Wednesday, February 3, 2016

sharing your photos in the industry


If you couldn't tell from the ice storm that's happening outside right now...it is a wedding photographer's OFF-SEASON. Brides-to-be are bundled up at home with a cappuccino and a bridal magazine, planning their lovely Summer weddings. So what's a wedding photographer to do? GET TO WORK! 

The off-season is a busy time for booking the next season's weddings, planning engagement sessions for the Spring, and most of all, implementing business changes. One of the things I really focused on this year was fostering relationships with other vendors in the wedding industry. And the results have been SO incredible that I had to share. 


Here are a few tips for sharing photos with the talented folks that helped make them possible:

1. KNOW "WHY" YOU'RE SENDING THEM

Picture spending hours and hours creating the most stunning wedding cake, carefully attending to every detail. You take a quick iPhone shot of the cake just minutes before it's out the door and off to the wedding. 

As photographers, we have the power to take photos that people genuinely want! That vendor would be so incredibly thrilled to receive a professional shot of their work. They would not only feel appreciated and valued, but they'd then have the opportunity to share that photo and generate more interest in their business! I love that.



2. TAKE PHOTOS WITH THEM IN MIND

This is something I started doing in the last 2 or 3 years. When I arrive in the morning during bridal prep and I see a bouquet lovingly wrapped by the florist, the photographer in me would unwrap it right away to start shooting. But the vendor in me wonders if that florist might love a shot of the finished product? Maybe it's a photo she could use on her social media, maybe it would be perfect for her website as a way to display her professionalism. 

It's a photo that takes less than 30 seconds to create, but it has the potential to make that florist feel really special. 


3. ESTABLISH THE CREATIVE TEAM EARLY

I ask my brides for a list of their wedding vendors about 2 weeks before the wedding. In order to make sure I'm getting as much information as possible, I list a bunch of categories (hair, makeup, bridal earrings, groom's shoes, etc.) because in the rush of planning a wedding it's easy to forget all of the decisions that have been made! 

I take this list and prepare my blog post ahead of time. I find a website and an email address for each and every vendor, and keep them posted with the link to the blog post when it goes live. 


Tagging the creative team on Facebook means that each time the photos are shared, the other vendors will continue to be tagged. 


4. SHARE IN A TIMELY MANNER

Trust me when I say a vendor will be way more likely to share a photo when it's recent. Their latest work will still be fresh on their minds and the post will feel relevant and come naturally. 


5. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Once the gallery is live I draft an email that will be sent to each vendor, including the link where they can download photos, and some details on my expectations for when photos are shared. 

Some photographers will have rules that prohibit you from cropping, editing, or collaging their photos. It's also quite common to see that posting a photo without a specific type of photo credit is not allowed. That has never been the case for me. It is my personal opinion that rules and restrictions can backfire and cause people to get flustered and opt not to share ANY photos, for fear of "doing it wrong." 

When vendors see me tagging them in photos on social media and my blog, they always seem to reciprocate. And each time they do, it's a happy little bonus for me :) If it comes down to a choice between a properly credited photo from a vendor who thinks I'm "difficult," or a photo without any attribution from someone who would be happy to refer me to one of their clients, I'd choose the latter.


Sharing photos is something that has really worked well for me in the past, and it's something I will continue to do. Frankly, it can be lonely to be self-employed! You don't get that lunch-room type of social interaction in this industry, so anything and everything that you can do to foster positive relationships will be worthwhile!

Happy off-season, wedding pros! <3

Friday, January 29, 2016

tips for creating the perfect album


The title of this post might be deceiving. You might think I'm going to write from the perspective of a photographer, sharing tips for choosing an album company, ordering sample books, and marketing albums for clients.

That is not the case.

This post is written for my brides, my lovely lovely brides. Preparing for a wedding is a year-long (if not longer!) process. It's full of ups and downs, fun stuff (like cake tasting!) and painfully boring stuff (two words: seating chart), but all you'll have once the wedding day has come and gone is the ring on your finger, a ton of great memories, and the album that sits on your living room bookshelf. 

It's my job to make sure that last part is as easy as possible :)


If you've perused my album website already, you'll know that once you choose the photos for your book the rest of the work is in my hands. I've compiled a few tips for choosing photos that will really enhance your album, starting with:

1. FIND THE RIGHT NUMBER

Albums start at 30 photos and there are options to upgrade to 50 or 100. My suggestion would be to do an initial look through your gallery, flagging photos that you think you'd love to have in your book. If that number if 45, you can probably shrink it down to 30 by eliminating a few photos that are similar. 

An album with 30 photos is generally simple and hits only the main elements of the day, whereas an album with 50 or 100 has more detail shots and a few more memories of candid moments and guests.


2. INCLUDE STORY-TELLING PHOTOS

When narrowing down your large gallery to a small number of photos, it's easy to skip a photo of the church in favour of an extra shot of the wedding party. But a photo that sets the location of the wedding day becomes the thread that ties your wedding together and creates a story. 

When choosing photos for my own wedding album, I was thinking of my future children flipping through the book in their teenage years. I am so glad I have photos of the ceremony setup and the resort where we got married in there to piece it all together.


3. INCLUDE AT LEAST A FEW DETAILS

Even if it's just one or two photos, detail shots add a LOT to the look and feel of the book. I love when a bride chooses a photo of their invitation. I almost always put that photo on the first spread as a way to document the date, time, and details of the day right off the bat.


4. PRIORITIZE PHOTOS WITH FEELING

In 20 years, you'll probably feel more of a connection with candid photos of your friends and wedding party making speeches or enjoying the reception than you will of a posed photo where everyone is looking at the camera. Choose the photos that really show off how much fun you had :)


It's easy to feel pressure to include a photo of each family member in your book, and what ends up happening is you'll spend 3 photos on bride-with-mom, bride-with-dad, bride-with-brother, when you could opt for 1 photo of all 4 of you together. 


5. THE COVER SHOULD SUIT YOU AS A COUPLE

Your album will likely spend it's entire life in your living room, either on your book shelf or on a coffee table. You want it to look like it fits in your home, rather than choosing a cover that might match your wedding colours. When in doubt, neutral covers are absolute perfection.

If you're planning your wedding right now and you're already thinking you'd like to have an album designed afterwards, I would encourage you to take a peek at the album site. You can lock down the pricing on any of the books ahead of time and then once your wedding gallery has been sent to you, all you'll have to do is choose the photos! And trust me, that's the fun part :)


(The albums pictured here are 10" linen in the following colours: Tusk, Hammock, Pebble, and Oatmeal.)

MORE POSTS FOR BRIDES:


RESOURCES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

the sweetest digs


I first met Gemma when she was styling the reception decor for Suzanne & Kyle's wedding at Mill Street Brewery. We were both doing our thing, working away, and finding little times throughout the cocktail hour to talk to each other. 

Later that month I had a chance to sit down and shop through her gorgeous etsy store, where I found the more adorable pillows, pouches, and stunning prints with messages that suited her perfectly. Things like, "everyday I'm hustlin" -- how absolutely applicable for a girl-boss such as herself. 

Gemma welcomed me into her home one afternoon a little while ago to take a few photos of her latest pieces. It was such a pleasure to be surrounded by her creations, in a home that could be straight out of a magazine. 



Our visit was focused on Gemma's line of pillows. I had such a great time shooting the entire collection! I feel like I need this popsicle one for Jilly's room.





On my way out I snapped a few photos of her kitchen because I couldn't resist. You need to check out her home tour ASAP.



I hope you'll take a moment to do a little shopping in The Sweetest Digs Co. store!

baby gia enters the world


These photos can make me cry. Maybe because they were taken in the hospital where I had both my babies. Maybe because seeing a baby in the first few hours of life is one of the most special gifts out there. I'm almost positive, though, that the reason these photos can make me cry is because of the people in them. 

Being there for their engagement session, their wedding, becoming friends with Loraleah and sharing our pregnancies with each other, seeing her deliver Luca, finding out about baby number two...I feel like I've seen the highlights of their lives. And in five years, when I look back, I'm sure the moment I'll remember most will be the one where Bob came to see me in the waiting room, on a bright and sunny day in January, and told me that it was a girl. 


The perfect little family of four <3



And the star... baby Gia.









LL, have one more baby, please. I really want to do this all over again <3

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

april + barry | winter wedding at the courtyard restaurant in the byward market


April and Barry planned the most beautiful evening wedding on the twelfth day of the twelfth month. Candles lined the pews at the church where they said their vows, and every detail was dripping with gold. The guests were thrilled for the pair and tears were certainly shed.

I am so happy to share a wedding that's like no other that I've ever photographed. It was challenging, it was quick yet laid back in the best way, and ultimately...it resulted in photos that I love. Photos that tell a story of two people who love each other very much.     




This is one of my favourite moments from the day. The minister sang "When I Fall In Love," by Nat King Cole. It was so beautiful and I started to tear up behind my camera. The words were then used to create his sermon for April and Barry, about falling in love and having it be forever. 












The reception was held at the Courtyard Restaurant in the Byward Market. This sweets table was perfectly festive. 













April & Barry -- I hope you are having the BEST time in the Dominican! 
Thank you so much for trusting me to capture your wedding day 
even without any daylight. I am grateful <3 

THE CREATIVE TEAM:

Hair: Angela Florio
Florals: Tivoli
Bride's Dress: Maggie Sottero from With Love Bridal
Menswear: Tip Top Tailors
Bride's Shoes: Town Shoes
Invitations: Heart and Fox
Bridal Earrings: BHLDN
Coasters: Picture Perfect Papier
Cake: Patisserie La Toque
Cake Topper: Better Off Wed
Drink Stirrers: Pink Poodles Deux