Stories from the Heart
The COVID-19 Wedding. How the local wedding photography industry has been impacted by the pandemic.
With the recent pandemic we all have been forced to deal with national business and school closings, the restriction on public gatherings, the list goes on and on.
As a wedding photographer with over 20 years of experience I can attest that we are seeing a massive impact on our industry. COVID-19 Weddings is a different beast than we have encountered before.
What we are experiencing now is a combination of local government regulations on what can and cant happen at a wedding versus what couples want and have planned before and during COVID-19.
The whole point of a wedding is celebration is togetherness. So,where a gu how can that happen while trying to maintain social distancing, safety and abiding by local regulations?
What I can tell you is what we are seeing as a trend. Weddings are downsizing. COVID-19 Weddings are much more intimate. While the venue and the guests list may be whittled down, and appreciably so, people are still getting married.
We have seen everything from the greatly reduced guest list of over 300 to weddings that are now largely elopements with only the bride and groom..
At the weddings where a guest list still exists, we see a combination of guests who wear masks and a larger percentage who opted to be mask free but maintain social distancing as much as possible.
Social Distancing has so far not been the case when shooting family formals etc.
But a part of this post is not as much about what we are seeing at the weddings we are shooting during COVID-19, it is the road-map to what we believe may exist and be required for the next year as professional wedding photographers to survive during the coronavirus and pandemic.
- Weddings are going to continue but the scale may be much more towards intimacy. Professional Wedding Photographers may be well rewarded to address this in their offerings and collections.
- Considering point 1, the overall cost for wedding photography coverage and collections will be reduced.
- When costs come down the new photographers with little to incomplete experience will further drive down overall average costs by offering services at non-sustainable price points.
- To survive we as professionals must continue to refine and learn our craft and in doing so offer a product that is superior and that the inexperienced shooter can not.
- A great deal of surviving comes down to hanging on and refusing to quit. This has as much to do with the calling to provide high quality photographic stories to your clients as it does preserving your business.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography. The Lifetime Client Part II
What goes into making your clients lifetime clients?
One question we have been asked multiple times is how is it we have clients who become repeat customers? I am a big believer that there are multiple areas that must be supported to create and maintain the Blue Ridge wedding photography lifetime client.
- Relationships. This is the very first and most critical area to building, creating and maintaining the lifetime client. We have all read about going to extra mile, making sure your clients are receiving more than they are contractually signed for. Yes you can and should throw in the little extras, go the extra mile etc. All of these things should be done but it still is not “it”. It still is not what makes your clients WANT to be lifetime clients. So here is the absolute number ONE secret to building and creating a lifetime client..LOVE THEM. Let them know this relationship is based on you caring about them, their family, their future. And here is where I will tell you absolutely 100% this CANNOT be faked! If you do not really care and/or only see your clients as a source of income they will smell it a mile away and it WILL NOT WORK! So you’re asking by now that is awesome, but how do I get clients that I love and that love me back. This will be more difficult to create in our experience with an on-line only interface. Ask for the face to face meeting. Sit down. Get to know one another. Make contact frequently. Understand their unique story because every person and couple has one! Understanding their story and understanding them builds the empathy and empathy along with perfecting your skill-set equals terrific timing on the day of the shoot! You can check out more on client relationships by clicking HERE:
- Education. Educating your clients is a very important pillar of creating the lifetime client. Let’s consider the following scenario; A potential client visits you in your studio and is inquiring about your wedding photography services. At some point in the meeting your client makes the statement that they really just need or want the digital files and that they do not need anything else. This is an opportune time to ask, if they had the digitals, what would they do with them? In our studio this is often met by blank stares as the truth is they have NO idea what to really do with the files, they have just been poorly educated elsewhere that having the files is important. In our studio this is where we show them produced wedding albums and wall art and we explain that the digital files are but a step in what we produce and that without a finished product all they have is incomplete material. I often use the analogy of hiring someone to build your deck. They produce the raw materials, cut it into the specified dimensions then without assembling it dump it in your backyard. Can the project be completed? Yes, but likely not as would be done by an expert. Digital files were never intended to be a deliverable product. That is not to say there should not be a response to the digital world we live in, as there certainly should but it should NOT be a replacement for tangible finished artwork. Educating your clients on the difference is critical. You can learn more about the print movement HERE:
- Products. What do your clients get when they hire you? If it is only a USB drive with files on it or images to download you are doing your clients a disservice. It is very difficult to build and maintain a sustainable business when your are showing your clients how YOU value your work bu providing only digital files. Heirloom quality wall art and albums is a very different product than just a digital file. Providing products that are either not available to the general public and/or are a several quality steps above what is available is how your business needs to operate. Doing otherwise is doing a real disservice to your clients in terms of relationship, education and deliverable products.
In closing love your clients enough to produce and provide only the very best. They will thank you for it and return again and again.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography Cost
A Guide to Wedding Photography Costs in Blue Ridge Georgia
In this post we will discuss Blue Ridge Wedding Photography Cost i.e. as cost of wedding photography in Blue Ridge Georgia. As we do so, let’s first ensure we understand precisely the meaning of cost. Webster defines cost as “The amount or equivalent paid or charged for something”. and ” The outlay or expenditure (as of effort or sacrifice) made to achieve an object.
According to a recent cost guide by WeddingWire most couples spend between $1150 and $3000 with average cost hovering around $2000. You can see a bit more about that HERE: Let’s examine what makes up those cost. For us as professional wedding photographers, the hours we shoot for your day greatly impact cost. Collections or packages having only 4 hours, as an example, cost less than an all day package where we may be shooting 12 hours or more.
The balance of making up those cost for blue ridge wedding photography is what is included in a specific package or collection. For example we may have a collection that includes 8 hours of coverage, a 20 page 12 x 12 album, a custom show, on-line galleries and include wall art vs a collection that is at 2.5 hours and includes a smaller 16 page 8 x 8 album.
It pays as a prospective purchaser of wedding photography, or any item of value for that matter to weigh the personal value to yourself. Our opinion is that wedding photography, when executed correctly should do a few things
- Tell a story. This means documentation and coverage that shows a beginning, a middle and an end.
- Be Personal. This means the photographer is shooting and crafting an experience tailored to each couple that is uniquely theirs.
- Produce artwork. If done correctly this means deliverables that is uniquely produced art such as albums and wall art.
So you can see here that we stress the actual print in our studio. So what about digitals? As a prospective client for us or any other wedding photographer you will here a great deal about digital files? We respond to the desire for digital files specifically with image files scaled for social media sharing.
Keep in mind cost is not the same as individual worth of any item or service. Cost may dictate a monetary average, worth is dictated by individual emotion and attachment. There is a reason you hear stories about people grabbing their pictures, albums etc during times of great distress, floods, fires etc…it is because of the fact tat many times they are one-of items, and what they represent and call to memory is greater than the simple cost of an item.
Ultimately the cost you pay is directly proportionate to what the wedding photography you have targeted is worth to YOU. For us the formula is simple; after the ceremony the only things left will be each other, your rings and your wedding photography, so the question is, what is that worth to YOU?
5 ways to tell if you shouldn’t (or should) hire a wedding photographer
With the proliferation of cell phones as well as new photographers jumping into the business (not to mention your uncle with his new camera) should you even hire a wedding photographer? Here is how to tell…
- 5 Ways to Tell if You Shouldn’t (or should) Hire a Wedding Photographer. Your just not “into” the photography portion of your wedding. One way to tell this is if wedding photography is far down on your list of importance. However if you have feel like this is a once in a lifetime event that deserves to be captured for posterity, you should look for a true professional photographer. One of the best ways to do that is to head over to The Professional Photographers of America. They have a search feature for photographers that adds the all important filter for a photographer who has earned their CPP designation. You can see where we speak in more detail about HOW to hire a wedding photographer. You can see that HERE:You can check them out HERE: The find a photographer area can be found HERE:
- You’re shocked and can’t understand why it cost so much! I mean all those photographers do is click the shutter then go lean against the bar, right? Actually while the photographer may be working 10-15 hours the day of the wedding, the culling, editing and storing of those images will add a substantial amount of time. When you add all the time expended, overall business cost etc, it may surprise you that your photographer is charging a very reasonable rate.
- Capturing once in a lifetime special moments means nothing to you. Look, this is like having a debate over the style of clothes one prefers or what car one chooses to drive…there is nothing wrong with anyone who simply finds it not important. …BUT if you come down on the side where your wedding photography is unique artwork created for you OF you, if you are one of those people who believes after the wedding is over the cake will be gone, the flowers dead, the dress packed away, the guests may not recall what was served…what is left is each other, your rings and your photography. We suggest you consider pricing of something that isn’t a commodity and lasts a lifetime.
- In your opinion anyone can be (and is) a photographer and what is captured on your friends phones looks the same to you as any other photograph. There is simply no way everyone sees the beauty and value of custom wedding photography….and that is perfectly fine. We are all different ..as we were designed to be….
- It’s all about the money. Each of us makes our choices based on our own personal preferences, style and yes, budget! While budgets are a reality, whether in the multiple thousands of dollars or less, matching your photography choices to what can be afforded. As we previously stated this will come down to how important your wedding photography is to you and that folks is why 5 Ways to Tell if You Shouldn’t (or should) Hire a Wedding Photographer can be a useful guideline for your wedding day choices.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-McDowall Acres Scott & Keri
A Perfect Fall Wedding at McDowall Acres in The Blue Ridge Mountains
While many people still tend to think of June and summertime as the month of weddings, in the North Georgia Mountains September, October and November, Fall has taken over as the premier season for weddings and wedding photography. It’s what blue ridge wedding photography is all about!
In today’s blog we take a look at Scott and Keri’s wedding at McDowall Acres. This is an excellent example of the perfect fall wedding.
The Bride chose a LaSposa wedding dress from the fine folks over at The Bridal Loft of Pensacola. You can check them out HERE:
As we mentioned earlier while summer still has some legacy memory on hosting weddings, the many advantages of fall being the new season are very, very attractive.
The fantastic flowers and arrangements were handled by The Flower Garden in Blairsville Ga. You can check the out HERE:
The delicious food was all handled by Catering by Cindy our of Mineral Bluff Ga. You can check out Cindy HERE:
A few things to consider;
- ) With so many rustic venues being outside heat in Georgia summers can be unforgiving, even in the North Georgia mountains. However fall offers cooler, more comfortable temperatures and usually lower humidity. When considering your family, friends and wedding party, fall tends to be a much more “livable” exposure. This can have a heavy impact on seniors or those facing health challenges.
- ) The fall versus summer backdrop has fall winning hands down with beautiful fall colors with the leaves putting on a spectacular show. It’s Blue Ridge Wedding Photography at its finest!
- ) Attendance and availability may be much better in the fall as it avoids summer vacations and families being away.
Getting the perfect venue means getting the perfect backdrop. The folks over at McDowall Acres are completely awesome and the venue is spectacular!
One thing often missed in weddings is the attitude and vibe of the folks handling it. The sweet spirits of Elizabeth and Lucy are perfect for allowing things to run smoothly, yet totally relaxed.
You can check out more about McDowall Acres HERE:
This Blue Ridge Wedding Photography was all handled by A Day in The Life Photography. You can check us out HERE:
We are John & Tamera Webb.
We shoot with our hearts on the shutter and it looks like this…
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography 5 Star Stables & Lodge Drew & Jenni
A Blue Ridge Wedding at 5 Star Stables & Lodge
When Drew and Jenni were planning their wedding they chose the Blue Ridge Mountain Area. The venue they chose was 5 Star Stables & Lodge. The Lodge sits on 45 private acres and can house over 30 guest and offers absolutely spectacular views.
Mary Spencer is the founder and owner of the Lodge.
You can check them out HERE:
The Moose Lodge Pavilion is used for weddings and is breathtaking. As we alluded to in our previous post, inclement weather can happen! Choosing a venue (and vendors) who are comfortable performing in such situations is highly preferred. You can read about that in more detail HERE:
Drew and Jenni never batted an eye over the weather and in fact, embraced it as part of their unique day. It is truly amazing to see how huge hearts and an attitude of gratitude can make the day.
Makeup was handled by the awesome maid of honor/ sister in law- Brianne Davenport who did a superb job on not only makeup, but in keeping everyone upbeat, lighthearted and on point.
Hair was handled by Susan Patterson who the bride described as a miracle worker. Susan is excellent and such a professional. You can check out Susan and some of her other work HERE:
Dress was by the incredible La Raines Bridal Boutique. La Raines reputation for both unique and personal service is well deserved. You can check out La Raines HERE:
Alterations: Linda Gillentine. Linda has her clients so crazy about her work they wont use anyone else…for anything! Check her out HERE:
Flowers were by N and N florist. You can check out more of Becky’s work HERE:
Food was done by Grillin’ Gangsters- yummy bar-b-que, Check the out HERE:
Cake- Cakes by Julia out of Woodstock. The Cake and cupcakes were divine! You can scope out more about Julia HERE:
Wedding Photography by A Day In The Life Photography. You can find us HERE:
Great weddings are made up of the right people, the right attitude, the right atmosphere and the ability to not sweat the small stuff and what you can not control.
At the end of the day, great weddings are all about the love, the celebration and the memories created.
With that in mind Drew & Jenni hit every single mark on their wedding day. We have a feeling those awesome hearts, and their attitude of gratitude will carry them far and serve them well.
Some fairy tales are true….
We are John & Tamera Webb.
We shoot with our hearts on the shutter and it looks like this….
5 Ways to plan and handle bad weather on your Wedding Day.
5.) Pick the right venue. With rustic, outdoor venues being so popular preparing and being aware of the venue’s backup plan is just smart. This does NOT necessarily mean you have to have a venue with an entire separate building in the event of a bad weather wedding, but it does mean making sure the coordinators and staff for the venue know how to handle things in the event of bad weather for the wedding.
A great example of this is the folks over at 5 Star Lodge and Stables. You can check them out HERE:
4) Pick the right vendors. from the food to the flowers to the photography make sure you fully discuss and are aware of each vendors situational handling of a bad weather wedding. For example, You can check out photographers by checking a site like The Professional Photographer’s of America. You can check them out HERE: They also have an excellent “Find a Photographer” site that can assist you in searching for your photographer with various filters such as photographic degrees, location etc. Check it out HERE:
3) Planning. Having a fully written back-up contingency plan is highly recommended. You want to keep the day in a positive expectation, however the old adage “failing to plan is planning to fail” holds true here. Have a written backup plan with your vendors all the way down to things like positions at the ceremony in the backup location. You would be surprised to see how this can affect your images later.
2) Props. In the event of inclement weather having prepared props such as tents, mobile heaters and umbrellas will give you a high degree of comfort should your day turn ugly weather-wise. Designate who is in charge of what prop and even the signal to retrieve it.
1) Attitude. The better your attitude on the day of your wedding, the better the wedding. After all our years and all the weddings we have shot the one, simple thing we have noted that makes a wedding is an attitude of gratitude. How does that fit into alternative planning for a bad weather wedding? By embracing the things that make your wedding day yours…rain, ice, snow, storms etc…any of these can paint a unique backdrop to your day, a day like no other. It’s up to you how you view it and your party and guest will take their cue from you.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography Trends. The Intimate Wedding.
As we discussed in our last blog post, we were contacted by a wedding-centric magazine asking what we saw in our area as trends. In our world of Blue Ridge Wedding Photography we see the trend being towards a more intimate wedding.
It is important to define and differentiate what the term intimate wedding means as we see it through our clients.
The intimate wedding as we see it is concentrated around just a few family and friends. The intimate wedding may or may not choose a commercial venue. Family homes, rented cabins etc may stand in stead of an “official venue”. You can check out some great cabin rentals in Blue Ridge HERE:
These decisions can save substantial dollars but do require a degree of finesse. As with any larger wedding, decisions on who to invite can be stressful but clear communication to all family and friends can set the expectation that it may all be based on budget and cost. It is very important to maintain a mindset that your wedding is YOURS and to keep to that mantra especially if you encounter hurt feelings or others attempting to force their ideas for your wedding on you.
The intimate wedding also allows you to highly prioritize where cost go. With our clients that becomes their Blue Ridge Wedding Photography. As we mentioned in our previous post, the intimate wedding may not have the overall total number of images but CAN have more images of just the bride and groom.
Our post is not to make a statement that one wedding type or another or which is “best”. The best wedding is the one for YOU. Our offering here is that we do most definitely see a trend towards the intimate wedding and towards clients who place a premium on their wedding photography as an overall priority in their budget.
Our best advice after shooting hundreds and hundreds of weddings;
- Keep in mind the wedding day is about each other, not everyone else and their wants and likes.
- Prioritize the various components of your wedding by importance to you. This will give you a clear idea where to proportion and allot your dollars.
- Keep in mind every variable you encounter, the ones where things do not go just as planned will make it uniquely your own.
- Your mindset should be one of grateful acceptance. You’ll enjoy your day soooo much more!
We are John & Tamera Webb. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter, and it looks like this.
Blue Ridge Elopement Wedding Photography
Blue Ridge Elopement Wedding Photography. Are Elopement Weddings the latest trend in Blue Ridge Wedding Photography?
Blue Ridge Elopement Wedding Photography. We had a request from a wedding-centric magazine we contribute to asking us our take on trends in weddings for our business. In our case particularly wedding photography. When we looked back starting in 2016 we noted a trend towards smaller, more intimate weddings.
Not all were elopements but there seemed to be a specific mindset when speaking with the couples; they all wanted professional wedding photography and had it high on their list of what they were willing to invest in. At the same time cost such as venues, flowers, Music, food etc were not a factor when considering overall long-term value.
All our couples were all working professionals. Their average mindset was settled on NOT spending huge dollars on their wedding BUT were willing to invest, and expensively so in their professional photography. Cost such as venues, catering, flowers and the difficult job of who to invite, and who NOT to invite all seemed to drive them to the idea of smaller, more intimate weddings.
It is important to note that this post is NOT a statement that smaller and more intimate weddings are better or worse than any other. Only that from our perspective we see a trend to couples wanting to position their investment to their photography and limit cost elsewhere. Blue Ridge Elopement Wedding Photography is definitely a trend and it is a trend that seems to be growing.
In 2016 our elopement package made up less than 20% of our overall sales. In 2017 our Blue Ridge Wedding Elopement Photography Package made up approximately 30% of our overall package sales. For 2018 our Blue Ridge Elopement Wedding Photography Packages are set to make up 42% of our total package sales!
The reasons, as told to us by our clients are stated above clearly.
As a very recent couple told us one reason that cemented the decision for an elopement wedding photography package was the fact that former clients of ours who had opted for one of our Blue Ridge Elopement Wedding Photography Packages ended up with MORE images of just themselves on their special day than did friends of theirs who had a more traditional coverage of 10-12 hours or more.
Now it is important to note that there were NOT more images OVERALL for the couple, but that there were more images of just the couple themselves from an elopement wedding photography package than a more traditional package.
And it makes sense. Of those 10-12 hours of coverage one may have on average 15 minutes of ceremony and perhaps 30-45 minutes of time for imaging after the ceremony. That time usually is to include the entire wedding party and family imaging with both the bride and groom. If you factor in the possibility of any timeline interruptions then it is very possible an elopement wedding photography package would end up with more images of just the couple on their big day than a traditional wedding photography package.
It is important to note than many professional photographers such as ourselves offer upper tier packages that include an extra day or time shoot for just the bride and groom and in cases such as that one would have both high image numbers of just the couple as well as excellent photojournalism coverage of their day like no other.
Whatever your choice, Blue Ridge Elopement Wedding Photography Packages or a more traditional full day coverage the choice is as individual as you are and will be the correct choice for YOU!
We are John & Tamera Webb
Our Studio is located in Mineral Bluff Ga, just north of Blue Ridge Ga.
We shoot with our hearts on the shutter, and it looks like this…
Blue Ridge Wedding Party Gifts That Keep Giving
After months and months of planning, your wedding is almost here. You’ve taken time to decide on your menu, entertainment, and the theme of your special day, everything’s almost good to go. But, what about the wedding party? They have been there helping you plan every step of the way, so it’s important to find a special way to thank them. These are your closest friends and loved ones, so finding something they love may be stressful. Choosing to give them something that they can keep long after the wedding is a great place to start.
Bags and Coolers
Totes bags and coolers are a great gift for your wedding party. Gifting a tote at the rehearsal dinner will offer your friends a personalized gift for them to use the day of your wedding, they will be able to keep all of their belongings organized while getting ready when they’re in a monogrammed bag.
If you plan to have a wedding on a hot summer day, gift your friends a customized cooler to keep drinks and refreshing for the hours while you prep for the wedding! If you personalize a cooler with their family name then they can use it for barbeques and beach days for years to come.
Sunglasses are a fun idea for the whole wedding party! It gives your wedding a casual, laid back flare that you can show off during the reception and in your wedding photos. You can even save money by ordering cool sunglasses in bulk online for every one of your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Also, this helps tie together a look for your whole wedding party in your photos.
The guys over here are pretty awesome….check them out…HERE:
Gifting your friends a photo frame is a great idea that they can make use of long after your wedding. You can fill a picture frame with your favorite photos together for them to have as a keepsake, that will remind them of all of your special times together including your wedding! You can even take this a step further by getting the frame engraved with your favorite quote or a funny inside joke. Then your loved ones can use the picture frame for photos of the both of you together for years.
If you have a crafty side, get together with your fiancé and create fun and personalized baskets for your wedding party. Pinterest is a great start to get the wheels in your mind turning. However, thinking of what your bridesmaids and groomsmen each love is really what you want to create the baskets around, that way they will be excited to use everything you’ve put together for them after the wedding. You can create a “date night in” basket, a “spa day” basket, or a “movie night” themed basket… the options are limitless, and your loved ones will appreciate the thought that you put in for them!
By gifting your wedding party something they can enjoy and utilize long after your special day, not only are you thanking them for helping your throughout the planning process, you are giving them a small reminder of how fun the wedding day was! Pair any of these gifts with a handwritten note thanking each member of the wedding party for how they made your day one to remember.