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Articles and Advice

Get A Flawless Complexion On Your Wedding Day

Every woman (quite rightly) wants to be the most beautiful person in the room on her wedding day. Whilst the dress is the most common topic of discussion at every wedding, smooth, radiant skin can top off the perfect look. A flawless complexion can be achieved through traditional make-up, airbrushing, clean eating, and a number of other methods that contribute to hydrated, blemish-free skin. So brides everywhere - rejoice, as you too can look picture-perfect on your wedding day by following these simple steps for a flawless complexion.

Clean Up Your Diet

One of the easiest ways to achieve healthy looking skin is by eating well, and cutting down on sugary, fatty foods. Maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, coupled with plenty of water, can help flush away toxins under the skin and promote healing. In the months leading up to your wedding, choose to eat healthier. Opt for low-glycaemic foods, plus green and red veggies, avocados, blueberries, and wild salmon, as they are great for your complexion. The famous Mayo Clinic in the USA also recommend drinking at least two litres of water per day.

Slather On The Sunblock

No woman wants to walk down the aisle with sunburn or noticeable tan lines. Protect your skin outdoors by wearing sun cream every day. Go for a high SPF of 30+ to protect against UVB, and make sure it has at least three stars of UVA protection too. Sun block does more than just protect against sunburn: it helps to slow down the skin’s natural aging process, and can protect against unsightly sun spots, wrinkles, and various skin conditions, including skin cancer.

 

Keep Skin Moisturised

Hydration is essential for a flawless complexion. Eliminate dry skin by applying a daily moisturizer, which helps skin stay soft and supple. Opt for a lightweight, fragrance-free organic moisturiser that is free of harsh chemicals that contribute to imperfections, such as adult acne. Choose a moisturiser designed for your skin tone, e.g. oily, normal, dry, or combination.

Get A Professional Facial

A couple of nights before your wedding, undergo a facial treatment at a trusted salon or spa in your area. Facials provide a deep cleanse of the skin, removing ingrained dirt, excess oils, and environmental toxins that cause the skin to appear tired and worn. A quality facial can also increase circulation to the skin layers, which boosts oxygen flow and gives the skin a natural, healthy glow. And don't forget that facials can also be really soothing, providing much-needed stress relief when you need it most!

 

Begin With A Quality Concealer

When choosing your wedding day make-up you should splurge on a high-quality concealer. According to the 'Wear Your Skin Proudly' survey, 44% of women reported that their skin imperfections, such as stretch marks and scars, affected their self-confidence. For those minor imperfections that you can’t get rid of, simply camouflage them with concealer. Choose a light-formula, oil-free concealer designed for your skin tone and blend well to avoid harsh edges.

Fill In Noticeable Pores

While it’s usually not a good idea to clog your pores with product, filling your pores can be a temporarily solution for brides with large, noticeable pores. Use a clean, slightly damp sponge and press liquid foundation into your pores to minimize their appearance and improve the overall texture of your face. Be sure to thoroughly wash the make-up off at the end of the night to prevent a breakout.

Highlight To Brighten Those Dark Areas

Women with uneven skin tones can benefit from highlighting techniques that help to brighten up darker areas of the skin. Using a creamy, reflective concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation, blend the product into the skin using freshly washed fingers. While every women’s complexion is different, as a general rule of thumb, add highlighter to the top of the cheekbones, to the sides of the forehead, and to the centre of the chin.

 

Set Make-Up With Loose Powder

Traditional make-up can appear shiny if not properly set. Use a loose matte powder to set your make-up and eliminate any shiny or oily spots. If you want to keep your make-up from looking too cakey, avoid using powder all over the face and only target problem areas that are prone to oil build-up, such as your cheeks and forehead.

Hire A Pro To Airbrush

Airbrushing has quickly become one of the go-to techniques for wedding day make-up application. This method involves applying a fine layer of foundation using a small air compressor. Unlike traditional make-up which can appear thick on the skin, airbrushing provides an ultra-light foundation application that allows the skin to breath. Since airbrushing is essentially an art form, it’s best to hire a pro to complete the job.

 

We hope these complexion tips help make your big day even more wonderful - good luck!

 

 

 

How To Get Your Freelance Photography Business Off The Ground

Being a photographer is often considered to be one of the coolest jobs on the planet. Especially when you work for yourself. You get the freedom and the satisfaction, and nobody is looking over your shoulder. This sounds great, but when it comes to freelance photography it can be challenging. Imagine long hours with little pay, no co-workers to speak to or to have lunch with and no stability of a guaranteed monthly cheque. In case you are thinking of becoming a full-time freelance photographer, you should follow certain rules to make it work for you.

 In this article you’ll find a list of things you should consider, and tips to help you set up your photography business and be more productive.

 

Set Up A Home Studio

Whether your studio is going to be used for product or portrait photography, you'll need to set up a space to develop your portfolio and work. Your studio could be as simple as a white bed sheet over a window for diffused lighting and a table to position products on. It could also be a space for models to pose with a bed sheet in the background.

 If you have no space at home then look for some photo studios in your area. Try to find an inexpensive studio locally and rent it from time to time.

 

Build Your Online Portfolio

Having a website is critical these days, and it’s going to be your most important ally. It’s what people are going to look at when considering you for a job, so your time and effort should be invested here. Put only the best work in your portfolio; don’t put every image you have there. Sometimes less is more.

If you don’t have photos to upload to your portfolio then go and create some. Ask your friends to pose for you, do some charity photo sessions, or find models who will agree to participate in a photo session in exchange for photos. As long as your photos look awesome your visitors won't know that these were not paid jobs.

Another great way to attract clients to your site is through a blog. Try to upload photos to your blog on a daily basis. It could be a photo you take at home, a breath-taking sunset, or your latest finished photo from a job. It will add some personality to your portfolio and help you build a strong community.

Among some website management tools that are available for free and thus are especially good for beginner photographers, is Defrozo. It’s an all-in-one marketing platform for photographers that allow you to create a portfolio, a blog, manage your tasks and calendar, create galleries for clients and much more. This is all done very quickly and easily.

 

Build Your Network

Having an incredible portfolio website means nothing if you don't have anyone to show it off to. Just having a portfolio site out there means nothing to the world if they don’t know who you are and what business you are operating

Think about cross-marketing. If you are trying to become a fashion photographer, go to small boutiques. Offer to shoot their new collections in exchange for having your flyers or business cards given to every buyer.

Try to think outside the box and figure out where possible clients are most likely to be. This concept is applicable for any type of photography.

 

Keep A Schedule

When you’re a freelance photographer many people will envy you for the apparent ability to sleep as much as you want, wear pyjamas in your office, and the ability to take Playstation breaks during the day.

However, if you want others to see you as a professional, you have to act like a professional. Keep a consistent schedule. Wake up every morning at the same time, get dressed, eat breakfast and start working at 9. Try to work the same hours every day. A lot of newbie freelancers do not keep a schedule, and therefore lose their productivity. You will get much more done if you keep the same schedule every working day of the week.

 

Focus On Speed

Being fast is very important in a freelance photography business. An online tool called Lightroom, which focuses on photo editing, will totally change your workflow. If you do not use it already it will be the most effective financial investment you ever make. Lightroom will help you to speed up your work. Also, consider using pre-sets you make, download, or buy to keep your images in the same style and save time while post-processing a lot of photos at the same time.

 

Keep Learning

Keep learning all the time, even if you’ve been doing photography for quite a long time. There’s plenty of new equipment, trends, and technologies appearing regularly, and it’s important that you learn about them. Look for some photography courses on the particular type of photography you’re in and buy it. It will be well worth your time and money.

 

Start Making Money

So considering everything above, lift yourself off the sofa and start building your photography business. Hopefully these tips will come in handy. Share your own freelance photography secrets in the comment section below.

 

Nancy is a passionate freelance writer and blogger. She writes inspirational articles on photography and web design, despite the fact that she is an economist by education. Check out her photography blog at www.photodoto.com

 

 

 

A Brief Guide To Choosing Music for Your Wedding

You’ve got your dream venue locked down, the 'save the date' cards have been sent, and now you’re brainstorming unique details like flowers and décor. But decorations and locale shouldn’t be your primary consideration when it comes to setting the tone of the main event - now is the time to start planning for what can often be a wedding reception’s most memorable detail: the music.

Though choosing and securing music for an event can seem daunting, getting started shouldn't be that difficult.

 

Decide On a Budget

Negotiation is common when booking music for an event. And entertainment costs fluctuate widely. According to Brides magazine (November 2014) the average couple spends £682 on music for their wedding; but the larger, most professional wedding bands can cost in the thousands of pounds, and many people prefer to free up a larger portion of their budget for the music.

 

Prefer a Live Band?

A fun way to land the perfect act is to experience them for yourself. Post on social media and ask your friends for their favorite local bands - after all, they are the ones who will be enjoying the music at your wedding. Hit up your local pubs and venues for live music that you and your partner enjoy. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at your options - for instance, there are some fantastic cover bands out there that are able to replicate hits from a certain decade, genre, or band.

If money is no object, you may even be able to hire a touring band you love to perform at your event - go to the band’s website and find out who their booking agency is, then email their agent to find out rates and availability. Local bands generally feature their booking contact on their website as well. When it comes to negotiating price, perhaps you can offer less money for a shorter set and supplement with a home-made playlist. Or maybe you can include a free hotel room for the night along with meals for all of the band members.

Be sure to let the band leader know of any special songs you’re hoping to hear at the event (and anything that you don't want them to play). They may be able to learn the songs for the occasion, or alternatively you can provide them with an MP3 player to plug into the sound system from time to time. When you decide to book a band you’re ensuring that your guests will have a uniquely unforgettable experience - live bands never play the exact same show twice.

 

How About a DJ?

DJs can be a little more problematic to evaluate prior to the event. Many wedding and event DJs don’t play public events, though they’ll often post playlists on their websites. The best way to find someone is if you've encountered a certain DJ at a friend's wedding or event that you particularly liked. If you don’t have a specific DJ in mind, glean suggestions from online wedding and event forums or Pinterest. Any reputable event DJs should have favorable Yelp reviews.

 

Wedding receptions are split pretty evenly down the middle when it comes to live music versus DJs.   It’s increasingly popular to do a little bit of both, and there can be cost-effective solutions if that’s the route you want to take. For example you might have an acquaintance who can act as a DJ for a portion of the event, then you can hire a live band for the other part of the night, saving you money and giving you more flexibility.

 

If you have no idea what you’re looking for, try using an online resource or booking agency like www.alivenetwork.com or www.dgmusic.co.uk or www.earcandylive.co.uk. This might not save you money, but you’re likely to save time and have the peace of mind that comes with professionals taking care of details like contract and cost. You can peruse bands and DJs playing music of all types in various areas of the country, and check out their typical cost and their current availability. Or opt to go DIY- ask musician acquaintances to play a few songs; come up with your own Spotify or iTunes playlist; do something interactive like giving each guest a few dollars to plug into the venue’s jukebox.

 

Whichever route you go down, remember to check with your venue regarding equipment rules, noise level and time restrictions, and any other stipulations they might have with regards to entertainment.

And for DJs and bands alike, particularly if you've never seen them play, ask for references that you can contact to check that they did a good job.

 

Live or recorded, planned or spontaneous, music is crucial to a successful wedding. So think about it early in the planning process. Be inspired by the music you love and the events you’ve enjoyed. And don’t be afraid to get creative!

 

This post was brought to you by Earcandy Entertainment, a leading UK based entertainment agency.

 

 

 

Children At Your Wedding? Top Tips For Making It Stress-Free.

You want everything to be perfect on your big day, and you have a clear vision of what that looks like, right down to the picture-perfect little cherubs toddling down the aisle. Your flower girl with her swinging basket of blossoms, and your ring bearer looking smart in his tiny tuxedo. Perhaps you have a junior bridesmaid or groomsman at your side. 

If you are planning on having children involved in your wedding the most important thing you can do is be conscious of your expectations of them. The younger they are the more unpredictable they can be, and it's important to understand this. With that said, having children in your ceremony can be tremendously rewarding. Even when things don't go as planned the memories created are sure to be priceless.

Tips To Help Children Through The Ceremony

Weddings are notoriously stressful for adults. It's obviously a big day that requires the artful coordination of  details both large and small. As I'm sure you know, the best way to keep a wedding as stress-free as possible is to plan as well as you can, leave room for error, and be prepared to let some things go. This is doubly true when it comes to children at your wedding.

In the days and weeks before the wedding the activity levels reach their peak. There are last-minute fittings, parties, phone calls with vendors and relatives and friends arriving from out of town. Children may get lost in the shuffle. Then the big day arrives, and they are up and going through the last-minute rush to get ready and arrive at the wedding venue. They are dressed rather uncomfortably and keenly aware of the fact that the adults around them are on high alert. The ceremony draws nearer, and just minutes before it all happens, your ring bearer decides, quite loudly, that he will not wear his suit, or the angelic flower girl spills punch on her dress and has a full-blown melt-down. What do you do now, and how do you try to prevent it in the first place?

If you are overwhelmed, they are likely to be even more so. It is important to allow them quiet time prior to the ceremony so they don't get so wound up that they can't walk down the aisle. Here are some tips to keep them relaxed and happy:

Enlist the help of an adult who is not participating in the ceremony to help the children dress and look after them until the time is right. (Someone they know well would be best.)

Make sure there is food and drink, and toys and games available to keep them satisfied and occupied until they're called on. An iPad with some cartoons ready prepped can do wonders too. (Do check if the kids have any food allergies when providing the food and drink.)

Wait to dress them until you have to. The longer they spend in constricting or overly stiff clothes, the more chance they have of becoming cranky, and also the more likely they are to get dirty. 

During the ceremony don't let the children stand around too long - those little legs get tired quickly, so have a chair ready for them. And make sure that responsible adult is on hand, and close by, to keep an eye on them.

Manage your expectations. Children are not an exact science. No matter how well you have planned and rehearsed with them, there is a chance they could go off track. The good news is that people often find these antics cute, and the photos and video are sure to be family classics.

After The Ceremony

The first and most important part of the day has gone off without a hitch. Now it's time for the reception. You obviously want everyone to have a great time, adults and children alike. Here are some suggestions for keeping children safe and happy during the reception:

You can easily involve young children in certain parts of the reception, such as letting them throw confetti, holding signs, bringing them onto the dance floor for certain songs, and so on.

Don't forget your photos. Get the children into the shots as soon as possible - they are more likely to sit still earlier in the day when they aren't tired and moody, and they will be less likely to have ruined their gorgeous little outfit! Your wedding album will look a whole lot better with photos of happy, clean and smiling kids.

Back to the food and drink, remember to provide children's drinks and (allergy free) meals.

Reserve a quiet space for parents to take young children and infants. When you have a cranky toddler on your hands it is ideal to have an "escape route", and an area you can take them so things can calm down.

Another good idea is to set aside some space for the kids to be themselves. Perhaps provide some crayons and paper so they can collaborate on a drawing, or some toys and games. Boredom is the enemy of a happy child!

An option that is growing in popularity is hiring an 'event nanny' to help mind children, entertain them and allow the adults to focus on the event and enjoying themselves. A quick search should show a good selection of experienced, qualified caregivers who specialise in caring for children during events. They often bring an arsenal of toys, craft supplies, entertainment and their extensive childcare experience. They generally charge for their services by the hour, and many brides and grooms will say that the extra cost is well worth the added peace of mind and enjoyment of their event.

If you believe that children are an important part of your wedding day, do include them. A little advance planning can help ensure that your day goes smoothly for you and your guests, no matter what their age.

 

 

 

Top Tips For Fantastic Summer Wedding Photos

The Advantages Of A Summer Wedding:

Summer is far and away the most popular time to get married, and for good reason. Longer days, warmer nights, plenty of sunshine and gorgeous sunsets make for a perfect day. Summer wedding photos can be absolutely magical, but they do require a special touch. A skilled photographer knows how to make the most of the natural lighting, but there are ways you can help him or her out.

 

Tips For Your Summer Wedding Photos

  • From a photography perspective it's best to avoid a noontime wedding. Overhead sunlight makes for harsh-looking shadows and isn't very flattering. Lighting is best in the morning and late afternoon/early evening. It will also be cooler and more comfortable, and the lighting will be beautiful and flattering.
  • Make sure your photographer scouts out the location ahead of time. Knowing the ins and outs of your venue will help your photographer find potential portrait spots. Perhaps under a tree or in front of an ornate doorway. Knowing where the best photo spots are will also save valuable time, something that is in short supply during your wedding day.
  • Having a seaside wedding? Schedule a photo session toward the end of the event so you can get some fun and romantic shots in the water. If you're not keen on getting your wedding gown wet then consider bringing a different outfit.
  • Find out when the sun is setting. You don't want to miss an opportunity for a gorgeous sunset shot, so work out when this is going to happen and plan accordingly.
  • Ask questions. How will your photographer handle tricky lighting situations? Will he or she be using any off-camera lighting or bringing diffusers or reflectors? These accessories can make a big difference in the way your photos turn out.
  • Make use of hot-weather props: fans, parasols, pinwheels and other summertime accessories can be used to create fun, breezy photos of you and your guests. Look for opportunities to utilise your surroundings as props as well. Lush foliage, natural lighting and fun settings such as swings, boats, hammocks or any body of water can create fantastically memorable shots.
  • Hot and humid weather means you run the risk of looking "droopy" during your photography session. Makeup is more likely to run, you may get sweaty and your hair may not behave. Appoint one of your more honest bridesmaids to pause the photo sessions if necessary to help you freshen up. Even better, schedule the bulk of your photos earlier in the day, while you're still fresh and energized. Also consider "first look" photos. More on that below.

 

 

 

More Wedding Photo Ideas

Consider First-Look Photos

Unless you are bound by tradition and it's therefore out of the question, setting up a quiet moment before the wedding for you and your partner can mean better portraits and a more relaxed wedding for both of you. The "first look" has been gaining in popularity in recent years, partly because it allows a few rare, quiet moments for the bride and groom to spend together before the hectic festivities begin. And partly because it makes for great photos!

Ban The Phones

A controversial one, I know, but many of your friends and family will be eager to get their own shots during the ceremony. The problem is that the phones (and the amateur photographers) end up in many of the official photos. It's distracting and takes away from the moment. Consider having the DJ or officiant make a "no smart phone" announcement. Remind everyone that there is a professional photographer there taking photos. Which leads into the next tip:

Don't Get Swept Away By Guest Photos

It happens all the time. It's right after the ceremony and your photographer is motioning for you to follow them for some quick post-ceremony photos of the bride and groom. The problem is that your guests won't stop snapping pictures of you two long enough to attend to your professional shots. Kindly but firmly let guests and family know that you can't stand there indefinitely posing for their pictures. You paid a photographer who's working to a time frame, and you need to go meet with them now.

Set Up A "Selfie" Station

Along the lines of the photo booth, a popular trend at many weddings, a selfie station utilises an attractive or funky backdrop, perhaps with a fun sign in a perfect (out of the way) spot for taking selfies. This is a fun little touch and designates a spot for camera-happy guests to congregate.

 

 

 

Wedding And Event Photography: Using A Second Shooter

Many wedding and event photographers use assistants. Shooting a wedding in particular can be a hectic process, and having someone to fetch and carry or simply hold a light makes the day much less stressful. A step up from that, and one that can result in a much better selection of images for your clients' albums, is to hire a second shooter.

With an assistant, a knowledge of photography is helpful, with a second shooter it is vital. So the first thing you'll need to do - if you don't already know another good photographer - is to interview a candidate and see some of their work. It will do neither of you any good if, at the end of the event, they haven’t added anything of value. Seeing their work can also give you a good feel for their technique and how they see things. Knowing this will help you give them better instructions on the day.

You will also want to make it clear that after the event the second shooter transfers all files to you. You need to establish that the images captured by the second shooter is work product and is owned by you. A contract, signed by both parties, will help solve any disputes later. There can be verbiage in the contract allowing the second shooter to use a few images that you don’t want, so that they can add them to their portfolio - after all, it is quite possible that a second shooter has the ambition of becoming a full-time wedding photographer of their own accord.

It is always a good idea for photographers to come to a rehearsal (with the permission of the relevant parties), even if that is not 'officially' part of the package. This will give you great insight into the layout and lighting of the venue, and it's also a great trial run for you and the second shooter. You can get to know each other and get used to working together before the big event. In addition, the rehearsal is an opportunity to begin setting expectations of what you want the second shooter to capture, perhaps whilst you focus on the central events.

On the big day you then have your routine worked out, and a fixed idea of what and where you will shoot. Family portraits and groups, the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony, walks up and down the aisle, and pre and post-ceremony shots of the wedding party. During each of these segments of the day you should review and set expectations on what you want the second shooter to capture. Having said that, you will also want to give them a certain amount of freedom to capture spontaneous moments, particularly as 'reportage' style photos are an increasingly popular part of the mix.

During family portraits and wedding party shots it's always good to have the second shooter at a discrete location with a long, fast lens. The lens needs to be fast as they won’t be using any flash or strobes that would interfere with your shots. You want them at a discrete location so that none of the subjects will be distracted – you want all eyes on you. During this time, the second shooter can zoom in tight and look for expressions or other details that will enhance what you are providing with the group shots.

In a similar fashion, during the wedding ceremony, have the second shooter somewhere toward the front of the room if possible. An alcove or behind some flowers would be a great spot. Have them cover the audience, again looking for those unique expressions, smiles and tears that you won’t have time to capture. They can also provide backup for you getting a few different angles of the bride and groom, the officiator, and members of the wedding party as they come up the aisle.

During the reception you will have a number of key elements to shoot such as the bouquet toss, first dances, speeches, cutting the cake etc. During this time, have the second shooter work the room with a good, fast, wide angle lens and a diffused light source. They can help you cover the above events, but can also wander the room, shooting guests at the tables, dancing, and looking for the fun shots you won’t have time to shoot, especially at those times when you've taken the bride and groom off for their own separate photos.

If you have already shot many weddings and events you have a good idea of what your day is going to be like, and the photos you want to end up with. Having a second shooter can open up a whole world of other opportunities without a great deal of extra work or expense on your part.

 

 

 

Natural Lighting: A Wedding Photographer's Friend

As cameras and technology continue to advance, wedding photographers sometimes make a significant push towards large lighting packages and other gadgetry in an attempt to 'improve' their photos. When you consider just how far the price of professional lighting kits have fallen, it's easy to see why. For just a few hundred pounds you can add equipment to your arsenal that is similar to the lighting devices used on high-end film shoots.

However, just because you can afford to add those resources to your photography business it doesn't necessarily mean that you should. Wedding photographers often, and understandably, want to control every last element of the lighting. By doing that you may be able to recreate exactly what you had envisioned in your head before the shoot began, but ultimately you could be short-changing both yourselves and your subjects.

Wedding Photography and Photo Theory

One of the most important benefits of natural lighting pertains to your goals and intentions in the first place. As a wedding photographer, you're essentially creating an album that will be used by the bride and groom for years to come, to re-live one of the most special and important days of their lives. As a result, the photographs that you provide need to accurately reflect the day through the eyes of those people. The look and feel of your photography should to a great extent match up with the way they remember their big day, to create the most immersive experience possible. Too much artificial and highly controlled lighting has the potential to alter those memories, and not for the better.

Most wedding photographers these days like to view themselves as less like a 'hired hand' and more like photojournalists - which is really what you are. When you're documenting an event, you don't want photographs to look too controlled. While hundreds of pounds worth of artificial lighting equipment may make sure that the bridal party is properly exposed (in the professional sense!), it can also result in something more akin to a high school yearbook photo than an accurate representation of the day's events.

Natural Lighting and Your Subjects

Natural lighting can be a huge benefit for two very important reasons. One of those reasons is more technical in nature, while the other is behavioural.

Behaviourally speaking, if you're trying to take candid, reportage-style pictures of the bridal party and a bright hot flash keeps going off nearby, it's inevitably going to be a distraction (most wedding guests aren't professional models). The flash also alters the mood of the room and ultimately the look of the pictures that you'll be able to capture. Natural lighting isn't just a way to achieve natural-looking photographs - it's a way to help the wedding photographer become truly invisible to the room and, as a result, capture natural actions and interactions between your subjects.

From a technical standpoint, artificial lighting is also significantly limiting the depth of field and other aspects of what you're able to achieve given the setting. This is mainly evident in two key situations: the ceremony itself and during the wedding reception.

During the ceremony, you will likely be in a room filled with dozens or even hundreds of the bride and groom's closest friends and family members. Those people aren't just background noise - they are an important part of what makes the day so special. Weddings aren't just about two people who love each other saying "I Do" (though of course that's the fundamental part). Weddings are also about friends, family members and other loved ones all coming together to share in that moment with people they care about. Natural lighting will help you capture that - artificial lighting might eliminate it. If you're near the altar, chuppah etc, and are taking photos of the bride and groom with artificial lights, your depth of field will be so shallow that you will essentially be losing that entire context. The bride and groom may be photographed well and are crisply in focus, but everything else will be lost. Utilising natural lighting, on the other hand, will allow you to capture that entire room and present an accurate picture of what the day was actually like for those who were experiencing it.

The second situation comes during the wedding reception, which usually takes place at night in a relatively dimly lit room. Natural lighting is hugely important in this situation to capture as much of the activity as possible. If your flash is going off in a dark room, your depth of field is essentially limited to around five or so feet. You are literally deleting everything beyond that (which in this case is hundreds of people having the time of their live) from memory. Natural lighting may be harder to work with in these situations, but the results will be more than worth it.

There is obviously a time and a place for artificial lights, and in the UK in particular the long winter months often give you little choice. But, alongside the advent of more forgiving digital cameras, and excellent post-processing software to compensate for low light, natural lighting will often give the best results for you and your clients.

 

 

 

Wedding Photography Costs - Are You Charging Enough?

Wedding couples are sometimes taken aback by the quotes they get from experienced photographers. New wedding photographers sometimes feel bad about charging rates that, at first glance, seem exorbitant. If you, as a photographer, are struggling with this conundrum and wondering whether you’re charging too much or too little for event photography, there is a good chance that the answer is too little.

The thing is, you can’t simply charge for the hours that you spend photographing the actual weddings and events, and the cost of prints and/or albums. That amount won’t be enough in this day and age – not by a long shot.

There are a multitude of other factors to consider in working out what you should charge your clients, so let’s walk you through some of the most important (and often overlooked) costs that need to be built into your rate... 

 

Hours Spent On The Actual Project

As we mentioned above, you’re probably already factoring for the hours that you’ll spend photographing a wedding or event. But what about the hours you’ll spend on all the other tasks that go into a finished project? When you really think about it, each wedding or event will come with loads of little tasks before you can present your photos to the client. Here is a quick list of some of those tasks:

  • Time spent meeting your clients before the event. This includes the time spent at the meeting(s) plus petrol costs incurred to and from the meeting(s).
  • Don’t forget the time that you’ll spend transferring images to your computer and sorting them. You’ll likely take hundreds, if not thousands of images at a day-long wedding or event.
  • How much time will you spend on post processing? The answer will differ based on the number of photos you’ve taken, whether you’ll batch process a large number or give each photo individual treatment, and how many you send the client for their final selection.
  • Will you spend time designing albums, dealing with print companies, uploading prints or making greeting card templates?
  • There will likely be some back and forth between you and your client, even after the event - mainly for photo selections, album decisions, design approvals, payments and so on - and it all takes up your valuable time.

All of these things may sound like small jobs, but they’ll certainly add up when it comes to the amount of time that you’ll put in to each project. Time is money, so make sure these items and more are factored into your rates.

 

Cost of Your Gear

Photography can be an expensive business, even if you opt for budget-friendly gear. This means that you need to calculate the costs of all the gear that you’ll need, including your camera, lenses, umbrellas reflectors, memory cards, light meters and so on.

This can be a tricky cost to factor. You’ll need to estimate the amount that you’ll spend on new gear, upgrades, replacements and repairs, and build that cost into your project rate. In fact, it is often wise to add an extra 10% to the cost of your equipment so that you can be assured that no matter what happens, you’ll have the money to get the equipment you’ll need.

There are numerous business expenses that will need to be factored into your rates. Think of all the things that you’ll need to do to promote yourself and make sure your business runs smoothly. Here are some examples:

  • The costs of a studio or home office, which includes things like property insurance, maintenance costs and more. Keep in mind that if you work out of your home, the portion of the home that you use for work is considered a tax deductible business expense.
  • Legal fees: you'll need to spend some money up front on getting yourself a decent contract template to cover every type of event that you do.
  • Album samples. You'll need to show off your photography to potential clients, so get some professional quality sample albums from companies like Photo Productions.
  • Computers and software (Photoshop, Lightroom and so on).
  • Advertising and marketing costs. As much as you'd like to depend solely on recommendations, that isn't always possible, particularly when you're building up your business. "If you build it they will come" doesn't (usually) apply in the real world. You may want to advertise in local newspapers, wedding magazines, online wedding sites and forums, search engine listings, and so on. Factor website set-up and maintenance costs into marketing too, plus stationery, business cards etc.
  • Vehicle costs are important. There is no getting around it – wedding and event photographers will be travelling to and from their events with a car-load of equipment. Make sure to add vehicle costs to your rate. This includes depreciation, wear and tear, and insurance costs. Remember that if you use your private vehicle for work purposes you must declare it on your insurance, which pushes up the costs. (On the flip side, you can claim for 'allowable expenses' on your tax returns, such as insurance, repairs, fuel etc.)
  • Business insurance. Whether you’re moonlighting as an event photographer or making weddings and events a full-time job, photographer’s insurance is a must. Without it, what will you do when a rowdy wedding guest spills his drink all over your brand new £5,000 DSLR? Or, how will you cover the costs when a client is dissatisfied and demands a refund? Think of photographer’s insurance as crucial protection for your business against accidents and other costly mishaps.

 

There are a lot of costs listed here, but keep in mind that this isn’t every cost that you could possibly run into. Each business — and each project that your business completes — will come with its own set of unique expenses. Best of luck!

 

 

 

Wedding Albums - Do We Really Need One?

Over the last decade or so, digital photography and the way we access our photographs has changed massively. As a result many couples are now shying away from professional wedding albums in favour of digital access to their images. Speaking as both a photographer and a bride to be, I can’t help but feel that couples are making a huge mistake by not investing in a tangible keepsake of their special day.

There’s no denying the convenience that digital image delivery offers- you can share your photographs quickly and easily and on an unlimited basis. You can access them whenever, wherever. That said, it also throws up the conundrum of what to actually do with the photos. Do you print them? Which ones do you print? Where do you put them all?

In this digital age, most of us have hundreds of photos tucked away on our desktops, uploaded to social media or sat on our mobile phones- we just don’t print anymore. At least not in the same way we did when film photography was around.

I suppose that’s not a problem per se, but it’s definitely changing the relationship that we have with our memories - and personally I don’t think for the better.

 

I remember sitting on the sofa as a child and spending hours flicking through family photo albums. It was like finding treasure! Time capsules sitting in the palm of my hands. I’d look over photos of relatives I'd never met, weddings I was too young to remember, pictures of my parents as teenagers. Those photos weren’t conveniently uploaded to a gallery in the cloud somewhere and accessible at the touch of a button- but that also meant that we didn’t take those photos for granted.

Looking back, I can only think of all the things I'd have missed out on as a child had those albums not been available to sift through. All the relatives I may never have known about, or who’s faces I'd have never seen. All the anecdotes that were prompted by those photos may have forever gone unheard. If nothing else, without those albums I may never have known what it was like to see my parents young and in love.

Swiping through photos on a tablet or clicking through an online gallery just isn’t the same. There’s nothing quite like holding precious memories in your hands and having something to touch, feel and hold onto. There’s nothing like re-living your memories page by page, seeing your story unfold in the most beautiful way and having it there to hug, share or cry on.

Family albums become a thing of legends. They’re loved, adored and passed around endlessly. They’re pulled out and shown to new faces or members of the family. They become part of rituals and form new traditions (out they come at every anniversary - or after every fight!). And most of all, they’re there. They are there when you’re on cloud nine or when you’re feeling blue. They’re there when someone you love isn’t, or when you’ve had to say goodbye to someone forever. They are there through every new year, every new addition and every house move - even without wifi! But most importantly, they are there when you just want to remember.

 

Digital delivery is fabulous. You can sit on a train and pull up photos on your phone, or send a gallery link to everyone at work - but what’s left just for you?

As our own wedding approaches, this is something I've found myself thinking about more and more. Of course I want all of my digital images - it’s the day and age we live in. But I also want a keepsake. A special little something to unwrap and keep us in a state of anticipation and wonderment time and again. We want something we can whip out when the family are visiting or when we want to spend a romantic night tucked up together on the sofa. Perhaps one day our album will become a family legend - with nieces, nephews and perhaps someday, even grandchildren cooing and awwing over it.

That’s when I realised how important physical wedding albums really are. They’re not just for us, and they’re not just for the here and now. They’re an investment in years of wonderful, happy memories for our family- those we already have and the ones we hope to someday have.

So will we be investing in a real, physical, tactile album after our wedding? I think you've guessed the answer to that. We're getting a 'premium' album so that the printing quality is top notch, and so it will last long enough to show the grand-kids (really, why wouldn't you?). I'll be ordering it soon after our big day - while the memories are fresh, the excitment hasn't yet faded, and we have the motivation to prevent it slipping onto some distant to-do list.

 

Louise is a professional photographer based in Essex, specialising in wedding photography. She works together with her partner Sam, at Sam & Louise Photography. www.samandlouise.co.uk

 

 

 

Get The Best Photos For Your Winter Wedding

There’s something magical about winter weddings. Whether it’s the prospect of open fires and cosying up with your guests, piping hot comfort food, or perhaps the fact that it's already a festive time of year, there’s no denying the charm of an “out of season” wedding.

One of the major differences between planning a winter wedding and a summer one is that come the end of the year your wedding day timeline will be dictated by the shorter daylight hours.

You’ll need to consider sunset time and how much useable daylight you’ll have, so that you have plenty of time for photographs before it gets too dark. Whilst it might seem a little daunting there are lots of resources available to help you plan the day of your dreams.

The wedding venue should be able to give some good advice regarding general timings, but as a rule, if you are having a civil ceremony with the celebrations all taking place in one location, you should schedule your ceremony to begin no later than two hours prior to sunset. This will give you 30 minutes for your ceremony and an additional one and a half hours for couples' photos, group and family photographs, plus any little extras such as confetti shots. (Quick tip: an amazing alternative to confetti for winter weddings is artificial snow!)

For religious weddings add on at least another half hour, depending on your type of ceremony, and if your reception / breakfast / party is in another location you'll need to factor in travel time too.

One thing that can never be guaranteed, regardless of the season is the weather; if you do happen to have a bit of rain (or snow!) that extra time will ensure that you still have ample opportunity to get all of the photos you’d like.

Something else to think about is that it will probably be cold outside. I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many couples seem to forget this and don’t consider how it can impact upon their day. For example some brides opt for strapless or sleeveless dresses, but don’t have anything to keep them warm when they are having their photos taken outside. If you know you’d like outdoor photos it’s worth investing in something to keep you warm or you may end up being your very own “something blue”. Don't forget the bridesmaids and flower girls too - you don't want them freezing whilst you're toasty and warm. If you don’t want to be wearing anything other than your dress in most shots, then take a shawl that can be easily pulled on or off between pictures.

 

It’s also a goodidea to have your own “wet weather” plan. If you’ve hired a professional photographer they will of course, take care of everything, but it’s always wise to decide in advance whether you might still be interested in nipping outside for a few quick photos in the event of bad weather. Discuss this with your photographer, ask what your options are and what you’d like to do if it’s a bit wet outside on the day. They’ll be able to give you some suggestions and perhaps show you some examples of their work in challenging conditions. When your day comes around, if it’s not the glorious sunshine you’d hoped for, having talked about it in advance will make you all feel a lot more relaxed, knowing what your options are and what you’re going to do about it.

If you plan to venture outdoors for a few photos then make sure you bring an umbrella. This will allow you to stay outside for a little longer and can also be used as a prop. Most venues will have their own supply of brollies- but if you’d like something a bit more personal you can pick up a whole host of funky “wedding” umbrellas these days. Heart shaped ones in particular work great - but try to get a white or pale coloured brolly, otherwise you could end up with an unnatural coloured glow reflecting on your faces or dress.

Having an earlier ceremony also gives you more flexibility later in the day. Many couples find that they have a small gap between finishing their meal and the start of the evening celebrations. If this is the case it may be an ideal opportunity to squeeze in a few more photos! There’s nothing like gorgeous after-dark, outdoor pictures to really give your photos a crisp wintery feel. Sparklers can enhance your photos too, and grab some other guests for a true party feel.

So, in summary, if you’re planning a winter wedding and want to make sure you have picture perfect photos make sure you have:

  • Allowed plenty of time within daylight hours for your ceremony and you must have photos.
  • Considered the weather and have something to keep you (and your wedding party) warm if you’re planning to have outdoor photos.
  • Made a wet weather plan and discussed what you’re comfortable with. You can always change your mind on the day, but it’s good to have a plan!
  • Considered props such as umbrellas, artificial snow and sparklers, to really give your photos a wintery feel.

 

This is a guest post. Louise is a professional photographer based in Essex, specialising in wedding photography. She works together with her partner Sam, at Sam & Louise Photography

 

 

 

How To Brief Your Wedding Photographer

Your wedding photos will become some of your most treasured possessions, capturing as they will such a special and meaningful day that marks the beginning of your marriage. You will inevitably devote a significant part of your wedding budget to obtaining those photos, so it makes sense to work closely with your wedding photographer and to brief them in as much detail as possible before the big day. You may wish to consider the following when deciding what you want to discuss with your photographer:

 

Do your research and find your style

 It will be important for you and your partner to get a sense of what you like in regards to wedding photography, and also what you definitely don't like. Have a look at the wedding albums of friends and family, at different wedding photography websites and explore images from wedding publications. Hopefully you will start to get a feel of the kind of images that appeal to you both, and that should help you decide on a wedding photographer whose style suits you.

 

Huge developments in photography - and in social attitudes - mean that there is now a wider choice than ever of styles in which you can have your big day captured. Pictures of bridesmaids being given piggy-back rides, or novel themes and accessories were unthinkable just a couple of generations ago, yet now freedom of expression reigns and is perfectly acceptable in wedding photography.

 

Just as your personalities and identity as a couple influence the theme and style of your wedding, so should it affect the style of photography. You may think that traditional, classic shots are the most suitable, or feel that your larger-than-life personalities need something more quirky and unusual. Some people love 'reportage' style photography which can capture hidden moments and really tell a story as the day unfolds. Vintage style is hugely popular at the moment and can be captured through photography, lending an extremely romantic feel to the pictures.

 

Whatever your chosen style, it should also have influenced your choice of photographer because you like the way in which they work and the style of image they capture. Choosing someone whose style you like in the first place is much more sensible than asking a reportage-style photographer to produce classic fine-art images, for example. This said, make sure your photographer knows what it is that you like about their style and if there is anything you would like played down, and that they know what kind of feel and look you are hoping for.

 

 

 

List the essential shots

 It is worth making a short list of some group shots you require that are out of the expected norm. Your photographer will be expecting to take group shots of the bride’s family, groom’s family, bridesmaids etc., but should you have a group of friends from university or work, say, that you would like photographed it is a good idea to make a note of this. Make sure there is someone such as a bridesmaid or usher to help find and gather people together for this to save time.

 

Most wedding photographers would, as a standard part of their work, automatically take shots of the cake, flowers, table settings etc. as well as key moments of the day such as cutting the cake or throwing the bouquet. If there are any unusual details you would like recorded then this would be worth mentioning so your photographer knows to include them. Make sure these lists are not too exhaustive though so that the day is not lost chasing “essential”photographs at the expense of missing spontaneous moments which will tell the story of the day!

 

 

 

Timings

 Your photographer should have a lot of experience at capturing weddings and will be able to advise you on how long to set aside for taking group and portrait shots, especially if some of these are taking place at more than one location e.g. if the ceremony and reception are at different venues. Work together with your photographer when planning the timings to ensure that everything runs smoothly and nothing is a rush. Let your photographer know when key moments such as cutting the cake or a first dance are to take place so that there is no risk of these being missed.

 

You will need to decide how long you would like your photographer to stay with you on the day and which parts of the day you would like captured. So you may want them to be with you for some time before the ceremony, recording the details of you getting ready, doing make-up, or of the dress hanging up for example. You may want your photographer to stay on into the evening or be happy for them to leave at this point. Either way, all of this should be discussed and worked out in advance so that you are confident that everything you want will be captured, and that your photographer is clear as to when and how long they are required.

 

Establish a rapport

 One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of ensuring that your wedding photographer knows what you want is to meet up in person and talk everything through together. Not only will this mean that all the above details are laid out and discussed, it will have the added benefit of establishing a valuable rapport with your photographer. A good wedding photographer will be happy to chat to and get to know their clients, as this means they will be better able to put you at ease on the day, which in turn will make for more natural shots and the best possible outcome for you. Building this trust will mean that your photographer can work fluently, safe in the knowledge that they are fulfilling your brief, and that you can relax and let them do what they do best, capturing your special day.

 

Author Bio: Yakir Zur of YZ Photography is a professional photographer who has been capturing weddings and other key life events for over 20 years.

 

 

 

Reportage Wedding Photography: People-Centric, Not Shot-Centric

Wedding photography is a booming business. The bride and groom, giddy with excitement about spending the rest of their lives together, want to capture every moment of their big day. There was a time when the photographer set up shots, posing relatives and friends for “wedding portraits” then waited outside for the happy couple to emerge amid a shower of rice, hoping to snap that perfect shot.

Times have changed. Couples are now looking toward reportage or photojournalistic photography to tell the story of their wedding day. The appeal of reportage photography is that the photographer is almost like a ghost, slipping in and out of scenes, capturing special moments, candid shots, and the story in those split second photos that evoke emotion and stir up warm memories.

Reportage Photography Tips

Equipment is important to the reportage photographer, but not in the way that one might imagine. Because the photographer is supposed to blend in and not draw attention, the lower profile the equipment, the better. A reportage photography kit may include:

  • Digital SLR body (some photographers use two bodies if they are using two different lenses but this can be cumbersome)
  • 24mm lens
  • 50mm lens
  • 135mm lens (primarily for portrait photography – a 200mm lens works well too)
  • Speedlight (preferably two – one for back up)
  • Inconspicuous bag

Naturally you want a good camera, but even point-and-shoots can turn out stunning, professional quality photos in the right hands. Remember, this is your art. Never stop perfecting it. Your camera and lenses are merely tools for you to create your art.

When you are shooting a wedding or event, get to the venue early so you can assess the lighting, take some test shots and make necessary adjustments to your equipment.

Take your camera everywhere and use it every day. Become so familiar with your camera and lens that they are a part of you so you see the world as if looking through your lens. When you can see the art, frame up a shot without even raising your camera, you are an artist.

Method & Approach

The reportage photographer is essentially a ghost at the event. You must move in and out of the crowd without drawing attention to yourself. Zoom lenses are not optimal for this type of photography because you need more control over the shot and you need to be in the crowd, not on the fringes. In the middle of the crowd is where the stories happen and you are capturing stories.

Angle and shooting height are integral to the telling of the story. Do not shoot everything from the same angle and same height. Climb on stairs, sit on the floor, lean over a balcony - get your shots from a variety of angles and heights.

Since the intent of this type of photography is to tell a story, then you must treat it as such. A story has a beginning, middle, and an end. Find your starting point for the beginning of your story, whether that involves shooting the couple’s engagement photos or capturing the bride and groom getting ready for their wedding.

The middle, of course, is the meat of the story. Move among the guests and capture those moments, the groom’s mother’s face as she watches her son take his vows, or the bride’s father as he stands with her for those precious moments before walking her down the aisle and into another man’s arms.

Finding an end could be as they drive away or even a quiet time when they slip away, just the two of them, to enjoy a quiet moment together. You are the artist, though, and you have to find your own creative approach to the process.

Contemporary Portraiture and a Growing Audience

Portraiture is moving away from its traditional, posed roots as people seek the emotional connection of the realness of reportage photography. People are also drawn to the story, but most of all the emotion that emanates from contemporary portraits is what has made this such popular photography genre.

In fact, more and more people are moving out of the studios and requesting location portraiture sessions. Location shots tend to be more relaxed and natural, less posed. Many think this is a new way to shoot portraits, but any child photographer will tell you the method has been around for a long time. Try posing a two year old for an entire session; you’ll see what they mean.

Reportage photography is people-centric, not shot-centric. It captures the imagination and stirs the heart which is exactly what many of your customers are seeking in their portraits.