On February 15th, 2014 Bethany and Kalvin held their wedding at the American Village. The couple was wed by a minister and her Father in a ceremony held in the chapel at the Village. A family gathering celebrated in reception within the Village barn and the bouquet toss was held on the steps of Washington Hall. The couple was thrilled when they were thrown on a plane for their honeymoon – only to discover they were being treated to a surprise trip to Hawaii by her parents. Congratulations guys!
Esther and Keith will be married on May 31, 2014 and will be photographed by us at their Ross Bridge ceremony. In preparation for their wedding we did a little couple photography for them at Mount Laurel. Didn’t these turn out just beautiful? We’re so excited for them and we know they’re gonna be a beautiful Bride and Groom!
Many of our brides ask me, “Do I really need a shot list?”
For years I have pondered over this question….and it occurred to me, unless I plan on acquiring psychic powers any time soon, a shot list is the only way to provide a complete and accurate portrait of their wedding day. All weddings are as unique as the bride and groom themselves. They have different decor, themes, and personalities. And above all, each bride has a mental image of how she sees her big day!
We provide our brides with a blank shot list and ask them not only to write down shots that they know they want (ie; “a picture with me and my Aunt Martha from Tuscon Arizona” or “the jump shot with my bridesmaids”) but to go through all those wedding magazines that they purchased and cut out pictures that they like. At their final production meeting we will go over each of those pictures and determine what it is about them that they really like. Is it the pose? The treatment of the image (ie; B&W, sepia, vignette)? The location? From there we can get an idea of the mental picture our lovely bride has of how her wedding pictures should look.
Not every picture that you pull from a magazine will be suitable for your wedding…I mean really, you are getting married in the country and you pull a picture from a beach wedding….OK, it’s pretty, but probably not going to be one we can provide on your wedding day!
I had one of our brides Mother tell me that her niece got married a few months back and that their wedding pictures were awful (should’ve called Fotowerks!). I asked her what was so awful about them. Her response was that the photographer didn’t get all the family photos with the Aunts and Uncles and various cousins and that all the pictures looked “faded”. She sent me the link to her nieces gallery in an email and said, “this is what we do not want”. Actually, once I took a look, the pictures were quite nice. The photographer had used a specific filter on the images that gave them a softer look, thus the “faded” comment. But after further investigation, I found out that this photographer would not work from a shoot list. And they only met with the bride once, and that was when they signed em’ up. So, no production meetings, no trying to find out how the bride envisioned her wedding day. Just show up and shoot. Such a shame. Now this bride will look at her wedding pictures with dissatisfaction for the rest of her life.
So lovely bride, do I recommend that you have a shot list? That’s a resounding YES!
It’s happening. I made a prediction about 3 years ago that I unfortunately knew would come true sooner or later. Well, it now has. Brides are starting to come out of the woodwork with admitted buyers remorse.
It’s like this………..
Over the past 4 or 5 years the wedding photography world has taken a PLUNGE. With camera’s getting cheaper and cheaper, but at the same time getting BETTER (technology wise), a sudden influx of “PROFESSIONAL” (I use that term loosely) photographers burst upon the scene. Just about anyone could go buy a $1000 camera and come out of the store taking decent photographs. And with social media networks like myspace and facebook, EVERYONE wanted a nice digital camera. And it seemed like almost everyone saw the wedding photography business as a quick money maker.
People who really didn’t know that much about their camera’s or photography, started getting websites and blogs, and offering to shoot weddings for as little as $300-$500. As a VIDEOGRAPHER…. I started noticing that the PRO’s I normally worked with, well, I didn’t work with them nearly as much. Not only that, but I found myself working with people I had never heard of before. I’d get there contact info, go check out there website (if they even had one) and was astonished at some of what I saw. Not only that, but on occasion would see them actually fiddling with their owners manual, IN THE MIDDLE OF A WEDDING. How would you feel if you were on a plane and the pilot was reading the owners manual?
Anyway, yes, I’m a videographer, but I love photography, and my father is a photographer, so I know crap when I see it. And about 4 years ago I started noticing a bunch of CRAP (Cheap Really Awful Photography). I also have a lot of friends who are professional photographers, and speaking with them I heard their concern on this subject almost daily. There were a couple of problems working together to create one really big problem. 1.) The sudden influx of photographers who were just starting out, and hadn’t taken the time to really STUDY photography. 2.) These so called pro photographers offering ridiculously low prices 3.)The economy started tanking bad, therefore brides were booking these cheap photographers thinking they were getting a “great deal” 4.) Facebook started getting really popular.
So, what does facebooks popularity have to do with this problem. Well, when you look at sub-par images on facebook everyday, all of the sudden your idea of what’s GOOD photography, really isn’t that good anymore.
Anyway, I saw the writing on the wall. Clear as day. We were about to have a LOT of brides with a LOT of horror stories about their wedding photography. My prediction was that this was all going to be a really bad period for photographers in the wedding industry, but it would run it’s course and eventually things would get back to normal. I think it will run its course because, at some point, everybody’s going to know someone who completely regrets going the cheap route and is completely unhappy with their wedding images. And that’s already happening.
I’ve heard several stories already of brides who didn’t get what they were expecting or hoping for in their wedding photography. What a lot of these brides didn’t understand was that just because a photographer had a website and had a few nice images on there, didn’t mean that they were a professional. Anybody can take a few good pix and throw them up on their “portfolio” section of their website. But a true pro is going to know how to handle every situation that arises at a wedding. And there are a lot. Anything can happen and it almost always will. At almost every wedding, there will arise a situation that a “newbie” just isn’t going to know how to handle. This is where it really pays to have an experienced professional.
I saw this coming with photographers, but it’s also now starting to happen in the video world as well. . There are still way more photographers than vidoegraphers out there, but i’ve recently had discussions with 2 different brides who wanted to let me know how upset they were with their decision to go with someone cheaper and not use Holloway Productions. For a difference of $500-$1000 they chose another company to video their wedding and are now highly dissatisfied. 10 years from now when they watch back their wedding video, that $500 or $1000 decision is going to haunt them.
So, I said all that to say this……. when your making wedding plans, don’t just think about the actually wedding day. But also think about 10 years from now when you want to relive that day. Your memories will be a blur, and all you’ll have to accurately depict the most special day or your life up to that point will be the photos and the video. Is this really where you want to try and “get a good deal”? If you think it is….. just seek out someone that you know who did seek out that great deal, and I can tell you with 99% certainty that if they had to do it again, they would have put more stock into their wedding day memories.
Please don’t take this to mean that I think every photographer/videographer who has popped on the scene in the last 4 years isn’t good. I know some REALLY good, new photographers in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham who have less than 4 years under their belt as a professional photographer. I’m friends with several of them. This message is about those who never took the time to study their craft, who shoot in fully automatic mode, or those who think P on the camera dial is for Professional.