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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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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How To Repair Your Corrupted USB Flash Drive


Wires by Trifon Anguelov Photography  As a wedding and portrait photographer, I have been using DVD disks the last few years to deliver the final images to my clients. It was a convenient way to store up to 4.35GB of digital images and mail them. But as with technologies which change overtime,  DVD disks soon became obsolete.

With the price of USB Flash Drives dropping significantly and becoming more affordable and widespread, many computer manufacturers nowadays don’t simply add DVD disk drives to their laptops anymore. The trend has been to store and share data (including digital images) between computers with flash memory instead.

Using USB Flash drives is also more convenient. These drives are small to carry around and very sturdy in comparison to DVD disks which scratch and break easily. Not to mention to copy and read from USB Flash drives is much faster.

Recently purchased a batch of USB Flash drives for the 2015 Wedding season and after formatting and verifying all the memory sticks, found two with problems. Both were not recognized on my Windows 8 workstation so I decided to try to fix them on my MacBook Pro laptop. If you are also looking for information on how to prevent SD or CF memory cards corruption in your digital camera, this article explains in details: Five Easy Steps To Prevent Memory Card Corruption And Losing Your Photos

Here are the steps I took to repair and format them. Both are usable now and I can copy and erase digital images just fine.

First, you’ll need to figure out the disk number of the USB Flash drive. Go ahead and plug it into your Mac laptop, open new terminal window and check if the drive is recognized:

# df -k
Filesystem    1024-blocks     Used Available Capacity  iused    ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1      117190724 50159960  66774764    43% 12603988 16693691   43%   /
/dev/disk2s1       983148      844    982304     1%        0        0  100%   /Volumes/USB #6

In this case the new device /dev/sidk2s1 has been recognized and available. In case df 0k command doesn’t give you any input, open Disk Utility application and disk out the device number for the USB Flash drive.

Next using the Disk Utility command line tool, try to verify and repair the drive by using these commands:

# diskutil info /dev/disk2
Device Identifier:        disk2
Device Node:              /dev/disk2
Part of Whole:            disk2
Device / Media Name:      General UDisk Media

Volume Name:              Not applicable (no file system)

Mounted:                  Not applicable (no file system)

File System:              None

Content (IOContent):      None
OS Can Be Installed:      No
Media Type:               Generic
Protocol:                 USB
SMART Status:             Not Supported

Total Size:               8.2 GB (8178892800 Bytes) (exactly 15974400 512-Byte-Units)
Volume Free Space:        Not applicable (no file system)
Device Block Size:        512 Bytes

Read-Only Media:          No
Read-Only Volume:         Not applicable (no file system)
Ejectable:                Yes

Whole:                    Yes
Internal:                 No
OS 9 Drivers:             No
Low Level Format:         Not supported

# diskutil verifydisk disk2

Nonexistent, unknown, or damaged partition map scheme
If you are sure this disk contains a (damaged) APM, MBR, or GPT partition
scheme, you might be able to repair it with “diskutil repairDisk disk2”

# diskutil repairdisk disk2
Nonexistent, unknown, or damaged partition map scheme
If you are sure this disk contains a (damaged) APM, MBR, or GPT partition map,
you can hereby try to repair it enough to be recognized as a map; another
“diskutil repairDisk disk2” might then be necessary for further repairs
Proceed? (y/N) y
Error repairing map: POSIX reports: Input/output error (5)

In my case as expected, both verify and repair command options failed, so it was time to bring the low level tool: gpt. This is a nice utility which will modify and recreate the disk partition table. The following commands will rewrite the partition table for /dev/disk2 to near-default (possibly a little bigger primary volume). You will need to change the /dev/disk2 with the disk number for the USB Flash drive you have before running the commands:

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/disk2 bs=512 count=10 conv=sync,noerror
sudo gpt destroy /dev/disk2
sudo gpt create /dev/disk2
sudo gpt add -i1 -b40 -s409600 -tC12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B /dev/disk2
sudo gpt add -i2 -b409640 -t48465300-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC /dev/disk2

Then use Disk Utility (or preferably Disk Warrior) to repair the directory structure.

Here is the output of the above commands for my USB Flash drive I was trying to repair:

# gpt recover /dev/disk2
gpt recover: unable to open device ‘/dev/disk2’: Device not configured

# diskutil list
/dev/disk0
#:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *121.3 GB   disk0
1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
2:          Apple_CoreStorage                         120.3 GB   disk0s2
3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3
/dev/disk1
#:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
0:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD           *120.0 GB   disk1
/dev/disk2
#:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
0:                                                   *8.2 GB     disk2

# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/disk2 bs=512 count=10 conv=sync,noerror

10+0 records in
10+0 records out
5120 bytes transferred in 0.012109 secs (422825 bytes/sec)

# gpt destroy /dev/disk2
gpt destroy: /dev/disk2: error: device doesn’t contain a GPT

# gpt create /dev/disk2

# gpt add -i1 -b40 -s409600 -tC12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B /dev/disk2
/dev/disk2s1 added

# gpt add -i2 -b409640 -t48465300-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC /dev/disk2
/dev/disk2s2 added

# diskutil repairdisk disk2
Repairing the partition map might erase disk2s1, proceed? (y/N) y
Started partition map repair on disk2
Checking prerequisites
Checking the partition list
Adjusting partition map to fit whole disk as required
Checking for an EFI system partition
Checking the EFI system partition’s size
Checking the EFI system partition’s file system
Repairing the EFI system partition’s file system
Creating a new EFI system partition

 

Viola. The partition table was recreated and the USB Flash drives are again usable. After that you can unmount the USB Flash drive and mount it again, then use Disk Utility tool to create partition or format it.

Conclusion:

I hope you found this article useful and helpful to solve USB Flash drives problems you might have experienced. A word of warning: The above steps would erase all data on your flash drive and would format it blank, so make sure you are OK with losing all the data before executing the commands. This approach is also not guaranteed or recommended by all USB Flash drive manufacturers, so please check and confirm before using it. I will not be liable for any lost of data or damages you might experience by using the above steps.

If you USB Flash drive contains data and you are trying to recover digital files from it, but the drive cannot be recognized at all, then consider these memory card and USB Flash Drive recovery tools and services: How To Recover Photos From Memory Card

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 read more about the author and follow his work on his Bay Area Wedding Photography Site


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How To Recover Photos from Memory Card


Wires by Trifon Anguelov PhotographyAsk few wedding photographers what is the biggest fear they have and the majority would most likely answer: Losing the digital images after a wedding. It’s the absolute nightmare as these images cannot be easily recaptured.

Try to replay the wedding so a wedding photographer can capture the images again?
Most likely won’t happen. Imagine how the bride and her family would feel if all of their wedding images have been lost forever. No wonder many file lawsuits against the wedding photographer they have hired and request hefty compensations.

Digital cameras and specifically DSLRs have gained huge popularity and are the most widely used type of digital cameras by professional photographers currently. They use CF (Compact Flash) or SD (Secure Digital) memory cards to capture and store the digital images and sometimes the images cannot be read or retrieved from the memory cards. The reasons and how to prevent this from happening are topics for another blog which I am planning to write soon.
For now we will focus on the question: What are the options to recover digital images from memory card and what is the software or services available?
There are three types of photo recovery solutions currently available on the market:

  • Memory Card Vendor Solutions
  • Independent Software Application Developers
  • Data Recovery Service Providers

Memory Card Vendor’s Solutions:


Many memory card manufacturers offer digital image recovery solutions to the customers who purchased their memory cards. It is part of the post-sales support which differentiate them from the competition and all of these are doing pretty good job on recovering digital images.
Although these are offered by a specific memory card manufacturer for their specific memory cards, they are capable to recover images from memory cards from different manufacturers.
The recovery software is designed for the specific memory card specifications these manufacturers produce and sale, have been tested on the manufacturer specific memory cards and are usually supported by their software development teams.

The recovery software is offered for a specific period for free with the purchase of a new memory card. The software download link and activation code is provided into the memory card package. The only catch is that the activation code is valid for a specific period or time after which am yearly renewal is required at additional cost.

Related: How To Prevent SD and CF Memory Card Corruption

Below are two image recovery software solutions from SanDisk and Lexar which do pretty good job and are affordable considering the sentimental or professional value of the images they can recover:

Image Rescue from Lexar:

SanDisk Pro Rescue from SanDisk:

  • URL: http://www.lc-tech.com/pc/sandisk-rescuepro-and-rescuepro-deluxe/
  • Price: $40 (Standard Edition), $60 (DeLuxe Edition), $250 (Commercial Edition) for 1 year subscription
  • Features: Available for Windows operating system only. Recovers images, video, email, documents or simply anything stored on the memory cards. Supports wide variety of memory cards. Allows you to see a preview of the file to be recovered which is useful if you are looking to cherry pick a file to recover. Formats and securely removes files from the memory card.

RecoveRx from Transcend:

  • URL: http://www.transcend-info.com/Support/Software-4/
  • Price: Free
  • Features: Offered for both Windows and Apple OSX operating systems. Recovers digital files, documents, audio and video files from all types of memory cards, MP3 music players, USB flash drives, external hard drives and solid state drives. If also offers memory cards formatting and password protection in addition to recovery data files.

Related: How To Repair Corrupted USB Flash Drive

Independent Software Application Developers:


Apart from digital recover solutions by memory card manufacturers, there are software programs created by independent software development companies which are competing into this lucrative market. These software developers have created a solutions capable of recovering photos from all major memory card brands. The cost varies from free to below $100 per activation and their capabilities and user interface friendlies varies.

Software development is a very competitive business, so when considering which solution to purchase or use, check the memory card compatibility and latest updates available before making the final selection and purchase.

Here are few software solutions which do pretty good job on recovering pictures from memory cards:

Recuva:


  • URL: https://www.piriform.com/recuva
  • Price: Free or $25 for registered commercial license
  • Features: Can recover a single file only and securely deletes files from the memory card. Setup Wizard is useful to do the initial setup. Can recover mp3, images, videos and documents

Zero Assumption Recovery (ZAR):


  • URL: http://www.z-a-recovery.com/
  • Price: Free or $60 (single user) / $200 (site license) for commercial license
  • Features: Available for Windows operating system only. It has been around since 2001 and was first used in MS-DOS on 486 CPUs so it is very successful and reliable.

Card Rescue:

  • URL: http://cardrescue.com/
  • Price: $40 (single licenses)
  • Features: Available for Windows and Mac operating systems. Recognizes all major file formats (JPEG, TIFF, PSD, etc) as well the RAW formats from all major camera manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji). The scan for recoverable files takes between 5-20 minutes and the success rate if about 90%.

Photo Rescue:

  • URL: http://www.datarescue.com/photorescue/
  • Price: $30
  • Features: Available for Windows and Mac operating systems. Created back in 2001 but has been updated lately which is always good to have more recent version available. Recovery utilizes a Wizard which makes the recovery process even easier. One time license is good so there are no additional perpetual cost after the purchase.

Card Recovery Pro:

  • URL: http://www.cardrecoverypro.com/
  • Price: $50
  • Features: Available for Windows OS only. Created back in 2002 and can recover multiple file formats: images, audio, video and documents from digital cameras, memory cards, mobile phones and iPods. It supports RAW digital image formats from all major digital camera manufacturers including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus, etc.

PhotoRec:

  • URL: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec
  • Price: Free (although donations are accepted and help the developer’s of the project)
  • Features: Available for both Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. It’s an open source software released under GPLV v2+. It recognizes more than 440 file formats (check the documentation for full list) and has been tested with major camera models.

Photo Recovery:

  • URL: http://www.stellarinfo.com/digital-media-recovery.htm
  • Price: $39 (Basic) or  $78 (Platinum Edition)
  • Features: Available for Windows and Mac operating systems. Recovers RAW files from all major digital camera manufacturers (including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax, Sigma, Olympus, Panasonic, etc). The company claims their software can recover digital images even from formatted memory cards which is impressive and has 30% improved files scan.

Data Recovery Service Providers:


Apart from the photo recovery software a photographer can use to recover images on its own, for those who don’t have the time to recover images or are able to recover the photos by using the applications above, there are also photo recovery services. These services are specializing into data and image recovery from data storage media (hard drives, memory cards, USB sticks, etc).

The advantage of using these services is that they have perfected the recovery process and have proprietary software and technicians able to recover photos from memory cards. They work with both government agencies, corporate clients and individuals and can deal with various types of data loss reasons. Their services are fairly priced considering the value they provide. The cost varies but it’s generally below $60 for a memory card. Considering the value of wedding images on a single 64GB memory card, this is very affordable.

Here are two photo recovery services a photographer can use:

  • Tekserve (www.tekserve.com) in New York City, NY is a service provider and provides data recovery services. They have been in business since 1987 and are Premiere Apple Service provider. The company is offering free estimate for the recovery cost and guaranteed their services by no charge policy for data that cannot be recovered. Rush service is available and this is a real time saver for any emergencies.
  • Flashback Data Recovery (www.flashbackdata.com) in Austin, TX. They do data recovery for the FBI, but anyone can use their services. Free estimates are available online and it’s simple as filling an online form with the data recovery request and receiving an estimate within 1-2 hours. And if you lost images from your computer’s hard drive or external storage array, they have Class 10 clean room to repair the hard drive before attempting to perform the recovery. They also have No-Data, No-Fee policy so you would only pay for their services if they are actually able to recover your data.
  •  1st Data Recovery (http://www.1stdatarecovery.com) with locations in USA, Canada and UK and 22 years of data recovery experience offers support for lost data on: hard drives, RAIDs, NAS arrays, data tapes, digital camera memory cards and sticks. Supported files are RAW, JPEG, TIFF, PCX, DWG, etc. They event support recovery of data from dead, deleted, formated, corrupted, fire and water damaged hard drives, removable media and data tapes. Check their FAQ section for types of recovery they perform, but the list looks impressive.
  • Data Recovery (datarecovery.com) has four clean-service full-labs in USA and Canada. Founded in 1998 is has long history of data recovery and currently has Class 100 Data Recovery Clean Room. You will get 24×7 support and assurance that your data will be recovered. The proof?  NASA, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft are just few of their clients. Not only their can recover photos from a memory card but all sorts of files from a single hard drive, arrays, iPhone or laptops. Online chat and recovery request available for your convenience.

Conclusion:


I hope that, you as a photographer or simply an owner of digital camera would never need to recover your pictures from a memory card, but in case you have to do it, you have a good guide on what options are currently available to you. The data recovery is a field in which many software companies specialized for many years as well there are many new entrants who are trying to establish themselves.

I am not sure after 2-3 years these same companies would be still offering digital image recovery solutions but one thing is for sure: With the rate of which consumers generate pictures the amount of memory cards and photos being captures has exploded over the past 5 years. Even as the Wi-Fi enabled cameras and cloud storage solutions for digital photos are getting available and more affordable, the memory cards are here to stay for at least another 10 years.
If you found this information useful  and think your friends could benefit from it, please share it by using the multiple sharing options on the bottom. Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Think I am missing a point or two or three? Drop me a line in the comments section and I will consider adding it (with full credit to you, of course).

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 review his current Wedding and Events Portfolio and Book an Online Appointment for one of his services.


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Five Easy Steps to Prevent Memory Card Corruption and Losing Your Photos


Grid Picture by Trifon Anguelov Photography Long is gone the time when analog photography was the only option to capture memories or images from everyone’s life. It used to be the only option back in early 2000, but in the last 10-12 years with the emergence of the digital imaging this arcane technology gave way to the digital cameras.

The old film rolls which were bulky and could store between 24 to 36 frames where quickly obsoleted by memory cards which were able to store thousands of images and didn’t require a trip to a photo lab in order to see the final images.

With the digital imaging and memory cards, everyone who had a digital camera could see instantly the captured image, retake it immediately if the first image was not as expected and can instantly share the digital images with everyone as soon as they finished downloading them from the digital cameras.

Welcome to the digital revolution and instant gratification!

But as with every new technology there are some caveats which consumers have to face. In the case of the memory cards the caveat is the probability of having a corruption or data loss on the memory card. This ranges from memory card reader not being able to recognize the memory card, to memory card read errors, to no images found on the memory card, to read errors for some of the images while the rest of the images are downloaded just fine.
While some of the above errors could be contributed to memory card hardware failures or permanent damage to the memory cells on the memory card, some of the failures are from not properly using the memory cards or simply caused by the users themselves. Each memory card and digital camera manufacturers have guidelines on how to operate their cameras and use the memory cards, but very few consumers bother to read these guidelines and even so follow them.

Well while not an absolute guarantee for 100% memory card corruption free experience, here are five easy steps along with the explanation why they are important to avoid memory card corruption and lost of your precious digital images:

1. Always Format Your Memory Card Before Using It:


Each memory card storage is divided into two parts: one for the images metadata and one for the images itself.

The metadata contains the pointer to the location where the images are stored, image type, the date the image was taken, image size, etc. It is the catalog or index of the images stored on the memory card.

This is the most likely reason while the images cannot be accessed or read from the memory card. Without the metadata (or index) the memory card readers cannot index the images or read them. The metadata corruption unless caused by corrupted memory cells can be prevented by formatting the memory card after each successful downloading of images and before each use. The formatting resets the metadata (zeros the pointers to the existing images) and prepares it for new use.

The other reason is that the images have been stored on a corrupted memory cells and cannot be read later. This is nothing you can do about it and the best fix is to discard the memory card and purchase a new one.

To format your memory card, you would need to insert the memory card into your digital camera and navigate the setup menu to the option “Format Card”. Please, consult your digital camera manual on how to do that. Keep in mind that there is another camera option “Erase all images” which is different from the “Format Card” option. The memory card metadata is reset only with the later and not the former option.

Formatting the memory card would reset the images metadata on your memory card (this is the pointers to the digital images stored on the card). The images itself would remain in tact until they are being overwrite with the new images you will take. This is the reason why the images can be recovered even after the card is being formatted (granted you have to use the card after the formatting). The image recovering software reads the stored images on the card and reconstructs the metadata on the memory card, so the images can be read and accessed again.


2. Never Delete Images On the Memory Card From Your Computer:


Some users delete the images from their computer (Mac or PC) simply by going to the mounted memory card which appears as a storage device, navigating to the folder where the images are located and deleting them.

What this does is that it removes the pointers to the pictures WITHOUT properly updating the metadata (I hope you read point #1 above) on the memory card. This leads to inconsistent metadata which could cause your existing and new images to be mixed up later.

The proper way to delete all images from your memory card, so you can release the used space is to use your digital camera menu and format your memory card before using it again.

If you are deleting photos from your memory card from your computer, it has been confirmed that Canon camera users will encounter the ill famed ERR-99 error messages. Although this is a camera generic error not specific to a memory card problems, it has been confirmed that memory card corruption is one of the reasons for this error.

Related: How To Repair Corrupted USB Flash Drive

3. Use Memory Card Readers Instead of Downloading From Your Camera:


Each digital camera manufacturer provides drivers for their cameras so they interface with the major operating systems and computer systems consumers use to download their images. Each digital camera needs to be connected via USB cable to a PC or Mac to download the images and the connection and images transfer is made possible if the software drivers are installed and kept up to date in each computer.

If the drivers are not installed or corrupted, so the pictures download or access could become corrupted too. This is the case when consumers use different digital camera models or trying to download or share the memory card on another computers.

The advantage of using memory card reader is that most likely this reader has already the required software drivers installed and all memory cards are compatible so the chances to have a corruption is minimized.

4. Use Smaller Size Memory Cards:


Memory card with smaller storage capacity have smaller number of memory cells compared to memory cards with larger storage capacity. It is just a numbers game: The more memory cells a memory card contains, more of them can become corrupt and fail. Using a memory card with enough capacity to capture all images from your event plus 30% buffer is a good idea instead of buying a memory card with the largest available capacity.

Another advantage is that is you buy eight 16GB memory cards instead of one 128 GB memory cards and one of these 16GB memory cards has a hardware failure you would still have seven 16 GB memory cards (or 112GB of storage) while if the single 128GB memory card encounters memory cells failures you will have zero memory cards available and zero storage. And if you are still not convinced of using smaller size memory cards rather than larger, take this recommendation from Lexar: Smaller cards use less battery power from you camera, so you can shoot longer with the same battery too.

As the saying goes: Never put all your eggs in a single basket! Although the memory card manufacturers would give you an incentive to do otherwise by making the large capacity memory cards cheaper than multiple smaller storage memory cards providing the same storage capacity.

Related: How To Recover Photos From Memory Card

5. Don’t Use the Same Memory Card For Multiple Events:


If you have adequate number of memory cards, using a single one for one event or session only can prevent you from losing the pictures from multiple events in case a memory card corruption occurs. I usually change the memory cards for each event and never record two events or sessions before first downloading the images from the first session.

Memory cards are very affordable nowadays and this is a good way to further protect you from losing precious pictures.

Conclusion:


The five steps listed above are easy to follow and perform even if you have a point-and-shoot portable camera and taking images on a family event. These are good practices which would minimize the probability of software memory card corruption and save you time and money trying to recover your pictures.

Remember that memory cards are using NAND flash memory which first varies from a manufacturer to manufacturer and second it wears off after usage. While you can prevent software corruption the hardware corruption is hard to predict and prevent. Still there is one thing you can do: If you are thinking to purchase second-hand memory cards, inquire about how and for how long the previous user has been using the memory card. Frequent writes and deletes contributes to the wear of the memory card and you might be better off spending a bit more money for a new memory card and peace of mind.

If you found this information useful  and think your friends could benefit from it, please share it by using the multiple sharing options on the bottom. Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Think I am missing a point or two or three? Drop me a line in the comments section and I will consider adding it (with full credit to you, of course).

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 on his Wedding Photography Site.


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How To Prepare For Photographing a Wedding


Formal Weding Portrait The preparation for photographing a wedding could be a stressful and hectic process if not approached in a well planned and organized manner. Missing an important piece of equipment or having to scramble to be on time for the wedding ceremony or wedding reception could be costly. Once the photographer starts stressing about not being late, his creativity is seriously impacted and can get the whole wedding started on the wrong foot.

Over the years, after photographing many weddings, I have discovered that there are few simple things that every wedding or event photographer can do to be on time and keep the relationship with its clients sound. Imagine how the client feels when it doesn’t see the photographer before the beginning of the wedding, even worst: seeing him or her walking in after the start of the wedding ceremony missing and possibly interrupting the normal flow of events. Not good as you might have guessed.

Although this checklist is not comprehensive, it will give you a good start for things to plan before the wedding. I intend to add more over time, so make sure to come back and check for updates. The steps are not in a particular order but you are free to order them and add mental notes to each one if you wish.

1. Charge Your Batteries:

No one ever regretted having extra charged batteries. But many wished they had one when all other batteries ran out of power. So a day before the wedding, start charging your camera and flashes batteries. This way you can be sure they will be completely charged by the time you need to leave your home for the wedding. And I mean, all your batteries you might need: digital camera batteries, flashes batteries, remote trigger batters. Charge all batteries if you are not sure they are already fully charged. Cameras and flashes use batteries so if you plan to use live view or HSS (High Speed Sync) on your flashes, take this into consideration to ensure you have adequate power available.

2. Format Your Memory Cards:

Formatting all memory cards (plus spares) before the wedding serves two purposes.

First ensures that you will have adequate storage to store all the images without having to swap cards in the most important moment of the day. If you think you have 32GB memory card only to find out that only 4GB left because there are files from a previous wedding on the card already, you will need to swap cards during the start of the wedding which is usually the ceremony. Time wasted, which otherwise could have been used to capture moments for your clients.

Second, it protects you from corrupting your images as formatting the memory card initializes the metadata on the card and zeros out any previous metadata.

Related: 5 Easy Steps To Prevent Memory Card Corruption and Losing Your Photos

3. Pack all Camera Bodies and Lenses:

Packing all camera bodies and lenses you would think you need for the day is time saver. Having to run around the house or to your storage to pick lens on the way out, makes it very easy to forget this 100mm macro lens you need for the detail shots. It’s very easy to grab your back or camera case, put it in your car and leave knowing that all you need is already inside.

Wedding Decorations at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

Wedding Decorations at Romantic Backyard Wedding in Livermore, CA

4. Check Your Clothing:

Many photographers use formal or black clothing during the weddings they photograph. Looking presentable projects image and you need to have clean and pressed clothing ready. Showing up on a wedding in jeans and t-shirt speaks of the photographer’s image, although if that’s the dress code the couple requested, you will be fine.

5. Load Batteries in Camera and Flashes:

Now that you have charged all your batteries the night before, it’s time to load them into your camera and flashes. Doing this on the location takes time, you would look unprepared and believe me you better use that time to meet the couple, walk the location, take test shots and get ready mentally rather than load batteries.

6. Check Your Filters (CTO, Green):

Many indoor venue have tungsten and fluorescent lights and without proper white balancing, you will not achieve natural skin colors in post-processing later. Pack at least three CTO (1/4, 1/4 and 1 stop) and Green filters to white balance your flashes. Your pictures would look much better by simply attaching the appropriate filter on your flashes.

7. Review Your Wedding Day Schedule:

It’s simple: Plan is nothing but Planning is everything. Knowing the address, directions and timing you need to be at each location is your game plan for the day. The plan most likely will change but you being prepared by knowing the details makes it very easy to adjust the plan and move forward.

You might not be able to look at your wedding questionnaire during the day to check what’s next and by what time you need to finish the bride & groom portrait and get ready for the cocktail hour. Go over the wedding schedule, memorize the important locations, timing, wedding clients names and their family members names.

Being able to refer them by name makes huge difference and projects confidence of you being prepared and having the situation under control.

Related: How To Photograph Wedding Formals

8. Check Destinations and Travel Times:

Now that you know the location and time you are supposed to be there, it’s time to build your itinerary. Go to Google Maps and check how much would it take you to drive from one location to another.

Think about possible traffic peak times and is there anything which can add to the commute time: football game in the area, city festival, holiday travel, etc. being stuck in traffic and late for your client’s wedding, is a recipe for disaster.

Groom's Shoes during a Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Santa Clara, CA

Groom’s Shoes during a Pakistani Wedding Ceremony in Santa Clara, CA

9. Have Client’s Contact Information Handy:

Get your client’s or wedding coordinator contact information handy. Piece of paper, notes in your smart phone, printout of your wedding questionnaire? Whatever works for you. Make it available and don’t forget to pack it in your backpack. If you need to reach out and talk to them, you would appreciate to have it handy.

10. Charge Your Smartphone:

Let’s admit it. We all need our smartphones nowadays and we are so dependent on them. Making phone calls, answering text messages from out clients, using navigation or maps service, taking a selfie at the wedding. All phones use batteries so in order to use them, charge the batteries the night before.

11. Fill Up Your Car’s Gas Tank:

This sounds obvious but believe me it takes time being in an unknown area, looking for a gas station to refill your tank, while on the risk of getting late. You can save yourself the trouble and fill the tank of your car the night before. This can easily save you 10-15 minutes later.

12. Carry The Charged Battery and Memory Cards With You:

Ok. You charged your extra batteries and memory cards, packed them in your bag and left them in the car while in the last part of the wedding day, the reception, you need to change your battery or memory card before the couple’s first dance and guess what: your car is 200 feet away.

Of course, you are brave heart photographer deciding to make mad dash to your car with all of your cameras (cannot leave them on the table where all kids on the wedding would give them a try, right?). On the way back however you hear the DJ introducing the couple and the music for the first dance playing. By the time you are back the first dance is half over and the couple is looking at you puzzled or may be angry.

You can save yourself the stress and embarrassment. So, put these extra battery and memory cards in your pockets or pouch so they are handy.

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

Conclusion:

To make this guide concise and easy to read, I have not included every single thing you need to consider and plan for. Instead, I tried to give you some of the basics which I have been following and have helped me over the years. Photographing a wedding doesn’t have to be stressful and by following these simple steps you can have a much more pleasant and productive day.

If you find this article useful, please share it with your fellow photographers and friends so they can benefit from it as well. Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Would love to hear it, so drop me a line.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov is the business owner and primary photographer at Trifon Anguelov Photography, a premiere wedding and events photographer in Mountain View, CA 94040 . You can review Trifon’s Wedding Portfolio and follow him on social media by using the links on his website.


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Analyze Your Lightroom Catalog With Lightroom Analytics


Lightroom AnalyticsAdobe Lightroom is commonly used nowadays from many photographers to edit and post process digital images. It’s a very useful and powerful application on a more affordable price than Adobe Photoshop which undoubtedly is Adobe’s crown jewel for digital image editing. Lightroom also provides digital image files management along with the editing, as well printing and publishing capabilities which makes it very popular choice among both hobbyists and professional photographers.

Lightroom stores metadata about all digital files imported into its catalogs but so far doesn’t offer any analytics of the metadata. Questions like, what is the most frequent used focal length by a photographers in a certain catalog or time period? Or how many images have been processed with a certain noise or sharpness settings? Also no visualization of these metrics is currently provided by Lightroom.

I found a software application which can easily answer these and many more questions: Lightroom Analytics

Once Lightroom catalog is exported and imported into Lightroom Analytics application, different metrics and pie charts are created to reveal the details from the metadata. Why this is important one might ask?

Related: New DSLR and Lenses Are Not Enough

For example: If you bought an expensive 400mm L telephoto lens after seeing beautiful images of birds in flight but your Lightroom metadata shows you only have 5 or 10 images taken with this lens last year, isn’t time to put this lens for sale and pick another lens which would better serve the current needs? Or if one finds most frequently to use f/4 and higher, does he still needs the expensive f/1.2 or f/1.4 lenses in his back?

Of course, this application doesn’t provide all answers or can be a definitive guidance on which lens or camera settings one should keep or use but offers good insights into the camera settings, post-processing settings and lenses used in the past.

Conclusion:

Analyzing your Lightroom catalogs can reveal useful information about the usage pattern of the lenses, focal lengths and apertures you have been using. As a wedding or portrait photographer, this is a valuable information to understand which lenses you most frequently use, as what focal length and aperture. You can make a decisions based on this information by utilizing the information from the Lightroom Analytics. If you are looking to learn about what mistakes to avoid as a photographer, consider reading my other guide: Top 10 Mistakes Every Professional Photographer Should Avoid

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment 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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How To Start Your Wedding Photography Business


bride1Many photographers at same point of their photography journey consider to get into wedding and engagement photography. The wedding photography business has also become a popular and desired field lately. One has to search online to see how many wedding photography business are advertised and available.

With digital cameras becoming more and more affordable yeah year and the barriers to entry for the wedding photographers business lowered, no wonder many photographers join the ranks of the already established professionals. After all, setting an online website and building a wedding portfolio nowadays takes 3-6 months compared to 1-2 years in the past.

So what are the main reasons for so many photographers to switch to wedding photography. Well, there are different for every photographer and every market, but here are some which are most common:

1. Constant Demand:

It’s an important event in every young couple’s life and parents are willing to spend plenty of money to make sure their children have the best experience and memories possible from these events.

2. Professional Help Required:

Such events tend to last between 2-8 hours and just hiring a professional photographer who specializes and has the experience to deliver quality images commands high rates.

3. Lucrative Business:

It’s actually derivative from #2 but the payout from one such event can sum up to many headshots and portraits session with much more clients, which of course require planning, preparation, attention and post-processing time to deliver the final images

So no wonder than photographers with all level of skills and degree of preparation are eager to become wedding and engagement photographers. This is all good but do all these photographers actually understand what is required and expected to be a wedding photographers.

Related: 12 Questions Photographers Hope Their Clients Would Never Ask

To start with: it is not an easy task working with all personalities on a wedding. Relatives, parents and even the couple itself could be quite difficult to work with. Equipment could fail and what seemed a perfect and easy shooting could become a nightmare and potential lawsuit with devastating consequences. The mental stamina required to handle all personalities and work with all sorts of people, requires lots of energy and is not intuitive to everyone.

So how a photographer can make the entry into the wedding photographer easy? First, make sure you learn about the wedding photography itself either by reading a specializing book or watching video tutorials. The professional wedding photographers who created these materials have really good examples and points to share. Creative Live is a good resource and they happen to run 30-days free course in February, 2014 (check their site for schedule details) : Check Creative Live Website For Details.

Second, arrange to attend a wedding and tag along with a fellow photographer. If you are going to be a second shooter, find out from the first shooter what he needs you to cover. Most likely he will do the bridal and bride & groom portraits and you might do group photos, dance and close ups. Most main photographers won’t risk to get the second shooter into the “secrete”, “cannot go wrong” , “must nail or get lawsuit” areas. No offense. It’s just how this business works.

Related: How To Photograph Wedding Formals

Once you know what you will be photographing, research it. Make sure that you have visualized in your head the poses, lenses, light and compositions you will be taking. One good resources to help with this is Pinterest. Here is board to review: Wedding Ideas for Brides and Grooms.

Conclusion:

Hope these tips are useful to anyone who is considering to get into wedding and engagement photography. Think differently, have a comment or want to share an experience? Drop me a line or two, or as much as you need to.

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 side block of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site