Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Why are my photos taking so long?"

Ok, so this is probably going to be a long one.  As made obvious from the far-spaced dates on these blog posts, I never get on here.  My Facebook page is mostly abandoned and I can’t even remember my Twitter login info.  Why?  I’m working.  Editing, retouching, and designing.  And I don’t feel comfortable taking time to write or post images of cool wedding shoes while people are anxiously waiting for their photos.  But I can justify taking the time for this post.  Which brings me to a question I’m often asked and the point of this post...”Why are my photos taking so long?”

I have a very long turn around time, considerably longer than most wedding photographers. I do make a point of stating that fact upon meeting couples who inquire about my services, I explain why,  and the response at the time is usually something along the lines of “oh, that’s not a problem; we’ll be in no hurry - we want our pictures to be awesome!” Fast forward a bunch of weeks after the wedding and suddenly the anticipation of seeing the photos becomes reminiscent of Al Bundy waiting for a pizza.** And it distresses me greatly that my slogan has become “I promise they’ll be worth the wait.”

Over the years, I’ve sought out advice in regard to how to cut down my delivery time and was often told not to waste so much time retouching and not to deliver so many images.  I’ve attempted both, but with no success.  Why?  I’m attached to the images, so it’s difficult to edit them down to a more manageable number.  I’ve also tried to hold back on the retouching and to be satisfied with “good enough,” but “good enough” doesn’t let me sleep well at night.  Beside how off-putting I find the statement “the client won’t know the difference”, I’ve learned they bloody well do.  It’s why I’ve been hired in the first place.  I want my clients to look how they felt on their wedding day - beautiful, handsome, radiant, happy. As a human being it crushes me when someone looks at themselves in a wonderful moment in a photograph and all they see is the zit on their chin or the exit sign glowing obnoxiously over their an artist, I simply cannot allow that to happen when it involves my work. 

I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out the obvious - I wasn’t seeking advice and input from the right people - my clients.  Recently I’ve spoken openly to a few of my clients about the situation.  While thankfully, they felt the photos were well worth the wait, I would much prefer to spare anyone the frustration of having to do so.  The fact is, in order to speed up the process, something must be sacrificed.  I asked what they would have preferred: less finishing on the images or waaay fewer images. While it was not an easy question to answer, the consensus was "quality over quantity.” Music to my would disturb me to no end to deliver something I feel is less than my best.  One of my lovely brides reaffirmed that she hired me as an artist and it was my attention to detail that made me stand apart.  I owe her big-time; what she said to me changed how I view what I do. While wedding photography is a commercial art, I am not satisfied nor fulfilled by just churning out an acceptable “product.”  For once someone told me it’s OK to be a perfectionist and to go forward in this field as an artist. 

So with this new perspective, changes are going to be made.  Instead of delivering the usual overwhelming quantity of images, the number will be cut to a few hundred polished and fine tuned images that still fully tell the story of the wedding day and provide enough variety. Of course there will be plenty of images representing family and guests, awesome moments, the details - but they’ll simply be the best of the best and finished out as such.

These changes will also allow me to be more flexible with my commission rates, since much of what is being paid for is the time it takes to process the images after the wedding.  Less post processing time will also allow me to be available to take on a few more weddings during the year and should also improve my communication and service (ie I’ll be able to tackle email and phone calls before the day runs out of hours or I run out of steam!)

In short (haha, never!), I want my clients to have the best art I can create and I want them to anticipate it with excitement, not frustration. Art takes time and quality over quantity appears to be the long awaited answer.  I’ll be sure to update when our new commission rates are ready!

** Al Bundy waiting for pizza : season 5, episode 5, about 5 min into the show...totally hilarious.  Really...look it up.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photos for the holidays!

Aaaaaaand the holiday season is yet again upon us!  The stores are full of the overpowering scent of artificial cinnamon, we get to hear umpteen cheesy versions of Frosty the Snowman every day, and thoughtful parents mace and stab each other in order to save twenty bucks on an xbox (their children must be so proud!)  The holidays are crazy...

...and so is the studio!  Many of our couples have asked for updates on their images to see if they'll have photos to share with their families during the holidays, so I thought it would be a good idea to let you know what we're up to here on the blog instead of sending out a bunch of emails.  The majority of our weddings this year were in the latter half of the season and we just wrapped up last weekend.  So it's been go-go-go since August!  Earlier this year, we overhauled our workflow and so far, we've been able to deliver several weeks earlier than the typical turn around times.  So even though we've been very busy bees, things are actually going well! 

That said, we are working around the clock to not only make sure the weddings that are due before the holidays are done and delivered to you on time, but also to make sure our other holiday deadlines are met as well, which is quite a challenge, given that everyone in this industry is in the same kind of time crunch! 

Believe me, the editing of your images is not a process you want rushed and out of respect for all my couples, I must work on them in order.  However I will do my best to make it possible for you all have something to show or send to your families in time for the holidays.  Once the weddings that are due beforehand are complete, my plan is to select a handful of sneak-peek images as well as family portraits to edit and have online for all of you who's images aren't due until later.  Just a little something to hold you over!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yirae + Josh Get Married! {by Kitty}

Here's a look at Yirae & Josh's fun and gorgeous wedding at Darby House!

See that amazing dress?  Yirae's mom worked a miracle resizing it to fit her...that's some serious skill!  Caroline and I walked into the room and went "oooOOOOooooh!" in unison.

Awesome stuff: perfect light and a couple who can't stop smiling at each other.

See those lovely ladies in the middle above?  Those are Yirae's grandmothers who came all the way from Korea for the wedding.  They're super cute.
Thanks to all that's holy for auto-focus moment: Yirae's and Josh's self-written vows.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.
Korean wedding traditions: there's a lot of bowing to honour family members...which requires assistance while wearing such outfits!  In the center image, you'll see Yirae & Josh holding chestnuts and dates on the white cloth - these have been slung these into the air by their moms and however many they catch on the cloth predicts how many children they will have.  A good laugh was had...if memory serves, they'll be the parents of nine.  At the end of the ceremony, Josh carries his bride away on his back as a sign of his strength.
Happy Kitty moment: Josh emailed me a few days before the wedding mentioning how they've noticed there's a distinct style difference between my lifestyle wedding work and my editorial fashion work.  He asked if I would do some of their portraits with a combination of both.  Yeay!  I LOVE shooting in black and white as opposed to turning it that way later in post.

Favorite Details: Yirae's hand-stamped favor boxes and seating cards,  snack sized boxes of Pad Thai, bountiful and beautiful desert table, and the combination of fall textures with soft end of summer colours.

At the end of each wedding, we always ask the couple if there's anything else they'd like us to get.  Glad they said yes and requested a few shots on the darkened terrace. 

Congratulations, Yirea & Josh!  We had a great time! :)

{venue ~ Darby House }

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Jennifer + Dwayne Get Married! {by Kitty and Caroline}

Everyone knows I can't make a long story short.  Neither can Caroline.  Well, neither can Jennifer or Dwayne and our very first very long meeting was chock full of hilarious stories about how they met, dating dramas, the proposal, and how while Jennifer loves surprises, she simply must sabotage every surprise Dwayne plans for her.  Our faces hurt by the time we got to the business aspect of things and in the end, they didn't want to decide between Caroline and me, so they hired us both.  Which was funny because both Caroline and I were sitting there secretly hoping "I hope they pick me! I hope they pick me!" and we both got our wish.

Favorite getting ready things: Jennifer's delicate hair fascinator, her laugh which is unique and hearty and made us smile every time we heard it (which is quite often), her mom crying and laughing at the same time watching Jennifer put on her dress, and the bridesmaids teasing Jennifer for being so conscious of her grooming - she puts perfume on her feet.  Personally, I think that's fabulous. :)

 Favorite thing about their portraits: feeling like a lazy bug. Caroline shot J+D's engagement photos and when I looked at them, I had to ask if it was as easy as it looked.  To which she answered "they are just CRAZY about each other!"  So we just stuck them together and started shooting.  I kept thinking "should I tell them to do something?!?...nahhh...this is what it's all about."
 Biggest challenge of the day: group portraits.  Dwayne has 13 siblings.  All the boys are D's all the girls are K's...and he can name them's quite a party trick.  Many of them have families of their own, so some of the extended family shots had upwards of about 35 people in them.  We would like to extend our thanks to everyone for their patience. :)
 Favorite ceremony detail: bagpiper on the hill in the distance.  Very cool.

 Awesome reception stuff: chocolate fountain, rustic fall decor, sparkly lights behind the dance floor.

 Kitty Hangs Her Head in Shame Moment: I love the Chicken Dance.  (There...I've said it...publicly.) I think it's hilarious.  Many small children at this wedding and lots of adults not afraid to act childlike on the dance floor.  This particular Chicken Dance was awesome...if not nearly dangerous. haha

Funny stuff: when one of Dwayne's toddler nephews attempted to assist with the garter removal.  That little guy is going to be trouble. :)
Amazing thing: I have not received one single email from Jen asking when her photos would be ready.  For someone who is very conscious of her tendency toward being impatient (we had a good laugh about this) I am very very impressed.  Not wishing to make her wait one more moment, I'm going to stop here and hit "publish."

Jennifer's dress: Enzoani @ Toulas Bridal - Canfield, Ohio / Jennifer's hair: In Style Salon - Attica, Ohio / venue: Mohawk Golf & Country Club - Tiffin, Ohio / flowers: Schuster's Flower Shop - Upper Sandusky, Ohio / cake: Willis Cakes by Diane - Marion, Ohio

Friday, October 21, 2011

Andrea + Jeff Get Married! { by kitty }

I clearly recall my first meeting with Andrea... which was all of 30 minutes, if memory serves.  It was very clear that the wedding was going to be a small, intimate, no fuss, relaxed get together.  And that it was!

The dress: Wow. Pink!  Love it.

Fun moment: Andrea giggling during the bridal portraits due to feeling like a "fake model"...when in fact, she did a fantastic job.

 Favorite thing about Andrea & Jeff's portrait session: they are excellent cuddlers and easily make each other laugh.  Second favorite thing: their little son in his teeny suit.
 The aesthetics melded seamlessly into the Bridal Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory.  Everything was soft and light and airy.  Caroline and I couldn't stop taking photos of the arrangements by TeAmo Flowers and the ephemera by On Paper.

Fabulous thing: flavored lemonaid and punch outside for guests before the ceremony.  Great idea for hot wedding days!
 Practical thing: Ohio weather is about as predictable as a wild animal and the forecasts change by the minute.  It looked like it would hold off, but there in the middle of the ceremony, it decided to rain.  I keep that pretty antique brolly in my car for such occasions and I was glad to have it on hand - Andrea and Jeff braved through the shower and continued on.  Funny moment: the officiant asking "Can I put this down now? My arm's getting tired!" - the rain had stopped about 5 minutes beforehand. :)
 More fabulous things: calligraphied favor bags doubling as seating cards, macarons, little suitcases full of fun "busy" toys for the kids.
 "Awww" moment: Andrea and Jeff finishing their first dance with their son in their arms.

Andrea's dress: Vera Wang, spring 2011 - Bridal and Formal, Cinci / Andrea's hair: Beth Seitz / Andrea's makeup: Leigh Ann Ehmann / venue: Franklin Park Conservatory / flowers: TeAmo Flowers via Flowers on Orchard Lane / cake: Jan Kish ~ La Petite Fleur / macarons: Pistacia Vera / invitations, programs, etc: On Paper

Mary + Josh Get Married! {by Kitty}

So um, the images from Mary & Josh's beautiful wedding have been sitting here forever waiting for me to write commentary.  And I've said this (to myself and on this blog) several times before - I'm not hired for my writing skills and I'd much rather the images tell the story themselves.  However, I don't really want to be so impersonal (because while I'm a spectator, it's still personal to me) as to simply post images and say nothing, I'm going to try something new: Cliff Notes.  It will be funny to see if I can make a long story short (verbally, at least.) :)

So...Mary and Josh:

Great Idea: Mary gave her bridesmaids these beautiful matching kimono style robes to wear while they were getting ready.  You'll have to wait for the slideshow to see them (and I plan to make a "where to get them" post in the near future) but it really made for pretty photos!

Awesome thing about the ceremony: Very accommodating priest who allowed us to use common sense and good taste in regards to moving about the church to get good angles.  There was also a fair amount of laughter (and plenty of tears in the pews.)  Mary's mom's face as she watched her come up the aisle was priceless (that's a slideshow moment...)

Favorite thing about Mary and Josh's portrait session: they never stop kissing. :)

Second favorite thing: they weren't afraid to get their feet wet or dirty.

Best decor detail: of them.  Pretty, pretty, pretty!
See that lovely lady in the second photo from the left?  That's Mary's mom watching the first dance. Favorite quote of the day: Mary saying how her mom and grandma are her two favorite ladies in the world.

Thoughts as I left the building: I wonder how badly Mary and Josh's faces are going to hurt from smiling and kissing all day. :)

Mary's dress: Amsale, Bridal and Formal, Inc, Cinci / Mary's hair: Angella Williams / Mary's makeup: Nicole @ Mukha / church: St. Michael's in Worthington / reception venue: Columbus Athenaeum / flowers: Flowers On Orchard Lane / cake: Christina Jones @ Bella Luna Cakes / custom printed ephemera: Jennifer Teitt

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mary + Josh ~ Sneak Peek! {by Kitty}

Mary and Josh leave tomorrow for their honeymoon, so again, I want to get a few up here before they take off!  More photos coming soon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Meredith + Joe Get Married! {by Kitty}

HI!!  Well, Meredith and Joe are leaving tomorrow (today, technically) for their honeymoon and I want to send them off with some photos of their wedding from this past weekend.  I'll be back to add some very fond thoughts of the day, but right now I just want to get these up!  So...more later!

Ok, but one thing: Gold star to the first person to leave a comment guessing what the song is that induced the last couple of images!  

Mere's dress: Girls in White Dresses / Mere's hair: Kat @ Penzone's on N. High / Mere's makeup: Jade @ Penzone's on N. High / Joe's tux: JCrew / venue: Athletic Club of Columbus / flowers: Snap Dragon / cake: Lady Di Cakes / custom printed ephemera: On Paper