Monthly Archives: April 2012

Apr
26

The Timeline

Categories: Tips for Clients.

Choosing the timeline for your wedding day is one of the biggest and most stressful parts of the day. It also determines SO many other factors such as how long you will need your photographer and videographer, what time your makeup and hair people should arrive, how many hours you may need bar service, etc. I think it took me a week and throwing up my arms and saying “I give up!” probably 3 times to finally nail down my timeline, but once it’s done you really feel like you’re TRULY getting married…it’s such a good feeling! It’s also a big, important thing to cross off the list early on because it makes coordinating the rest of your vendors much easier :)

Today’s blog post is all about how I love to see the wedding day come together. I’ve included a timeline for a first look and a timeline without a first look. Details on what exactly a first look is can be found here. Of course every wedding is unique and sometimes there’s longer ceremonies, travel between the ceremony and reception location, and other things that come up, but these timelines are simply just the ideal starting point with 8 hours of coverage – by no means exactly what everyone who works with me needs to follow.Wedding Day with a First Look

11:30 – Bride/bridesmaid hair and makeup
1:30 – Photographers arrive
2:00 – Bridal details…dress, shoes, hanging out with the girls while they get ready, bridesmaids in dresses
2:30 – Bride in dress – second photographer with groom as he finishes getting ready
2:45 – First look followed by bride and groom portraits alone
3:15 – Wedding party pictures
3:45 – Family pictures with family who is already present
4:15 – Done with all formals – photographers head to shoot reception details, bride and groom go their separate ways until the ceremony
5:00 – Ceremony begins
5:30 – Ceremony ends, cocktail hour begins. Finish family formals, additional “Omg we’re married!” bride and groom portraits
6:00 – Grand entrance, reception begins
7:15 – Quick sunset portraits
9:30 – Photographers give our best and say goodbye for the night

Wedding Day without a First Look

11:30 – Bride/bridesmaid hair and makeup
1:30 – Photographers arrive
2:00 – Bridal details…dress, shoes, hanging out with the girls while they get ready, bridesmaids in dresses
2:30 – Bride in dress – second photographer with groom as he finishes getting ready
2:45 – Bride and bridal party pictures
3:00 – Groom and groomsmen pictures
3:15 – Photographers shoot details
4:00 – Ceremony begins
4:30 – Ceremony ends, cocktail hour begins
4:30 – Wedding party pictures
4:50 – Family formals
5:15 – “Omg we’re married!” bride and groom portraits
6:00 – Grand entrance, reception begins
7:15 – Quick sunset portraits
9:30 – Photographers give our best and say goodbye for the night

Apr
25

Wedding Wednesday – Save the Date

Categories: Personal.

Since so many of my friends and family are making the trip from up north, it was important that they had some formal “early notice” to arrange travel plans and such, so Save the Date’s were pretty important for us. In my head I’d known all along what I wanted to do for them…a picture Save the Date. Of course I wanted a GOOD picture of us, and that was looking to be no problem since we had our engagement session with Katelyn scheduled for April 11th. And thennnnnn Oklahoma happened. So our engagement session was post-poned, and it was looking like no matter what we did, between my schedule, Dustin’s inability to really get away from work in OK for more than a weekend every 4-5 weeks, and Katelyn’s hectic schedule, our engagement session was just not going to happen by the time the Save the Date’s needed to go out.

So when one of my bridemaid’s was here in March, we had been brainstorming ideas and while out at Duke’s BBQ (if you’ve ever been you know that Duke’s had to be the magic ingredient to this a-ha moment), we literally both kind of had the same idea at the same time. Boots. Chalkboard. Field. Sunset. Us, but not necessarily us in the picture.

Enter: creative solution to picture Save the Date. Our Save the Date (P.S. I hate writing that out so many times but hate the it’s abbreviation even more) is not really what I had in my head the whole time, but I really think they came out SO cute and it always makes me smile when I see it on our fridge. Of course literally a week after sending them out, I nailed down the design for our invitations and my Type A self was mad I hadn’t swapped some fonts around (because I want everything to be really consistent), but oh well! I’ll make it work :)

Here they are! Front… (ignore the extra spacing at the bottom, there was a cut line I had to be conscious of)

…and back (sorry, blurred out the website since I don’t necessarily want to share all of our wedding plans with the world)

And because you know I couldn’t help myself…I had to take this as well…

Apr
24

Britt’s Fav’s: My Best Friend & Other Randoms

Categories: Personal.

I haven’t done a Good Stuff post in a while, but I have an idea cooking up for a fun Good Stuff giveaway here in the next month or so. Until then, I think it’s worth sharing the good stuff that has made my heart full lately…

My love. My better half. My best friend. My go-to supporter.
It’s been hard being away from Dustin while he’s been out of state for work. We’d done it for so long before that I thought it would be okay. It’s manageable, but it’s not really okay. I miss him constantly, but even more than I miss him, I try to keep things in perspective and appreciate the sacrifices that he makes for our family and our future. I’m also endlessly appreciative of his support for my work and business. Having him home this past weekend was so nice…it was like a little taste of normalcy and I needed that. I miss cooking dinner in the evenings, working around the farm together, and spending quality time with Landon and the dogs. It always breaks my heart to see him go, but it just means we’re that much closer to him being back home again soon.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Books
I love to read but always struggle with finding a balance and the time in my day-to-day life. Lately my Nook book wish list has been growing at the fastest rate…ever haha. There are SO many books I want to read, and when it comes time to download a new one, I never know where to start first! Some of the books on my list? The Happiness Project, The Fault in Our Stars, Unbroken, A Dog’s Purpose, The E-Myth Revisited, 48 Days to the Work You Love, Seriously…I’m Kidding, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, Purple Cow, EntreLeadership. Which do I read next?Giuliana & Bill
Okay, don’t judge, but I love Giuliana and Bill Rancic. If you don’t know who they are, Giuliana is an E! celebrity coorespondent person, I guess you’d call her, and Bill Rancic is a businessman and motivational speaker who won the first season of The Apprentice. I’ve always thought they were such a sweet and relateabale couple, but I particularly love Giuliana on Fashion Police, and then I’ve also started seriously watching their show on The Style Network, and it’s been super powerful to see Giuliana go through infertility, breast cancer, and now to finally be expecting a baby via gestational carrier. I just love real stories about good people facing difficult life challenges and how keeping a good outlook and positive attitude can get you far.

Lemonade & Lenses
L&L is a blog turned magazine for photographers run and managed by Lexi Vornberg. They just published their May issue, their 2nd issue to be available in print, and May’s focus was on weddings. It’s a small victory but I’m so excited and really flattered not only that one of my images was an Honorable Mention out of over 550 images for the cover, but that they chose 3 of my images to adorn the inside pages…two ring shots and a bouquet! This May issue was full of lots of good information and inspiration, so head on over to the website to purchase your digital copy.

Growth and Humility
I’m so proud of how my business has grown since the beginning of the year, and I can’t wait to see where I’m at as 2013 approaches. But this year has taught me a lot about high high’s and low low’s. I’ve always believed it’s important to be humble and that a quiet confidence is the best kind of confidence. So I’m making the most of 2012 to learn, gain experience, stumble here and there, be scared a lot, and take risks, all the while know that there’s always going to be high’s and low’s.

Apr
23

A Hilton Head Island Beach Wedding

Categories: Weddings.

Marie and Ryan brought their families from New York to beautiful Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, SC to celebrate their new beginning as husband and wife. I was lucky enough to tag along with Paige Winn of Paige Winn Photo to second shoot this gorgeous day and I’m so glad I could be there to see everything come together. Marie and Ryan are two of the most laid-back and funny people, and it was an honor to document their day alongside Paige. Enjoy some of my favorites from their beautiful beachside wedding!

Apr
18

The Cost and Value of Wedding Photography

Categories: Tips for Clients.

This is a post I’ve literally had on my “to blog” list for…FOREVER, and today, I’m finally tackling it. As a bride myself, I know how important it is to decide on a budget and stick to it. It’s so easy at the beginning of the planning process to “assume” what each part of planning a wedding costs and nowadays there’s so many things you can do yourself to save money. Maybe this could be a whole other blog post in and of itself, but what I “assumed” before I really started planning was never very accurate. To many newly engaged women and men, I feel like photography is definitely one of the things where the perceived cost is usually substantially different from the actual cost. There are so many options out there, but in most cases, just like many other things in life, you get what you pay for.

I think a lot of this perceived cost by the general public comes from how easy it is to get into this profession. My dog could literally go to Best Buy, buy a camera, and call himself a photographer. Okay, he can’t, but you get where I’m going with this. What most people don’t understand is that we’re really more business people than photographers. It’s a good week when I get to spend any percentage of the hours I’ve worked that week, actually shooting. Many weeks of the year, I am here in my office, behind my desk, staring at my computer screen…all day. From 9 am to 5 pm. Managing finances. Writing blog posts. Staying on top of taxes, licenses, permits, and insurance. Budgeting for new equipment, computers, hard-drives, back up systems, etc. Emailing with clients. Emailing with photographers. Emailing with vendors. Marketing. Marketing some more. Advertising planning. Designing marketing materials. Managing my marketing plan. Networking. Continuing my education. And then I shoot on the weekends, when most people are spending time with their families. You get the drift.
So, when a newly engaged bride assumes that they are hiring a photographer to arrive on their wedding day and shoot for eight hours, unfortunately that’s not all that they are paying for. The costs necessary to run my business and in turn just show up that day are endless, and not cheap:

- Phone and internet
- Office space (in my case heating/cooling, homeowners insurance, mortgage)
- Vehicle costs (gas, maintenance, insurance, repairs)
- Business insurance
- Web hosting, website membership, and custom blog
- Client proofing and management systems
- Professional associations
- CPA
- Business cards, brochures, other marketing materials and marketing costs
- Partnership expenses
- Workshops, seminars, conventions, books, education
- Templates/design
- Editing and photo management software
- Computer and additional hard drive space
- Camera equipment and upgrades
- Lenses, flashes, and other crucial accessories

Over the course of a photographers relationship with a bride, it’s not unusual to invest between 50 and 80 hours in that one client. After managing business operating costs, there’s also a great deal of time involved with wedding and portrait clients. Time is money. These time commitments include:

- Initial inquiry, emailing and correspondence
- Meeting/consultation if necessary
- Filing paperwork, contracts, receipts, invoices, hiring a second photographer (weddings), other administrative duties
- Location scouting
- Engagement session prep: cleaning equipment, trip plans, session plans
- Travel to engagement session
- Time shooting engagement session
- Travel from engagement session
- Image downloading and backup
- Image culling
- Image editing
- Image backup
- Formatting blog post
- Uploading galleries or packaging and delivering products
- Arranging publication
- Client correspondence
- Wedding prep: cleaning equipment, trip plans, wedding plans
- Travel to wedding
- Time shooting wedding
- Travel from wedding
- Image downloading and backup
- Image culling
- Image editing
- Image backup
- Formatting blog post
- Uploading galleries
- Arranging publication
- Client correspondence
- Product design
- Product packaging
- Product delivery
- Follow-up

And this is really just the bones of the client relationship…of course there are always things that come up, additional questions, commitments, needs, etc. My goal with this blog post is not to whine and complain about my job…I love my job and enjoy each of these steps in the relationship with my client. My goal, rather, is to educate brides and photography enthusiasts about the costs of running a business and how you could expect these costs to translate into what you will pay for wedding photography.

Recently, Lauren at Every Last Detail published this short blog post as a precursor to a more detailed one coming soon. From a 2011 survey she did, Lauren discovered that the average price of wedding photography is $3520. Of course you can find photographers with smaller packages and fees for less, or photographers with larger packages and fees for more. But I will remind you that 9 times out of 10, you get what you pay for. This number is simply a realistic average.Obviously when planning my wedding, I knew that our photographer was one of, if not the most, important vendors we would hire. I definitely considered that when determining what percentage of our budget we were willing to allocate to photography. To me, photography is something worth splurging on. Some brides melt over flowers, their dream dress, and the stunning work of event designers. I completely understand that; I do. But honestly if you skimp on photography, how will you remember those things you loved so much? When hiring a wedding photographer, I encourage you to seek that balance between style, technical expertise, personality, and cost. Cost is not the most important part of the equation. Finding someone who can document those parts of the wedding that mean the most to you, whose work you appreciate, whose skills and expertise you VALUE, and who you get along with (think about how much time you spend with your photographer on your wedding day!) is incredibly important.

In all honesty, it’s difficult to create and manage a business model which makes your photography business profitable and eventually lucrative. The above costs are simply to operate my business and work with a client. This is how I make my living, so this doesn’t even get into my costs of living and what I take home. And just like everyone else, I also pay taxes. Most photographers are comfortable, but not filthy rich. They work hard, dedicate hours of energy and passion into creating beautiful artwork for their clients, and do it for the love of preserving time and emotion. I am a huge believer in quality over quantity, and that photography is something you don’t want to skimp on.  After all, these are family heirlooms; your wedding images or album is the only tangible thing you take away from your wedding that will remind you of EVERY single thing that was so special about that day.