Why do our wedding clients and reception venues love us so much?

Diaz Digital Discoveries wedding photography and video services

Our wedding photography and video teams work together smoothly and efficiently.

Since 2005, we have been consistently offering our clients the very best in our wedding photography services.  A few short years afterwards, we began offering wedding video services as well.  Our combined photography & video wedding packages have become our most popular package, outselling any of our other wedding packages and services to date.  More and more clients are choosing us to capture both services, because it truly is the best of both, from one talented and experienced source.  If you are wondering what’s so great about these combined services and what’s so great about us, here are a few of the reasons why our wedding clients and reception venues love us so much.

Award-Winning Talent:  A wedding celebration is probably one of the most difficult events to capture (and get it right) due to the fast pace of the day, the many different milestones that happen and the most important factor that you must get it right the first time, because there are no do-overs.  If you missed the moment…it’s gone.  Try to recreate it and it won’t happen. It just won’t be the same.  It takes hard work and a keen creative eye to create so many images in one day, that will help our clients relive their wedding day.  It also takes skilled people behind the video cameras, to create a cinematic experience of your wedding celebration that cannot be compared to your uncle’s (insert mobile device) video.

We Go All Out:  Here at Diaz Digital Discoveries we create both of these works; professional wedding photography and cinematic wedding films for our clients and we do it filled with passion.  Yes, we love our job!  We love what we do for our clients and they also love us.  We go all out, every single time we do a wedding, because it’s so important to us and we know that it’s so important to you.  But we feel what makes us so special is that in addition to our wedding clients, their families and guests, the wedding venues that we work in, whether it be for the first time, or returning to one of the many wedding venues which have selected us as one of their recommended vendors, all love us so much.  Here are just a few of our goals: (in no certain order because they are all equally important to us)

You Didn’t See Anything:  Our primary goal is to get great moments, to capture emotions and to create stunning images of your wedding day, but we also work very hard to be unobtrusive. We want you to forget that we are even there.  We don’t practice “in your face” photography and video and we capture your celebration from a distance for the most part.  We operate in stealth mode and at times you may see us for just a moment…and then we disappear into the background (like Ninjas)…all while still capturing the milestones and the moments in between.

The Fun Factor:  Our secondary goal is to make it fun for you, your family and your guests. Our level of high energy cannot be compared. It’s something you need to experience for yourself.  We have heard many times from many people…our clients, their families and wedding guests… how they can’t believe how much fun we are and how fast we move around…(we are everywhere) and always add to that how many weddings they have attended before to compare with.  A wedding is a celebration and a celebration should be fun.  We keep the fun going throughout the day, which allows us to capture the best smiles, reactions and moments from everyone attending.

We Like Hot Meals:  Our third goal is not to make you late for dinner.  We realize that your reception venue has a dinner schedule and we do everything we can to make sure we don’t interfere with that schedule.  Being the primary chef at my own home, I know the feeling of frustration from not being able to serve your “masterpiece dinner” on time.  It’s a feeling I don’t wish upon anyone else, so we capture your wedding, your formals, your families and your other important moments, all within the time frame allotted by your wedding reception venue.  The venue loves us for that and they are very glad to have us return because of they know we won’t be the reason they serve dinner late. Plus, we also like our meals to be served hot. 😉

All For One – One For All:  Our fifth goal is to provide our clients with both wedding photography and video services in one seamless service.  Call us a one-stop-shop. By that we mean, that our amazing photography and  video team work very well together.  Both teams are working towards the same goal…to provide our clients with an unforgettable experience.  We are not competing with each other (like a sole photographer and sole videographer would) to get the best shots for themselves.  We are also very mindful of each other, so as not to get in the way of the important shots…something else you won’t experience when you hire a separate photographer and video crew.  Best part is, you have one less vendor to deal with when you book both services with us.  We have a long list of extremely happy clients, their families and their guests, who rave about our products and services.

If you have experienced us at a wedding celebration, then you are probably recalling that great time when…(fill in the blanks) happened and we caught it. 🙂  If you are getting married and you haven’t experienced our wedding photography and video services, then you don’t know what your missing!  Chances are you already know someone who selected us for their wedding.  Reach out to them and ask them what they thought of us.  Word of mouth is the best way to know for sure.  Read our rave reviews which can be found on our website, Weddingwire, The Knot and our Facebook fan page.  Finally, give us a call, schedule a time to meet with us, get to know us and share your wedding day plans and wishes with us.  Then you will know you have made the right choice.  We capture every single wedding like it is our own and that way, we can be proud to put our DDD name on it.

Find out what our extremely happy clients (and happy venues) already know.   When it comes to wedding photography & video…you’re going to want to choose us.

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Did you plan enough time for all your wedding photos?

Wedding Album Designs

Planning a wedding is a huge task and it can be difficult to estimate how much time things are going to take throughout the day.  Most couples will get advice from friends or relatives who recently had their own weddings on how to estimate times and create their wedding day timeline.

Many times I am so disappointed when I learn that the “Formal Photography” portion of the day is just about one hour long.  Typically this is the time between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception and most often is only 60 minutes, especially when the ceremony and reception are in the same location.  Well, that may be 60 minutes on paper, but it never works out that way in real life.

See, in order to get that full hour that is allotted on the timeline, there can be no deviations whatsoever.  This means no receiving line. No distractions. No talking to anyone after the ceremony. No bathroom or smoke breaks. No eating or drinking anything and everyone must stay together until all the photos are done.  Any deviation from this will throw off the timeline and this time loss must be recovered somewhere.  Unfortunately, the time lost is often recovered from what was originally allotted for the formal photo hour.

It’s sad because couples spend lots and lots of money to plan this important day and in most cases, it’s that very couple who ends up with the least amount of formal photos.  Yes, of course the whole day is about you, the newly married couple and you are being photographed throughout the day, in order to tell the story, but when the formal photography part comes, you are missing out.  If we only have one hour to do all of the formal photos, we start with the entire wedding party (how many do you have?), then immediate families on both sides, extended families on both sides, then smaller groups, etc.  Once all of this is done, then it’s time to photograph just the two of you together…oh wait…we now have 10 minutes left before you have to go line up to be introduced for the reception party. 😦

In order to create a full series of beautiful, artistic and story-telling images of your wedding, we need time.  More than just 10 or 15 minutes.  Let’s not even factor in if we are creating a video as well.  Those wedding films that you see us create, take time to create. Just like in Hollywood, we need to film sequences and sometimes, filming those sequences will require a “Take Two” or “Take Three” if they didn’t come out just right.

Ideally, it would be amazing to have Two Hours to photograph all of the formals.  This may seem like a lot of time, but it really isn’t.  Those couples that do give us this time end up with lots more beautiful, creative and artistic photos and they are so happy they did.

You wouldn’t plan such an important day, invest so much money and pay so much attention to all the details, without allowing enough time for photography or video, would you?  Just remember… after your wedding is over, all you will have left is vague memories of the day, your wedding rings, photos/video and perhaps a wedding album.  We want to be able to capture you at your best and create beautiful wedding album designs like this one shown.  In order to do this, we need time.  The more time we have, the better.

When planning your wedding day, be sure to factor-in enough time for photography and/or video!

The Honeymoon is over…after 90 days!

(SPOILER ALERT) – Future Brides may not want to read this until after your wedding day.  This is what really happens after your wedding day…

As your wedding day approaches, so does all the excitement about your big day!  All that planning and preparation comes together to create one amazing celebration, filled with little moments and big memories that will last a lifetime.  Your wedding day celebration is the talk of the town, the next big thing and what everyone is looking forward to sharing with you.  One amazing day and one amazing night with one amazing couple. YOU!

(Fast Forward)

Now, your wedding day has come and gone and yes indeed, it was everything you could have dreamed of and more.  But what happens now?  What happens after your wedding day?  Sadly, as each day goes by, little by little the newness and excitement about your amazing wedding begins to wear off…and then it’s back to business as usual. Reality and life sets in.

The question is…how long does this joy, love, excitement and newness of your wedding last?  How long after your wedding day are you still in the Limelight?  How long will it be before your friends and family are no longer sooo excited about your wedding and everything related to it?  Well, I believe the answer is different for different people.  It really depends on who you ask.  Your close friends and family will all likely have a different response to this question.  But how about the guests who attended your wedding?  How long will it be for them before they are “over it”?  Ask them and I bet some of the responses may make you laugh!  Ask yourself too.  How long before you are over it and no longer want to do “wedding stuff” anymore?

You may be wondering why I’m even bringing this up?  Well, now that I have you thinking about how others feel about your wedding, after it’s over… here’s why I bring it up. How long after your wedding day do you think your wedding vendors will still be excited about your wedding day?  (Florist, Priest or JP, Limo Driver, Cake Vendor, DJ, Venue Coordinator, Photographer, Videographer) Again, if you were to poll these other wedding vendors, the response would be a bit different for each of them. (kind of funny when you think about it – right?)  Can you picture any of your other wedding vendor’s excitement about your wedding, once the wedding day is over?  LOL

That’s what I really want to know…how long after your wedding day should (I, Me, Photographer) be excited about your wedding?  1 week?  – 1 month? – 6 months?  When is the “Honeymoon” period of your wedding day over for your photographer?  Well, while I can’t speak for anyone else, I can tell you that for me, the Honeymoon is over…after 90 days.  In some cases, up to 180 days.  If you are reading this before your wedding day, this is also something to keep in mind when you are considering what the cost is for your photography or videography.  To my knowledge, no other wedding vendors are still working on your wedding between 90 – 180 days after that one amazing day.

The “honeymoon is over” sounds a bit cold…so let me try to explain this a little more.

BEFORE THE DAY:  Just as you are, we are SUPER excited about anything and everything related to your wedding!  We are looking forward to seeing and capturing every single moment we can find, in order to provide you with a series of images that will tell the story of your day and allow you and your friends and families to relive every amazing moment, again and again, each time you see your wedding album and other images.

WEDDING DAY:  On the day of your wedding we are full of energy throughout the whole day and we want to help make your day fun, stress free and beautiful.  We are down for whatever it takes to make your whole experience unforgettable and we want your friends, family and guests to also have an unforgettable day.

AFTER THE DAY:  3 weeks after your wedding day, we are still super excited about all the amazing moments we captured.  Your photos are now ready and we can’t wait to show them all to you, have you share them with your friends and family and we can’t wait to get started creating your gorgeous, amazing wedding album, wall portraits and other products you are going to order.  We can’t wait to blog about it and post some of our favorite pics on social media for all the world to see, as we wait for you to choose your wedding album selections. That’s when the waiting game begins, the fun starts to fade and reality sets in for us.

You see, here at our studio, we are very sure to inform each and every one of our wedding couples that they have only 90 days after their wedding to make their selections for their wedding album, gift prints and all other products from their wedding.  It is even stated in our wedding contract.  Now, some of you may say wow, 3 months is a long time!  I don’t need that long…I can get it done way sooner than that.  But believe me, all too often we are sending reminder e-mails, phone calls, texts and even feel like we are nagging some of our couples to get it done within the 3 month period.  Most couples are good about this…while some are not.

Why do we even have the 90 day deadline? For two main reasons.  The first reason is strictly hard drive space.  We have only a limited amount of space on our computer hard drives and servers for so many wedding photos and all of the other photos from our other photography services that we create for our clients.  We are a full service studio and we specialize in weddings, but we also do other types of photography.  A full wedding day takes up by far much more space on our hard drives than anything else we do and as much as we would like to, we can’t keep the photos on there forever.  In order to make room for the upcoming work we have, we have to make room on our hard drives.  How do we do this?  Just like you do it at home.  We go through and (gasp) have to delete the oldest jobs on our hard drives, in order to make room for the new photos and videos that will be coming.  If we didn’t do this, we would need to own an Iron Mountain type company in order to store the many thousands of photos and videos we create each year.

The second reason for our 90 day deadline is because after this time period, we have become extremely busy providing an equally awesome experience for our new clients, that we have to prioritize our workload.  So, the further away your wedding day gets, the less time we have to devote to it.  On your wedding day, you are top priority on our To Do List.  Then, as each new job comes through, that client goes to the top of the priority list and your wedding moves down one notch. Each time we have another new client to photograph, your wedding moves down the list again…and again.

Your wedding photos are at the Top of our To Do List right after your wedding day.

Your wedding photos are at the Top of our To Do List right after your wedding day.

The key to making sure that you stay on the upper end of our to do list, is to do work on your end.  Do your homework.  Pick your thank you card photos, gift prints, wedding album selections and all other products you would like to order, within that 90 day period after you have your proofs and they are also online.  That will ensure you have your products back faster and you don’t end up at the very bottom of our to do list.  The 90 day online gallery that we offer with every wedding package is a good tool to help you keep track of how much time you have left.  You will receive several reminder e-mails about your wedding photo gallery and even one that tells you when you only have 10 days left before the gallery expires.  Once the online gallery expires, so does your place at the top of our to do list.

Don't let your wedding end up at the bottom of the queue!

Don’t let your wedding end up at the bottom of the queue!

Our studio currently photographs approximately 50 weddings each year, not to mention the many other clients and types of photography that we also do each year, so needless to say we are extremely busy.  And when I say (We) I mean (Me) since I am the one who creates the photos, I am the one who processes the photos, I also print them, I design the wedding albums…yes, I do it all and I love every minute of it, except for the waiting part.  I am only one person and there are only so many hours in one day I can devote to work.  Why don’t I just hire more people?  Because then, I would have to raise my prices by a whole lot more and nobody wants that – right? So, you may be able to see why once your wedding has reached that 90 day period, I may not seem to be as excited about it, as I was before your wedding, or on your wedding day.

Don’t get me wrong… I STILL LOVE YOU and I’m looking forward to our future together.  I would love to be your family photographer and continue to grow the friendship we created and have shared to date.  I will always love your wedding photos and cherish those great moments and memories too, but the honeymoon is over and now I need to make time and space for my other clients too.  I absolutely LOVE photographing weddings and everything about it!  It’s my absolute favorite thing to photograph, but in order to provide each and every one of my clients with an equally amazing experience, I need to set some deadlines and I feel that 90 days is quite a reasonable amount of time for every client.

So, there you have it.  Now you know a little bit more about how things go down here (behind the scenes) at DDD.  Beyond just the work, I also need to (and want to) devote some of my time to my wife, my family, expand my creativity and plain old recreation…I do like my video games!!! 🙂

So, what do you think?  Please feel free to chime in, leave a comment below, as I am curious to know how others feel about this.  Do you think a 90 day deadline is a reasonable amount of time after a wedding?  Is it too much time?  Not enough time?  When should the “Honeymoon” period be over for your wedding photographer?  What are your thoughts?

OMG! You’re Engaged! Where do you start?!

Engagement PhotoCongratulations ladies!  (stealing from Beyonce’)  he liked it and he put a ring on it!  So, now what?  Where do you start after getting engaged?  There is so much to do that it can be overwhelming if you just sit and think about it.  But don’t get stressed.  After all the initial excitement from telling both sides of your families and friends, you are going to have a whole lot to do!  Most couples don’t know where to start!  No worries!  We can help.  Here is a list of 11 important things to do to get things started.

1- CHOOSE A SEASON.  Think about what your favorite season is.  Talk with your fiance’ about what time of year is best.  When are you generally feeling the happiest? Are you a “snow bunny”?  Perhaps Winter is your favorite season.  Do you love Spring flowers?  Is Summer your time to shine? Do you love the bright colors, coolness, cozy and delicious scents of Autumn?  Figure out when you are at your absolute best and mark that as the season you will be married.

2- PICK A DATE (range).  While you may think it will be too hard right now to pick a date, try to come up with a few possible dates within your chosen season.  You can worry about narrowing it down later, but for now have a couple of dates in mind for now.

3- DO YOUR RESEARCH (Financial)!  Find out what it’s going to take to make this happen?  How much money will you need to pull this off?  What does it cost to book a wedding venue, a photographer, church or JP, DJ, Limo and anything else you have in mind for your wedding…and don’t forget you will need to purchase or rent your gown!  Will you be getting financial help from your family or will it be funded by just the two of you? Is your wedding going to be this year or will you need to push it out in order to get your finances in order?   Make sure you have a clear understanding of this before you go on.

4- CHOOSE A BUDGET (range).  Now that you have an idea of what stuff costs, what’s going to be your budget?  It may sound weird to say “choose a budget”, but that is actually what you need to do.  Choose a (budget range)…but know that you are most likely going to need to adjust it, unless you already know exactly what everything you want and need costs.  I hear people saying that they can’t afford this, or can’t afford that…but that’s not really the case.  You see, people have money for the things they really want.  You really want that $700 tablet – right?  Then you save your money and you buy it.  Or, you say $700 is too much for me to spend on a tablet and you don’t buy it.  When you say you can’t afford something, you are just saying that you don’t want it that bad.  Because if you save up for it, you would have it.  So, choose how much you are willing to invest in your wedding in total…and also break it down into sections.  How much for the location, how much for the photographer, how much for the cake, etc.  How badly do you want each of these?  Then once you have that amount, later you can readjust or reallocate if need be.  Then start saving!!!

5- LOCATION LOCATION.  Where do you envision your dream wedding to be?  Does that location fit into your budget range?  If not, do you need to reevaluate your budget or choose another location?  Ask if they are available for the date (ranges) you have in mind. Again, ask yourself, how badly do I want this location?

6- PHOTOGRAPHY-VIDEOGRAPHY.  Why is this step so far up on the list?  Because the best and most popular wedding Photographers/Videographers will book up fast.  What does fast mean?  Well, typically 12-24 months before your wedding day your photographer is booking up their calendar.  For some, it’s even prior to that.  For instance, we were already booking weddings for 2015 during the Fall season of 2013.  And if your wedding date is during a popular month (May, June, September, October) there will be lots of other brides looking for those dates as well.  Talk with your photographer about your date ranges and see if they are available.  Remember to choose someone who’s work you love, but also someone you can connect with.  This will make your whole wedding day experience so much better. Do you need to readjust your budget or reallocate funds to get this photographer?  That depends on how important your wedding photography & videography is to you and how badly you want that vendor.  We can even help with recommendations on other vendors we have worked with in the past.

7- OTHER VENDORS.  The best vendors book up first, so once you know what you need, DJ, Entertainment, Cake, Flowers, etc…contact them right away.  Most will take a small deposit to reserve your date.  Get a better chance of having  your #1 choice on each of your vendors if you don’t wait until a later time to book them.

8- SAY YES TO A DRESS.  But before you do, pick up some bridal magazines and get inspired with the different styles and designs available for your season.  Don’t just settle for the strapless gowns that you see practically everywhere.  Strapless wedding gowns look beautiful on some women, but not on all women.  Find the perfect gown that fits great and looks great on you based on your body type.  Straps, sleeves, lace or a combination of all can be both elegant and compliment your figure.  Most dresses will need alterations and this can take time, so get a jump on this so you’ll have your dress in plenty of time before your wedding day.

9- GET HELP.  Who else is also very excited about your wedding?  Let them help you with the multitude of things you have to do?  Get ideas from your friends and family who are super excited about your big day and willing to do whatever it takes to make that day your best day ever!  Use their ideas as your inspiration and make it your own.

10- ONE DAY AT A TIME.  A complete wedding celebration isn’t built in one day or one week.  Don’t even try to get it all done in a month.  Dedicate a calendar to your wedding and figure out beforehand  when each milestone needs to be crossed off.  Some online wedding websites have a calendar feature and can help you get organized and have a plan of action.  Don’t worry too much if your miss a milestone either.  As long as you are close to the date chosen to complete each task, you are in good shape and you will be less stressed when your wedding date gets closer.

11- IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU (both).  Remember it’s all about you and your future spouse.  I can’t stress this enough.  Family and friends can overload you with their advice and suggestions on what you should do.  Try not to get all wrapped up in what everyone else thinks you should do or wants you to do on your wedding day.  Make it about you both and you will love everything about your wedding day.  Remember it’s a celebration so keep the stress level down.

Make the planning process fun, by getting ahead of it and not waiting til it’s crunch time.  With enough time, you can make this day one of the best days of your life.  Get your future spouse involved if you can and have fun with it.

Best Wishes!

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.

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.”