A baseball themed wedding collaboration.
Autumn 2010, a few months before her wedding, one of my brides, Ebony, decided to take part in a formal bridal dress session. I've always loved seeing large, fine art prints of brides. There was just something majestic and regal about it.
This was my first time working with the amazingly talented, Timothy Cabell, of Savannah, GA. Timothy is an award winning and internationally competitive Hair and Makeup Artist. The session took place at the SCAD stables, located just outside of Savannah on the South Carolina side of the border. My wonderful lighting assistant was Hair stylist and educator, Shameka LeCounte, of Jacksonville Florida. Dress and accessories provided by David's Bridal Savannah.
Wow, five years flies by so fast. I remember this wedding in Starke, FL between Kayla and Kris Kadlec. Saturday, May 14th, 2011. Such a beautiful wedding and day.
On the closing days of the Wedding Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) Trade Show, I was fortunate enough to attend a 6 hour Master Class with international wedding photographer Mike Colon. Mike is a photographer based out of Newport Beach California, who's work has graced many international magazines, clientele ranges from Usher to Mel Gibson, and extracurricular activities include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. With a list of accolades that would tower taller than his 6' 2" frame, he is probably one of the most humble photographers I have met. I was really looking forward to his class. I won't go too much into the details of what was taught, but I will highlight a few things.
Sponsored by Sony, the class was about being able to dial in your mirrorless camera for weddings. I am currently a Nikon shooter, but I have always had interest in mirrorless cameras, because of the minimal footprint of gear compared to the regular DSLRs from Canon and Nikon.
Going into the class, I already had reservations about mirrorless systems mainly because of the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) lag and the huge battery drain. I felt that Mike would offer a unique perspective, because while now a Sony Artisan, he was once a Nikon shooter as well. I can understand now, why he made "the switch."
The first couple of hours of the class were classroom lecture to go over the menus and custom buttons on the Sony A7 series, which is Sony's professional line of mirrorless cameras. A camera that is feature rich, but button sparse.
I HATE MENUS, and the Sony has LOTS of them. I did enjoy the layout of the menus though. Mike walked us through each menu, and showed us what he did on wedding day to make it easier for him. Those who have photographed weddings, know that there is so much going on the day of the wedding, that if you are wasting time looking at menus, you might miss something important. After the lecture portion it was time to move on to the practical part of the class.
We went to the Sony PRO lounge where, we were provided with kits containing the new Sony A7RII Mirrorless camera. I was fortunate to have a 90mm f/2.8 G lens in my kit as well. (All images on this post are shot with the A7RII and are only adjusted for crop and color balance.) the other lens in the kit was the 55mm.
The practical portion reminded me of being in school where as soon as you went into the lab you forgot everything in the lecture. I was ready to throw the A7RII in the MGM Grand pool, but a few moments more the camera started to actually make sense. One of the cool things that Mike showed us was the focus tracking that the A7RII provides. I will say it blew my mind. While there were some missteps, it is a pretty reliable feature, able to track the models' movements with ease.
We had two beautiful models, although, I wish that we would have had a model "couple" to simulate more along the moments of a wedding. Nonetheless it was great to have such beautiful models. Thank you to 24 Seven Productions who provided the models and to Sony.
I see mirrorless in my future, and this class helped me move closer to that point. I loved the knowledge and hands on training that I got from the class. I learned a lot and would recommend to any photographer out there who attends WPPI in the future to take advantage of booking at least one Master Class or Plus Class. You wont regret it.
If you asked me 10 years ago, does a photographer need to carry liability insurance, I would have probably looked at you crazy. Why? At that time, I knew of nobody that had been injured or killed while taking a photograph. I would have told another photographer, "Just cover your gear and you're good!" Today with photographers taking photographs on more and more railroad tracks (usually illegal), private property, and other places; placing clients in danger, I have done a total about face on this subject.
One of the first weddings I've ever shot, I ended up booking, because the other photographers did not carry liability insurance. The venue required only $100,000 at the time, and I was covered for that. I didn't think anything of it though, until after the fact when I found out why I had won the booking, and started seeing more and more venues require liability coverage. These days, usually between $1 Million and $5 Million at some of the premium venues.
Simply put, EVERY vendor you work with should be insured for the unforeseen. In most cases, the insurance is pretty affordable, and there are companies who specialize in photography studios and businesses. This is a legitimate question to ask your photographer, and the answer should always be, "YES!"
If you find a vendor who DOESN'T carry basic business liability insurance, be very concerned. This could be a signal that he doesn't have the other requisites in running a legitimate business in his state or city. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
With weddings and photography sessions getting more and more expensive, many photographers are offering flexible payment solutions it's always nice to know when the money is due.
With weddings and events, most photographers will charge a retainer and reservation fee. This can range from a fixed amount to the full amount, but on average, what I have seen is that the retainer is usually in the neighborhood of 50%. The reservation fee/retainer is usually nonrefundable and locks you in, as well as your photographer in for that date. The balances can be due before, day of, or after the event. I have a policy of 60 days prior to the wedding/event. The reason why, is because there are so many things going on in the last two months of wedding planning, I want to minimize the financial stress during that time as much as possible.
The payoff date may change for portrait and corporate sessions, or on a case by case basis.
The thing that clients should keep in mind is to KNOW the installment schedule if your photographer offers one, and to pay on time, or early if possible. Ask your photographer if they have an automatic payment plan, and if there are any incentives for using one.
- Always ask for an installment plan if it will make it easier for you to hire the photographer. You might be surprised at the flexibility.
- Give yourself plenty of time. The longer the period between booking and the event or session, the more manageable the installments can be.
- Consider alternative funding lines. If your photographer accepts Paypal, you can use a program such as the "Buy Now, Pay Later" program which pays your photographer immediately, but offers you up to 6 months, interest free.
- When possible pay as much, as early as possible.
What are some tips that you have to share?