Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

1090 Clark Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 | (650) 930-0743 |


Photographer’s Jargon For Everyday People

polaroid camera

Old Polaroid Instant Camera

I know exactly how you feel. You just started looking for a photographer to take your family portraits or looking to hire one for your wedding.

The good news is that there is no shortage of photographers nowadays unless you live in Antarctica or on a remote island surrounded my thousands of miles of water and no other humans around.

The chances are that there are so many photographers in your area and it could be overwhelming to chose the right one. Photographers come in “all shapes and sizes”:

– Portrait photographers: who take family, baby, newborn, high school seniors, headshots photos

– Event photographers: who capture birthdays, anniversaries, parties, graduations, or any gathering where people are having fun

– Wedding photographers: who you hire to take your engagement and later wedding day photos

The bad news is that once you visited different photographers websites, started doing research online and eventually meet face to face some of these photographers, you will start hearing terms you never heard before. And frankly speaking, some might not even make much sense to you. It might feel like a secret language spoken by just few in order to keep in secrecy the photography craft or make the clients so intimidated by the jargon that they will be willing pay whatever it takes to get over the photo session as soon as possible. No questions asked. Just send us the bill.

If you fell the same or similar way and continue to read this page, I will try to explain some of the photography jargon in simple, plain English words so that you are educated and don’t feel intimidated. Like a photographer myself, working with clients in San Francisco Bay Area, I came up with the list after interacting with clients and having to explain some of the terms I thought they already knew.

So here is the current index of the terms I will be going over. You can click on each word and jump to the explanation or can scroll down and read all of them one by one.

Golden Hour
Proof Images
Photo Retouching
Photo Enhancing
Flash Guns
Lightroom and Photoshop
Soft Light and Harsh Light
Sun Flares
Primary and Second Shooter
Color Balance
Digital Images
Model Release
Copyright Release
RAW Files
Low Resolution (low-res) Files
High Resolution (high-res) Files
First Look
L Lenses
Pro Body


Golden Hour:

Refers to the time of the day when the sun light is so pleasant to capture and the photos look very beautiful to look later, that one should pay in gold to have this time 24 hours per day. It’s the best time of the day to have photos taken and is usually one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. So don’t be surprise that a photographer would do their best to convince you to schedule your session during this time of the day. Trust them. This is true and not a myth.

SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera):

What you should think when hearing this acronym, is raw diamonds just discovered by the miners. In this case, these are images the photographer captured without any enhancements or adjustments. Like a raw diamond needs to be polished and shaped to shine to its best, so the photographers process all SOOC digital images before you get to see them. If you photographer insist to give you SOOC and not processed images, ask him why.


Wedding Portrait at Allied Art Guild, Menlo Park, CA

Wedding Portrait at Allied Art Guild, Menlo Park, CA


Proof Images:

Another term related to the digital images a photographer takes. The proof images are already enhanced version of the photos the photographer took and are usually presented as small format prints (4×6″ or less). This way the client can see how they would look like before he or she decides to order large format prints or canvases. Digital proofs are obviously, the digital version of the final images a client can see before making a selection or ordering prints.

Photo Retouching:

Retouching has to do with making your skin look smoother, removing any pimples, scars, blemishes, removing litter on the ground or electric poles from your images. Anything which the photographer considers distraction or not pretty enough to be in your images. Think of it like twisting reality. I am sure you all have seen the video of over sized and not that pretty girl, looking like a top beauty model after digital retouching. If not, hit Youtube. There are tons of videos available.

Photo Enhancing:

Unlike the photo retouching which is altering the reality, photo enhancing simply is about making the images look prettier. Not all about shaving few pounds with Photoshop, or patching the bare grass spot in the photo.Enhancing has more to do with making the colors more vibrant, the whole image brighter and sharper. This of it like the way how you adjust the picture of your TV for brightness, sharpness and vivid colors. The picture and the subjects are not changed, but more the way how they look. To read more on what is the difference between photo retouching and enhancing, make sure to check this guide: Wedding Photography FAQs


If you think these are DJ strobe lights pulsating in high frequency, hold your breath.  These are professional grade lights powered by AC or batteries. Photographers use them to illuminate large venues, in their studios or anywhere where additional light is required. These are mounted on light stands and are like mini Suns helping the photographer to get well lid and dramatic portraits of you.


Wedding Deserts at Los Altos County Club, Los Altos, CA

Wedding Deserts at Los Altos County Club, Los Altos, CA


Flash Guns:

Don’t think of photographers as a violent bunch. This has nothing to do with firearms and guns. It is a jargon for small portable lights, photographers use to illuminate you and your surroundings when there is no natural light available. Like at night, in a dark church, before sunrise or after sunset. These are battery operated and provide enough light so you can recognize yourself in the final images.


When you photographer talks about “bokeh” what he is really trying to tell you that the background of your pictures would be blurry, while you being in front of the background would be sharp in focus. It’s the effect that brings more attention to the subject and less to the distracting background. Now that you know what it is, surprise your photographer and ask him to create images of you with beautiful bokeh. 🙂

Lightroom and Photoshop:

These are just the names of the most popular digital editing software applications. Now that you know what is a RAW file and JPEG, what is retouching and enhancing, we can all put it together. Lightroom allows the RAW or JPEG (TIFF) files to be enhanced and exported as JPEG so you can see and print, while Photoshop allows to edit RAW files, retouch them and export as JPEG (or TIFF, or PNG). And this is what you might need to know about these two.

Soft Light and Harsh Light:

It’s light what makes photographs after all. With no light there will be no shadows (dark areas) and highlights (bright areas) in the photos. When photographers talk about soft light, what they mean is that there are less shadows and less highlights and the image looks less contrasty. The contrast is when you have dark shadow area next to bright highlight area. Soft light is available when there are clouds in the sky which filter the harsh sun like the transparent curtains in your room, during the time close to sunrise and sunset when the Sun is low and not straight above you.

Harsh light is when the Sun is overhead and falls straight down on anyone being photographed. This is usually the case in a bright sunny day and in the open space with no trees or buildings to cast shadows. The harsh light creates strong shadows which are not very pleasant for portraits usually and leave you with dark circles under the eyes (Sun falls down on your face and causes the shadows from your eye bras).

Sun Flares:

These are rainbow looking circles which are created when camera and lens are pointed towards the direction of the Sun. As the light enters the lens, some light is refracted and captured as flares. Most photographers are aware of the flare and can use them for additional artistic effects. The images taken with camera towards the direction of the Sun also have haze which gives the images haze and dreamy look.


Bride & Groom Portrait in Mountain View, CA

Bride & Groom Portrait at Rengstorff House, Shoreline Park in Mountain View, CA



As you might have already guest this one: it has to do with placing you between the Sun and photographer’s camera in a such way that the Sun is at your back. Doesn’t sounds like we were told: The Sun should be at your face when taking pictures. What? Having the clients blinded and squinting their eyes with Sun in their face? No. This is not what photographers do. Having the Sun at your back, gives you a light rim around your hair and face (if in profile) and makes everything looking fuzzy and dreamy.

Primary and Second Shooter:

Unlike in the military, there are no ranks and hierarchy between photographers. You might hear this from wedding photographers most likely and what they are actually trying to tell you that a Primary photographer is the “Boss” and the Secondary photographer is the “Helper”. The primary is the one who you will hire and would be responsible for your images. The Second photographer would be there to capture the same scene from a different angle or position. And again, photographers have nothing to do with shooting firearms. They just like to refer to taking pictures as “shooting” and call other photographers: “shooters”. Go figure.


These are two acronyms which stand for Make Up Artist (MUA) and Hair and Make Up Artist (H/MUA). Nothing fancy. These are the people who would make you look pretty for your photo session so that the photographers can capture the images. Important if you like to look beautiful and pretty as a cover girl or simply to enhance your natural beauty. These skilled professionals know how to make a woman looks at her best.

Color Balance:

If your photographer mentions color balancing of your images, you should short list him immediately. This is not what the armature photographers usually do, because requires skills and time. Color balancing is making sure your skin tones would look natural without hint of orange, red, green or blue cast. When taking pictures indoors in restaurants, homes with incandescent or fluorescent lights overhead, these lights can color your skin in orange or green. It’s the photographer’s job to correct this and not make you look like a Halloween pumpkin or Walking Dead zombie.

Digital Images:

This is what nowadays all digital cameras we have shows us on the LCD screens. This is what we see on our smartphone screens after taking a selfie. Digital files which contain the moments of our lives. This is what most photographers would give you after the end of the session. Unless, you want to buy paper prints of course. More on prints below.


These are the physical paper prints you get from a photo printing lab when you give them your digital images. Prints are what we frame and put in albums. Prints come in different sizes (4×6″, 5×7″, 8×10″ , etc) and are printed on different material (photo paper, fabric canvases, metal plates, etc).


Bridal Bouquet at St, Ceilia Church in San Francisco, CA

Bridal Bouquet at St, Ceilia Church in San Francisco, CA



This acronym stands for: Time For Prints (or Photos). Many upcoming models looking to create their own portfolios, so they can get hired by modeling agencies would partner with known photographer and barter their time and beauty in exchange for high-resolution images. The photographer can add these images to his or her own portfolios to display the work he or she can do. So it is a win-win situation for both. As a everyday client, unless you have astounding beauty and look, it might be hard to get TFP. But it is worth the try.

Model Release:

This one is again for models, but in case you found a photographer who can do TFP session with you, he or she most likely would ask you to sign a model release form. The purpose of this form is you as a model or a client, to state that you will not have any monetary or rights claim on the final images. It’s required for a photographer to have a model release form it he or she are trying to submit these images for publications or to sell them as stock images. As no one would buy re rent a house without a clearly defined owner or multiple owners, so the companies or publishing houses would not accept images where the ownership is not clear.

Copyrights Release:

In most countries around the work, the photographer owns the copyrights of the images taken. This means that you like a client even if you purchase the digital images from your wedding, are still obligated to let the photographer know before you try to get them published, printed in magazines, etc. However, if the photographer agrees to transfer the copyrights to the images to you, you no longer have to do that. The only thing you need to do, is have the images with copyright release transferred, become a movie star and sell the images from your wedding to the highest bidder. It not, don’t bother with it.

RAW Files:

This has nothing to do with raw fish and sushi, but is a term photographers use to describe the digital files they download from the camera into their computers before they start to digital enhance the images. These files cannot be easily open with most image viewers and have to be converted to readable file formats as JPEG, TIFF, PNG, etc. As RAW files are simply the non enhanced images, asking the photographer to give you the RAW files means you will not benefit from any enhancement he or she would to on these images. It is similar to asking a jeweler to give you the raw diamond instead of ready to wear ring he made just for you. RAW files are for photographers who know how to use and enhance them. Settle down for JPEG files instead.


JPEG is a file format, way to compress and make the RAW digital files readable for everyone. It a universal format and has been around for ages. You can open and view on any device with a screen, you can print them in any print lab, you can keep them and be sure they can be opened even years later.

High Resolution (high-res) Files:

High resolution digital files are referred to files which contain most of the digital pixels making your images. The size of these high-res files is close to what the digital camera is capable of capturing. Large prints can be printed from these files (example: 16×20″) if required. Most high-res files are up to 25MB of size for a single file. If you are not planning to print in large format, them most likely you don’t need them.

Low Resolution (low-res) Files

Low resolution digital files are trimmed version of the high resolution files. The size is reduced by compressing the pixels and also discarding pixels so the image size is reduced. These are still high quality images but in a smaller size. If you plan to print pictures no larger than 5×7″ you can ask for low-res images and save money on the high-res additional cost. Displaying online and sharing on Facebook doesn’t require high-res images either. Most online photo sharing sites, compress the high-resolution images anyway, so you paying for high-res images only to have them “truncated” when posted online might not be a savvy use of your hard earned money. Low resolution images are created to save space and time, when sharing online, uploading or downloading. It has nothing to do with the image quality as many people think.


This is simply a collection of photographer’s best images, curated carefully for the purpose to wow the clients and demonstrate the photographer’s skills and style. In the past portfolios were composed of actual paper prints and carried around or available at photographer’s studio for the clients to touch, feel and see. As all the film cameras are thing from the past and clients rarely have to visit a studio anymore to have their portraits taken, almost every photographer has their portfolios online. Available 24×7 to everyone from everywhere. If you cannot find photographer’s portfolio on his website, you might be dealing with a Photography Scam artist. Don’t fall pray, be educated: How To Avoid Photography Scams

First Look:

This term is used for weddings and means the groom would have the opportunity to see the bride in her wedding dress before the actual ceremony. The first look is usually planned to happen for about 30-45 minutes and in a location where the couple won’t be distracted or interrupted. As the groom reacts to his bride beauty and she is excited to see him dazzled, so the photographer has great opportunity to capture the feelings and passion both have for each other. For more on first look and the wedding day, check this guide: How To Prepare For Your Wedding Day

L Lenses:

If your photographer uses Canon cameras and lenses, you might hear him brag or mention that he uses L lenses. Well, these are not L-shaped lenses but a model of Canon lenses with professional quality. These lenses usually have a red ring, have the top quality glass and glass coating. In everyday terms: L lenses are better quality and suppose to take better images. If you photographer knows how to use them. It’s about the chef and not the stove or knifes he is using.


Wedding Details at Cinnabar Hills Golf Course, San Jose, CA

Wedding Details at Cinnabar Hills Golf Course, San Jose, CA


Pro Body:

Well this one should be easy but I will explain it anyway. Not all digital cameras are created equal. Some are more affordable and designed for everyday consumer in mind. These are called consumer (amateur) bodies. Some are more advanced but still not considered full professional (pro) bodies. These are prosumer (mix of pro & consumer). And finally, there are professional (pro) camera bodies which are used by professional photographers. These are top of the line and have many advanced features as: durability, ability to super fast focus, waterproof sealing, dual memory cards, etc.



I hope that you found this article educational and useful. I also hope that you learned some of photographer’s jargon and would feel more comfortable when discussing your portrait session or wedding with your photographer. If you think some of your friends would benefit from it, please share this article with them. Better educated consumers are better for the photography as a whole. If you have any comments, feedback or would to suggest a new term, please add them into the comments below. I would consider adding it to the list.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov is the owner of Trifon Anguelov Photography, a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Portrait Photographer in Mountain View, CA. He offers full range of portrait, events, engagements and wedding photography services. To learn more about him and his work, visit his website.



Wedding Tips For Brides From a Wedding Photographer Point of View

Wedding Ceremony A wedding photographer has the advantage of attending more weddings and have experienced first hand some of the best and worst moments during a wedding than every bride or groom alone. I have been photographing many weddings as primary and as a second shooter for primary photographers to consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about the process. Over the years, I have observed and mentally recorded many of the pitfalls that a bride and a groom make while planning their weddings.

Some are simply the results of inexperience or lack of a wedding planner but other are made because not everyone considers or understands what a wedding photographer might need in order to produce great looking wedding pictures. Even small mistakes could impact the photography of your special day in a negative way.

‪This blog article is an attempt to document some of the wedding planning mistakes and provide a list of tips each bride and groom could consider while planning their wedding. This is by no means an exhaustive list of anything that should be considered or planned for but it is something which could help each couple and make their experience and wedding pictures much better.

So here is the list of things you should consider:

1. Smile Is Something That Makes Your Pictures Good:

It’s as easy as you being happy and smiling over small things that can ruin not only your wedding day but your pictures as well.  It’s the best day of your life and you most likely have been dreaming about it since you were a little girl. Your pictures will look much better if you forget about all the things that can and will go wrong on your wedding day and enjoy the moment with your future husband, family and friends. I observed that brides who are giggly and smiley and actively trying to be pleasant have more genuine and exciting pictures than perfect and model looking bride who is gloom & doom, trying to macro manage her wedding day and focused on every single task the whole day.‬

2. Be Yourself and the Real You:

Hair extensions and super long eyelashes look cool but when it gets to be too much sometimes it looks unreal and fake on your pictures. You will be pictured for generations to come and if you still would like to look real, it is a good idea to apply hair extension and eyelashes in moderation. This is actually more common than you think.‬ The wedding is about you and your groom and all guests come to your wedding because they respect you for the real person you are.

3. Make Your Getting Ready Room Comfortable:

Bringing too many people in your getting ready room might sounds like a good idea and lots of fun but it actually makes the room overcrowded and hard to work in. The photographer needs to be able to move around and capture the moments from different angles and points of view. If the room is overcrowded this is almost impossible with all the bridesmaids and other people in the room shielding the bride from all directions. If you have to invite everyone, then consider booking an over sized room so there is a room for everyone and room for the photographer to move around and take artistic images. Overcrowding and artistic, free-flowing and open spaces pictures don’t go hand to hand.

‪4. Go Easy On the Makeup:

No doubt each bride looks much better with make up than without it. You most likely would hire an experienced makeup artists and hair stylist or enlisted a relative who will put a facial makeup for you. However, it is a good idea to do a make up rehearsal before your wedding day for two reasons: First you would know how long would it actually take to get it done as you would like to and second, you will be able to see it and make any changes of the look before the wedding in case you don’t like it. As a rule of thumb: Less is Better. Ask the makeup artist not to apply way too much makeup especially an eye makeup. Highlighting the eye is perfectly fine but not when the eyes are way over emphasized and turn in to big black holes.‬

5. Consider No Pockets On Your Wedding Dress: 

No matter how trendy or unique look having pockets on your wedding dress might sound, it might not be a good idea to start with. Not that the pockets themselves are bad idea but it’s when you put your hands into these pockets and they stay there for most of the day. Let’s face it. Unless this is your third wedding or you were a wedding actress for years, you will be quite excited and may be bit nervous during your wedding. And guess what people do when they are nervous? They tend to stick their hands into their pockets and keep them there. Bride with hands into her wedding dress pockets causes the hips to look over sized on the wedding pictures simply because it adds to the body shape and form. It is also easy to cause the bride to slouch a bit which again doesn’t look very well on the wedding photos.  With no pockets, the bride will most likely reach out and hold her husband hand, touch her hair or wedding ring which is much more pleasant to capture than slouching. So day no to the option of having pockets on your wedding dress. You would appreciate it later.

‪6. Mind Your Hair Style:

Consider your hair style and how you would look at the wedding pictures is important. During the wedding ceremony, you will be on the left side of your husband and your right side of your face would be facing the guests. Many of the images of you and your husband will be taken from the guests point of view, so if you plan to have a little cute trestle of hair hanging down all on the right-hand side of your head first the guests will not be able to see your face and second all the pictures of you would have your face half covered by the hair trestle.‬

7. Tame The LED and DJ Lights Urge:

LED and DJ lights are cool and fun but they also color everyone’s faces and clothing. Photography is about capturing the light so all these lights over your dress and face will be captured and in your reception photos. There is no magic wand to take them away in post-processing. If you plan to get your reception completely dark and have lots of LED and DJ lights, be prepared to have these all over your face and dress on your wedding pictures.

‪8. Give Your Guests Some Space:

Be mindful that each venue has maximum occupancy and trying to invite as many guests as the venue’s capacity is a recipe for disaster. Getting everyone seated, serving the food, plus having your photographer and guests move around will become nightmare. If your tables and guests are packed shoulder to shoulder imaging how they would feel and how a photographer will move between the tables to photograph them.  Leaving about 25% free capacity is a good idea for not having guest’s chairs pressing back to back against each other and your guests to feel uncomfortable.‬

9. Formal Pictures Need Planning and Participation:

If you are keen on having beautifully arranged and choreographed formal photos from your wedding, please don’t plan them during the reception. I know it is tempting to save time and skip allocating formal group session for everyone and instead hoping to get group pictures during the wedding reception. It is not a good idea and here are few reasons:

  • The cocktail hour is right after your wedding ceremony and before the reception and people after having to attend a 45-60 minutes ceremony tend to get tired and what a better way to calm down their nerves and reduce their stress level than heading down to the bar and have a drink or two, may be three. So if you postpone the group pictures to after the cocktail hour and during the reception, most of the gusts a photographer has to photograph would be half-drunk, looking tired and all sweaty.
  • Imagine having to gather 15 or so people around the reception area. All of these people have to put down their cocktails, appetizers and interrupt their conversations only to have a group photo. No wonder most of the people attending group photo session during the reception look very unhappy or with grossly fake smiles. Do everyone a favor and time the formals accordingly.
  • The task to locate and bring all the family members into the formal photo area is a is chore on its own. Instead of taking the formal pictures right after the ceremony (as I recommend and strongly suggest you to consider), you or your wedding coordinator now have to chase everyone around the reception hall and bring them for the formals.
  • Imagine the level of noise and distractions in the reception hall. You will expect everyone in the formal pictures to look into the camera and smile while there are noises from all the loud conversations and funny faces bystanders or family members would make to each other. What usually happens is that no one looks at the camera and the formal pictures end up as a complete disaster

The solution to all these problems is to plan to have everyone you wish to be into the formals pictures for your wedding, stay in the formals area and have these photos taken right after the ceremony (with a gap of 10 minutes allowing anyone to visit the restroom or catch their breath after your 45 minutes ceremony). For more information on the wedding group pictures, you can read this article: Wedding Photography Styles Explained

‪10. Know Your Wedding Party Mix:

No one knows your wedding party than you and your groom, and maybe the both sides of the parents. If most of the people invited on your wedding party, don’t like or usually dance on family events, investing lots of money in huge dance hall and DJ, might not be a great idea. Could be that other activities on your wedding would make more sense and would let them enjoy your wedding more: cigar bar, photo booth or photo wall, setting up Guitar Hero on a projector, etc.  Not every wedding party will rock the dance floor and if people are mostly sitting around while you and your groom are trying to get them to dance, you would feel awkward after a while, wouldn’t you?  Accept that you cannot change the wedding party, access their interests accurately and plan your wedding party accordingly.

11. Leave The Posing and Photographing to Your Photographer:

Trying to dictate what makes a good photo or not is not always a good idea.  A professional photographer has years of training and experience or posing people and creating good compositions at every situation and location. He is being paid to know how and where to pose you and your party, so: Trust him or her to do the right thing. If he or she doesn’t, then you have a wedding photography contract to protect you from missed or not well posed pictures. Many times as a photographer I have been told, “Taking our images at this beautiful rose garden at noon would look great” or “This old gazebo would look great in our pictures” However all the beautiful colors a bride see would look wash off at noon time simply because the light is way too harsh. It’s the sunlight and harsh shadows which will not make this a good idea. And yes, the gazebo in the middle of a parking lot filled with cars and surrounded by an office buildings would be a distraction for whoever latter looks at your photos.  You hired a professional photographer for their experience and skills. Trust your photographer and you would appreciate it later.   ‬

12. Bridesmaids Are Fun But Not Always a Helpful Bunch:

Don’t over relay your bridesmaids to help you during the day. Best idea is to get planning coordinator or assistant. If you cannot afford one, ask your siblings or immediate family to help you with this. Keep in mind that your bridesmaids will be too busy having fun, and getting themselves ready, than to really focus on helping you out with getting ready. Sure, when things fall apart, they will move the Earth to try to get your wedding on track…  but by the time it has gotten to the point that they notice things aren’t going perfectly for the bride… it might be already too late. You will be frustrated, behind schedule and who needs that on a busy wedding day anyway?

13. Plan a Buffer Time Between Your Venues:

A wedding happens on multiple locations (venues) and you and your family, friends and guests will move from a location to location. It’s best to plan a time gaps between these location to allow your photographer to prepare for each venue. To transition from a dark and in most cases no flash photography churches, synagogues or mosques to bright sunlight outdoors for after the ceremony pictures, requires time for the photographer to adjust. The same when you enter the dark and cramped limo to take you to the reception venue. Grand entry, first dance, etc. Work with you wedding planner to add small gaps of 10 minutes between venues to allow ample preparation time.  It will mean day and night difference and allow light stands and additional flashes or strobes to be setup and ready for you when you arrive.

‪14. Keep Your Photographer Informed:

On your wedding day you will be surrounded by vendors who you personally interviewed, got to know and trusted to do the services you expect from them. Plans can change and this is OK. If you or your wedding planner decided to do something in the last moment, please consider letting your photographer know.  Most likely you would expect to have pictures of this surprise or new additional event to your wedding. An experienced photographer will know how to handle even little things like running super fast into the hall during the grand entrance and trying to get the wave going.  Giving heads up to your photographer even if this is a 5 minutes of lead time would mean he or she is prepared and will capture the moment. By no means is this an ask not to be spontaneous.‬ Just a communication and giving heads up to others so they are ready to take the images of it.

‪15. You, Adequate Time and a Photographer Result In Great Pictures:

Allocate time to your photographer as you do for your guests, fun and party. When a photographer ask you: “There is a beautiful light right now. Can I borrow you and your groom for 15 minutes? It will be well worth it” trust him or her and find time away from your party. Photographers rather have multiple 15-20 minute chunks of time spread throughout the day (especially some time around dusk when the light is soft and pleasing) than a one large chunk of 2 hours at 12pm or 2pm in one location.‬

16. Prioritize Your Wedding Time:

Consider how much time you wish to allocate for pictures and how much for the rest of the wedding day activities or your guests. If you wish to have pictures of every single moment of your wedding and expect these moments to be carefully choreographed and executed, you need to allocate time, energy and patience for it. This will mean your wedding would be like a modeling photo shoot and your wedding photographer will be on the front stage of everything you do. However if you expect your wedding photographer to simply document the real moments of the day and how all of your guests where there to celebrate your love and passion to your husband, then you might want to discuss this with your photographer and plan accordingly. This would mean less formal and posed images and more candid and genuine moments captured in your photos.‬ For more on how much photography time is required during each stage of your wedding day you can read this article: How To Prepare For Your Wedding Day

‪17. Trust Your Vendors:  

On your wedding day trust your vendors and the advise they are providing.  If you did your research right and hired the competent people, why not allow them to do their job.  Sure they have much more experience performing multiple weddings in the last while this is your first wedding most likely.  So, kick back, enjoy your day and let your year worth of planning come to fruition… Don’t drive everyone crazy by trying to micromanage them and impose your own view, which might not be always the right one.


I hope you found these tips useful and easy to understand. If you appreciate the insights and think this information might be useful to anyone who is planning or might plan their wedding in the future, please share it by using the multiple sharing options on the bottom. As many people learn about these tips and consider them, everyone’s wedding images would be better eventually.

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 Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040. He has been serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area since 2010. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site


Top 10 Mistakes Every Professional Photographer Should Avoid

Snowboard Photo by Trifon Angulov PhotographyMany photographers at some point of their journeys have considered or decided to make their passion a career. They have decided to become a Professional Photographer.

It makes perfect sense, right? After acquiring plenty of professional photography camera bodies and lenses, flashes, filters and all necessary gadgets, learning all about light, composition, post-processing and online marketing, it seems natural to offer photography services to others and start charging money for doing what one loves to do. Not a single day doing a boring work again.

The decision is triggered by many factors like:

  • pro bono gig for your cousin’s wedding or family reunion and the overwhelming feedback from your uncle or relatives for the great job you have done
  • meeting or collaborating with other professional photographers and seeing their work only to realize that their images are not as great as you have been thinking
  • need for extra cash and desire to use some of your free time to earn extra money besides your daytime job

Whatever the decision might be, many photographers decide to make the conversion from amateur to part-time or full-time professional photographer. And after making this big decision, many photographers make the same costly mistakes which could cost their businesses dearly and could be easily avoided.

I did these mistakes too. If I could travel back in time and had the knowledge I have now, I would avoid them and would have grown much faster as a paid photographer.

Here are the top 10 mistakes in my mind, that every professional photographer should avoid in order to build and sustain a profitable photography business:

1. Don’t Overestimate Your Skills :

If you doubt yourself or feel that you are not ready to work with paying and demanding clients, then don’t. Take your time to prepare and be confident of how to pose, direct and manage paying customers in the type of photography you choose to specialize, but once out there talking or working with your clients, don’t stumble and panic if things don’t always go your way.

If you run into a problem, deal with it with confidence. Clients would sense when a photographer doesn’t know what he is doing and most likely will not refer you to anyone or will not leave you a good review after the session. Go at your own pace and don’t jump right into the professional photography without being ready. You can burn out quickly or stumble badly.

2. Don’t Try to Compare Yourself With Other Photographers:

They are at the point they are currently, because they started way earlier than you and have put so much energy and sweat into their businesses. Develop your own style and perfect it. Your style and skills are what potential clients will hire you for.

Ask yourself: If your style looks like the other photographers in your area who are already established, why potential clients would hire you and not them? The answer might be: Only if you offer an unique and fresh style and set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

3. Establish and Perfect Your Workflow:

From booking, to arranging a session, to shooting and post-processing your images. You will not have enough time to learn and offer services in the same time, or will not have adequate time for both and either both or one would be not on par with what you should be doing.

Take time to learn these before starting to work with clients. It sounds easy, but believe me it is not. You will be spending no more than 15% of your time shooting and the rest of the time would be looking for clients, messaging and arranging sessions.

You will have lots of images to process in a short deadline and if thinking that once you get the clients, you can learn all of this quickly, you are setting yourself for a failure.  Plus, consider all the administrative tasks: responding to emails, social media and blog updates, ordering and shipping prints, etc.

Related: How To Prepare For Photographing a Wedding

4. Establish a Feasible Pricing Structure :

It is important that you have sound pricing from the very beginning instead of trying to low ball your local competitors and later hopping to raise you prices.

What many new entrants into the professional photography do it is try to undercut everyone to get the clients in your area and then hope to raise their prices later. Sounds logical, right? Well, if you try to do that you will get the type of clients who are bottom fishing for the cheapest photographer and not for the image quality or style you offer.

Later when you decide to raise your prices, all of these clients and their referrals would swing to the next photographer who currently offers the lowest prices. Plus you will not appeal to the clients who perceive price as quality and they will not consider you, even if you craft is above the average. Affluent clients don’t drive Kia cars exactly because of the perceived value and image Kia cars have.

Related: Why Wedding Photographers Hide Their Prices

5. Invest Time to Learn The Business Aspect of Photography:

It’s a business after all and knowing how to take amazing photographs it doesn’t mean you will be profitable doing so and can sustain your business. Marketing, presentation, people’s skills, finance and economics and as important as aperture, exposure, composition and Photoshop editing.

Take your time to learn and practice how to budget, how to track and calculate your expenses and profit.

6.Don’t Be Your Own Enemy:

Don’t let negative feedback slow you down or constantly seeking approval for you work from fellow photographers. You will grow overtime and your skills and images would improve, so accept it. You will not be the best wedding photographer from day one but if you continue to do what you decided to do, you will one day.

You can only get better as time passes and you continue to put energy and learn from each session. Make the first step and improve every day by learning from your mistakes, from others mistakes and by upgrading your skills and knowledge.

The worst disservice you can make to yourself is to be afraid to start out and delay starting your professional photography career. Time is something you and no one can bring back.

7. Focus Is Everything:

Instead of marketing yourself as do-it-all photographer, specialize in the type of photography you would like to do in a long-term. If you enjoy landscape photography, don’t start with headshots and think you will transition to be a great landscape photographer later.

You will have limited time to establish yourself and build the skills required to excel into your niche. Plus, you will network with people who share the same interest and will be able to learn from them if you start with the right style from the very beginning.

Trying to do everything for everyone will make you an average photographer in many areas, not one of the best photographers in one area. Niche markers are more valuable and clients look for specialized skills when they hire a photographer.

8. Outsourcing Post-Processing Is Not a Crime:

Don’t be afraid to outsource your post processing. Your time is more valuable to market yourself, learn new skills, meet new clients, capture images and network rather than spending countless hours on processing images.

Of course in the beginning if you set your prices so low that you cannot afford to outsource this task, you will never be able to do that and you most likely will be trapped into your own trap.

9. Build Strong Portfolio:

Your photography portfolio is the best “sales force” you would ever have. Therefore is important that you spend lots of time to build a strong portfolio with quality and well crafted images. 

This is the first thing your clients will ask to see. It is the showcase of your past work, skills and style. People hire a photographer because they are looking for great pictures capturing exciting moments and emotions from their lives. A well crafted photography portfolio published online, makes it easy for your clients to visualize what they will be getting if they hire you and not the guy next door.

Consider TFP (Time For Photos) assignments, discounted services for building your portfolio, etc. The more time you spend building a quality portfolio, the better would be the chances that you will be able to attract and sign the clients you are targeting. You will also have much more confidence in your pricing and would be able to back it up with actual results.

Related: Photography Portfolio Sites: Smugmug vs Zenfolio

10. Threat Your Business Seriously:

You need to be committed to your clients, willing to go an extra mile to find, to excite and book them. Just because you have a website, great portfolio and professional gear, it doesn’t mean the clients will die to hire you. You would be on a job interview with every single client.

You need to prove yourself to every client and try to win their business. And, please, please, take time to write or get help writing a photography contract. It will protect you and your time and energy investment in your business from lawsuits and potential legal actions from dissatisfied clients.

Also don’t procrastinate to register your business entity. Doing business as an individual instead of sole proprietor (SP) or limited liability company (LLC) has huge drawbacks which can ruin your future financially.


I am sure that there are more than 10 mistakes a photographer can avoid in their career and some would be more important that others. I hope to update this article in the future with additional content, so please make sure to come back and check for updates. If you have done a mistake which is not in the list, drop me a comment. I would love to add it and will credit you for it.

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

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photographer in Mountain View, CA 94040. It offering wide variety of Wedding Packages  in San Francisco Bay Area, as well Engagement and Portrait services.

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Finding Different Point Of Views To Take Your Pictures

Highlights, Texture and ShadowsEvery photographer has a style which he or she develops over the years. This includes first selecting a type of photography one enjoys and wanting to work in: portraits, photojournalism, architecture, events, weddings, engagements, maternity, children or baby photography. So many types to choose from but ultimately it comes down to how passionate one is about this type of photography and how much energy he or she is willing to put into it.

Then it comes the option of digital camera model and types of lenses. Does one pick Canon, Nikon, Sony or Fuji, Pentax? Also how much depth of field matters for the type of photography and style one already selected. Having the right equipment is an important decision every photographer has to make. it would influence the quality and look of the photographs one would produce. Not an easy or cheap choice if you ask me.

And will all the selections already made, then it comes the time for one to start practicing, getting experience working with clients and building solid portfolio. As some are better at the technical aspect of photography, this could be a quite a steep learning. Managing client’s expectations, booking appointments and advertising a business takes so much energy from the otherwise creating and pleasurable activity. Wasn’t all going to be interesting and creative, one might ask? Yes and not. Managing the business aspect of the photography business takes time and efforts.

So finally with choices made, gear available and clients coming for photo sessions, it’s all about fun, isn’t it? Well wanted to bring another point which each photographer should consider and this is: unique look and vision. Finding this secret ingredient which will make the clients whooa the images one produces. This means finding interesting compositions and creative points of view to frame the compositions. A photograph is just a framed one dimensional representation of  the reality around us. What to include or exclude, what to emphasize or what to diminish it up to each artists and creator. The reality can be shaped and represented in some many ways, which makes the portrait, wedding and engagement photography so interesting.

So what is the point of view? This is the angle from which the camera is positioned and subject appearance can be manipulated. Look from above is diminishing the subject dimensions casing it to appear smaller and shorter, while look fro below elongates the subject and makes ti appear longer. One technique which I have been experimenting with is the Dutch Angle. It creates a sense of tension and gives a dynamic look to each composition. For more on this point of view and to see examples, read this article on Wikipedia:

So in summary, photography is a very creative process and takes time to master. It requires lots of patience and time to get proficient into  and lots of efforts to constantly improve. Many factors contribute to becoming a good portrait or wedding photographer, but the good thing is that if one is committed it can only get better over time. I know I have been working to add more clients and images to my portfolio and client galleries at:


Have a different opinion, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or post your comment.


Trifon Anguelov Photography

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA

website at:


The Attention Is The New Currency or How Every Photographer Can Get Attention Nowadays

Clock Photography by Trifon AnguelovNot in the distant feature it used to be that one had to be employed into a large media company to create content, publish it and reach millions of viewers around the world. Images were created by photographers employed by large media companies and their craft was so exclusive and hard to get into that it was a privilege to be an assistant in a dark room and learn from a professional photographer. Apprentices had to be patient and very persistent if they wanted to learn the insights of making photographs.

But no longer this is the case. With the advancements in digital imaging and affordability of digital cameras, nowadays more than ever everyone can be a creator and publisher of digital images. As well everyone can get attention with a digital camera and the world of social media. No longer one has to be an apprentice to learn the craft of photography or post processing. Online video courses, e-books, blogs, forums are offering instant knowledge for the hungry and creative minds around the Globe. Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and many other social networks offer instant sharing of digital images.

Everyone can be a creator and publisher with a push of a button. Everyone can express his ideas and creative vision at any time of the day as long as he learns how to use smartphone or point & shoot camera and has internet access.

Communicating with images also offers lots of freedom. Some ideas are hard to explain and communicate. Visual is the king today. Grab a digital camera and capture the world around you, post it and let people see you. Care for dogs dressed in pink outfits? Well there are just enough people online looking for such pictures and they can give you the attention and appreciation for your eye and images almost instantaneous.

In the World of instant gratification, communicating with images offers instant feedback and appreciation. No matter if you had a bad day at work or receive bad news. Simply snap an amazing picture, upload and get likes which will make you feel better and appreciated. The feeling that someone in the digital world, values your efforts and finds your images interesting enough to comment or like them, is like instant happiness happening every second in some any lives.

So if you feel down or had a bad day, grab a smartphone or P&S camera, find an interesting subject, snap a picture and share it online. The chances that someone would find it interesting and would appreciate your effort is very high. Everyone can be a creator, receive an attention and feel appreciated nowadays.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.


Trifon Anguelov

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA, 94040