Thursday, March 10, 2011

tucson wedding photographer ~ when wedding photography info goes viral

I am a huge fan of Google Reader. Like, majorly huge. Every morning after I walk my dogs, I open my window, listen to the birds, sit down with a cup of coffee and read. It's cathartic, really. Kind of like sitting down with the morning newspaper.

There are a few photographers that I follow on a daily basis for inspiration, but it's inspiration that's mostly business-focused rather than art-focused. And honestly, if you took a quick glance at my Reader, a lot of the blogs I follow are actually writing blogs, not photography! Some of them are friends, some are just beautiful, and some are for a daily giggle or two, but the majority are for education. Whether it be wedding trends, "how to build your business" or Justin & Mary's awesome Pancake Sessions (side note: did I tell you guys I'm going to be their intern for the San Diego "Spread the Love" Tour??? So stinkin' excited!), I try to soak up as much information as possible every day.

On that note, as I build my business to bigger and better places, it is imperative that I continue to educate myself. In fact, apart from continuing to challenge myself creatively, it is my number priority. And apparently this week is the week for information about wedding photography because it's here, there and everywhere! Good, bad, and indifferent, there is a lot of information out there, but the posts floating around this week seem to be more of the former.

Because I think it's important that you hear (errr, read) more than just my opinion regarding wedding photography, here are a few great posts I've read this week that really clarified some more details concerning exactly what I wrote about the other day.

{Gia Canali}, a fabulous film photographer, wrote about wedding photography tangibles & intangibles.

{jennifer dery} put up a link to another site (which I'm now following!): Why you should NEVER skimp on wedding photography. And guess what? It's not written by a photographer!

Not from this week (or even this month, for that matter), but {why albums are important} - from the client's perspective (not my client, fyi).

Are there any blogs out there than inspire you? Teach you? Please share! I love new material. :)

Just because ... {I love this song} and am editing to it all day long today.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tucson Wedding Photographer ~ when "tough" questions really shouldn't be that tough

One of the first things any of my clients asks me is always, always, always: "How much do you charge?"


Okay... I'm an artist, so that hurts me a little. I think photography is art, and investing in art is important. But I'm also a business owner, and a former bride, so I know where it comes from. It comes from stretching budgets, calculating each and every choice down the penny, from weighing what you want vs. what you need.

But even as a business owner, even as a former budget-crunching bride, I strongly believe that when choosing your wedding photographer, price shouldn't be the deciding factor. Sure, it should be a parameter. A guideline, perhaps the basis from which you begin your search.

Your search for the one singular person you will trust with your lifetime memories.


Because that's exactly who your photographer is. She is going to be there for every single part of your wedding day. She is going to be privy to your most intimate of moments. She is going to spend more time with you+yours on your wedding day than your mother. Yes, seriously.

So today's blog is three basic questions and three detailed answers. Three questions that almost every {bride+groom} asks me, and three answers I find myself giving repeatedly. Because at the end of the day, that budget decision you had to make... you know the one - the one regarding the photographer you really loved vs. your friend who'd shoot the whole thing for $500... well, here are my reasons as to why that "tough" decision really shouldn't have to be that tough.

{really hard questions: totally honest answers}

Why is wedding photography so expensive?
Keep in mind that operating any small business incurs expenses, and professional wedding photography is no exception. There is a common misconception that wedding photographers make a lot of money working only one day a week, but in addition to the actual day of shooting (which in itself can be anywhere from 8 to 16 hours) there is 25 hours or more of back-end work involved in each wedding. Not to mention any engagement shoots, album design, online processing, ordering, etc. that may be included in your package.

Why is there such a discrepancy in pricing from one photographer to another?
There are a multitude of reasons as to why one photographer will charge a lot and another will charge very little. In wedding photography, as in any profession, there are many professionals operating at different levels of expertise and offering different types of service. Pricing is only one of many ways that those with more experience or expertise can distinguish themselves – as well as one of the easiest.

That being said... just because a photographer charges a lot, it doesn’t mean she's going to hit it out of the ballpark. And just because someone charges very little, it definitely doesn’t mean they’re not going to do an amazing job. Make your decision based on how you want your day to be documented. Make sure you love their work, and that it speaks to you. Lastly, do your research. Keep in mind that a website generally showcases a photographer's favorite work and is updated rarely, while a blog shows what they're producing on a more regular basis. Personally, I think the best way to judge whether or not you like someone's work, as well as whether or not they're consistent with their style, is through a blog.

Most importantly, and something you will hear me say again and again and again: would you be friends with your photographer if she wasn’t shooting your wedding? If not, she's probably not your best choice.

How do I know how much to budget for my wedding photography?
First, gauge the importance that photography will play in your big day… then stretch one step past that. Scary, I know. But try to let your eye – not your wallet – decide. In twenty years, when your daughter asks about your wedding, are you going to tell her what the caterer served for dinner? I don’t think so. You're going to show her your wedding album.

In all honesty, if you’re looking for numbers, a conservative estimate should be 10-15% of your total budget. Personally, we spent 20%. It hurt a little, and we had to cut back on other things - things I don’t even remember now. And you know what? It was worth it. It was worth every. single. penny.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Missoula Children's Photographer ~ {selah+mattix} family ties

Baby girl Selah+her big brother extraordinaire, Mattix are the gorgeous products of {cameryn+joshua}. Look at those baby blues! Heartbreaker in training, I'm calling it now...

Love these kiddos.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

{things that make me happy} introvert v. extrovert

At first glance, most people would classify me as an extrovert.

I'm a talker. A doer. An always moving-always thinking-always going kind of person. I laugh, I cry, I run, I play. I love checklists. I travel constantly. I enjoy being with friends - most of whom are quite loud+outgoing. I'm a type-A, oldest child through and through. I shoot weddings, aka LARGE GROUPS OF PEOPLE, for crying out loud...

But I'm not.

By definition, the true meaning of an extrovert is: "one who is energized by being around other people, who tend to 'fade' when alone and can easily become bored without other people around." When given the chance, an extrovert will talk with someone else rather than sit alone and think. In fact, extroverts tend to think as they speak, unlike introverts who are far more likely to think before they speak. Concepts just don't seem real to extroverts unless they can talk about them; reflecting on them isn't enough. So yes, at first glance, it would make sense to classify me as an extrovert. Me, the photographer of large groups of people. Me, the talker. Me, the always voted to speak for the group. Me, the "extrovert."

But I'm not.

I'm a thinker. An over-thinker, actually.

I am energized by my alone-time. I crave it, actually. It allows my brain to expand, accept all the things that are simultaneously thrashing about and categorize them as need be. It gives me the ability to relax, to stop going, and to just be in the moment. It allows me to re-evaluate, recharge, and then go again. I am not shy, but that in itself is not the definition of an introvert. Introverts are people who are energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to "recharge."

Which I do.

I love weddings. LOVE them. Never get sick of them. But the day after shooting one, I am drained both emotionally and physically. Maybe it's the 50 pounds of camera equipment, the 16 hour day, or maybe it's just that I concentrate so much of my energy into thinking, doing, acting, shooting. It's focused on the couple. It's focused on the group. It's focused on producing quality images. It's focused on telling a story. It is totally and completely outward.

And it's exhausting. In an awesome, beautiful, wow that was a great day, I love my job kind of way. But exhausting, nonetheless.

Because I'm an introvert.

See ... I am the girl who's much better one-on-one than being part of a large group. In that large group, I tend to gravitate toward the one person I know and stay there. I have a few really close friends, but not many acquaintances. I am the girl who isn't afraid of public speaking - if I know what I'm talking about. I am the girl who will speak her mind - if I feel strongly about it. I don't argue unless I know for sure that I'm right. I think things through two, three or four times before I do anything. And above all, my favorite part of being a wedding photographer is the relationship I develop with my brides+grooms.

Because I'm an introvert.

Which is also what happens to make me good at my job. That relationship that {we} develop, that one-on-one, that trust is what creates beautiful images.

All of my energy that entire day, is focused on {you}. You are important to me, your photos are important to me, your day is important to me. Because hopefully, throughout the entire wedding planning process, we've become friends.

When you hire a photographer, be an introvert and focus on how you feel when you're around them. Are you comfortable? Are you nervous? Excited? Anxious? Relaxed? Confident? Forget price, forget time, forget packages. How do you feel?

Because you're not just hiring a vendor, you're hiring a friend. A friend who will be there all day. A friend who will be part of your most intimate of moments. A friend who is responsible for the one thing that will last forever.

So today, {what makes me happy} is knowing that being an introvert is not a negative. That it's totally okay to need to "recharge." That is a good thing to stop and think. That being alone is a-okay.

Because it's what makes me happy. And that's what matters.


*Shot with my little Canon point+shoot. Hiking with my hubby+dogs to "recharge" makes me even happier.