Over a year ago, I was contacted by the delightful Bee Kim, founder of Weddingbee- where many brides blog about their journey through wedding planning all in one place! I thought the blog was the best thing since happy meals, so when she asked me to become the first photographer blogger on a new blog dedicated to wedding professionals, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Since today is the official 1 year anniversary of the Weddingbee Pro launch, I thought I’d share a little about my journey of being a featured blogger.
I knew Weddingbee was big, but I didn’t realize what kind of spotlight I’d be under when I joined Weddingbee Pro - to me it was just another opportunity to help brides on a larger scale- but I quickly found that it elevated me to a status I wasn’t quite ready to handle, especially after having the busiest year of my business on top of moving to a new city. I felt really guilty when I had to take an extended break from blogging and social media, just months after the Pro blog launched, in order to catch up on all the private parts of my life that had slipped through my hands over the last couple of years while my business was taking off like crazy. I had been trying to do everything myself, which I now realize is impossible if you actually want to be successful. However, I’m so grateful that taking time off allowed room for so many other wonderful photographers to become featured bloggers. Weddingbee Pro has become a collection of some of the most talented, thoughtful, humble, and loving wedding professionals in the industry and I’m so glad that I get to be included in that bunch of people.
Here’s an itty bitty, teeny weeny, isn’t fair, hardly any, sneak peek of only a few of the fabulous weddings I’ve had this year! I have so many gorgeous weddings to blog - I love my clients!!
We had some fun at Western Ave Studios last week when I invited a few friends over to help me arrange my office. I had several problems that needed solving:
1. Create a storage area that is functional, organized, and easily walled off without much construction or blocking of windows.
2. Find a place for my desk that clients won’t see immediately upon entering, and allows me to work even when there’s full sun pouring into the studio.
3. Create a comfortable seating arrangement for clients that will position them easily for viewing a slideshow or having an intimate chat during a meeting.
4. Make the furniture easy to move so that I can shoot studio work if I want to.
Not only did my friends help me accomplish ALL of the above, they even added a little foyer where I’ll be able to set up a display! Fabulous!! As we were getting closer to the end, I pulled out some B&W film that’s probably at least 5 years old, dropped it into my OM10 and shot the silliness that started unfolding after several hours of hard work:
“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”
— Virginia Woolf
I really enjoyed working from home the last 4-5 years. I always had a separate room for my office, which meant we always had at least a two bedroom apartment or home and part of my income went to affording us a larger living space. The first couple of years I went through the honeymoon phase of working for myself by sleeping in as late as I wanted and working as late as I wanted, often times not even take a shower or get dressed before “going to work”. I’d roll out of bed- sometimes off the couch from a late night of work the night before- and just sit down at my desk and start working, sometimes not even getting up to eat until well into the afternoon. I thought it was cozy and indulgent, but I found that I was never really ready to just run out for an errand or join a friend for lunch- and heaven forbid if I had to sign for a package- that was often an awkward moment at the door with just a robe on! Realizing that perhaps that wasn’t the best way to work from home, in the third year I made a point to only get on the computer after I had showered and dressed. Granted, there are still a few occasions when that doesn’t always happen, but I’ve noticed that I feel much better and more productive when I’ve taken care of myself first. (Which reminds me to start making some tea before writing any further.)
Every once in a while, a couple comes along that changes my life forever…
I tend to fall in love with people while photographing them and often come away from the experience with a sense of admiration and love that is normally difficult to achieve when you’re just meeting someone for the first time. Now, I’m not sure if my couples end up feeling the same way about me, but hopefully they see my love in the images they end up with. Sally & Rodney just blew me away with their kindness, joy, love, compassion, and inner beauty, which resonates in everything they do and with everyone they meet. While most couples will keep in touch maybe a year or two after their wedding, they often slip out of contact and remain beautiful memories, but Sally & Rodney have only become closer to me as friends over the years and through the many different twists and turns our lives have taken since then.
I believe your wedding album design should reflect your sense of style just as much as every other choice you make for your wedding day. To help you identify which wedding album design is most appealing to you, I’ve taken one set of images and created a variety of album designs to show how each album design affects the viewing and interaction of the images on the page. While there are literally infinite design possibilities for wedding albums, I’ve found that most designs can fall into one of the following categories: Fine Art, Traditional, Editorial, Collage, or Embellished. I’ve included a quick preview here, but you can click on the links to view the complete album design sample.
This album design displays one image per page, like a gallery in a book, allowing each image to stand on its own and command the full attention of the viewer one image at a time. Images are usually centered on the page with a white or black background or matting, with or without contrasting border/bevel (the sample below is black background with contrasting white border/bevel.) If the book is printed with images on the front and back of each page (allowing two images to lay side by side when open) there are opportunities for pairings of images that uncover hidden or implied relationships. If you’re a minimalist, or want your album to look like a portfolio of art, this is the album design for you:
From Anne’s intern Alexis
I don’t know about you, but I definitely have a love-hate relationship with my speedlight. I’ll use it if I have to, but most of the time I’ll go to extreme lengths to avoid pulling it out of my camera bag. Probably 90% of the time it makes a better paperweight than it does a piece of camera equipment.
Anne showed me a nifty trick last week that will tip the scales more toward the “love” part of the equation. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll post a few by way of demonstration. You definitely have to see it to appreciate it (that, plus the fact that I don’t really feel like writing a 3,000 word blog entry. I’m sure you appreciate THAT, too.
Just to preface this, I was shooting at f/4.5 at 1/50s (manual mode). My speedlight was set to E-TTL, with no light modifiers on it.
Exhibit A: Neo (yes, named after the Matrix) relaxing on an unseasonably warm spring evening. The flash is on-camera, pointed straight at him. The verdict? EW. Ew ew ew. Nasty shadows, cold, harsh light…just…ick. We can do better.
Being a photographer is a super glamorous job. I mean, how could it not be? You get to spend all your time at weddings, sneaking hors d’oeuvres off the appetizer trays and hobnobbing with the guests.
No, grasshopper, you have much to learn. That’s not how you spend most of your time. This intern’s lesson of the day is that as a photographer, the bulk of your time is spent getting things to work. No joke.
It makes sense, when you think about it (well…I suppose it would make sense regardless of your thinking about it, but that’s beside the point). The actual “taking pictures” part of being a photographer is probably something that we spend the least amount of time on. We rely so heavily on technology, which can be extremely temperamental and seems to require begging, pleading, praying, and promises of your firstborn child in order to convince it to work.
It’s not easy. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes on, and it can be frustrating at times. Creating images that give people a way to relive their fabulous wedding day, or transport them back to a time when their now-teenager was just a wee little baby, that’s the fun part, but it’s just a small piece of the pie. And speaking of pie…let me present to you the graphical representation of the breakdown of a wedding photographer’s time.
I love all of the amazing inspiration boards that are put together by designers- it’s such a beautiful display of possibilities. However, when I was a bride, I also loved seeing what real brides had done. Brides who had to work on a budget, or for whom the crystal chandelier in the tree wasn’t going to be a practical reality. So, a while ago I decided to start doing inspiration board style layouts of wedding details from real weddings. There are about a dozen here and while many revolve around strong color combinations, sometimes more subtle themes emerge from the set of details as well. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see what creative details the 2009 brides come up with!!