Pinterest, Wedding Inspiration or Duplication?

One of the things I love the most about being a professional wedding photographer is the ability to create beautiful, memorable images for my clients.  Although we photograph many weddings each year, lots of times going back to the same locations over and over again, I strive to make each wedding unique by creating different looking images for my clients.  My reasons for this are twofold.  First, I want to make each of my weddings unique and provide fun, creative and artistic images for my clients, that they will cherish for a lifetime.  If you put all of my wedding albums from the same location together in a row, you would see that the images differ a bit and are not the same pose, same place.  The other reason is purely selfish.  I feel that in order to better myself as an artist and keep things interesting, I need to try to create new imagery, making images at the same location, but not making the same image.  This is what keeps things fresh and feeds my love for wedding photography.  So, at each wedding I photograph, I try to make the images different, even when I’m at the same location.

Where do I seek inspiration for my newly created images? Pinterest.com of course.  I also gain inspiration from other sources, but mostly the Pinterest website.  With the extensive library of the Pinterest website, there is an unlimited supply of  images to be inspired by and I love going there to see all the great wedding images and feed my inspiration.  However, I do have a Love/Hate relationship with Pinterest and here’s why…

Lately,  (this is happening a lot more often) I have been getting several shot lists, and links to Pinterest boards, both from perspective and future clients, with photos that they saw on Pinterest that they want me to do.  While I have no problem giving our clients what they want and I will certainly do so, this practice is killing the creative process of wedding photography.   Perhaps there is some confusion between the two words: Inspiration and Duplication.  I love to get INSPIRED by photos that I see, not only on Pinterest, but from many other sources.  But my goal is not to DUPLICATE the images that I see, but to use that as a basis for my own take on it.  Use it to inspire me to create my own images.   Because if I did try to duplicate an image, that does not help me grow as an artist.  It just teaches me how to copy someone else’s work.  It also doesn’t get my clients excited about my work…because it isn’t my work.  Of the times I have duplicated and image that a client requested from Pinterest, once the client sees the image, there is no emotional connection or impact.  It’s simply bland.  Yup, okay good…you got that one.  Yes, you got that one too.  But when they see the images that I have created, that they were not expecting, that came from within me at that very moment, then I’ll get the WOW, OMG and OOHs, they have a much greater impact and are treasured much more by my clients, because they have not seen them before.  They are emotionally connected to the image because it brings back memories of their special day.

Photo by Mattnnat.com, Pennsylvania

Photo by Mattnnat.com, Pennsylvania

Duplicated Photo from Pinterest

My Duplicated Photo for the client.

I feel my clients are drawn to me and my style of photography because they like what I see when I look into my camera.  They like my creativity.  This is the reason they choose me to capture their wedding memories.  But sometimes, someone will show me a bunch of photos they found on Pinterest and say, I want you to do this photo and this one…oh and this one too, etc…  There goes my creativity! 😦  If I have to worry about a shot-list:  gotta do this shot, then gotta do this one, oh and can’t forget this one, checking off each one on the list so I don’t forget any…then the entire wedding will be a duplication of other peoples photos and will not be a true representation of the reason the clients hired me in the first place.  There will be no time for me to be creative, if I’m constantly looking at a list, or some Pinterest photos that I need to copy.  The end result will be a wedding that doesn’t match my style and doesn’t represent my work and doesn’t provide that emotional connection for my clients.

So, I just wanted to voice this to any future brides out there reading this blog.  If you hire a professional photographer because you like their style and the images they have created, then allow them to WOW you with their talent.  Providing a list of Pinterest photos that you want them to duplicate will totally squash their creativity and in the end, you will not like the images as much as you may have thought you would.  A wedding is an Amazing Day and should be filled with images that make you say WOW, OMG and remind you of that amazing experience, not images that make you just say, yup…okay…got it…good.

I feel that Pinterest is a great tool for gaining INSPIRATION.  I don’t feel it should be used for DUPLICATION of images that someone else has already created.  Ask your photographer to look at the images that you like and that you are drawn to.  We can be inspired by them to create something unique and quite possibly better than the images that you saw and those images will have a better emotional connection and timeless impact than anything that can be duplicated.

Thanks for reading.

Advertisements

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!

The Book is Always Better!

Don’t try this at home brides!

wedding albums

It really puzzles me when I think about how little importance is placed on a wedding album these days.  More and more married couples are requesting or opting for just a disc, with all of their wedding photos, instead of a wedding album.  For the most part, when asked why they chose the disc over the wedding album, the response is almost always – the price.  The package that includes the wedding album costs a bit more.  That is the part that I don’t understand.  Here’s why…

You are very particular in planning your wedding.  Not just some of the details.  All of them!  Your wedding gown is no ordinary dress!  It has to look beautiful on you, fit great and make you feel amazing.  You may have to search far and wide, or you may find it right away.  Either way…you know when you find the right one!  You choose your wedding party specifically because on this day you want to be surrounded by the people (friends or relatives) you love and who love you back.  You choose a hair and makeup artist, because this day is important and you have to look better than your best.  You choose a Limousine company that has the right size vehicle, that would compliment and enhance that “wow” moment you seek, as you step out of the vehicle moments before it starts.  You choose your ceremony church or location, perhaps your personal vows to each other and other important and meaningful details, so that everyone invited can share in that special moment with you both. You choose a Florist that can handle this most important project and who has the skill, creativity and selection of flowers you love.  You choose a reception hall that is just the right fit, both to accommodate your guest list and for the look it presents, which suits your specific taste.  You choose a DJ with a personality and music selection that you feel confident would really entertain your guests and “rock the house”. You choose a photographer whose work you absolutely love and you can’t wait to see the beautiful images they capture of you.   You choose a caterer or a wedding cake vendor that can bring to life the creation you dreamed about, with a flavor you will still dream about, long after it’s gone.  Every single detail…table cards…seating chart…favors…centerpieces…and more are chosen to bring together one of the best days of your life.  You invested all this time, money and hard work, planning this day so that it is as perfect as can be.

And now, you want to take all of those gorgeous, romantic, artistic, fashionable, memorable images that recorded your wedding celebration…and put them on a computer, a disc, a tablet, a phone, a website or some other piece of technology, instead of having a wedding album, simply to save a few dollars?  Why?

Even the couples with the very best intentions, to make their own album (because they are “artsy-crafty” people – you know) end up never doing anything with their photos.  That job simply goes at the very bottom of a To Do List that gets added to each and every day.  You keep saying your going to do it someday, but that day never comes.  And now fast-forward….it’s been 10 years and you still never got around to making that album.  It’s really sad when you think about it!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against you having a disc with your photos to post on your social media pages and all of your mobile devices.  But, nothing compares to actually seeing and feeling your images and your wedding album in print.  They really do look so much better, feel much better in real life!  Nothing beats the feel and smell of that brand new, Premium Genuine Leather album cover. Run your fingers across the pages and feel the texture of them!  Sit and relax on your couch and see the true vivid colors as they were meant to be enjoyed, not just by the limited colors that your monitor can display (Red, Green, Blue).  Relive every single moment of that amazing day as you hold your wedding album in your arms.  Then pass it on to your generations and let them enjoy it more and more with each passing year.  Your wedding album becomes more and more valuable with the passing of time….and people.  It truly is a priceless work of art.

You trusted a professional photographer with capturing all of  the wedding day details you worked so hard to plan.  You invested in their skills and experience to create many beautiful images which capture every special moment throughout.  Don’t just stop there.  Invest in your wedding album and trust your photographer, who created the images, to create a beautiful, customized, heirloom album with The Story of your Wedding, that you and your children and your grandchildren will be able to view, hold and cherish forever.   Your wedding album will outlast any piece of technology out there and no matter what, it will always be a good read.  Invest in your family memories.  Because like everyone knows, “the book is always better.”

Photo Contest – We’re Engaged – Last few days to enter!

Photo Contest - Enter to Win!

 

 

Wow!  There is less than one week left in our photo contest and the competition is getting fierce!  Now things are getting interesting!

The contest is open to any and all engaged couples who submit a photo to us.  The winner will receive a FREE Engagement Session with us. ($150 Value)

Now it’s “crunch-time” as we get closer to the deadline for this contest so it’s extremely important to get all of your friends and family involved in the voting process.  Use your social media popularity and get your friends to vote for your photo!  Feel free to post a link on your facebook and twitter profiles and get people voting.  The winner of this contest will be the photo with the most votes.  Don’t delay, upload your photo and then get everyone you know involved in the voting process.  To vote, all they need to do is visit our Facebook fan page and LIKE the page if they haven’t already.  Then vote as many times as they would like to vote for your photo (once per day), until someone wins!

Here is the link:  https://www.facebook.com/DiazDigitalDiscoveries?sk=app_479313368760498

Will it be you?  That’s up to you and your friends.  Yes, you can vote for your own photo!  So, what are you waiting for?  Go upload your photo today and get voting!

Hurry!  The contest ends on Monday February 18, 2013!

Good luck to everyone who has entered and to all those new entries as well.

Here is the link again:  https://www.facebook.com/DiazDigitalDiscoveries?sk=app_479313368760498

 

We’re Engaged! – Photo Contest. Upload your photo for a chance to win!

Engagement Photo

Free Engagement Photo Session – Enter to Win!

To celebrate all the newly engaged couples, we are holding a “We’re Engaged” – Photo Contest. This one’s gonna be easy to enter folks!  If you are an engaged couple, upload a photo to us on our Facebook fan page, then tell all your friends and family about it and have them vote for your photo.  There’s no obligation and it doesn’t cost anything to enter.  All you have to do is visit our Facebook page, LIKE our page if you haven’t already and follow the instructions to submit a photo of you and your sweetheart to be eligible to win.  You can use any camera, phone, tablet or other device to capture the photo. At the end of the contest, the photo with the most votes wins a FREE Engagement Session with us!

That’s all!  The only conditions are these:

1. The photo must be of you and your sweetheart.

2. You must be engaged to be married.

3. You must NOT use a copyrighted professional photograph.

Enter your photo today and tell all your friends and family to vote for you on our Facebook Fan Page:  www.facebook.com/diazdigitaldiscoveries

Good luck!  Contest Ends 2/18/2013 and winner will be notified shortly after that date.