November 29, 2007

Six Steps to Find the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Six Steps to Find the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Creating the perfect wedding takes an incredible amount of time, preparation and planning; most people know this and are prepared for the task that lies ahead of them. Although they may have a clear idea of what to look for when choosing the dress, venue or the catering company, many couples are lost when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer.

Choosing the right photographer is vitally important, as it is their work that will be remembered by you, your friends and family for years and generations to come, of your wedding day.

1. Mood boards – deciding your style
Before you can find the photographer you really want, you need to know what you’re looking for. An easy, practical and fun way of doing this is using a trick that designers have been using for decades: mood boards.

Gather up a big pile of magazines and start going through them, cutting out any photo that you like. Either stick them onto a board or spread them out on the floor and see what pattern emerges: are they posed or relaxed? Formal or journalistic? Color or black & white?

This will help you decide on a photography style, before you begin your search and it’s also a useful term of reference when you meet with the potential MPLS wedding photographer.

2. Budgeting – count the cost before you start
Before you approach wedding photographers, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of how much you want to spend. This may sound obvious, but it will save you a lot of wasted time later.

At this stage your budget shouldn’t be set in stone, so don’t be scared of by some wedding photographers’ price lists. Most photographers are open to negotiation, or you may want to increase your budget if you find exactly what you’re looking for.

3. Researching and searching
Naturally there are photographers with high street shops and there are your local phone books to thumb through, however the Internet is the best tool for this job - with prices and examples of their work, only a click away.

A Google search for ‘wedding photographer directories’, will give you dozens of results with hundreds of wedding photographers. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s a good place to start your research.

A better idea would be to make the search more localized: ‘wedding photographer (your town)’ or ‘wedding photography (your county)’ – the reason for this is that you should meet the photographer, feel comfortable with them as a person, as well as confident in their work. Searching regionally, you can easily find professional wedding photographers in any area you require.

4. Short listing – saving time in the long run
With a wedding to be planned, time is in short supply, so draw up of shortlist of half a dozen photographers that you think would be suitable for the job: that have the style you picked out from your mood boards, and are roughly on target for your budget.
Now it’s time to pick up the phone:

• They will need to know the venue, approximate budget and feel for what you want

• You will need to know their availability (good wedding photographers and be booked over a year in advance)

From seeing their work and talking on the phone, you should have two or three favourites which you can then arrange to meet and discuss your plans in further detail.

5. Meeting – time to click
The advantage of choosing a wedding photography from your town, or county, is that you can easily arrange a meeting. Some of the larger studios have representatives, but you need to meet the actual photographer who will be there on your big day.

The role of the wedding photographer is very personal and it’s important that they have the right personality – in short, you need to trust your feelings, you need to ‘click’ with them.

6. If in doubt – leave them out
Some people recommend that you contact the wedding photographer’s previous clients, to hear first hand how they performed on the day. If you have doubts in your mind at this stage, after seeing their work and meeting them face to face – it would be best to walk away. Go back to your shortlist and take your time to find the right wedding photographer for you.

November 23, 2007

Article from Google News
Brought to you by Minneapolis Wedding Photography

When Gillian Wells saw Leah Snyder's portrait of an Iranian man marrying a Japanese woman in a kimono, she knew she'd found the right wedding photographer.

"It jumped out for me," says Ms. Wells, referring to the interethnic couples featured in Ms. Snyder's online portfolio.

Ms. Wells, who is Caribbean-Canadian, says she was concerned that her Caucasian husband's light skin would be bleached out to capture her much darker features in their wedding photos. "I wanted someone who could produce the best prints considering our different skin tones," she says.

Ms. Snyder, a photographer living near Toronto, says she doesn't market her services based on flattering various skin colours - a technical skill she and other photographers say professionals should have.

But she has carved out a multicultural niche, and in the past few years, she says, "I've noticed much more of a demand." Interethnic marriages are on the rise in Canada. Marriages and common-law unions between a visible minority person and a member of a non-visible minority or different ethnic group increased by 30 per cent between 1991 and 2001, according to Statistics Canada (figures from the 2006 census will be released in the spring).

With an eye on this emerging market, specialized photographers are emphasizing their cross-cultural skills to couples who are planning something unique, rather than a typical Cinderella wedding.

Photographers such as Ms. Snyder research the symbolism of specific religious rituals and meet with in-laws to ask whether traditional photo compositions are desired.

They visit wedding sites with the couple and discuss how to represent their mixed heritages visually.

Carmen Schmid, a Vancouver photographer, says she has shot many Indian-Caucasian and Chinese-Caucasian weddings, and makes sure to represent them in her promotional materials.

Ms. Schmid encourages her clients to incorporate tangible symbols of their ethnic backgrounds in their wedding ceremonies, she says.

"Almost half of my clients are interracial couples," she says. "They do like the idea that I've already photographed that type of wedding."

She recently photographed a Chinese bride and first-nations groom who changed clothing three times.

First the woman dressed in white buckskin while he wore braids and feathers, then they both wore traditional Chinese wedding garments, followed by casual Western clothes.

Unconventional weddings are a boon for photographers, Ms. Schmid says. "It's great for your creativity."

That creativity is enlivening wedding magazines that are now showing a range of interethnic and interfaith couples.

The Canadian magazine Today's Bride doesn't have to go looking for photos submitted by ethnically diverse newlyweds, editor Bettie Bradley says. "I am amazed at the number of multifaith and multicultural weddings that are coming in."

For photographers, shooting an interethnic wedding involves far more than aesthetics, says Seshu Badrinath, a lens man based outside Hartford, Conn.

"It comes down to doing my homework in terms of their [cultural] backgrounds," he says. "I'm also prepared to do multiple-day weddings and unlimited hours."

Most of his clients are Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Jewish, he says, and about two-thirds are interfaith couples. "They're not looking for a cookie-cutter-type wedding photographer," he adds.

Finding a photographer willing to learn about distinct rituals was crucial, says Emily Hashmani, a Caucasian Protestant who married her Ismaili Muslim husband, Sarfaraz Hashmani, in Toronto last month. The couple had two ceremonies the same day, one at a church and one at a mosque.

Ms. Hashmani says she chose Ms. Snyder partly because the photographer had many interfaith clients. "She really took a lot of care to approach things from different angles to represent both our heritages," Ms. Hashmani recalls.

Ms. Snyder says her university background in religious and cultural studies and her travelling experiences have helped her put interethnic couples at ease.

"I'm really interested in the religious rituals of weddings," she says, adding that she will go to extra lengths to respect her clients' privacy.

Ms. Snyder mentions the case of a photo shoot just before the wedding reception of a Muslim bride who wore a hijab.

"She wanted me to take pictures of the first time she took off [the] hijab and her husband saw her," Ms. Snyder says, "but she wanted to make sure no one else would ever see the photos."

Unlike most wedding photographers, who derive much of their profit from reprint fees, Ms. Snyder agreed to destroy the negatives. "It was just a given," she says.

November 21, 2007

New style of formal dress photography catching on fast

by Gregory R. Norfleet

Where did you have your wedding picture taken? Outside? A park? Large trees and a small lake in the background?

Would you consider jumping, wedding dress and all, into that lake?

Or would you exchange a stained-glass cathedral for a dark alleyway?

More and more, brides and prom-goers are answering “yes? to two growing trends in professional photography: Trash the Dress and Drown the Gown.

Local photographer Samantha Bender, who with husband Stephen runs Samantha Bender Photography in West Branch, said clients like the contrast of putting once-in-a-lifetime dresses against unusual backgrounds.

“It’s a great way to break traditions of photography and capture unique images,? Bender said.

Photographers are, at times, paid for their creativity, she said.

“You usually don’t work in environments like that,? she said.

The trend names might mislead a bit. Some women have no plans to wear the dress again and don’t want to keep it, so they don’t care if they ruin it to get the picture they want. But Bender said most clients don’t want the dress destroyed and she won’t push them to do so.

“It can always be cleaned, preserved,? she said. “It’s definitely not a point-of-no-return thing.?

Two popular locations are the Coralville Reservoir and the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall. At the reservoir, she said, “we go with the sandy look? or put women in the rocks, grass, trees and water.

“It’s important that they do what they are comfortable with,? Bender said.

At the Ped Mall, high school seniors like the grungy alleys and the urban feel, she said, which reflect what they see on MTV or in magazines.

Bender said most clients are a bit tentative at first, but that’s common with all shoots. After standing, sitting and even laying down for a few photos, they tend to open up and get more excited.

Those who allow themselves to dip into a lake or stream leave a little wet and cold, she said, but most say “that was really fun.?

Many times the woman goes alone, but Bender said she would like to see more men go along. Parents often want reassurances that the dress — which is usually expensive — will remain intact.

At a shoot, Bender has heard passers-by comment on the “pretty bride? or laugh when one runs through the fountain at the Ped Mall.

“I’m not out to ruin anything for anyone,? she said. “It’s about (a client) getting more pictures in something they love and to be in that dress again.?

Trash the Dress has been around for about a year; Drown the Gown has been going for about six months or so.

“It’s caught on quickly,? Bender said, “and they look like models.?

November 19, 2007

Ten Tips for Better Wedding Photographs

When it comes to great photo tips, we find them everywhere. In our daily shooting. In interviews with pros. In our e-mails from you, our readers. On the web. In books. And, of course, on our blog, Pop Photo Flash. Here are some of the best we've come across lately.

1) Above It All.
Pro wedding photographer Matt Adcock goes well beyond the usual reception shots. For instance, he gets a bird's-eye view of the dance floor by mounting his camera on a long painter's pole and firing it with a remote trigger. While Adcock wields the pole and makes sure that his on-camera flash is bouncing off the ceiling, an assistant aims a remote flash covered in a red gel at the dance floor. The result: an amazing overhead shot with rich reds surrounding the well-lit couple in the center of the photo.

2) Shoot in a Flash.
It can take forever for an AF system to find focus with flash photography in low light. To get the shot quicker, switch to manual focus and prefocus as best you can. Then set the aperture to f/8 or f/11 so that the depth of field covers your estimate.

3) Ready to Fill.
When shooting outdoors, if you consistently use fill flash with reduced flash output, set it as your default -- don't wait until you're shooting to fiddle with the controls. Many of the Pop Photo editors set the flash exposure comp control to –1 EV on every DSLR they use.

4) Flash? What Flash?
Got a large outdoor scene with some important parts in shadow? The lighting website offers an interesting technique. It involves placing small flashes in the darker areas of the scene to fill out the exposure or to balance foreground and background exposure. You then retouch the flashes out in post-production.

Say you're shooting the exterior of a house and its landscaping. Often, the best time to photograph buildings is in the early morning, when the sun is low in the sky. But this can lead to problems with exposure if the front of the house faces away from the sun. Placing portable strobes in the scene and triggering them wirelessly can fill out the exposure, letting you balance the dark face with the bright sky. After a few minutes with image-editing software, all you see are the results, not the flashes.

5) Get More Byte.
If you've shot a number of frames of the same scene or the same subject, and want to choose the sharpest images, you don't have to look at them all in an image editor. Check the file size of the photos -- the bigger the file, the sharper the shot. More detail requires more bytes.

6) Tone Deft.
Simulate the subtle shades of sunrise and sunset by adjusting the preset White Balance on your digital camera. Choose the Tungsten setting (light bulb icon) to add a bluish morning cast, or the Shade setting (cloud icon) to add the warm, brownish tones of dusk. The effect will be mild, but you can exaggerate it by underexposing the shot.

7) Portrait Panache.
You don't need a full studio to make great portraits. In her new book, Portrait and Candid Photography Photo Workshop (Wiley, 2007, $30), Erin Manning offers these three tips to help make your subjects look their best, wherever you are.

1. Makeup, please. Almost everyone will benefit from some pre-portrait powdering to soften the complexion. Bring along a few neutral tones and a soft makeup brush.
2. Fast and 70mm-plus. A long lens at maximum aperture blurs the background and emphasizes the subject.
3. Background check. If the background is distracting, place a 2x2-foot square of fabric behind the subject.

8) Eye Scream.
When shooting portraits, nothing is as important as the subject's eyes. Even if everything else is soft, make sure the eyes are sharp.

9) The Skinny on Portraits.
Don't believe anyone who says the camera adds 10 pounds. It's the photographer who does. But with the right poses, lighting, and angles, you can make your subjects look thinner. Try these three slimming techniques:

1. Twist 'em. If your subjects are standing, have them take a step back with either foot. If seated, have them sit at an angle. This forces them to twist to face the camera -- stretching the torso and smoothing bulges.
2. Get high. Shoot from a little above your subjects' eye level. This elongates the face and makes them lift their face up just a tad -- helping to minimize a double chin.
3. Narrow down. Short or narrow lighting involves illuminating the side of the face that's turned away from the camera. This puts a large part of the face in shadow, making it look quite a bit thinner. You can get this effect by using a window, lamp, or off-camera flash.

10) Reflection on You.
When pro Gunther Deichmann ( makes portraits in areas where the subjects might be shy, such as a remote village in Tibet, he doesn't use large, intimidating reflectors. Instead, he wears a white T-shirt.

"If you position yourself correctly in natural light, the T-shirt is a very nice reflector," he says. "No need for anybody to hold a reflector, and your hands are free."

November 17, 2007

Snag a Stylish Wedding Dress at For Less Than $200

As far as I know, this offer is good for Minneapolis wedding dresses in the twin cities area.

You read that headline right. Earlier this year Target began selling designer wedding gowns online that cost you less than a car payment, which is in stark contrast to what most people imagine when thinking of the cost of a wedding dress. Designer Isaac Mizrahi who has been designing an exclusive, affordable line of his apparel for Target for several years now, is the man behind the budget-friendly dresses.

The dresses come in several different cuts, and two shades of white - igglo white, which is a bright white shade, and opal cream, and off-white color. They are cut in a classic, yet modern style. Prices start at just $89.00 and range up to less than $200, depending on the style.

The "Isaac Mizrahi Bridal for Target" collection also features everything else that you'll need for your big day, including shoes, veils, and beautiful accessories. They even have bridesmaid dresses available in a rainbow of colors and cuts, as well as men's formal wear and accessories, and cute dresses and suits for the kids in the wedding party.

If you order your wedding dress from Target, and you don't like it or it doesn't fit, you can return it for a full refund. Any alterations that need to be done you will have to take care of yourself, but that's as easy as looking up a tailor or dressmaker in the phonebook.

So if you're planning a wedding on a budget, or just don't see the need to spend thousands of dollars on a dress, Target might just be the place where you find that perfect wedding gown. And while you're at it, you can pick out outfits for the groom, bridesmades, ring bearer, and flower girl - and still have enough left over for the reception.

November 8, 2007

Tips for Decorating the Church on your Wedding Day

Church weddings are chic and traditional in nature, and decorating its corners would mean preserving its serenity and calm. Usual wedding church decorations include laces, pearls, and candles along with fresh and dry flowers. These elements maintain the sanctity of the church and at the same time lend it grace and elegance.

Tips to decorate the church:

* Flower decorations add color and freshness to the church surroundings. Small pocketed bouquets along the sitting arrangement are both delightful and pleasing. The commonly used flowers are tulips, daisies, roses and carnations.
* Pave the way for the couple by decorating the aisle with orchids and lilies.
* Adorn the door of the church with flowers, ribbons and balloons to make it look inviting.
* Prepare wreathes with colorful flowers or maybe to match with the bride’s gown to place on the altar. Silk, dry or fabric flowers can be used for such decoration.
* An alternative to dress the aisle would be to place potted flowers which are pleasing to the eyes and are inexpensive too.
* Pews form an important part of wedding church decorations. Attach bouquets or bows at the end of these pews with rose petals along the pathway for the bride and the groom to tread on.
* Churches usually have high ceilings and should be well lit with chandeliers and draped with streamers, laces and flowers.
* The entrance can also be decorated with pomander balls to look attractive.
* plan around the location of the wedding photographer.

When you have touched the five most important areas of the church that is, the aisle, altar, ceiling, entrance and the center, be assured that you have taken care of everything that is required to cherish this beautiful day forever.

November 7, 2007

Cool Fast Action Photography Shots

This is a pretty neat photo of fast action photography

More Wedding Money Saving Tips

1. Your Wedding, Your Guest List! This one is a tough one. Your families are so excited they want to invite all of their co-workers, their long lost cousins and of course you can't forget the people that invited them to their kid's weddings. You must take control of this guest list, it's your wedding. You may have to tread lightly without hurting mom's feelings, but if you're paying for this bash you should get the final say on the guest list and count. With every person you invite to the reception you have to look at it as a total package of expenses. You will be providing a meal for them, you may to rent the chair their sitting in, the linen that's dressing the table and the centerpiece. Each guest is worth hundreds of dollars in some cases. So if you're looking to save money, start here first.

2. Your Wedding Party.
I know these girls have been your friends since kindergarten or since the first day of college, but if you're trying to stick to a particular budget you may want to consider making your wedding party a teeny bit smaller. Just like your guests, your wedding party is also worth hundreds of dollars in some cases. Remember for every person in your party, you will be providing meals (rehearsal dinner, breakfast for the day of the ceremony and reception meal) , flowers, gifts and transportation. Now let me be clear if you must have a 10 bridesmaids because it just won't be a special day without them, that's fine, but you have to remember that every attendant has an expense attached to them. So think about this while setting your budget. With the money you're spending on your huge wedding party you could possibly use it toward something else. Just a thought!

3. Your Cake. I love cake! That is actually one of my favorite parts of the reception! I've seen some gorgeous ones that look just as great as they have tasted. But if you've been perusing through the Martha Stewart Weddings Mag and other bridal mags looking at cakes you must understand that cakes are not cheap. Cake designing takes talent and takes time, which equates to $$$. I know here in Charlotte, wedding cakes start from $2.50 per serving and that's not your Martha Stewart Cake with all of the intricate details. So, here is my suggestion, when meeting with the cake designer really think about how many of your guests are actually going to stay until the cake is cut. Normally the cake is cut at the very end of the night, unless it's being served as the dessert course of your sit-down dinner. So, think about it, is Aunt Sue going to stay until the cake is cut? Two of the weddings I did the summer had so much cake left over, at least enough to serve 50 people. So think about that, at $2.50 a serving the couple really could've saved at least $125!

4. Wedding Favors and Programs.
Both are great ideas and they give a very nice touch, but if you're looking to save money somewhere you can definitely save a couple of hundred here easily. Remember, any item you give your guests needs to be useful or edible. Leave a disposable camera at each table and allow guests to become the wedding photographer.

Post sponsored by: Teeth Whitening Products

November 6, 2007

Five Tips to Cut Your Wedding Budget

Here are Five Tips to Cut Your Wedding Budget!

1. Dress up only the head table
If you want a fancy look but can't afford to do every table, do only the head table. You can use inexpensive complementary linens, plates and centerpieces at the guest tables, and splurge on a fancy tablecloth and fancy plates for the head table. That's the table that will be photographed the most, and dressing it up a bit more will make it look special without adding huge expense.

2. Pass the champagne

Renting a champagne flute and buying champagne for every guest is expensive, especially when some people won't even drink theirs. Instead of placing a flute at each place setting, have a waiter hand them out at the entrance. Not every guest will take one, saving on rentals and liquor.

3. Cake and coffee buffet
Even if your meal is plated, you can still save money by doing a dessert buffet with the cake and coffee. Again, not every guest will want dessert and coffee, so you can serve a smaller cake. You can use plastic plates and forks instead of china, saving on rental costs. You also won't need to rent a sugar/creamer/carafe for every single table.

4. Use Fancy Linens Sparingly
Expensive table linen rentals can cost as much as $40 per table cloth. To get the same look for less, use a basic table cloth and a fancy table runner - these cost about $5 each to rent.

5. Serve Prosecco Instead of Champagne
Prosecco is a sparkling white wine that runs about half the cost of champagne, but looks just as pretty in the glass.

Special Thanks to Minneapolis Wedding Photographer Duane Schlottke for providing this advice!

Avoid this Wedding Photographer Nightmare

For guaranteed results wedding photography pick PS. Don't live this:

Chalonda Roberts (Greece, N.Y.) Tara and Mathew Simonelli married on April 20, 2007. They say not getting their pictures is a bride and groom's nightmare.

Tara said, "If there was no cake you could just apologize and say there's no cake. If the limo didn't show up, you would just have to find a ride, but—pictures! You can't do the wedding all over again. It's done!"

The Simonellis paid R.J. Raisch $1,000 to take pictures on their wedding day. They were supposed to receive the photos two weeks later. After five months and several attempts to contact him, they still have no pictures.

"Finally on September 12th I heard from him and he said everything was okay. He was very apologetic said he was having personal problems," Tara said.

Now it's been seven months. Tara said she never expected this because she felt she did her homework.

"He clicked with us …we met with him, looked at his work and knowing someone had personally used him--I used her as my reference,? Tara said.

When we checked with the BBB we found two complaints against the company within the last 15 months.

"If the company doesn't respond to BBB, you're really taking a chance on whether they'll treat the customer fairly," the BBB’s Pat Coakley said.

"I don't want the money; we want our pictures. Now we want...him to waive his rights to the negatives," Tara said.

All the Simonellis have are the candid photos from friends. They say if they had it to do over again they would check more references.

We stopped by and called the owner of the company. He did not answer at his studio and we were unable to leave a message as his voice mail box was full.

October 21, 2007

Minneapolis Wedding Photographer

Greetings! I am a professional wedding photographer based out of the Minneapolis area. My life's work will be available shortly on! Minneapolis Professional Photography specializes in High End Wedding Photography and Corporate events.

Any style of wedding, any style of photograph! We have even started doing athletic events for a College / High School Wrestling Forum.

October 20, 2007

Minneapolis Twin Cities Professional Photography

Twin Cities Professional Photography caters to weddings, corporate events, senior pictures, and more. The Minneapolis Wedding Photographer, Duane Schlottke manages the Twin Cities Professional Photography Group, and takes many of the personal photography sessions. Duane will personally come if requested under most circumstances.