“I’ve Just Seen A Face”—not covered by a cell phone!

I’ve just read ANOTHER article about technology and your wedding. The order of operation has become ring, dress and then “plugged or unplugged”. Five years ago, our biggest concern was Uncle Faux-tographer and whether or not he would get in the way of the pro. Today, it’s a sea of cell phones and I-Pads, hashtags, posting, Liking, Instagraming, etc.

Who came up with the brilliant idea that we should no longer observe the world with our senses—everything must be documented?
What can be done?
When did we lose sight of what a wedding was about?
Where do we start?
Why is this a problem?

As I talk to couples, I have come to realize that many do not see this as an issue—they’ve grown up with every event of their lives being documented on The Internet. Their cell phones are their lifelines. Flattering or, often times unflattering, every move they make ends up on some social media site.

But, at the same time, couples DO express their concerns about pictures in general. Will we have enough time? How can we hide imperfections? Can we get a more “candid” feel?

Unplugging your wedding, or politely asking your guests to refrain from using their electronic devices at your event will be looked at with disdain by some. But, if you want to accomplish YOUR goals as a couple with regards to photo/video AND the general demeanor of your day, be the trendsetter.

You’ve all read about photographers who claim that guests taking pictures ruin THEIR pictures. MOST of what is said is true. However, how does guest faux-tography affect YOU? Here’s the real story…

–Bridal party, parents, family and guests who are concentrating on taking pictures are NOT paying attention to their assigned duties. This can cause delays, loss of photo opportunities and added (and unnecessary stress).

—Unflattering or even unwelcome images can end up on social media at inopportune times. You didn’t want the groom to see you in your dress, but your maid of honor just posted it — and he saw.

–Instead of eye contact, joyful tears, and smiles during all of your well thought-out events, you see cameras, phones, devices. Not exactly what you envisioned, right?

–That short, sweet family photo session you wanted after the ceremony? Allow everyone to practice their image capturing skills and it will become THE most long, drawn out session with heads and eyes turned EVERYWHERE. A little more candid than you may have hoped for, but hey—-you encouraged your guests to do this.

Yes, you CAN say no. You do not have to go as far as confiscating devices at the start of your event. But, you CAN make your feelings known and you can absolutely delegate the responsibility of monitoring this to a trusted friend. Not everyone will comply, but if you make it clear through signage and information in programs or at place settings, people WILL get the message.

We realize that everyone wants a picture and there is a time and a place. Discuss your options ahead of time. But when you consider the need to unplug your wedding, remember that a professional photographer who has no guest obstruction will be able to get the shots that you need with warm faces in the background—not cold electronics.

What are you REALLY paying for?

How much? The first words that comes to mind when you’re planning your wedding. J-Lo once said, “My Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, but her wedding(s) sure did! And then some!

But, a lot of couples (and parents) wonder, “What AM I paying for”? Sticker shock sets in quickly when adding up all the trimmings and trappings that go along with the bridal experience. And it definitely brings up questions as to what is necessary and what isn’t.

We provide four services, but the one service that seems to get questioned the most is photography. In our industry, the cost of hiring a photographer on your wedding day can go from next to nothing for a novice or a “shoot and burn” (raw images on a disc—no frills) to $7,000 or more. So, with such a wide range of prices, what is the difference? And why so expensive?

One explanation for higher rates can start with overhead. Studio or store-front rents are a huge line item expense. Many wedding and/or lifestyle photographers opt out of the studio or storefront to avoid that cost—we are among this group.

Of course, equipment is a MAJOR expense. Camera technology moves as quickly as any other form of tech, so upgrading is essential. Flashes take a beating, batteries need replacing, and even props add to the expense.

And, who can forget the basics: Insurance, office supplies, gasoline, auto upkeep, utilities, etc.. Did I mention gasoline? Everyone feels the pinch here!

The often forgotten expense is advertising.  We take pride in our high referral rate, but the fact is that we rely on bridal shows and clicks to our website for the added traffic to keep us busy.  Bridal shows cost time AND money, along with printing costs to make sure our product gets to every bride possible.  Our website requires maintenance and A LOT of time, as well as our Facebook page.  Google costs?  Let’s not even go there.

OK.  So it’s an expensive business to run.  So, how can you keep costs down and offer a quality product to your clients?  One way is volume.  While some photographers “brag” about only taking a limited number of clients a year, we fill our calendar.  Our area of the country has it’s slow period, and that’s our resting period.  Each pro only handles one event a day, but can take two (and occasionally) three events on each day of the weekend.

Another cost control means is NO OUTSOURCING.  All editing, album design and album and print processing is done in house.  It’s a personal touch and it is a huge time and money saver.  We have honed our processes so that each wedding gets the attention it deserves in a timely manner.

Administrative costs are controlled starting at the top.  The owner and the manager run the company during the week and become the team leaders on the weekend.  Our life is our work and all sales calls, accounting, editing, etc. are handled by this team.

So, when you’re comparing photographers and wondering about the cost, don’t be fooled into thinking that you always get what you pay for.  Unless you really want to pay someone’s high rent, overhead, and vacation bills.

The “marriage” of photography and videography

It’s been said that a single image may be worth a thousands words.  That said, video footage speaks VOLUMES!  So, when it comes to one of the biggest days of your life, why wouldn’t you want it all?  Why would you limit yourself to photography OR video?

We photograph and videotape many of our events simultaneously.  To us at ACCSVP, it’s the perfect “marriage”.  Just as the day itself is about the union of two people, the merger of two families, and the making of memories, the job of the photographer and videographer is one that should be performed on a united front.

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?  You would think.  But, not always.

Why?  Well, it’s a little like courtship.  At ACCSVP, when we enter into the relationship with our clients as a photographer AND videographer, it’s as a TEAM.  Our goal is to capture the day in tandem.  This involves communication and cooperation, just like any relationship.

What happens when photography and videography go on a “blind date”?  As in any relationship, the results can be unpredictable.  Can it work out?  Sure!  We’ve been at a multitude of weddings that started out that way.  The couple just “clicked” (pardon the photo pun).  But, when it comes to photo and video, why take the chance?  It IS possible that a photographer or videographer who is used to working alone will be uncomfortable or even angered by working with another professional.  It can often times be a battle of wills—when it SHOULD be about satisfying the client.

Many clients are unaware of the “undercurrent” that goes on with vendors on your wedding day.  We strive to avoid the drama — there’s no “I” in “Team”.  Just something to think about when choosing photography and videography services.  Our photo and video services have been happily married for many years—with many more happy years ahead!