Food Photography - Denver Food Photographer

Denver Food Photography

So while my website is primarily weddings and couples, something else that I shoot quite a bit is food for restaurants. Mainly I contract out for these, but occasionally I do images for menus and advertisements for restaurant groups. I often get asked about how I got into to shooting food, so I figured that I would talk about that here. 
Several years ago when I was living back in Kansas, I made a friend that owned a restaurant group in the Kansas City area. After talking for a bit, we decided to do a complete menu overhaul. That was my first time shooting food professionally. After this, I connected with a Grocery Co-Op and shot advertising photos for them. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with quite a few restaurants in Denver and Boulder as well as other locations along the Colorado Front Range. 
Here is a gallery of some of my favorite images. 

Process for shooting food.
When I was first starting out in food photography, I read so much on food styling. There is so much that the high-end food photographers do to food, that makes it not even food. I get it, but I also do not get it. I mean using motor oil for syrup on pancakes and waffles is a good idea, as the regular syrup will soak in too fast. I have never in my life received a fast food sandwich that looks as good as the photo. But most of that is fake food anyway. 
When I work with restaurants, I always tell them to present the food as the customer sees it. Chefs will always try to make their food look good for photos, but I want them to plate it as it is normally plated. Sometimes they try and put it on a different style dish, or add garnish on top that is not normally on the plate. My goal is to present the food to the customer would see the dish. 

You can see the large windows on the right. That is what I use as my light source in 99% of my shoots. 

You can see the large windows on the right. That is what I use as my light source in 99% of my shoots. 

99% of the time I use natural light. There have only been a few places that I have utilized my flash in a shoot. When I shoot, I try and find a table next to a large window, with diffused light. Depending on the situation I will shoot with my 24mm lens or my 35mm lens. I utilize a white foam board to bounce the light to bring out my shadows. 

Here is a SOOC where you can see the White Foam board. On tables that have a gloss finish it is hard to use this due to the reflection. 

Here is a SOOC where you can see the White Foam board. On tables that have a gloss finish it is hard to use this due to the reflection. 

I spent about ten years in kitchens cooking and working with a variety of chefs. During my time in kitchens, I learned how chefs think about food and all the elements that go into a dish. So when I shoot food, I work to show all the effort that goes into a single entrée or dessert. 
For me, this involves having overhead shots, customer view shots, and close-ups of the main details of the dish. 

When Shooting restaurants I like to get lifestyle shots as well.  These vary, and most times if I am in the kitchen I will shoot at a low shutter speed and ket the movement and action in the kitchen. 

When shooting food you need to understand it. You need to understand how fast things turn in the air. Cheese turns fast. Meat if overcooked looks grey. Refried beans look like doo doo. Learn how food works and it will make shooting easier. 

 

Keep an eye out. I have a couple food photography workshops that I am planning with a local restaraunt group. 

The Pines at Genesee - Landon & Brandi - Denver Wedding Photographer

So I am going to be straight. This is an older wedding. It was on my old blog, but never got transferred over. But I was looking back at old photos, wanted to throw down a re-edit and blog about this. 

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This wedding is special to me because the groom, Landon, was a kid that I coached in track when I was in college in Northern Colorado. Him and I had become friends after I graduated and left and stayed in touch through the years. When he got engaged he contacted me and wanted me to shoot his wedding. I was living in Kansas at the time but its alway good to get back and shoot in Colorado. Now that I moved back I get to shoot all over this beautiful state. These two got hitched at The Pines In Genesee and the rain provided a great backdrop of some of our photos. 

The colors that were around us that day were gorgeous. Fall weddings in Colorado are something else. 

I love when bridal parties are fun and don't take the photos too seriously. Many of these guys have known each other for years so they have a lot of history. You can really tell how close they are. 

The party was pretty baller too. This was my first wedding shooting with a live band. 

I also got to nail an epic backlit image. 

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Take Your Squarespace site to the next Level - Denver Wedding Photographer

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What up fellow Squares! Or Spacers or whatever we are called. I guess it would probably be creatives. Well, I learned a few things today that got my site to do a couple things that I had been wanting to do, but never got around to doing. The best part is it took me no more that 10 minutes. Yes the same amount of time you spend scrolling aimlessly through Facebook and Instagram. Actually probably shorter. 

A few weeks ago I wrote about SEO for Squarespace sites. Things that I did that helped me from not getting picked up on keywords I wanted in my new state to ranking and getting more organic traffic. You can read that post HERE

So here are a few things to help your site out. 

The Announcement Bar

No you cant get drunk here. But it is just as rad. Have a rad promotion? Or want people to notice something when they come to your site? Utilize the announcement bar. 

Cool right? So how do you do this. Simple pay me $5000 and I will do it. Not really. Login to your site, and click the Design tab. 

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Once you click in, make sure that you enable the announcement Bar. Then write whatever you want, hit save and BOOM!!! You have a rad announcement bar. Just remember that if it is a limited time special or something to go in and change it. You don't want to have something for Valentines Day in November. 

Disable Right Click

Ok, so you don't want to let people steal you images. But anyone can right click and save. 

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So how do you stop those people? Well copy this code and inject into either your header or footer. 

<script language=JavaScript> var message="Function Disabled!"; function clickIE4(){ if (event.button==2){ alert(message); return false; } } function clickNS4(e){ if (document.layers||document.getElementById&&!document.all){ if (e.which==2||e.which==3){ alert(message); return false; } } } if (document.layers){ document.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEDOWN); document.onmousedown=clickNS4; } else if (document.all&&!document.getElementById){ document.onmousedown=clickIE4; } document.oncontextmenu=new Function("alert(message);return false") </script>

Now if that doesn't work since I disabled the right click, highlight and Command (CTRL)  C   if that doesn't work, then go here and copy. 

So are you confused on how to do this? Super easy! Login to your site and go to any page. Scroll to the bottom and hover. You should see the Footer button. 

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Click edit. 

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Click on the code button and paste. Boom. No more right click. 

EDIT: IT is always possible fo someone who knows what they are doing to work around this. But if someone is dumb enough to try and steal your images and use them without your permission, they probably don't know how to figure that out. 

 

Have any questions or comments? Drop them below. 

Interested in random marketing/advertising/branding tips follow my IG stories HERE.

Preparing for a Wedding - A Vendors Point of View

So, as a wedding vendor, I get the inside look at weddings. I don't get to see the whole planning process, but I do chat with my couples and I do offer them some tips along the way. The thing that I stress the most, from meeting to the day of, is... "The only thing that really matter is that at the end of the day you two are married." I will always stand by that.

As a photographer I may be biased, and I might ad to the thought above that it would be nice to your memories recorded in a photo or video form. Because to be honest, no one else will remember what your flowers looked like, or what food you served. (Although, I remember food at weddings, but that is because I love good food). 

So what are some things that you can do to help your wedding planning? Damn, I am glad you asked because I have just a couple of those things. 

Engagement Photos!

Do get them, especially with the photographer that will shoot your wedding. You will get to learn how they shoot and it will make the wedding day go so much smoother.  I love engagement photos. It can be a great time for us to connect and to get a feel for what we can create together. Engagement sessions are a time to capture your relationship and your story. The best part is that these can be super personal and you can use them for your save the dates and invitations. Think about what kind of fun things you would want to do. We can go out to a lake or a beach, we can hike up into the woods or we can hang out downtown. 

Some Engagement Photo Tips

DO's

Coordinate your outfits.

Launder and iron your clothes, Photoshop won’t take out wrinkles or animal hair.

Bring props: something meaningful to you, your pet, an

instrument, a hobby, sport or whatever suits you the most.

Use it as an excuse to get professional hair and makeup or splurge on those fantastic new shoes you have been wanting.

Some other thoughts

Think about your body type as well; you know what suits you and what doesn’t.Dress for the season, especially if your engagement shoot is outdoors. The most important thing during your engagement shoot is to be yourself! The whole purpose of the shoot is to capture exactly who you are, and show your personalities. If you pick an outfit that just isn’t ‘you’, you’ll feel uncomfortable and that is never fun.

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Speaking of the save the dates Paperless Post  does some amazing work. You can order any of your save the dates here. I don't receive any compensation from them if you do, but their work is stellar. 

BEFORE THE WEDDING

First I suggestfiguring out what the top three things most important things to you are, and plan your day according to those.

Remember that at the end of the day you have your marriage and your memories.

The days timeline:

There are a few people that should be involved in the planning of the timeline.

  1.          The couple
  2.          The wedding planner/coordinator (if you have one)
  3.          And the Photographer.

FIRST LOOKS

Thinking about planning a first look? Great! But what’s so great about a first look? Wedding days move by so fast and seeing each other before the ceremony can really alleviate unnecessary stresses. It can calm your nerves, and give you a more relaxed day. It also provides for some amazing moments and more time for photos. 

First offthings will go wrong. But those things will be the things that you will tell your grandkids. But here are a few tips from my seasons that can help the day go a little smoother and a little more stress free.

Stay hydrated, don’t drink too much alcohol before the reception. Drunk faces do not look good in photos, and staying hydrated can keep away head aches and cramps. If you are looking to have your wedding outside the best time is about 2 hours before sunset. This way you do not have harsh shadows and the light falls more evenly. Remember it is about being married, not just getting married. At the end of the day all that matters is that you have each other. Focus on each other. 

There are so many things that I can talk about when it comes to weddings. As one of the only vendors that has the opportunity to spend the entire day with the couple, and even one of the few that stays in contact after (for delivery and such) I have the rare look into how many would have changed their day. 

Take time to look at a florist. Vibe with them. Make sure that you like who they are and their work.  

Find a DJ who is not cheesy and is involved. let them have fun and read the dance floor. No one but you will know if you have  a pre-arranged list. Most weddings that make the DJ play a certain list struggle with the reception and people having fun on the dance floor. 

There are so many great places online to order stuff from, Etsy is great and you are supporting artists. As I mentioned before a great company to order you wedding invitations from is Paperless Post. 

Food is important, but not as important as you might thing. I have even had other caterers tell me this. 

Remember that I travel all over the world for weddings. I would love to meet at chat with you no matter where you are located! Lets have fun and create some amazing images together. 

 

Are you really re-branding? 6 steps to help.

There is a story of a Jewish Rabbi, that was approaching the city gate in the dark, and the guard yells out, “Who are you and what is your purpose?” The Rabbi yells back, “How much do you get paid to stand there and ask that?” When the guard replies, the Rabbi tells him, “I will pay you triple to come to my house and ask me that question every morning.”

I start with this story and I want you to think about it as you read through this. I will tie it back together at the end.

So, lets talk branding, and while we are at it, lets talk re-branding. First, lets mention what re-branding isn’t. You don’t rebrand by just getting a new logo or a new website. A true re-brand would be looking at how you do business, how you operate, how you interact with your clients, your services, your products, and then a logo and website.

A brand is more than just the visuals.

Yes, a clean, well thought out and designed logo is amazing. It is good to have on a card, contracts or any other things that are part of your visual brand. I mean I love a great logo and even better…a clever logo.

(Some of my favorite clever logos)

The problem is, many photographers, myself included when I first started, think that if we get a logo and a Facebook page we are good. We don’t put in the time or effort to brand in the first place, so when we re-brand, we are actually branding for the first time. So many of us start without looking at our identity. Just like our personal life, once we know our identity, or our business identity, we can make solid decisions that will help make our brand consistent. A consistent brand is a trusted brand, and a trusted brand is a profitable brand.

Consistency is key. Both in visuals and how you operate. If you are starting out, or rebuilding your brand, and you are deciding on if you should remove images are keep them, remember that, if a client sees your portfolio, and the images are not consistent they will be unsure as to what to expect from you. They do not know which images are the new or old, you have to guide them.

That being said, it is my personal opinion that if you do different types of photography, you can edit a family session differently than you may a couple’s session, or a maternity session. Others may disagree with me, but that is the beauty of life, we can all do what we want.

So speaking of guiding, when it does come to building your site, remember that you must guide your potential clients into booking you.

“How do I do this?” you may ask. Well every business has a Unique Selling Point (USP). This is where knowing who you are and having a solid identity will help you. You need to sit down and really think about what it is you offer to the client. If you cannot do this, then how will they?

In the marketing world there is a difference between brand identity and a brand image. There is a very important distinction to make. These two elements of a brand when they work together can help create an extremely strong brand.

Brand Identity – Originates from the business, and is how the business wishes to be perceived.

Brand Image – Is perceived by the external source, or the customer.

These two brand elements are more than just the logo and site. But rather the emotional appeal to the world around us. Companies like Nike, North Face, and Apple are prime examples of a companies that have worked hard to have the two in sync.

The problem arises when you have not thought through your identity and just put it out there, and your image does not fall in line. That is why re-branding is more than just a logo or a website.

Think of the visual elements of your brand as the top of an iceberg.

Source:  Pere - Flickr - Creative Commons

Source:  Pere - Flickr - Creative Commons

Remember in school when we learned that only a small portion of an iceberg is visible? That is the same with brands. Can you see customer service? Can you see/touch when a client feels calm around you when you are shooting? Can you see the emotion when they are overjoyed by how good they look in your photos? You can see the effects.

So how do you operate your brand? Who are you? Remember the story that I started with? Can you verbalize who you are? What your unique selling point? What problem do you solve for your client? Ask yourself “Who am I and what is my purpose?”

 

There are several great resources online to help with this. Hubspot has a great guide.

https://offers.hubspot.com/essential-guide-to-branding-your-company

(I am in no way affiliated with them, nor do I get paid to mention them).

 

There are several key things that you can do.

1.    Start with who you are, why are you in business? What is your purpose?

2.    Who is your target market? Get as specific as possible.

3.    What is your position in the market? Figure out the competition and where you currently land and where you want to land in the market.

4.    Really think about your brand identity, take a look at the guide from Hubspot.

5.    Build your website and make your online presence cohesive

6.    Lay out a plan. Set measurable goals, and evaluate those goals after a preset amount of tim

 

 

If you are interested I offer Brand Strategy Mentoring,  Learn More on my page or contact me directly. 

 

 

 

Surprise Proposal Shoots - Why? How? What? - Colorado Wedding Photographer

Good Morning! I hope you had a stellar holiday. Well, engagement season is upon us, and yes it is a season. So if you are a photographer reading this...get ready. If you are someone who is proposing... congratulations! And if you are expecting a proposal, remember that it is who you are marrying, and not how big the ring is...how extravagant the proposal is, or anything else. It is more about being married than getting married. 

That said, having a proposal photographed can be super rad. You have the memories and the reaction captured forever. You have an epic photo to share with your friends and family as well. But it does take come coordinating. No matter where you are going to be proposing, the time, the plan, and the location are key. Each proposal that I have shot has been different; each one has had its challenges. So here are a few stories of each and the photos and video behind them. 

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1. Trinity Church - Boston, MA

These two got engaged in November of 2015 at Trinity Church courtyard in Boston. All of the proposals that I have shot, I have not met the couples before hand, so I had to be sure where they would walk and what they would wear. Normally the best way is to have the person proposing to send me a selfie or a photo of their partner So I can look for that outfit. For this church courtyard, there are a lot of people taking photos. So the location is key.

For this location he told me the direction/street they would come from, and the spot which he was going to propose on. Earlier that day he had sent me a photo of her so I knew what coat to look for. After the proposal we did a short couples session so they would have photos for their engagement announcement. 

Pouring rain proposal 

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This proposal was interesting. The day of the proposal it was pouring rain. For this proposal, the groom's brother did the organizing. He found me because we used to live in the same town. He wanted to surprise his brother, so he did not tell him until the morning of the proposal. The plan was that they would meet the family at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston right before they went to dinner. While they were all there taking in the view, he would take her down by the water and pop the question. It all went as planned except they were a few minutes late and I was standing out in the rain with my cameras trying not to get them ruined.

This one has a little video that goes with it. 

Arriving by boat

This proposal was super fun. Mike arrived by boat to the dock that Tori was hanging out with a friend at. The best friend and Mike had planned this and worked it so that he had a work "emergency" that took him away for the day. The planning of this one was nice as I blended in with the crow at the dock. There wasn't any way to miss a guy arriving by boat.

Watch the Video for this one here. 

While I have shot several others proposals, these are my favorites. Each one was different. For one proposal we were supposed to be near a statue. The photo that was sent and the location were different, but it was not until arriving that this was figured out. Luckily I realized that it was the wrong statue and made it to the other one before they arrived. 

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO HELP WITH THE SUCCESS OF THE SHOOT. 

  1. Know and confirm the location. 
  2. Know what outfits they will be wearing. 
  3. Arrive early enough to make any changes. i.e., Ask people to move, adjust your location. 
  4. Know your gear. You might be shooting at night, or in the rain. Know what your gear can do. 
  5. Bring a backup person. You might look more natural shooting someone in a location. But they can also have a camera as back up if needed. 
  6. Make sure that the person proposing does so in the right position. The best is to have them angled so that you can see their hands and the other persons face. You need to get the reaction shot. So make sure that when you iron out the details, you let them know where you will be located. 
  7. Have fun! Make sure that you have fun with this, try and think through anything that can go wrong and brainstorm with the person proposing. 

New Hope Photography - 2017 - A year in review - Denver Wedding Photographer

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I cannot believe that this 2017 is nearly over. It feels like yesterday that I was just moving back to Colorado. Well, it has been over a year since I moved back and things have been interesting. 
Moving a business is hard, especially when you have short notice, and this is the third time in 7 years that I have moved. 2017 rolled in like a migraine; my personal life was so tumultuous that I fell behind in shooting, blogging, and any sort of advertising. The wedding side of New Hope Photography suffered, but my commercial side has taken off. Over the past year, I have worked with Open Table, Bon Appetite, Aveda, and over 60 other business along the Colorado Front Range. 

While I had the opportunity to shoot for Bed & Breakfasts, Salons, and other business, I have always loved shooting food. Many of the business that I provided branding services for were restaurants. Here are several of my favorites. 

FOOD

 

Weddings and Couples Portraits

It was a strange year for me; I think due to finishing my Master's degree last year, I only had one wedding in the books. My friend Julia from school got hitched in Dallas and also gave me another state for my 50 states goal. But outside of this single wedding, I shot quite a few couples sessions that stoked my creative fire.  

Styled

I met some amazing people and vendors this year. I worked with Anna Be Bridal, Evolution Salon, and Metalmark Fine Jewelry for a styled shoot in Boulder and Kaysie Modeled for us. It was amazing. You can read the blog posts here & here. 

Vendor's for the styled shoot

Anna Be Bridal - http://anna-be.com/      Instagram

Evolution Salon  - http://evolutionsalondenver.com/     Instagram

Metalmark Fine Jewelry  - https://metalmarkfinejewelry.com/   Instagram

 

STUDIO

I also had the opportunity to do some studio work this year for the Aveda Institute in Denver. While I have dabbled it studio photos, I have never really had the opportunity to flex my muscles and shoot it. But these portraits are some of my favorite that I have ever taken. 

 

Instagram

In 2017 one of my goals was to build my Instagram. In the past I have had no strategy, rather I just posted images and hoped for the best. Follow me here!
 

New Hope Photography Instagram best of 2017

While the move back to Colorado has been rough. It is good to be back in my native state. If you know anyone that is getting married I am offering a $100 referral bonus. Your friend books a wedding, you get $100. Super dope. 

Nikon is Better - Why I left Canon after 10 years

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So to start, I want to say that I do not think Nikon is better. Nor is Canon, or Fuji, or Sony. They are all tools with which we choose to use for our business. So with that said this is a personal story of why I chose to change brands after ten years of shooting. 

It was a mild spring afternoon in Colorado; I was sitting in my college computer lab in a bidding war for a Canon camera.

I won.

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$40 and a couple of weeks and I had my new camera. But when it showed up it was a film SLR. I had no idea what that meant; I was just bidding on what was a cool looking camera and what I thought might be a digital camera. I was wrong, but this was back in 2004 or 05, and digital cameras were not as prevalent. But this is what got me started on Canon. It wasn't hardcore research, or well-thought choices; it was an eBay win. 

I didn't go wrong; Canon treated me well. In fact, the first four years of my professional career were with Canon cameras. I have shot the XS, t1i, t2i, t3i t4i, t5i, The 5D classic, the 5d2, the 6d, the 7d, the 5d3 and eosM (That is not to mention the film cameras). I have used a lot of the Canon lineup. I loved it, and there is nothing wrong with Canon 

And there is always the potential that I will buy a Canon body at some point again in the future, but let's get to why I left. This happened around the time that the 35mm 1.4 II was being released and after the 24-70mm 2.8 II had been released. There were rumors about the Canon 5d IV, and it just seemed to me that Canon was not really in it for the photographer anymore. The sensor was not that much different, the glass was marginally better, and the 24-70 didn’t have any Image Stabilization, but the price tag was $1200+ than what other companies were doing for similar if not better equipment.

(Now remember, these are my opinions, you can disagree).

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I had thought about switching to Nikon before. But in my earlier years, it was because I thought that I sucked because of the tools I had. I realized that my cameras were just that, tools, and I needed to work on who I was as a photographer and my vision.

Then the D750 came out, I had seen some photographers post some amazing shots utilizing the dynamic range of the sensor, and the tones that came from this camera just called to my soul.

So I decided to switch. Like I said before, I knew that these were just tools, but I knew that Nikon was attempting to give photographers something that they wanted. My lenses have been the Sigma lenses for years, so I knew that I could just swap them. So I posted all my gear for sale and hoped that it would all sell before my next wedding.

Yikes!!!

Well, they did. I sold my Canon 5d3, 6d, all my lenses, and flashes and was able to buy brand new Nikon D750’s with the same lens setups and flashes with money left over. That was rad.

Well, I the day after receiving them I had a wedding proposal to shoot, and the following weekend I had a wedding. So there was little testing, just jumping in. I struggled a bit with the dials and lens mounting, and I missed the wheel dial that Canon uses, but when I got my images into Lightroom, I was so stoked. The tones were what I had been chasing after, and I loved Nikon.

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Its been two and a half years since I switched, and I have never really thought about going back. Canon was great for years, they do good things, but my style changed and Nikon fit my vision.

What I really love about Nikon using Sony sensors is the control I have in the Dynamic range of images. I can expose for the sky and capture my sunset that I want and then in post recover the shadows that I want. This way I do not lose the information in the highlights. Back with Canon I used to have to bracket shoot and then mask in the sky from the image and the people from another, it was very time consuming. 

I know that Canon has gotten a little better, but for me the mix of dynamic range and tones was what has me hooked. 

As I explore the world of the video, there is a chance that I may jump back in and buy some Canon bodies for video, but only time will tell.

Christmas Styled Shoot - Lauren Kay Sims - Fashion Blogger

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After moving back to Colorado, I started to look for local vendors and bloggers to colab with on Instagram. This has led to a several shoots that I get to experiment and have fun with.  I started following Lauren on Instagram and figured that someday we might be able to collaborate on a shoot. 

I have wanted to expand my style to get into in-home sessions after the food-fight session I did in Rhode Island. These themed shoots are really fun and make writing blogs more interesting. So I messaged Lauren about shooting a Christmas themed session and to my surprise she responded. She mentioned that it would fit in well with her Nordstrom Mens Gift Guide post, which you can see here. 

Anyway here is the photos, they are much better looking than my words. 

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Their Golden Retriever Beau joined us for the second part. 

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If you are interested in booking a holiday couples session, shoot me an email. Of fill out my contact form here. 

Why Photographers Do Not Give RAW Unedited Images

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Occasionally I get asked if a client can have the Raw images from their wedding, and I know that I am not the only one. I see this come up in my photo groups several times a week. So, I decided to write a short blog on why we do not give our Raw images to clients. 

For one I am confused as to why people think that they need these. I remember a wedding blog somewhere mentioning it but that was a couple years ago, and I think that people feel like they need to have them. But when you hire a photographer, you hire them because you like their style. So, why would you need photos to edit? 

My number one reason is that my photos represent my brand. I have worked hard to get where I am and to establish my brand. My photos represent a part of that. If I give Raw files anyone can edit them and say that it was me. They have the base beginning image, with all my metadata. 

The photos we take with digital cameras now are supposed to be edited. Back in the olden days with film, you know the thing that you can hold and is carbon based, not 0's and 1's, photographers could shape and image in their darkroom. They held on to the negative so they could reproduce it. 

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Some people like to make the analogy that you don't go to the restaurant and order the ingredients to make the food. 

Unless it is a commercial client that has paid for the raw files, I will never give these away. I am an artist and these are my canvas, my manuscript with all its mistakes, markups, and cuts. 

Go ask J.K. Rowling for her unedited manuscripts. She will roast you on Twitter. 

The Raw images are ugly. Well, not really, but I expose for how I will edit. I know what I want my end product to look like. I know my camera, and the capabilities of the sensor, and what I will do with it in post. 

When it comes down to it, unless you pay and pay well, the raw photos are mine. Im not holding an epic photo back from you. I want you to have the best and only the best. 

Boulder Colorado Couples photos before and after

So here are several responses that you can send when you are asked. 


"Hello ______, 

My company policy is that I do not release the raw files. 

Thank you"


Hello ________, 

 In order to maintain the integrity of my brand I do not release the raw files to anyone. The exception to this is when a contract is negotiated, and the appropriate fee is charged. The fee for each raw file is $___ (large amount). Many times this is only for commercial work. If you would like to discuss this option let me know. 

Thank you.  


Before using this one make sure that it is stated in your contract that you do not release raw files. 

Hello _____, 

As pre section _ in my contract I do not release raw files. The final editing style is determined by ________ (company name). We chose only the very best images and spend time making sure that they are perfect for you. 

Thank you. 

 

The Most Comprehensive Photographer Gift Guide Ever (Satire)

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As we all know the holidays are usually no holiday for photographers. We are crushed with all the editing that we are backed up on. We are getting inquiries for family photos and mini sessions. While trying to bake pies and shove bread into a dead bird. 

So I am compiling a list of gifts for that memory maker in your life. 

1. A Day Off

Take their computer, their camera, their phone, and lock them in a room with some ambient music. Like some Enya or something. Tell them to chill out and take a nap. 

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2. A Stiff Drink

Doesn't matter if it is wine, whiskey, or a six pack. Maybe just one, maybe a whole bottle. It all depends on the year that they had.

This is an awesome gift. The Whiskey Advent Calendar

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$165 and it keeps on giving 

3. A Hot Tub

You can sneak into a rec center, or a community pool, a local apartment complex, or just go buy one. After a summer of weddings and sessions a good soak in a hot tub will be good. The best part is there is one for every budget. 

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This one is $299

4. A Puppy 

People with dogs have less stress, and live longer. Buy that special persona puppy. Then they can take photos of the dog instead of you!

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Its not like you have to do anything. They take care of themselves. 

5. Hasselblad H5D-200c

This will shut them up forever. You will never have to give them any other gifts. EVER. 

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$44,995

But lets be honest. On a per year basis that is less than all the gifts ever combined. Purchase here. 

 

6. Large Format Film Camera

Megapixels be damned. If you get them this, they will have a resolution NASA will be jealous of. If it was good enough for Ansel Adams it is good enough for your photographer. 

7. Taco Bell Gift Card

Weddings run late. Help your beloved photographer out and get them the 4th meal. They will thank you later. 

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 $100 should cover the whole year.

153 Squarespace SEO Tips - Actually more like 5

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Search Engine Optimization or SEO as we call it in short form is a buzzword among many small businesses. But lets face it, for many of us it is just like trying to learn a language in middle school. It sucks. Over the year I have attempted to work on it myself and really never seen any results. But last year I had to move back to my home state of Colorado and really did not have the time to plan it and move my business prior to moving. It has been a whirlwind year and a hard one personally, so my business suffered. This past year I received a ton of inquiries for shoots on the east coast where I had moved from. But nothing from Colorado. So I decided to take a look at what was going on in my site and see what I could do. 

First, I googled SEO companies. This was out for me as the monthly fee for these started at $1200. Next I bought SEO for Dummies. It is huge and I am still working on it. So next I joined several Facebook groups and followed along. 

I also googled articles about SEO and specifically Squarespace. Here are several things I did that have improved my rankings. 

1. Optimization

So much of my site needed to be optimized. Load time was slow, images were massive, content was confusing. First thing I did was rework my site. I love the long scroll, but I had just made one long page. So I picked a template that supported this. (I am using Pacific). 

Next I checked several sites that give you speed and other SEO information. 

These sites can help give you information about your weaknesses and strengths. I have looked at several other peoples websites through these and there are some very common themes. Several of these themes are images that are large, backlinks, and keywords. 

Neil Patels site is great in that it give you a well formatted look at what is going on with your site. You can see where your site stands. when I first looked at my site I was 7.6million. Today I am at 4.6Million. I still have a long way to go, but moving up 3 million spots is rad. 

Gt Metrix is great in that it gives you some things that you need to focus on. It also gives you optimized images to upload to your site to increase speed. As well as other issues to look at. 

Nibbler is great. It give and easy to understand breakdown. It identifies alot of the key components to SEO. My favorite thing is the Headings word cloud. This shows you your keyword density.  

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2. Keywords

Keywords are key. See what I did there ;) Actually keywords on you site can make or break you. If you do them wrong and spam your site, you can end up ranking lower. If you do them correctly you can rank on the first page results. There are several ways to go about picking keywords. You can write some words down on dice, and throw them craps style and see what happens or you be smart about it and use the Google Keywords Tool. What this tool does is show you which keywords are searched more than others and how often they are searched. You can see if Denver Wedding Photography is searched more or less often than Denver Wedding Photographer, or whatever city/region/state/country you live near or in. 

3. Format

The format of your website is huge. Google wants to deliver content to people that is not only easy to read, but is relevant, and opens quickly. If your site takes forever to load, because of image size or poor formatting Google will not want to deliver it to people. Make sure that your images are sized correctly, that your H1/H2/H3 headings are correct, and that your page title are on point. Don't just title your home page "Home", but describe who/what/where you are. Your navigation title can be simple, but describe yourself. 

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4. Alt-Tags

You can use keywords in your website copy, your alt-text, urls, and H1/H2/H3 headlines. Again write naturally and don't spam. When you export your images (or if you rename them within Squarespace) describe them for example "Downtown Denver Union Station Engagement photos" or "Iceland Destination wedding Skogafoss - couple holding hands." 

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To read about how to alt-text on Squarespace Check this out. 

5. Content

Lastly create some amazing content. Keep it fresh and new. Blogging is a great way to do this. But when you shoot new sessions that you want to show off, update your site. Don't let your content get old and moldy. Make the content relevant to your site and brand. Don't just create a site and let it become frozen. 

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If you are interested in advertising and marketing tips and Q&A sessions follow me on Instagram where I do AMA's (Ask me anythings) and live broadcasts about marketing and advertising. @newhopephotography

Iceland Wedding Honeymoon - Weddings in the Wild

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I realized that I never blogged about my experience in Iceland. I have shared the photos, and the galleries. But I have never told the story. It is full of long days, little sleep, and a lot of KM driven.

Alex and Matt sent me an email about their Iceland getaway. They were having a small ceremony back home, but they love to travel so they chose Iceland as their first adventure as a husband and wife, and they wanted to document seeing some of all the amazing sights that Iceland has to offer. 

We met at the Boston Logan Airport and ate lunch together before we took off to Gardur where we spent our first night, having a few drinks and chatting about life. 

The next morning we took off towards The Blue Lagoon. 

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When we landed in Iceland we headed to our first night's Airbnb to plan the next few days. During the time that we were there, the daylight was about 18 hours of daylight which meant that we were able to shoot for quite a few hours a day. So, first we headed south towards The Blue Lagoon. There were too many people inside, so we ended up shooting around the area. 

The Blue Lagoon

After the Blue Lagoon we headed South, with the goal being Seljalandsfoss. Along the way we came across some shipwrecks and a rad lighthouse. 

Later we came across this lake where we ate lunch and took some of my favorite photos from the whole trip. I absolutely love the tones from Kleifarvatn Lake. 

And what is Iceland without seeing some ponies. 

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As the day started to come to a close (We still had several hours of daylight) we finally made it to Seljalandsfoss. This is one of the best waterfalls in Iceland. You can get behind it and get soaking wet. But we also made some amazing photos in front of the waterfall. I mean when you have wildflowers and waterfalls with beautiful people you can't go wrong. 

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This was almost the end of day one. But I locked my keys in the trunk and spent two hours trying to get them out. I met an amazing couple from Poland who gave me some liquor to keep me warm, and we took a selfie. 

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Iceland Day 2 - Skógafoss

On day two we headed out to Vic and Skógafoss in the morning. Skógafoss is probably one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and it was hard to create photos without people in them, but with some in camera cropping and photoshop we took some epic photos. 

If you ever go to Iceland this one is definitely a must see. 

Iceland Skogafoss

One of the other most epic places that we got to visit while we were there was the Jökulsárlón  glacial lagoon. We did not go all the way to the parking lot, but rather stopped on the side and walked over. From where we parked you could not see the lagoon, but when you crested the hill it was absolutely breathtaking. 

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 Iceland elopement/wedding
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Iceland was such a beautiful and breathtaking time. The people, the scenery was all amazing. IF you are interested in an Iceland elopement or wedding let me know!

Chautauqua Park - Boulder, Colorado - Courtney + Nick

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Sometimes I see something and it makes me want to create. Recently I started working with an apparel company, which is awesome and takes me on some rad adventures. But anyway, I was driving into Boulder and I always take Baseline Road, because the view of the Flatirons is insane. Anyway on this particular day it was cold and a nature had quietly rested its soft, white flakes on the rocks and pine trees. I knew instantly that I wanted to shoot a winter couples session up there. 

So I took to Instagram and in my Insta story I posted for a couple to shoot in the snow. Almost immediately Courtney responded and was so excited for this. But in true Colorado fashion, the next several days were going to be 70 degrees. So we decided that we all would be flexible and wait till the next snowfall. 

So last week we saw that there was snow forecasted. Courtney messaged me and said that they were available the next morning if it snowed. So, at 3am I looked out the window and saw that snow was falling.

Boom, we knew we were going to shoot. So here is the results.  




Follow me on Instagram (HERE) if you want the opportunity to shoot with me. When I travel I often post for fun shoots out and about! 

5 Ways To Destroy Your Photography Business

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While there are many ways that you can destroy your business, I have chosen 5 ways that may affect you negatively. These are either things that I have experienced myself, or they are things that I have seen in the industry.  

5. Having No Idea What Is Happening

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You like making photos. You start with a cheap camera, and then upgrade (maybe). People like the photos you take and some even say

"You have the eye..." and you have no idea what that really means, but you think you might be able to make a few bucks with this gig. So you take your camera, and you start charging money. 

Your downfall might be communication or expectations. It might be camera settings or quality. OR  it might be business in the long run. But you get started and you get burned out because you did not take any time to learn not only photography, but you did not take the time to learn the business. 

4. Trying To Please Everyone

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In the beginning we tend to take every job. We don't want to turn down any client because we think.

  • Its money
  • I need to shoot everything

In my first year, I attempted to shoot a newborn session. It was awful. I had no idea what I was doing, the baby cried for an hour. I realized after that, it was not my thing. I also realized that many things were not my thing. Figure out your brand, and what you want to shoot and work towards that. You do not have to specialize in; Weddings, Engagements, Families, Seniors, Cake Smashes, Birthdays, Commercials, Dogs, Births, Dog Births, and Senior Clown Weddings. 

ITS TOO MUCH.  Yes, you can shoot other things. But specialize in something. Your accountant is not the same person that fixes your car (unless you are married to that person). 

3. Pretending

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This follows along with the last part of number 4. Figure out your brand, if you are lost as a brand your customers will be lost with who you are. Yes, you will still get jobs, but over time you will become frustrated as people will ask you for things that you don't want to shoot. If you are defined as a brand you do not have to worry as much about people not knowing what you are. It is like when Coors tried to make "Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water." 

2. Dolla Dolla Y'All

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There are a couple ways to look at this

  • You are chasing money
  • You are not charging enough
  • You don't care

So quickly lets look at these. If you are chasing money, you have the potential to hurt your clients. Photography is not as about us the photographer as we would like to think. Yes, we have a vision, and that is what we hope we will be hired for. But the clients want us to preserve/provide something for us, and it goes beyond an image. They want confidence, memories, content, etc... This is beyond who we are as artists. If you are chasing money and don't care, that will come off and you will start loosing business because of it. 

When I first started I got $50 for shooting an engagement session. I thought I had made it. It took 2 hours and I made what usually took me 4 hours. But then I had to edit them, and it took several hours (at the time I was only using photoshop). As we all know $50 is nothing for a 2 hours session. If you want to last you need to price yourself as such. Remember you will probably have to pay approximately 30% to taxes. If you make $3000 for a wedding that is close to $1000 for just taxes. Price yourself to last. 

You are just shooting for the hell of it and your don't care about any of this. Well, if this is the case I am surprised you are reading this. 

1. You Focus TOO Much On Others 

Teddy Roosevelt once said "Comparison is the thief of joy"

This is probably the one that will kill you faster than anything else. Comparison.

Staying aware of what is going on in the photography industry is good, but comparing where you are at in your journey, your work, and your life will only lead to more failure. Use others as inspiration. But comparing your journey to others highlights is misleading. As creatives we all have rough times, we all doubt ourselves. There will be times where clients will destroy your confidence and times where others will try to tear your down. But focuse on who you are, what you are doing and keep on keeping on. 

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If you are interested in advertising and marketing tips and Q&A sessions follow me on Instagram where I do AMA's (Ask me anythings) and live broadcasts about marketing and advertising. @newhopephotography

Denver Couples Session - Pumpkin Carving - Amanda + Jason.

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One of my goals as a photographer is to do more unique couples sessions. About a year ago I did an in home session with some friends and we shot a food fight. It was so much fun. So I wanted to do more sessions that are fun and unique. 

So I posted on my Instagram story that I wanted to shoot a pumpkin carving session for the Halloween season. Of course, now that I am blogging this, Halloween is gone and past, and minds are thinking about shoving breadcrumbs in a dead bird. But, I wanted to share this anyway. 

Amanda started following me on Instagram after talking to one of my future brides. She responded to my Instagram story and we got this shindig set up. She was excited as this was the first time that her and Jason had gotten pictures done since they had gotten hitched. So I headed to their apartment in Downtown Denver and documented the fun. 

As with any session I wanted to take them out and go some other fun photos. Their apartment complex had a nifty little courtyard that we were able to take some fun photos in. 

Thanks you two for inviting me into your house and letting me be a part of your lives for a day! 

15 Mistakes That Photographers Make - Complete with The Office Gifs

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Everybody makes mistakes. It is part of being human. They say that if you are not making mistakes, than you are not growing. Which is true. I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning of my photography career. But I learned and grew from them. When I am talking about mistakes as a photographer, I am thinking more about those that are operating as a business. Not the hobby shooter. 

I still make mistakes, but many times I have set up ways to check myself so that I do not. 

I sourced thoughts on this from a couple of Facebook photographer groups and just like myself, the mistakes range from stupidly simple things like forgetting to remove a lens cap before trying to shoot a photo to not backing up images properly and loosing something from a shoot. 

Easy Mistakes

As I mentioned above there are several mistakes that we all make, in the beginning. Sometimes we still make them as we grow, but practice and repetition can over come these. 

1. Lens Cap - When I start a shoot they come off and never go back on. Especially weddings. I have my lens hood on so the likelihood of my glass getting damaged is small. But that is just how I work. 

2. Not shooting RAW - in the beginning I had no idea what this meant. I shot my first few weddings in jpeg. Big mistake. Literally once you shoot RAW and figure out the benefits. You will never go back. Yes, RAW takes up a lot of space, but with how cheap back up is, it is worth it. With RAW you can control/fix so many things on an image. 

3. Shooting a large aperture all the time (f 1.2/1.4/1.8) - Yes it looks cool. Sometimes. But shooting a 16 person group photo at 1.4 may not work. Shooting a landscape at 1.2... why? Many times when we start our lenses are not capable of a shallow depth of field, so when we get a 1.4 lens we get all giddy and shoot everything at 1.4 because we can. Use the aperture that is needed for the job. 

4. Natural Light (or Auto, or any one specific lighting) - Starting out I think we tend to go with the flow. We shoot auto and if the pop-up flash happens then we roll with it. Once we move on, a speed-light is scary so we think natural light is the best. But, being a photographer is to understand how to control light. I use natural light for 90% of my work. But I also utilize a speed-light when needed. My signature shot at weddings is the backlit portrait. You can only accomplish this with off camera flash. (See the post here.)

5. Learning Gear - This one, I am putting this under the easy category because...it is easy in the sense that you just need to dedicate yourself and your time to learn your gear. Sometimes this feels hard, but do not learn gear on a clients time. Do not try to learn how to use a flash at a wedding. Do not take a new camera body out for the first time when you are shooting a paid session. When you get something new, or when you want to learn a new technique, ask a friend, give a free session to "experiment." Knowing what your gear can do and how to use it is invaluable. 

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This is my bridge mistake

6. Being Self-conscience - This one is hard, I struggled with it for a long time. being a photographer means that at times you are taking photos during intimate or life changing moments. Robert Capa is quoted as saying "If your photographs are not good enough, then you are not close enough." Getting close can be intimidating. I was scared for so long, but then once I found my voice and my style, I was not scared any longer. As a photographer we have a job to do. Sometimes we just have to get over our fear and make epic images.  

Middle Of The Road Mistakes

As we grow and learn as photographers there are still mistakes that we make. I would venture to say that once we move from the "amateur" to the next step we start approaching the business side. We start taking photos, and then either are asked to take someones photo or we start charging. Then we encounter a whole new series of mistakes. 

First thoughts on free sessions. 

7. Free Sessions - I am not going to say don't do them. Free sessions, when done right are some of the most lucrative sessions I have done. Recently, I did a styled session (slightly different) but as a result, I have booked over $10,000 of sessions and gigs. When all you do is shoot for free, you are not only hurting yourself both present and future, but you are hurting others. 

When you want to shoot free sessions for experience or to try a new technique, or a new piece of equipment, state the reason when you ask people. There is nothing wrong with saying "Hey! I want to try something new. Free____ session to the first person that responds." 

But what will lead to issues is a post that just says "Free engagement/wedding/family photos." By saying this you are telling others that you do not respect your craft. They will come to expect this and even demand it. 

8. Undercharging Sessions - Let me start this by saying You do you. But When you charge $50 for 2 hours for a family session. You may get people that respond, but you will not last at those rates. If you think of that in the bare minimum of hours, that may be

  • 2 hours for shooting 
  • 2 hours for editing  
  • Driving time

After this you are already at ~$12/hr, that is not including the cost of your camera, supplies, and other time. If you include taxes you might be walking away with $7/hr. You can make more at McD's, and possibly get benefits. Charge what you are worth. 

Build a lasting business so that you do not burn out. 

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9. Being unprepared - This can encompass many things. First there are simple things like, forgetting to charge batteries or not buying/bringing enough Sd/CF cards. This is just a simple mistake, go buy more and bring them. 

There are other mistakes like Overall Preparing and training. When I started out I had no file management system in place. I had files everywhere. My first external hard drive is such a disaster that I hate looking at it. My computer used to have images saved all over. There were .tif and copy files on my desktop. I had multiple files and folders all containing the same images. I think a tornado has more order than my file management did. 

So I buckled down. I made a system , and I learned it. I now know that my 2015 engagement sessions are in a certain external drive under 2015 engagements> Client name> raw & final folders. It may not be the best way, but it is how I organize and how it works for me. 

10. Contracts - Most of the time when we start out, contracts or not something that we think about. Someone asks us to shoot photos for some and money is exchanged and there is no contract. But, no matter what the shoot is, there needs to be a contract in place. If you are just starting out there are a ton of resources to help you get started. But the best option is to check with a lawyer in your area about what you need in a contract, or visit The LawTog

11. Sustainable business - As I mentioned above, to not burn out, you need think long term. Sure when you start out, you think that charging $1000 for a wedding is a ton of money. In my mind when I began I thought 

"Damn, 8 hours and $1000, I have made it."

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But it is more than 8 hours. You need to include so much more. If you shoot a wedding every weekend at $1000. You will burn out faster than watching Frozen 3 times a day. After taxes and cost of doing business, your profit may even be in the negatives. 

This is the bridge mistake

12. Deadlines and Expectations - When I first started, I never really told people when their images were going to be finished. I just thought to myself

"They will be done when they are done." 

Clients would then message repeatedly about when the images would be finished. It would stress me out and I would get upset. Then I changed, I started telling people that their images would be done within a week. If I was a day late I would get messages. Then I read somewhere that you should surprise people. As in, tell your clients 3 weeks and deliver in two, or 6-8 weeks and deliver in 5. Make your deadlines reasonable. Don't tell them that you will get them the images in 12-18 months. 

This leads to setting expectations. I believe there is no such thing as over communication. I use nearly every client touch point as a way to communicate expectations. That way there are no surprises. I have a whole blog post about this, read it HERE.

Heavy Mistakes

So I say heavy mistakes, because these take time. You learn things as you grow, but some of them are more about a bigger issue. 

13. Standing Your Ground - This one is hard, because we want to make people happy. But when a session is supposed to end. It needs to end (this is a personal brand choice as well, if you want to be relaxed about session times then go for it). 

Stand by your contract. This is in place to protect you, not to give your client a way around something. 

Be bold. This is your business, make it work for you. 

14. Photographer/Business Owner - Many of us start out because we enjoy taking photos. Then we fall into a business and learn things the hard way. When I started, I did not have all these Facebook groups to learn from, it was asking friends, and trial and error and more error. I have learned many business aspects due to mistakes. But I have also researched and read and educated myself on the business aspect of this career. 

If you want to do photography professionally, take time to learn the business aspect as well as deepening your knowledge about the world of photography. 

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15. Focusing on others

This one is the last one and it is in bold because it may be one of the hardest mistakes. I am guilty of it, and I am sure that many of you are as well. But with social media it seems that every other photographer is rolling in cash, shooting epic weddings in epic locations, getting featured, and all around not struggling at all. 

I read this blog the other day and it said "Do not compare your life to someone's highlight reel." 

Social media can portray anything. People can be sitting in their underwear posting an epic image and stating how awesome it is. 

So happy to be writing this next to an amazing view.

So happy to be writing this next to an amazing view.

I can do anything through social media. I can be anyone I want. I can "achieve" self-actualization. But this will support me about as much as a birthday balloon supports an elephant. 

When you compare yourself, you experience doubt, you experience failure that has not even happened yet, and you can let jealousy overrun your mind. 

I had one photographer friend state "I do not have any competitors because my clients hire me for me". 

Jealousy and self-doubt can kill your creativity. Don't worry about what other are doing, but rather look at what you can achieve. 

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Feel free to comment with other mistakes so that others may learn. 

 

If you are interested in advertising and marketing tips and Q&A sessions follow me on Instagram where I do AMA's (Ask me anythings) and live broadcasts about marketing and advertising. @newhopephotography

#metoo In the Wedding Industry

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This is a strange blog post to write. It falls outside of my normal subjects that I usually blog on, but I felt the need to write about this. During the past week the #metoo hashtag has taken over social media. I doubt you missed it. You may have participated, you may have been triggered, and relived painful memories. You may have gotten upset, or angry, or any number of emotions may have come alive within your soul. 

Within the photographer communities that I am a part of, people discussed and debated this. They shared their stories, in closed groups. Some of these stories happened on the job, others did not. But I felt that in a way they should be shared with the public. The stories told below have happened, most asked to only have their first name, some asked to be anonymous. But, for both men and women being a photographer (especially a wedding photographer) can put you in situations that plainly suck. 

If you are someone reading this that is not a photographer, but have been in a wedding, or are attending weddings, or are just a human, these things happen, they are real. I have heard these stories long before the #metoo came about. I will hear them after this post. 

These situations can happen to women and men, gay, straight, bi, transgender. If you witness something speak up, let people know. If you see it, say something. There are no innocent bystanders.

 You do not deserve any harassment.


Amanda 

"Okay, so I thought about this question a lot before I feel asleep, and in between the tossing and turning I did all night, and in the hours following waking up. The problem is that I have too many stories. And most of them I barely remember because it “wasn’t a big deal.” And maybe that’s flawed. Because it is a big deal, but most of us just take it, because what else are we to do? Especially if no laws are broken? I will give you just a few stories out of the many. People reading this may brush it off, think it’s not big deal, feel I’m being an overly sensitive girl, and just believe I need to get over it because it’s what we should expect being in the wedding industry. I tell myself that all the time. But after thinking about this for awhile now, I realize it’s not okay. Just because it happens does not mean it’s okay and should be deemed as normal.

I have been groped many times while walking through a drunken dancing crowd at a reception, holding my camera high above my head and firing off shots to get some fun dancing photos for the couple. Some may ask, “Well how do you know you were actually groped? You were walking through a crowd of people”. Oh, we know. We know the difference between being bumped and accidentally having your hands graze over us… typically those people will acknowledge it and say they’re sorry more than once. When you are groped, you feel the hand on your butt, your thigh, and sometimes even your breast. And they are pretty good at what they do. You both know what just happened, but you can’t really call it out because they do it subtly and they know it. 

The sexual comments, suggestive words , and innuendos are endless. Honestly most of the time I just ignore them because there’s not much else you can do. You want the day to stay as smooth as possible for the couple, and to call someone out and risk the person you’re calling out getting pissed off and not cooperating for anything further is something I never want to deal with. In my personal experiences, calling someone out who is isn’t scared to say nasty things to you never ends well. I have told numerous guys (typically groomsmen), at numerous weddings that I am married, and they still don’t back off, or they’ll say something along the lines of “well he’s not here right now is he?”. It get’s old real fast. I have heard so many comments about my ass from groomsmen who think I don’t hear them. But their whispering comments are usually not so quiet. 

One of my last weddings I was standing on the outside of a circle of people dancing at a reception. I was getting some shots, and suddenly I felt someone pressed against me. A male guest was literally dancing all up on my side. Grinding and rubbing on me with his hands high in the air. I didn’t know what to do. Cause a scene? Lash out at him? Draw attention? So I completely ignored it. I continued taking photos as if nothing was happening which I think made him feel stupid. He stopped after about 6 or so seconds, said he was sorry, then went into the crowd dancing.

Earlier this year there was a man probably in his 50’s who kept trying to flirt with me before, during, and after the ceremony, WHILE I was working and taking photos. I was ignoring him, trying to give him a hint. Then randomly during the reception, he walked up to me and covered my face with his whole hand. In front of everyone. Like put his open hand on my face, covering my eyes, nose, and mouth. He then took it off and said “haha I love you!” and walked away. What the hell. No one said anything. No one did anything. He walked over and sat with his wife and his wife was giving me the evil eye the rest of the night. The two specific events I just wrote out may not seem like a big deal. I downplay them to no end, constantly comparing them to other assaults I’ve been subjected to in my life - much more violating, much worse than what I just described. But the comparison is not okay. It downplays events that just aren’t right. 

So, how did these events make me feel? My first initial response would have been just to say it made me feel annoyed. And that would be it. But I took the time to really think about these things. To let myself acknowledge how it truly made me feel, without comparing to other life events. And the feelings it brought up are annoyance, anger, fear, violation, apprehension, confusion, and loneliness. And honestly, I am scared walking to my car after every wedding. It’s late, it’s dark, there are drunk guests, and if I am not groped, or assaulted in some way minor or not, I have been eyeballed by at LEAST one man all night, and have had men come on to me. And they’re usually intoxicated. And it’s not just men. There was one woman this last year who went too far with her flirting as well, and I got nervous and had to run out of the room she was in with me. It was just she and I, and she got too handsy. I am always on edge and looking around as I walk to my car. And I lock the doors as soon as I get in. No one should have to feel that way. No one ever said anything to these guys when a room full of people saw these things. Nobody ever talks the groomsmen down when they make sexual comments and gestures to me in front of the whole wedding party - male and female… no one says anything. So I don’t either. And it’s not okay. It is NOT okay.


 

Leanna

So it was a guest! We were in the middle of family formals, and this gentleman (a bridesmaid's dad) was winking at myself and my second shooter. When his family was finished, I dismissed them, and he stood there and said: "I want a photo with the two of you!" Of course, I said "No we are on a strict schedule!" and he got mad and huffed away. Later into the reception, he was dancing with his wife and maintaining really long eye contact with me. Every time I would glance over at him, he was already starring at me. When I looked at him, he would start aggressively groping his wife. I felt SO uncomfortable and embarrassed. I just tried to avoid him. Then later in the night, my second shooter and I were heading to the ladies room, and he stopped us and said "I just want to let you guys know you are both absolutely beautiful. You know that right?" Finally, I spoke up and told him he was being inappropriate and told him not to approach us again. He never did but my second shooter did tell me how uncomfortable she was with him the whole day. It made it difficult to shoot other candids at the reception because I could feel that he was watching me!


Sarah

It was a wedding guest and a member of the wedding party. I'm assuming his age at the time was in his mid to late 20s. I didn't realize he was flirting till midway shooting the groom prep by myself and at the time I was nervous and focused on the groom. I only realized he was flirting with me when he started calling me "pet names" like 'hey ms beautiful photographer take some photos of me' or 'what a hottie' and it was.. Embarrassing for me.

I would just smile a little or awkwardly laugh. I sped through the groom prep and returned to the bridal room to tell my manager what happened. At first, my manager was making jokes, but he got serious when I said it made me uncomfortable. After the ceremony, when we were riding the elevator with several of the bridal party, he kept close to me, and I looked down throughout the elevator ride. He just kept hovering during the shoot and kept calling me pet names and asked for my number twice till my manager called me to follow him to shoot the couple elsewhere. He didn't touch me till reception when it came to the dancing portion. He was tipsy, and I was getting pictures of people dancing when he saw me and grabbed my wrist to make me dance with him. Because he was a little buzzed, I pulled away and sped walk to my manager to tell him I was done with taking pictures (I was on the dance floor for one song, that's not enough) I told him that /he/ grabbed my wrist. So my manager took over to shoot the remaining, and I stayed with our photo booth technicians. My manager told the couple when they came by on Monday what I experienced, and they apologized for their friend's shit behavior. I was 19, and I felt discouraged... Only because I don't want this to ever happen again. So I started wearing long sleeves, size a little bigger to hide my breast and slacks. I tried all my best to look like a boy. I stopped wearing light makeup to wedding works and just did everything to look masculine. I still do the same up to now.


Kristin

I had an officiant harass me at a wedding but only after giving him my business card for networking purposes. He texted me non stop and sent me love emails. He was 75 and I was 23. At first he just said he liked my dress and that we matched. So it started off fairly normal and friendly. Then he asked three times for my business card, I was just busy and didn't think much of it. And then once he left and I was still working was when he kept texting me pictures and talking about his daughter, inviting me places. It made it hard because they were talking about what a great job he did and how they were so happy they found him and he was blowing up my pocket with uncomfortable and over the line things. It took me out of my work flow and put my mind in a space where I felt uncomfortable and unfocused


Anon (Female)

 Whenever I work a big wedding I am constantly getting hit on, Ill tell them thanks but i am working and also married! But they seem to just expect someone to hook up with them. On multiple occasions I have been sandwiched into people who started grinding on me. This makes it super uncomfortable. It made my job hard, I was constantly trying to avoid said person / persons and so I was missing shots because I was constantly trying to find a place they weren't.


Anon (Male)

I have had gay groomsmen grab my ass. That female photographer tell me to wear tighter clothes and go to the gym the day before etc.

At a wedding recently I had an older lady grab my ass in front of everyone, and they just laughed. "No. I don't want your 50yr old aunt grabbing my butt and saying how cute i am. Especially in a room of 200+ people."

Sexual harassment can be from any orientation/gender to another. Hashtags wont change it, actions will. And not just action from the victims either, but from any witness or person they trust to tell. Those people should have the moral obligation to do what they can in their power to help. If its just listening to someone after the fact, mentioning it to the culprit or interrupting it in progress.


These stories are unique, but at the same time. I have seen posts, I have heard the same type of story again and again. 

As wedding photographers, there can be times where we are in a room with a bunch or members of the opposite sex as they are drinking, getting changed, and encouraging each other. We have a job to do, but that does not mean that we need to subject ourselves to abuse or harassment in order to get the job done. 

What Can I Do?

Make sure that you have a harassment/safety clause within your contract. 

New Hope Photography reserves to right to terminate coverage and leave the location of the EVENT(S) if the photographer from New Hope Photography experiences inappropriate, threatening, hostile or offensive behavior from person(s) at the EVENT(S); or in the event that the safety of the photographer from New Hope Photography is in question. Prior to termination of coverage New Hope Photography will notify CLIENT of safety concern and offer them a reasonable opportunity to rectify said concern, avoiding termination.

If clients have questions about this I tell them that before I leave I will allow 2 chances to rectify the situation. I will first bring it up to the bride/groom/ family member. Secondly I will require that the person be removed. If this does not happen, I will leave.  

This does not mean that in the event that I leave, I will not have an upset couple. Or that they may not attempt to take me to court. But if you have documented the events, and made and effort to rectify the situation, then you have done what you can. 

Unfortunately, just because you work for yourself, does not mean that you may not experience harassment in some form or another. It is not right, but you can set yourself up for success. Speak up, let people know. If you see it, say something. There are no innocent bystanders. You do not deserve any harassment.

A hashtag will not change this. 

Posting on social media will not change this. 

But on the off chance that good people can stand up when they see something. If people listen and believe people when they hear stories. 

AND... if we stop asking questions of the victim, placing the blame on them and shift our mindset to the bigger issue of why people feel like they deserve to do what they want. 

Support people who have reported harassment. Let them know that you are with them.

Hold people accountable for their actions. 


There is a great article here. 

The Lawtog

and another here. 

7 Actions That Could Actually Help

Boulder, Colorado - Fall Engagement Session - Marissa & Ben

Marissa & Ben Boulder Colorado Engagement.jpg

The bell had just gone off and I had a lunch period after the class that I was subbing in, the voice on the other end spoke. 

"Hello, my name is Kathleen, you were referred to me by Mary who owns Metalmark Jewelry. My daughter just got engaged and I would love to talk to you about wedding photography."

Well, Ben and Marissa had just gotten engaged and were flying in to see Marissa's parents. Kathleen, Marissa's mother, was doing a whole bunch of ground work. Boy, was she efficient, she had already booked the venue and a few others and was on to the photographer. So, we talked for about 45 minutes and I relayed to her my style and how I operate during a wedding day. Most importantly I talked to her about how I work to create a stress-free experience for my couples. 

I was so excited when I received an email from Marissa and Kathleen saying that they wanted to book me. Kathleen loved how prepared I was, how I took the time to talk with her, and how I work to make the experience stress-free. 

Weddings are stressful enough, you don't need to have your photographer, the vendor that is with you all day to create a more stressful experience. After the boring paperwork part, we set up a time to shoot engagement photos, and that is where magic happened. 

The engagement session location was South Mesa Trailhead in South Boulder. I love this location because it is (usually) quiet and you get an amazing view of the Flatirons. On this particular day, there were probably about 10 other photo sessions happening here, so it is not a secret location by any means. But the colors and the light were killer. 

These two met while taking their dogs to the dog park, and hit it off. 

Their wedding will take place next year at the Vail Interfaith Chapel with the reception at The 10th Restaurant.  I cannot contain my excitement as this will be my first wedding in Vail since moving back home to Colorado. This is going to be epic.

 

You can see the video from this engagement session below. (All my couples sessions include video!)

 

{This session was shot with Nikon d750's and Sigma 24mm and 35mm Art Series Lenses) 

 

SMAL Wild Presets Review

SMAL WILD 01

SMAL WILD 01

Awhile back I had the opportunity to test some presets for a fellow photographer, Sven Malojlo. He spent a lot of time working and crafting something that was new and unique. Not only did he provide presets, but he also created adjustments and tones as well. I use his presets as a base for my food photography and have started using them as a base for some of my couples and engagement work. Fortunately/unfortunately these were just a preview so it is hard to give specific names and examples for others when they ask. So last week I purchased the SMAL Wild pack so that I could give it a shot. 

SMAL WILD 01

SMAL WILD 01

Here are my thoughts. 

I new from the preview pack that I would like these overall. Sven has taken the time to create some truly unique presets. His colors are different than many of the other packs that are floating around out there. 

I tested these on a previous shoot. I shot this one very dark, so I wanted to see how the WILD pack would work with my style. 

I really love how great these presets are on skin tones, they do not completely change someones color or texture by making them too light/dark or harsh/soft. 

SMAL WILD 01

SMAL WILD 01

One of my favorite parts about Sven's preset packs are the extras that you get with them, the Tones and Adjustments. You can really find that color look that you are looking for, and they work on both color and black & white photos. Below is a BW that I applied a tone. 

SMAL WILD BW 09  TONE 07

SMAL WILD BW 09  TONE 07

SMAL 01

SMAL 01

Here are a couple more SOOC with SMAL 01 applied. The image on the right the exposure was brought up, but that was the only adjustment. 

SUNNY

But what about sunny situations? how do these presets work with the bright daylight images? Well you are in luck! I have some examples of that as well. 

When I am looking at presets, I love seeing the before and after with no adjustments. Below are examples of several of the SMAL WILD presets with no adjustments.

SMAL 07

SMAL 07

SMAL 8

SMAL 8

SMAL 04

SMAL 04

SMAL Wild Original (1 of 1).jpg

Single Photo Comparison

Another thing that I like to see when I am looking at presets is an example of a single photo with all the presets applied. That way I can see the various ways that the light reacts to the images. 

Here is the SOOC and below is each SMAL WILD preset applied to this image. No adjustments were made. 

Starting top left to right 01-05, bottom left to right 06-10 & BW 09 - 10

Starting top left to right 01-05, bottom left to right 06-10 & BW 09 - 10

I am currently editing my most recent engagement shoot with this pack as well. I am really enjoying the balance of the highlights and shadows. 

Like I mentioned earlier I really like how well these presets react with skin tones. I would highly recommend these presets to anyone looking to enhance their workflow.

Remember presets should never be a one click solution, but rather a base to speed up the monotony of editing. 

If you are interested in purchasing these, check out his site, if you buy all three packs you get a rad discount. 

https://www.svenmalojlo.de/en/presets/