I often hear “Photography is the most important thing to us!”

bride and bridesmaidsWhen I meet with couples about their wedding day, they often tell me that Professional Photography is the most important thing to them!  That is, until they find out what it costs.  So, then I wonder if what they said is really true.

Let’s examine this for a moment and do some comparisons to see what you (personally) feel would be the most important thing to you on your wedding day.

I feel that whatever the most important item on your wedding day checklist is, should go at the top of the list and whatever is the least important to you should go on the bottom.  You should pay for the most important item first and then you have the remainder of your wedding budget to spread out for everything else, right?  Makes sense to me.  (Every item and detail of your wedding is important, but some more than others.)

More often than not, when I meet with couples, they have already bought their Wedding Dress, booked their Location, DJ, Cake, Limo and sometimes even Flowers.  So, by the time they meet with me, more than half of their wedding budget has been spent, or promised…but photography is the most important thing to them. (Hmmm)

If you want to know how important professional photography REALLY is to you, ask yourself these questions:  (Would you pay / Did you pay)

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Wedding Dress than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Bridal Party Gifts than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Wedding Shoes than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Will you pay / Did you pay more for your DJ or Band than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Limo (or Limos) than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Flowers than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Wedding Cake than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Reception Venue location than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Dinner Selections than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

Would you pay / Did you pay more for your Wedding Rings than you’re willing to pay for your photography?

If you answered Yes to more than one of these, then really…how important is professional photography to you?

Using the above Ten examples, on a scale from 1 – 10 (1 being the highest importance), where do you have Photography on that list?

If it’s not in the top three, then perhaps photography is not really that important to you…or perhaps you may need to reevaluate your list, or your budget.

Every person is different and will have this list in a different order, which is perfectly fine and that’s what makes us all unique.  Where did you place professional photography on your list?

An experienced, talented, professional photographer that can capture all of the amazing images that will be your fondest memories forever…for some people is Priceless!

Are you one of these people?  If so, then invest more in your Professional Photography and have amazing and beautiful memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.

After all, Professional Photography is the most important thing to you…right?  🙂

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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.