Posts tagged wedding secrets
Secrets Behind Photography- Hunter Harrison
I am so glad to be getting back to talking with vendors about the ins and outs of the industry.  I've had some great vendors to interview in the past and I'm looking forward to a whole new listing of them to interview over the next few months.  We are starting out with Hunter Harrison of Hunter Photographic 

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: I think the biggest misconception about wedding photography is also true of any person who provides good wedding services. People believe my service is limited to photography. In reality, the service I provide is so more holistic. When needed, I can act as a planner, sounding board, supporter, stylist, haberdasher and organizer. My clients will tell you that I can tie a bow tie, fix a dress, mix the perfect cocktail, pin a boutonniere, and much more. I also need to integrate well with other wedding vendors, so being a great team member is critically important. For example, working with a wedding planner. Knowing what information to provide and when is important. All in all, actually taking photos only accounts for about 25% of the ample time I devote to each client.

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their photographer?
A: Everyone has different priorities, so I am hesitant to call anyone's choices a mistake. However, I can say that I see two potential pitfalls when choosing a photographer. First, I tell clients that a good personal relationship should be their number one priority. After all, the photographer will be their shadow on the wedding day, so you want someone you can relate to. Also, the photographer will be interacting with family and friends, so they need to present themselves professionally. The second potential pitfall is not investing enough in the photographer or wedding album. Making the investment in a good photographer can make a huge difference in the outcome of the photos. Also, it's important to actually print the photos. Investing something in nice printed photos, whether an album or otherwise, is a really smart investment.
Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a photographer?
A: Everyone has different priorities when selecting a photographer, but I think a really sensible set of priorities would include the following - 
1. A great personal connection
2. A photographic style that speaks to your heart
3. That the photographer is running an established, professional business with a good track record which can be demonstrated
4. The photographer is a strong leader and communicator. Never under-estimate the value of these assets.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: That is a very tough question, as I am torn between one of two answers - either coverage time or an album. If a couple splurges on coverage time, then the photographer is present to capture more content over a longer period of time. If the photographer is not there to capture it, then the photos won't be an option for the album later. On the other hand, coverage time has diminishing returns as it gets maxed out. An album is a forever heirloom, though. It's a physical record of the wedding that is handed down through family or estate. It's importance cannot be overstated. I guess if the choice was purely more coverage time or an album, I would choose the album.

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
A: Challenge accepted - 
1. Destination engagement session in a magical location
2. Bridal session, which is a Southern tradition, and something I do offer
3. Beyond a second photographer - a whole photography team
4. Honeymoon coverage - I have so many clients who say they wished I was with them on their honeymoon to capture their worldwide adventures.
5. Fully custom albums - which I do offer as well
6. Capturing the wedding 100% on film - I consistently shoot film, so this can be arranged as well

As a quick side note, I offer my clients unlimited customization. If they can dream it up, I can find a way to make it happen. In the past this has lead to adventurous engagement sessions, amazing albums, and some stunning photos. Needless to say, I welcome big dreams.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their photographer?
A: Prior to my second career (but first love) as a photographer, I spent 12 years as a technology project manager. Part of that role involved reviewing lots of contracts. I don't think there is any one "gotcha" in a photography contract. Instead, the couple should review the entire contract carefully. If something is unclear, they should feel free to ask for clarification in writing. Any good business personal would be happy to clarify a contract. I would also add that everything in my contract has a specific meaning. If that meaning is unclear, then I am more than happy to explain it. I want to make sure that my clients and I are on the same page at the beginning.

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 clients should know that they're beautiful, that they hired me, and I am committed to representing them well. My clients should feel free to dream big, because this is their best year, and I love grand plans.

You can check out some of Hunter's work below or visit his site at 

Happy Planning
WWW- Realities of being a Wedding Planner
When you tell people that you are a Wedding Planner for a living, what immediately follows is something like this-
"OMG that must be SO fun, I am SO jealous"
Usually that's the response I get from people who have watched a few wedding shows on WeTV or have seen the unfortunate movie "The Wedding Planner" with Jennifer Lopez.  
Quite a few times a month, I'll also get emails from people who are interested in becoming a wedding planner.  
Here are a few things that I wish the person who "dreams" of being a wedding planner knew before moving ahead with that dream.  

You work nights, weekends and summers.  Period.
Why do I have to say "period"? Because, the first issue that seems to come up when people contact me about becoming a planner is that they really don't want to have to work EVERY weekend and that they like their summers off since they want to spend time with their kids, vacation or anything other than work, during the summer.  
This is an unrealistic expectation if you are truly interested in becoming a successful wedding planner.  You work around everyone else's work schedule.  If most of your clients work from 9-5, they can't meet you during that time so you need to have your evenings and weekends open.  Holidays are the second most popular time to meet and while you don't HAVE to meet with anyone when/if you don't want to, if you are serious you need to make time for brides and when they have free time is up to them, not you.  

Not everyone respects you.
Would you even believe this?  When you tell people you plan parties for a living, you might even get the occasional eye roll from some.  Some people just do not take this profession seriously and in turn will not take you seriously when you tell them what you do.  You should accept that now and learn to live with the side comments and eye rolls.  Don't let anyone convince you that you shouldn't be taken seriously.  Running a business of any kind is hard work.  Working with people on one of the biggest days of their lives is serious work.  Not everyone could do it, even if most people think they could.  

Some vendors love you, some don't.
You'll run into this more often than not unfortunately.  While some vendors have learned to appreciate the extra help a planner provides, some just feel like they get in the way.  If they have gotten used to running things their way and making that work, it doesn't help when someone comes in to run things another way.  I've always approached vendors with respect but unfortunately that doesn't happen with all planners, so sometimes we get a bad reputation from the few who insist on being "the boss" instead of being there to help.  We are all in this for the bride but if you are in it for your ego or for the money, you aren't doing it for the right reasons and you won't succeed.  

You don't get paid for everything you do.
Sometimes you just have to do things, that you didn't think of, that you did contract for, that you didn't charge for because it is going to make the difference between a great wedding and a perfect wedding.  It might mean a few extra calls, an extra meeting or an extra contract review.  I'm not saying you let it get out of hand but you'll know when something just has to be done and you aren't going to send a bill for $10 after someone just got married.  Or maybe you are, but at some point you'll be working for your reputation not for the extra $50.  

People can be mean.
By people, I mean wedding guests.  I've had people be outright rude to me because I was enforcing things that the bride had requested.  As far as the guests know you are just some random staff person there who was hired to make sure THEY had a good time, so they don't know to even consider that you've worked with the bride for an entire year to create the perfect vision for her day.  Sometimes even bridesmaids don't want to listen to your advice.  These girls have been friends with the bride since their college roommate days and they do NOT think that you know better than they do. They will be sure to tell you what you are doing wrong and why it won't work.  Not always, but sometimes.  You really have to just smile and nod and go forward with what you know the bride planned.  That's why being VERY detailed and very clear with the bride will always matter.  You need to know what she wants enforced and what she wants ignored.  

It is a messy job.
You don't wear a gown and heels to work a wedding.  You wear comfortable shoes and something dark along with your hair out of the way and did I mention comfortable shoes?  If your plan is to look super pretty, then you ought to consider being a hostess not a planner.  I'm not saying you don't look good but you are on your feet for a minimum of 9 hours for each wedding.  You do NOT sit down as your job is to be up and moving and making sure everything, everywhere is going like it should.  You are typically hot, moving and dealing with setup, food or some kind of last minute changes. 
My attempted uniform is-
Hair pulled back- I come from a food service background so there is nothing worse than seeing people with their hair down, all over the place when they are anywhere near food.
Something black or something that won't show if you get something dropped on it, or if you get too hot.  You don't usually have tons of time to make outfit changes, so plan ahead of time that you may get messy.
Sleeves- Being around food with bare armpits is awful.  Again, food service background.  Unless you are outside and it is 100 degrees, short sleeves are going to be your best bet.
High cut top-I don't think I need to go into detail but you could be bending over and leaning forward quite a bit, use your judgement
Pants or a long skirt- Refer back to the idea of bending over and again, use your judgement You should always think about being comfortable before you think about wearing heels.  If you are comfortable in heels, that's a different story.  
Comfortable shoes are the #1.  If you need to find the most comfortable shoes, ask a wedding photographer.  They spend almost their entire day on their feet, they will always know the best shoes.  If you get blisters half way through the evening, you have to just suffer for the rest of the night and it can be a long night with blisters on your feet.  

So, does it sound as "glam" as you thought?  Trust me, I've just pointed out the parts that I think people seem to forget or ignore, it isn't all bad.  It is better to start with the things you don't want to hear and move from there.  Being a wedding planner IS a dream job for some, I know it is for me!  

Happy Planning 

Secrets Behind Photography- Spencer Photography
This isn't the first submission by a photographer and it won't be the last.  The idea has been to show a range of photographers and their opinions.  This will give everyone the chance to see that all photographers from all areas and skill level are really interested in giving you the best work they have to offer.  There are enough skilled photographers in this industry that you don't have to settle nor do you have to turn to a "friend" to do the work.

Spencer Photography has won the following awards/honors--Approved as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA)-Approved as a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) by the Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPO)
-2009 Professional Photographers of Ohio Fall Conference - 1st and 2nd place in the "Wedding" category. 1st Place in the "Creative Open" category
-2009 - Winner of the Akron/Canton Fox 8 Hotlist for "Best Photographer"
-Chosen by The Knot Magazine "Best Of Weddings 2008-2009"
-2009 - Wedding image chosen for the cover of the Akron/Canton "Today's Bride Magazine"
-2008 - "Sunrise on Bryce Canyon" chosen by the Professional Photographers of America for their prestigious International Loan Collection
-2007 - Chosen by Akron Life & Leisure Magazine "Best Wedding Photographer"

-2005 - Awarded the prestigious Fuji Masterpiece Award by the Fuji Corporation

f the list of awards isn't enough to give you an idea of the quality of his work, his answers to the interview questions will.  Spencer Photography offers high quality products & service.  See for yourself Larry's feelings on all things wedding photography.

And now Secrets Behind Wedding Photography by Spencer Photography

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
With the advent of digital photography anyone who owns a camera believes they are a “photographer”. It is a misconception to believe that the camera makes the photographer. The camera is a tool just as a wrench or screwdriver is to the mechanic. It takes years of practice and study for someone to attain a level that makes them a true professional. Organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America enable the true professional to advance their knowledge and skills thru seminars, conventions and educational opportunities. They offer a certification program that once completed, helps the professional separate themselves by reinforcing their technical expertise thru testing and review by their peers.
Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their photographer?
When it comes to wedding photography the old adage absolutely holds true: you get what you pay for. It would be a mistake to eliminate the possibility of hiring a particular photographer based solely on price. What would one think if they saw a brand new Mercedes Benz priced at $5,000? I know that I would think “What is wrong with that car?” In the same vain, what would one think if they saw a 10 year old clunker for $100,000. We all would probably have the same reaction: “Are you kidding me?!!” The same thing needs to be considered when looking for a wedding photographer. There is a reason some photographers are more expensive than others. They give the best customer service; help your wedding day run as smoothly as it possibly can; and they provide the absolute best quality images and products.
Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a vendor/site?
Originality and creativity. This is the number one thing that separates photographers. Also, how well does the photographer handle color and lighting. If you really make an effort to notice these things you will see a profound difference in many photographers and it will help you select only the best.
Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A larger album. The album will tell the story of your day, not only to you, but to your future generations. A good album should flow and not be overstuffed with images.
Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made?
A professional, no matter what industry, should never EVER drink alcohol while working. A professional should act like one.
Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
I try to provide every one of my clients with the absolute best service and give them the most awesome wedding images regardless of their budget.

What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their photographer?
A: Make sure to pay attention to deadlines. Be sure that the pricing that is offered at booking is locked in regardless of the wedding date. Also, make sure that you have recourse if the vendor does not fulfill their end of the contracted agreement. That should be in the contract.

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?
Just allow enough time to get the images that you want without interrupting the flow of the day.

I have to say that most of Larry's answers are answers that I would have given myself on the interview.  If you agree, great, if not, tell me why or submit the interview with your own answers!  Would love to hear from any vendor in the wedding industry, even other wedding planners!  You can check out Larry's work at

Happy Planning,

PS- Don't forget to check out my news segment on Channel 5- WEWS, THIS Friday between 5pm-6pm. 
Secrets Behind- Travel
I've enjoyed this series, probably more than some of my readers have.  I've gotten to know so much "Behind the Scenes" information from vendors that I normally wouldn't know as much about.  I think all in all the series has helped me to become a better and more thorough planner!

I don't spend much time with my clients arranging their honeymoon schedules but I know how much and money they DO spend on it, so I would be missing a big part of planning if I didn't include some details on working with Travel Agents.
I'm very excited to present 
Linda Murfin, CTC
Above The Crowds Travel & Meeting Planning
Telling people where to go for over 37 years!
I have had the honor of knowing Linda throughout a majority of my career so I can certainly vouch for her abilities and knowledge.  She is not only a wonderful business person but also an amazing woman.   Will all of that being said here are

Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: The biggest misconception is that a fee is paid for my expertise. In most cases, I receive a commission from my suppliers so you pay the same whether you book your trip yourself or allow me to book it.
In rare cases where I am not able to book a commissionable package, I will advise of my fees upfront.

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when making their travel arrangements?
They often listen to other people about where they have gone for their honeymoons and decide to go to a destination because someone else liked it there. When I work with the bride and/or groom, I base recommendations on what THEY like to do, their passions and preferences.

Q: What things should a bride look for, look at, when booking their honeymoon?
A: Personalization of services. Not getting "cookie cutter" packages.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?
A: She will definitely save on time. And with my 38 years of experience, she can count on getting the most for her dollar, no matter what the budget

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: Probably the accommodations. So many people say, "we won't be in the room that much" and book an inside cabin or a generic run-of-the-house room then don't have much of a special memory about their trip.

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever. 
A: There are many potential scenarios for this - booking on the wrong date, misspelling of names, booking to the wrong destination (San Jose, California instead of San Jose, Costa Rica, for example), not letting clients know what documentation is necessary (passport, visas, letter of consent to take a minor out of the country, etc.). Travel is a tricky business with ALL the rules favoring the airlines, hotels, cruise lines and resorts. Accuracy is essential. With 38 years of experience, I know what to look for.

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
A: I would offer private charter flights to get them to their destination as quickly as possible and at any time they wish. I would also offer private butler service to pack and unpack their bags, a chauffeur to take them wherever they want and a private chef to prepare whatever they want to eat whenever they want it.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in travel contracts?
A: Cancellation penalties and travel insurance. Even though you say "This is our honeymoon, we're not going to cancel.", there may be circumstances beyond your control. You don't want to lose money on top of it all.

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: Probably the biggest thing is having a budgeted amount or at least a range. People seem to be afraid to commit to an amount sometimes. If you tell me you have $3000 to spend and the resort which best suits your needs and preferences is $2000, I'm not going to charge you $3000 just because you told me you could spend that much! I'll recommend what is the best fit on all levels - price, location, amenities, activities, ambiance, etc.

Well, there is some information that I certainly didn't know enough about.  I can't thank Linda enough for giving me some "Behind the Scenes" details on travel.  If you are interested in learning more about Above the Crowds, please visit their site at  

I'd love to know what you think as well, so feel free to email me or comment on the blog!

Happy Planning,