Wedding Tip: Have a Plan B if you decide upon a beach or outdoor wedding. Mother Nature sometimes has her own plans!

Add a comment February 11, 2012

Special 25$ discount if you book your family beach portrait session for 2012 before May 1st!

Add a comment February 4, 2012

Dealing with “Uncle Bob” and paparazzi guests at a wedding

In an effort to keep this post positive, I will not go into a rant on how “Uncle Bob” can ruin a wedding by deciding that he is suddenly a wedding photographer or videographer for a day when he gets in the way of the professionals trying to do their jobs. Although there is really not a concrete way to prevent guests from bringing their own cameras and taking pictures at a wedding, there is a delicate balance between taking a few pictures and actually jumping in the way of the professionals or standing directly behind the officiate during the ceremony. We try to educate our couples that while we are documenting their special day, it is advisable that guests and “Uncle Bob” armed with a video camera be aware that we are the ones the couple is paying. In order for us to do our jobs effectively, we need to be able to get our shots without being interrupted by guests blocking us from doing so. We are very nice, in that we always allow time for them to get their shots after we pose the groups for the formals, but when it comes to jumping in front of us or standing behind the couple during the ceremony, we need to try to prevent this from happening. This can really do damage to wedding images, as you will see when I post some wedding photos where this occurred just recently. Fortunately, we were able to zoom in very close and shoot at certain angles where the videographer was not in every shot, but during some important moments, there he was. Sometimes it is difficult to try to weed through the crowd of paparazzi taking their own photos in order to capture the bride walking down the aisle, or the couple cutting the cake, or the garter being tossed. I am writing this post as a sort of cautionary tale to advise couples to try to make their guests aware that they are “guests” who should relax and enjoy the day. The couple has hired professionals to capture their day so that everyone else can just simply eat, drink, and be merry!

Add a comment May 12, 2011
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2011 Wedding Season-Networking, Conventions, More

Well, the first wedding of the new season of 2011 is tomorrow (well, should I say it is actually the third for us, since we had a few weddings in January to start off the new year), and we are super excited! We are photographing the wedding of Keith Raffensberger and Renee Watson at Harrison’s Harbor Watch at the Ocean City Inlet. Keith is the lead bartender at one of our favorite restaurants, Galaxy66, and we were honored that he asked us to document their special day. We will make sure to get a good night’s sleep this evening, as we are going to have to get an early start considering that it is also the day of the Saint Patty’s Day Parade on Coastal Highway. Our friend Tammy Patrick-Cebula, who owns Galaxy66 with her hubby Roger Cebula, is going to have a very busy day, as she is in the parade and also attending the wedding. Yesterday I attended a fabulous luncheon at the Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville, DE, hosted by the equally fabulous Director of Sales, Stefanie Barfield. It was an ‘invitation only’ affair, and I was honored to be one of the select few wedding vendors chosen to represent the beaches of Delmarva. After a delicious lunch, I had a chance to network with other wedding professionals, including a florist, a bridal dress shop owner, a tent rental company, an antique car rental company, DJ’s, a videographer, an event planner, a stationery company, and a few other photographers. The group was diverse and small, which made it an interesting and intimate afternoon. It was so nice to exchange thoughts and ideas with others who are in the wedding industry and to get a real feel for what this year will bring in light of the troubled economy. In fact, it was so interesting that after the luncheon had ended my fellow photographers and myself stayed behind and networked some more! I ended up returning home two hours later than I had originally planned, but it was well worth it. Now, off to charge batteries and play with the new equipment that we bought in San Antonio at the annual national photography convention. In a previous post I blogged about this huge convention. Wow, talk about overwhelming! Even though we go every year, it never ceases to amaze and inspire me. It is called Imaging USA, sponsored by the Professional Photographer’s Association, and if you ever wanted to learn about photography or if you have an endless supply of funds to buy the latest and greatest new toys, then that is the place to be! I am confident that the things we learned at the convention will take our photography to a whole new level for 2011-starting tomorrow at the Raffensberger wedding!

Add a comment March 11, 2011

More Tips for Beach Weddings:Revised

Details: Please confirm with the vendors the exact date, time, and location of the events of the day. Even though it is written on your contract, sometimes things may change. Also make sure that your vendors have your cell phone numbers or the numbers of those who will be in charge. The balance due should also be paid ahead of time, as we do not recommend that you wait until that day to pay the balance. Things are crazy, as you know, on that day, and it just adds to the stress of the day to wait until then. Also remember to secure any necessary permits and license fees associated with getting married on the beach-especially if you are using one of the state or national parks. Many times your vendors, such as your photographers, will need to have business liablity insurance and seperate photography special event permits in order to perform their services on the beach. We strongly recommend hiring a certified wedding planner familiar with the local area, as he or she will know the rules and idiocyncracies of the various beach locations, as well as the local vendors and reception venues. This will alleviate the need for you to have to make several trips to the location ahead of time to meet with vendors, coordinate details, and deal with the stress of making sure that everything is in place by the day of the wedding. After all, this is supposed to be a wonderful and exciting time in your life, and you should not have to worry about details. That is a wedding coordinator’s job.

Time Frame and Locations: We always field the questions, “Well, what if we are getting married in a church but want beach formals, or what if we are getting ready in one place, getting married on the beach, and having our reception in yet another location? Keep in mind that this takes time, so plan accordingly both with the ceremony/reception venue(s) and with the portrait package that you choose. If you did not opt for full day coverage, the time frame is CRITICAL, because although you may think that everything is going to go according to plan and everything is going to be on schedule, it rarely does. If your package only includes 3 hours, then it is 3 hours INCLUDING travel time to get from location to location. During the busy summer months in a beach town traffic and parking are issues. People wrongly assume that they can get from place to place in a few minutes. Even though your destination may only be a few blocks or a few minutes away, tourists drive very slowly, traffic jams are common, and parking is at a premium in some locations (think boardwalk and oceanfront locations). For example, if your ceremony is on the beach somewhere in a busy downtown beach location and your reception is on the outskirts of town, then you need to allow for travel time even though it technically is only maybe a few miles away. Also keep in mind that photographers need time to do all of those “must-have” before and after shots that you will want to remember on your special day. If you are opting for getting ready shots, then PLEASE be ready to be photographed when the photographers arrive. It happens so often that the brides and her bridesmaids are not ready until the last possible minute or the groom and his groomsmen are doing shots out on the balcony in their underwear, and then the photographers have to scramble to get those all-important pre-ceremony formals. It results in everyone getting all flustered and maybe forgetting something they were supposed to bring or wear or do. It usually takes an hour or so to do these, so that means that your hair and makeup should be done and your dress should be ready to be put on by that time because you will be in every shot. After the ceremony, you will need to allow time for the post ceremony formals. This is so crucial for all weddings, as these are the images that will utlimately end up in your album. Remember that if you scheduled your reception to start a half of an hour after the ceremony, then all we will have is that half hour-subtracting time for travel, receiving line, etc. I always tell brides to allow at least 45 minutes for the formals-especially if the bridal party and/or families are large. Some family shots can be done at the reception when there is more time and when everyone is more relaxed, but the majority of the formals are done directly after the ceremony. It takes time to pose groups of people, and if there are children involved it takes a little bit longer to get them to pay attention. This is when we applaud the brides who have included a cocktail hour for their guests so that we have time to do the formals while the guests are enjoying the beginning of the reception. Although we understand that it is your wedding day and that you should have the right to be late to your own reception if you want, it does cause problems with the other vendors. If you and the bridal party are late to the reception, then the chef or caterer, the DJ, the servers, and the banquet manager are understandably unhappy because the food will be cold and they will be under a time crunch to try to get back on schedule. This is where the venue location is important. It is so much more convenient and a real time saver if you are able to choose a venue that has a beach area to use for the ceremony, a block of rooms that can be reserved for out of town guests, ample parking for those guests, and a reception area large enough to accomodate those guests.

Special Tips for Beach Weddings: Beach weddings are lovely, but be sure to plan for windblown hair, squinty eyes and harsh shadows if the wedding is too early, a possible rainout, and uninvited beachgoers in the background if it is not on a private beach. Often times brides will spend many hours in the salon getting their hair done, only to be disappointed when windy conditions at the beach ruin all of the time and money they just spent on their hair. We recommend up-do’s and lots of hairspray. Also, long veils are pretty, but keep in mind that they need to be anchored down so that they don’t go tumbling down the beach if a gust of wind renders them airborn. Weather is always a factor when considering a beach wedding. Always have backup plans in case of a possible rainout or one of those famous coastal storms (we call them Nor’Easters here in Maryland). You do not want to look like a soggy mess on the most important day of your life. Also keep in mind that you most likely will have elderly guests at your wedding, so they will need to be accomodated with beach wheelchairs, special seating, and a handicap beach access ramp if needed. The last thing you need is for grandma to fall down the dune and break her hip on the way to the beach.

Uncle Tom or Aunt Mary with a camera or a video camera: Although we are very nice about giving family members and friends the opportunity to take their own pictures at your wedding, some photographers try to discourage this. Videographers love to stand behind the officiant during the ceremony, and this makes for a very distracting ‘extra person’ in all of your ceremony shots. If it is a professional videographer, they usually know better than this-but Uncle Tom thinks he is doing you a favor getting his video footage. He doesn’t realize that he is ruining your wedding images by being in the way. This is common during beach weddings, because church weddings do not offer the opportunity for this to happen. Try not to forget that you are paying for professional images of your special day. You would hate to have a bunch of images of the two of you looking at Aunt Mary instead of the photographer or of Uncle Tom in the background during your ceremony in your wedding album!

Final Thoughts: Always remember that it is your special day, so no matter what happens, just enjoy the day and try not to worry about every little detail. If you hire vendors that are used to doing weddings at the beach, you will be assured that they will make sure that all runs smoothly. This is especially true if you do not hire a wedding planner, because then you are at the mercy of your vendors to make sure everything goes according to plan. Like I always tell my brides, choose your vendors wisely!

Add a comment February 10, 2011

Video Fusion Wedding Services in 2011

As a new feature for 2011, we are offering video as a part of our wedding photography services. This is designed to enhance the slideshows that we already produce for our couples with video clips and voiceovers. This is called “video fusion”, and it is the wave of the future in wedding photography. Most newer prosumer and professional digital SLR cameras are now coming equipped with video capabilities, so it only stands to reason that professional photographers are starting to incorporate video into their wedding packages. After all, when a priceless moment happens such as a special toast or a crazy first dance, all of the still images in the world can’t compare to the actual video footage complete with sound and movement! While we dabbled in it in 2010, we are now more heavily invested in it as a result of our recent trip to San Antonio for the 2011 Imaging USA photographer’s convention sponsored by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). This was truly the talk of the town, so to speak, from the Nikon and Canon ‘gear’ booths, to the album companies offering fusion slideshows embedded into the actual covers of their wedding albums, to the software companies offering the latest versions of professional video editing and slideshow creation programs. There were also companies such as Triple Scoop Music which offers licensed music for sale to use in these slideshows and webmasters designing streamlined ways to upload and display these shows on web sites. There also were companies that offered online services that can create slick Hollywood style fusion slideshows to post on social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition to the tradeshow aspect of the convention, which always results in thousands of photographers spending way too much money on the latest and greatest equipment, there were countless educational opportunities. Classes were held all day and night, both in the actual booths themselves and also throughout the entire Convention Center. There were product demonstrations galore, and classes on techniques, lighting, software, business, marketing, etc. It was definitely overwhelming! Oh, and I forgot to mention the PARTIES…this year the featured band was Blues Traveler…these parties were sponsored by Canon and Kodak and were held at the Hyatt in downtown San Antonio…whew, what a trip! Loved the Marriott Riverwalk! Next year is New Orleans!

Add a comment February 10, 2011
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Tips When Planning A Beach Wedding

Details:  Please confirm with us the exact date, time, and location of the events of the day.  Even though it is written on your contract, sometimes things may change.  Also make sure that we have your cell phone numbers or the numbers of those who will be in charge.  The balance due should also be paid approximately a week ahead of time, and although we do not recommend this some brides wait until the day of to pay the balance.  Things are crazy, as you know, on that day, and it just adds to the stress of the day to wait until then.  Also remember to include 6% MD state sales tax if you are getting married in Maryland, and to add the 25 dollar license fee for special event photography if you are getting married on the beaches of Delaware

Getting Ready Shots:  If we are doing the ‘getting ready shots’ (pre-ceremony formals), give me the addresses of where the guys and girls are getting ready.  We try to allow at least an hour to an hour and a half (depending upon the size of the bridal party) to do those shots with you.  Please see more tips below under Time Frame & Schedule.

Time Frame and Schedule:  What if we are getting married in a church but want beach formals, or what if we are getting ready in one place, getting married in another, and having our reception in yet another location?

 

Keep in mind that this takes time, so plan accordingly both with the ceremony/reception venue(s) and with the portrait package that you choose.  If you did not opt for full day coverage, the time frame is CRITICAL, because although YOU may think that everything is going to go according to plan and everything is going to be on schedule, it rarely does.  If your package only includes 3 hours, then it is 3 hours INCLUDING travel time to get from location to location.  We really do try to accomodate all of our brides to the best of our ability, but we cannot give you all day coverage when you did not choose a package which includes full day coverage.  During the busy summer months traffic and parking are issues.  People wrongly assume that they can get from place to place in a few minutes.  Even though your destination may only be a few blocks away, tourists drive very slowly, traffic jams are common, and parking is at a premium in some locations (think boardwalk and the beaches of Delaware).  For example, if your ceremony is on the beach somewhere in midtown Ocean City and your reception is in Ocean Pines, then you need to allow a good 30-45 minutes for travel time even though it technically is only about 12-15 miles away.  Also keep in mind that we need time to do all of those “must-have” before and after shots that you will want to remember on your special day.  If we are doing getting ready shots, then PLEASE be ready to be photographed when we arrive!  It happens so often that the brides and her bridesmaids are not ready until the last possible minute, and then we have to scramble to get those all-important pre-ceremony formals.  It results in everyone getting all flustered and maybe forgetting something they were supposed to bring or wear or do.  We need an hour or so to do these, so that means that your dress should be on by that time because you will be in every shot.  After the ceremony, you will need to allow time for the post ceremony formals.  This is so crucial for all weddings, as these are the images that will utlimately end up in your album.  Remember that if you scheduled your reception to start a half hour after the ceremony, then all we will have is that half hour-subtracting time for travel, receiving line, etc.  I always tell brides to allow at least 45 minutes for the formals-especially if the bridal party and/or families are large.  Some family shots can be done at the reception when there is more time and when everyone is more relaxed, but the majority of the formals are done directly after the ceremony.  It takes time to pose groups of people, and if there are children involved it takes a little bit longer to get them to pay attention.  This is when we applaud the brides who have included a cocktail hour for their guests so that we have time to do the formals while the guests are enjoying the beginning of the reception.  Although we understand that it is your wedding day and that you should have the right to be late to your own reception if you want, it does cause problems with the other vendors.  If you and the bridal party are late to the reception, then the chef or caterer, the DJ,  the servers, etc are understandably unhappy because the food will be cold and they will be under a time crunch to try to get back on schedule.  We don’t mind taking as many pictures as you want-after all, that is why we are there-but we do not want to do that at the expense of everybody else involved in making sure that your day goes as planned.  Beach WeddingsBeach weddings are lovely, but be sure to plan for windblown hair, squinty eyes and harsh shadows if the wedding is too early, a possible rainout, and uninvited beachgoers in the background if it is not on a private beach.

Rehearsal:  Tell us if and when you are having a rehearsal.  It is preferable that we attend the rehearsal if at all possible, but there are times that we may not be able to do so, including weekday and Friday weddings, logistics, minister & venue availability, venue familiarity, weather, timing, etc.  Rehearsal dinner coverage is available at the prevailing hourly rate

Church Weddings:  If you are getting married in a church, keep in mind that if we are not allowed to take pictures during the ceremony or to use flash we may have to reenact parts of your ceremony, which takes time.  Also, if you are having a receiving line that also slows down the formals after the ceremony.  It is wise to schedule a cocktail hour for your guests so that they can enjoy the beginning of the reception without having to wait for the bridal party to arrive.

Full Day Coverage:   Unless you have been contracted for this service in advance, late morning salon hair and nail appointments are not included in ‘full day wedding coverage’.  Neither are early morning rounds of golf, family breakfasts, etc.  Full day coverage starts with the getting ready shots approximately an hour to an hour and a half before the ceremony and ends with the reception-however long that may take. 

How long does it take to see our proofs?  We pride ourselves on quick turnaround time, because we understand that the bride & groom, family, and friends are anxious to see pictures of that special day.  We make every effort to post the proofs online within two weeks.  Albums take a little longer than prints because they have to be embossed and assembled, but we still can have them ready within 6-8 weeks.  Remember that it does take a considerable amount of time to edit the images, and we have other weddings to process that may be ahead of yours-especially during the busy season.

Albums, Prints, DVD’s, etc  Your prints will be available after you choose the images you would like to order approximately 1-2 weeks after the wedding is posted online.  If your package includes the printable DVD or if you purchased it seperately, this will be available two months after your wedding.  Albums are always available after the big day.  Talk to us about your specific needs & wants as far as this service is concerned.  It is more affordable than you may think.

Shot List:  Attached is a list of our ‘usual shots’.  Keep in mind that not all weddings are the same, so we do our best to get these shots when at all possible, but sometimes for various reasons we may not be able to get all of them.  For example, if it is not a beach wedding, then obviously we cannot do beach shots, or if there is no limo or a place to do sunset shots, then we don’t do them. We do what is logically possible.

Uncle Tom or Aunt Mary with a camera or a video camera:  Although we are very nice about giving family members and friends the opportunity to take their own pictures at your wedding, we cannot have them interfere with us when we are trying to do our jobs (this doesn’t happen too often, but it is better to avoid this situation before it happens).  We try to discourage them from taking pictures when we are trying to pose everyone for our professional shots.  Oh, and also-don’t forget that we are the ones you are paying, so please look at us when we are doing the formals! You would hate to have a bunch of images of the two of you looking at Aunt Mary instead of us in your wedding album!

Add a comment October 17, 2009

Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions-Weddings

Frequently Asked Questions:

You can also read the answers to most of these questions on the Atlantic Portrait Studios web site (www.atlanticportraitstudios.com), but I thought it might be advantageous to post them here on my blog as well.  These questions are more specific, meaning that they pertain to questions brides and moms of the brides often ask us in reference to our services here at the studio.  I will also post some more general wedding tips and tidbits in a later post.  So, here they are: 

Why are your prices so low?
While all of our work is performed by skilled, professional photographers, Atlantic Portrait Studios does not pay for advertising and does not hire employees.  We are a husband and wife team and have a vested interest in our business.  Our studio relies upon word of mouth, referrals, and several local organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce to grow our business.  We make every effort to keep our overhead as low as possible; thus, we feel that it is only right to pass the savings along to our customers. 

Are your wedding packages customizable?
Yes!   That is why we offer an a la carte itemized price list.  While packages are normally a better value and therefore more popular choices, you can create a completely customized package by selecting items from our a la carte options page.  We understand that each wedding is unique, and we want to make sure that the bride and groom have their own special day photographed the way they want.

Why is a wedding deposit required?
The deposit is required in order to reserve the date.  There are only so many weekends in a year, and some months are more popular than others. Our calendar fills up very quickly because of this fact; therefore, we cannot guarantee a specific date unless the deposit is paid. 

What if we are getting married in a church but want beach formals?
Keep in mind that many of the Delaware beaches are privately owned and therefore inaccessible or part of the state parks.  The Rehoboth and Bethany boardwalks are an option, but parking is always an issue.  Special permits are required for both parking and using the state parks for photography.  These must be secured ahead of time by the bride & groom.   Also keep in mind that this takes time, so plan accordingly both with the reception venue and with the portrait package that you choose.  Beach weddings are lovely, but be sure to plan for windblown hair, squinty eyes, a possible rain out, and uninvited beachgoers in the background.
How long does it take to see our proofs?
We pride ourselves on quick turnaround time, because we understand that the bride & groom, family, and friends are anxious to see pictures of that special day.  We make every effort to post the proofs online within two weeks.  Albums take a little longer than prints because they have to be embossed and assembled, but we still can have them ready within a month or so.  Remember that it does take a considerable amount of time to edit, color correct, and retouch photos.

1 comment October 8, 2009

Well, I finally have entered the world of the bloggers…uggh…as if I didn’t have enough to do! I figured I could give some useful information such as tips and tidbits to help brides plan their weddings, photography news and information, and suggestions for venues and vendors in and around the Ocean City and Delmarva Beach areas. Check back often!

Add a comment October 6, 2009
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