Friday, February 27, 2015

Sunset photos - timing is everything!

Charleston, South Carolina has some killer sunsets!  If you're getting married there (or in any location with a killer sunset) timing is everything!

Any wedding photographer will tell you those are some of the most difficult shots to get, specifically because of the timing.  It's not like you stop the sun from setting.  There's no magical switch to turn it on or off.

So if you're planning your own wedding how can you be sure that you and your now spouse will be in the foreground of the perfect sunset?

Photo Courtesy of Hopkins Studio
First and foremost, communicate with everyone!  The moment you hire your venue, photographer, caterer, day of planner, band or whomever else, tell them you want the perfect sunset shot.  Communicating your plan is one of the most important things you can do.  By letting everyone know you want that shot it will allow all the vendors to come together to say okay, we need to make sure we're not serving food, doing the father daughter dance or whatever else may take place.

If you have a wedding planner, whether it be a day of or a full scale they will know when the sun is setting and put that into the day of wedding timeline. They'll be able to communicate the specific time with all the vendors and work around that 10 to 15 minute period to make sure you get the perfect shot.  If you don't have a wedding planner you can find out the sunset times in your local area here:

Photo Courtesy of Hopkins Studio
You really want to make sure you work your timeline around the sunset, once that's figured out, everything else will fall into place.

Until next time...


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wedding trends - Day of Planners

I've been planning weddings and events for over 15 years and in that time I've seen trends come and go.  However, there is one trend that I think is here to stay and that's brides requesting (in record numbers) a day of wedding planner.  For some reason full time wedding planners have received a bad rap for being too expensive.  Thus brides who want help, but also want to save money, turn to a day of planner.  I'll be talking in the coming weeks about the misconceptions regarding the expense of a full time wedding planner, but for now I want to talk about day of planning.

To be honest, I never could understand how one could properly do "day of planning".  As a planner, how could you possibly show up on the most important day of someone's life and possibly execute a flawless wedding?  It's almost impossible to get to know a bride's hot buttons a week or even two weeks before her big day.  Thus, why I never wanted to do "day of planning".

However, after many requests, I decided that if demand called I would answer and now offer "day of planning".  But, my service encompasses more than just the actual wedding day and here is why.  To properly plan a wedding I need to get to know the client and the client needs to get to know me.  First and foremost, if you want to hire me or an associate as a day of planner you'll need to hire us a minimum of two to three months out from the date of your wedding.  This allows us to get to know each other and it allows me to know every single detail of your wedding.

As your day of planner I'll sit down with the bride, groom and parents to discuss what's important, what's not important.  What's been done and what still needs to be done.  I'll want to see all the contracts for each of your vendors and the time you've contracted them for.  I'll also want to discuss all the little logistics that may not have been thought of such as first look or transportation to and from the church.  Do the times you've contracted match up with your planned timeline?  Often I find it's the little details that get missed and I have to reorganize a few things to make sure the day runs smoothly.  I'll also pull together your day of timeline and speak with each one of your vendors to make sure they are on point and are in the know with every single detail.  So by the time your wedding day rolls around the bride will want for nothing.  We'll handle everything so you don't have to.

The reality is day of planning can be a lot harder that planning a wedding from start to finish.  There's the issue with the bride having had numerous if not hundreds of discussions with the caterer or photographer that you've not been privy to.  There's the issue of the planner not really getting to know the brides personality.  And there's always the issue of her hiring vendors that simply are inexperienced (less expensive) which only makes the planners job harder.  However, if you hire a proper day of planner they'll take care of all those issues so you don't have to.

In the next couple of blogs I'll talk about the do's and don'ts to hiring a proper day of wedding planner.

Until then...


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Getting the most out of your wedding vendors

Rabidos and Rabidon'ts for making your wedding vendors go the distance for you.

The vendors you choose for your wedding are at the core to making your wedding dreams come true.  And the thing to remember is that your wedding vendors aren’t necessarily working “for” you, but rather “with” you.

So here are a few tips to make your wedding vendors work with you, which in turn will make them want to go a little further for you thus making your wedding fabulous and a little less stressful.

Rabido – When searching for vendors, let them know you’re shopping. This does two things, first they know you might just be getting started and feeling things out.  Second, they’ll be willing to offer up even more information so that you can be educated when narrowing down your selections.

Rabidon’t – Don’t ignore your vendors.  Whether it’s a potential vendor or one you’ve hired, responding to an email or voicemail within 24 hours isn’t just nice, it’s good business.  The idea that you’re too busy for your own wedding really doesn’t sit well with planners, photographers, DJ’s and venues.  Not responding signals that you don’t care about the efforts they’ve put into helping your wedding dreams come true.

Rabido – When you receive a proposal from a prospective wedding vendor, let them know you’ve received it, will review it and will get back to them in a timely manner.  That acknowledges that you’re keeping them top of mind.

Rabidon’t – Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective wedding vendors if they have any specials or discounts.  Wedding vendors will make concessions to work with you; after all they want the business.

Rabido – Do plan to tip your wedding vendors.  Of course tipping is up to you, but it’s always a nice thing to do.

Rabidon’t – Don’t forget to feed your wedding vendors on the day of your wedding.  Now this doesn’t mean you should set up a table at your reception, but you should arrange with your wedding venue or caterer a place behind the scene to feed them a hot meal.  And NO it’s not okay for the band, photographer, planner or any other vendor to drink at your wedding, but that’s another blog post for another day.

Rabido – And finally do trust your wedding vendors when they dole out advice.  They’ve been doing this a lot longer than you and know what will work and won’t work.

Until next time...


Monday, February 9, 2015

Featured Vendor - Hopkins Studios of Savannah, Georgia

One focus I want to make on my blog in the coming year is to feature some of the wonderful vendors and venues we work with.  Given that we have worked with so many great vendors it will take time for us to present all of their work but I will do my best.  I want to start by featuring a great photography team I have worked with in the Savannah and Charleston area, Scott and Melissa Hopkins.

Hopkins Studio is a husband and wife photography team who are blazing their way through the Low Country.  I wanted to know more about what makes them tick and how they've become so successful.  I also wanted to know how they've been able to lead the way in the southern wedding market, so I sat down with them to find out more about them.

SR - Scott and Melissa, tell me a little about how Hopkins Studio's came to be?
HS - Scott started the company in 2004 after years of working in the photo industry and as a nature photographer. In 2009, Melissa joined on full time with Scott and we made their moved south away from the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia.

SR - As artists and photographers what would you say sets you apart from other photographers.
HS - We try to make everything as easy and as relaxed as possible for our couples. We want our couples to enjoy the day with their families and friends, so when we need them, we work quickly and get them back to the party as soon as we can.

SR - How would you describe your shooting style?
HS -Our approach is primarily documentary. We do not want the day to be one long photoshoot for our couples. We concentrate on the moments that make up the day, how can we frame them in an interesting way, how can we use the light to make it dramatic.

 SR - What are some of your favorite locations to shoot?  Either for an engagement session, a wedding or just for family shots. 
HS -The one of the best things about living and working in this area is the variety of locations that we work at from wedding to wedding. One weekend we are at a historic plantation, the next on the beach and next a five star resort. Charleston and Savannah have such a rich history, visible in both their architecture and landscape, we love showing that in our images.

SR - What's the craziest and most outrageous photo(s) you've had taken?
HS - A few years ago we had a long heat wave and the ceremony and reception both took place outdoors by the club’s pool. Near the end of the reception, the wedding party and a number of the guests decided that is was time to cool down and dove into the pool, gowns and tuxes still on.

SR - What are some bridal trends that you love and some you'd like to see go away?  And what are some you'd like to see comeback or just start all together?
HS - We would love to see more couples lighting their reception, especially pin spotting their floral arrangements and the cake. A little lighting can dramatically change the appearance of a room, it gives it life and depth. We would also love to see a more modern take on the vintage, southern wedding that is popular in this area.

SR - What are a few things brides should ask when looking for a photographer?  What do you want them to know when shopping for photographers?  What a few things brides should ask that they don’t?
HS -It is important for a couple to see an entire recent wedding from any photographer they are considering. Seeing that final collection of images should give you a good idea the images you can expect from your own wedding. Good photographs are timeless, avoid the trends and fads that pop up from season to season.

SR - Any advice for brides and grooms during the planning process?
HS -We highly recommend hiring a planner who can help you bring your vision to life. They have the experience handling all of the little details that you may not think of. Also, work with vendors that you like and that are the best fit for you.

SR - What's the best possible advice you can give to a couple on their wedding day?
HS -Relax and enjoy the day because it goes by quick!

SR - From a photography prospective what are some do's and don'ts brides should keep in mind when planning out their hair and makeup on their wedding day?
HS - Keep it natural and look like yourself. Keep it light around your eyes as smoky eyes tend to appear very dark in photos and it can be hard to see your eyes.  Also keep in mind the level of touch ups you will need to keep you looking your best throughout the day.

SR - How can brides and grooms find you? Please list all social media
HS - 

I hope you have enjoyed this insight into the work of Scott and Melissa as well as the wonderful images of their work that they shared here.

Until the next featured vendor...