May and June are typically the months when wedding photographers start to get busy as the season starts. I truly believe, wedding photography is one of the hardest specialities. The reason : You need to be a photojournalist, stock photographer, architectural photographer, portrait photographer, food photographer, a commercial photographer and the list goes on. You need to have knowledge in all these areas to be truly great at your craft. Aside from the technicalities of wedding photography, there are a few things you should keep in mind when photographing the couple on the way to the altar.
I can’t say this one enough. Preparation is key. Have a questionnaire for your couple. In the questionnaire,you should ask the basics : start time, venue location etc. Also ask, about relations and the names of family and wedding party. It’s hard to remember everyone’s name in the wedding party, but learning the names of the parents, grandparents and siblings will take you far. Also, ask if there are any family situations to be made aware of, such as divorces or deaths. It’s important to set expectations with your couple ahead of time instead of having a surprise or problem on the day of the wedding. Remember there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to wedding photography. As far as preparing equipment, check and charge everything the night before if not earlier.
2. Scout your Location
I have always scouted my locations a week before the event. The reason being, I needed to know where the sun set in the sky during the time I would be taking wedding pictures. I may have been at this venue before, but generally the time of day and seasons may have been different. Also, I check to see if there are any races or street fairs I should know about on the wedding date as this might affect traffic to and from the ceremony or the reception. You also want a back up plan. If it rains on the wedding day, you should be prepared with a plan “b”. A plan to execute in case it rains, you don’t want to be left high and dry without a back up plan.
3. The Power of Light
Know your light. Everything from natural to flash to strobe. When working with natural light, do you want a sihlouette or do you want to work with the sun? This will make a difference in your settings. For flash, there are a number of ways to diffuse your flash to make it softer on your subjects. If you don’t know how to use your flash manually, try using a diffuser . You can also bounce it off walls, ceilings, even off reflectors. If you are using strobe, make sure you have tested your triggers or you have plenty of extension chord if it’s a plug in. The key is to have the most flattering light possible on your subjects.
Your couple has spent a lot of time picking out the right shoes, the right tie, the right rings, the right dress , the right suit. Spend some time getting images of these various articles as well as all the little details at the reception. You would be amazed how these detail shots help in setting up a wedding album. They often make the perfect filler or background.
5. Social Media Savvy
I can’t think of a better event to be social savvy at than a wedding. Your opportunities to market are endless. From your questionnaire on step 1, ask for the bride and groom’s soial media handles on facebook ,twitter, instagram and such. Go over your plans with the couple on how you will present their images on your website, facebook and other channels. Some people are still very private, so it’s important to know this ahead of time. Make it fun and get everyone involved. Sometimes coming up with a fun hashtag on Instagram can get the wedding party and guests involved. For example, #MikeandSallyTieTheKnot. Or when loading photos to Facebook, have your couple invite their friends to “tag” themselves in the photo. At the reception, print out little cards with the website and password to the images for the wedding. Marketing is a different world now days with the internet and it’s important to not only discuss this with your couple but to also stay one step ahead of the technology curve.
There are so many more tips and tricks to wedding photography, but these are definite starting points. I have been a wedding photographer for 13 years and I can honestly say, it is one of the most difficult and demanding photography specialties. I admire those who have been in the business for years and I admire those just starting out and pushing the boundaries. Documenting a couple on one of their most cherished days is an honor and more importantly, giving them beautiful images documenting their wedding day is the best marketing you can do for yourself as they show them to their friends and family.
Senior photography has grown tremendously over the years thanks in part to social media. Teens love to share their photographs with each other. So it’s no wonder that graduation photography is such an important part of their lives. Like any specialty, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when photographing graduates.
1. Know Your Client
Each client is unique. What defines them at this age is their interests. The more you can connect with them on this level the more they will feel comfortable with you and in front of the lens. I know a lot of photographers that will send out a “Get to Know You” questionnaire to their clients. It’s a short survey that asks clients about their hobbies, music tastes, sports, etc. As you prepare for the photo shoot, you may want to have your client bring their ipod or mp3 player loaded with their favorite songs as background music for the shoot. You can also suggest they bring any sports items they have or instruments they played. Anything to make their experience unique and specialized.
2. Dress for Success
Nothing dates an image more than the style of clothes a person wears. When my Senior images were taken, acid wash was the rage. Let the Senior bring their favorite clothes and what makes them feel comfortable. You may also want to suggest to throw in a few more timeless and simple outfits ie, solid colors, no big logos, etc. This way you are covering all bases and will ensure the images will not be outdated as the fads change. Also, if your client wears glasses you might want to suggest they get a pair of frames without the glass. Most glasses give a glare from studio lights or reflections from outside. You don’t want them to look differently without their tradmark specs, but you also don’t want to spend a lot of time retouching glare.
3. Posture and Hand Placement
Posture and hand placement are so important in senior photography. For most Seniors, this is their first time being the solo subject for a professional photographer. So they will not automatically know what to do with their hands and limbs. Typically, girls should have soft hands and boys should have more confident hand placement. Instead of telling your subjects what they should be doing or going in and mechanically moving their limbs for them, show them how to pose. This way, they don’t feel as awkward or embarrassed that they are doing it wrong. This should be a positive experience and the more you can alleviate any stress for them the better.
4. Bring Along Support
You might also suggest they are welcomed to bring a long a friend, parent or sibling. Sometimes having a familiar face in an unfamiliar place makes all the difference in the world. I think it’s often important too to snag a few candids of the Senior with this person. It’s a simple thing to do and it makes for a lasting memory from a great session. Some photographers will even include their support person in the portrait session. Whatever your view is, this person is special to your Senior, so take the time to capture it.
5. Be Social Savvy
It seems like a majority of Seniors are very social savvy with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s imperative to be just as savvy. In your questionairre from step 1, make sure to ask your Seniors for their various handles on social media channels. I always ask if it’s ok to tag them on Facebook and give sneak peeks on other social media channels. I’ve also Instagrammed between set ups where the client is relaxing a bit and laughing. It’s important to find out what they are comfortable with in regards to social media and then target your marketing accordingly.
The most important item to keep in mind is to make your client feel at ease. You are documenting a really important time in their life. Keeping it fun, positive and smooth on your end will go a long way in making a great memory.
Today is Mother’s Day. It’s no surprise, it comes every year. So why was I surprised, when I was looking through my photos that I could not find one of myself with my children from the past year either on my phone, camera or in print by Adoramapix? Yes, I had let a whole year slip away without one picture of me with both my kids.
When I was talking with member Natascha Lee of Natascha Lee Studios out of Colorado, we talked about not only photographer moms not getting in the pictures, but our clients as well were just wanting the kids in the photos. These are such wasted opportunities. Natascha Lee wrote a sweet article on encouraging moms to get into the picture.
Those who have spoken with me know that I am pretty passionate about photographing moms and dads with their children; not just the children alone but children with their parents as well! How else can you truly capture the love and special connection of a family?
When I get a push back on this (“Oh no, I don’t want to be in the photos — just the kids”), I ask:
What is *your* most cherished childhood photo?
Is it the one of you smiling big on your first day of school? The one where you are holding up your Christmas gift? The one where you are sleeping on the beach? Or is it the one, that includes your parents, playing with you, holding you, just being themselves?
For most of us, our most cherished images include our parents, and show the love we felt for each other. They might not be technically perfect but they are real and they are precious.
I worry that mothers are taking hundreds (thousands?) of images of their kids, and not including themselves in hardly any of them! I want to encourage all those moms who take tons of snapshots of their kids, to make sure that they themselves are in at least some of them.
It’s not hard I promise! Have your spouse or partner take a turn with the camera/phone, ask another parent to snap a few or hold the camera or phone out the way you do when you take pix with your bestie.
That photo where your hair wasn’t perfect but you were having a snow fight with your kids? Or the ones where your smile is a little lopsided and you are still in your pjs cuddling with your kids on the couch? That’ll probably be their favorite.
Thank you Natascha Lee, an important reminder to parents. By the way, I did find a picture of myself and my son together. This is how he sees me and I love it.
Happy Muvrs Day!
Maternity photography has really gained in popularity through the last few years. Photographers are getting more and more creative with women and their baby bumps. It’s fantastic to see so much brightness and life in this new wave of photography. However, with any specialty there are always a few things to keep in mind when starting out.
1. The Time is Right
It’s hard to say when the exact right time to photograph a pregnant woman would be, but in most cases 7 months is the ideal month. This is usually when the baby has dropped a bit in the tummy and when moms are still relatively comfortable in moving their bodies. If you wait until after the 7 months, sometimes it can be uncomfortable for the mothers, plus they have a lot on their plate the closer they get to their due date. As a photographer, you’ll also want enough time to edit and print these images before the baby arrives. This should be plenty of time for your client to order images and share them before the wee one enters the world.
2. Preparation is Key
Maternity photography should be treated just like modeling or head shot photography. Have your client come prepared. Moms should make sure their nails are groomed and you might even suggest having the moms have their hair and makeup professionally done. It’s a little bit of pampering but it goes a long way in making the clients feel great about themselves. Have a candid discussion with your client regarding what to bring and make sure they bring water, snacks and a robe (for in between shoots) so they can feel as comfortable as possible. Also, remind them not to wear anything too confining around the belly before the session (like elastic pants). This can often leave marks on the tummy in which you’ll have to photoshop out later. So save yourself some time with this little tip.
3. Try New Angles
Ok, so you’ve done the traditional photo of mom standing up with her hands on her belly, now what? With maternity photography, it’s important to get the best angles and lighting as possible for the expecting moms. Try shooting from above. This is a great angle as it is almost always flattering . At this position, you can focus on her bright eyes or her hands on her belly. She can be looking straight at you or down at her bump. Any of these combinations will work as this angle is flattering and slimming to the face.
4. Get Creative
Think outside the box and get creative. What I love most about today’s maternity photography is the abstracts. I love the focus on the belly and flowers. Or maybe the feet are in focus and the tummy is out of focus. Or you can be clever in announcing the sex of the child by including elements to give clues. Try a pair of boy’s baby shoes in the photo or maybe fill the room with pink balloons. It’s fun to get creative and your client will have fun as well.
5. Get Loved Ones Involved
It’s not just mom who is excited about the arrival of the baby, it’s the dad, the partner, the pets, the siblings, the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, you name it, everyone is anxiously waiting. So now is the time to capture their excitement too and include them in the maternity photo shoot. Dads and partners can come in and wrap their arms around the mom. Siblings can come in get up and close to mom’s belly. Finally, let Fido in on the action too, he’s a part of the family too and his life is about to get a whole lot better with more table scraps coming his way in a few years.
The important key to remember with any of this is to always make sure your client is comfortable. Keep relaxed but take this seriously. Your clients will love the extra attention and details you give them. Photographers are family historians and this is one of the most important jobs in the world.
Tips for Making Better Photo Books
#1 – Customizing Colors with PixPublisher
PixPublisher’s color fill feature is incredibly powerful and versatile. It allows you to change the color of any decoration or frame to any color you choose. This can come in handy for virtually any photo book in which you want to match a specific color palette.
When you select any decoration or frame by clicking on it, you’ll see an option called color fill appear on the toolbar above the workspace. Just click the color fill option and pick a new color from the color selection panel that appears. The panel gives you three options for choosing a color. You can:
1. Choose your color from the palette provided
2. Enter a color code manually
3. Use the dropper tool to choose any color on the screen.
Whatever color you choose will be applied immediately to the selected decoration or frame. If you’re looking for ideas for a color scheme for your photo book, check out the kuler website by cilcking HERE.