Previous Questions

#14 Do prices typically vary for off-season or weekday weddings?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #14; Off-season pricing

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #2

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #14

Do prices typically vary for off-season or weekday weddings?

Yes, but not by much. You’re still paying for talent and experience and that doesn’t change with the weather. Neither does the insurance & maintenance on the equipment, along with advertising, light bills and the cost of the album to the photographer all stay the same in December as they do in June. Typically you can see 10%, sometimes more, but don’t expect to see 50% off. Last minute weddings can also see a discount since photographers know the likelihood of booking an open wedding date just a month or two out is rare.

If you are getting married when there's a good chance snow will be on the ground, or the middle of summer in a southern climate, chances are you might get a discount, but don't go looking for half-off Groupon style deals.

Coming up tomorrow

Question #15

Is it possible to get black and white photographs as well as color photographs, or do couples typically have to decide between one or the Other?


Previous Questions

#13  What equipment should a wedding photographer have?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #12; Determining Your Budget for Photography

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #2

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #12

How should a couple determine their wedding photography budget?

 

There is no magic number here. It’s really about how important photography is to the couple and it can also come down to what a couple wants from their wedding photography. I tell each couple there are three things that last after your wedding; the rings, the photos and your love for one another. Basically nobody is going to remember in a year if you had the top shelf liquor at your wedding, but you’ll remember if you didn’t get the best photographer you could afford, so it really should be the last place you try to save money at.

 

 

 

Coming up tomorrow

Question #13

What equipment should a wedding photographer have?

Previous Questions

#11  What should a couple beware of with certain wedding photographers?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #10; What to look for in a Photographer

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #2

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 Question #10

What should a couple look for in a wedding photographer?

 

The first thing they should look for is an actual photographer. Photography is an art, you shouldn’t first talk to a sales person, then meet your photographer after you picked your package. Once you find a photographer who’s work you like, find out if you like the photographer. I tell couples all the time, if you like my price & my portfolio, but don’t like me… Walk away. You’ll be with your photographer more than any other person on your wedding day and if you don’t feel you have a connection, think twice about booking them.

In the era of online reviews I have had less & less requests for referrals from my past couples. While chances are a photographer isn’t going to refer you to a person who had a less than perfect experience, you’ll still be able to get a feel from the little details in the conversation. If someone you know gives you a good review about the photographer they used, look into it even if it’s a little over your budget. Better to pay 10-15% more on a photographer with a personal referral than to have bad photos.

Word of mouth is often the best way to find a photographer. If you have a photographer personally recommended by someone treat it like a golden ticket.

 

Coming up tomorrow

Question #11

What should a couple beware of with certain wedding photographers?

Previous Questions

#9 At what point in the wedding planning process should a couple book a wedding photographer?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #7; Deposits

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #7

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #7

What is the customary deposit to put down, to reserve a photographer for a date?  When is the balance typically due?

Customary deposits can range from 25% to 50% of the total balance. Since a lot of what can be included in my larger packages is album pre-pays I like to limit my deposit totals around 50%, or the amount I’d be losing if the wedding was canceled at my lowest package rate. It is a deposit and I have certain criteria where it may be returned, so the smaller the number is the less I have to worry about covering if I need to do a refund.

Balances are typically due at, or around the signing of a contract. If the wedding is over 6 months away, I typically ask for a deposit within 2 months from the date the couple signed the contract. The final payment in almost all cases is due the on or before the wedding day, with some exceptions to albums & print options.

I’m pretty laid back and I don’t want to stress out a couple with deposit dates. As long as we stay in contact and I know what’s going on, I’m not going to book another wedding on that day, but I’m not every photographer. Not paying your deposit by the due date could open you up to losing that photographer and on a popular date like 6/7/08, you might have a hard time  finding a talented replacement.

A deposit should be enough to cover any material charges a vendor has ahead of the wedding, as well as enough to ensure if you back out they aren't out completely for that day.

 

Coming up tomorrow

Question #8

Why is there such a large price range among different wedding photographers?

 

Previous Questions

#6  What types of wedding packages do photographers typically offer?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #6; Packages offered

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #6

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #6

What types of wedding packages do photographers typically offer?

Typical packages range from a build your own approach, to tiered packages that have added savings as you increase in price. Most packages start with a single photographer and a set maximum hour and build on the number of photographers, album options, and usage rights for digital prints (getting a CD of images). Some can even go as far as including the videographer, or charges for destination weddings.

Want to see what’s offered in my wedding packages as compared to photographers you’re looking at VJ Wedding Packages 2012 link

 

Coming up tomorrow

Question #7

What is the customary deposit to put down, to reserve a photographer for a date?  When is the balance typically due?

 

Previous Questions

#5 What are the pros and cons of hiring two wedding photographers to take pictures at a wedding, as compared to only having one photographer taking Pictures?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #4; Photo Proofs

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #2

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #4

What is a proof and what are the advantages of the different types of Proofing?

 

A “proof” is traditionally a slightly corrected image printed out for a couple to preview before purchasing as a larger image, or including it in an album. With the advent of digital most proofs now consist as a web gallery where a couple can order, view or share photos from. If your photographer is going to place images from your wedding in a web gallery, but is offering a proof book as well, see if you can get a discount for not getting a proof book, as this is really a hold over from the days of film, before the internet and may be a hidden cost in your wedding package.

If you have a digital gallery (web or DVD) having a book of printed proofs is a waste of money.

Coming up tomorrow

Question #5

What are the pros and cons of hiring two wedding photographers to take pictures at a wedding, as compared to only having one photographer taking Pictures?


Previous Questions

#3 Is it better to book a wedding photographer who uses film or digital equipment?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 


15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #3; Film or digital

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #3

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #3

Is it better to book a wedding photographer who uses film or digital equipment?

The main difference between film and digital is the look and feel of an image created with one, or the other. I tend to shoot both at weddings, but at the end of the day though it really doesn’t matter anymore, most couples will still be printing the same amount of photos to hang on their wall and they may only see a real difference in their wedding album. If you are going with a photographer who shoots only film I suggest that you do so only with a seasoned professional. Film is not for the faint of heart. Their is a reason photography has become so popular now days and that reason is because even with a point you really need to know what you’re doing.

The top right & bottom left photos were shot on film, the other two were shot digitally. The matching images were both taken within a minute of two of each other and similar settings.

 

Coming up tomorrow

Question #4

What is a proof and what are the advantages of the different types of Proofing?

Previous Questions

#2 Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings? Is this common?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a wedding photographer #2; Photo Copyright

Copyrighted

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #2

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

 

Question #2

Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings? Is this common?

Copyright is common, because technically everybody who takes a photo, writes a poem, creates a computer program, ect. has a copyright under the law for what they’ve created. Professional photographers, musicians and movie makers are just a little more upfront about it because it’s part of their business. I get clients who tell me they want the “copyrights” to the photos without ever really knowing what that means. When in fact what they really want is usage rights.

Usage rights can allow a couple to reprint images as they see fit, but allows the photographer to be able to display the images (as part of their portfolio, or in an advertisement, as examples). Without writing a small novel, there are almost no reasons a couple should ask for the copyright to all the photos, over just getting usage rights. Asking for the copyright is like a Ford asking the Beatles to let them own a song just so it could be used in one car commercial.

 

 

Copyrighted

Can't touch this.

Coming up tomorrow

Question #3

Is it better to book a wedding photographer who uses film or digital Equipment?

 

Previous Questions

#1 What are the advantages of hiring a professional wedding photographer as opposed to having a friend or family member take the pictures?

 

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com


15 Questions for a wedding photographer. #1

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.

Question #1

What are the advantages of hiring a professional wedding photographer as opposed to having a friend or family member take the pictures?

I think the advantages really come down to how the couple values photos. My biggest job when I first meet some couples is convincing them that the images from their wedding day are not just for them, but for their family and possibly future children. There’s a huge difference between a cousin who can take 4 or 5 good shots out of 100, compared to a talented professional who can take 80-90 great shots out of 100. A truly talented professional photographer isn’t just some one with a good camera who knows how to pick the best place for a couple to stand. They’re going to know how to tell a story of that very special day with each click of the shutter. Simply put, a normal person takes photos, a photographer makes images.

 

Your wedding photos aren’t just for you, but for future generations of your new family.

Coming tomorrow

Question #2

Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings? Is this common?

www.VincentDavidJohnson.com

 


Congratulations: Kate & Alex July 23rd, 2011

Smart museum chicago wedding

Surrounded by ArtSmart museum chicago weddingKate & Alex, tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony at the Smart Museum of Art, on the University of Chicago’s campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood. It’s a location I’m very familiar with, since I am an artist and the museum is only 5 blocks from my home, I’m there quite often (my son on a recent trip there, you may recognize the painting from the ring photo top left).

The couple and their guests were truly in luck, as gloomy morning skies gave way to clear blue and sunny. While the reception and ceremony were held outside, the museum was open to all guests and the ketubah signing & cocktail hour were held inside the museum, allowing for a unique backdrop for any event.

bride getting ready

smart museum art wedding chicago hyde park

I love the similarities between this painting and Kate & Alex.

ring bearer drops the rings

I've seen very few weddings that don't have just a little bit of drama or an interesting side story. This photo below is part of a search for the wedding bands after they come undone from the ring bear's pillow. As a former two time ring bearer myself, my heart went out to the little guy as family & the bridal party searched for them. And yes they were found.

smart museum art wedding chicago hyde park

One of the few places in the museum which is sans art, is the handicap access ramp from the lobby to the museum floor. I took this photo as the couple made their way to a small table for appetizers and some alone time just after their ceremony.

speeches and toasts

Toasts and speeches can be one of the least exciting parts of a wedding reception, but I have to give it up to the groom, for really giving a great thank speech to his family and guests. It was warm and heartfelt and given flawlessly without a single note, or cue card read.

The wedding ended at midnight, but not before some lightning showed up.

Wedding guests dance in the open air garden at the Smart Museum under a lightning storm.

For a complete gallery & to purchase photos from this wedding visit my storefront
(Please contact the couple if the gallery is password protected)
www.VincentDavidJohnson.com
facebook tweet tweet flickr Vincent David Johnson blog yelp


Congratulations Meredith & Joe; June 26th, 2011

Wedding Lehman Mansion

A Midsummer Night’s Wedding

Wedding Lehman Mansion

Meredith and Joe, were married at the Millburn Church in Lake Villa and celebrated afterwords at the Lehman Mansion. Both beautiful locations that played along nicely with the theme of a Midsummer’s Night.

Accessories for the bridal and flower girl.

bride getting readyGetting ready.

bride & fatherMilburn Church Lake VillaWalking down the aisle with dad. The view from the balcony. Meredith & Joe walking down the aisle as husband and wife.

Meredith’s dress was beautiful with hundreds of flower pedal like fabric attached, her dress seemed to float when ever she moved about.

The introduction of Meredith & Joe.

Dancing under the stars and spot lights outdoors at the Lehman Mansion.

To see more images from this wedding visit my Facebook page.

facebook tweet tweet flickr Vincent David Johnson blog yelp

Congratulations Laura & Chris; June 18th, 2011

Poetic Wedding

Wedding Chicago, First United Methodist Church, Laura & Chris

If there was one thing I couldn’t stop thinking throughout the wedding day of Laura & Chris, was that I needed to know more poets.The couple met via a love for poetry and their wedding day showed a similar theme of love for the spoken word.

Their wedding day played out much like a well rehearsed poem, from the magnificent stained glass and wood of the First United Methodist Church in the heart of downtown Chicago, to the private room at Jak’s Tap in the near west side. Even forecasted thunderstorms avoided them the entire day.

First United Methodist ChurchA view from the balcony at the First United Methodist Church.

wedding rings dress church ChicagoA view of the Church from Daley Plaza (l to r), Laura’s wedding dress, the wedding bands.

laura & Chris wedding first dance chicago, illinois

poetic wedding first dance chicago, illinoisLaura & Chris shared their first dance to live guitar played by a friend.

Click Here to view more photos on my Facebook page.

facebook tweet tweet flickr Vincent David Johnson blog yelp

My Photos Profiled in Wedding Day Magazine

Vincent David Johnson in wedding day magazine

If you happen to live in the Northern Indiana area. Pickup a copy of Wedding Day Magazine and flip to page 88 and read the story of Deborah & Whitney’s wedding, complimented with the Photography of Vincent David Johnson.

Can’t find a copy of the magazine, but want to see the photos. Check out my Facebook gallery.
facebook tweet tweet flickr Vincent David Johnson blog yelp

Image Friendly Wedding Tips #4; Classic Car

In this case the groom owned the Mini.

When most of us think of the bride & groom driving away from a wedding, it’s either in a limo, or in their own car (cans on strings from the bumper are optional).

I don’t have anything against limos, or your car, but let’s face it, limos make up for style with size and personal cars in most cases are something most have been hanging onto through college, not really great for photos.

So why not add a little charm and go with a vintage ride?

If you would prefer for the least amount of leg work, go professional. There are companies who rent out vintage cars with drivers, for everything from filming movies to driving around brides & grooms and they usually have several car options to choose from. If you’re in a rural or small urban area, as opposed to a New York or Chicago, you may need to go with this next idea.

If a car rental agency isn’t an option, or you’re on a budget, be sure to check out local car clubs. You might not have a choice of a 1937 Rolls Royce in 3 different colors, but finding classic cars from the 1950’s & 60’s shouldn’t be a problem.

Because this isn’t a full time business, some car owners may not have an exact idea of what to charge, or what will be required of them & their car.

Not that I want you low balling people, but a good dollar amount to start at is between around$100 for an hour or two. Owners who maybe have done this once or twice before may already have a price in mind.

Make sure you specify when & where you’d like the car to be used and who will be in it. Since the purpose of this post is about making better pictures, I’d suggest making sure the owner knows you’d like to be using it as a prop after the ceremony. Make sure you mention everything you have planned. Nothing will sour your mood more than finding out you can’t sit on the top of the rear seat of a convertible as you’re leaving the ceremony.

A few last tips:

  • Ask for the car to be at least washed and maybe waxed the day of or before the wedding
  • Ask the driver to dress accordingly and in a solid color (preferably black)

Want to see how cool a vintage car can make your wedding photos? Just Google for photos from the recent Royal Wedding where Prince William & Kate Middleton left in an Aston Martin convertible.


Save $$$ on Your Wedding, the Easy Way: Part 1

As someone who was married with in the last decade, I can tell you without a doubt the best way my wife & I could have saved a few hundred dollars, would have been by not spending $15 each on a handful of magazines and putting those $30 or $50 fancy wedding planner style trapper keepers/scrap books back on the shelf at Borders.

A lot if not most of the info in there can easily be found on internet wedding sites, by bloggers and know-it-alls like me. Also, we forget sometimes the best resources are right in front of us. Chances are you know at least a couple of people who have been married in the last few years. Especially if you are younger. If you don’t know any, chance are some one you know does.

While the popping up of sites like Yelp.com, Angieslist.com & the old tried and true Better Business Bureau BBB.org, are all great tools, nothing beats hearing it from people you know and can trust as opposed to possible fake reviews, or overly picky brides.

Be sure to ask “Would you use them again?” instead of  just “Did you like them?”, as some couples might have a different budget, different taste and hidden factors like their parents might have been paying some of the bills.

Also, if you are at a wedding take mental notes on how the vendors & their services were. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a couple wedding video or album, most will gladly show them off, but don’t assume if they don’t have it yet it’s the vendors fault. I routinely have couples who take between 4-10 months to get back to me on their albums.

In defense of magazines & planning books, they are way better organized than the vast wedding based internet. Lets face it, there’s a reason we say “It reads like a book”. If you really want your books & magazines, look for freebees. Vendors, Bridal Shows and other places have been know to give them away for free to potential clients (aka the Bride & Groom).

facebook tweet tweet flickr Vincent David Johnson blog yelp

Congratulations Emily & Matt; Oct. 23rd, 2010

Milwaukee wedding photography

Milwaukee wedding photography It had been two years since I had shot a wedding in Milwaukee, and it was nice to be back. Ironically the last wedding I photographed was the sister of the bride, and just like I had two years ago, my day started off in the town of Wauwatosa, a cute little burb of Milwaukee, nestled along the banks of the Menomonee River. What wasn’t so cute was that after having one of the most perfect Octobers ever weather wise, the forecast for the day was for serious rain.

Luckily for the both of them the weather man was wrong and the most of the rain came before the end of the ceremony. Emily & Matt had picked out a bunch of great locations outdoors for some bridal party photos, so the weather cleared at just the right time and we were even lucky enough to get some great late afternoon sun.

The reception at the Milwaukee Yacht Club had some fantastic views of the city as well as Lake Michigan and capped off a very classy wedding.

For more photos from this wedding please visit my Facebook page. (Don’t forget to click like).

vincentdavidjohnson.com


Congratulations Suzi & Dave; Aug. 28th, 2010

Wheaton Cantigny wedding photography

Wheaton Cantigny wedding photographyBeing a city person, I hardly get out to the suburbs unless it’s on assignment, or for a wedding. However, there is one place myself & most wedding photographers who work around the Wheaton area know all to well and that is Cantigny.  I know that almost sounds like I’m rolling my eyes when I say it, but there’s a reason why this place is so popular with brides & Photographers. It’s beautiful and you’d have to photograph 2 dozen weddings there before you’d run out of new places to take pictures at and that’s not including different seasons.

While I’ve shot bridal parties inside the park before, Suzi & Dave, were my first couple who were actually having their ceremony at the park half of Cantigny. Complete with our own golf cart & driver we made our way around the park and got some great photos.

The peacefulness of the park really lent itself nicely as a back drop beyond posed photos once the ceremony started.

Cantigy Wheaton Illinois wedding photography

See more photos from this wedding on my Facebook page. (Don’t forget to like me)

vincentdavidjohnson.com


Congratulations Gwen & Jeff, July 4th, 2010

Wrigley Field wedding photography Chicago

Wrigley Field wedding photography Chicago

I’m a big believer in serendipity when it comes to my photos. Not saying I don’t plan things out, but if you’ve ever sat down with me while I talked about my philosophy & style, “serendipity” will no doubt have come up at some point. Gwen & Jeff, might have referred to some things that happened on their wedding day as good luck; Chicago’s July 3rd fireworks show being moved to the 4th, getting extra space at their reception venue, or bumping into Ronnie Woo-Woo while posing for pictures in front of Wrigley Field.

We went to Wrigley to get a photo, since this was the place Gwen & Jeff first met (please correct me if I’m wrong), and just happened to bump into Ronnie Woo-Woo and he was kind enough to jump into a photo with them.

Chicago wedding photography Cubs Wrigley field

While I love serendipity, I’ll also say that luck is all about how you position yourself. Gwen & Jeff picked the 4th of July and the Signature Room at the John Hancock building, because they knew at least Navy Pier would be doing fireworks.Congratulations again, you planned a beautiful wedding day.

wedding John Hancock building Chicago photography

See more photos on my Facebook page.

vincentdavidjohnson.com


Congratulations Adrianna & James, June 19th, 2010

Wedding Walter Payton's Round House

Wedding Walter Payton's Round House

I photograph a dozen or more weddings each year and 99% of the time I feel that I’ve formed a very good relationship with the couples I’m working with and while I’ve never had any disasters, forming a bond with the wedding party & close family doesn’t always happen as easily. With Adrianna & Jame’s wedding that was not the case.

Tagging along side of the bridemaids & groomsmen was a blast. I even have to make special mention of the bride’s sister Marika, who was a blast to be around. Just look at some of the photos from the reception which was held at the Walter Payton Round House in Aurora, and I think you’ll see how lively this group was.

Walter Payton round house wedding reception

On another note, I’ve had a few weddings where the groom, or bride had served, or was serving in the military, but Adrianna & James, was actually the first wedding I’ve ever shot where the groom was dressed in uniform. While a uniform isn’t an option for every groom, it a great reminder that you don’t need to stick with just the same old tux or suit. My personal favorite, mostly because it’s what I wore, is a white dinner jacket instead of a black tux jacket. This works great for summer & spring weddings.

wedding photography Wheaton Warrenville

See more photos from Adrianna & James’ wedding on my Facebook page (don’t forget to click like)

vincentdavidjohnson.com



Congratulations Jinnel & Randy

Wedding at Mayslake Peabody Estate

Wedding at Mayslake Peabody Estate

I often get calls from couples who are looking for a photographer who isn’t a traditional wedding photographer and one of the main reasons for this search is because the couple feels  that they’re style, or ceremony is going to be different from the norm.

I mostly just nod in agreement and smile as couples explain exactly how different things will be from any “normal” weddings I’ve photographed and the reason I do this is, as a photographer in a major urban area I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many diverse and unique weddings, and even then, everything that can be done, has been done, unless you’re going for some Guinness World record.

Wedding photography mayslake peabody estate

The reason I bring this all up is not because Jinnel & Randy told me their wedding was going to be “so different”, but the fact that while they may have done a few things outside of the norm, it was the overall style & vibe of their wedding that truly made it feel different and unique. The Peabody Estate, had a charm & warmth, that made it feel more like you were at the summer home of a wealthy family, and the band who was hired to play swing & jazz standards was a perfect touch. Which just added to the vintage charm of Jinnel & Randy’s wedding attire, as well as most of their guests, who for lack of a better term, played dress up to go along with a swing theme.

If I can say one thing to couples looking to break out of the wedding mold, work on doing something that really speaks to who you are and not just something that nobody else is doing.

See more photos on from this wedding on my Facebook page.

vincentdavidjohnson.com


Amy & Mark April 16th, 2010

Congratulations Amy & Mark

I shot Amy & Mark’s wedding back in April. It was my first wedding of the year and the weather turned out to be better than what we just had this weekend in June.

While some couples are locationally or time challenged to find an outdoor location for posed & group photos, Amy & Mark did a little pre-planning and found a great spot at a local farmstead with a river & a big red barn.

Given the fact that we were in the South Wilmington/Gardner are in central Illinois, far from where I live, leaving an outdoor location up to me might not have work out as good as this. Which goes to show you, a little bit of leg work can help make your images even better, regardless of who your photographer is.

Congratulations again to Amy & Mark.
To see some more of my favorite photos from their wedding visit my Facebook page