Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Deciding Who to Photograph Your Wedding

Photographers knowledgeable in different lighting techniques can be the "spice" in your wedding photographs 

Honeysuckle Hills is a wedding photographer's paradise!  Our entire venue was created and landscaped with the artist in mind.  If you're searching for a place to get married in Pigeon Forge with the most natural beauty, we're hard to beat.  Our flower gardens, wooden fences, flowing creek, enchanted forest, and weeping willow tree are among the scenes your photographer may choose.

Our wedding packages allow you to use the wedding photographer of your choice.  Just as no two photographs are alike, no two brides feel the same way about how they want to look in their images.

If you're not sure yet who will photograph your wedding, this article will help make your decision.  Finding the right photographer is as important as finding the right venue.  Very few couples tell me they don't want to remember their wedding day.  How your remember it is enhanced by the different styles, techniques, and mood a photographer brings with them.

Before I go further, let me assure you that I believe there is no right or wrong way to choose.  I am a strong believer in giving information, and then stepping back to allow our couples to do what's right for their lives and their situation.  

The Three Types of Wedding Photographers

1)  The family member or friend who has an expensive camera and enjoys photography 

Your best friends or family members who have a great camera are one of the first people our couples consider.   Right off the bat the positives here are free photography and the ability to be relaxed around someone you know.  Most cameras these days take excellent exposures.  And... it's hard not to love any picture that has people you love in them.  Since you won't have any other photographic style to compare your pictures to, you will never know what you missed.  Some couples have personal experience with their friends' photography, so they already know they like how they look in the images.  If this is the case, it's a win-win!   I recommend that you at least have an engagement session with your free photographer prior to the wedding, in time to book an alternative if you don't happen to like the results.  

2)  Low Priced Photographers (part time photographers)

A quick internet search for "affordable photographers" will yield literally hundreds, if not thousands of results.  These photographers are everywhere... Photography is so enjoyable that many will sacrifice making a profit just to be able to do it.   I could give you the spreadsheet... but it's rather boring.

The term "less" is subjective here.  I hesitate to give a solid figure, because I do not in any way wish to hurt anyone's feelings.  In no way do I wish to condemn new photographers or artists.  I, too, was once in their position.

The part-time photographer should have more experience photographing weddings than the family friend.  Look for one who has maintained their on-the-side business for more than a few years.  Many enjoy having a hobby that happens to make them extra money, but they prefer to keep their reliable full-time job to pay the bills.  Please carefully consider the ones who are new and "building their portfolio."  Let them build it with an engagement or bridal session.  Your wedding day is not the time for them to experiment.

Be sure to view several galleries of entire weddings when considering these photographers.  By viewing more than the few images they pull out of each wedding that are good, you'll be able to tell how consistent they are.  You'll also get a good feel for how well they will be able to handle the logistics of the wedding venue you choose.

These photographers typically use only natural light, so be sure you schedule your wedding at a time of day they can handle.  Lower light or harsh weather conditions will be an extreme challenge for them.  Ask them what time of day they prefer, and schedule your wedding accordingly.

Be sure to ask them what happens if they get sick or if they experience equipment failure.  Too often the part-time photographer does not have the insurance or resources to assist you in times of trouble.  Your wedding is NOT the time to have to deal with this.  (This can also be said of the friend or family member doing it for free.)

3)  The Professional Photographer (Those with more than one or two years of experience who make a full-time living with photography)

The over-all best, if you have the budget for it, is a wedding photographer who's been around for at least five years or more.  Pricing here is going to be higher, because there's a good reason they're still in business.  They are NOT over-charging you.  I promise.  Again, I could bring out the trusty spreadsheet, but it's b-o-r-i-n-g.

Hire this photographer for the images the person with the camera alone cannot achieve.  They are worth the money a hundred times over if you want more than to show the wedding just happened... instead, you want photographs that thrill the soul.

You know the old term, "Even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes."  This is not the mantra used by the photographic professional.  They would rather kiss that hog's rear end than be associated with this phrase.

These photographers will have better equipment with the knowledge of how to use it, and most will bring along an assistant.  They know how to use any kind of light, any time of day, and have external light sources as well as ways to reduce light.   Their years of experience allow them to make split second decisions in challenging situations.  They know how to pose (couples and larger groups) to make everyone look their best.  They have a desire to listen to you, know you, and tell your story.

Printing is not dead, people!  If you're not good at finding a good printing source or don't have a desire to design your own wedding album, this is another great reason to use a professional.

I know I want to hire a professional photographer.  Now what?

If you're getting married at Honeysuckle Hills in Pigeon Forge, we happen to have one of the best photographers with almost twenty years of experience.  I could list her awards and education here, but to me it's about as boring as a spreadsheet.  All you really need to do is look at her work.  As with any photographer, how strongly you are moved by the images will tell you how much they have invested in their life's work.  And guess what?  In turn,they will invest in YOU.

Remember... this is your choice.  By all means, if you've decided you want to pay the extra money for the professional, go the extra mile to further choose the one who matches your style and personality. 

Regina's style is romantic with deep emotion.  She will dig deeply to find out what kind of emotion is yours.  Sometimes her brides like laughter and lifestyle images.  Others are more sensual.  Her favorite types of images look best as art pieces framed for your home, especially with a water-color or painterly look.  She also has a high tendency for using edge lights for a romantic glow.

If you want photographs with the Honeysuckle Hills horses, you are required to use Regina.  This is not just a liability issue.  Our horses are trained with specific commands and gestures, and have an expectation of how to behave when people enter the horse field.  However, we can always feed our sweet animals by the fence if you use someone else.

Regina believes in handing over more than just a disk of images.  You will also receive a high-end wedding album.  The kind of album you receive depends on how many hours you've booked her for.  Upgrades are also available if you reserve less time but want one of the larger, more unique albums.

How long do I reserve the Honeysuckle Hills photographer?

This question can also be asked of any professional you're hiring for your wedding.

Please... I beg you... give your photographer the time required to use their imagination and talents.   Our venue is so spacious and wonderful that you will also need time to walk from one outdoor scene to another.

We recommend at least one hour for images of the two of you alone.  When using Regina, add one more hour for images of the ceremony and family.  Please do not try to squeeze in the ceremony, family, and bride and groom images in an hour.  Regina prefers not to rush her work.

You may absolutely reserve Regina for the entire time you're at our venue.  However, most couples will allow their guests to photograph dancing, bouquet tossing, etc.  Remember, you want to hire the professional for the images a person with a camera alone cannot achieve.

How much is the Honeysuckle Hills Wedding Photographer?

Regina charges $750 per hour, and this includes a download and flash drive of all your wedding images, along with a wedding album. You must have an equal amount of venue time reserved.  However, you do not have to reserve photography for the entire number of hours you reserve our venue for.  (For example, you may reserve three hours of venue but only one hour of photography.)  The type of album you receive depends on how long you reserve, but upgrades are always available for a larger or more unique book.  This price already includes the 9.75% sales tax.  You may take a 10% military discount for both active or retired status.  We appreciate your service to our country!

Enough with words... let's see some wedding photographs! 

Feel free to post images by your favorite photographer in the comment section.   We welcome any fresh artistic views with pleasure, especially if this helps our couples find the photographer they're looking for.

We'll close with some of Regina's images as well so you can view them alongside the other photographers you're considering.  Good luck, couples!  With sincerity, we can't wait to see how beautiful you are on your wedding day!

Hire a professional photographer to deliver imagery that a person with a camera alone cannot achieve.  Here, a back-light was added during the original capture.  Regina's assistant lifted the train of the dress to show motion.  In post-process, a layer was added with clouds and a ray of sunlight (to fill in with the original clouds present at capture.)  A second layer of blue texture was added for the painterly water-color look.
Typical image from a photographer with less experience using the camera in "program" mode as dusk sets in.  Even when the on-camera flash is used, the background appears dark.

Close up to show the back-light in the hair.  The sun had already set at the wedding venue, so unless a light was added to make the hair stand out from the dark background, the bride would not stand out nearly as much.  The camera's manual settings were also used to increase the ISO and shutter speed to compensate for the low light.

Natural light can't be beat.  This wedding photograph can be loved on its own without the addition of lights.

But... just look what a little extra "pop" of light from behind can do for the emotion.  Suddenly it's more romantic, and the eye goes more quickly to the couple.  This is why Regina has a love for the edge light.

A carefully placed, soft light can make a huge difference, and so can an assistant who makes the bridal veil flow, as if a gentle breeze just happened to blow past.  This image could only be achieved by photographers who use natural light alone if the sun had actually been setting in that direction.  

Matching shade to bright light is another difficulty faced by family members or friends with the expensive camera.  The camera alone cannot handle this challenge.  An external light source must be used, and one with enough power to compensate for the bright light in the background.  Family and friends will avoid situations such as this, claiming that "the light is not right in that location."  Some with a little more experience will expose for the couple, but the background will appear white, obscuring the bridge and trees.  

The addition of a soft back-light can make a couple stand out, especially when the sun isn't there to do it for you.

Ready... set... Go get your wedding photographer!