Archive for July, 2010

I found this letter written by a bride on a website called “Offbeat Bride.” I am curious to hear feedback on this letter. What do YOU think? I want to know from the perspective of vendors, brides to be, photographers, or anyone!

*We’re ALL thinking it, but Becca, aka OBT member bmwbzz, finally came out with it. Since looking at photographer’s websites is part of our jobs here at Offbeat Bride, we ALL feel Becca’s pain.

Dear wedding photographers,

I think you’re swell but, as a whole, your websites suck.

First of all, turn the freaking music off. Seriously. I’m probably looking at your site at work and it’s hard to find the off button and I probably don’t like the music you picked nor do I care since I didn’t come to you for music. Don’t do it — it’s downright annoying!

Secondly, it should not take 100 years for your site or gallery to load. The best way to ensure this is to NOT USE FLASH! And while we’re on the subject of the gallery, how to move from one picture to another should be obvious to my grandmother and I should be able to peruse the thumbnails. I should also be able to use the keyboard or the scroller on my mouse to move through the pictures (which is another reason NOT TO USE FLASH!) Also, I’m pretty sure 75% of you all have the exact same Flash site re-branded. Stop it. Want something inexpensive? Try WordPress with a custom template design. [Editor's note: or even just a good pre-made theme.] And do NOT have your gallery or site pop-up! EVER!

Thirdly, don’t have your blog header take up the entire screen. I get confused and think there are no posts or something. And if you don’t have a blog with most of your current wedding previews, make one.

Fourthly, tell me how much you cost. I don’t care if you do “custom” packages, tell me how much your typical package is and what it includes.

Fifth, I’m probably going to post the photos on facebook. If you have a problem with this, the best way to handle it is to give me lo-res versions of all pictures with your watermark. Then everyone is happy.

Lastly, tell me WHERE YOU LIVE. I totally get that you want to travel and stuff but I’m not looking to pay for that so make it really obvious where you live and shoot weddings generally. Don’t make me look up your area code on google. Instead how about say “Chicago Wedding Photographer” instead of just “Wedding Photographer.”

Seriously I love you guys but weddings are stressful and photography is expensive, so make it a bit easier on us! True I’m already married and had an awesome photographer (with a great website!) but since I have three good friends getting married next year, I now have to look at all the sites again… and it’s annoying. It is also true that I develop web sites for a living and am probably more critical than most but really I’m trying to help!

Becca [and Offbeat Bride]

*After reading this letter and having some time to think about it, I decided to search out what the world’s top photographers are doing with their websites and this is what I found!

Bambi Cantrell-Flash and Music, Ben Chrisman-Flash and No Music, David Beckstead-Flash and Music, Dennis Reggie-Flash and No Music, Jim Garner-Flash and Music, Jose Villa-Flash and No Music, Sara France-Flash and Music, Karen Wise-Flash and No Music, Elizabeth Messina-Flash and No Music. To sum up my discovery, hands down ALL of these top photographers have Flash websites. It is almost half and half that have music and that don’t have music. I think that I am not going to worry so much about the letter and just keep on creating great images. I am however, going to take to heart the fact that I need to put where I am based out of! That is a great tip! I do have my prices listed and like anything in life, you have to do what works for you and your business!

100 Things I’ve Learned About Photography-Darren Rowse

Since I found photography two and a half years ago I have learned different things which I would like to share with you today. These lessons have made me richer and I hope that you will find them refreshing and inspiring on your journey with the camera, too.

1. Never do photography to become a rock-star.
2. Enjoy what you are shooting.
3. Prepare well for your shooting, realizing that your battery isn’t charge when you’re setting up for that sunrise shoot is too late!
4. Always take one warm garment more than you actually need with you
5. Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions while you are shooting
6. Set goals you can achieve
7. Write tips about photography, because writing is also learning
8. Never go shooting without a tripod
9. Be pleased with the little prosperities
10. Build relationships with potential photo buddies
11. Watch the place you want to shoot first with your heart then with the camera
12. Always stay calm
13. Know that you tend to overestimate yourself
14. Perspective is the killer
15. Dedicate yourself to photography, but never browbeat yourself too much
16. Take part in a photography community
17. Keep your camera clean
18. Never compare yourself to others in a better or worse context
19. Find your own style of photography
20. Try to compose more and to hit the shutter less
21. Seek out and learn to accept critique on your images
22. Do something different to recover creativity
23. Get inspiration from the work of other photographers
24. Criticize honestly but respectfully
25. Get feedback from your lady
26. Don’t copy other photographer’s style
27. Be bold
28. Take care of the golden ratio
29. 10mm rocks!
30. Take selfportraits
31. Read books about photography
32. To give a landscapephotograph the extra boost, integrate a person (maybe yourself)
33. Every shooting situation is different than you expect
34. Pay attention to s-curves and lines
35. Always shoot in RAW
36. Keep your sensor clean, so you can save some work cleaning your image in post production
37. Discover the things you think are beautiful
38. It takes time to become a good photographer
39. The best equipment is that what you have now
40. You can’t take photographs of everything
41. Break the rules of photography knowingly, but not your camera ;)
42. Pay attention to the different way that light falls on different parts of your scene
43. The eye moves to the point of contrast
44. Clouds increase the atmosphere of a landscape
45. Start a photoblog
46. Accept praise and say “thank you”
47. ‘Nice Shot’ is not a very useful comment to write
48. ‘Amazing!’ isn’t useful either. Try to describe specifically what you like or don’t like about an image.
49. You are not your camera
50. Ask a question at the end of your comment on a photo to get a ping-pong conversation with the photographer
51. Do a review of your archives on a regular basis, the longer you photograph – the more diamonds are hidden there
52. Always clarify what the eyecatcher (focal point) will be in your image
53. No image is better than a bad one
54. Everyone has to start little
55. Your opinion about photography is important!
56. Leave a funny but thoughtful comment
57. Speak about your experiences with your photo buddies
58. Limit your photograph to the substance
59. Participate in Photocontests
60. Post processing = Optimizing your image to the best result
61. Shoot exposure latitudes as often as possible
62. Use photomatix as seldom as possible, HDR’s always have a synthetic flavor
63. Always remember what brought you to photography
64. Never shoot a person who doensn’t want to be photographed
65. Always turn arround, sometimes the better image is behind you
66. It’s who’s behind the camera, not the camera
67. Mistakes are allowed! The more mistakes you make, the more you learn!
68. If you have an idea and immediately you think : No, this is not going to work – Do it anyway. When in doubt – always shoot.
69. Understand and look to your histogramm while shooting. It delivers very important information about your image
70. Know your camera, because searching the menu button in the night is time you don’t want to waste
71. Shoot as often as possible
72. Believe in yourself
73. Don’t be afraid of getting dirty
74. Pay attention to qualitiy in your image
75. Your photographs are a personal map of your psyche
76. Re-check your ISO-Settings. It’s aweful to detect the wrong settings on your screen.
77. Be thankful for long and thoughtful comments on your images
78. Never trust your LCD. Normally it is brighter and sharper as the original image.
79. Provide for enough disc space, because it’s cheap and you will need it.
80. Learn to enjoy beautful moments when you don’t have a camera with you.
81. Always arrive at least half an hour earlier before sunrise / sundown, composing in a hurry is a bad thing.
82. Try to amplify your mental and physical limits. Takes some extra shots when you think “it’s enough”
83. Pay attention to structures in the sky and wait until they fit into structures in the foreground
84. Visit the same place as often as possible. Light never shows the same mountain.
85. Print your images in big size. You will love it.
86. Calibrate your monitor. Working with a monitor that is not accurate is like being together with someone you can’t trust. It always ends badly.
87. Don’t think about what others may say about your image. If you like it, it’s worth publishing.
88. Never address reproaches to yourself. Learn from your mistakes and look forward, not backward.
89. Fight your laziness ! Creativitiy comes after discipline.
90. Ask yourself : What do you want to express in your images ?
91. Always try to think outside the box, collect new ideas about photographs you could do and ask yourself : Why not?
92. Search for a mentor.
93. Photography is never a waste of time.
94. Every community has it’s downsides. Don’t leave it out of an emotional response.
95. There will always be people who will not like what you are doing.
96. Henri Cartier-Bresson was right when he said that “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
97. A better camera doesn’t guarantee better images.
98. Always have printing in mind when you postprocess your images.
99. Photography is fair : You gain publicity with the quality of your images. Unless the images are stolen, there is no way of cheating yourself higher.
100. Write a 100 things list

The Engagement Session
The Bridal Session

The Wedding LuncheonThe TempleThe Reception

As a photographer, the one thing I think that makes me LOVE my job more than anything is the way I feel after working with a couple from the first time I meet them all the way to watching them (sometimes with teary eyes) leave in the getaway car.  This couple was no exception, but enough about what I think…without further ado here is their bio on their wedding experience.

The one thing I learned……

I learned many things in planning my wedding.  One of which was that everything lies in the details.  It sure didn’t seem too difficult when planning the basic things like what food to have, who to invite, etc.  However when it came down to actually getting things done, there were so many details that we hadn’t even considered, and these details were important and time consuming.

It is so important to think of all the little details so that you aren’t scrambling around the week of, or even the day of the wedding, trying to finish things up.  So while you may be used to procrastinating in school work or other things, do not procrastinate with the detailed wedding plans…you want to be able to relax and enjoy this special day, not stress over things that aren’t complete.

How I came up with the theme…..

I have always enjoyed things that are a vintage or classic.  So, when it came to the theme of our wedding, it was pretty simple.  I was lucky enough to find my dream dress the first time I went looking.  The color was great and with just a few alterations, it was perfect.  Along with the perfect dress, I chose to incorporate beautiful peacock feathers, which are definitely classic/vintage and went perfect with my wedding colors.  We decided to keep everything else fairly simple since our family would be doing most everything for the reception.

My favorite part of the wedding……

Our favorite part of the wedding was a special few minutes we were able to spend together before the ceremony in the temple.  We just relaxed, enjoyed each others company and pondered on the importance of what was about to take place.

A few other highlights of this special day were: the photo/video shoot with Andrea Hanks and Nate Pickett (they did such a great job making us feel so important), being surrounded by people who care so much about us and support us, and, of course, dancing together at the end of the beautiful day.  Oh and I guess I shouldn’t leave out the sweet tender mercy of good weather when we needed it (it stormed right after our luncheon up until a couple hours prior to the start of our reception).

How Nick and I met……

Nick and I met at a summer activity of a student singles ward.  I had just returned from a mission to Costa Rica and one of my best friends invited me to her ward camping activity at Lava Hot Springs…….

Shortly after the campout we started dating and nine months later Nick took me to The Needles restaurant at the top of Snowbasin and proposed in front of a huge fireplace.

Our proposal story…go to for our full proposal story.

What I would do differently……

Plan for the worst.  Some things didn’t work out how I planned and then I was scrambling at the last minute because there wasn’t enough time.  Case in point:  the dress alterations.  The seamstress hired to do the alterations didn’t pull through and I had two days until my bridal pics!!!  Luckily my amazing mother put my dress back together and it all worked out. I wish my mom would have done the alteration in the first place.  We would have saved all the stress and money we wasted.


Cake – Bowman’s Market Bakery
Food – Pennie Whipple (mom)
Wedding Dress – David’s Bridal w/ alternations by Pennie Whipple
Tuxes – Stuft Shirt Tuxedo Emporium
Flower Girl Dresses – Stewarts
Photographer – Andrea Hanks
Make-up – Bride
Hair – Cultures Salon
Ceremony – Bountiful Temple
Luncheon –The Canterbury
Reception – Tuscan Ridge courtyard in South Ogden

Do you use ShootQ and love it? Do you use Pictage and love it? Well…I am SOOOO thrilled to spread the word that Pictage has recently acquired ShootQ! If you have any questions on why I love either one of these services please feel free to ask! Cheers!

This is a letter from Pictage CEO Jim Collins

This month I’m writing for a special reason. After many weeks of planning and conversation, Pictage has acquired ShootQ. This is exciting news for us and I’m sure it will be for you as well. The reason for the acquisition is pretty straight forward—Pictage’s mission is to become a one-stop shop for Photographers seeking help in their professional pursuit. Up to this point, our products and services—with some minor exceptions—only provided solutions for post-shoot activities. ShootQ on the other hand has solutions that are almost entirely pre-shoot in nature. The overlay of the two companies from a product perspective is a no brainer. But that’s not the reason we did this deal.

The main reason is that when we met with Andrew, Rachel, and Jonathan, the managing triumvirate of ShootQ, we were very impressed with their vision and passion in serving their photographer customers. Early on, Rachel described this as a Co-Op and that’s pretty much the way we see it as well. Adding their experience as successful photographers, along with the product they’ve created to the quilted fabric of Pictage, gives us a better sense of the customers we serve. That they are pretty fearless about voicing their own opinions about things we can do better only sweetens the deal.

I’ve often told people that I did not come to Pictage to do a small thing. I’m here to do a big thing. My vision is to create a solution and service set that makes it difficult for professionals NOT to use us. If we can give you the level of flexibility you seek and combine that with rock solid reliability in every facet of our business, and give you an array of community and educational offerings that allows you to broaden your vision and your business, I think we can do that. That’s what we’re going to do. This is a big step.

If you are interested in more details, please visit the Q&A on the Pictage forums.

I look forward to seeing you on the road.

Until then, Onward!


Jim Collins
Pictage, Inc.