Spring time is nearly here and that means there will be some great opportunities for outdoor photography in Salem. One such location that I really enjoy taking photos of families at is Bush’s Pasture Park.
Bush’s Pasture Park is a 90 acre park located just south of downtown Salem. It has several sports fields, including Willamette University’s track and field stadium, a soap box derby track, running trails, open fields and play structures. But that’s not all. It also contains several gardens including a rose garden with gazebo. Wildflowers grow all over the park during the spring and it’s these areas I like to take clients to for photo sessions.
With the plethora of available backgrounds available, I consider Bush’s Pasture Park to be an ideal location for family photo sessions. The rose garden and gazebo are great places to capture classic photos. Add in the few historic buildings in the background and you have an excellent location for photography.
I personally enjoy the extensive Camas meadow. It’s a great location in one of the quieter parts of the park where Camas flowers (Wild hyacinth) bloom in a sweeping bed amongst a small grove of trees. It provides ample shade during hot days and a nice colorful backdrop to photos. (see photo to left). The purple Camas add just enough color to really make the portraits pop.
Another excellent spot is this one tree near the Bush House and rose garden. It only blooms for about a week each year so getting there can be a bit tricky and you have to be flexible with dates to make it work, but the photos from there are simply amazing and worth the hassle! This tree blooms beautifully purple every year and gives the illusion of being surrounded by wild blooms, making for stunning portraits for a small group or individual.
To book a session at Bush Park, please contact Kathryn at 503-871-8417. For the special tree call between February 15th and April 15th to get on the schedule and we will contact you when the time is right.
So you just got back from a bridal or wedding show. You have tons of materials from all sorts of vendors and you are on wedding overload! You are probably asking now what do I do?!? If you read our previous article Bridal Shows: 5 tips for couples then you are prepared for this moment and I recommend you skip to step 3 and take a week or two off! If you haven’t read that article that is ok, there are a couple steps to do right away before you take your time off.
Step 1 – Take notes and Sort the materials
When you get home from the wedding show, or very shortly after (hopefully within a day), you will want to clear the floor and dump out your bag (or bags!) of information you received and start going through them. You will want to start separating the information into categories (venues, caterers, photographers, etc.). As you do, take a minute with each to remember each one and takes notes on what you remember. Think about how each one made you feel, a memorable quote or experience at their booth or while you were talking with them, your likes and concerns about their work and how they would work with you, and anything else you can think of. You want to do this while it is still fresh in your mind and when you can remember the most.
Step 2 – Order the categories by which you want to hire first
Next you want to order the vendor types into the order you are planning on booking them. This helps balance your priorities and all your desired pieces. It will also help you in step 4 to stay focused and should make decisions easier.
Step 3 – Take a break!
Now that you are all organized, you deserve a break! Take a week or two off to relax and recharge before you get into actually choosing your vendors. This will not only help you clear your head, but should help you narrow down your choices in each category.
Step 4 – Choosing your vendors
While each couple will approach this part differently, there are a few tips I can pass on here. First is to choose one vendor at a time according to your organized categories. This will let you more easily compare packages/offerings from vendors in this category and will let you deeply explore what you want from that type of vendor. Next, You will want to discuss each type of vendor together and make some choices before you start talking to vendors. For example, do you want a religious ceremony? Do you want the ceremony and reception all in one place? Do you want a DVD or digital files of your picture? How much are you hoping to spend on this category? And many other questions.
Once you have narrowed down what you want from each category, then take the first category and read the materials you collected, looking for those elements which you decided were most important for you.
Finally, choose your top 3-5 from each category based on what you want and your budget, and call them for a consultation. This will allow you to get a better feel for them and a personalized quote for your wedding. If you find what you feel is your perfect vendor from these consultations, put down your deposit and move on to the next category. If you are still on the fence and can’t seem to make a decision, move on to the next category and come back to it. The important thing is that you can make the decisions without feeling pressured or frustrated with the process. Planning your wedding should be a wonderful experience. And always remember the experts are there to help you. There are many wonderful planners and vendors out there that can help you along the way.
After the Session: What happens to my pictures now?
When you are finished with a portrait session, there is still a lot of work to be done for the photographer. The first thing that will happen after you leave is that the photographer will transfer the photos from the camera memory to several places. The first is the computer where the editing process will take place, the second is the primary back up, which for us this is another drive in the main editing computer. Finally there is usually at least one other backup done, such as to a server or other memory. This is the most critical time because until the photographer feels the photos are safe, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong and the pictures could be lost.
Once the photographer is satisfied that the pictures are safe and backed up, then the initial culling process happens. This is where the photographer goes through the pictures and removes all those where the subject (that’s you) is blinking, moving, or talking so that their expression is not good. After this initial culling process, the photos are then cropped as necessary and put into a proof gallery. This gallery is then given to you in some form (most photographers do online proof galleries now) so you can choose which photos you like and would like digitally mastered. This whole process typically takes a couple days to a week after the photo session depending on how busy your photographer is.
After you have chosen your favorite portraits, the photographer then goes back and perfects those photos. This can be as simple as adjusting a color or as complex as creating specialty colors or skin adjustments. The timing of this part of the process really depends on the proofs and what you wish to have done to them. Next, the portraits are adjusted for printing and for viewing to maximize their beauty for whatever form you wish them in. It can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks to finish all these adjustments.
Finally, if you are having your portraits printed by the photographer then the printing process will begin. This again can vary depending on the number and size of prints you have ordered. This could be anywhere between a week and two weeks to get them all printed and shipped or delivered to you. If you ordered a high resolution CD or flash drive, then the pictures are burned onto the CD, which takes about an hour, and then it can be delivered to you.
If you are looking to save money overall, purchasing the HRCD with printing rights will save you money when you do want to make prints. Typically, whether the photographer is printing in-house or outsources printing to a professional lab, it is more expensive to print through the photographer than to have the prints done yourself. This is true for the lab we use as well. The wholesale cost to us as the photographer is more than they charge you as a consumer for the same service. Make sure you know what you are getting, however, as each photographer’s contract is different and will charge accordingly. There is a huge difference between getting printing rights or usage rights and getting the copyrights. Some people will insist that you MUST get the copyrights, but for most people, this is more expensive and more of a hassle than they would want.
This is a very generalized guide to what happens during a typical portrait session and is meant to help you be more comfortable with the process. The more comfortable you are, the better your portraits will be! I hope you have found it helpful.
During the Session
Now that you have all the details worked out, you are ready to head into the photography studio and get to the actual picture taking. This is why you originally called your photographer, but it can also be nerve racking, uncomfortable, and down right scary. Photographers know this and most will try to make the process as easy as possible while still working with you to help bring your vision of a family portrait to life.
If you have not done it before the session, the first thing that will happen is that you and your photographer will decide which backgrounds you would like to use. Most photographers will have several colored and/or patterned
backgrounds to choose from besides the standard black, white, and cream. This will help you choose an outfit if you brought more than one and will set the mood for your portrait. Solid black, white or cream backgrounds tend to be more serious and artistic, while colors and patterns can be used for both serious and more fun poses, giving them a bit more versatility.
Next, the photographer will have you sit or stand where you will be for your portraits and begin working with lighting. Lighting is a key ingredient to great portraits and it should take the photographer anywhere from 2-6 minutes to arrange things properly so you have the best lighting possible. This is also a great time for you to ask any questions you may have. This allows you not only to get even more of a feel for how the photographer works but also for you to relax a bit.
Being relaxed is one of the best things you can do to ensure your portraits will reflect the true you. A genuine smile can make a portrait and bring in that wow factor everyone desires, while a tense smile will show through and make you look rigid and unhappy. If the studio has the capability like ours does, you may wish to bring or request music to be played during your session which will help you be relaxed and more you.
Next comes the hardest part of the session, posing. Photographers will try to find the poses best suited for you, but this is where a little research beforehand can keep you in control of the photo shoot. Having 3 or 4 poses which you would like to try will help move things along and will give the photographer a really good idea of what you are looking for. Then the photographer may be able to suggest small changes or poses of a similar style which will complement you and still achieve the kind of portrait you are looking for.
Once you are posed, the photographer will begin taking the actual pictures. The biggest thing to remember during this time is that whatever you are feeling will come through in your eyes. You could have the greatest smile you have ever had, but it won’t matter if your eyes are saying you are uncomfortable or unhappy. A smile can be faked some of the time, what your eyes say cannot. This is why it is so important that you are comfortable with your photographer and why most photographers will ALWAYS suggest meeting before the actual photo session. The more comfortable you are, the more it will show through in your portraits and the better they will look.
Next time…Part three: After the portrait session
Previous blog: Part One: Before the Session
Before the Session
It is always advisable to meet with your chosen portrait photographer before your session for a consultation. Not only does this let you get comfortable with your photographer, but also allows you both to discuss what you are looking for in your portraits. Many people know that portraits, especially family portraits, are important and good to have, but they do not think beyond that. There are several elements to be considered before the session can begin.
Type of Photography:
The first thing to consider is what type of portrait photography you want. There are a few different kinds: traditionally posed, candid or lifestyle, artistically posed, and dramatically posed. Whichever of these photography themes you choose will have an influence on all of the other elements of the session.
Clothing and Accessories:
The next thing to consider is what to wear. This is not only dependent on what looks good on you, but also on the backgrounds you choose or that your photographer has and what you wish your photographs to look like. Most photographers will have a standard black, white, and cream background, as well as a few others. If you are outdoors in the green lush valley, you probably don’t want to be wearing green as you will blend in to your surroundings. You should discuss with your photographer what color combinations will go well with the type of photography you want.
Props and arrangements/must have list:
Finally, spend some time considering arrangements of subjects. For a single person getting portraits, this is more of considering any props you would like to have. Many people choose musical instruments or special gear/outfits. For a family or multiple families getting portraits, consideration should be given to groups. For example, for a family there are many different groupings you could have. In addition to a photo of everyone, there can be a picture of the parents only, the children as a group, and singles of each child. For multiple families, there are so many combinations it is important to consider them before you get into the session.
All of these things must be considered before a portrait session can begin, and if you wait until the day of the session, these decisions can cut into your session time. We offer a free consultation prior to the session to take care of these details without costing you session time. Even if you choose to take care of these details on the day of your session, be sure to consider them ahead of time as this will make the process faster and give you more time in front of the camera. After all, that is why you are there!
Next article…During the Session
So last night we had our monthly meeting of the Willamette Valley Wedding Professionals (WVWP) at Hubbard Chapel. The venue is so cute, and they have done so much work to the inside, it is well worth a look. Their pricing is extremely reasonable too. But what stood out to me from last nights’ meeting was the catering. Iggy’s Catering provided the meal and it was absolutely mouth watering. Even looking at the photos this morning had me craving more!
Ian (the owner) served us yummy roasted chicken under a hollandaise sauce with a slice of tomato and avocado, with a side of pasta and steamed broccoli. For dessert he served a light and fluffy vanilla mouse cake with chocolate shavings and a berry tort. I came away wanting more, and not for a lack of serving size. Just look at it and tell me you are thinking of eating some right now!
The best part is, I have had Iggy’s food several times now and have yet to have something mediocre. Everything Ian serves is absolutely delicious. He has a Hawaiian chicken he served at the Oregon Wedding Showcase this past January that was so good he ran out each day even after cooking more at the show.
If you have a wedding or event coming up soon and are looking for a caterer who has versatility, style, is an eco-friendly catering service, and still delivers a taste that makes your stomach dance with delight, call Iggy’s Catering.
There are many things to consider when looking for a wedding photographer, it can be very overwhelming. Before you go with the first person who has an opening, here are a few things to consider which can help you find your perfect wedding photographer.
With so much difference between the styles of wedding photography, it is important that the photographer you choose has a style you enjoy. While most couples will want a combination of styles, some find that they enjoy only one style, such as photojournalistic or artistic, and so should choose a photographer who specializes in this style. For those couples who like a combined style, consider hiring a pair of photographers who have different styles. There are many husband and wife teams where each photographer specializes in a different style (kind of like our team!). The key is to identify your favorite style or mix of styles and then to look for photographers who use those styles. A photographer’s portfolio(s) should be a really easy way to see their style. (For more information on styles see our blog article)
Once you have established a style you like, then comes the hardest part, finding photographers who are that style and finding out who has availability. Make a list of the top 5 photographers you like whose work is similar to the style you want and request availabilities from each of them. Then, try to schedule consultations with the top 3 of those photographers who have availability. You definitely want to meet with more than one photographer because …
At the consultation with your 3 chosen photographers, pay special attention to the chemistry between you, your fiancé, and the photographer(s). Does he/she/they make you feel comfortable? Are they easy to talk to? Do they easily visualize what you are describing? Do you feel you could spend the whole day with them and still be comfortable at the end of the day? All of these questions are very important because your photographer will most likely be spending a great deal of your special day with you. How comfortable you are with the photographer is especially important if you are looking to have “getting ready” pictures taken. You don’t want to have someone you aren’t comfortable with in your dressing room with you! Be sure to keep notes at each consultation so that you can go back after all of them are done and remember feelings, impressions, and likes/dislikes about each photographer.
Finally, I will mention price. While ideally price would not be an issue, we do not live in the ideal world. Price is important, and should be considered, but it should not be the first thing to shop for when choosing a photographer. It has been said many times before, but your photography is one of the only things that you will have left after the wedding, so getting someone of quality who you are confident will get you the pictures you desire is worth paying a little more for. Really, price should be something that is considered in the background of doing the first 3 steps. If you know you absolutely cannot afford to spend $6000 on wedding photography, then photographers with starting packages of $5000 are probably not going to be in your budget, so look cautiously at their sites. They can give you great information about styles and numerous other things, but they are probably not one you should call for availability when you get to that point. Keep in mind also, however, that many photographers make personalized quotes, so even though their range may seem a bit high or low for your budget, if you really like them it never hurts to ask. (For more information on photography budgets in Oregon, see our blog article)
In several of the last few articles posted, I have discussed the different styles of portrait photography without really describing what those styles are. I hope this article will shed some light on the subject (pun intended) and help you decide which style or combination of styles most fits you.
Traditional studio posed
When most people think of portrait photography, this is the style they are thinking of. This is where you go into a studio, have a solid or specialty backdrop, everyone is positioned around one family member (usually mom) and you all smile towards the camera. Although it has evolved some over the past century as photographic equipment has gotten better, for the most part this has become the staple of portrait photography and is consistent over different types of portraits (family, individual, business, etc.). There are some things which can be added into these types of photos which will spice them up but still keep the essentially a traditional studio shot. Some of these things include instruments, sports equipment, toys for children, or your family pet. This type of portraiture is still the most common, where you are posed by the photographer and they take the portrait of all of you looking at the camera.
Lifestyle and candid photographers are very common now. While they are not the same, they share many similar traits. Lifestyle photographers typically will take a subject, put them in an environment and will ask for eye contact while get photos in that setting. For example, when I do outdoor portraits with children I will usually employ a combination of posed and lifestyle photography. I try to take the child to a local park, will get some posed photography in the beginning in the lush greens, then will end at a playground where I only ask the child to look at me and smile when I ask for it. Otherwise I just follow the child around and capture photos of them doing what they love to do, play.
Candid photography is similar, except that there is no asking for eye contact. A candid photographer would take the child to the playground and get photos of them playing on the equipment, but would not get too many photos of the child looking at the camera.
The photojournalistic style has been greatly romanticized over the last 5 years or so. A true photojournalistic style is similar to lifestyle photography, but with a black and white touch and a “did our photographer even show up” feel. When you hire a photojournalist to document your wedding, their job is to observe without interference. If they have done their job correctly, you should see them when they arrive and when they leave, but not really notice them throughout the day. True Photojournalists do not ask you to look at the camera, do not edit much beyond conversion to black and white (besides maybe some contrast adjustments), and are excellent storytellers. You should be cautious to really get a good look at the work of photographers stating they are photojournalists, as it is rare to get a skilled photojournalist. There are many photographers who claim to be photojournalist but are really candid/lifestyle photographers. Photojournalistic wedding photography, is both an acquired taste and a hard skill to master, so if this style really speaks to you be prepared to pay more for a skilled photojournalist.
Artistic portraits are done with some specialty settings. It can either be your outfits, such as Victorian or western dress, lighting, such as all black except for your face, or it can be specialty tones such as sepia or selective desaturation. Any of these elements, and many others, can create an artistic feel to a photography session. All photographers are artists, but each photographer will develop their own style. This is again why it is important to research your photographer and find one whose style you like.
How much should I budget for wedding photography?
Creating a wedding budget is a very important, and very stressful, step in the wedding planning process. It can also be extremely difficult because there is such a range of prices for wedding services. In no service is this truer than wedding photography. Depending on where you live, wedding photography can start anywhere from $300 to $10,000! So what should you budget for your wedding photography? This is a question that only you can answer, but I hope this guide will help you either choose a budget, or if you have already chosen a budget to know what to expect from a photographer in your budget.
*Oregon Wedding budgets – This guide is geared toward Oregon couples, but the general guidelines can be applied to any area. Price ranges will be different*
Photography Budget: Under $1000
This is a small budget for Oregon. The key to working in this price-range is knowing that the quality of the photographer you will get for this price is poor to moderate. The further under $1000 you go the less likely you will be able to get a professional photographer for that price. A photographer in this range is most likely an amateur, beginner/student, or a part time photographer (meaning they have a job other than photography). If you are looking for professional quality photography, be cautious of photographers in this budget range. Many times they will try and entice you with offers of “all day photography and get all the photos on CD for $600!” What they are really saying is something like: ” I only do this for extra money, I have no insurance, I am not registered as a business, and if something goes wrong you are basically S.O.L.” This isn’t every photographer in this category, but be sure to ask about insurance and if they are a registered business. It is absolutely ok to ask for a federal EIN (employer identification number) and state registry number. If you ask, businesses are required to give this information to you and it is public record to look up the information on the business, so do your homework. You can also check out if the person/business has any complaints with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). If your budget is in this area then wedding photography is not one of your top priorities (which is ok, photography is not everyone’s top priority!) and you may want to look into photography students or young companies looking to build a portfolio.
Note on Craig’s List: Many times couples in this budget range will post on Craig’s list looking for less expensive photographers. Be careful when receiving responses to see a portfolio or know that you are taking a risk when you go with someone without a portfolio. You get what you pay for!
Photography Budget: $1000 – $3000
This is a good, mid-range budget which will allow you to hire a high quality photographer and receive a good number of pictures. You can get digital copies of pictures in this price range, or you will most likely receive a print credit if a CD is not included. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this range in Oregon so you can expect to hire a professional wedding photographer with a budget in this range. This budget infers you believe photos of your wedding are an investment in your memories. With so many choices within this budget range, it can be difficult to choose. I recommend our article Finding Your Perfect Photographer if you are having trouble choosing.
Photography Budget: Over $3000
This is a high budget, inferring you consider your wedding photography one of your top priorities. You will be able to hire an excellent photographer and build a package to suit your desires. You can expect some sort of digital files, whether that is a high resolution CD or a DVD slide show, in this price range. Also an album is most likely to be included at this price point. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this price range in Oregon, so finding a photographer in this price range should not be too difficult.
If you haven’t set a wedding photography budget yet, I hope this is helpful information which will help you decide which budget range you want to be in. If you have set your wedding photography budget, I hope this information helps clarify what to expect from a photographer in your budget range.
There has been quite a bit of debate recently about copyrights and who needs them, so I thought I would address it here. I will start by defining usage rights and copyrights so we are all on the same page. Usage rights are rights granted to an individual by an artist to use something for a specific purpose and for a particular period. Ok, now that that legal definition is out there, what does this really mean for your pictures?
Photographers who print your pictures typically give you usage rights in the form that you are allowed to own and display the picture for your own personal use, but nothing more. Photographers who offer digital images with your pictures are about the same, you can display it and have it for personal use only. Photographers who offer digital images and allow you to print offer you a bit more. There are a ton of variations to rights, far too many to cover in a blog post, so I will go over what we offer with our digital images.
Our digital images come with unlimited reproduction rights, or print rights. This means that you can print and give away as many as you like to friends and family for as long as you like and you will not have to pay us any more money. You can post the pictures on your Facebook ©, Myspace ©, Linkedin ©, blog, Flickr, etc. and do not need to seek permission first. The one restriction we place on our digital images is that you cannot use your pictures for personal/commercial gain, such as entering the pictures in a contest or selling them to a magazine, etc. For most people, they wouldn’t dream of using their portraits or wedding pictures this way, so it will never be a big deal. What we as the photographer keep is the ability to use your photo to advertise our business, such as in a gallery on our website or on our brochure.
Also, by keeping the general copyright, the photographer is the one who will deal with copyright issues such as a picture being stolen off the internet. So, for example, if you put your pictures up on the web and someone downloads your picture and uses it in an advertisement, then you would let the photographer know and it would be their responsibility to legally go after the person who did it. If you owned the copyright, then it would be your dollar being spent to sue the person/company who did it.
And therein lies the biggest difference between securing usage rights and copyrights (besides the large cost difference to you). If you wish to obtain the copyrights, then it is your responsibility to say who, where, when, and how your photos can be used, and it is also your responsibility to seek legal action if your rights are violated.
While this may be an appropriate option for a few people, most of you will not want this hassle. It would mean that every time your photographer wishes to use your photo, you would have to sign another contract giving them the ability for what they want to use the photo for. For the average person, this means a call from your photographer at least 5 times per year, one for each bridal/photo show they go to where they would like to display your picture, a call when it is time to print new marketing materials, a call each time they wish to show your beautiful photos to a potential client…the list goes on.
If the photographer gains permission to put your photo on their website, or you put it up on the web, it also means a call to your lawyer and possible court costs if and when you or your photographer notice someone has used your picture on their website without your permission, all on your dollar because you are the copyright holder. It would also be your responsibility legally to respond to each and every one of these calls because it is (usually) in the contract that you will respond in a timely manner. Also, expect to pay 2-10 times what you would pay typically for prints or a digital image if you want the copyrights. This is partially because of registering the copyrights with the federal government. This has varying costs depending on how you do it, so be prepared to add this cost in as well.
So, as stated earlier, securing copyrights is usually the right option for very few, as most people do not want all the hassle that copyrights come with. For the majority of people, knowing they can show off their pictures and, in purchasing the CD, can print as many as they wish to give away to friends and family is all they are looking for. Typically, the average user will not use their photos in a way that would cause problems if the copyright is held by the photographer so it is unnecessary for you to take on the added cost and responsibility unless you have special circumstances.
I believe where most of the push for copyrights has come from is people who run into not so professional photographers who do not give a courtesy call when they want to do a big advertisement. My brother ran into this when his senior picture was plastered, poster-sized around our local mall and he only found out when some of his friends started complementing him on his picture. While there really was no harm done, and I am sure the photographer meant none when he did it, it angered my brother enough that he called the photographer. The photographer apologized and took down the pictures to be nice.
Most reputable photographers (which this photographer was, he is still one of the premier photographers in our area for senior pictures, proving even the best make mistakes sometimes) will call clients before using their photos in such a large way. It is just good customer service. One more reason it is good to find a photographer you like and build a relationship with them. It then keeps their records up to date if they should ever need to contact you, helps you and your family relax when you need photos done, and opens the door for more communication so misunderstandings don’t happen as often.