Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

1090 Clark Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 | (650) 930-0743 | http://www.trifonanguelov.com


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26 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer


Bride and Groom Portrait as Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, CA

Bride and Groom Portrait as Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA

Selecting a wedding photographer is on every bride’s to do list. Considering the fact that there is no shortage of wedding photographers offering their services, it is not an easy task.

Apart from the technical information that might be overwhelming, there are many other questions that a bride might need to get answered before she decides on hiring a certain wedding photographer. Things like, digital images, wedding albums, poses, coverage duration, what to capture and when.

Wedding photography is a service as the floral and venue decoration, DJ and MC, videography and event planning. it requires face to face interaction to interview and select the right professional. But what to ask a wedding photographer in order to determine if it is a right fit or not?

The following list of 26 questions to ask your wedding photographer could help you be prepared and ask the right question. I also explain why each question is important to get answers to and what a good answer would be for each questions.

Brides could use this while preparing for their interviews with wedding photographers. It is by no means a complete list of all the questions but would give you a pretty good starting point.

So let’s start with the first and foremost important questions of all:

1. Do you have my wedding date available?

This is the most important question. You do not want to totally fall in love with a photographer who in the end is already booked on your wedding day! Nothing else matters unless the answer to this question is: Yes. Unless of course, you can convince the photographer to cancel his other wedding and take yours.

This is the very first question you should ask before inquiring any further.

2. What is the cost?

Cost is usually one of the main factors in choosing a wedding photographer. The average cost of a wedding photographer in the USA is $3,700. But it varies depending on your location. Are they really expensive or are their services cheaper than everyone else’s?

If you have questions like those, do not be afraid to ask your wedding photographer. He or she should be able to justify their cost with quality work and plenty of experience. As well as many other factors that ultimately determine the final wedding photography cost. Things like: Do they own a studio or work from their own home? Do they typically bring along an assistant with them to help capture every photo or do they work on their own? Also, be sure to ask if they add mileage to the cost or if travel expenses are included in the original price.

3. What is your photography style?

Like we discussed before, there are different styles of wedding photography. Would you like more contemporary or traditional? Do you want your photos to be very artistic or in a documentary style?

The key is to find a photographer who can match and deliver the style you have in mind. If you are not sure what the styles are or need to see sample images for each style, consider reading Wedding Photography Styles guide I created for my wedding clients.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

4. Are you the actual photographer that will shoot my wedding?

Keep in mind that there are wedding photography companies that hire freelance wedding photographers and book them for their client’s weddings. So the person you have been interviewing and signing the contract might not be the person photographing your wedding.

Find out if you are talking to the right photographer and if not, ask to meet the person who will be your actual photographer. You don’t want to be surprised on your wedding day. Do you?

5. How do you typically work?

Does the photographer like to blend into the background and capture photos as they unfold naturally or does this particular photographer enjoy planning out and choreographing different shots. Does he or she likes to take charge and stay in control, directing everyone and “setting the stage” for the shots?

If that is what you need, then great. You have a match. If your guests and bridal party are easy going party people, having someone who constantly interrupts the flow of your wedding and trying to direct everyone might be a disaster.

6. Can I provide a list of specific shots I would like to get?

Many brides have ideas of poses and shots they would like for their weddings. Unfortunately, not all wedding photographers believe in working from a list of images.  Asking this upfront makes the photographer aware and also shows you how easy going they are to work with.

The middle ground where the photographer reviews the poses you like and he accepts to try to do similar or the same with its own touch of creativity is a win-win situation and works for most couples. As with all the questions: Don’s assume anything. Inquire and validate for piece of mind.

7. Can you provide references from other weddings?

This is a very reasonable question to ask and every established wedding photographer would not have problems providing, you with at least 3-5 past clients you can cross reference. Technical skills are as important as ability to get along with the bride and groom, so you are also looking for a great personality apart from a technically savvy and proficient photographer. Your wedding photographer would be around you and your groom the whole day, so people who already have experienced this can be of great help.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

8. How many hours will you be available on my wedding day?

Ultimately you need the photographer to be available from the start to the end of the coverage hours. If planning getting ready coverage, find out of the photographer is available at that time. Similarly, if planning, cake cutting at 10:00 pm, find out if there is no other appointment the photographer have booked already.

Most wedding photographers would accommodate the entire wedding, but be sure to double check this.

Related: Step By Step Guide For Hiring Wedding Photographer

9. What is your refund or cancellation policy?

Find out what happens if your wedding needs to be rescheduled or canceled. Family emergencies, change of plans. All possible. So how your wedding photographer usually handles this. Most photographers have a clause in their contracts that deals with that, so find out and be clear. It’s like the spare tire in your car. You might never need it, but you would not want not to have one when you get a flat tire on a busy freeway in the middle of the night.

10. Have you photographed at my venue before?

Knowing the venue is a big advantage when it comes to a wedding photographer. Not only one who has photographed before in the same venue as you are considering would be able to navigate the floor plan and would know the best angles, but would also have met and worked with the venue coordinator and staff.

With better knowledge and existing relationships, you can expect less time to be spent figuring things out and more time capturing your wedding day moments.

11. Have you photographed my religious ceremony before?

Every religion (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc)  have specific rituals and meanings. A wedding photographer who is experienced with the religious rituals and ceremonies would be better prepared to anticipate and capture these moments than someone who does it for the very first time.

You can also ask for an example (portfolio images, client’s galleries) to see who these were captured.

12. Do you offer online gallery with my images?

Most wedding photographers require that you purchase a wedding album and charge extra for the digital images from your wedding. So if you decide to purchase the digital images from your wedding and would like to share them with friends and family, imagine all the time you would require to sort through the images, attach to emails and share with everyone.

Some wedding photographers offer online private gallery with their client’s wedding images. This makes it easy to share as simply sharing the web link and password to the gallery. Ask if the wedding photographer you are considering offers this as part of their package.

13. Do you watermark your images?

Many photographers will provide you only with images which have a digital watermark (photographer’s logo) on each image. If you decide to use these images to make yourself a wedding album, this might not be a good option.

So clarify this with your wedding photographer and if there is going to be a watermark, ask how this can be removed. In 99% of the cases, it is a matter of additional fee. As with all other questions: Make sure you are not surprised by an additional fee that you have not planned and cannot afford paying later.

14. Do you release the copyright for the wedding images?

Related: Wedding Photography FAQ by Trifon Anguelov Photography

15. Do you offer a second photographer?

If you plan to have a long wedding (more than 8 hours) or ceremony in a church which doesn’t allow movement during the ceremony whatsoever, or simply would like to have images captured from different angles, having a second wedding photographer working with your primary photographer, it is a very good idea.

Most primary photographers do offer a secondary one, so be sure to clarify this in case you would like to have it.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

16. Have you worked with the second photographer before?

There are wedding photographers who usually don’t use second photographers for whatever reasons. Bringing one for your wedding for the first time might cause awkward situations, miscommunication or conflicts. Something which you definitely not need on your wedding day.

If the wedding photographer you absolutely love usually works alone, it is a good idea to trust his or her professionalism. Forcing a second photographer without clearly having any benefits could do more damage than good.

17. Do you have backup equipment in case of failures?

Photographers use complicated digital cameras, lenses and flashes with electronic components which can fail from time to time. Because you cannot redo your wedding so it can be photographed, having a backup equipment (second camera body, second lens and flashes) is imperative to ensure not moment of your wedding would be missed.

It will not hurt to ask the type of equipment the wedding photographer use as well. Information as camera model and lens model is very useful in determining the quality of the final images. As one cannot expect to race and win NASCAR with a consumer grade compact car, so the professional wedding photographers invest and use professional grade digital equipment.

18. Do you have a liability insurance?

Many venues would not allow a wedding photographer or any vendor on their premises unless they have a valid liability insurance against any damages or loss that can occur on their premises during the wedding. It is not uncommon for a furniture or fixtures to be knocked down or damaged and an insurance is one way to replace them after the accident.

Don’t waste your valuable time interviewing and hiring a wedding photographer who would not be allowed in your venue because of lack of liability insurance.

19. Can I extend my wedding coverage hours?

Weddings get off schedule. In the majority of cases events take longer as planned and it might be that the cake cutting which is usually at the end might be beyond the time you booked your photographer to. So having the flexibility to add extra hours or time to your contract is a piece of mind.

Any reasonable wedding photographer would accommodate their clients. So keep your options open and find out if the photographer doesn’t have anything else booked right after your wedding.

Related: Wedding Tips For Brides From a Wedding Photographer Point of View

20. Do you offer expedited images processing?

If your parents or relatives are so eager to see your wedding images or you are simply one of the “inpatient” types of brides, it is good to find a photographer who can process and deliver the final images faster than his regular 4-5 weeks timeline. Most likely you would have to pay an extra fee for the priority processing, but keep in mind that not every photographer offers this. So better to clarify before hand rather than to assume it will be possible.

Christian Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford, CA

Christian Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford, CA

21. Do you offer slideshows with my wedding images?

Very popular lately is to create slideshow from the very best wedding images and share with the couple. Adding music to the slideshow creates a nice video clip which can be shared with friends and family. Asking your wedding photographer for one, is usually a good idea.

22. Can you share an entire day wedding images set?

Reasonable question to give you an idea how much experience the wedding photographer has. The last thing you want is to have a newbie photographer learning on your wedding. Somewhere between 3-6 years of previous experience should give you confidence, although the years of experience is not a 100% guarantee for amazing images. Unfortunately, there are wedding photographers with many years of experience who produce mediocre results. See more in bullet point #26

23. How many weddings you have photographed so far?

Related: How To Avoid Wedding Photography Scams

24. How many weddings you usually photograph per year?

Wedding photography is not only physically demanding but also an emotional drain which over time can impact the photographer’s creativity. A photographer who photographs 40-50 weddings per year might not give 100% of his creativity and energy due to fatigue and “burn out” especially in mid-summer. On the other hand someone who is very selecting on the weddings he or she takes and prioritizes quality over quantity might produce better results.

Focusing on less weddings and putting 100% energy and dedication is what you need. Believe me, 85% is hardly compared to 100%.

25. What is the most favorite part of the wedding you like to photograph?

The answer to this question would open a conversation to help you gauge how much experience the photographer has. Many primary photographers do also second photograph weddings so they will answer to be their favorite whatever they have been doing the most and feel most confident into. You can also understand if the personal preference matches your style expectations.

For example: If you are looking for a photojournalist wedding photographer and you find out that he or she likes posed photos, which are the complete opposite to the candid images you are looking for, there is the conflict. Same as the photographer likes to photograph details as glasses, shoes, rings, your dress, etc while you are looking for outgoing, people’s person to mingle with your guests and engage them for fun photos.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

Indian Wedding at Cinnabar Hills in San Jose, CA

26. What do you like about being wedding photographer?

As everything service related, you want to hire a professional who is passionate and love what he or she does. Creativity in photography comes from passion and internal drive to excel. You most likely would like to have someone who will capture your day in the most creative and unique way.

Many “money chasing” wedding photographers do cookie cutter approach and might not go the extra step to meet all your needs. So decide earlier: are you after true professional who is passionate about the art he or she is creating or after the money you are about to pay them.

Conclusion:

To read more real life wedding photography questions and the answers I usually provide to my clients, consider reading Wedding Photography FAQ.

Wedding planning takes time and careful preparation. Being educated if the best preparation you can do before start seriously considering a wedding photographer.

I am sure there might be additional tips you might have, so if you have a tip, any comment or a feedback, feel free to drop me a line or two in the comments section. I would love to hear from you on how you managed find and select your wedding photographer. .

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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Elegant Asian Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University


Memorial Church in Stanford University is such an amazing location for weddings. Had the privilege to photograph Zhouxiao and Haomiao’s wedding. To see all images and read the entire wedding story, check the latest blog article on my website: Elegant Asian Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

Both were amazing and I enjoyed very much capturing the moments. There is so much history and legacy related to this location.

Here is a slideshow highlight from their wedding day:

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days.

To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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How To Start Your Own Wedding Photography Blog


Blogging Made Easy

Blogging Made Easy

Nowadays, many photographers apart from sharing their photos on their websites, social media and online portfolios, at some point decide to start and publish their own blogs. The reason is that although a picture is worth a thousand words, there is nothing more useful for SEO (search engine optimization) than a well written and compelling text.

The search engines as Google, Bing and Yahoo, are constantly crawling and indexing the web for new and fresh content. The more popular the new content is, the higher is ranked in the search results compared to the already existing and indexed content. It’s a constant and never ending competition to stay relevant and rank higher.

And here where a wedding or portrait photography blog can help. So how one starts about setting and maintaining their own photography blog?

As everyone else, I also have started and maintaining my own blog in addition to my Wedding Photography Website and Portfolio. Here are top 8 tips that can help you start your own photography blog.

1. Have a Purpose:

Giving your potential readers a purpose to spend time reading your blog is a must. Without any appealing content or anything that can benefit your readers, your blog will wilt quickly. You would also have to decide on how you are going to engage and grow your users. Are you going to share your images and invite feedback? Or you are going to describe and share your photography techniques and skills? Or share information on particular photography equipment (camera body, lenses, flashes, etc)?

Whatever the purpose of your blog is going to be, be consistent.

2. Target Your Audience:

This is the most important decision you need to make and it is the one that I see many bloggers fail to establish. Decide who is your reader: potential clients, fellow photographers, everyone else, your family and friends?

If you are writing to acquire new clients, then you might want to display your work, post promotions and events they can take advantage of. Posting complicated information about photography jargon (link) or techniques would not appeal to your clients. Neither, discussions about your pricing strategy or articles about how to increase your profit as a photographer.

Writing for fellow photographers would require you to get specific into the technical information, post information that they cannot easily find somewhere else (why otherwise they will come and read your blog, anyway?). And for family and friends, anything they can relate to would be a good start.

Memorial Church in Stanford, CA

Memorial Church in Stanford, CA

3. Pick Blogging Platform:

Blogging is not necessarily a new way to reach a vast audience. And as such there are so many blogging platforms to pick from: WordPress, Blogger, Thumbr, etc . Each blogging software would have their templates, look and feel which you might or might not like, so take your time. Take them for a test drive before you commit to adding content. Once you start blogging, it is usually very hard to move to another platform.

Although all blogging platforms serve the same purpose: to enable you to communicate your ideas and content to everyone, not all are created equal. Look for blogging platform which is SEO optimized or can be SEO optimized. You need to make it easy for Google, Bing and Yahoo to index and display a link to your blog in their search engines. After all, if no one finds and reads your blog, what is the whole purpose of it. Plenty of templates (both free and paid) is also good to have. And lastly, look for modern features as social networking integration, Google Analytics integration, video (YouTube, Vimeo) support, etc.

4. Focus Your Energy:

Many successful blogs that have loyal and sizable user base, are indeed addressing a very specific topic or area of interest. For example, it would be hard for you to come up with unique and interesting content for the entire photography field, but what about destination wedding photography tips for Bora Bora? How many other destination wedding photographers would be blogging about Bora Bora compared to wedding photography in general.

Being unique and focusing your energy would not only draw a loyal and dedicated readers, but would also enable you to write “deeper” and more insightful content. Your readers would come back if they find the content they like and need. Trying to be the “jack of all trades” would not get you far.

5. Be Productive:

After you selected your blogging platform, don’t just stop there. There are many useful and free tools to help you be more productive in publishing your blogs. The most important thing to do after you write your blog article is to proofread it for grammar and spelling errors. There are few great online tools to help you:

If you prefer to have a real person do the proof reading, one option is to head to Fiverr. For $10 or less, there is an army of freelancers who do great job on polishing and getting your article ready for publishing.

And if you care about higher search ranking for your blog, consider writing at least 650 characters blogs. To help you measure this, here is a free online tool for you: Word Counter

Romantic Bridal Portrait from Memorial Church Wedding in Stanford, CA

Romantic Bridal Portrait from Memorial Church Wedding in Stanford, CA

6. Make It Engaging:

One way to keep your readers engaged on your site is to add images to your blogs. This makes your blog easier to read as the reader’s eyes are”resting” on the images instead of getting tired of scrolling through the lines of text. The images also add context to your content and are more likely to invoke reaction by your readers, and therefore make them remember your blog or topic.

You can take and share your own images (why not show the World what amazing photographer you are) for your blog. This is not only adding context to your blog, but would also keep you motivated to go out and capture the images for your next blog article.  Lastly you will have the platform to display and share your images with your readers.

If you don’t have the time to capture and process your own images, there is a plethora of royalty free images online. Here is one library in case you need it: Free Digital Photos

7. Be Consistent:

Many photographers start their own blogs only to give up on the idea within 5-6 months. Actually, stale blog can do more harm than benefit. Visitors and past readers would wonder if you no longer dedicate time and energy to photography. Have you not be keeping with your craft and don’t have anything new to share?

So, if you are serious about starting a blog, then create a blogging schedule and stick with it. Posting regularly not only would keep your readers engaged, but would also help your SEO. Google and the rest of the search engines love fresh content worth adding to their indexes. It is better to post short articles (350 words) frequently (once or twice per week) rather than once a month or week with 600 words or more (guilty on this one).

8. Make It Interesting and Unique:

When it comes to blogs, less is more. Quality wins over quality.

Instead of churning mediocre blog articles four or five times per week, opt for once or twice per week, quality and informative content. You can lose readers if you keep spamming them with low quality, “me too” rehashed content. No body has the time to read the same ideas in different words.

So keep it interesting and original. Come up with topics that others care about and are looking to learn more about it.

Christian Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford, CA

Christian Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford, CA

9. Let Others Know:

Lastly, once you have a blog and started to blog regularly, the last step is to let others know about it.

Get the word out. Share it with your friends, post links to your blog online on Twitter, Facebook, forums. What good is a blog if no one knows about it and reads it. And if you know your readers are not online at 10pm, don’t post at that time. You can always save your finished blog and post it when your readers are online and can see it.

Conclusion:

Blogging is a great way for every photographer to share its vision, images and knowledge with others. It is a way to let others know more about you and your passion, something that your images cannot always do. Having a blog would not only make you more visible online, but could also benefit your photography business.

Brides and grooms are looking for wedding photographers online, so giving them a reason to find you and read your useful content, is yet another way to grow your business. I hope these tips would help you to start your own blog. Would love to hear your feedback and comments in the section below.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days.

To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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Instagram – Ditching The Square Only Format


Instagram Logo

Instagram Logo

Ask any photographer or simply anyone who has used Instagram, about the what defines the popular mobile photo sharing app, and the answer without a doubt would be: the square photo format. In the very early days when Instagram started, one can share only square format pictures.

It was a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because it was unique. It also required the photographer to compose and be cognizant of how the image would be cropped into a square before posting it. It was a fresh stream of creativity, which I frankly liked very much.

And it was a curse, because images taken with a DSLR or not composed with square format in mind, would had to be cropped which sometimes didn’t give the best results. Later apps resolved this by wrapping either landscape or portrait images into a square (although the images were smaller in order to fit the format).

This was until today. Instagram announced on their blog that landscape and portrait images would be supported natively. No more cropping or wrapping. Instagram would post the images and would adjust the post to display the entire image without cropping.

More into the original post.

So, I can only see how Instagram adoption and use would increase because of this new feature. There is no doubt, that Instagram’s new owner: Facebook is looking for ways to grow the user base and user engagement in order to be able to monetize it later. Good thing or bad thing? Share your comments or feedback below.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days.

To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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Romantic Indian Wedding at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, CA


It is always a pleasure to come back to Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, CA for a wedding. The mature oak trees and rolling hills view is unforgettable. I simply love to photograph weddings there especially late afternoon when the sun us settings and providing such a pleasant light. Not to mention the sunsets are simply gorgeous there.

I had the pleasure to capture Trupti and Kedar’s wedding at this venue earlier in the 2015 wedding season. Here is a video highlight:

Both were so much fun to work with and totally rocked the dance floor during the reception. What a difference a well known and capable MC/DJ as DJ Tanveer can make.

Congratulations to the happy couple. Cannot wait to meet them again in the future. For family portraits I hope…

Here is the full wedding story and lot more images from Trupti and Kedar’s wedding day: Romantic Indian Wedding at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, CA

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days.

To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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My New Wedding Photography Account on Instagram


Instagram Logo

Instagram Logo

I finally did it. After few years of posting photos on my personal Instagram account, I have now created new wedding and portrait related photography account.

Follow me and you will not miss a single photo I will share from my recent weddings, engagement and portrait sessions: Trifon Anguelov Photography on Instagram

I have to admit that this was a big chance for me. I truly believe in the 100% smartphone images being posted on Instagram. And have been following this religiously (still will follow) in my personal Instagram account.

Being constrained by the square photo format and the smartphone lens, forces one to think differently and get creative. What is possible with a DSLR camera and wide variety of lenses with various apertures and field of views, it not available on a smartphone. And I liked it. I think it has helped me to become a better photographer.

Related: 9 Tips For Becoming a Successful Photographer

So what made me start posting DSLR images on Instagram in my wedding photography account? Well, few reasons:

  • the increasing adoption of Instagram and the reach which it provides
  • the decreasing reach of Facebook, especially for business pages and the news feed changes Facebook has been making lately
  • the simplicity of posting and sharing images on Instagram

No question everyone gets tired of even the most loved and used technology after a while, and after being on Facebook for a while I believe this is now the case. Especially, after all the videos of cats or ripped off from YouTube video shares started. But let’s not get grumpy and gloomy. It is simply time to try something new.

The most compelling reason to decrease presence on Facebook and shift more attention to Instagram, has been the changes in the way how Facebook now controls (or shall I say restricts) how the news feeds are distributed and seen by friends. True, Facebook developers made sure that spam if filtered, but soon enough the reach was curtailed (in the name of “user experience , aka: How To Make More Money For Shareholders and advertising profit), which means all the images and posts which previously were getting lots of views now are diminished to few views per day (if one is lucky and times the posts correctly).

If you have missed this and the uproar from fellow photographers on how Facebook news feed algorithm change has affected their business, feel free to read this recent FStoppers Story.

So. The decision has been made. I will be spending more time on Instagram, sharing my photos and work, so be sure to follow me. I will still be on Facebook as my workflow is optimized to share images on multiple social networks, so nothing to worry. If you like Facebook and you already follow Trifon Anguelov Photography on Facebook, you will still get updates on my latest projects.

Conclusion:

For a photographer, there is never enough exposure or limited number of platforms to share its work. And nothing is written in stone or confined into a walled garden. As world around us evolves, so we too.

I am planning to share some tips on how to setup, use and utilize Instagram for Photographers, so subscribe to my blog and follow for updates. I am sure my learnings and failures would help you in one way or another.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days.

To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


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9 Tips For Becoming a Successful Photographer


Wedding decorations at backyard DIY wedding in Livermore, CA

Wedding decorations at backyard DIY wedding in Livermore, CA

Becoming a successful photographer is not easy. It is a long journey and never ending preparation to meet opportunities.

In my mind, being a successful photographer requires three major qualities:

   – ability to master the business side of photography profession: marketing, sales, general administration

   – ability to master the photography craft: gear, light, composition, post-processing

   – mental ability to handle the stress and maintain a positive attitude while dealing with clients

All three qualities are broad topics to cover in a single blog, so I will only focus on the third one: the mental ability to handle stress and maintain a positive attitude while dealing with clients. I am planning to cover the other two major qualities into separate blog articles.

So why is important for a photographer to maintain a positive attitude and be prepared mentally? Because this is the “glue” which binds the technical aspect (gear, light, post-processing) and the business aspect. It can make or break a business as neither one of the three qualities can be a winning one by itself.

So now that we know the “What” and “Why”, let’s explore the “How’. Here are 9 tips on how to prepare mentally for being a successful photographer:

1. Be Humble:

The truth is that photographers are not born overnight. It requires lots of efforts and dedication to become good at photographing subjects or objects. Which means that when you first start, you will be nowhere near where the rest of the photographers you admire or strive to be like are.

You will also make lots of mistakes and fail many times while learning. What is important is to accept that you will fail to be correct or do things as you planned to, and accept that you will have to work harder to get better. The worst disservice you can do for yourself is to believe that you can become very successful photographer overnight, that you will make no mistakes and that everything will happen to you from the very first try.

Being humble, admitting that you would need to get better over time and learning from your mistakes will take help you maintain a positive attitude when everything seems not to be going your way.

Related: Top 10 Mistakes Every Photographer Should Avoid

2. Don’t Get Defensive:

Getting defensive at the first sign or criticism or failure will destroy you mentally. Instead of seeing each obstacle or critical comment, as a “plot” to destroy your business or threat everyone else as they are trying to steal or harm your business, see it as an opportunity to improve your business and grow like a photographer.

For example: when someone at a wedding takes photos of the same poses you worked so hard to direct and setup, and then posts them before you on social media, instead of attacking this person and trying to remove the images, post your better and amazing images so others can see how much better photographer you are. Let you craft speak for itself instead of wasting energy to correct every single wrong that would happen to you.

Another example: Instead of trying to go after the bride and wave your photography contract in retaliation, after she asked someone to edit your images and ordered a big canvas from the edited pictures, analyze why it this happening.

Were your images not up to par with her expectations so additional editing was required or was something which the bride asked you to do and you didn’t deliver on it? Why there is a disconnect between your service and her expectations? What you can do next time to prevent this type of situation?

It is easy to get defensive and miss the opportunity to learn from the situation and improve your skills and business.

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

 

3. Be Prepared For The Unexpected:

There are two types of photographers. Those who hate to plan and use their imagination and skills to get the best of the light conditions and setup they have. And others who plan and research everything to the smallest detail before even go out and try to take a picture.

If you are the second type, then you need to accept that your plan would not always work. For many reasons, but the important part is not to try to desperately follow the plan even when is obvious that it was a bad plan in the first place. Instead, try to access and use the current light and set up to make the best out of it. Forget about your preconceived ideas.

Adjust and you will be amazed how differently your images would be when you allow yourself to see the moments, instead of planning them ahead. Life happens as they say.

4. Accept That You Will Be Rejected Sometimes:

No one books every single client they pitch an offer to. The same as not everyone who walks into a department store, always buys something from there.

Photography is a subjective and discretionary service. Different clients would have different tastes and would respond differently to different photography styles. Expecting that every client would book you and becoming dissatisfied when it doesn’t happen, it will destroy your self confidence as a photographer and long term prospects of becoming successful.

The best you can do, is to reach out to the client who didn’t book you and try to find out if there was anything you could have done to win the business. Or find out what the photographer who won the business did differently. May be there is something you shall consider.

Related: The Single Worst Mistake a Photographer Can Make

5. Stick With Your Business Plan:

Low paying jobs just take your focus away from becoming successful. You need to build and grow “YOUR” business not someone else business. Don’t chase any client at any price just to get some income while undermining your long term success. It will derail you from your path to becoming a successful plus would confuse your clients with pricing all over the place.

Why the friends of the clients you gave a big discount to, cannot get the same price? And did you put half efforts into their session for half the price you charged them? I know it is tempting to do post-processing or second shoot for other photographers, and that the extra money can help to get through a slow season. But if the time you are going to spend on it is giving you such a low rate of return compared to promoting your business and getting clients, why do it in the first place?

You would be better off to get one client on your own, instead of spending long hours post-processing images. And while second shooting is good to add experience and portfolio images in the very beginning of your career, later when your hourly rate increases, you would need to do lots of second shooter jobs to make up for your pay rate.

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

 

6. Seek and Learn from Constructive Criticism:

The biggest mistake many photographers make when participating in discussions is to take the feedback for their images or craft, personally.

There is a grain of truth in every feedback, so learn how to find it, understand it and tweak your workflow or techniques. When listening to a feedback different that yours, you are gaining insights into how others perceive your images, workflow, business practices. It is true that people can be very opinionated online and you have to put efforts to filter the gold nuggets from the chunks of coal you would get, but don’t blank reject anything which is not praising you and feeding your ego.

Your friends will tell you what you want to hear because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. They would like even the most awful images you post because they want to remain your friends. Your clients on the other side are not your friends, although some would later follow you on social media and befriend you. You will be operating a business and in business the one who delivers the best value to its clients becomes successful.

Feel free to follow Trifon Anguelov Photography on Social Media.

So don’t be afraid to seek feedback from different sources and not from your friends or immediate family only. This will help you to realize how to improve and growth. Otherwise, you would be risking to live and feel secure in the friendship’s bubble the friendship and would make you less inclined to look into improvements.

So try to see both sides of the equation. Unless you consider yourself the master of the photography craft already and don’t want to improve at all.

7. Experiment:

We all learn by practicing and by learning from our mistakes. It’s like first learning how to walk or ride a bicycle. One needs to try and learn on its own how to get good at something. There will be many trials and failed attempts before we can master something.

Our brains are designed to store successful patterns only after we experienced the failed ones. So, when on location working with a client, try to first nail down the “must have” shots. Then do a few experiments with a new technique or composition. Have at least one of two new poses or techniques try on each session.

Don’t count them as must have but as a learning opportunity. After you master it, add to the workflow. Then continue… Look for fresh ideas. Try a different technique or perspectives.

Related: So You Bouth a Brand New DSLR and Lenses And Now What?

8. Review Your Work Regularly and Keep Your Blunders:

Keep the bad shots you took and think about why they happened. This is a valuable tool to grow as a photographer. If you don’t do it, you will repeat them again.

You need to learn to avoid them and fix your techniques By keeping your blunders around is also useful to see how you are progressing and growing as a photographer. Over time you should see your images becoming better and better. Look for the errors you did in the past and are they still present in your latest images. Analyze why an image doesn’t look “right” and what is causing it.

How you can make it look better next time? You need to have something to compare to in order to get better. I understand that you might be itching to destroy these “bad” images forever, but keeping and using them to grade your progress would be worth the effort.

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

Elegant Wedding at Memorial Church in Stanford University

 

9. Be Part Of The Community:

Participating in different online and in person communities would help you learn and grow faster. The multiplication effect of utilizing everyone else knowledge to grow, is going to allow you to compound your gains and excel faster in the photography business.

Also by simply being on the receiving end and not contributing back with knowledge and experience is not the way how communities thrive and grow. As you learn and receive knowledge from others, so the others and less advanced can learn and grow from your knowledge and insights.

It is easy to ask for help and advice but not taking the time to share and help others grow. But if everyone does that, who is going to bring the latest ideas and information? Sharing and participating by contributing is how the entire photography community can grow and stay healthy.

Conclusion:

There are many successful photographers who worked hard and persistently to master their craft. There are also many who struggle to sustain and grow their businesses. The difference between both is the way how they approach and the decisions they make every single day.

It is important to understand what makes a business a success and how to not only sustain it but also grow it. I hope these 9 tips were helpful to give you some ideas to try on your own.

If you find it useful and interesting, please feel free to share with your friends or fellow photographers by using the share buttons below. We all can and will become better photographers by learning and sharing knowledge with others. If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback, drop me a line in the Comments section.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA. Many clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area have entrusted us with capturing their wedding days. To learn more about the wedding photography services we offer and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site

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