Excuse me Miss, but your Pad is showing!

I absolutely LOVE being a full-time professional photographer and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than photograph people’s weddings  and their milestone moments.  But at the same time, I think one of the most difficult jobs out there nowadays is to be a professional wedding photographer. What with the onslaught of consumer point-and-shoot cameras, mobile phones, tablets, digital capture devices, personal video recording devices and more,  it’s an extremely difficult task to get a really great image of the bride and groom throughout the day.  Why is it so tough?  Because lately, more and more guests at a wedding are not being very considerate of the bride and groom.

how your guests ruin your wedding photos

Excuse me Miss, your pad is showing!

While I don’t usually mind the many guests at a wedding taking multiple photographs during the ceremony and reception,  it’s particularly stressful and also a pet peeve of mine when I’m trying to get a really awesome and memorable shot of the bride and her dad coming down the aisle, (such as this one posted here) only for it to be ruined by somebody’s digital device being stuck out into the aisle right in front of my camera view, ruining both the moment and the photograph.

A wedding is one of those milestone events that you only have one chance to get right.  There are no do overs!  When the moment is gone, it’s lost forever.  That’s why this is a source of great stress for the professional photographer (me) trying to capture that magical moment that my clients invested very good money for!  I’m in position, I’m ready, here comes the moment…and there goes someone ruining it.  I feel sad for the wedding couple, because they won’t get to enjoy and cherish these photos now.

how your guests can ruin your wedding photos

Groomsman suffering from facebook-interruptus during the ceremony

The shots shown here are by no means an isolated incident. A quick search online to news sites like the Huffington Post and CNN, will confirm that more and more wedding memories are being lost due to others interfering with the professional photographers shots.  There are hundreds more photographs, just like these here that end up in my computer’s recycling bin instead of as part of the bride and grooms most memorable and treasured collection.

With the myriad of digital devices getting bigger and bigger screens, this problem is getting even worse!  So, what can we do to put a stop to this?  I do understand that the guests of the wedding are anxious and excited to take photos of the bride and groom, but is it so important that they need to ruin the bride’s memories of her special day?  There’s got to be another way!  Do we return to the old ways and put it into our photography contracts that no one else is allowed to take photographs?

In the past, professional photographers such as myself had it written into our contracts that no other people were allowed to take photos during the Ceremony or the Formals.  Over the years,  this became frowned upon due to the fact that most of the guests carried with them point and shoot cameras, mobile phones with cameras and nowadays, tablets with cameras.  But these old-day rules were put into the contract for good reason.  We photographers work incredibly hard to try to capture every special moment and lots of those moments are ruined either by some other camera’s flash, or by someone jerking out their device in front, just to get a shot.  These bigger screen digital devices truly are disruptive to the wedding and ruin many photos throughout the day as you see from these shots.  It’s gotten to be so bad that even the wedding party is pulling out phones or devices, just to get a “live” shot to upload to social media.  Do you suffer from Facebook Interruptus?

I find it hard to believe that guests of a wedding cannot see how wrong this is.  Think of all the shots that we professionals have to throw away because of this.  There isn’t just one person at the wedding doing this either, there are many, many people doing this all at the same time.  You may even wonder sometimes how the professional gets any good shots at all.  There has to be a happy medium somewhere that will please both the guests and not ruin the professional’s images.  Personally, I feel it is up to the married couple to set the ground rules on this one.  Don’t let your guests ruin your wedding photos!  Tell them that you are having an “Unplugged Wedding”.  What’s an unplugged wedding?  Simply put, no digital capture devices.  Invite your guests to enjoy the wedding, hear the beautiful words that are being shared and feel the love in the room during the ceremony.  Most professional photographers will post the wedding images online and all of your guests will have the chance to see all the amazing photos taken throughout the day.  They are even available for purchase, if guests want to have a keepsake of your wedding day.

I chose to blog about this today, after having this happen to me at some recent weddings and after reading several online news stories about this happening at other weddings too.  My goal is only to bring some awareness to any of my future wedding clients who are reading this.  As the married couple,  you have every right to make special requests on your wedding day.  The simplest way to take control of the situation and avoid this happening during your wedding would be to include a note to your invited guests within your wedding invitation, stating the you do not wish your guests to use their digital cameras, tablets, or otherwise during the ceremony, formals, or otherwise interfere with the professional photographers photos.

You see, this information coming directly from your professional photographer to your guests, would be received in a very negative way, thereby making him or her out to be a bad/mean person.  But merely all we are trying to do is ensure that you get the very best value and amazing, memorable images throughout your day, which is what you paid me top dollar to do.  We work extremely hard and are 100% invested into your wedding, trying to make it the experience of your lifetime.  It is very, very sad when an amazing and heart-warming image that would take your breath away, is ruined by someone with a mobile device and long arms, or someone Photo-Bombing during a milestone occasion, such as the Cake Cutting.

cake-bombing

wedding guest cake-bombing

So, if you agree with me and if your wedding  photography is very important to you, you may consider sending a note to your guests, along with the invitation stating that your wedding be an “Unplugged” occasion.  This means asking them to refrain from using electronic devices and thereby placing them in the photographer’s way during the ceremony and formal photos.  They will have plenty of opportunities to photograph the bride and groom during the reception.  Unplugged weddings are gaining popularity and are the best way to get to most out of your wedding  images.

If you don’t agree with me and if photography is not that important, then please be forewarned that although we will do our very best to get all the great moments and images we can, some of your once-in-a-lifetime, heart-stopping, most memorable, unable to be done over, moments may be lost forever, because someone’s pad is showing, someone is photo-bombing or someone otherwise ruined the photos.

(Stepping off my soapbox)

Off I go to my next wedding, with fingers crossed and hoping no one photo bombs it!

Thanks for reading!

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When To Plan Your Family Portrait Session

The best time to plan your family portrait session is now!

The best time to plan your family portrait session is right now!

 

I often get phone calls from people asking me when is the best time to have their family portraits done.  My answer is always the same for each family and is quite true.  The best time to have your family portraits done is right now. Yes, right now, while you are thinking of it.  That doesn’t mean that you have to book your family portrait session for this week.  It means that it’s always a good time to start the process.  Call to make your pre-session consultation with us and get the ball rolling.  There are lots of things to consider.  What season of the year would you like? Start thinking about location options.  Would you like your photo session to be in our studio, at your home, at a nice park, at the beach?  There are many options when it comes to this. What will you all wear?  Do you need haircuts, hairstyles or anything else to prepare before that day?  When you meet with us for your session consultation, we will go over all of these options, share ideas with you and make recommendations to you based on your needs and desires.  Then we will choose a date for your session.  The sooner you book this, the more availability we will have.  Our calendar books up fast and during our busy season, we will have very limited open dates for family portraits.  If you book early, you can choose a date and time that will be most convenient for you, then you can start getting ready for the big day.

Whatever your wishes are, we can help you in the planning process to ensure that your family portraits are a beautiful and timeless addition to your home, that you and your family will cherish forever.  Don’t wait until your kids get older, you loose weight,  dye your hair, the weather is just right, you have extra money (what’s EXTRA money anyway?), or any of the other excuses we all use to talk ourselves out of things.  With proper planning, you can finally take “Family Portraits” off your To Do List and put them on your walls!

With Tax Returns arriving (extra money?), our appointments are booking up now for the rest of the seasons in 2013.  So, don’t delay, make your appointment to meet with us and book your family portrait session now, for the best flexibility in choosing your month/date.  Our new portrait package options make it very easy for you to choose, because they all include the session, either indoors or outdoors at our studio or at a local location at no extra charge. Plus, all of our packages include a product credit, so you can build your own package and get exactly what you want, from our selection of options, including framed wall portraits, canvas artwork, gift prints, family albums, photo books, holiday ornaments, holiday cards and lots of other fun and unique products we offer.  Book and pay for your package now, and there’s no need to worry about having money to pay for your order later.  It’s included! 🙂

Call today to book your no-cost session consultation and get started on accomplishing this goal.  Your family portrait become more and more valuable as the years pass! You and your family will be so glad you did this!  When’s the best time to book your family portrait session?  Right now!  Don’t wait. Do it now!  Call 508-216-5898 or e-mail us: info@DiazDD.com for more information and to schedule your pre-session consultation.

We look forward to creating many beautiful and cherished memories that you and your family will treasure forever!  We hope to see you soon!

Digital Photography Course – Starts January 19, 2013

Digital Camera Course

OXFORD, MA                 E-MAIL:  info@DiazDD.com for more details.

Someday you are going to learn how to use that new camera you have – right?  How many times have you said that?

In 2013, make your resolution to know more about your digital camera and learn to take better photos.  Now is your chance to stop saying you are going to do it – and really do it!

Sign up for our upcoming Digital Camera Course.  Classes begin on Saturday January 19th, 2013 at 11AM.

This is an 8 week comprehensive Beginners Course that will teach you more about your digital camera and how to take better photos with it.

Each week will consist of a 2 hour class and workshop where you will use your own camera and our guidance to learn what it takes to make a great photo and how to do it with your camera.

There will be weekly photo assignments that you will need to complete and submit, an (optional) private online forum for students only, that you will have access to 24/7, to ask questions, post your photos and get feedback from your instructor and other classmates.  Your photo assignments will be critiqued each week, which will help you improve your future shots / photo assignments.

This is a Beginner’s Course.  We will start from the beginning.  So, bring your camera’s instruction manual.  (Can’t find the manual?  Go online and download it)  You’ll learn the very basics and then we will move on to the good stuff!

You’ll learn about: camera settings, lighting, composition, lenses, portrait, landscape, backgrounds, color photography, black and white photography, use of flash and much more.

More importantly you will learn when TO take a photo and when NOT to take a photo.

Get ready to have fun, enter our contests to win prizes and toward the end of the course, we are going out on a Field Trip / Photo Walk!  A chance to use of all your new knowledge!

A DSLR camera is highly recommended to get the most out of this course, but you don’t need to have one.  All that is required is a modern digital camera that has various shooting modes/styles for you to choose from.

You can pay for the course week by week, or save more money ($40 off) if you pay for the full course in advance.   Either way, you do not want to miss this course!   Our VIP card clients can save even more!

8 weeks of training, 2 hours per class, photo assignments, critiques, classroom forum, 7 day a week help from a Nationally Certified Professional Photographer via e-mail.

Classroom is limited to only 10 students, so don’t delay!  Sign up now before your seat is taken by someone else.

If you are serious about wanting to learn to take better photos with your camera, then sign up today!  Last day to sign up is January 12, 2013 and if you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait until our next class in 2014.

To find out more information and sign up for this course, e-mail us at: info@DiazDD.com or call 508-216-5898

We hope to see you in our studio/classroom.  Our Studio is located in Oxford, MA.  It’s going to be great!

Ed Diaz, CPP (Certified Professional Photographer)

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER.

Hello Blog fans!
Today’s blog is a very important one so I hope you will all not only read it, but share it with your friends.

I read a disturbing article in today’s newspaper and due to the subject matter; it compels me to blog about it.
A (so called) photographer has been arrested for committing multiple crimes to put it mildly! It was later found that this person was only POSING as a professional photographer and not actually a professional photographer.

I’m always very sad when I hear HORROR stories from people about their bad experiences with photographers. One of the first questions that come to mind when I hear these stories is:

Did you ask the photographer the right questions before you hired them?

Many people don’t even know what questions to ask before hiring a photographer, be it for their wedding, portrait, baby pictures or anything else. That’s why on my website you will find a section with F.A.Q’s. Although they are not frequently asked…they should be!

If you want to read those FAQ’s, visit my website: http://www.diazdd.com/ and click on the BIO section. There you will see a list of questions that everyone should be asking before hiring a photographer and our respective answers.

The following questions are also just as important and will help you to distinguish an ACTUAL professional photographer from those who just claim to be…

Before you hire a professional photographer, ask, at the very least, these five questions:

1. Do you have a Business Certificate?
All professional photography businesses should have a current valid business certificate displayed in their studio. ($$)

2. Are you registered with the State/Town/City as a business?
A true business needs to register with the city/town they will be doing business in. ($$)

3. Do you have Business Insurance?
You have the right to request a copy of the Insurance Certificate for the studio you are going to hire. ($$$)

4. Do you have any references?
Any successful photography business will most likely have one or more past clients who have volunteered to be used as a reference. Get the numbers and call if you have any doubts.

5. Are you a member of any professional photography associations?
On a national level there is PPA (Professional Photographers of America) http://www.ppa.com/
Locally we have PPAM (Professional Photographers Association of Massachusetts) http://www.ppam.com/.

Most every state has their own professional photography association, where fellow professional photographers join and help each other learn and grow to maintain a higher level of professionalism and quality. It is not a requirement to join, but within the association, you will find those who are serious about the business of photography.  Even though we may be vying for the same clients, we have camaraderie and want to see each other succeed as well. ($$$)

There are several more questions that could be asked, but these are a few of the important ones. If you are thinking about hiring a photographer for a wedding or any other reason, do your part to make sure that they are truly a business, not just someone with a camera that claims to be. That way, you can avoid horror stories and bad experiences. Anyone can buy an impressive looking digital camera these days, but that doesn’t make them a professional.

One more thing to note would be the old adage which goes: “You get what you pay for”.

If it sounds like an unbelievable bargain…it probably is, so don’t believe it. Fine professional photography is like Fine Wine…It costs more money because it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve and maintain such quality. However, it is well worth the higher cost.  (The dollar signs above indicate that there is a cost involved in obtaining these things.)

Well, I hope this blog entry will help to serve people in the future who are looking to hire a professional photographer for their wedding or special event. If you know someone shopping for a professional photographer, please send them my way.  http://www.diazdd.com/

We will take very good care of them and we have the paperwork to prove it.  🙂

Thanks for listening. Tell your friends!

Until next time.