hey cats and kittens…just a quick FYI. i’ve updated my wedding pricing structure (in an attempt to make it even MORE simple and straightforward (leaving room to customize and get EXACTLY what you want.) as always, contact me with any questions!
i’ve been doing this wedding photographer thing for a few years…it’s interesting to me to see how my opinions have changed on certain traditions over the course of this career. (and sometimes changed back again!)
in the beginning, i loved everything that pushed the boundary on “traditional”. anything that created extra interest in the end-product photos. now…now i’m happy to photograph anything that happens. i know that couples make the choices they make thoughtfully…and as such, it’s a priority for them. which means it’s a priority to me.
a few years ago, if anyone had asked me what i thought of receiving lines, i probably would have said that they took time and didn’t provide great photo ops. NOW…i will amend that to say that they take time, but can provide an amazing opportunity to get candids of most of the wedding guests looking happy fairly quickly. they may not look as delighted the whole rest of the day as they will when they are congratulating the newly married couple. if the receiving line takes place in pleasing conditions (good light, colorful backdrop), in the span of 15 minutes, not only will the bride and groom get to thank each and every person who went out of his or her way to attend the celebration…the photographer can capture all those beloved faces with consistent exposures…which is GREAT for wedding albums!
i’ve been thinking about this a lot the last few days while designing an album layout for a wedding i photographed in october. the receiving line took place outdoors in a garden, so the light was gorgeous and there were still flowers blooming all around. having these images as part of the record of the day enabled me to design this…which is one of my favorite album layouts ever! i love the colors, and i love being able to include so many of the couple’s favorite people in their album…the book they’re going to treasure and look at every time they want to relive the day they promised each other forever!
tips if you’re considering having a receiving line:
*if possible–do it outside! pick a location that has lots of pretty colors and good light. (i also loved the images from a receiving line that took place inside in a greenhouse. that soft filtered light was GORGEOUS.)
*make sure your photographer knows you’d love to have lots of images of your guests as you greet them. to create layouts like this, your photographer(s) will also need to take a few moments to capture the scene-setting details.
*have a plan: ensure that everyone in the receiving line knows he/she is supposed to be in the line, where it will be happening, the order to line up in, and how soon after the ceremony it will be (will everyone exit and immediately line up, or will the bride and groom take a breather prior to greeting their guests?)
i’ve read several posts/articles with this title from a variety of perspectives. it kind of amuses me, bc…y’know, we’re all sure we’re right!
some photographers believe that if your coverage doesn’t include the disc of images with printing rights…you’re being gypped!
some photographers think you should have 2 or 3 perspectives or moments are being missed!…others are sure they do a better job blending in and capturing all the action shooting solo.
some photographers are passionate about telling you you deserve/need/require FULL coverage…from waking up in the morning until your last guest leaves and the venue starts breaking down tables.
some photographers firmly hold the stance that if you don’t do an engagement session…the photos on your wedding day will suffer!
i can see all of these perspectives…and i agree with all of them to a certain extent. let me elaborate.
your images: i definitely believe that you should have the option to have the images from your wedding and the license to use them for personal use. this is why you can either include the images in your package or if you choose to go a la carte, you can purchase them for a reasonable fee after the wedding. those images have value…we both know that. that is why they are not automatically included. i want you to think about whether you’d like to be responsible for archiving them yourself while creating your own prints/books or whether you’d like to collaborate with me on prints and albums. there is no wrong answer. i want you to get exactly what you want!
number of shooters: i like working alone…and i like working with other photographers. 😀 so this isn’t one of my hot-button topics. i see the value in both approaches, and i usually make a recommendation based on how many hours of coverage you want and how large your event will be. i can’t be in two places at once…but one person blends in and moves around more freely than two. again…no wrong answer!
full coverage: there is something about the pace of the day that slows down when your photographer is there for extended hours. it’s a little more relaxed, the timeline is still important, but there’s less concern about fitting things in like a tetris game. that said, i normally do offer shorter coverage, and it is has never been an issue in my experience. well-planned timelines make it possible for everything to happen when it should…and to capture the entire story of the day, from getting ready to guests tearing up the dance floor without breaking the bank.
engagement session: while i think it’s hyperbolic to say that wedding day photos will SUFFER without doing an engagement session…i do include them in all of my packages because i think it’s a great way to get to know each other…the trust and rapport built in more relaxed settings does translate to comfort on the wedding day that is often invaluable for couples who aren’t used to being photographed. plus…it’s super fun! i really like getting to hang out with clients without being worried about getting back in time for the prime rib to be served.
so…basically the point of this post is…you’re going to read a lot of different things in your search for a photographer. everyone’s got their THING that they feel really strongly about. you’ll hear persuasive arguments…and sometimes directly contradicting arguments from person to person. it might be confusing or overwhelming, but if you can take a minute and think about what you really need and what you really want…you’ll start to see the light at the end of the tunnel! and if you have a question…you should NEVER hesitate to ask it. (if you don’t feel comfortable asking someone a question…it might be a good sign that you should continue your search!) that’s what we’re here for; we do this…a LOT…and we’re happy to share our experiences and perspectives…and to make sure that things work out for you the way you want them to.
today has been a day chock-a-block with frustrations…both personal and professional. i checked the ski report with half a mind to run away to the mountains and snowboard my worries away…no dice. not really worth the time when it’s “icy granules.” so instead, i acted like a grown-up and tackled one problem after another all day long (well, in truth, it was more that i tackled the same problem from as many angles as i could find!)
and now…a little after midnight, i’ve staved off my last meltdown of the day…if i hit another roadblock, i’ll probably start sobbing in rage or rip all my hair out (kind of like jimmy on raising hope. do you watch raising hope? you should. it’s HI-larious.)
i decided i needed an escape. and since an ACTUAL trip isn’t very practical (and i just got back from one, like, a week and a half ago…), i decided to relive my 48 hours in fiji in march 2009. want to come along?
i arrived just a little bit before sunset…i’d booked a bed in a hostel on the beach. i (wrongly) assumed that all beaches in fiji are 100% magic. it was crowded and dirty, and i was warned not to walk alone after dark. except…for a little while each day, even this beach was magic. then i laid in that hammock and looked up at the royal blue of the freshly fallen night sky, the twinkling stars, the green palm fronds sheltering me…though the night was mild and balmy with a whispering breeze…and it was more magic. until i couldn’t deny the fact that i’d gotten about 34 bug bites in the 5 minutes i laid there breathing in the magic. and dashed inside to watch the full season of scrubs i put on my laptop in preparation for travel.
the next morning, i dined on the patio. i had a big stack of pancakes and a bottle of fiji water…(when in rome? er…fiji?) which, mystery of mysteries…was imported. it’s bottled at the source, shipped off to some plant in australia or asia, and then returned to the tropical island paradise. i don’t understand either. after breakfast it was time to lounge by the pool. i lounged just a SMIDGE too long, though…and as a result, i’m pretty sure i had those “tan” lines for the better part of 2009. the other result was that sitting was fairly excruciating…here’s some free advice: DON’T LET YOUR ASS GET SUNBURNED 36 HOURS BEFORE YOU HAVE TO GET ON A 10 HOUR FLIGHT. it isn’t fun. as though God were agreeing and commiserating with me, after lunch it began to rain and rained the rest of the day. i had a legitimate excuse to stay in my room and try not to let anything touch the back of my legs.
morning two dawned bright and sunny for the one excursion i had time to take. this wasn’t a real visit to fiji…it was just me taking advantage of a free stopover. stopovers are genius. next time you fly internationally, ask if there are any free stopovers available…24-48 hours in a random country along the way? ok! i was picked up by an indian man driving a minibus taxi…i’m pretty sure he proposed. i thanked him and declined. we picked up people from many other hostels and resorts and finally reached a dock on a river. this was all happening in fijian time…which, i’m pretty sure, is even slower than hawai’ian time. but everyone smiles HUGELY while they wait. why wouldn’t they? we made it onto the boat…a rag tag, decidedly non-homogenized group of tourists off to play castaway for a day. i spent most of the boat ride trying to figure out how to sit in such a way that i didn’t want to die. i never quite managed it. we arrived at the island and were encouraged to relax, take out a kayak, go for a swim, visit some sea turtles (which weren’t actually there. it was just a joke those crazy fijians play on the whiteys. which was actually hilarious, so…fair play to the crazy fijians! if you want to hear the story, shoot me an email, i’m already writing too much!) they climbed coconut palms and chopped down a green coconut for anyone interested…i tried the milk. do not want. they also showed us how to scrape the meat out…and then, THOSE CRAZY FIJIANS! they walked on fire. like…barefoot across burning coals. and then they dug up the roasting pig underneath and fed us. and then they danced. oh they danced. with swords/clubs, without weapons…with fire, without fire. lots of dancing and lots of smiles.
some of my favorite pictures from that day are the ones of the island as we said farewell. it doesn’t even quite look real. and yet…i spent a day there, so i know it is. i might go back to fiji someday…or maybe i’ll go to rarotonga or samoa or tokelau. either way, I’M TOTALLY BRINGING MY SUNSCREEN, YOU GUYS!
bye fiji…thanks for helping me kick these winter doldrums tonight.