Stories from the Heart
How to hire a wedding photographer
I recently had a query for a wedding date that we were unfortunately already booked for. When I asked the bride if she would be interested in a referral she said what she would really be interested in is me telling her HOW to hire a wedding photographer.
And then it struck me. Most people have no idea how to go about hiring a wedding photographer. Sure there are friends of friends who knows someone or the always available Uncle Bob who has a new camera. But when you are starting from scratch and looking to be thorough there are very little, if any, guides available.
So here is MY take on what matters, how to go about it and greatly narrow the search for a fully professional wedding photographer.
Before we look at all that, let’s set the stage about cost. What is priceless tomorrow should not be inexpensive today. Here is an excellent link to a bride who hired a cheap wedding photographer. Check it out HERE:
- Start with a smaller haystack. One of the best ways to immediately make your search easier to manage and far more effective is to utilize professional organizations. The best that I know of are The Professional Photographers of America. You can check them out HERE: They offer excellent advice on 10 questions to ask your wedding photographer. You can jump to those HERE: There is an excellent video that was shot in our Marietta Studio that outlines the importance of certification. Check it out HERE:
- One other excellent resource is The Better Business Bureau. The BBB fully vets businesses before granting accreditation. You can see how easy the process is to locate by this filter HERE:
- Now that we are through the first two filters to reduce the size of your haystack, let’s talk style. If your photographers work doesn’t speak to you then move on. Your chosen photographer should be showing work that stirs your soul, work that tells the story YOU want told. This is a highly personal choice and a good photographer will be trying to attract their ideal clients while not attracting potential clients who just don’t get it.
- Ask to see work that runs from the start of a wedding day to the end. Stories always have a beginning, a middle and an end.
- Ask about experience. How many weddings have they shot?
- Ask your photographer if they have backup gear, backup plans and how your images are protected AFTER the shoot.
- Are there two photographers or only one? It is difficult to be in all places at the same time. Multiple photographers can better canvas your event and offer different perspectives.
- What is the normal timeline for delivery?
- What, precisely, is delivered? Digital files only or are albums and prints included.
- Do they have a written contract spelling out everything?
So there you have it. How to hire a wedding photographer. In our humble opinion this will go a long way towards making sure your photographs meet and exceed your expectations.
We are John and Tamera Webb. We own and operate a boutique wedding photography studio in Blue Ridge, Georgia. We shoot with our Hearts on the Shutter, and it looks like this..
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Honesty in Wedding Photography
Whether your planning a wedding in beautiful Blue Ridge Georgia or another picture perfect locale, do you want honesty in your wedding photography?
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Honesty in Wedding Photography. You’r getting married. You’ve chosen gorgeous Blue Ridge Georgia as your destination. In all the hustle and bustle of planning your wedding you have to make decisions on your wedding photography. This is where it gets challenging for many couples. Deciding on a particular style that speaks to you is critical. It is critical because sticking to what speaks to you means you have taken the first step to honesty in your wedding photography. We are going to delve into Blue Ridge Wedding Photography and Honesty in Wedding Photography.
Honesty in Wedding Photography for us means images that show the clear personality and characteristics of a person or a moment. Many of our most prized images, for both us and our couples are raw, completely un-posed and document a peak moment or emotion. These images often are less than technically perfect, but ARE full of life, love and as we like to show the soul. If we have done our job correctly they also tell a story within the story of the day.
For the first image above this shot was taken immediately after the ceremony recessional. The bride and groom and the photographers were the only people standing in the vestibule area. It was an intensely private moment. As many of us can identify with theirs had been a journey only they knew. All that emotion, all that love, all that gratitude came bursting forth. From a technical standpoint the images are not tack sharp. They are grainy and have movement…and they could not be better suited to tell that portion of the story.
Even after many years this remains one of our favorite images of a first dance. The look of contentment is something you can almost palpably feel. As for the background, I love using the people who make that day special much more than inanimate objects.
For the images above the expression tells it all while the bride danced and sang for her new husband.
The husband, of course, returned the favor with a song for his new bride. Once again we can see background being so important to tell the story.
The last image listed here was well into the evening. The couple, surrounded by friends, family and love spin, swing and sway in dance. When we address the technical we see movement. The image is not tack sharp. The image is however undeniably bursting with life. This is a great example of when the perfect image is perfect BECAUSE of its timing and includes the imperfections.
All the images above were taken at The Marlow House.
You can check them out HERE:
And at Maple Ave United Methodist Church.
See more about them HERE:
In closing we hope you are the type of potential client or the type of photographer who values honesty in wedding photography.
In the coming weeks we will revisit some of the keys to obtaining this.
In the meantime you can checkout a solid hint HERE:
We are John & Tamera Webb. We own and operate a wedding photography studio in Blue Ridge Georgia. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter…and it looks like this…
The Top 5 Reasons Why an Engagement Session Matters
In this week’s blog post we are discussing the top 5 reasons why an engagement session matters. In today’s digital world, fine tuning and cutting cost is almost inevitable for wedding photography overall. While we greatly disagree with that stance, we often see couples choose to eliminate an engagement session from a package in an attempt to save money. We think it’s a huge mistake. Here we are going to outline what we believe are the top 5 reasons why an engagement session not only matters, but is a great value.
- Professional Imaging. I know. I am willing to bet you’ve heard this too, or something very similar. “Well I am going to get Uncle Bob (Insert any family member or friend here who has access to a prosumer camera). It will save us soooo much money! And that all sounds great until the images come back and you realize that the lasting things from your wedding is what really counts. Your jewelry, each other and your photography. The cake is gone, the flowers are dead and the dress is packed away, but the photography and your jewelry last forever.
You can check out and locate professional photographers at The Professional Photographers of America’s Website. Check them out HERE:
2. Unique quality images for your save the date cards. These images can also be used at the reception etc for decoration. We like to produce multiple prints and canvases for the reception. We also include a signing canvas for guest to sign. This creates an immediate family heirloom.
3. The practice “dry-run”. Working with your photographer for an engagement session allows you to get used to each other. The pace, timing and communication all will pay dividends on your wedding day. This develops and deepens the all important chemistry.
4. You get to show off your bling as well as any props or other important items you would like to incorporate. While family treasures are usually unique, finding a place for excellent quality jewelry can be challenging. We highly recommend out friends over at Blue Nile. Check out the beautiful engagement rings at Blue Nile. You can visit them here: HERE:
5) Wall Art and Heirloom Prints. In today’s digital world often the importance of tangible and actual prints is lost. Professional prints and canvas are investments in lifetime heirlooms. You can see where we have discussed this in the past. You can check it out HERE:
In closing we stress the importance of engagement sessions. It creates confidence, immediate art and helps in so many ways avoiding it just doesn’t make sense.
We are John & Tamera Webb. We own and operate a wedding photography studio in Blue ridge Georgia. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter and it looks like this…
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Cost
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Wedding Photography Cost
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Cost. Wedding Photography and cost. Those words, like it or not, are attached at the hip. No matter where your value and emphasis is on wedding photography, cost for those services are unavoidable.
So that begs the question, what SHOULD wedding photography cost?
A quick query on-line shows the wide range of information to assess wedding photography cost.
You can check out some of those links HERE:
Brian Noah makes an EXCELLENT statement clarifying wedding photography cost. You can see it HERE:
When you start to read some of those queries, you find statements like “Does anyone know the average price of a good photographer? I’ve been researching for one non-stop and many of them seem overpriced.”
“Seem Overpriced” really says it all. For example, “seems overpriced” compared to what?
This leads into what I have always said and that the value in and for wedding photography is like anything else;
Watches, as a rule, really all perform the same basic function, the tell the time. As a rule also you can get accurate time told over a wide range of cost and features. Yet luxury brands such as Rolex and Omega, among others, continues to thrive.
Cars all perform the same basic function. They act as transportation from point A to point B. Ford Motor recently announced they would concentrate on trucks and SUV’s as that is where their customers have said they preferred with their wallets!
Clothing, Houses etc also fall into this conundrum of performing a basic function, but having wildly varying cost.
So why is that?
Because taste and perceived value are seen differently by all of us!!!
However, perceived taste and value can change when a potential client is made aware of what all is, and is not included from varying photographers.
We always recommend when couples are starting to research to start with what we consider to be the leading organization for professional photographers. They offer a very good find a photographer search. You can check them out HERE:
For us, our clients are folks who realize that when the wedding day is over, the dress is packed away, the flowers are gone and all that is left is each other, the rings and your wedding photography.
What is it worth to YOU?
In the words of one of my favorite photographers and people, Jerry Ghionis, “What is priceless tomorrow should be expensive today”..
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Intimacy
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Intimacy One of the Pillars of Personalization
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Intimacy. For us, Intimacy in wedding photography is one of the pillars of personalizing the day for our clients. Of curse intimacy can have different meanings for different photographers.
For us the definitions vary. Let’s take a look…
For a ceremony shot like this many people would think intimate would not be a characteristic of what would be captured, but take a look at every single member of the bridal party. While this is a public ceremony it is also undoubtedly intimate.
Love the gorgeous venue above? Check out The Historic Tate House. You can see more of them HERE:
For the above image as the bride was completing her getting ready, her children came in to see her. The scene turned incredibly emotional but also intimate.
Just hands right? Hardly. The image above shows the bride and grooms first look after they clasped hands along with the tissues each had for wiping away their tears. A moment we categorize as both emotional and intimate.
The images above show a bride in reflection and in single, silent prayer before the ceremony, then being joined downstairs with a dear friend for a final prayer shared before the procession.
This image is from a post shoot with the bride and groom. I have worked with many photographers just getting started who have stated they simply don’t see how intimacy can be involved in a planned and post wedding shoot. If you have read our past blogs where we talk about connection with your clients it is in our opinion necessary to be allowed “in” for moments like this. Often those intimate moments are caught between directed posing.
Like the above image? You can check out the fine folks at The Gardens at Kennesaw Mountain HERE:
You can tell that we love moments such as prayer. Now let me stop here and clarify something. In our Super 1 day class we were asked once how, as Christians, we could shoot during the prayer? The answer is we actually pray with the group and simple take a few quick images as quietly as possible.
For a destination wedding it is hard to beat gorgeous historic Savannah. You can check them out HERE:
Te above image has been a favorite of ours for years. After the ceremony and the first dance the couple stepped out for a breather after a long destination wedding day. While vaguely aware of us following, they were quickly lost in the moment with each other. That brief beautiful moment certainly qualifies as intimate.
First dance images can offer intimacy, but your timing must be superb. This quiet, fleeting moment was in full view on the dance floor, but to capture it you had to feel it coming. I would point back to that most important client connection. You can see where we have spoken about this more HERE:
This last image was taken in the middle of the final getting ready moment between daughter and Mom. Their relationship was one that was preternaturally close. In the final moments the bride turned to her mom and was in tears and very emotional. It was a perfect intimate moment. One you felt blessed to be allowed to shoot.
In closing intimacy, along with emotion are a few of what we consider the pillars of quality wedding photography. We strive for images that stand the test of time and evoke not just what we all looked like, but what it FELT like.
We are John & Tamera Webb. We own and operate a wedding photography studio in Blue Ridge Georgia. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter, and it looks like this…
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography- Why Emotion is King
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Emotion. Why Emotion is King (for us)
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography Why Emotion is King. It seems to go together, does it not? Your shooting a wedding day. The day, this particular day, is full of emotion. With so much emotion going in it would be tough to miss it right? Actually you would be surprised how those key moments CAN get missed.Blue Ridge Wedding Photography- Why Emotion is King…and should be.
Listen we all have different styles and different approaches. It’s what makes the world go around. But there are times when the photographer or the couple do NOT want to be photographed showing emotion.
So what do you do with a client request like that?
We turn them down.
That’s right. We decline.
We feel so strongly about the importance of those unplanned burst of emotion we won’t document a day where we are told to avoid them.
I ran across this article a few days back. I could not agree more with one of the brides assessment of one of her images. “at first I hated those pictures of me crying, but now I treasure them.” — Katherine (and Sam)” Check it out below.
Best Wedding Moments
This all came to mind after a wedding we were guest at a good while back. We weren’t working it. When the bride made her entrance the groom was visible emotional. It was, to us, a beautiful and tender moment not to be missed.
But it was.
Now whether that was couple stipulated or the photographers style we can’t say. But what a shame that years into their future there won’t be any professional images to document such a huge moment.
Life is made up of a good deal of moments where we are so busy taking care of the business of living that emotional peaks are few and far between. But make no mistake those emotional peaks are the anchors that tie the rest together and make the living not only worthwhile, but cherished.
For us as professional wedding photographers we are documenting a day that is not only special, but sacred. Ensuring we are ready to capture key and peak moments will become a families treasured heirloom.
To be successful you will need to be in the moment, have incredible timing and let your heart hit the shutter.
We are John & Tamera Webb. We own and operate a professional wedding photography studio. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter. We tell stories of the heart.
And it looks like this.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-The Details with Heart
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography- The Details. Details with heart.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-The Details. Weddings are wonderful things. Full of emotion, heart and once in a lifetime moments. Wedding photographers are hired to capture that day and of course, the day includes the details.
If you peruse many featured on-line weddings you’d think the details were the stars front and center of their respective weddings. Image after image of the cake, the setups, the flowers and the rooms.
Flowers like these can be found with one of our favorite florist A Delicate Petal. You can check them out HERE:
And you know what? That is perfectly fine. It isn’t how we shoot details or how we choose to backdrop them. We have always taken the approach that wedding photography is like so many things, taste and preference drive it. Our choice in cars, clothes, homes, food and even friends is highly individualized. The same is true for wedding photography.
The weddings above were all shot in the downtown Marietta area. You can check out some of those spots like the fabulous Strand Theater . You can check them out HERE:
We also love the Marlow House. You can check them out HERE:
We love all the images above. At the very top is what would be mostly considered more standard detail shots. Even though the details are emphasized a few things become obvious. The images are carefully shot to make use of available light. The interplay between light and shadows creates the desired mood. You will also notice these images are not the bright (overly so in my opinion) overexposed images that have become quite popular.
In the second and third set of images you see more of what we strive for. These are details, but details with a human element. Showing the brides choice of veil or garter is still done, but done with the bride in the image.
Probably the best way to define our approach to details is that we shoot details with a human or mood element. We also take the approach that people trump things every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
We also love to show details that help tell the story. A great bottle of Champagne, a puppy saying happy wedding day or a necklace displayed far prettier around a brides neck than sitting on a table or in a box. Each image has the human element of the person or a unique story.
When choosing a wedding photographer we always state for the couple to ask to see a wedding from beginning to end. That includes the details and the approach to them.
We are John & Tamera Webb. We own and operate a wedding photography studio in Blue Ridge Georgia. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter and it looks like this.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography Timing in Portraits & Client Connection
How timing and the client connection affects portraits
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography Timing in Portraits & Client Connection, How timing and the client connection affects portraits. Last week we discussed timing and the client connection. This week we are discussing how timing can affect client portraits.
In the days of photographers “silver” era, it was considered that a great portraitist captured not only the likeness but the character, personality, spirit and essence of their subject.
Like so many things lost in the digital era of photography, this skill and approach can still be valuable today.
When trying to find true photographers we strongly suggest starting a search at The Professional Photographers of America. As the world’s largest, non-profit trade association for professional photographers they offer terrific resources for couples searching for professional photographers. You can check them out HERE:
Instead of an endless seam of images shot in a second, a more deliberate approach that assess who our subjects are and the skills required to have that presented are needed.
In our Super 1 Day Classes one of the questions we hear the most is “how many images do you shoot in a wedding”? The short answer is, until we are done! While image number for us is connected to hours of coverage, in a 12-15 hour wedding day we may shoot an average of 1,500 images with delivery somewhere in the 500’s. The key is to capitalize on those moments and literally pounce on opportunities where your clients show their true soul. So then we are not “machine-gunning”our way to a wedding album or wall art, but are purposely awaiting key moments, expressions and interactions where our clients can see their true selves.
We live in an era where the historical legacy skills of a true photographer is largely lost. Where the skills earned by experience is not valued when weighed against so many photographers in the market place who offer cheaper and cheaper services. Photographic budgets can be easily made when the tool is valued more so than the artist. While the digital era combined with smartphone cameras and their continued improvement has made better images available to everyone, the true photographic craftsman is more and more difficult to find.
In closing, we advocate for experience, taking the time to get to know your clients, for shooting with a slower pace and with purposeful intent to show your clients their true nature.
We are John & Tamera Webb. We own and operate a wedding photography studio in Blue Ridge Georgia. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter, and it looks like this….
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Image Timing and Client Connection
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Image Timing and Client Connection. The critical connection between client connection and image timing.
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography-Image Timing and the Client Connection. When discussing image timing, especially in photojournalism, one thinks of those great captured peak moments. But when we are speaking of image timing in wedding photography photojournalism it is still peak moments, but those peak moments may well be more personal and personalized than standard photojournalism.
To successfully nail image timing that is valuable to your clients you need a strong client connection. You need to know them, know their story. It is important to understand what they see in each other. In short, you need to love your clients to the point you are inside their hearts and can anticipate great timing on their day. You can read more about how valuable client connection is HERE:
And where we have discussed it HERE:
There are two types of photojournalist image timing, in our opinion. One, is the generalist image timing in a peak moment that is public and generally understood for it’s content. The second type, and one we love, is the highly personalized peak moment. This type may well NOT be understood by general view but is highly important to the individual, close family etc.
These images happen when you have taken the time to be close to your clients and are willing to shoot what is important TO THEM.
Images for competitions and the iconic “hero shots” are awesome, but we never pursue those to the detriment of those sometimes quieter, smaller moments that speak volumes to our clients.
I would stress here that when speaking of those image timing moments and moments that may be highly individualized, not all may appear as unique. A bride and groom can finish their session, be about to walk back in and be introduced and if the groom grabs her and pulls her to him in an embrace and kiss that was not directed, that too qualifies as a client unique moment.
In closing, image timing should be married to the client connection. It is also why we refer to our work as “stories of the heart” and why we say we shoot with our hearts on the shutter, and it looks like this…
Blue Ridge Wedding Photography Wedding Photojournalism. We are John & Tamera Webb. We own and operate a wedding photography studio in Blue Ridge Georgia. Today we would like to talk about Wedding Photojournalism.
Whether you are in Blue Ridge Georgia or other parts of the country, what does Wedding Photojournalism mean to you?
Many people in our experience confuse the terms “candid” and wedding photojournalism. The dictionary refers to candid as “informal or natural; especially caught off guard or unprepared.
However, that same dictionary defines photojournalism as ” journalism that presents a story primarily through the use of pictures”
We can then see the relationship between the two terms. Wedding Photojournalism however is using a series of images to tell a story. Yes, many or most of those images are “candid” in the sense the subject is unaware of every image being covered, but the skill for the photographer comes from understanding how to weave the documentary aka “candid” with powerfully prepared images to tell a complete story.
In our opinion, I would further state that “candid” as the definition supports, could lead to a collection of haphazard images that do not collectively relive the day. A true and experienced professional photographer should capture images that are not only “candid” but truly photojournalistic to tell a story of a day filled with love and meaning.
Telling the story is a HUGE part of designing, building and delivering the wedding album. As you’ve read if you’ve been following our blog, what we believe is the very first family heirloom.
A trained professional wedding photojournalist is not just taking images that are “candid”. They are taking true photojournalistic images and building a story that will be timeless.
If you are searching for a professional wedding photographer that specializes in true photojournalism, check out some specific organizations such as the AGWPJA, or The Artistic Guild of Wedding Photojournalist Association. You can check them out HERE:
We are John & Tamera Webb. We shoot with our hearts on the shutter and it looks like this….