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High Definition Wedding Photography
By Florida Wedding Photographer Dan Harris
A home-studio wedding photographer located in Jacksonville, FL
1124 Riviera St. Jacksonville, FL 32207 (904) 398-7668
Wedding Photography Insider Information Revealed!
The Digital Paradox: "More pictures are being taken ...less will survive"
As an educated consumer your goal is to get exactly what you want at the best price and hopefully within your budget. Too often the process begins with false assumptions and an unrealistic budget. (photography averages at least 10-15% of your overal wedding budget). The more you learn, the more you become overwhelmed with the magnitude of the situation. You want good photography from a pleasant vendor who will fulfill your dreams within the promised timeline exactly as planned from the beginning. Simple enough, then you hear the horror stories about the brides who never got their pictures or the album they have already paid for. Or the ones who were very disappointed with the end results. This report will help you discover the truth and help you to avoid the pitfalls.
We guarantee your peace of mind. No need to be overwhelmed about the photography, we will help you along every step of the way. We will be perfect for your wedding.
Delivering world-class quality at a superior value has made us Jacksonville's most recommended photography studio. Don't settle for less when you can have the best!
To preserve your family's legacy for multiple generations you need a professional 'memory maker', not just a 'dime-a-dozen' picture taker.
When you hire us, you can rest assured that you and your event will look their absolute BEST! Guaranteed! --because everything we do (from equipment choices, to lighting options, to retouching decisions) is geared to maximize your real beauty! We have what it takes to guarantee your best results! We work to prevent: the addition of 10+ pounds to you, your skin turning orange, the blue sky turning white, your white dress turning blue or your pictures prematurely aging and becoming washed-out --with you looking sickly.
To the frazzled bride, take a deep breath, close your eyes, sit back and visualize exactly what will ultimately be the end result and FINAL products from your wedding photography; Albums?, Large Framed Art?, Small Reprints?, Electronic Slideshows?, etc. With that in mind begin by looking at a quality-guaranteed consultant (not just any 'dime-a-dozen' picture taker) who is an expert at providing you exactly what you want from beginning to end --otherwise your dreams may never become reality.
WARNING: You hire a professional to see your project through from beginning to end, a true professional will guarantee the finished products. Why waste good money on thousands of unflattering digital files on a USB or CD that ultimately just sits in a drawer or file? Digital files are NOT a finished product-- and are the same thing your friends will give you for FREE. Too often those files won't give you what you had originally hoped for and often only leave you disappointed. Don't work with a company that won't guarantee the finished products. If you hire us to handle ALL your photography product needs, from initial capture to final output, you will have our guarantee that your dreams will come true!
This report is written for those who have wedding photography high on their priority list and want to get it done right! You wouldn't use the cheapest or newest hairdresser you can find, don't do the same with your wedding photographer. Some people prefer not to discuss the 'negative' possibilities, I say let's discuss reality and look at every possibility to avoid future problems. This is your once-in-a-lifetime wedding, there are no re-dos. We want you to be prepared, forewarned and educated so you can make a smart decision, even if you don't book us. We can't shoot everyone's wedding but our experience can help you prepare for yours.
Begin with the end in mind, if you don't know what you really want, you won't get it! Don't make the mistake of hiring just a photographer, everyone's a photographer and anyone can take pictures and give you the files. Picture takers are a 'dime-a-dozen' and can range in price from your friends for free to thousands of dollars for nothing. You need to hire an experienced imaging consultant/professional memory maker who is an expert in everything photographic, including retouching, editing and design, and can provide the quality-guaranteed finished products you ultimately desire-- the world's Finest Heirloom PhotoArt ® Albums and Designer Wall Decor, sensational Digital Slideshows, etc. Otherwise you may just be left with disappointment.
Start with style... is your wedding: formal, casual, fun, mysterious, colorful, dark, fanciful, bright, moody, blurry? You need a photographer whos finished products match your style! Not just a stylish photographer who will try to out-dress you at your event, then have difficulty delivering a decent product in a timely manner.
Currently there are a lot of assumed expectations and false assumptions in our industry. Only an educated buyer will recognize the truth.
Misconceptions about wedding photography:
1- You learn, after it is too late, that the pictures from your wedding look nothing like the pictures your photographer showed you on their website/ blog/ facebook.
2- Years later the thousands of unflattering wedding images your photographer gave you on the USB or CD now just sits idle in a folder or drawer because the few you printed or shared really didn't look as good as you remembered your event really being.
3- You learn later that your friend you hired to take the pictures, (and claimed to be a 'professional'), missed a lot of moments at your wedding because she was eating, drinking, dancing and chatting it up with your friends. You ultimately wasted good money by paying her to be a mediocre bridesmaid and a bad picture taker.
4- You learn that your photographer's camera was 'less than professional' when you try to enlarge and print the pictures from your wedding. So you now have to live with poorly focused, off-color, unflattering images the rest of your life (but they look decent on the internet).
5- You made the mistake of thinking that all prints and albums are created equal, and bought into the idea that 'cheaper is better' and you only learn later that the 'no-guarantee', FREE album the photographer included in their package falls apart in less than 2 years.
6- You made the false assumption that your photographer knows how to edit and retouch pictures only later to find out they don't even own Photoshop.
7- You figured that because your photographer was competitively priced and friendly they must have good financial business practices until after your wedding are you surprised that they file bankruptcy and left you stranded.
8- You make the false assumption that even if you stack the odds against your favor by hiring questionable vendors, somehow your event will be the 'exception to the rule' and everything will come out perfectly.
9- You make the false assumption that there is no need to research other options and see what else is available because your girlfriend's photographer will also be perfect for you only to find her lack of professionalism makes you want to scream on your wedding day.
10- You made the mistake of setting a budget without learning the costs or options and then determine that your pre-determined budget (although not adequate) should be the most important decision-making factor when determining your vendors so you try to harass them into begrudgingly doing more for less.
Because everything 'wedding' related can be expensive and usually costs more than what was originally expected, there has developed a FALSE assumption that wedding vendors are 'overcharging' and ripping people off. The REALITY is: Most wedding vendors are barely making it and are usually undercharging for what they deliver. The person paying the vendors usually makes more money and owns nicer clothes, shoes, cars, jewelry, homes, etc. than most the vendors they hire.
This Free Wedding Photography Information is provided as an educational public service by:
Any photographer can buy a pretty website and pay a graphic designer to make it look good! Even a bad picture can look good when electronically presented on a small screen! The real quality is revealed in the printed products (the larger, the better)! A good web designer can edit, retouch, enhance and improve images and design a slick "corporate" style website for anyone who is willing to pay for it.
Today it is very popular for new photographers and even 'pretend photographers' to build their website with other photographer's pictures, fake brides and models, too often what you see isn't really what you'll get! (Pictures of model brides on a California coastline from a setup photography seminar will be nothing like what you will get) Base your final decision on the final finished products (not fabricated samples)! See what the other brides actually got, so you will know what you will actually get!
A Great Wedding Photographers' advertising/ website/ presentation/ display is easily copied by mediocre photographers so upon initial look many photographers appear similar. The difference is in the details! This Free Photography Information has been written to help you recognize those differences and take the right steps to insure your success in choosing the right wedding photographer for you. We provide enduring Heirloom PhotoArt ® of a contemporary style, not fleeting fashions that fade!
What's more important? The outer wrapping or the product inside? Too many vendors today are putting 'lipstick on a pig' Nice marketing materials, cute videos of themselves looking funky fresh, nice presentations, good looking 'wrappings' but in the end what are you left with? Cheap, unprofessional junk?
Don't pay good money for poor quality --similar to what your friends could have given you for free. You should shop for the quality-GUARANTEED finished products you dream of! Better to look at the realities of what they deliver instead of the 'persona' they want you to believe! Call us about your event and we will show you how to get the best quality, service and more value for your money and make it work within your budget!
In the meantime consider this:
Don't you wish it was that simple? Many brides tell me that the more they shop, the more confusing it gets! They are bombarded by so many conflicting claims and not enough 'reality' from which to make an informed decision. Most haven't had much experience purchasing professional wedding photography so they don't really know what to look for. Because wedding photography is such a unique and customized, personalized service you can't shop for it in the same way you may be accustomed to. In your quest for the right wedding photographer the real question is: Who can you trust your wedding memories to, who will really deliver the best quality and lasting value for your money?
Searching for the right wedding photographer is not very easy, you only get one chance to get it right and there are a lot of options out there and without a little research you really don't know what you will end up with. Some brides create a 'laundry list' of what they want then search the world over trying to find someone who can meet their demands at or below their budget, (this is backwards) even if they can find someone to meet their criteria, there's little chance that photographer will have the image style, quality and personality that matches their tastes, so although they can checkoff all the items on their list, in the end they will have wasted good money on poor-quality pictures they don't like from a person they can't stand. Too often brides shop for wedding photography the same way they would for any standard manufactured item. (Go with a name brand at the best price and use a coupon.) With a name-brand product it's easy to compare specific features and model numbers and then shop for the lowest price and with the standardized factory warrantee if something goes wrong, you can always get a replacement or a refund, not so with wedding photography --there are no standards or second chances!
Here's the problem: wedding photography is a totally customized artistic service that is subject to each individual photographer's ability, quality, artistic interpretation and skill level. Nothing is standardized and no two photographers are alike. There are no 'manufacturers' warrantees to fall back on. There are tons of new and un-established photography businesses popping up in the wedding industry. Today everyone is a photographer and half of those say they are wedding photographers because they went to a wedding once and took some pictures. I am amazed at the number of inexperienced photographers who pretend to be 'professionals' and the number of naive brides that risk everything by hiring them. Wedding photography, when properly done, is one of the more difficult types of photography to do well and on time! Too many brides make the false assumption that you can do most anything with digital files and after it's too late they learn that the images their photographer gave them on CD are incapable of producing what they really wanted. Now with a poor-quality CD they go looking for their photographer to find that either she is nowhere to be found OR has no solution to the quality issues except to explain the fine print on the contract which states that her only obligation was to take the pictures and give you a CD, no fixing it, no guarantees, no refund, no re-do's, no nothing, so sorry, your loss!
You shouldn't pay good money for an amature to 'practice' or experiment at your event... the smart money will go with a well-recognized, experienced, quality-guaranteed, and established professional --the tried and true name brand!Yes, the sure thing may cost a little more but it will pay you in the long run. 85% of all photographers go out of business in the first 5 years and 50% of the ones who survive the first 5 years go out-of-business in the next 5 years. Look at any bridal magazine from last year and see who is no longer in business. Do some research to insure your photographer will still be around to deliver your album! Too often an unexpecting bride finds after all is said and done that the free items the photographer gave her in the low-cost wedding photography package wern't worth very much because they were of such poor quality they fell apart within the first couple years of ownership now she can't find the photographer to complain to OR when she went to order her album she found the photographer was no longer in business so she ended up paying for something she never got --not a good value!
Your wedding will be one of the most romantic, beautiful and emotional days of your life, you will only have one chance to get it right and if it goes wrong, you're pretty much out-of-luck. A 100% money-back guarantee or promise of being 'thrilled' may make you initially feel 'warm & fuzzy' but won't replace your wedding-day photographs. Weddings are very challenging. A photographer who specializes in commercial magazine features, baby pictures, architectural, fine-art photography may not be capable of capturing the unique essence of your wedding day, those distinguishing once-in-a-lifetime moments, in the artistic style and professional manner you deserve.
Too often brides shop for wedding photography the same way they shop for consumer electronics or party favors. They look at advertisements, talk to friends, review websites, and the internet and compile a list of the vendors that interest them. (if you get a 'preferred vendor' list from your venue be sure to ask which vendors are on the list as legitimate referrals and which ones pay to be listed, honest disclosures regarding 'kick-backs' will help you determine if a vendor is a legit referral or just a paid advertisement) Sometimes a bride will go on a price-gathering expedition. After collecting the limited amount of price information a photographer is willing to give them the 'mislead' bride will attempt to compare the apples to oranges of the photographers package prices, reprint costs, hours included, etc. They then choose their photographer based on estimated prices, too often they are looking for the 'most for their money' or the 'biggest bang for their buck'.
The problem with this approach is it doesn't take into consideration the quality of the photographs, the longevity (archival qualities) of the included products, the reputation/ experience of the photographer, the philosophy/ personality equation or the type and quality of service they will receive. A full-time professional photographer with the knowledge, experience, equipment, intelligence and expertise to take the best images will most likely be at the higher end of the price scale, getting 'a lot for the money' is seldom really achieved and only valuable if what you get is of the best archival quality from a reputable/ reliable source. New or inexperienced photographers usually don't charge enough to cover their real costs and don't offer complete services, there is a risk involved with the lower price. Some unethical vendors will lie about the pricing up front to get you to book them and then take advantage of you later.
I recently talked to a bride who used the 'low-priced' method for picking her photographer. She picked the photographer who offered 'unlimited hours' had the biggest album and the cheapest reprints and cut her a quick deal to get her to book with her. After the wedding she expressed to me her disappointment when after going through the 755 online proofs from her wedding for the 5th time she was still unable to find 25 good ones that she wanted to put in her album, now she's trying to get her money back. Her next comment was, "I would have been smarter to pay more for a better photographer, the albums and reprints and cheap price upfront doesn't really matter anymore since I don't have any pictures I want printed!"
It saddens me to hear about disappointed brides who wasted good money on unfinished work; a TRUE professional photographer will see your project all the way through to the final printed product AND will guarantee the finished results! Today there are lots of photographers …not many TRUE professionals!
Professional photography is an ART, a SCIENCE and a BUSINESS, you need to find someone good in all three areas. I have recently heard from a multitude of brides who booked their 'inexpensive' photographer 8 months before their wedding date only to learn 2 months before their wedding that he sold their date to another bride who agreed to pay more. The photographer 'accidentally' forgot to tell the bride he overbooked so she is left in a lurch because all the photographers whose style she really liked are already booked. We've seen similar 'bait & switch' ploys used time and time again.
I've talked to brides who never got their wedding photos. One bride placed her final order and returned all her proofs, having paid for everything, only later to find out the business closed and skipped town with her money and pictures! She is still trying to find them. Too often the 'new' photographer in town is offering 'a lot for the money' but doesn't realize their true costs, after a few years of being 'swamped with business' their expenses catch up to them and their business folds. (You can sell a lot of dollars for 80 cents!)
I met a bride the other day who hired a photographer by the hour to only shoot her wedding and give her a CD. When she picked up the CD she put it in her purse which sat for several hours in her hot car. A few days later when she put the CD in the computer she realized the heat had warped it and it was unreadable, "No problem" she thought, "I will just call the photograher and get her to re-burn me another one." Several days later when her photographer finally returned her call she was informed that after she burns the CD she immediately erases the file so she has room on her computer for the next wedding shoot. Her wedding files disappeared into the digital graveyard, never to be recovered again. Her attorney reviewed the contract and determined that the photographer did exactly what was promised and fulfilled her legal obligations under the contract. The bride paid good money for nothing, she never thought to ask if the photographer archives their images.
I talked to another bride who had her photos delivered in the bag from Walgreens Drug Store! I've talked to lots of married couples who say their photographer was good, but "she must have had an off-day on our wedding because none of the pictures she took at our wedding were as good as the ones she showed us." Some were shown samples from a previous company photographer who has long since retired or worse yet, died.
Many photographers lure you in with low prices upfront but then hit you on the backend with additional fees. One couple was unexpectedly charged an extra $200 for travel time ($3 a mile!) When they complained they were told to read the fine print on the price list and threatened that if they didn't pay the extra fee they wouldn't get their pictures. One bride was charged a $500 penalty fee for placing her order 3-days late. Another couple was told they could no longer order the album they had already paid for in their package and would get no refund because they were past the 60-day ordering deadline!
Nothing worse than learning that the 'preferred vendor' list from a reputable facility is full of poor-quality vendors that pay a kickback to the venue (up to 15%) or worse yet, illegally under the table to the facility planner. No wonder the bridal consultant was pushing the bride to book the inexperienced, poor-quality photographer. A paid ad should be listed as a paid ad instead of trying to be disguised as a legitimate referral. Too often this type of policy insures the venues/ planners greed stands in the way of the bride getting a quality vendor. Often the excuse of 'insurance regulations' or 'maintenance requirements' is used to disguise this unethical practice. This type of practice often ends when the facility and their sales representative becomes part of a lawsuit against the inferior vendor that the bride was blackmailed into using.
Now don't misunderstand me - there are many wonderful, legitimate and ethical wedding planners who charge a percentage of the total dollars spent by the brides family for their complete wedding planning services to include the booking of the vendors the bride chooses. These planners are upfront about their fees and charges and don't have shady deals being made on the side. An established, well-known wedding planner can actually help insure you have no problems with any of your vendors since they can not only be a second set of eyes and ears to help verify and clarify the brides expectations but will often have lots of clout with the vendors since they represent additional future business.
Some brides have been disappointed by a wedding vendor who goes out to party the Friday night before the wedding, gets wasted and forgets to show up for the wedding and then is unable to be contacted. Most local working vendors that have been in the industry for any length of time will be happy to let you know who is known for this problem.
One bride was devastated and near tears on her wedding day when her 'It's my way or the highway' Dr. Jekyll /Mr. Hyde photographer became the self-appointed 'dictator of events' and began yelling and bossing people around and was very rude with her family and friends! Had she only taken a few minutes to talk to other vendors about this photographer she would have learned about his mean side.
One well-meaning, experienced (but foolish) photographer had just purchased the 'newest and latest' digital camera. Without realizing it, she shot the whole wedding with the camera set on 'preview only' mode. The camera appeared to be working normally. Each picture would display on the little screen on the back of the camera after each shot and she thought she was getting some good pictures. The problem was the photos were ONLY being displayed but NOT recorded to the memory card. The bride was very upset when she learned (after the wedding) that she only had 3 professional photographs from the whole wedding day.
(We circumvent unforeseen equipment problems by using two to three photographers with up to 5 different cameras, if by chance one didn't work we would only lose a small portion of the photos taken.)
The last thing these brides expected was to be terribly disappointed. "His pictures looked good and his price was great! I never dreamed I wouldn't get any professional pictures from my wedding!"
Don't let this happen to you! We want you to make the right choice, ~ even if it's not us. We're not the photographer for everyone because we are only able to cover 30-40 weddings each year. The best photographers and the best dates book-up (often 6-14 months in advance).
Nice weddings are expensive and too often the desire to save money takes over ones better judgement and disaster soon follows. If a photographer is working 6-8 hours at your event and then another 30-50 hours in post-production: editing, cropping, retouching and preparing your photos and they include top-quality reprints, albums and other products how can they charge less for the whole package than the quality reprints alone would cost?... do you really think the photographer is putting in 40-50 hours for free? Maybe they just don't pay their empolyees? Do you think they are really losing hundreds of dollars on each wedding they do? or are they just lying?... I wonder what else they are lying about? If it sounds too good to be true... It is! Ultimately you will get what you pay for.
We have compiled some suggestions to help insure you get the Great Wedding Photography you deserve:
To minimize any unforeseen problems, I have listed the Top 10 criteria you should use to narrow down your photographer. Make sure they:
1- 85% of all new photographers go out-of-business within 5 years (learn more why), you need an experienced professional who will be able to overcome any unforeseen problem and still deliver the goods, you don't want an amateur or a non-wedding photographer to use you as their guinea pig.
2- Different photographers have different styles, be sure to hire the one that specializes in the style you like.
3- "Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing." If they are not upfront about sharing their pricing, contract details and policies with you they may have other surprises for you later too.
4- References will tell you the complete story, be sure to ask them how their photographer behaved on their wedding day and did they live up to their expectations or were there areas they fell short on. Find out what they wish they would have done differently. Your local wedding vendors attend more weddings than you will ever have time for and can give you the 'inside scoop' on what they hear and see out there.
5- An insured photographer protects you, your suppliers and your guests. If the photographer creates damages to the property you rented you could be held liable for those damages. If a guest trips over the photographer's equipment the photographer's liability insurance will protect you from a lawsuit.
6- If their 'free time' after work is dedicated to their photography and their real commitment is to a full-time job their loyalty, availability, schedule and efforts will be with their full-time boss, not with you.
7- Professional organizations help both the photographer and the customer by providing continual training, education and have certain ethics requirements for eligibility and often provide backup equipment, services and personnel in case of emergency.
8- Renters are more mobile and typically the ones who skip town. Some dishonest people make it a habit of moving every few years to get away from the problems they have created.
9- Archival products will last for generations -- anything less is a waste of good money. There is nothing worse than an obnoxious, bossy and demanding vendor who in the end you wish you had never invited to your event (I can hear them cackling loudly in the background by the bar!).
10- American Express will be the first credit card company to drop a merchant if there is any unresolved problems and will insure that their customers are treated properly. 3rd party processing decreases protections (i.e. paypal, photolab, business name other than the contracted vendor)
Some photographers 'hate weddings' but only 'do them for the money'. I would make sure that my potential photographer specializes in wedding photography and has a long-term commitment to the industry as evidenced by good standing in multiple professional organizations such as: The Better Business Bureau, their local Jacksonville Photographer's association, and Professional Photographers of America, etc. as these organizations can be very helpful both to the customer and the photographer in case of unexpected emergencies or problems. (Membership dues are usually the first thing that doesn't get paid when a business is having financial problems.)
You only have to read what problems and advice other brides have written regarding wedding photography to be able to see the writing on the wall. But still even after educating themselves many brides 'take their chances' and let their 'budget' get the best of them and ultimately end up complaining later that they got exactly what they paid for! Life's just too short!
You've heard it from your friends and you'll hear it over and over again... don't hire a cheap photographer! So you are now asking yourself how much is a 'cheap' photographer?
How much does quality wedding photography cost? (here comes the sticker shock, it's typically double what you thought - better be sitting down) The average wedding costs $28,000. A quality photographer costs 10-15% of the total wedding costs. If a photographer was covering the majority of your event 6+ hours you will have difficulty finding a quality professional charging less than $1,500 (and that price may not include any albums or extras. I average $400/hr.) In the end you'll get what you pay for.
Lot's of people try to argue this point with me (because it's not what they wanted to hear) but hear me out, after an exhaustive two-year study of the financial workings of all types of photographers nationwide PPA (Professional Photographers of America) learned that in the MOST profitable and well-run photography businesses, when all was said and done, the owners paycheck averaged 25% of the gross sale. (in the average photography business it was less)
So in a well-run photography business a $2,000 sale would ultimately pay $500 and you are saying that's pretty good pay for a Saturday and I'm saying yes it would be if one photographer just worked that one day for you. (but you just met with 5 different photographers at close to an hour each and got lots of free advice and won't pay anything to the four of them you don't hire!) AND a QUALITY PROFESSIONAL will spend a minimum of 30-40 hours time editing and retouching the pictures from your wedding! So really that $500 profit has just turned into $12.50/hr. How many well-educated, talented and trained proffessionals only pay themselves $12.50/hr.?
So now you are saying, but Dan, there are a lot of photographers out there charging less than $1,500 and often throwing in free albums, reprints, etc. and the majority of them are NOT the best run businesses - what gives? My point exactly! The majority of them are not QUALITY PROFESSIONALS but are cheating the system, it's just a matter of time! Some are skimping on the process, not delivering quality, not delivering what was promised, substituting inferior products, not paying sales tax, insurance, bills or wages, not understanding their real costs, robbing from Peter to pay Paul, etc.
Many new photographers sell below cost to 'establish' themselves and get their name out there and 80% of those will not be around in 5 years. Just check the phonebook listings or ads in magazines and you will see lots of photographers that are no longer around. (or check channel 4 news as Ken is still trying to help brides find their missing photographers who skipped town) There is a large turnover in the wedding industry. From the inital booking appointment to the final album delivery the average photographer will work with a bride for 18 months to two years (and sometimes even longer), a 3-year-old floundering business may not be around to deliver the final album. --CONTINUE BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW: