Tag archive: flathead valley

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Help-Portrait

I’m a member of a group called Help-Portrait. If you haven’t heard of it you really should watch the video below. It’s an amazing organization that allows photographers and makeup artists to provide beautiful portraits to people in need. I’m currently working to set up a large event for Headstart families. My mom runs the Headstart program here in town and I constantly hear about the hardships facing all the families with children attending Headstart. I’m extremely fortunate in so many respects especially having a job that allows me to do what I’m passionate about. This event will allow me to give back…it’s the least I can do. It’s about giving photos…not taking them.

If you’re a photographer or makeup artist and would like to help (you don’t need to be a professional) by all means pop me an email…I’ll send you details of the event. Currently it is planned for April 29th in Missoula. If you can help at all please contact me.

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Should you hire a friend to be your wedding photographer?

Should you have a friend take your wedding photos?

There is a frightening trend occurring lately where I hear couples say that they’re going to have a friend take their wedding photos, or worse yet they figure that all the guests will have digital cameras and they can use all their pictures as their wedding photos.  Sure it seems like a good idea, how can saving money not be?

I can’t even begin to tell you how bad of an idea this is…your wedding photos are the last thing you should ever cut corners on with your wedding budget!  They are the one thing that will last forever and will be the lasting memory of that special day.  Would you let a friend do the electrical wiring in your house?  Replace the head gasket in your car?  Or worse yet, remove your appendix?  Of course not…these are all jobs that should be left to the professionals.  Individuals in those professions have had extensive training, years of experience and the equipment necessary to get the job done right.  Wedding photography is no different, and should be left to the professionals.  I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve attended as a guest where the “friend” photographing the wedding looks lost, is obviously struggling and is completely overwhelmed.  Some in fact got so bad…I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t step in to help.  There is simply no substitute for a seasoned veteran with years of experience and the right equipment to get the perfect photos you deserve on the most important day of your life!

Still not convinced…here’s a list of the Pros and Cons of having a friend take your wedding photos

Pros

1. You will save money
2. Since you know the person you may feel comfortable around them

Cons

1.  Your photos will never look as good as a professionals’!
An amateur simply can’t produce the quality of photos you deserve.  Your wedding photos should be works of art.  A trained professional will be able to capture all the moments of your special day in exquisite detail and style.  Even if your friend happens to be a professional landscape photographer for example, weddings are a whole different ball game.  Wedding photography is extremely difficult and takes years of training and real world experience.  Additionally, a pro photographer is there for a job…what happens if your friend gets drunk and just wants to enjoy the party rather than take pictures?

2.  Who will edit the photos and with what software?
This is key…because if you hire your friend to take the photos…they will inherently be of much lesser quality and will need extensive editing.  Years of training and thousands of dollars in equipment are vital in editing photos.  Is your friend a Photoshop expert…I’ve been shooting/editing weddings for over 12 years and I still don’t consider myself a Photoshop expert.

3.  What happens if they accidentally delete your photos?
Professional photographers have a motto…backup, backup and backup once more for good measure…an amateur photographer (especially one nervous about shooting a wedding) runs the risk of formatting over your beloved images.

4.  They don’t have pro level equipment.
The average photographer has over $20K in equipment…amateur cameras simply can’t compete.  Pro photographers also have backup equipment in case something happens to their first setup…what happens if your friend’s camera breaks?

5.  What happens if there is a change in lighting or weather?
There is always the chance of something happening and an inexperienced photographer won’t know what to do to still get great shots in any weather or lighting situation.

6.  You may not get photos of all the things you want.
Seasoned veterans know exactly what comes next during a wedding and are proactive in getting every shot.  What happens if your friend is changing lenses and misses the first kiss or bouquet toss?

7.  They don’t know how to engage people and pose them.
Sure they might be able to push the button on a camera but can they get your aunt to smile or wrangle family members into a shot?  Or worse yet, know how to pose a bride to make her look her best?

8.  Do they have liability insurance?
All professional photographers have liability insurance to protect themselves if for example someone trips over their camera bag and breaks a leg.  It’s sad but in the society we live in…someone will sue…regardless of if they’re friends or family.

9.  The photos will not be cropped correctly.
A trained eye would be able to crop photos correctly and shoot at unique angles to get exquisite shots.

10.  It’s just a bad idea…never mix business with friends and family!
You know the old adage of not lending money to friends or family because it invariably ends badly…the same rings true here.

Bottom line your wedding photos are simply too important to leave to amateurs!  I know it may be tempting to save money but it’s not worth the risk…Don’t do it!

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How To Select A Wedding Photographer

Top 10 Things To Consider When Selecting a Wedding Photographer

1.  If they’re available. There’s no point in pursuing the photographer of your dreams if he’s already under contract with another bride. Ask if your wedding date is available first and foremost. The moral here is that all great photographers will book very quickly…so book them as soon as you can!

2.  The photographer’s style. Is it posed and formal, photojournalistic, creative, artistic, etc.?  More importantly, is it what you’re looking for?  All the great wedding photographers are a mix of all these styles and will have a unique style and vision.

3.  Are they in my price range? Photographs of your wedding are the last thing you should ever cut corners on with your wedding budget! Additionally, make sure you know all the costs associated with a photographer…ie is the package all inclusive, will we have to pay for prints afterwards (I’ve seen some photographers charge $12.00 for a 4×6), will we get a disc with all the edited images so you can print wherever you’d like, etc.?  But never forget…you get what you pay for!

4.  Do they work on an hourly basis? Again, trying to cut corners by hiring a wedding photographer for a few hours will only get you burned.  Hire a photographer that will work the entire day…from the moment you start getting ready until the couple send off.  Imagine what you’ll miss if the photographer goes “off the clock” and leaves before the first dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc.  Even if they do stay, you’ll end up paying more than if you’d booked a photographer that will shoot the entire day for a flat rate.

5.  Who will be the one actually taking the pictures? Make sure the photographer you meet with will be the one who actually will be shooting your wedding.  This first meeting will tell you a lot about them as well…ie. were they on time, well dressed, easily approachable. Ultimately decide whether you like this person…they will be with you the entire day of the wedding.

6.  Do they have liability insurance? This will tell you a lot about their business.  If they don’t have liability insurance they are either just starting out or don’t take it seriously enough to think it’s necessary…aka they’re not professional photographers!  All professional photographers have this insurance as part of their business.

7.  What is their experience? You need to know if they have a degree in photography, how long they’ve been shooting weddings, etc. Even if they have a degree (the minimum of what you should look for), nothing replaces years of experience in capturing brides on the most important day your life!  A seasoned veteran will still know how to make you look beautiful even if something goes wrong…ie. a sudden change in the weather, or lighting situation.

8.  When will we get our pictures? Most photographers can have the images edited and delivered within 2-3 weeks, but make sure to check reviews and references to see what past clients have to say.

9.  Ask to see a complete wedding album. This is important because all photographers will have a portfolio of spectacular images they’ve taken over the years (some of which may even be taken with professional models they paid)…being able to see a complete wedding will let you know if they have the ability to capture the entire story of your wedding day.

10.  Check their reviews and contact references. It is invaluable to have an outside opinion on a potential wedding photographer. Remember, your wedding photographs are the single most important aspect of your wedding…make sure you find the right wedding photographer for you.

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Maternity Shoot

A few weeks ago a I did a maternity photo shoot with a fantastic couple. The pictures turned out amazing and they just recently had their baby…congrats guys!

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Portfolio Shoot-Cassandra

Cassandra

I worked with a lovely girl named Cassandra to help build up her portfolio.  She was looking for some implied nudes and general portraits for some modeling work.  She was great in front of the camera and it was easy to get some great shots.

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Senior Portrait-Abi

Abi

I had a great time shooting Abi’s senior portraits. She’s a natural beauty in front of the lens and was a blast to work with. The shots speak for themselves…

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Family Portrait-The Rioux’s

Rioux Family

A few weeks ago I brought the Rioux family out to Fort Missoula to do a family portrait. They were really fun to work with and I think we got some great shots…see for yourself…

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Engagement Portrait-Amanda and Clay

Amanda and Clay

Just got done editing photos from an engagement portrait shoot with an adorable couple…Amanda and Clay.  They were a little shy at first but warmed up nicely and I think we got some great shots.  They were great to work with and seem like a really fun couple.

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