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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Pakistani (Islamic) Wedding at Santa Clara, CA


What a wedding Daniah and Ali’s Pakistani had few weeks ago in Santa Clara, CA. Both were simply amazing in the pre-wedding session as well during the ceremony and reception. Their wedding story and highlights are also posted on my website: Pakistani (Islamic) Wedding at Santa Clara, CA

It was a pleasure to be around these two so much in love souls. Congratulations on their marriage and I wish them many happy years together! Like a wedding photographer, I cannot be happier and honored to be their photographer. Love is awesome!

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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Why Hire a Second Photographer For Your Wedding


Bride and Groom First Dance in Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, CA

Bride and Groom First Dance in Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, CA

Hiring a wedding photographer to take photos during the ceremony, reception and party afterwards is a no brainer. It’s a must if the bride and groom would like to have the wedding moments captured. And the wedding photographer can guide and pose the couple on How To Look at Their Best on Their Wedding Photos.

The wedding photographer is the person would will use its talent and vision to create stunning and amazing wedding images.

Brides also have an option to hire a second wedding photographer who will team up with the primary photographer for additional coverage. There are numerous reasons for why a bride might want to add a second photographer (also called second shooter) as well there are lots of benefits of doing so.

But first, let’s mention the disclaimer: There will be no extra efforts or meetings required to hire a second shooter.

The responsibility for screening, hiring and processing the images from the second photographer, lays entirely on the primary photographer’s shoulders.

Many primary wedding photographers already have second shooters in mind and have been working with them in the past. This collaboration guarantees styles and equipment matching. So now that we know, there are no extra meetings and efforts required for the bride, let’s see what the benefits are.

1. Getting Different Compositions and Angles:

The primary and secondary photographers would be looking for, capturing the wedding moments from different angles which mean you would get many more differently looking photos. Both photographers would be also used a different perspective and lenses, so you would receive both wide-angle and zoomed into shots.

You will be able to see both the entire scene as well the individual images of key people in your wedding.The different compositions and angles would allow you to have much more interesting images in your wedding album later.

You would also have another benefit of having both primary and secondary photographers complement each other rather than capturing the same scene and moments from the same angle.

2. No Additional Interviews and Paperwork:

The secondary shooters are contracted by the primary photographer under his own contract so there is no need to interview and contract them on your own. This will save you precious time to meet additional vendors and planners. It is one less contract to read and sign and vendor to coordinate it.

DIY Decoration at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

DIY Decoration at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

3. Consistent Look and Feel:

Because you will contract the primary photographer, he or she would be primarily responsible for editing all the images (both from the primary and secondary photographers). You can expect a consistent look across all images (brightness, sharpness, colors, etc) which mean all images would be processed with the same effects and workflow.

Style (feel) would be the same as well. The primary photographers usually would pick a secondary photographer who matches their style (candid, photojournalistic, modern, fashion, traditional, etc) so you can be guaranteed your images would have the same style as well.

Related: Wedding Photography Styles Explained

4. Documenting Everything:

While the primary photographer is focusing on the bride and groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen during the wedding, there is a lot more happening: Grandma crying from joy, Mom and Dad gasping in excitement, guests reacting to bride’s and her father walking down the aisle, etc.

There is more than the bride and groom on each wedding, so having a second photographer allows you to have these moments documented as well.

5. You Get Undivided Attention:

A single photographer has to focus on all the moments during the wedding, plus capture the decorations, flowers, details as rings, dress, shoes. This means that he or she has to switch its attention between you (bride and groom) and these other shots that needs to be staged and photographed.

A second photographer usually takes these off the mind and shoulders of the primary thus freeing him to focus its undivided attention to you. You can be assured that no single moment would be missed while you would have wonderful images of your flowers, decorations and bridal artifacts.

6. Capture More Moments:

There is a limited time allocated for a wedding. A single photographer can only capture so many moments of the wedding, but add an additional (second) photographer and you would double the images captured. Which means there will be more to choose for your wedding album and prints later.

Wedding Reception at Corinthian Event Center in San Jose, CA

Wedding Reception at Corinthian Event Center in San Jose, CA

Also there are few extra benefits from having your primary photographer bring a second shooter to your wedding:

  • The primary photographer would find and hire a second shooter who matches the style and look consistent of the primary, so the look of the final images set would be consistent
  • Primary and Secondary would most likely be using the same or similar equipment (camera body, lenses, lighting techniques) so there will be no image quality differences between the images taken by both
  • Both photographers would have worked together in the past and know to supplement each other and not stepping on each others toes

Related: How To Prepare For Your Wedding Day

Conclusion:

Hiring a second photographer is a great idea. It allows you, as a bride and groom, to have more moments from your wedding caught. Your wedding photography coverage is limited in duration, but there are so many moments and events happening.

Adding a second shooter to your package will not only allow your primary photographer to focus on you (the bride & groom) coverage but would also allow you to see how your family, relatives and friends have experienced your wedding. These reactions and emotions will happen and you can have them documented as well.

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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8 Tips for Photographing Wedding Formals


Bridal Formal Portrait at Rengstorff House, Mountain View, CA

Formal Wedding Portrait at Rengstorff House, Shoreline Park, mountain View, CA

Anyone who has been on a wedding knows that right after the wedding ceremony, it is time for the wedding formals (or group pictures). And guess what: this is not what everyone is looking for. Including many wedding photographers who actually dread the formals. The reason: Posing and getting everyone ready for these photos is not an easy task.

I have already written a full tutorial on How To Photograph Wedding Formals which I hope contains many of the preparation steps a wedding photographer can consider. This guide has some additional tips and gotchas on how to make the process of taking group pictures easier and less stressful.

These are by no means all the points that a wedding photographer should consider but in my view and the most important and useful I have found to work for me. Feel free to share your comments or feedback in the Comments section below.

So here are 8 tips to help a wedding photographer take the formal photos in less time and with better success.

1. Let Your Clients Pick and Confirm the Shots List:

Many wedding photographers have a list of shots they must take during the formals. In many cases the bride has her own list as well (more on: How To Deal With Bride’s List of Wedding Images). So which one to use?
I have found that letting the bride and groom decide on the images is a great idea. First, they best know the group images they would like to have in their album. And second, letting them pick the group images instead of taking a “cookie cutter” approach is simply a matter of listening to client’s needs. No matter if there are just few or lots more formal images to take. After all, it is their own wedding and they are paying for it.

2. Control Your Own Fate:

Another good idea for the wedding formals is to find and pick the location for the wedding formals instead of relaying on the bride or groom to pick one for you. First, you as a wedding photographer would have more experience and knowledge on which location (background, light, composition) works best. So go ahead and put this knowledge to use rather than having to explain to your clients why the location they picked doesn’t work. It might sound to the couple like you are making an excuses not to shoot at their location.
Second, wedding photographers are paid to guide the clients on what’s best for their pictures. So take charge and be in control. You would have much better light and photos when selecting the formal’s location by yourself.
Wedding Ceremony at Corinthian Event Center in San Jose, CA

Wedding Ceremony at Corinthian Event Center in San Jose, CA

3. Eliminate Eye Blinks:

When photographing large groups of people, the inevitable happens: Someone would always have their eyes closed or look on the side (away from looking into the camera). Well this makes the whole group photo not as good as when everyone’s eyes are properly aligned towards the direction intended.
So what most wedding photographers do in this case is: taking multiple shots from the same pose.Well, while this is good approach and works, there is a drawback. All these extra images need to be downloaded, reviewed and culled latter which means extra post-processing time. Taking multiple images also drains power from the flashes or strobes batteries (if such are used for the formals), not to mention space on the memory cards and wear the camera shutter.
So what to so? The solution is simple. Get everyone to close their eyes and open them on a count of three. Then take the shot just after counting to three. You will never get closed eyes that way and can quickly go through the group photos in less time and with less effort.

4. Use The Allocated Time Wisely:

One approach many wedding photographers take is to work through a list and sequence of formal shots. This is the most common way because it is easy for the wedding photographer to keep track of the shots that needs and were taken. It’s a shots sequence to works through.
For example many start with bride, groom and both sides of the parents. Then with one side of the parents. Then bring bridesmaids with the bride. Than bridesmaids with the groom, etc. While doing so, they expect the people required for the shot to be available and if not, they wait for them to come over. Well this approach means valuable time is wasted. Waiting on people to show up is the most challenging but if someone is not there.
More efficient approach is to look around and shoot the formal photos with whoever is available. This way no time is wasted to wait for people to show up and while they are coming up to the formal location, photos are still taken. Of course, this requires the wedding photographer to keep track of the shots taken and make sure he or she doesn’t miss any.
One last thing to help you use your time wisely: If you have an assistant, use it to bring guests to the formals. Enlisting random people who have other things to do can slow you down. I you don’t have an assistant, ask in advance for one uncle or aunt from each side of the family to help find and arrange people.
Groom and Groomsmen on Catholic Wedding Ceremony in St. Cecilia Church in San Francisco, CA

Groom and Groomsmen on Catholic Wedding Ceremony in St. Cecilia Church in San Francisco, CA

5. Tripod To The Rescue:

I know. Tripods are just another think to remember to bring, to set up and getting ready to use things but it is very helpful to have one for the formals. Why?
Few reasons:
  • A tripod really helps keep people out of your space.
  • In low light conditions (churches, pass sunset, shady areas) it would allow you to use slower shutter speed with the larger apertures required for the formals (f/5.6 -f/ 8)
 So, if you still don’t have one, consider buying a good quality and solid one. There are so many carbon fiber tripods which might cost you money but would make your formal pictures so much sharper.

6. Stool or Step Ladder:

For working with large groups (30 or more people), what is going to happen is that you will have to arrange them into rows in order to be able to capture them all. The most correct way to arrange such large groups is to put the tallest people in the group in the further away from the camera rows while the not so tall in the front.
However, even with this approach and when there is no way to put each row on a different level (stairs for example), the people in the back rows would always be blocked by the one on the front. One way to deal with this is to bring and use small stool or step-ladder. Bringing your camera and point of view higher would allow you to capture everyone’s face not matter in which rows they are positioned.

7. Use Ultra Wide Lenses:

On a full frame sensor camera And yes, having ultra-wide lenses. For Canon shooter this would mean 16-35mm f/2.8 or 17-40mm f/4 or 14mm f/1.4 . Frame wider and plan to crop later instead of trying to compose very tight in the camera.
The reason is that first you would need to straighten and align the final images so some cropping would be required just to get the image aligned. If you compose too tight, you would have to crop someone’s feet.
Plus on an ultra wide angles there is a distortion at the edges which means, any person who is on the very left of right ride of the frames would have his face and body bloated out and distorted. If you crop wider the last person’s distortion would be less and you can then crop out the excessive space around and have less distortion. Believe me, this makes perfect sense once you known it, but not that obvious at first.

8. Get Your Equipment Ready:

If you would need an artificial lighting as strobes or flashes with diffuser, it is a great idea to get these ready before the formals. Setting up the light stand, mounting the flashes or strobes, putting the diffuser and triggers (testing the triggering is highly recommended) would save you time when the group is ready for pictures. Not to mention that you would look like a pro having everything ready. no body likes to wait for the photographer to tinker with their gear and check things.
Bride & Groom Formal Wedding Photo at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church in San Francisco, CA

Bride & Groom Formal Wedding Photo at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church in San Francisco, CA

Conclusion:

Group pictures (formals) are required on all weddings nowadays. Preparation is required in order to make the posing and picture-taking process easy and less stressful. The simple tips outlined above and the preparation tutorial are just two of the resources to help the wedding photographers. I hope these are helpful and you found them informative.

Feel free to share with fellow wedding photographers or anyone who can benefit from it. We all can be better photographers and make our clients happier, if we all are better prepared. If you have any other experiences or tips, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere wedding and events photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area, CA. You can read more about the author and review his portfolio on his website. For complete list of services and to book your wedding, visit his Wedding Packages page.


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What Does It Take To Be a Wedding Photographer


Romantic Wedding in Saratoga Country Club in Saratoga, CA

Bridal Bouquet at Romantic Wedding in Saratoga Country Club in Saratoga, CA

Stark contrast with 20 years ago, when there were only a handful local wedding photographers available in each area. Back then, medium format film cameras and lighting equipment required to shoot a wedding could cost a small fortune. Not to mention that it took years to learn and practice the craft before one can call itself a wedding photographer.

Talk to wedding photographer veterans and many will remember spending long hours in the darkroom as apprentices, assisting established wedding photographers for years before picking up the camera and photographing a wedding on their own.

Nowadays, professional cameras and lenses are more affordable than ever. There are more wedding photography online tutorials, videos on YouTube and books than one can watch and absorb in a lifetime (for the fact gigs in us: 11,000 years based on the latest estimates). Opening a website and marketing a wedding photography business can take from few weeks to few months.

In other words, more affordable photography equipment and more information being available online, made possible for many photographers to enter the wedding photography business.

Wedding photography is also a field that can generate a steady stream of clients (during the wedding season) year over year. And the business is not as cyclical as an advertisement or commercial photography which tend to tank when the economy is not doing very well, and companies spend less on creating ads to market their products. People get married all the time and are less likely to cancel their weddings even when the economy turns sour.

But just because it is easier to get into it and start practicing, it doesn’t mean it easy to sustain and master it. It is indeed, a demanding and complex photography field, which is the reason so many new wedding photographers last only a few years before giving up. Of course, new entrants take their place, only to shut down their practices in few short years and to be replaced by the next batch of newly minted wedding photographers.

So, what is causing this high failure rate and high turnover among wedding photographers? Is it because is not as easy as it appears to be? Or is it that with so much competition around and rates going down, many decide the money they get paid is not worth the energy and time they invest? Or is it that over time it could become a bit of “Been There, Seen That, Done That”?

As a wedding photographer, working with San Francisco Bay Area clients and fellow local wedding photographers for few years already, I had the opportunity to build and sustain a wedding photography business. All points below (the most important but not everything) are what I think it takes to be a wedding photographer.

I hope many inspired to be wedding photographers would consider these when deciding to join the ranks of the wedding photographers. These are by no means all that one should consider, but I think are the one that are most demanding and can cause one to fail if not well prepared and able to handle. I grouped them into three main categories:

  • Skills
  • Time
  • Efforts

So let’s go over the list and see why each one is important to understand and prepare for.

Summer Wedding at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Gilroy, CA

Summer Wedding at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Gilroy, CA

Skills: 

1. Knowing How To Market Yourself:

The most important skill that wedding photographers should learn in my mind (besides knowing how to photograph which is mandatory and not open for any discussions). Vision and talent are great to have, but if one doesn’t know how to market it (aka convince others to hire its talent), there is no business. With no business, there is no income and no way to sustain the practice.

As a wedding photographer, marketing means:

  • meeting lots of people (brides, grooms, vendors, photographers, etc) and getting them excited about your vision and talent
  • attending bridal fairs to meet your clients and sell your services
  • making and maintaining an appealing website to showcase your work
  • advancing your website ranking by SEO
  • meeting potential clients all the time
  • keeping up with social media
  • maintaining your blog
  • answering your email
  • etc

Your marketing efforts would never stop. Unless, you decide to retire and stop looking for new clients.

2. Knowing How To Sell Your Services and Products:

If the marketing was skill #1 to learn and master, as a wedding photographer, the actual selling of what you market, is as skill #2, you need to be absolutely good at it. Ok. I lied. You don’t have to be good at it. You have to be absolutely amazing at it.

The sale is what gets you paid and would allow you to not only sustain but also to grow your business. Not to mention would open the doors to different type of clients and different types of venues. And I am not only talking about collecting payments and keeping track of them.

There is much more as:

  • keeping track of leads
  • following up with clients and guiding them through the booking process
  • writing contracts
  • collecting and keeping track of deposits and payments
  • bookkeeping of sales records
  • invoicing and receipting

So much for taking pictures, ah? We will come to the photography part below. Promise.

3. Learning and Practicing Multiple Photography Areas:

No other photography field blends so many different photography areas as the wedding photography. It requires one to learn and master areas as:

  • landscape photography (all this amazing environmental shots with the bride and groom in it)
  • macro photography (think of ring, shoes, dress, flowers, decorations, invitations, etc details)
  • portraiture (bride and groom portraits)
  • action photography (all the dance floor action in low light)

All of these have their place during a wedding, and a successful wedding photographer would need to have the experience and know how to apply them all.

Related: Top 10 Mistakes Every Photographer Should Avoid

4. Learning To Pose and Direct People:

Most brides and grooms don’t feel very comfortable in front of a camera. After all, modeling and posing requires practice. So as a wedding photographer, you would have to learn and get very good at posing and directing others to create visually interesting photos. It is another soft skill, and you need to master it if you want to set yourself apart from the competition.

Do you have what it takes to communicate to others how to position their bodies, heads and bring the best expressions out of them? Do you enjoy it or absolutely hate it? Having an answer would help you down the path to becoming a great wedding photographer.

5. Learning and Mastering Different Lighting Conditions: 

Weddings are very challenging when it comes to lighting conditions. From the low light ceremony locations (churches, temples, etc), to the transition to bright light events after the ceremony, to outdoor or indoor receptions, to the dark or no lights at all (except for all colors of the rainbow DJ lights), wedding photographers have it all. All the challenging and requiring knowledge how to capture, lighting conditions.

Not to mention that moving from one lighting condition to another happens very rapidly. Wedding photographers must know the light by heart and be able to react instantly.

DIY Decoration at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

DIY Decoration at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

Time: 

6. Working Long Hours:

Most weddings can last about 6-12 hours. On top of that, wedding photographers are commuting to and from the wedding venues for another 1-3 hours which means they are pulling 7 – 15 hours working days. It requires lots of energy and stamina to go through a normal wedding day.

Make sure you are mentally and physically ready for it. This will not be like a walk in the park for a one-hour photo session with posed clients.

Related: Getting Ready, Ceremony, Formals, Reception Planning Guide

7. Post-Processing For Thrice the Shooting Time:

If working long hours to capture thousands of wedding images doesn’t wear you off, prepare yourself for what comes after that. Wedding photographers have to download all the wedding images first. Then comes the culling, cataloging, tagging, editing, backup and delivering to the clients. On average it takes 3 hours of post-processing for every hour of shooting.

Unless you can charge high enough service fee and outsource the post-processing work, you will be up to long hours on your computer before having a final set of images to deliver to the bride and groom. Keep in mind that during the busy wedding season you will be shooting almost every weekend (some weeks on Saturday and Sunday), so you will most likely have a backlog of weddings to post-process. Red Bull and coffee usually help you to stay awake.

6. Missing All Summer Weekends For Years:

Most weddings take place during the summer months (for some states as California – almost the entire year) and on the weekends: Saturday and Sunday, which means you will not be free for your friends, family or simply to go somewhere during these weekends.

Be ready to miss many birthdays, graduation events, summer parties and trips to the beach on hot summer days. Decide if this is worth the sacrifice. You will earn money for sure, but all these money, even all the money in the World will not bring back the time you have missed. Make sure you are ready for this and can commit to it.

7. Maintaining Your Gear:

As a wedding photographer, you will need to deal with lots of technologies, which means you need to be tech savvy to make the best use of it. What you need to do besides taking pictures is:

  • upgrading your computer’s hardware and software
  • installing software programs and patches
  • maintaining your camera: cleaning, configuring, learning the manuals
  • keeping up you lenses, flashes and all related gadgets

If technology is not your thing, you would need to pay someone to do that for you. It is another time allocation you need to factor in your workflow and business plan.

Mandap Decoration at Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Fremont, CA

Mandap Decoration at Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Fremont, CA

Efforts:

8. Shooting is Just 1/5 of What You Would Do:

Many new wedding photographers think is all about taking pictures of beautiful brides on amazing venues. However, this is not what a wedding photographer primarily do. Some estimates put the shooting time to just 1/5th (or 20%) of the time wedding photographers spent.

Activities like post-processing, marketing, clients management, selling, education, etc. take the majority of the time. If you like the taking pictures part but dislike the rest, you might be due for a big disappointment.

9. Working Under Pressure:

Many weddings fall behind their planned schedules which mean certain functions and events will get compressed into less time. Wedding photographers are under constant stress to take the images their clients want, even when the time is just 1/4 of what was allocated.

And if this is not enough, traveling between the locations, posing large groups and dealing with vendors on the site, is going to be part of your working day as a wedding photographer.

And before I forget to mention it: Losing your temper is not an option.

Related: How To Prepare For Photographing a Wedding

10. Keeping Up With Your Craft:

Wedding photography is a competitive and fast changing field. Photographers constantly introduce new themes and techniques to stand out among the increasing competition, which means one has to spend the time to stay current.

Attending conferences, watching video tutorials, reading magazines and books, networking with fellow wedding photographers and constantly practicing and improving are just a few of the activities that you will need to do besides photographing weddings. Falling behind and becoming obsolete, is not an option. It’s a constant “rate race” to stay ahead of the competition and book clients that many others are also trying to book.

11. Making Your Clients Happy (aka Be a People’s Person):

A big part of having a successful wedding photography business is to know how to get liked by potential brides and grooms. Sure, your portfolio can turn heads around but unless you “click” with the clients and they like you as a person, the chances are there will not be many bookings at the end. The couples look for someone they can get along on their wedding day, someone who seems trustworthy and they like dealing with.

You need to be able to:

  • handle impossible to meet demands
  • educate your clients on your services and packages in plan language they can understand
  • answer all their questions
  • be available and approachable
  • find a compromises to potential conflicts
  • build relationships with vendors and fellow photographers

These are just a few of the soft skills; one needs to have to be a successful wedding photographer. If you are introvert and despise working with people, you might be better trying to make it as a wildlife or landscape photographer instead.

Related: Photographer’s Jargon For Everyday People

 Conclusion:

Wedding photography is an exciting photography field. It offers the unique opportunity to witness and experience love stories and capture amazing life moments. But it is a demanding and could become overwhelming if not approached carefully. It is important that photographers understand what they are getting into and are prepared both mentally and physically to manage the workload and stress.

Many have succeeded, and many have failed. The difference between them is that one group was better prepared, loved what they were doing and persisted along the way. Others were not prepared, didn’t realize what does it take to make it as a wedding photographer and gave up at the end.

It is up to you to decide which group you would be. The bottom line is that you need to love what you do and need to enjoy it, to be successful in a long term.

I hope you found this article useful. If so, feel free to share with anyone who is planning to get into the wedding photography or would be interested. The wedding photographer’s community would be stronger and more successful if everyone helps the others to become better photographers.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere wedding and events photography business based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area, CA. You can read more about the author and review his portfolio on his website. For a complete list of services and to book your wedding, visit his Wedding Packages page.


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12 Questions Photographers Hope Clients Would Never Ask


Elegant Wedding at San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco, CA

Elegant Wedding at San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco, CA

It takes time and effort to hire the right portrait or wedding photographer. From searching to a portfolio review to getting to more about the personality to getting all questions answered. It is a time-consuming process, many people looking to have their life moments and events photographed.

And while the look and feel of photos can be seen and subjectively evaluated, the rest of the Photographer’s Jargon and technical aspects of the digital photography are the one I have found many clients struggle with.

So no wonder many clients have lots of questions they are trying to get answers to during the portrait appointment booking or pre-wedding consultations. Some easy to answer, some not so. And some, frankly speaking, photographers are hoping their clients would never ask.

Don’t get me wrong. It is not that photographers are an anti-social bunch or tech gigs, but it has more to do with the type of questions being raised. Some of the most difficult questions are open-ended and require lots of time to explain thoroughly while for some there is simply no single answer.

Here are some of these questions which many photographers dread. I have also added my explanation on why that might be.

1. Wouldn’t This Location Be Perfect For My Photos?

Let’s face it. Clients love to have their photos taken at locations they have been before and feel attach to local parks, their backyards, playgrounds, etc. But that not always might be a good idea.

Here are few reasons why:

  • bad light: too bright or too dim light limits the photographer’s ability to capture amazing pictures
  • busy background: the background might be too “busy” with distracting objects or color combinations
  • too boring: the location might not have the desired architectural or natural artifacts the photographer needs to create interesting composition

My advice is: Leave the location selection to your photographer. Feel free to suggest few places you like, but take advantage of the photographer’s creative talent and experience.

You hired a professional photographer because of the images he or she created and because of the vision and talent you felt best matches your needs. It is best if you let the photographer pick the location(s) and guide you on the posing. You will get much better results. Same for the time of the session (with more details below).

2. Why You Cannot Take Our Pictures at Noon?

While some hours of the day are more convenient for some clients, it doesn’t mean that this is the perfect time for a photography session. The light might be way too bright which will make the colors look washed off in the final images. Bright light also means that the people photographed would squint their eyes to protect their eyes from the blinding sunlight. And also the overhead sunlight would cast dark shadows under the eyes and cause what’s known as “raccoon eyes” look.

Many photographers would recommend hours close to sunset as this is the time when the light is more diffused and comes at an angle rather than straight above the subject. If you must have your session at noon, at least let the photographer pick a location where you will not be in “full sun” but more in an open shadow area (see Question #1 above).

3. Can I See The Photos On The Back Of  Your Camera?

Many clients are eager to see their pictures on the back of photographer’s camera during their session. Some even walk away from the location the photographer posed them and lose the pose the photographer spend time and energy to create, only to take a peek at their photo on the back of the camera. This is not only counterproductive as limits the images a photographer can take during the booked time, but also interrupts the flow of creative energy and inspiration the photographer brings to the session.

And to make the matter worst, the images on the back of the camera are so small that one cannot judge easily how they will turn out in the final prints. So my advice is: Hold the temptation to see your images instantly. Be patient and let the photographer capture the images he or she have in mind. The captured images would be enhanced during post-process, so, believe me, you are better off seeing the final images rather than the intermediate results.

Bridal shoes at intimate DIY wedding in Benicia, CA

Bridal shoes at intimate DIY wedding in Benicia, CA

4. Why I Cannot Have All Images From My Session?

Many clients want to have every single image from their session. It is the feeling of missing on the images not included in the final selection. Most photographers provide a selection of the very best images to their clients for few reasons:

  • viewing experience: looking at images with similar poses and composition but slightly different facial expressions is diluting the viewing experience and final satisfaction
  • pricing: processing every single image from a session requires much more time (and yes, time is valuable) than the fee paid by the client

My advice is: Trust your photographer to curate a selection with the very best images from your session. If not satisfied with the results, ask to see few additional images not included in the selection. In most cases, the photographers would show you the very best of the selection and will not withhold any portfolio worthy images from you. And if you are willing to pay for the additional images, they can post-process and provide them for an extra fee, of course.

5. You Can Fix That in Photoshop, Right?

Many clients expect their images to be edited in Photoshop after the session. Which is fine when small corrections are required, and most photographers do that as part of their workflow. Some of these corrections might be:

  • removing hair flyaways across you eyes or face
  • removing distracting branches, leaves or litter from your images
  • patching missing grass
  • removing random bystanders or walkers from the background of your images
  • etc

But what might raise photographer’s eyebrows are changes that might not be easy or appropriate to do. Things like: extreme slimming of you body figure, adding a ferocious T-Rex chasing everyone in your family pictures, arming your kids with fake weapons in their portraits, etc (these by the way if you wonder are real requests I have heard over the years).

Make sure you discuss any post-processing Photoshop changes with your photographer before the session. This way he or she would be able to comment on if this is something that could be done or not. It also makes it easier, to stage the photo shoot and pose you, with these edits in mind.

6. Can You Make Me Look Younger And Less Tired On My Photos?

Well, this is related to the Photoshop question above, and there are few things a photographer can do. But if you are going to ask this questions, please, at least specify how that would look like.

Different people have different ways to describe a younger and less tired look, so think how the photographer would know what edits to make. Edits like removing dark circles under the eyes, removing neck wrinkles, darkening the hair color or whitening the scleras, can be done easily, so explain to your photographer the edits you have in mind.

7. Why Do You Charge So Much?

No photographer would like to answer this question, for few reasons. First, he charges what he or she thinks their time and talent are worth, and very few are open to negotiations. Second, quantifying “so much” is very hard to do as the photography session prices vary widely. For more experience and more creative images, one should expect to pay more.

So instead of asking the photographer to justify its rates, try to find out what is included into your session price. Things like: duration, digital images, prints, edits, retouches, etc. are useful to know. At least you, as a client, would know what your payment would get you. Which is a very valid question to ask anyway.

Related: Detailed Pricing for Trifon Anguelov Photography Wedding Services

8. Can You Shot Half The Time, Give Me Fewer Pictures And Charge Half The Price?

Well, this sounds like plain bargaining and while it is customary for some cultures to bargain over price in the USA this is considered offensive. Keep in mind that photography is a luxury and discretionary service, so it is hard to put a price tag based on the time and number of images one receives.

The look from photo to photo varies with the photographer’s experience, so the emotions and feelings a photograph triggers. Not all photographers are created equal in regards to their skills, talent, vision, and experience.

So my best advice is: Skip the bargaining part. Inquire about the price and service details and hire someone who can deliver the results you are looking for the price you are willing to pay. The changes are that your bargaining efforts would be in vain.

Related: Wedding Tips for Brides From Wedding Photographer’s Point of View

 9. Can You Give Us The RAW Files So We Can Edit Them Ourselves?

Most photographers would not like this question because they feel it undermines their brand and insults them as artists. The RAW files are simply SOOC (straight out of the camera) images with no edits or enhancements and many photographers consider them just the building block for creating their final images. Later in post-processing edits of brightness, sharpness, color, and contrast are made to give the final image the look and feel, the photographer had in their mind during the session.

So if RAW files are shared, and the client does not as great post-processing edits, and later shares the image with a note that was taken by so and so the photographer, guess how the photographer would feel. His reputation would be tarnished for something he or she has not done.

So pass on this question and hire the best photographer you can afford. This way you don’t have to edit your photos and if you are itching to use Photoshop, ask the photographer for what is his policy for editing and sharing his or her photos.

Wedding Floral Decoration at Wedding in San Mateo, CA

Wedding Floral Decoration at Wedding in San Mateo, CA

10. Should I buy Nikon or Canon Camera?

This question just makes sense, right. The photographer should know which one is best.

Maybe, but how can one recommend something if he or she doesn’t know how the person intends to use it. It is like, one recommending someone to buy a sports car without knowing if the person is driving it like to drive fast or slow. The question is simply way too open for someone to give a single answer.

If you are buying the camera to snap occasionally pictures on your family vacations, either brand will do.

11. What Camera Should I Buy?

Again. Way too open-ended question without knowing the intended purpose. The right model would be the one that meets your needs, so talk to your photographer first what you plan to photograph and maybe he or she can give you advice.

My guess is that camera in the medium price range would do fine. Read the online reviews and you would get a pretty good idea.

12. Can We Do Pose Like This One?

While this is a very common question photographers are getting nowadays, there lays the problem. Using Pinterest to copy poses and setups also means that your images would look like exactly as everyone else. You are asking the photographer to copy the look, so this is what he or she would do, right.

Photographers think of themselves as creative artists and like to add their creative input to the images. They like to experiment and invent, rather than to follow. Plus the poses you might be considering might not be a good fit for your body structure, location or look the photographer usually produces. So, let the photographer’s creativity take place. If you liked his or her previous work, the chances are that you would get similar results from your session as well.

Conclusion:

Save yourself time and energy by asking the right questions when speaking with photographers. It is a good idea to avoid open-ended and hard to answer in few sentences questions. Instead, focus on understanding the logistics for your session (what time to meet your photographer, how long before you see the final images, what is included in your package, etc.).

Look for a photographer with a style and look you like, rather than price tag you wish to pay. Then talk about what results you wish to have but leave the details on how, when and where to the photographer. It is their job to arrange and conduct the photo session in the best possible way so you can have the amazing images you hired them for.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business based in Mountain View, CA. We currently offer engagement, wedding, events and portraiture photography services to clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area. For updated portfolio, to learn more about us and book a wedding or portrait appointment, visit our Wedding and Portrait Photography Site