Secrets Behind- Photography

One of my favorite things about wedding day is the beautiful wedding day photography.  Photographers have become amazing artist and it isn't because of the digital camera.  It is because the wedding industry has been blessed with very talented, artistic, creative and unique people.  It is filling up with them actually.  Thankfully, for my brides, it is easy to know good work from the bad, just look at the pictures.  Compare good photographs to bad and then compare GREAT photographs to good, the difference is tremendous.

With that being said, I am once again, featuring a photographer on my "Secrets Behind" series.  I don't think there will ever come a time when I run out of good photographers for this series.  

Now SECRETS BEHIND- PHOTOGRAPHY by Julie Hahn of Sugarbush Design

We were introduced to Julie through one of our 2010 bridal clients.  Our bride found Julie and fell in love with her work.  We are very excited to work with her and to see the great results from her photography.  The ceremony is being held at Cleveland Botanical Gardens and reception at Signature of Solon, both will make for great backdrops for the wedding photos.

And now for the "secrets"

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?

A: That all photography is the same.  I don’t think people know that people can specialize.  Landscape photography is different from sports photography which is different from architectural photography which is different from street photography, etc.  There are different techniques, skills and equipment that apply.

For wedding photography specifically, I think the biggest misconception is that you can save money by asking a family member or friend to shoot the wedding. There are a few things I would advise wedding couples to consider if they want to go this route:

•    Ask yourself if you want your family and friends to be your guests.  It is very hard for your friend to do both and he/she will still think of themselves as a guest even if they are supposed be taking pictures.  For example, if they want to have a drink or catch up with out-of-town friends, then that's time that they’re not taking pictures.  Also, if they're drinking, the photos will be blurry.
•    If your friend isn’t a professional, you might not save any money.  I spent several months this year fixing wedding photos for a bride who had a family friend cover the event.  The time, expense, frustration and heartache that it took to bring these photos to a place where we were both comfortable with them was substantial.
•    If you have a professional photographer as a friend, consider what you are asking them do. Are you expecting your other friends to give you a $3,000 gift for your wedding? 

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their photographer?
A: Not having an opinion.  The best thing a couple can do is have a well-considered, unified, heartfelt opinion.  I think everyone is so deathly afraid of becoming a ‘zilla of some sort that they think the best position to take is one of “Oh, I’m easy.  I don’t care.”  But if you don’t have a clear vision of what you’d like to see happen, then everyone else will be guessing and will be influenced by their opinions, not yours.

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a photographer?

A: Compatibility – both in terms of style of photography and personality.  I cannot imagine having someone whose company I didn’t enjoy following me around all day with a huge camera.  I’m sure my smile would be less than genuine
Consistency – every one of us is capable of taking a stunning picture…once in awhile.  It’s a different situation to be able to take really good, quality photographs (in addition to the “great” ones) over the course of 10-12 hours straight under a wide variety of conditions.  In checking out photographers, I would ask to see complete wedding galleries of a few different weddings to make sure your photographer can cover the entire event.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?
A: Well, I’m an all-inclusive kind of gal.  I book for the full day so that I don’t have to worry about looking at my watch wondering if they are going to start the first dance on time. Wedding couples are really saving on the potential added costs of needing extra time when they book with me.  

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: Ordering prints and albums.  Most wedding couples want their images on disc so that they can print them out themselves which is totally understandable.  However, no photographer can guarantee how the images will look when printed at Costco, Target, Walgreen's, etc.  All of those printers are different machines with different specifications.  Professional photographers calibrate their monitors to match their photo labs’ printers to ensure that what we see on our computer screens will match our prints.  Also, the photo paper will be professional grade which makes for better quality, longer-lasting photographs.

Q: What is the worst mistake a person in your industry can make?

A: For people starting out in the photography business, I believe it is a big no-no to “borrow” images from another photographer, with or without their permission, to build a portfolio or start a website.  That might sound like common sense, but it happens and it’s yucky.

I have a friend who was second shooting (not the primary photographer) at a bar mitzvah and the main photographer was scolded by the rabbi, during the ceremony, for moving around too much and being too intrusive.  Yikes!

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
Well, I would love to travel and do a destination wedding, but I’m sure everyone says that.  With unlimited funds, I would do a full-on, magazine-style shoot complete with every kind of stylist I could think of.  Scout some crazy locations (and these places would probably charge serious money to shoot there), have some fun wardrobe changes, maybe a few wind machines, I don’t know…it would be great.

One thing I don’t think I’ll ever offer, but would love to see is for the wedding couple to hire really trustworthy and fun babysitters who can care for and entertain kids at the wedding…maybe in an adjoining smaller room.  I think it’s always a difficult thing to exclude kids from weddings and I think the parents would appreciate having their kids invited to the event, but also free to enjoy the evening.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their photographers?

A: Timelines, cancellation policies and what is expected from the wedding couple/bridal party.  A good example is when there is a group photo to be taken and someone wanders off.  The photographer can’t take the time to go find that person, if we even know who it is!

Q: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
A: My request is not so much for the wedding couple, but for all of the wedding guests and non-photo/video vendors out there.  Please be aware of the photographer and videographer.  We are being paid to capture this unique day and when we need to compete with guests and other vendors for space, placement, and time, it causes delays and missed shots.

I just want to thank Julie from SugarBush Design Photography for really getting into the interview and giving some thoughtful and VERY helpful answers to the questions we have.  I think these interviews can benefit everyone in the wedding industry by allowing us all to see the event from another perspective.  It will make better wedding vendors and better brides, in the long run.

Happy Planning,
All Events Planned