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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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.

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

 

Photo Contest – Recently Engaged – Upload your photo for a chance to win!

Photo Contest

Our photo contest is underway and still going.  If you haven’t heard about it yet, here is the information.

If you are an engaged couple, upload a photo of you and your fiance’ 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.

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.

Happy New Year! Big Changes Coming in 2013

Happy New Year from Diaz Digital Discoveries

Happy New Year from Diaz Digital Discoveries

Happy New Year!  May 2013 be your very best year so far!

We are VERY excited about 2013 because we have some big changes coming!  Each year we take a look back at our business and evaluate it to determine what worked, what didn’t, what our clients loved and what they didn’t love.  Then we take that information and the feedback we get from our clients and use it to improve the products and services we offer.  We have lots of new changes that we are putting into place this year and it’s all for the better. They will allow us to serve our clients with higher quality products, faster service and an even better experience overall.

We have redesigned our Wedding, Portrait, Boudoir and High School Senior packages to make them simpler to understand and easier to choose from and we’ve partnered with a higher quality professional lab, which has a large selection of unique and custom products.  Our Video products and services have also changed and improved.  We now offer professional video services to local businesses and entrepreneurs who are looking to add video to their websites and other social profiles.

We have upgraded our photo and video equipment to the brand new latest, state of the art model cameras and we continue to keep up with the latest updates in fast-changing, photo / video technologies and software, in order to provide you with nothing less than the best of the best.

We offer custom Framing of all your wall portraits, so you can have a more complete product and we also include free delivery and hanging of all wall portrait purchases. Yes, that’s right. We will Deliver and Hang your wall portraits at your request – at no extra cost.

We have a brand new website coming soon that will be easier to navigate, have bigger, better, brighter looking images and will give you the ability to purchase prints from your portrait sessions directly from us via our website.

We are growing!  Soon you will be seeing some new faces, as we will be adding some new members to our team!  We are very excited about adding these new and talented people to our company. (more info coming)

Lots more changes coming this year and all of them to help us serve you better and provide you with the highest quality of service possible.

To all of our current clients, we thank you for your continued loyalty and support.  We would not be here if it weren’t for your continued confidence in us and your loyalty.  It means the world to us!

To all of our future clients, we welcome you to our “photographic family” and want you to know that we will do everything we can to ensure your satisfaction and earn your loyalty, so you will keep coming back and tell your friends about us.

We are looking forward to another great year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Best wishes for 2013.