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Featured Couple: Jenny & Janine

Their Love Story…

 

“We met at a summer camp for children in Cold Spring Harbor, NY the summer of 2008,” says Jenny. “We were both camp counselors.” Jenny and Janine are long Island Natives and still live there today.
 

Their Proposal…

 

Jenny said yes in July of 2015. She says, “We spent a week at the shore in our favorite beach spot Rehobeth Beach, DE. I went to the University of Delaware for my undergraduate degree and we have a lot of memories from many fun-filled weekends at the beach. On our return trip home from vacation, we stopped at the University of Delaware to walk the campus, visit with old friends who stayed in the area, and bought some new college sweatshirts from the college bookstore just like old times. We ate lunch on Main Street and then decided to walk the large campus green. Janine got down on one knee under a huge oak tree in front of my favorite college historic dorm. I cried, and of course, I said yes! We had been together already 6 years prior. I was completely surprised!”
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

Photo Credit: J.Ferrara Photography

“The Hudson Valley is near and dear to my heart,” says Jenny. “My grandparents lived in Cornwall-on- the- Hudson their entire lives. I spent many summers, holidays and special occasions at my grandparents’ house. In 2014 my grandfather passed away, their beloved home, which my grandfather built by hand, was sold, and the Hudson Valley is the one place in the world I can still feel close to him. There is something about the Hudson River and the mountains and the smell of the air of there that I feel his presence. Having our wedding at the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast was a no-brainer. We wanted a long weekend wedding celebration with our immediate families, just 15 people. We rented every room in the entire main house for the weekend.”
 

Wedding Theme…

 

Jenny and Janine had a small wedding with a rustic, autumn theme full of simple, elegant touches
 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Jenny says, “When I met my soon-to-be wife under the most beautifully decorated fall gazebo under the bluest clear sky. It was a picture perfect weather day.”
 

Advice for Engaged Couples…

 

Jenny says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. The magic of the day passes so quickly so savor every moment. Everything will fall into place.” She also says to “Laugh a lot. It’s a good stress reliever.”
 

Vendors…

 

Venue: The Caldwell Bed & Breakfast, Salisbury Mills, NY

Photography: J. Ferrara Photography, Cornwall, NY

Dessert: Jones Farm, Cornwall, NY

Rehearsal Dinner: Billy Joe’s Ribworks, Newburgh, NY

Centerpieces and Bouquets: hand-made by Jenny
 

Photo Credit to all J. Ferrara Photography

 

 

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Expert Advice For Finding Perfect Photo Locations

I remember when my husband and I were planning our wedding, I spent hours looking for perfect locations for photos.  I scoured Pinterest endlessly pinning wedding photos of every kind…outdoor photos, indoor photos, posed photos, and everything in between. Then my husband and I made a list of all the places we wanted to go to get photos that would give us the desired look we found in all those Pinterest photos.
 

Through no fault of our own, we had a 3-hour gap between our ceremony and reception, so we thought we had all the time in the world. In fact, one of the places we thought about going for photos was 40 minutes away from our wedding and reception.
 

 

When we finally got our list complete and felt it was good enough to show our photographer, he stood in silence for a few minutes. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking, but we could tell right away that we had no idea what we were doing and that our lack of knowledge cost us a ton of time, time we could have used doing other things.
 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Once our photographer had time to process our list, he broke it down and rationalized what we gave him. He gave us the best advice we ever received. Keep the list small, keep the list simple, and keep the list local. While three hours was a long time, it actually did go by very fast, which he warned us it would. We narrowed down our list from 6 locations, two three, one of which was the church.
 

Apparently, choosing too many locations is a common mistake couples make. So, we asked Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography, for advice on how to find perfect wedding photo locations:
 

Keep locations close

 

“It has become standard for most weddings to occur in either one or two main locations,” says Leman. “Either both ceremony and reception in one spot, or ceremony in one location, and reception in another. As much as possible, I would recommend staying in one main location for photos. Traveling between a few different places for photos, especially with families and wedding party groups, can cost precious time on a wedding day.”
 

You’ll be surprised how many photos/poses you’ll be taking at each location, and all the little nooks within a location you’ll find for your photo, so there’s no need to drive all over town to find the perfect spot.
 

RELATED: 5 WAYS TO GET BEAUTIFUL WEDDING PHOTOS ON A TIGHT BUDGET

 

Look for at least one outdoor spot

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

“If your ceremony and/or reception location is really not conducive to photographs,” says Leman,”I would recommend finding a great outdoor spot that:
 

1) Has enough space for the entire wedding party and family, if needed, and
 

2) Has open shade, and the ability for at least a semblance of privacy so you do not have meanderers in the background of your photos (local and state parks are great for wedding photographs, but sometimes picnickers will be around – just be aware!).”
 

Keep in mind that locations can change

 

Leman says, “One location may look amazing in summer, but it will be a totally different story in the winter! And, keep in mind that some locations change occasionally; for example, if you are counting on an open field, and a developer buys it, they may start to build on your awesome space before your wedding day (this does happen)! It’s important to take a peek at your photo location just prior to your wedding to ensure that it is as you expected it to be.”
 

Pay attention to permits

 

Leman says “If you do choose a location besides your ceremony/reception spot, make sure you don’t need permits to shoot there. If you do, make sure you request them as soon as possible to ensure that you won’t run into any snafus on your wedding day. Keep in mind that ordering a permit is often the responsibility of you as the client, rather than the photographer – take a peek at your photographer’s contract to be sure of where this responsibility lies!”
 

So, we want to know, what locations have you chosen for your wedding photos? Did that list change at all?

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

 

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How To Get Great Wedding Photos In All Kinds Of Weather

by Doug Madden, Duetimage Photography
 

 

“Don’t be angry with the rain. It simply doesn’t know how to fall upwards.” — Vladimir Nabokov
 

It’s not going to rain on your wedding day!
 

How do we know that?
 

Because that’s what the Knot and Wedding Wire and Style Me Pretty and every other blog in the universe tells us. Just look at all those real wedding photos. Not a drop of rain anywhere. All those real weddings are outdoors, under sunny blue skies, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance.
 

Wait a minute — Santa Monica Mountains?
 

If you’re a SoCal bride, the odds are in your favor that you’ll have sunny blue skies. But if you’re a Hudson Valley bride, there’s a very big chance that your wedding day could have less than desirable weather conditions.
 

Here are some of our tips for getting the most out of your wedding photography in rain, snow, and — yes — full sun.
 

Taking Shelter

 

Rain is a major game changer because everything you might’ve planned for the outdoors has now got to happen indoors. Your imagery will then depend a lot on your photographer’s ability to handle artificial light.
 

Quite often in the wedding photography business, you will hear photographers say things like “I prefer to shoot in natural light” or “I only work with natural light because flash looks too artificial.” In some cases, this comes out of an aesthetic value that is genuine because honestly, nothing beats “Mr. Sunshine”. But in most cases, I think this statement can be translated to mean: “I don’t know how to shoot with a flash”.
 

Light has a mind of its own. It bounces off walls, ceilings, and floors. It reflects off bright clothing or gets gobbled up by dark fabrics. With the sun as your sole light source, you always know where it is and where the shadows are. But when a flash tries to take over the job, especially indoors, there are a lot of unknowns. Your photographer’s experience will help him or her envision what that flash will do once it is fired. There’s a lot of brainpower that goes into the mathematical calculations required for a good exposure. For photographers who like working with artificial light, this is a challenge they eagerly await. For natural light photographers, however, this is a task to be avoided.
 

If you’re concerned about rain, it’s a good idea to have an honest conversation with your photographer. Ask how they feel about shooting indoors if rain forces you inside. Also, look at their portfolios. How many indoor images do they show? The number will tell you a lot. If every shot you see is taken outdoors on a sunny day, your real concern is not just rain: it is really about how well your photographer will handle all aspects of indoor photography (like your reception coverage).
 

RELATED: 7 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IF SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS YOUR WEDDING DAY

 

snow wedding photo

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

Snow is Your Frenemy

 

Snow, like rain, can force you indoors when it’s really bad. But when it’s a gentle snowfall or after it has already accumulated, it can be magical.
 

First, let’s talk about the magical. Snow changes landscapes and compositions. It brightens things up with a certain glow and brings purity to your imagery.
 

Put a lot of thought into your outerwear if you’re planning a winter wedding. Furry wraps, fluffy scarves, headwear will all have a role to play in your look. Do you want to be Elsa the Ice Princess, or Lara from Doctor Zhivago? Footwear is a practical decision as well as a fashion decision. Bring along some nice winter boots for any outdoors photos then switch over to your glass slippers for the indoor portion of your event.
 

Pinterest has a motherload of ideas for props and things to do in the snow, but here, off the top of my head, are a few ideas for posed imagery:

     

    1) Make a miniature snow bride and a snowgroom as self-portraits

    2) Trace your name and wedding date in a field of snow

    3) Toss some powdery snow into the air and let it come down like confetti.

 

As for the ugly side of snow, the things you need to be concerned about are mostly financial. If a blizzard strikes on your day, you and your guests won’t likely make it to your venue. Make sure that your photographer’s retainer refundability is spelled out. In the event of snow cancellations, our studio will honor your booking for another day. Other vendors and venues have their own policies regarding snow cancellations. Wedding insurance is a VERY good idea for winter weddings, and we can’t stress that enough.
 

Sunshine: Too Much of a Good Thing

 

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

We all have an assumption that all’s well when the sun is shining on your wedding day. But as we all know, there can often be too much of a good thing.
 

For photographers shooting in strong sunlight, especially at midday, there is the problem of strong shadows. In such situations, photographers will try to compensate with reflectors or flashes, or seek shade in which to take pictures. But an even better way to deal with the issue is to schedule portraiture for hours when the sun is not directly overhead.
 

RELATED: 4 AWESOME BENEFITS OF DOING A FIRST LOOK

 

If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, be careful to check which direction your audience will be seated in relation to the officiant. If your officiant will be standing with the sun directly at his or her back, your photographer (just like your guests) will be staring directly into the sun. This can create flares in your imagery which can be pesky; sometimes they look great, sometimes they can blow out an image. If you have control over your outdoor ceremony staging area, take steps to minimize a bright sun from upstaging your nuptials.
 

Finally, hot sun can cause discomfort, makeup fails, and health issues. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, make sure you and your guests have plenty of sunscreen. Brides should consider makeup with UV protection and which stands up well to perspiration. Make sure water is readily available for everyone, and for those senior citizens on your guest list, try to make sure there are umbrellas or some other forms of shade available.
 

Embrace Mother Nature .. and Your Photographer

 

It would be wonderful if we had total control over the weather. But as we are mere mortals, that’s just a fantasy. The final and best piece of advice we can offer is to trust your photographer’s creative instincts to use undesirable weather to your advantage. If you’re comfortable with getting wet, cold, or sunburnt for great images, go for it.
 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

 

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4 awesome benefits of doing a first look

I have to admit, I’m a bit superstitious. When I was getting married, the idea of doing a first look was a very new trend, and one my husband and I quickly dismissed. We were always told that seeing each other before your ceremony was extremely bad luck.

 

In the years that followed, and as the trend got bigger and bigger, we realized that, superstition aside, doing a first look would have been kind of cool to do. To have a private moment, just the two of us, would have been really very special.

 

As our photo summit continues, we asked Alicia King of Alicia King Photography to share some of the benefits that come with doing a first look, besides a private, romantic moment.

 

 

Doing a first look saves time

 

“Have more time to focus on pictures of the two of you,” says King. Scheduling time for photos of just the two of you saves you more time later in the day. If your reception is directly after your ceremony, you can go straight to your reception without having to be pulled away for photos. “You get to enjoy cocktail hour, as does family and wedding party if it’s all done beforehand,” says King.

 

Enjoying cocktail hour, not just for the food, is a great benefit of doing a first look. King says. “You have more time to spend with your loved ones who have traveled from near and far to see you.” Often times couples have to take time out of their dinner to greet guests, whereas doing a first look eliminates that step giving you have more time to enjoy your reception and more time to talk to those you love.

 

RELATED: HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD YOU ALLOW IN YOUR DAY FOR WEDDING PHOTOS?

 

Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

Doing a first look reduces stress, nerves, and anxiety

 

Additionally, King says “You get to see each other up close instead of from down an aisle for the first time that day.” It really gives you a chance to look at each other and tell each other how wonderful they look. You put a lot of time and effort into choosing your perfect gown and doing a first look gives your spouse the chance to admire your gorgeousness!

 

Doing a first look does not diminish the emotion of the ceremony

 

Some might think that doing a first look might take away from the “magic” of seeing each other for the first time at the altar. “It doesn’t take away from the ceremony at all,” says King. “I’ve had multiple couples do a first look and then get extremely emotional during the ceremony itself.”

 

Seeing each other beforehand is one thing, but when you are in front of all your loved ones, with the music playing and your bridal party all in formation, it gives you a different energy and emotion altogether.

 

RELATED: 4 EXTRA BENEFITS OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Doing a first look helps you get better photos

 

From a photographer’s viewpoint, doing a first look has many benefits. King says, at the basic level, your hair and makeup is freshest. While hair and makeup will last you all day, nothing beats seeing it when it’s freshly done.

 

Another benefit is timing. “If your ceremony is later in the day, you would be chasing sunlight during cocktail hour (if you do photos after your ceremony), especially for late fall and winter weddings,” says King.

 

Lastly, doing a first look gives your photographer more time to focus on other photos. “Your photographer has more time to focus on reception detail shots, & guests at cocktail hour if possible,” says King. The time that would have been spent photographing you, will now be spent taking photos of other parts of the day that might have been missed.

 

Did you do a first look? We want to know?

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

 

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4 Things Your Guests Really Want At Your Wedding

Engagement season is fast approaching and the new year may have you in the depths of wedding planning sooner than you think. But, before you dive deep into planning every little detail, you might be interested to know that what you think your guests want – or would find important – may differ vastly from what they actually want. They don’t care as much about the details as you would think.
 

When you plan your wedding, it’s important, first and foremost, to not see it as a competition. Your wedding day is not a day to “out-do” your friends or family members. It’s a day to celebrate your love for each other and your new beginning. It’s about tradition, rituals and is a sacred moment in your life.
 

One of my pet peeves is when couples get so caught up in the details and stress out over the minutia, that they forget the entire purpose and meaning of the day. However, it’s very easy to get caught up in that frenzy because we’re bombarded every day with photos, Pinterest Boards, videos, and language that suggests that if we don’t do something a “certain” way, or if we don’t have a certain “thing” then we’re doing it wrong and our wedding will be ruined FOREVER!! As a blogger, I’m very aware of this.
 

Am I right? Just reading that stresses me out. As a blogger, I’m very aware of this.
 

RELATED: 5 SECRETS TO BEING AN AWESOME WEDDING GUEST

 

So, I want to give you permission to take a deep breath, take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. If you really want to know what your guests want at your wedding, the easiest thing to do is look back at the times you were a guest a wedding. What do you remember most? What did you enjoy the most? What did you not like? Chances are, whatever your answers are to those questions, are exactly what your guests want.
 

But it really breaks down into these four categories (in no particular order):
 

Your wedding guests want to feel included and appreciated

 

No matter how large or small your wedding is, your guests want to feel appreciated for being there on your special day. However you want to do this is up to you, but most couples will go around to every table to talk to their guests during the meal, or may even do a receiving line. Some may thank their guests in a speech or toast or may give them special favors or goodie bags for guest staying in the designated accommodations.
 

My suggestion, if you really want to do something special for your guests, is to write them a little message or note on the back of, or attached to, their escort card as to why them being at your wedding means so much to you…and not because they gave you a gift.
 

Your wedding guests want to have a good meal

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love food? For me, personally, nothing says love more than a home-cooked meal. However, since you aren’t going to be cooking your wedding food (PLEASE, don’t DIY this part of your day. Leave that to the experts), when choosing your food, think about what people love, or what people may not have all the time that they can indulge in a bit.
 

My advice would be to choose a selection of food that is interesting and unique mixed with a nice array of comfort food. The more choices you have the better. I always love variety. Now, this doesn’t mean break the bank. Look at the offerings your venue provides and go from there.
 

If food is really important to you, and you have room in your budget, go ahead and choose add-ons. Maybe add on a sushi bar or a s’mores dessert bar or a mac n’ cheese bar. Something that’s fun, interactive and can, for a moment, bring people back to their childhood. I was at a wedding once that had an ice cream sundae bar, and I literally saw grown men run across the dance floor from the other side of the room to get their ice cream and make their sundae. It was hysterical and so much fun!
 

RELATED: THE LITTLE WEDDING IN THE WOODS AND WHAT IT TAUGHT ME

 

Your wedding guests want to have a good time

 

Your guests are at your wedding to celebrate your marriage, but at the end of the day, your guests want to have a good time, too.
 

Let’s think about this for a second. How often, do you, personally, get dressed up, go out, have a nice meal, go dancing, or spend the night away from home? I’m guessing not too often. So, this is a chance for your guests to let loose and celebrate and forget about whatever is going on in their lives for a night.
 

However, having a good time means different things to different people. Some couples just want a quiet reception that’s an intimate dinner for a small group. Some want an all-out party. The thing to remember is that no matter what kind of reception you want, you aren’t going to make everyone happy, and that’s ok.
 

If you have a quiet dinner, there are always going to be guests that wished there was dancing. If you know who those guests are, and if you are up for it, perhaps you can do an after-party at a nearby venue.
 

If you decide to have a big dance party, there are going to be guests that aren’t going to dance no matter waht song is played. Make sure you seat people together in a way where they aren’t left at a table by themselves when everyone else at their table is on the dance floor. If you can, seat the dancers with the dancers and the non-dancers with the non-dancers so that they have someone to talk to. Or, you can ask your DJ to play some songs that you know you won’t dance to, and take that time to go over to your non-dancing guests and talk to them for a few minutes.
 

Your wedding guests do not want to be too inconvenienced

 

While your guests want to have a good time, they also don’t want to be too inconvenienced. Again, being inconvenienced means different things to different people, but to me, one of the biggest inconveniences is having your wedding venue and reception site really far away from each other. It’s understandable that your ceremony and reception will be at different locations, but when your two locations are too far away from each other, then you risk the chance of some guests just going to the ceremony and not the reception (or vice versa).
 

I’d say 30 minutes is a good distance, but 45 minutes to an hour is the absolute max distance your venues should be from each other. The closer the better, especially if you’re planning a wedding in the winter months when the threat of snow could be an absolute problem.
 

Another inconvenience could be requiring your guests to follow a specific dress code. You may want a black-tie affair, but asking your guests to follow that means most will have to go out and by a formal gown or rent a tux, and that might be a problem for some.
 

Here’s a hint…your location will set the tone for your wedding, and, if your guests do a little bit of homework (or if you post photos of your venue on your wedding website), your guests will get clues as to how to dress. If you are having a backyard wedding or a barn wedding, chances are your guests aren’t going to come dressed dripping in sequence and pearls. However, if you are having your wedding at a grand estate on New Year’s Eve, they’ll know they have to step it up a notch.
 
What are some of the things you loved or hated at weddings you’ve attended? What are some special ways you are making your guests feel super special at your wedding?
 

Featured Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

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Featured Couple: Kristen and Rich

Their Love Story…

 

“It was June 2008 and the recent Council Rock High School graduates headed to Ocean City, NJ for one final celebration with their friends before college,” says Kristen. “While soaking up the Summer sun and enjoying some rest and relaxation, I met Rich unexpectedly for the first time on the boardwalk. Rich says he was captivated by my smile, and after introducing himself, he hoped that the infatuation would soon become mutual. He challenged me to a round of mini-golf — if he won, he would get to take me out on a date. He lost that wager, but I still wanted to go on that date all along. The rest of the week consisted of sunbathing, beachside fireworks, and dinners, all together. From then on, we were inseparable.”
 

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

Their Proposal…

 

Kristen says Rich proposed in Kristen’s childhood home in October of 2016 with a special “purr-fect” surprise.  “I heard a soft “meow” behind a closet door. I opened the door to find a kitten, and around the kitten’s neck was an engraved bracelet that read, “Will you marry my Daddy?” As she read the bracelet out loud, Rich got down on one knee
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

“When choosing a location for our wedding, we knew we wanted the ceremony to be outside and the reception to all occur at one venue,” says Kristen. “We both have family in the Philadelphia area but now currently live in Connecticut where we have established relationships with friends and co-workers. We began looking in the Hudson Valley area as it would be a perfect “in-between” location for all parties. We fell in love with the view at The Garrison and just pictured tying the knot overlooking the beautiful scenery.”
 

Wedding Theme…

 

Because Kristen and Rich met in the summer, that was the inspiration for their special day. “We met nine years ago in Ocean City, NJ during the month of June, and throughout those years we have created some of our greatest memories under the summer sun,” Kristen says. “Our floral bouquets and table arrangements all included bright colors with specific flowers, like Snapdragons, that reminded us of our childhood. Rich’s Grandmother made our wedding day truly memorable by officiating our ceremony. Together, we wrote every word in our wedding vows and ceremony, adding to the uniqueness of the day’s events.”
 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

“One of the most memorable moments during our wedding was our introduction as husband and wife and our first dance,” says Kristen. “We adored every minute of this celebration, hand-in-hand as we sang to a song we’ve loved for years. Our first dance song, “One and Only” by Adele, was further incorporated into our wedding cake by including the lyrics into the icing on the middle tier.” Another memorable moment for the Kristen was when her dad saw her for the first time in her dress.  “My dad is my number one fan and I am his little girl. It meant the world to me to see his reaction and have him by my side as I married the man of my dreams,” says Kristen.
 

Advice For Engaged Couples…

 

“Plan time during your wedding day when it can be just the two of you,” says Kristen. “We were able to sneak away to the Bridal Suite in between our cocktail hour and wedding reception to sample each of the hors-d’oeuvres that were served to our guests. This not only gave us the opportunity to indulge in the food, which many brides and grooms forget to do, but the private time also allowed us to truly appreciate all of the planning that culminated into this momentous occasion. This was by far the most memorable and special time of the night!”
 

Vendors…

 

Venue: The Garrison

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography

Videography: Taylor Del Villar at J. Ferrara Photography

Florist: Dramatic Innovation Floral and Event Design

Hair and Makeup: JKFlashy

Music and Entertainment: A Perfect Blend Entertainment
 

Photo Credit To All: J. Ferrara Photography

 

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The Forgotten Benefits of Hiring a Second Photogrpaher

Today’s blog post is written by Jeremiah Shaffer, Photographer

 

Whether you’re having 300 guests at your wedding or 98 guests, a second photographer can greatly impact your final wedding images. In the past year alone, I can think of several specific instances that my second photographer got a shot that became invaluable to the entire collection. Shots that would have never happened if I were shooting alone. It was actually after one of those instances that I decided I was shooting with a second photographer pretty much exclusively. Even for a smaller wedding where the thought of a second photographer might seem a bit overkill.
 

 

Starting right from the beginning of the day 2 photographers has it’s biggest advantage; I’m with one (generally the bride) and the 2nd is with the other (groom). Now we have photos of everyone getting ready, which might not seem like a big deal until you see your final wedding images in their entirety. Seeing your day, the progression from start to finish really completes the collection of images. And guys, getting ready pictures are a lot more than just getting dressed. Laughing at raunchy jokes together, playing cards, sipping whiskey, maybe playing a quick pickup game of basketball or whiffle ball before they head out to the ceremony. There a lot of things you’re doing before the ceremony that might seem meaningless and trivial at the time, but there’s a lot more meaning when the day is done and you’re looking back at it in its entirety. Shooting by myself, unless the couple is getting ready at the same hotel or in the same house, those memories would never be captured. Moments that would be missing from your day.
 

RELATED: 4 EXTRA BENEFITS OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Now, at a wedding with a couple deciding to do a first look; 2 photographers = 2 different views and angles of the same moments of seeing each other for the first time. Getting the reaction of both the bride and the groom are nearly impossible with only one photographer. And from there as we continue on with the formal style portraits, 2 different sets of eyes taking portraits at the same time will give us more options for your final wedding photo delivery. Everyone sees a situation differently, especially 2 photographers. As much as we may have a similar shooting style, our inspirations for a situation may be coming from different places resulting in 2 completely different images from the same moment.
 

Photo Credit: Cody Tatro for Jeremiah Shaffer

A wedding that doesn’t utilize a first look will benefit even greater from 2 photographers. As the wedding begins and the bride starts walking down the aisle, I can photograph her reaction as my second photographer is capturing the groom’s reaction simultaneously. And afterward, since we didn’t do your portraits before the ceremony, we have to do them before the reception begins. During the time we’re getting portraits, my second photographer is photographing all of the reception details before guests start getting comfortable at their seats. Your place cards, centerpieces, table settings, etc… all of the little details that you’ve lost sleep over since you began planning your wedding. That way, when your reception is set to begin, we have all of those details captured so we can now concentrate on your grand entrance into your reception.
 

During your reception is another area of your day where you might not think a second photographer is necessary if you’re planning a smaller wedding. A perfect example I can think of is during the first dance. While my attention might be on the couple dancing, I may miss a moment of parents looking on, smiling at their children as they dance for the first time as a married couple. That’s an incredible moment that certainly can’t be missed, which might be if there was only one photographer on hand.

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Cody Tatro for Jeremiah Shaffer

 

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The Unusual Side Effect Of Your Proposal And How To Fix It

Did you suffer from “Engagement Hearing Loss” when you were proposed to? Not sure what that is? Well, let me tell you my story and see if you can relate…
 

Almost seven years ago, my husband and I got engaged. We were on vacation in Walt Disney World (our home away from home) and were about to get our picture taken in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. We patiently waited in line until it was our turn. We put our bags down, assumed the position, the PhotoPass Photographer took our photo and we were off…or so I thought.
 

As we were leaving, the photographer asked if we could take one more photo, so we put our bags down again and got back into position, only this time, my soon-to-be-fiancé/husband, angled me towards him. I remember saying “What are you doing?” as he started talking, and after about the third word I knew EXACTLY what he was doing!
 

“Oh my gosh…he’s proposing!!!” I thought, and then everything went silent. No sound at all! I could see his mouth moving, so I KNOW he was talking, but I had NO IDEA what was coming out of his mouth. I could see him on one knee, see him opening the ring box, I remember immediately going into an ugly cry and almost instinctively grabbing the ring but then pulling back. I couldn’t hear anything because I was overcome with such shock and surprise. It was the most intense surprise and wave of emotion I’ve ever experienced.
 

RELATED: THE NUMBER ONE TRUTH THAT CAN RUIN YOUR PROPOSAL

 

A few seconds later, I heard some older gentleman in line behind us yell out “Did she say ‘yes’?” and then everything snapped back. “Oh, my gosh!” I thought again, “There are people waiting, let’s grab our stuff and let those poor folks get their pictures.” The rest of the day, I kept asking him over and over what he said, but it was pointless. I wasn’t absorbing anything. I’ve never been so happily surprised in all my life!
 

What I’ve found, in these past seven years, is that many of my friends and acquaintances that have gotten engaged have suffered from the same “phenomenon”. No one can really remember what was said, and no one can really remember hearing anything come out of their fiancé’s mouth. Almost everyone has a similar story.
 

It’s kind of funny when you think about it because guys stress so much over what to say, and we never end up hearing any of it…LOL! I guess, guys, that’s good for you. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself.
 

My advice to anyone getting engaged is to have it recorded somehow. Hide a hidden camera on a tripod, hide a friend with a camera in the trees, whatever you have to do, because we’re going to want to see it over and over again just so we can finally hear what you’re saying.
 
So, I’m curious…Have you suffered from “Engagement Hearing Loss?” We’d love to hear your proposal story and if you remember anything that was said.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Who Owns The Rights to Your Wedding Photos? Hint: It’s Not You

When you book your wedding photographer, you will need to sign a contract. Part of the contract will include a clause about copyrights, and another clause will be about permission to share your photos. Both are VERY important.
 

Let’s start with sharing your photos. All photographers will have a clause asking if you would be ok with your photographer sharing your photos on social media, on their website, in their marketing materials, or with other blogs such as yours truly. For example, all the couples featured in our Featured Love Story galleries have signed that release with their photographer.
 

But it’s TOTALLY ok for you to say no, and photographers understand. I did not give permission. Not because I was trying to be mean, but because my husband and I are very private and wanted to maintain that sense of privacy.
 

In addition, that contract will discuss copyright and will spell out exactly what you have the right to do, and what you DON’T have the right to do, with your photos.
 

The post below is written by Hannah Servidio of  Hannah Nicole Photography to explain photo copywrites  and why they are so important…

 

 

Photo copyrights…No one really understands them but everyone needs them.
 

The technical definition of Copyright is the rights given to creators for their literary and artistic work. In simple terms, whoever pushes the shutter owns the image.
 

I know it sounds crazy because you’re probably thinking “But that’s ME in that photo! How can they own ME?!”
 

Well obviously we can’t own you personally, but the reason copyrights are given to photographers for their photos is that Photographers spend years perfecting their style and hours perfecting each image. That photo is their trademark AND their brand.
 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

When you put that Instagram filter on a wedding photo, you are actually infringing on the Copyright.
 

Don’t get me wrong I love me some Valencia filter on the ‘Gram but the reality is your photographer just spent a lot of time (which you paid them to do) perfecting every pixel of that image and putting a filter over it is offensive.
 

Besides the hurting of someone’s feelings, when you put that image up and your friends ask who did your photos, and you name your photographer in your comment, your photographer will not be happy with that. Its false advertising and not the brand that the photographer wants to be seen.
 

Other things that infringe on Copyright include scanning and printing photos. Seriously. While that should go without saying I’m just going to leave that there.
 

Printing rights are something a lot of photographers give their clients and that is different from Copyright.
 

That would be a whole other blog post but in brief ‘printing rights’ is just that. You have the right to print the photos. NOT edit them! NOT sell them! Simply just print them and hang, frame, or show them off.
 

Sometimes when you go to a drugstore to print your digital files the worker will ask to see your print release. This is to protect your photographer from having clients take the photos and print without their knowledge.
 

I know this all seems very one-sided toward the photographer but unfortunately, this is the photographers’ living.
 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

 
Hannah Nicole Photography

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7 questions you need to ask your wedding DJ

If you’ve been a faithful follower of the blog, you know that our main purpose is to help eliminate the learning curve many couples face. One of the best ways to eliminate that learning curve is by knowing what questions to ask. Not all questions are created equal. You can go online and download lists of questions to ask your particular vendors, such as a photographer or florist, but that only gets you so far.
 

The thing is if you ask the questions, do you even know what answer you should be looking for in return? If a photographer says they use a certain type of equipment, do you know anything about that piece of equipment or what it does? If a venue says they supply a certain type of chair or tables, do you know what those chairs or tables look like and why they are better than other tables or chairs?
 

Pat Mahan, owner and DJ at Digital Musicians Entertainment in New Windsor says “Everyone always asks ‘What kind of equipment do you use?’, ‘What kind of lighting do you have?’, ‘What are your backups…?’ Those are great questions but are a bit generic. Asking the right questions AND knowing what answers to expect is essential for hiring the right vendors. Andrew “Enriquez” Nikola, DJ and president of Enriquez Entertainment in Marlboro says “Knowledge comes with experience…Be sure to ask the right questions.”
 

Weddings are expensive, and the last thing you want is to invest a lot of money and have regrets at the end.
 

So, today, we’ve asked top Hudson Valley DJ’s to share the questions you really should be asking when choosing your wedding DJ AND the answers you should expect to receive.
 

How long have you been in business and what kind of events to you DJ the most?

 

Experience is key and comes with a price. That’s part of what you need to consider in your investment. Being underpriced could be a red flag that your DJ is new to the industry and are low-balling their rates to book couples fast just build up their experience and portfolio. But do you really want to pay less for inexperience, or do you want to invest more to ensure your day is one in which people really enjoy themselves? In addition to low-balling their price, you can tell how much experience a wedding DJ has based on the questions they ask YOU! Nikola says “Make sure the DJ isn’t just selling you too hard. If they truly want to be engaged in entertaining your guests, they will be interested in what the couples have to say.”
 

RELATED: WHY HIRING AN EXPERIENCED DJ FOR YOUR WEDDING IS A BAD IDEA

 

Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz says that asking your DJ what kind of events they usually work will also tell you a lot about the value you get with your investment. For example, if they primarily work in clubs or do a lot of charity galas or birthday parties, you are going to get a different type of “entertainment” than if you hired a DJ that does strictly weddings, with a few of those other events on the side.
 

Looking at their reviews online will help a lot with determining what types of events they do. This research allows you to see what their presence is in the wedding world. Hiring a DJ in the same vicinity of your wedding is important. Domenic Trocino, owner of DJ Domenic Entertainment in Poughkeepsie says “Local is important. Have they been to the venue? Do they know where they set up?” If you have an experienced DJ, who may not have been to your venue because maybe it’s a new venue, the DJ should ask to come to a site visit with you or ask for a contact at the venue to set up their own site visit. You want them to do this, but they should be suggesting that first. See if they do. If they do, you know they are on top of their game.
 

How do you entertain?

 

Trocino says “Another important question to ask is how they entertain…do they talk and entertain your guests to get them engaged?” Some DJ’s are more outgoing than others. Let’s face it, people are different. Some people are quiet and laid back, some are outgoing and the life of the party. Some people are introverts, some are extroverts. And guess what? Whatever type of person your DJ is comes out through their style of MCing and entertaining. And guess what else? Introverted and extroverted people make AWESOME DJ’s! Sometimes, you may just want someone to play music and not speak too much or interact with your guests. Sometimes, you may want a DJ that really gets involved with the guests and interacts with them all night. Sometimes, you may want someone in the middle. There’s a DJ for every type of couple, but it’s important to know that information before you book. If you want a lively off-the-hook party, you want to hire a DJ with that same personality, otherwise, you may be in for a surprise.
 

Where do you get your music from?

 

Have you ever thought about where music comes from? Mahan says “Another question people need to ask is ‘Where do you get your music?’ Is it ripped off YouTube or Videos?” Back in the day, I remember uploading all my CDs to iTunes so that I could listen to them digitally on the go. But did you know that professional DJs subscribe to different websites and organizations that provide them with the best quality version of songs? Your DJ should not be getting their music from sources that are not made specifically for industry professionals. The quality just won’t be as good, not to mention, ripping music from somewhere is unethical.
 

Richie Schneider (DJ Richie Styles), DJ and manager of Music Speaks Volumes in Wappingers Falls says to also ask how the DJ mixes their music. He says “Make sure the DJ is mixing the music live and not using a prerecorded mix. Mixing live at an event is when you are actually blending the two songs together to make them sound like one. It helps to build that energy and that vibe and getting people dancing.”
 

RELATED: THE ONE MISTAKE COUPLES MAKE WHEN HIRING THIER DJ

 

Who’s coming to my wedding?

 

In the DJ industry, just like with many other vendors, they can be a “Single-Op” company, meaning one DJ runs the company and is the DJ that will be at your wedding, or a “Multi-Op” company meaning there are many DJ’s working for the same company. You want to ask this question so you make sure that the person you are speaking to during the planning process is also the same person who will be at your wedding. Why is this important? DJ Bri Swatek, owner of Spinning with Style in Wappingers Falls says, “This is the person who is going to announce your name over the microphone, interact with your guests, do things like move you from entrance to first dance to toast, to parent dances, in a style that fits what you want as a couple. And then this is the person who is going to pick music for you and your friends to dance to.” Essentially, you want to build that rapport with your DJ throughout your entire planning process.
 

Do you have insurance and what kind?

 

All wedding vendors should have insurance. If they don’t, that’s a big red flag and you should walk away. In fact, many wedding venues won’t work with a vendor unless they have insurance. DJs, at a bare minimum, should have liability insurance, but many will have more. Why do they need insurance if they are just playing music? Well, it’s protecting you and them from the “What if’s”. What if…someone trips and falls on their wiring? What if…someone has a reaction to the fog machine? You can never be too careful and everyone wants to make sure they are protected from the unforeseen.
 

Do you bring backup equipment and where do you keep it?

 

You should always ask your DJ if they have backup equipment and they should always say yes. However, that’s not the end of that question. Where they keep their backup equipment is just as important. Mahan says you want to know this because “What happens, if, heaven forbid, your first dance cuts out? What would they do? What’s their process? What do they have in place to happen if your first dance cuts out?” He says their backups should always be set up and ready to go and not packed in their van. If we take his example of your first dance cutting out, and their backup equipment is in the car, then everything is put on hold because they have to go to their car, unload, set-up and then start again. If their backup system is set up and ready to go, they can easily make that switch so seamlessly that you may not even realize there was a problem in the first place.
 

RELATED: AVOID THESE 3 MISTAKES WHEN CHOOSING MUSIC FOR YOUR WEDDING

 

How long should a “Must Play” or “Do Not Play” list be?

 

We spoke in another blog post about how you need to be able to trust your DJ to play songs that you like and that will bring your guests to their feet and give everyone a night they will enjoy. However, there are some songs that a couple loves and really wants them played as well some songs couples can’t stand and don’t want to be played at all! Swatek says “Couples should ask how long a must play or a do not play list should be.” He says 10 to 15 songs is a good amount to give a DJ because it gives the DJ a good direction of where to go with the music while giving a couple a say in music.
 

Have you found your DJ? Were they able to answer all your questions? Did they say anything to you that cause a red flag to go up?

 

Featured Photo Credit: DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style

 

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Expert Ideas For Creative And Unique Wedding Photos

Today’s author is Kathryn Cooper of Kathryn Cooper Weddings

 

Whether you’ve paged through wedding magazines or avoided wedding photography research until this very moment, you’ve probably seen hundreds of wedding photos throughout your lifetime.

 

When planning your wedding or just scrolling around on Facebook, it’s impossible to avoid seeing your friends’ celebratory photos nearly every weekend. Have you noticed anything in common? Oh, they’re all pretty much the same? I hear you.

 

As a creative photojournalist, one characteristic of my photography is that I always try to do something creative, unique, or fun to make sure your photos don’t look like the cookie-cutter images swimming around online. So if you’re looking for a way to get extra-memorable images (or video!) that stand out from the rest, I have quite a few ideas up my sleeve!

 

 

First, you don’t have to know what you want, but you have make sure your photographer/videographer is the kind of person who has creative experience and wants to do such a thing! If the person has a ho-hum portfolio, chances are that person won’t have spectacularly creative ideas. I make sure the first few images my clients see when visiting my site demonstrate my adventuresome and creative style, so I have a duo emerging from their helicopter ride, a bride and groom upside-down in a room (well…you’ll just have to see it to understand it!), brides from other countries, and couples underwater. People understand that I’m not average right away!

 

Second, you need to have a bit of time in your schedule for a creative photo or video shoot. Now, if you want something creative but don’t have the time or budget for such a thing, a truly creative photographer or videographer can still do a lot with a little.

 

Again, looking carefully at their portfolios will reveal a lot. There are always unique perspectives, themes, and distinct personalities that the best of the best can show—while still focusing on you, of course! But…if you have time, consider putting aside several hours or even part of a day to go do a pre- or post-wedding shoot.

 

RELATED: HIRING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER? 6 RED FLAGS YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

 

Creative engagement shoots and elopements are awesome as well! I absolutely love when I have a separate session with my clients, because I can take them to amazing places for amazing shots. I love when couples are adventuresome and just trust me to do a fun experiment or take them somewhere amazing! I’ve taken couples to other countries, gone on ski lifts with clients, and hung out on boats while groomsmen waterskied. Seriously!

 

Third, here are a bunch of ideas (finally, I know!) I’ve done or want to do—and I have plenty more ideas up my sleeve. Creative ideas for wedding photography and videography include:

 

· Completing a high ropes course, going zip lining, or doing a trapeze workshop: How awesome would it be to have wedding photos of you two flying through the air?

 

· Paint splatters: This is a great one if you have kids, would like to involve your family, or just want to have fun making a mess. You can use regular paint, paint-filled balloons, or even Holi powder to throw color on each other. The action shots alone are so much fun, and the final result is a mess of color that’s hard to forget.

 

· On or near a mountain: Amazing backdrops in the morning or evening make for beautiful images, and can be done almost anywhere in the world. Well…maybe not in Nebraska.

 

· With glow sticks or flashlights at night: Photographers can do fun long exposures that allow you to “write” in the sky or make cool, one-of-a-kind patterns swirling around you.

 

· In a helicopter or on a small plane: You don’t have to go skydiving, but if you do, could you take me with you? But really, going on a private helicopter ride, getting video and photos from a small plane, or flying to a secluded island is as awesome as it sounds.

 

· At a carnival: Why not have a shoot at a local fair or amusement park? You can get GoPro footage on a roller coaster, have a unique ceremony on a Ferris wheel (imagine the views!), or do a super fun shoot on bumper cars while enjoying fried dough and more.

 

· In a bubble: I’ve photographed couples behind, in front of, and nearly in giant bubbles, and it can be quite romantic and easy. This is a great idea if you only have 5 minutes for something creative.

 

· At a pet shelter. For animal lovers, it’s hard to beat time in a puppy playroom. You won’t have fake smiles with all those little guys begging for affection! Plus, there will be a lot of oohing and ahhing over your photos, and you’ll probably end up with a new fur family member.

 

· Nighttime in the desert: Even if you don’t have a desert nearby, you can still find a clear night to do some amazing silhouette or flash shots with stars in the background. With neat desert tree shapes like those found in Joshua Tree National Park, you can get incredible shapes and unique images while exploring a beautiful place.

 

RELATED: WHY DOES WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COST SO MUCH (AND WHAT DO I GET FOR MY MONEY)?

 

As you can see, the opportunities for making exceptionally creative photos are nearly limitless. The truth is, even with very little time, a great photographer or videographer can make something amazing out of little—as long as you give that person the creative freedom with which to do so. A gust of wind in a veil can make for a beautiful image, and a couple jumping into the ocean or kissing underwater makes for super fun, creative photos.

 

Everyone out there has seen enough regular kisses and snuggles on a bench, so when you’re looking to do something different, brainstorm with a great photographer or videographer to make it happen! I can pretty much guarantee you one thing: You won’t be disappointed.

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions. 


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What Is A Bridechilla And Are You One?

You all are familiar with the term “Bride-Zill-A”, but have you ever hear of a “Bride-Chill-A”? Maybe you have but just aren’t really sure what it means. Well, think of a “’Chilla” as the complete opposite of a “’Zilla”.
 

A “’Zilla” is everything you would imagine. A mean, overly stressed, micromanaging, yelling and screaming mess. She is very concerned with the day defining who she is. The sad part is that many times, “’Zilla’s” are a product of the situation brides are put in. They expect perfection, and why not? It’s their wedding day. However, the constant need for perfection is unrealistic and can really lead to a ton of increased stress. With increased stress, comes increased tension, and with increased tension comes snippy, on edge attitudes.
 

A “’Chilla”, on the other hand is really laid back. I mean REALLY laid back. So laid back that she really hasn’t done much in the way of planning any details because they are relying on their wedding vendors to take care of most everything. They know and trust that everything will work out.
 

Just like “’Zilla’s”, “’Chilla’s” sometimes are created because of many outside factors. Perhaps the bride works long hours and is just not into planning. Perhaps she doesn’t necessarily want to hire a planner, nor does she really worry about too many details because she sometimes sees the bigger picture and is just not focused on one day. Maybe she’s been in a long-term relationship and considers herself “married” already, so a wedding may just be a “formality”. Whatever the case, they are go-with-the-flow.
 

However, the downside to being a “Bride-Chill-A” is that being too laid back can be just as bad as being too micromanaging. Being too laid back actually creates more stress. Not necessarily for the bride, but for those around her. The bridal party, friends, family and vendors all need some sort of direction. They are there to help you, but unless they know what you want, they can’t do much.
 

Ideally, you want to be somewhere right in the middle…not too micromanaging and not too laid back. To find out what kind of bride you are, take this fun little quiz and let us know what answer you got!
 

Featured Photo Credit: The Ramsdens
 

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Hudson Valley Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

4 Extra Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Wedding Photographer

When you book your wedding vendors you assume you’re hiring them to do a specific job. For example, you hire a DJ to play music, you hire a videographer to take video, you hire a planner to plan and keep things running smoothly, and you hire a photographer to take photos.

 

What actually happens is that your vendors do MUCH more than what their ‘title’ tells you they should be doing. Professional and experienced wedding vendors actually become part of your inner circle and part of your family for the months leading up to your wedding and even longer. They all play peacekeeper, therapist, planner, and friend.

 

Your photographer, specifically, when you hire an experienced one, really goes far above and beyond what they ‘should’ be doing.
 
Alicia King of Alicia King Photography says when you are looking at the investment you make for photography, you need to consider your photographer will be doing these things as well:
 

 

They will help you with your wedding-day timeline

 

Hudson Valley 

<p Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

An experienced photographer will know how long it takes for pictures. For example, they’ll know how long to take for family photos or first look photos. If you are going to different locations, they’ll know travel time and time to spend at each location. They’ll know what time to arrive at your house and what time everyone should be getting ready based on the time your ceremony starts. If you are stressing over your timeline, ask your photographer for help.

 

RELATED: WHY DOES WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COST SO MUCH (AND WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY)

 

They will suggest other vendors

 

Experienced Hudson Valley wedding photographers have been in the industry for a long time, and have been to many weddings. Having worked so many weddings, your photographer has seen a lot and gets to know the other vendors at all these weddings. If you’re stuck finding a specific vendor or would like to know more about a specific vendor, your photographer will be able to help you with suggestions based on what they’ve seen and who they know.

 

They will be your creative partner

 

Experienced wedding photographers will know how to properly and professionally handle any situation that may come up with regards to the final outcome of your photos. Just like you don’t want to give your DJ your full playlist because you need to trust them to do their job, the same goes for photographers. Give them your MUST have shot list, but then let their creative juices flow. They’ll also know, based on location, time of day or lighting, what may or may not work in terms of getting the perfect shot. They’ll also be able to handle any last minute weather-related issues such as rain or snow and come up with shot ideas perfectly suited for any weather

RELATED: HIRING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER? 6 RED FLAGS YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

 

They become your personal assistant

 

Hudson Valley Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

Your photographer is the one vendor that will be with you from morning to night. They will be attached at your hip all day, so a professional photographer will end up being your personal assistant as well. Throughout the day, they’ll be fixing your veil, maybe helping you put on your veil, helping fluff or bustle your train, fixing any stray or flyaway hairs, pinning boutonnieres, and most importantly, they’ll be making sure you have time to eat and have something to drink.

 

In addition, they’ll be the ones to coordinate key points of the day and will be the ones to wrangle your family and friends for portraits, your first look, and any other photos that require more than just the two of you

 

Lastly, an experienced photographer will ensure you stay calm, happy, and stress-free. They’ll be like your therapist for the day. They know taking pictures doesn’t come naturally for some, so they’ll be putting you at ease and making you comfortable all day.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

 

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Creative Ways To Make A Wedding Guest Book You’ll Love For Years To Come

For the longest time, I never really got the point of a wedding guest book.

 

I mean, you know who you’re inviting to your wedding, you know who’s coming to your wedding, and between your shower and wedding, every guest gives you a card with a nice sentiment written in it, so why do you need a guest book? Right?

 

Well, in the last 7-10 years, guest books have really taken on a life of their own. This once minute and somewhat boring detail of a wedding has now really grown into something really special and personal. No longer are they a formality, but a very personal creative keepsake of your wedding day. From thumbprint trees to puzzles and everything in between, guest books are rarely ever books anymore.

 

Because this detail is often something that’s very personal, many couples tend to DIY it, or at least purchase one on Etsy, made by someone else. Since it’s a very crafty and creative element of your day, we decided to reach out the largest DIY wedding resource to get their insights into what you can do for your guest book at your wedding.

 

RELATED: DIY WEDDINGS: 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW

 

Do you need a guest book?

 

wedding guest book

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo and Video

The short answer is no. You can have whatever you want at your wedding, and you can also eliminate whatever you want at your wedding. Actually, most of the weddings I’ve gone to haven’t had a guest book at all! Remember, like I always say, there are no ‘rules’ when it comes to weddings.

 

Why have a guest book?

 

“Guest Books are a staple piece for the bride and groom so they can remember who came to their wedding or wedding shower,” says Debbie Louis, owner of the DIY Bride website and chief wedding planner and designer of A La Mode Events .“It also allows the guest the opportunity to share a memorable message (congratulatory or well wishes) to the couple… It can also be creative to represent the theme of the wedding.”

 

Just like your photos, your guest book is a tangible memento from your day. It’s really cool to look back years later at something people sign or create on the day of your wedding. Imagine your little flower girl or ring bearer signing their name the way little kids do, and then looking back at it 10 years later when that little guy or girl is now a teenager. Imagine seeing a message in your grandparent’s own handwriting and having that sentiment to keep forever.

 

RELATED: WHAT IS IT REALLY LIKE TO BE A DIY BRIDE?

 

What kind of guest book should you have?

 

If you are going to do a guest book, I’m a big proponent of not having anything at your wedding that you can’t reuse again. So, I’m always in favor of having a guest book that you can actually use or display in your home. My first thought is to make this something fun. Look at your style, your passions, interest or decorating style to give you an inspirational starting point. Louis says “I Love pictures that tell a story, colors or a theme. You can get über creative with these simple three things. But you should dig deep and figure out what you love in order to properly personalize.”

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

For example, my husband loves baseball, especially the New York Yankees. Knowing that I didn’t want just a plain old book, I thought about something that was a bit of a novelty, something that was different, and something that we could hang in our new home. After doing a bit of research, we decided that our guest book would be a baseball bat with our names and date etched into it that everyone could sign. It was a HUGE hit!! People loved it and were talking about it for weeks after. In fact, one guest wrote on the knob (the bottom part of the bat) “Best guest book ever!” It’s now hanging in our home office. I guess we knocked that one ‘out of the park!’ Sorry, more bad puns…I can’t help myself.

 

Anyway…take a look at your overall theme, what makes you happy and choose something that really depicts your personality and something that will be fun for your guests as well.

 

What are some unique, easy and personal types of guest books?

 

“Some really cool guest book ideas are puzzle pieces,” says Louis. She also suggests if you love to travel, you can have people sign decorated globes, or another idea is to have guests sign a photo mat surrounding an engagement photo which you can then frame and hang in your home. You can make a photo book and have everyone sign it. “Also the photo strips from a photo booth are usually easy and classic,” Louis says.

 

So, we want to know if you are having a guest book, and, if so, what type of ‘book’ is it going to be?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo and Video

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Why Does Wedding Photography Cost So Much (And What Do I Get For My Money)?

Today’s article is written by Doug Madden, Duetimage Photography – Hudson Valley Wedding Photographers

 

Here’s a question we get all the time:  “Why is wedding photography so expensive?”  Once, a groom actually put the question to us like this: “Why does taking some blank wedding pictures cost so blankety-blank much — my blankety-blank 9-year-old niece can press a button too!”
 

It’s a good question, but one not easily answered because of the way that the general public perceives photography. Photographers are asked to justify their prices more than any other contractor because to most people, the equipment and the skills needed to produce images are deemed to be widely available.
 

If your car breaks down, you’re not likely to ask a mechanic why his labor charges are the way they are.  Or if your sink won’t drain, you don’t ask the plumber to justify the amount he’ll charge to clear it.  The mechanic will disappear into the garage with your car and your plumber will disappear under the sink, and you’ll never know exactly what tools or knowledge they will use to get the job done.  And you won’t care either because you need your stuff operational and you can’t do it yourself.
 

 

Professional Experience

 

Since wedding photography — like other forms of art — is not exactly a need, the mind is more willing to question what it is you’ll be paying for.  If you’re in the market for an oil painting of your family, or a marble bust of yourself, you know it’s going to be expensive because these kinds of artists usually come with years of experience and special training.  Photographers though … anybody can walk into a Target and purchase a DSLR, and smartphones can take pretty good pictures too.  So in your mind you’re pretty much paying someone to press a button, otherwise, you’ll look strange carrying a selfie-stick during your first dance.
 

Not quite.  Especially not if you’re dreaming about the sort of wedding photography that you see featured on many blogs, or if you have your heart set on an heirloom album.  This work figures into the prices photographers charge and, depending on their business models, not all photographers offer the same services.
 

Types of Photographers

 

duetimage-hudson-valley-wedding-photographers

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

Wedding photographers generally fall into one of two categories:  Shoot-and-Burn or Full-Service.

 

Shoot-and-Burners get their name from the practice of burning their wedding coverage to a DVD and delivering just that.  Although photos are more and more delivered via download or by USB keys these days, the term still sticks. Usually, these photographers are viewed as more affordable because they charge less upfront, but couples are responsible for their own image editing and processing.
 

The Full-Service Studio Photographer is one who will handle all aspects of your photography, including curation, album and artwork production, and digital file delivery.  As the name implies, there are more services provided and generally, the cost is higher.
 

While we at Duetimage Photography are a full-service studio, we always stress that there is no “correct” business model.  Each has its pros and cons, and ultimately couples must choose the photographer with the business model that is right for them.
 

Shoot-and-Burn

 

Within the shoot-and-burn model, there are varying levels of service which will affect your pricing.
 

Some shoot-and-burners will come home from your wedding and transfer all of your photos directly to disk without even looking at them.  You’ll get everything fast, including lens caps and shots of your photographer’s shoes.  There will be no color correction or tweaking of exposure: the images are yours to sort out and manipulate as you wish, and the photographer’s job is done.
 

Other shoot-and-burners will lightly curate the coverage selecting only the best shots, and maybe even adjust for basic exposure. These photographers will charge more for the time it takes to do this.
 

Before choosing the rock bottom shoot-and-burn photographer who returns images straight out of the camera, ask yourself if you have the time and the talent to edit your own images.  If not, then spending a little more on a photographer who will provide a light edit is worth its weight in gold.
 

The Full-Service Studio

 

duetimage-hudson-valley-wedding-photographers

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

Photographers functioning on the full-service model will not only provide a basic proofing of your images.  They will also curate your coverage, engage in artistic editing that reflects their unique style, and produce your wedding albums, canvases, metal prints, and other forms of artwork.

 

In addition to their image capturing skills, full-service photographers are also graphic designers and digital technicians.  They understand how shapes, colors, and tones interact harmoniously on an album spread.  They also know how to process an image for optimum print output.  Full-service photographers know their labs and have good working relationships with the people there to ensure that your artwork is produced to the highest standard.
 

Post-production work can require many hours of the photographer’s time long after your wedding, which leads us to a paradox: the full-service photographer who charges more can actually earn less per hour than the shoot-and-burn photographer who provides fewer services.
 

Now you might be asking, why is this important to me as someone about to get married?  The answer is passion.  Many full-service photographers are exclusively photographers.  They live to create imagery and they fuss over every detail in ways that can sometimes be comical (it’s no surprise that the fictional photographer Felix Unger on the sitcom The Odd Couple was a fussbudget).  I once asked a colleague why he chose to shoot and burn instead of providing full-service, and his response was: “I need to preserve my sanity”.  If you’re curious about the backend value of a full-service photographer, there you have it.
 

Added Value On Your Wedding Day

 

Finally, speaking of sanity, another hidden value of your photographer is his or her ability to play psychologist on your wedding day.
 

As we’re all aware when we’re planning an event, things can and will go wrong.  With so much money being spent, there’s a lot of stress on the part of couples and their families.  All too often, stress can manifest itself in unforeseen ways.  The bride might have an argument with her mother-in-law.  The groom might be vexed over tying his bowtie.  Dad could have an argument with a vendor.  At one of our weddings, the groomsmen were involved in a fender bender at the entrance to the venue.
 

All this can show in your wedding photos if the photographer doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the moment. A good photographer/psychologist knows how to calm things down.  Even when the bride wants to clonk her new husband over the head because he’s disappeared right before family formals, the photographer/psychologist can get everyone laughing again.
 

The photographer who knows how to make you laugh and feel comfortable is bringing a skill to the table that cannot be valued on a price sheet because it is truly priceless.  So consider your photographer’s personality along with his or her business model when choosing who gets to shoot your big day.
 

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography – Hudson Valley Wedding Photographers

 

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