Monthly Archives: February 2009
The Lejeune Bridal Gala was Sunday, February 15 at the Jacksonville Commons Recreation Center. The first year for the show, Pam Duval and Ena Sellers did a great job bringing it all together. I’m betting next year’s show will be even bigger and better! As usual I held a drawing at my booth. Congratulations to Brianne Shaw my Grand Prize winner.
Everyone is aware that the economy is in a rough place right now. Not surprisingly a lot of couples are cutting corners to keep their wedding budgets under control. There’s really not a thing wrong with that. But I think it’s important to remember your wedding day photos are one of the few things you’ll have that will last a lifetime. Make cuts and stay within your budget, but do so without totally sacrificing this important aspect of your wedding.
A few money saving ideas:
- Do consider booking shorter coverage rather than full-day coverage. Just make sure your photographer will be there during the portion of the day that’s most important to you. If things change as the wedding draws near your photographer will be more than happy to allow you to upgrade your package, add more hours of coverage.
- Do give thought to choosing a package that only includes coverage and files. Your photographer will be happy to sell you an album or prints at a later date when your budget will allow for it.
- It’s ok to ask if your photographer offers a military discount or gives a price break for off-season or mid-week wedding dates. You could enjoy a substantial savings!
- Ask your photographer for a custom package quote. Tell them what you want in terms of product and coverage time and see what they come up with.
- If you’ve procrastinated about hiring a wedding photographer and your date is only a few weeks ahead don’t hesitate to ask if they offer a discount for last minute bookings.
- You might be able to get your photographer to upgrade your package with a bigger book, additional prints or extra time, even if they won’t discount the package price. As always, it can’t hurt to ask.
- Your choice of photographers may be willing to accept a payment plan. While it’s unlikely you can extend payments past your wedding date, there is a good chance you can make smaller installments between your retainer and final payment.
- Pay for you wedding with a credit card that pays you “points” or “miles.” You may be able to use those towards your honeymoon.
- Don’t embrace every cost cutting suggestion you read in bridal magazines and on their websites, there’s a lot of bad advice being offered out there. Depending on dispolsable cameras on every table or counting on images from you guests as a substitute for a professional photographer probably won’t result in the quality of images you deserve. If photography is important to you do make the effort to invest in someone that’s experienced, reliable and professional.
It’s important to keep in mind that a bargain is only a bargain if the quality is acceptable. There isn’t a licensing body for professional photographers. Pretty much anyone can put up a website and call them self a professional wedding photographer. Sometimes their work isn’t only a bit substandard, it’s totally unacceptable! Unfortunately it’s not always easy to tell. There are people who go out and download images from other photography websites then post them on their site as their own! With folks losing their jobs many may view wedding photography as a source for “easy money.” After all, “everyone tells me I take great pictures!” Ever watch American Idol? You know all those folks we laugh at that sing so horribly but believe they’re great singers? “Everybody says so!” Professional photography gets those folks too. ‘Nuff said.
Here’s a list of some things to look for to help ensure you’re hiring a qualified professional photographer:
- Has proper business licensing and is registered with the state to collect sales tax. This is a big one. The “fly-by-night” operators almost never register with the Department of Revenue to collect sales tax.
- Belongs to one or more professional associations. A few to look for are WPPI – Wedding and Portrait Professionals Internationa, PPA – Professional Photographers Association, NAPP – National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
- Has liability insurance. Here’s another big one. Some venues will not allow your photographer to shoot without certificate of insurance. Even if they will, should a guest trip over a piece of the photographer’s equipment, or be injured in some other manner involving the photographer, without proper liability insurance you could be financially responsible!
- Brings appropriate back-up equipment to every event. Modern cameras are basically compact computers used to capture images. They’re somewhat delicate… can and do fail at the worst possible moments. Anyone that shoots a wedding without a minimum of two DSLR camera bodies is acting in an irresponsible and unprofessional manner. Most of us carry three or more! The same applies to lenses, flashes and other necesssary gear.
- Uses professional photo finishing labratories and bookmakers. Sure, you can get prints made a the local drugstore or discount outlet, but the results won’t be as consistent nor the quality of papers, chemicals and inks used the same as from a professional photo lab. Similarly, you may be able to order a photo book online but it won’t be equal in quality to the books produced by pros-only sources. Plus professional services often have a vetting process in place and will sell only to professional photographers.
- Make sure you can see an entire event. Anyone can get a few lucky shots. A professional is going to produce consistently good shots all day long. Be sure to look at an album or two that contains one wedding rather than a “best of” book. Similarly, ask if you can view their online proofing area to see an entire wedding or two or three.
- Accepts major credit cards.
A professional photographer is more likely to have a merchant account allowing them to accept credit cards than a “Mom with a camera.” Granted the lines can get a little blurred here as wedding only photographers don’t get a lot of requests from their clients to use “plastic” and, as such, may go the PayPal route to cut business costs.
There are a lot of other little things that can help indicate the photographer you’re considering is experienced, reliable and professional. But I think you get the idea. Be careful, “buyer beware.” Regardless of who you choose to capture your wedding day images I want you to be satisfied with the final results. I’ve just heard too many horror stories lately from brides that have had bad experiences. Be budget concious but not to the point that you end up with regrets later on.
February is about sweethearts. Guys gift their gals with boxes of chocolate, flowers and jewelry as tokens of their love. Kids exchange Valentine’s Day cards, both homemade and purchased. Nervous young men go down on one knee and ask for their girlfriends’ hands in marriage. Yes, February is the month of love, of sharing, or relationships.
Those relationships can come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Boyfriend – girlfriend, husband – wife, mother, father – child, it doesn’t really matter what the relastionship, just that it’s there. Our lives are richer because of them. Our memories fonder. So for this month’s speical I’m going to suggest you gather up those special people in your life, or even your pet, and comemorate that relationship with a portrait. Since traditionally Valentine’s Day is associated with couples, “twos” if you will, I’m going to offer studio portrait setting fees of only $2. But there’s more, staying with the theme of “twos” I’m going to offer prints from your session at two for one pricing. That’s right, buy two 8x10s for the price of one… two gallery wrapped canvases at the price of one. There are some restrictions. This offer applies to portrait sessions in my Newport, NC studio only. It is not applicable to wedding packages, engagement and bridal sessions, H.S. Senior packages or location portraits. Two for one pricing doesn’t apply to specialty products such as Portrait books and photo jewelry. A minimum purchase of $50 is required to book the session. The two for one special may not be combined with other offers or discounts. The two for one offer ends February 28, 2009. Phone 252-726-5799 to set an appointment.