How We Educate Our Wedding Clients on the First Look

first look wedding photo photographers the youngrens

In my last article here on the Pictage blog, I walked everyone through The Youngrens perfect wedding day schedule, which is built on the couple seeing each other before the ceremony. Not surprisingly, there were questions about how we get our couples to do a First Look.

These days, most couples come to us already wanting to do a First Look, but it took a few years for that to be the case. In the meantime, I had to become pretty adept at educating couples about them. (Notice how I say ‘educating’ and not ‘convincing.’ BIG difference.)

In my experience, there are normally two reasons that a couple doesn’t want to do a First Look: (1) they don’t know what actually happens during a First Look, or (2) they know what a First Look is, but have their heart set on that ‘walk down the aisle’ moment.

In light of these two reasons, …

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Nailing the Correct Focus- Servo Mode vs. One Shot

focus mode al servo

Have you ever been shooting your client and they start moving or running and all of a sudden all your images start coming out blurry? Or, on the other hand, have you ever been shooting your client and you press the shutter half-way to focus on their face, and when you recompose the shot the camera then changes focus on something else? Well, there are tons of little factors that play into how your camera focuses, but one thing we need to understand is the focus MODE that our camera is set to and how that effects the way it handles focusing.

One Shot: When you have your camera set to one shot (check your specific owner’s manual for how to do this), the camera will focus when you press the shutter button half-way down and lock it in, and then you finish pressing the shutter button …

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Pricing and Packaging- Determining Your Start Price

Pricing and Packaging. It’s no one’s favorite topic, but it’s so very important. There is a science to pricing yourself as a photographer, and getting it right can make a huge difference in your bookings and revenue!

The first decision every photographer should consider is whether to price based on a Package method or an A La Carte method. Both have advantages, and can be used effectively to present your services. Packages give the client more guidance on your suggested services, while A La Carte gives them more freedom and flexibility. Packages can be easier to book and manage, but A La Carte can have a lot more profit potential. Either way you go, you should pick a pricing method that fits your personality and sales style. In the end, every person has a unique way that they “sell”, and finding the pricing …

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Mastering Reception Lighting, Forever.

Reception Off Camera Lighting - Photographer Mike Larson

I’ve had this problem for years when it comes to an entire wedding collection I would post on my website.  Great getting ready, great portraits, beautiful ceremony, and the light is sweet, then we grab the stellar sunset shots and then the reception hits and I’m left with horrible lighting when the DJ turns the lights down low.  I was never really happy & satisfied with the quality of the light on the images with my on camera flash and therefore I just hated to use the images.  So my slideshows stopped with the first dance.  As the years went by I got on camera flash down, but off camera flash was always touch and go.  I could get some of the shots to turn out great, but when the action kept moving and people got in the way of the flash units, things just didn’t come out consistent enough.

That …

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My $430 Blender: A Lesson in Running My Photography Business

Life lessons come in all forms and usually when you least expect them, and this was the case when I was, oddly enough, shopping for a Vitamix blender. How does a blender have anything to do with business and photography? I’ll get to that.

After going through an unexpected cancer experience in 2009 I decided that it was time to step up my health and I was going to achieve that goal through fruit and vegetable smoothies. I picked my random mental number that I didn’t want to exceed ($100) and started shopping around online. After all, $100 was a lot for a blender and it seemed like a fair budget, right?

The more reviews I read, the more I decided that I wanted an industrial strength Vitamix blender with its impressive warranty, fantastic reputation and tried and true fans. The problem was it was over 4 times …

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An Outsider’s Perspective: Tips for Developing Your Brand

Early in 2008, I was introduced to the photography world by my good friend, Justine Ungaro. Upon hearing that I was a brand designer and seeing my work she exclaimed, “You should do this for photographers.” To which I responded, “How many photographers can there be?” Two years later, after attending a few conventions, I realized there are quite a few of you…and your industry is growing. Which is why the PartnerCon message of “differentiation” is very sound marketing advice indeed.

Being a designer in a sea of photographers, at PartnerCon, I spent quite a bit of time listening and watching. I could not believe how transparent photographers are with their businesses. I was so enthralled by how supportive and generous you are with the information and tactics you have used to become successful. You refer work to each other, which naturally builds a strong network. Many of you intrinsically …

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The Youngren’s Wedding Photography Schedule

There’s nothing better than a stress-free wedding day when everything runs on time, people are ready to take pictures when you need them, and you have creative freedom to do your job well. Can I get a ‘fo-sho’ from my wedding peeps out there?

And you know what the best part is? There’s a lot that you can do as a photographer to make sure that these kinds of wedding days happen more often than not, which is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. In fact, the photographer and the wedding coordinator have the most control over how a wedding day is run, which means two things:

1) You get to create the best photography schedule to help make you successful 2) You need to figure out the best photography schedule to help make the wedding successful

The Why: Everything we do centers upon the client experience. We need to set ourselves up for …

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Battle the Burn

Professional Photography Books - photographed by Millie Holloman

It’s that time of year. You’ve shot weddings all season long, you’re knee-deep in edits, and you’re exhausted. After all you’ve been through, haven’t you earned just one session where you take the easy way out? Bringing your clients to that same tried and true location, walking them through the poses that have worked before, and trying not to look at your watch too often. But that’s not fun–for you or your client. It really doesn’t take much to access fresh ideas, new inspiration, and great locations. Here’s what I do to battle the burnout:

Rip It Out: My staff and I keep a series of loose leaf binders filled with plastic sleeves in my studio. There’s one for engagement and family session ideas, one for weddings, one for female portraits, and one for male portraits. I subscribe to a lot of magazines–everything …

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Keys to A Successful Client Consultation

It’s intimidating!  The very first time you sit down across a table from a potential client.  ‘Will they like me?!’  Trust me, I understand.  I also understand that the client consultation can be the most important interaction you have with a client.  It sets the tone and direction for the entire relationship – so here’s a few things that might help the next time you meet with a client.

1. Consider Your Environment.

Where do you meet with clients?  It might seem like such a small detail, but where you meet with clients is one of the most important aspects of your client meeting.  It dictates the very first impression your client will have, and first impressions matter.

It seems that photographers are sort of split among three groups – those who meet in their studio, those who meet in their home, and those who meet at a coffee shop or restaurant.  I’m …

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Understanding White Balance & Color Temperatures in 8 Simple Steps

Like articles on many photography concepts, white balance tutorials can range from overly technical and hard-to-understand to basic and lacking information. We’re here to give you the SLR Lounge spin on the concept and present you with enough information to help you have full control over your photography while staying away from the technical terms and “astro-physics” that can make it hard for many of us to grasp these concepts. If you follow these 8 steps, you should have a good enough understanding of white balance, kelvins, and color temperature to start experimenting with the different settings and lighting set ups. As with almost any photography concept, after enough experimentation, you should eventually have a full mastery of the subjects.

1) Realize Your Limitations

Before dismissing this article as irrelevant, realize that shooting in RAW is not the absolute white balance fix. First and most importantly, there may …

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