Wedding Photography

Destination wedding planning checklist

Now that you’ve booked your destination wedding, and have gotten acquainted with your  wedding consultant and photographer, it seems like you’ve got months, but the big day is right around the corner!

Eight to 10 months in advance

In order to manage expectations for this special event, you need to start by setting your wedding budget. Asses the amount you have set aside for the wedding (not including travel). And if there are members of your family who will be contributing, discuss their contributions with them well in advance.

Timing is everything, especially when you are planning a destination wedding. And if there are certain people that you specifically want to have in attendance, giving ample notice is not only necessary, but also proper etiquette. Check with key family and friends before you finalize your wedding date so that they have plenty of time to make suitable arrangements.

Check important items off the list before yoiu walk down the aisle

Start seeking inspiration from stylebooks and galleries on blogs, wedding websites, and planning portals, which will help shape your wedding style preferences. Online boards like Pinterest are great tools to assist you in the initial stages of destination wedding planning. Some wedding planning sites give you the opportunity to create your own custom boards, helping you collect ideas on colour palettes, seating charts, decorations, dresses, bridal party attire etc.

Select your attendants, both female and male. Start thinking about their attire and communicate your expectations before-hand. Once you’ve spoken to your bridal party, it’s time to focus on you, you and only you! Choosing the wedding dress that suits your body type, the occasion, the destination and your style is one of the most important parts of your wedding planning process. Go dress shopping immediately! Make appointments at local wedding dress shops or start perusing online bridal stores to get ideas of what shapes and styles make you all giddy with excitement. Then, once you’ve said, “Yes” to the dress, look at purchasing or renting your groom’s attire.

Decide what you are going to do with printed materials, from invitations to save-the-date cards, menus to programs, and whatever other collateral you’d like to make part of your special day.

Make sure you and your hubby-to-be have valid travel documents and meet all legal requirements to leave the country.  If you are having a religious wedding, book your officiant now, and make sure all legal documents are ready and valid (passports, religious requirements, etc.) for this specific type of ceremony.

Photos hold the most precious memories of your big day. That is why your photographer is your most prized vendor. Book your photographer and confirm that your wedding location will allow outside vendors.

 Choose the right Photographer for your Big Day months in advance

Choose a wedding location, including a venue for your ceremony, cocktail and wedding reception. Once this is complete, you can start getting a better idea of how your celebration will look and feel in these spaces.

To ensure that you are a blushing bride, create a health and beauty schedule for yourself (gym, facials, hair cuts, etc.) so you’re in good shape – all around – for the big day.

Your wedding consultant will host a personalized, interactive wedding website for you, so it is time to start working on the site, by including all the things you’d like to share with your guests leading up to your wedding day.

The fun begins when they give you the bar code gun at your favourite department store or boutique shop. Register for gifts and add these details to your wedding website.

Your wedding bands are a symbol of your commitment to one another. Choose rings that will reflect your personalities, but that will also have longevity in terms of style and durability.

Finally, about eight to 10 months in advance of your special day, you will want to send out Save the Date cards to give guests plenty of time to make travel arrangements. There are great deals available when travelling in large numbers, make sure to ask questions about group travel during the planning process.

Four to seven months in advance

Get the whole gang together for your Big Day

Here comes the fun stuff! This is the time to choose your flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, chuppah, flower petals, centrepieces, etc.). Music will make or break your event, so it’s important to book your musicians (soloists, bands, DJ, etc.) to ensure that the soundtrack to your special day suits your vision. Just a friendly reminder that at this point in the planning phase, you will need to have finalized your photographer and videographer (if you haven’t already). When it comes to the look and feel of your event, this is the time to decide on, and confirm, the colour scheme and theme that will make your celebration unique.

Food will be a very important part of your day, and something that will take careful consideration, especially since you’ll want to consider the various food preferences and allowances of your guests. This is the time to narrow down menu selections for the reception, cocktail reception, etc. This is also a good time to determine your bar selections for all events. Will you be asking the venue to prepare a signature drink for your special day, or offering special shots to commemorate your nuptials, all these need to be considered and communicated at this time.

Selecting your wedding cake, including flavours, style, icing and decor, is next on the list. Also, if you are electing to have a cake topper, this is the time to search for it.

At this point, you’ll want to make sure all invitations (including programs and escort cards) are in the works.

Two to three months in advance

Find the perfect flower bouquet

Shop for footwear (keeping in mind all events and baggage allowance), and also shop for your “outfits” for the wedding weekend, including the rehearsal dinner, good swimwear (keep in mind tan lines for your dress), and any other necessities.

This is the time to finalize flower selections, dinner and drink menus.

When it comes to photography, since your day will be a whirlwind for you and your groom, it’s helpful to create a shot list you would like the photographer and videographer to capture, since these vendors might not know if you want lots of photos with your bridal party, or a special portrait of you with Grandma J. Regardless, it’s good to communicate what memories you’d like them to focus on – after all, this is your day, and you want to create valuable memories you can cherish on your 10th, 25th and 50th (even 70th) wedding anniversary!

Confirm the officiant, and make sure you have all documentation ready if you are having a religious ceremony.

If your hotel or restaurant requires that you let them know about any special meal requests, send out dinner selection inquiries to your guests.

Update your website with any newly planned events, like the rehearsal dinner, welcome cocktail, after party or post-wedding brunch.

Voila! The time has come to send out your invitations.

Capture the most special moments with a shot list

It’s almost go-time! Put together a wedding itinerary for your guests. This is a nice touch for out-of-town guests (which is pretty much, all of them) to receive, since it keep everyone moving in the right direction of the big day.

Compile a music playlist of some favourites, if you have hired a DJ or are setting up an iPod set list, here’s your chance to pay tribute to your past, present and future with some great, and meaningful, tunes. If you’re hiring live musicians, start selecting songs, as well, or send them sheet music now to learn.

Source and order all wedding favors and bridal party attendant gifts.

Finally, you want to have some fun while you’re in an exciting new destination with your loved ones. So what better way to thank your guests for joining you in paradise, than by arranging a fun-filled tour or excursion for the group before or after the wedding?!

In the end, all the planning and organizing will result in an event that will be etched in your memory forever. Make it count, and most importantly, make it fun!

The Art of Wedding Photography

Your wedding day is approaching and you strive to find the best wedding photographer available who can capture your special occasion with images that are not just photo snaps – they are photographic art!

When most people think of wedding photography, normally don’t think of fine art or artistic photography. Why is that? And why is the bride not getting the finished product she visualized in her head while searching out the “right” photographer?

In order to be able to answer these questions, we need to take a look at the photos and ideas our modern day bride-to-be is looking at and how she found them.

manda and Kain - Roatan Wedding Photography

The look of the bride is probably the most important part of capturing the best photographs for a wedding, getting a good fitting dress, having the right hairdo and make-up that make you look gorgeous, but artistic photography of the entire event, to include others in the wedding ceremony and the ceremony itself is vital.

Brides-to-be search through bridal magazines in the grocery store line, seeking out wedding photographer blogs, and go Google, Google, Google!!! What do these three sources have in common? They are bringing you the best of the best. These sources weed out the good from the fabulous. Wedding magazines are showing you the most amazing images of the most beautiful brides in the most perfect locations taken by the best photographers in the world. The wedding blog sites and Google images that the bride-to-be sees are posted by high-paid photographers who have a lot of money to drop on front-page Google advertising.

Advertising in Google ain’t cheap!

In each case, the common denominator is “cost.” So does that mean beautiful artistic weddings equal big money? Well, it doesn’t always mean you need to spend your life savings on your photographer, but it definitely does mean you can’t hire your cousin or student photographer and expect the same results. If a wedding photographer is charging you $500 for his services, you cannot possibly expect a $3,000 final product. I hate to use that time old, worn out saying, but, “you get what you pay for.”

So we know price has a definite effect on whether or not the bride-to-be will receive the dream wedding photography she is hoping for. But wait, there’s more! It’s not price alone. It’s very possible to pay big money for a wedding photographer and still not get what you discussed at the consultation that went so well.

Let’s go back and take another look at those wedding magazines…

The bride-to-be spends hours -and in many cases her whole life- daydreaming, page by page, through those 3-pound wedding magazines, deciding which of those fabulous brides she is going to look like; which hair style model she is going to detach, take to the salon, and make her own; and where she is going to find a makeup artist that can make her look like the bride on page 98? How and where will she find a dress close to the look of the $12,000 dress in the photo in the $1,200 price range.

Hhhhmmmm…..get the picture yet? (no pun intended)

All these things matter and are very important for that final look, but the bride-to-be is missing one key factor.

*The magazine photographer and the 19-year-old girl modeling as the magazine bride.

Yes, modeling “as” the bride. Those are not brides in the magazines, they are models. The photographer who took those images is not a wedding photographer, he/she is a fashion photographer… and yes, there is a huge difference.

So what now?

Do you just accept the fact that you’re not a professional model, go find the best wedding photographer you can, and hope for the best?

Of course not. As the bride-to-be, you just need to do your research and find the “right” photographer.

I actually didn’t start out in “wedding photography”. I went to school for TV production and then eventually fell in love with photography. I shot fashion/modeling photography for years, before and while I was a wedding photographer.

Part of doing your homework is finding out the photographer’s background. What are their photographic roots, and are they still working creatively in other realms?

It’s very important for me and my team to strive and step out of the cookie cutter wedding photography world and pursue fine art and artistic image styles so that we are able to bring those over to the weddings we shoot.

Like any well developed fashion photographer, I have the ability to direct a model. I am also able to pose my bride-to-be like the perfect little model in those matte finish magazines.

Professional models are taught to pose on their own and take direction from the photographer. I shoot my weddings in much the same way. I stay away from stiff wedding-like poses. I have also directed a few zero experience models, so directing a bride-to-be, with no modeling experience, is not a problem. I also strive to get natural, relaxed poses from the bride and groom following the ceremony, those in the wedding, and the entire wedding event.

The last thing we need to talk about is the darkroom.

Twenty-five years ago, we didn’t even know what digital cameras were. Everything was film and darkrooms. The photographer carried around about 15-20 rolls of film and spent days in the dark room developing his/her work, or sending it out to an expensive processing lab to do that for him. The photographer had to really know his/her stuff or throw away hundreds of dollars on film trying to get the perfect shot, or spend many hours in the darkroom trying to fix it.

Nowadays we have digital cameras, and Photoshop has become the moder photographer’s darkroom. I have and still shoot film on my own time. I have taken these principles and applied them to wedding photography. I have developed my photographic skills in order to get the perfect shots without taking hundreds of very time consuming shots. I also educated myself in the “digital darkroom”, which is now known as Adobe Photoshop. I never – let me say this again – I NEVER let a photo leave my hard drive without being edited. That way I can give my bride and groom 100-200 amazing fully edited photographs they will love and will be able to print or share in their social networks – not 1500 snaps with multiples of the same pose or Uncle Henry with his eyes closed or the ring-bearer digging into his ear.

It’s true, less is more. Quality of images is always better than quantity. Be hesitant to hire a photographer that offers you thousands of photos. Really, who of your friends and family is ever going to look through 2000 images?

I realize very few wedding photographers do this and I’m sure a few of them may get upset at me for giving the bride and groom this revealing information, but it’s important for the final product.

So, what constitute artistic wedding photography?

  1. Posing and shooting the bride-to-be as a model.
  2. Capturing the best artistic shots of those in the wedding, those attending the wedding, and the events that follow.
  3. Hiring well-rounded, artistic, multifaceted, and hopefully fashion driven photographers who just happen to be wedding photographers as well.
  4. Paying the equivalent of what you are expecting.

Most important, have fun with the search! Use your gut and this bit of info, and you will know when you have found the “right” photographer.

Now it’s up to you to allow me to create those fabulous images in your behalf. Will you?

You want to know more about my work? Visit my PORTFOLIO. If you like what you see, give my page a G+ 1, a LIKE on Facebook and send this Link via Twitter to all your friends using the buttons below.

engagement photos

Why should you take engagement photos?

There are many reasons it is important to take engagement photos once you have become engaged.  An engagement session with your photographer is without a doubt one of the greatest services you and your fiancé can take advantage of prior to your wedding. As a couple who likely has never been photographed professionally before, the engagement session is a valuable tool every couple should utilize or insist upon.  Some couples may feel it’s a waste of time or is not necessary, however there are many valuable reasons why you will benefit from utilizing this opportunity.

First make sure you choose your wedding photographer, once you have done so, go get your engagement pictures taken right away. The closer you get to your wedding the less time you find you have to accomplish all that needs to get done. Make sure if possible to use the photographer who will be photographing your wedding. This is the first and probably the most important reason to get your engagement pictures taken.

engagement photos

Establishing a relationship with your photographer long before your wedding will make a difference in the outcome of your wedding images.

I spend about an hour or two with my couples watching them, listening to them, having fun with them, getting to know them, and photographing them all at the same time.

I take note of how they interact with each other, their individual personalities, and even their quirks. These mental notes, along with many other conches and subliminal thoughts help me to capture and photograph images on the wedding day that are unique to that couple.

Have your engagement photos taken at a location that is important or that has some meaning to the two of you. This could be a place you got engaged or a first date, it could be at a place you both like to spend time, or something you like to do together such as a shared interest. Here are some locations where my clients have taken me. To their hometowns, the college where they met, a favorite restaurant or bar, a museum, the zoo, a movie theater, or as simple as the home where they live.

The other benefit is you get to know your photographer and see how he or she works and you will get to see images of yourselves long before the wedding.

The advantage of this is that you can let your photographer know ahead of time if there are shots or angles you do not care for, also you can let your photographer know the things that you do like, communication is key.

Another thing you might want to think of doing is having your hair and makeup test done on the same day as your engagement session. This way you get to see how your hair and make look in photos and you can let your hail and makeup people know if there is anything you would like to change.

I can promise you once you see your engagement images and you are excited about them, you will have more confidence in yourselves and in your photographer. On the wedding day you will look forward to having your picture taken, instead of dreading the thought of having a camera pointed at you all day.

Are you getting married soon? Let me save your most important day memories and take gorgeous images of your wedding. Contact me HERE:

Amanda and Kain – Roatan Wedding Photography

Amanda and Kain – Roatan Wedding Photography

Amanda and Kain came to Roatan on a cruise ship to have their destination wedding on the beach of Palmetto Bay Resort. Here are a few photos from their special day.

no images were found

Amanda and Kain – Roatan Wedding Photography

Cristina and Gilberto – Roatan Wedding Photography

Congratulations to Cristina and Gilberto who enjoyed their wedding on the beach of Palmetto Bay Resort.
See wedding photos below:

wedding photography

List of Wedding Day Photos

When it comes to planning your big day, one thing most photographers will always tell you is, “Make a list!” Providing your photographer ahead of time with a Wedding Day Photos list of essential images you would like to capture for your big day will help streamline the process and allow them to get a better idea of your creative vision
wedding photography

Here’s a big list of photographs that your photographer can take at your wedding. We hope it offers you an easy to follow guideline and give you a great jumping off point for how to get the most out of your wedding day photography.

You can just print out the page, check off the pictures that you want and then give the list to your photographer. Also, be sure to highlight any particular pictures that you absolutely don’t want your photographer to miss!

Hint: Full length pictures capture all the beauty and magnificence of the wedding dress, wedding attire and beautiful scenery or backdrops. Close-up or half-length (above the waist) photographs better capture facial expressions and reveal more emotion.

The Bride

* ____ Bride dressing for wedding
* ____ Mother helping bride put on veil
* ____ Bride looking in mirror
* ____ Bride putting on garter
* ____ Bride-Full Length
* ____ Bride-Half Length
* ____ Bride-Close Up
* ____ Bride with mother-Full Length
* ____ Bride with mother-Close Up
* ____ Bride with father-Full Length
* ____ Bride with father-Close Up
* ____ Bride pinning on father’s boutonniere
* ____ Bride with Both Parents-Full Length
* ____ Bride with Parents-Close Up
* ____ Bride with Grandparents-Full Length
* ____ Bride with Grandparents-Close Up
* ____ Bride with sisters-Full Length
* ____ Bride with sisters-Close Up
* ____ Bride with brothers-Full Length
* ____ Bride with brothers-Close Up
* ____ Bride with immediate family
* ____ Bride with Maid of Honor-Full Length
* ____ Bride with Maid of Honor-Close Up
* ____ Bride with her attendants-Full Length
* ____ Bride with her attendants-Close Up
* ____ Bride & flower girl/ring bearer
* ____ Father helping bride out of limo

The Groom

* ____ Groom-Full Length
* ____ Groom-Half Length
* ____ Groom-Close Up
* ____ Groom putting on bow tie
* ____ Groom with mother-Full Length
* ____ Groom with mother-Close Up
* ____ Groom with father-Full Length
* ____ Groom with father-Close Up
* ____ Groom with Parents-Full Length
* ____ Groom with Parents-Close Up
* ____ Groom with Grandparents-Full Length
* ____ Groom with Grandparents-Close Up
* ____ Groom with sisters-Full Length
* ____ Groom with sisters-Close Up
* ____ Groom with brothers-Full Length
* ____ Groom with brothers-Close Up
* ____ Groom with Immediate Family
* ____ Groom & Best Man-Full Length
* ____ Groom with Best Man-Close Up
* ____ Groom & Best Man shaking hands
* ____ Groom & Groomsmen-Full Length
* ____ Groom & groomsmen-Close Up


* ____ Grandparents being seated
* ____ Groom’s parents being seated
* ____ Bride’s parents being seated
* ____ Flower girl walking down aisle
* ____ Ring Bearer walking down aisle
* ____ Bridesmaids walking down aisle
* ____ Maid of Honor walking down aisle
* ____ Father walking Bride down aisle
* ____ Father giving bride away
* ____ Bride & Groom at altar
* ____ Bride & Groom exchanging vows
* ____ Bride & Groom exchanging rings
* ____ Bride & Groom lighting candle
* ____ Bride & Groom-the kiss
* ____ Bride & Groom walking down aisle
* ____ Pictures of receiving line
* ____ Bride & Groom exiting church
* ____ Bride & Groom getting into limo
* ____ Bride & Groom’s first toast in limo

Formal Pictures

* ____ Bride & Groom Kissing
* ____ Bride & Groom-Full Length
* ____ Bride & Groom-Half Length
* ____ Bride & Groom-Close Up
* ____ Bride & Groom “gazing” at each other
* ____ Bride & Groom looking out window
* ____ Bride & Groom holding hands
* ____ Close-up of rings
* ____ Bride & Groom with Bride’s parents
* ____ Bride & Groom with Groom’s parents
* ____ Bride & Groom w/Bride’s extended family
* ____ Bride & Groom w/Groom’s extended family


* ____ Parents being announced
* ____ Wedding Party being announced
* ____ Bride & Groom being announced
* ____ Bride & Groom’s first dance
* ____ Wedding party dancing
* ____ Bride’s dance with father
* ____ Groom’s dance with mother
* ____ Best Man toasting Bride & Groom
* ____ Bride & Groom with Champagne glasses
* ____ Bride & Groom’s kiss after the toast
* ____ Wedding Cake
* ____ Bride & Groom cutting cake
* ____ Bride feeding Groom
* ____ Groom feeding Bride
* ____ Kiss after cutting cake
* ____ Bride tossing bouquet
* ____ Groom taking off garter
* ____ Guests dancing
* ____ Bride & Groom’s last dance


* ____ Close up of invitation
* ____ Bride or Groom with special friends
* ____ Bride or Groom with special relatives
* ____ Picture of band or DJ

Guests the photographer shouldn’t miss: (provide your photographer with a seating chart so that he can easily identify them)

wedding photography packages

How to choose your wedding photographer

Wedding pictures are a cherished keepsake, passed down through generations, and the only commemoration of the thousands of hours and dollars spent to plan one of the most important days of your life. Other than the choice of a spouse, the choice of the wedding photographer is the most important wedding-related decision you will make, and is not to be taken lightly. Following these steps can help you select the best photographer to record your Big Day:

Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you prefer lots of candid shots in which the subject may not even know he or she is being photographed? Do you like the glamour approach of fashion photography? Would you prefer a photographer who combines all of these styles (a freestyle or eclectic wedding photographer)?

  • Determine your Budget.

Photographer fees, prints, albums, etc. generally come to approximately 12% of the entire wedding budget. This will allow you to quickly discard candidates which you cannot afford.

  • Look for a Plan Within Your Budget

It is absolutely frustrating to fall in love with a photographer’s portfolio and then find out her base package has several more zeros involved than what you can afford. When you start looking for a wedding photographer, look at the prices right away. If you find that you are having trouble locating any photographers within your price range you may need to consider a reevaluation of your budget allocations or consider wedding photography alternatives.

  • Review the Portfolio

The Internet has made this step so much easier. Review the portfolios of photographers within your budget and narrow down your choices further based on styles you like. Remember that the portfolio the photographer shows you is the best case scenario. Not all of your images (or even any) will turn out exactly like the images in the portfolio.

  • Check the BBB

Before you even talk to the photographer, check with the Better Business Bureau. A single complaint is not a reason to eliminate the photographer but a string of similar complaints would be a red flag. Look at time in business, number of complaints, types of complaints, and resolutions.

  • Meet the Photographer

Now it is time to meet the photographer in person. Set up an interview meeting to see more portfolio images, review package options, and get references of previous couples that you can talk to about the photographer. Our Weddings Guide, Nina Callaway, has a good list of questions you can ask the photographer during this interview. I would also suggest asking if the photographer has shot at your location before. You’ll also want to make sure the photographer is actually available on your wedding date. Remember that you are interviewing the photographer. If the photographer makes you uncomfortable in any way, he probably isn’t a good fit for your wedding.

  • Compare Contracts

After you have met several wedding photographers checked all the references you’ll want to review the contracts. Some photographers have much more lenient cancellation policies than others. Also, deposits and usage rights vary.

  • Finalization Meeting

By this time you hopefully have your choices narrowed down to a preferred wedding photographer and one or two alternates. Now is the time for a meeting to finalize details and sign contracts with your preferred photographer. Remember that if something feels wrong it likely is wrong. If your instincts are telling you a particular choice is a bad idea, listen to those instincts. Even if nothing is actually wrong, your worries will interfere with your happiness on your big day.

Following these simple steps will ensure you hire the photographer to meet your needs and receive a wedding album to treasure for years to come. Please do your research well so your special day isn’t ruined by someone that is not up to the challenge.

If you know everything you need to know and are ready to book your date with Camera Loves Me Photography, follow the link here.



Looking skinny in pictures 7 tips

Maybe not you’re necessarily unhappy with your body, but if you’re going to be showing a picture to the world on Facebook or Twitter or what have you, surely you want to look your best.
Here we’ll tell you how to pose, how to find your best angles, and all the things they try to teach you on America’s Next Top Model. You will not become Tyra Banks, but if you’re concerned about looking good, then I’ve got some excellent tips to look skinny in pictures you may be able to use!


1. Get the Camera above You
A lot of tips to look skinny in pictures are actually subtle little tricks that any pro photographer knows how to use. One such trick is to make sure that the camera above you. You don’t have to place it incredibly high; you can just hold it above your head or place it on a shelf that’s taller than you. Because of the angle, you’ll need to look up, which elongates your neck and makes you look wonderfully slim.

2. Watch Your Head
The position of your head actually makes a huge difference about how you look in a picture. You shouldn’t pull your head back at an angle, for instance. That can make your chin look longer, so even if you’re thin, your face will look much bigger. Instead, position your head forward; even if you have a double chin, that will minimize it and create the illusion of slimness.

3. Twist It
Positioning your body correctly is another great tip to look skinny in pictures. You don’t want to face the camera full on, because no matter what, that’s going to make you look larger. Keep your spine straight and your shoulders squared, and twist yourself away from the lens. You can instead turn halfway to the side, put one foot in front of your other one, and keep that toe pointing toward the camera, while your weight rests on your other foot.

4. Suck It In
This kind of goes without saying, except you’ve got to be careful about it. It’s important, again, to have terrific posture when you do this, with your back and shoulders straight. You only want to suck in your stomach a little – don’t do it so much that your ribs are visible. That makes it incredibly obvious to any viewer that you’re sucking in to look skinnier.

5. At Arms
The way you position your arms is vital if you want to look slim in a photo. You can either hold them out from your sides just a little, so that your upper arms don’t flatten, thereby looking wider, or you can turn three quarters away from the camera and put your hand on your hip. Not only will you look fierce, you’ll look skinny, too!

6. Wear Dark Clothing
Not every tip to look skinny in pictures involves the positioning of your body, though. How you dress makes a huge difference, as well. If you wear darker clothes, they will instantly slim you down. Black is always the new black for a reason, and besides that, the resulting picture will look wonderfully dramatic. Remember, the type of clothing you wear matters too – anything too large will make it look like you’re trying to hide something, while tight-fitting clothes will show bulges that aren’t even there.

7. Choose the Right ‘Do
The hairstyle you have can make you look thinner – or not – as well. If you know you’re going to be having pictures taken, try to avoid anything too sleek, like a ponytail pulled all the way back. Having tendrils of hair around your face creates a softness, taking away from any harsh angles that could make your head, neck, and shoulders look larger or wider than they are.

I really hope that my tips to look skinny in pictures have given you some great ideas. Bear in mind, you should love your body no matter what its shape or size. However, if you feel self conscious in front of the camera, there are some things you can do. Do you have any other tips on how to make yourself look stellar in a photo?


westgate photography

Bargain hunters beware! Great wedding photography will be pricey

Many times wedding couples complain why wedding photography is pricey.  Most of them don’t realize there is an art to taking good professional photographs, not just pointing and shooting and that skill doesn’t come cheap.

Cheaper availability of gear and a lack of a real regulatory system for the photography industry, creates many so-called “professional photographers” that don’t even know the very basics of the trade like USING THE CAMERA (Duh!).

Wedding Photography bargain hunters risk losing the memories of their most special day while commending this task to uncle John or -worse- these weekend photographers. This is exactly what happened to a very unfortunate british couple.westgate photography


Personally and professionally, I’m stunned this could happen, but then, both parts are to blame here. First, the so-called “photographers” for not having a quality standard to at least learn the basics and a minimum of ethics daring to charge for their lousy images. Second, the clients, for not doing more research on the vendors past work and allotting a more reasonable budget for photography.

In other specialties you can see these bad apples too. At this moment I’m finishing  a video about the bad Real Estate photography you see daily in the MLS. (Post will come soon)

So, bargain hunters, beware! Always check out your vendors web page and portfolio. Check prices and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it surely is!

wedding photography

In Wedding Photography, you get what you pay for

Why is wedding photography so expensive? More than a few people have asked that question over the years. To the average consumer, it seems a common sense thing to ask. All they’re doing is taking pictures. What about that is worth $2000 or more?

wedding photography
Let’s begin this article with a reality check. People spend hundreds of dollars for a limo that they’ll have for four hours. They spend $5000 on a reception hall with $30 a piece plated dinners. A bride will spend $1000 or more on a dress she’s only going to wear once. The couple will spend $500 on a single bouquet of flowers, and in some cases over $1000 on the decorative flowers for the wedding, all of which will be gone by the next morning. The groom will rent a tuxedo that costs $200-$300, and it has to be returned promptly the following day. But when it comes to the photographer, who is going to produce and prepare the only lasting memento of their event, he or she is out of their mind to ask more than $500.

I’ve read many articles discussing ways to cut costs with your wedding photography, and most of them, unfortunately, are very bad advice.

1) Price Shop – While it can be generally agreed that shopping around for the best price is a good idea, be sure you are shopping within comparable areas of the market. A photographer who costs $3000 versus a photographer who costs $500 is comparing apples to lemons. If you want to compare $500 versus $600 or $450, then you are shopping comparable services. Likewise, you are shopping comparable services if you are comparing $3000 versus $2800 or $3200. If you think you are getting a deal by going with the $500 photographer to save yourself money over the $3000 photographer, you aren’t.

2) Put Cameras on the Tables – This is by far the worst idea I’ve ever seen, and I speak from many weddings worth of experience. In the first place, you aren’t saving as much money as you think. Disposable cameras cost roughly $6 each, and it runs you, per roll, about $7 to develope the film and get prints. If you put out twenty cameras, you are talking about an approximate expense of $260. And you know what you are going to get for your $260? You are going to get pictures of walls and floors. You are going to get pictures of people taking pictures of people who are taking pictures. You are going to get pictures of Aunt Pat’s behind. And that’s provided you get pictures at all. Sometimes the cameras just sit there unused, and I’ve personally witnessed a wedding where someone was banging the camera on the table, saying, “look, you can make the flash go off.” Other guests immediately began doing the same thing so they could all get a giggle. In the end, you’ll walk away with about twenty pictures that are worthwhile, which amounts to about $13 an image. Not a good investment at all.

3) Find Someone Cheap – I know that you’re trying to save money, but hiring someone cheap is a very bad idea. It is my experience that photographers who work cheap aren’t typically photographers at all. The fact is, anyone can take a picture, but not everyone who can take a picture is a photographer. With the explosion of digital technology, it seems that anyone who buys a nice camera and snaps a few lucky shots suddenly considers themselves a photographer. And since they’re so good three months out of the gate, maybe they should do some weddings.
If you go this route, you can expect them to show up with a consumer level camera and a kit lens. While there are exceptions to every rule, this generally tends to be the case. And my condolences to you if you’re having a wedding in a low light environment with an amateur using a kit lens. There will be ghosting and motion blur in every last one of your orange pictures.

4) Have a Friend or Relative Do It – Refer to item 3. Whether you are hiring someone or getting a favor from a friend or relative, the fact is, either they are a photographer or they are not a photographer. If they don’t have the equipment and know how to use it to accomplish the best possible results in any given environment, your pictures, if you’re lucky, will be mediocre at best. Do you know what aperture to use if you are photographing a couple with the sun behind them? If you don’t know, chances are good that the friend, relative, or amateur isn’t going to know either. A professional will.

5) Get the Negatives/Raw Files to Make Your Own Album – First of all, no professional photographer worth his salt is going to give you the negative or Raw files. You might get processed jpegs, maybe even in high resolution, but you aren’t going to get the Raw files. Secondly, professional photographers aren’t providing you with scrapbook junk albums with the peel-back, static-plastic pages. The albums are generally matted or flush mount. You have to have a retail license to get those at anywhere close to a reasonable cost. So this is another instance of comparing apples to oranges. If you can get the files, and if you make your own album, it will pale beside what the photographer would have given you, both in quality and artistry. And that’s assuming you can even open the Raw files, which requires particular software, in some cases proprietary.

What the people who try to help you save a buck neglect to realize is that there is a reason professional photography is so expensive. They’ll tell you to ask, for example, if you can have the Raw files, when what you should be asking is, “do you have liability insurance?”. They tell you to ask to see additional samples, when what you really need to see is a finished album that demonstrates their competence in photographing a wedding from start to finish. Any Joe can nail a good shot, but can he nail two or three hundred of them to make a nice album?
Some other questions that are truly worth asking:

1) Are you shooting medium format, full frame 35mm, or APS? – Medium format will give you images from 28-64 megapixels. Full frame 35mm will give you images from 21-25 megapixels. APS is a consumer level camera in the 10-12 megapixel range, and you shouldn’t pay a premium price if that’s what they’re using.

2) Are you accredited with the Better Business Bureau? – If they’re not, what recourse do you have if your photographer gives you terrible service or products? If they are, you can at least check their profile at the BBB website.

3) Do you have a business license? – Why in the world would you pay anyone for a service who isn’t legitimate? That’s very risky.

4) Are you insured? – What happens if they drop dead of a heart attack in the middle of your wedding? What happens if they fall in a fountain and ruin not only their camera gear, but all the pictures they took up to that point, as in this video Liability insurance is a must.

5) Do you have backup equipment? – If they drop the only lens they have and damage it, what then? I guess they won’t be taking any more pictures. Insurance is a non-issue. It can take care of their equipment after the fact, but it does nothing for them at the time of when they still have the rest of the wedding to shoot.

6) Are you going to use fresh flash cards? – While flash cards are generally reliable and have a very long, usable life, they will eventually go bad.

To illustrate the point, I’ll talk about a certain wedding on August 28th. Everything went smoothly. Bride and groom were very happy with their pictures. The following month, her cousin got married at the same place. The amateur photographer photographed the entire wedding on a single, used flash card. The card went bad. The entire wedding was lost. She (the photographer) was not legitimate. She was not insured. The cousin lost everything with no recourse.
Was it worth the alleged savings?

But moving on to more important things, clearly a professional is a wiser choice. But the question that remains is, why does it cost so much?

1) A professional will show up at your wedding with $16000-$20000 worth of professional equipment, with back-ups of everything. That equipment costs a lot of money, and it needs to be maintained, repaired, and occassionally replaced.

2) A professional will have insurance that can cost as much as $800 a year.

3) A professional deserves a professional wage.

4) Prints, paper, ink, and other supplies and cost of goods cost money.

5) A professional is educated in his or her trade.

6) A professional can show you samples that will give you peace of mind and confidence.

7) A professional is experienced and knows what to do in a given situation to get the shot.

Ultimately, you can hire a $500 amateur and take your chances. They will show up with a 12 megapixel camera, a used flash card, a kit lens with a maximum aperture of F/4, and if you’re lucky, they’ll have a shoe-mount flash unit. If something goes wrong, I hate it for ya. If they mess up and miss all your important shots, I hate it for ya. When your inside pictures are all underexposed, or have motion blur because their lens is inadequate, I hate it for ya. When you and your intended are silouettes against a white sky because they didn’t know how to light and expose for a backlit situation . . . I hate it for ya!  The internet is loaded with woe-is-me tales from disappointed brides who got messed up pictures, haven’t gotten their pictures at all, etc. In the end, you will get what you pay for.

If you hire a professional, it will cost you a good bit more. But they’ll show up with a professional camera that will give you high resolution images. They’ll have new flash cards, professional series lenses with F/2.8 apertures that can handle low light situations, and a shoe-mount flash. They’ll also have backups of everything in case something happens. They’ll have liability insurance in case something drastic happens. They’ll get all the important shots. Your pictures, inside or outside, will be properly exposed, sharp, crisp, and without motion blur. When you’re back lit against the sun, they’ll have lights to compensate, and know how to meter the ambient light to get a clean exposure between the foreground and the background.

The choice is yours. How do you want to spend your money? Invest in something you will love and enjoy for the rest of your lives together without regrets & always remember, “You get what you pay for.”