10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Wedding Photographer

July 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Bride Looking At MirrorReflections of LoveNervous Bride just before ceremony. We capture special moments throughout your wedding day.

 

Some moments are simply too important to trust to a camera phone or even an amateur with a fancy camera. Your wedding will be one of the most memorable times of your life and no one can capture it better than a professional photographer. So how do you find the right one? As you begin the interview process, here are ten questions to help you determine if you’ve found the best photographer for your wedding. Info provided from ppa.com. Our personal answers are either included in bold italics or with a link to another page.

1. Does the photographer have a gallery of wedding images you can review? (See our Wedding Gallery, the Slide Show on our Wedding Home Page and Sample Albums Page)

Reviewing sample work allows you to see the photographer’s strengths and weaknesses – don’t fool yourself, every photographer has them. You’ll also be able to get an idea of their style. Are they formal with an eye for the perfect picture or do they love to capture the hidden moments when no one is looking? Look for images that you can see yourself in. Think of three words that describe you and share those with your photographer. Every photographer has a style and reviewing their gallery can help you determine if theirs is right for you.

2. What is the photographer’s working style? (See our Photo Style Page)

Some photographers are orderly and operate like wedding planners. Others prefer to sit back and let the events of the wedding unfold. It’s important that you find someone who can understand and meet your expectations. Discuss this ahead of time and ask away, so that you understand how well the photographer’s working style matches your own.

3. Is the photographer available for an engagement session? 

An engagement session does more than provide you with priceless images together before you get married. It’s also your first opportunity to work with your photographer and develop a relationship that will allow you to be completely at ease on your big day. Use this session to confirm if the photographer is indeed the right person to capture your wedding. We require an engagement session with all our local couples, and those who will at least be local once before the wedding. It is as important for us as for you. If you are having a destination wedding or it is just cannot impossible to do a session before the wedding, we have online chats to try to get to know you before your wedding day.

4. Will the photographer create a detailed shot list?  (See Wedding Day Photo Timeline Page)

Lots of photographer create a list to ensure no important photo is missed during the commotion and excitement of the big day. We have you complete a planning form that includes the names of all the important people who will be at your wedding so that we can make sure we include them in appropriate kinds of photos rather than try to fit everyone into a certain styled photo. Instead we discuss with you the plans for the day and fit these images into the best times for them. You can add to the form leading up to the day and of course we're always available for spontaneous requests throughout your day.

5. What kind of lighting will be used?  

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor wedding, you’ll want to make sure your photographer has professional grade lighting equipment to deliver the images your wedding deserves. We have multiple kinds of lighting equipment that we bring to every wedding because the lighting needs can vary so much from day to day and place to place.

6. Will there be one photographer or two?  (See Meet Your Photographers Page)

A second shooter increases the probability that no shot will be missed, especially if you are having a large wedding. If there will be two photographers, ask to meet them both to get a feel for their personalities and how well they might blend in on your big day. We at least try to have you meet both photographers at an engagement photo session, often more than that.

7. Does the photographer have backup equipment? 

You’ve prepared contingency plans for every other aspect of your wedding; your photographer should as well. A true professional photographer won’t miss your perfect shot because of a technology issue. We will always bring a backup camera, lenses, flashes, additional lighting equipment, extra memory cards, and batteries.

8. Does the photographer have liability insurance?

Accidents happen at weddings and if one of your guests trips over your photographer’s light stand, it’s good to know you both are protected. Your reception venue may even ask us as photographers to submit a certificate of liability ahead of time. Yeswe carry business liability insurance.

9. What will happen to the images after your wedding? 

Will your images be backed up to a hard drive or the cloud once processed? How long will your photographer keep the images afterward? Will they be kept for a couple of years or dumped immediately? If you have any concerns about losing your photos, knowing what the photographer plans to do with your images after your wedding is important. We double back up your images immediately. We keep your files basically forever. Should we decide not to, we would provide you them to you. We had a client come back to us 12 years after their wedding requesting a replacement album due to losing everything in a flood, and we were able to reproduce it almost exactly.

10. When will you get your photos? 

No, you won’t get your pictures the day after; no photographer can deliver that quickly. It’s a good idea, though, to get a general idea of the timeline ahead of time. You might even be able to agree on getting a couple of images ready for social media use very quickly. But obtaining your photos will likely take several weeks. To help with the wait, some photographers will send you a sneak peak with a few images. Just ask ahead of time!of that list the day of. Take an honest look at what images really matter and fill your photographer in on situations he or she might need to be aware of in order to prevent awkward moments, and to ensure that he or she can get the shots that matter most. From us you can expect to see a sneak peak withing 3-4 days. If you had a photo/video booth see the timeline on that page. Your album layout will be completed within 3 weeks of your wedding, and at that time we will meet with you, show you all your images, and the album we have designed for you. If you love the album just as is, we can order it immediately and you will have it within a month. After this in studio preview, we post it all online and your family and friends can order images directly from there. If you need time to soak it in, ask for changes, and then okay the new designs, we give you 2-3 weeks. At the end of that time, we get your album ordered and it will be in your hands hopefully no more than 3 months after your wedding day. You may order prints and enlargements directly through us anytime you are ready. We leave your galleries on our website for one year. 

 

More questions, or ready to talk about your wedding needs? Contact us or text us at 616-881-2894.


Tips For Planning Your Wedding Photos Like A Pro

July 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Your wedding day is filled with once-in-a-lifetime moments that will go by in a blur—which is why hiring a professional wedding photographer is a must. You shouldn’t be worrying about is whether your photographer will be able to capture your big day, or worse, wake up a few days later to find out most of your photos have something wrong with them.

Professional Photographers of America says,

"The solution for this, know how to accurately evaluate the “right” photographer for you. Here are six tips to help you plan your wedding photos like a pro." (Answers specific to Reflections by Rohne are in bold italics.)

1. Book far in advance.

Engaged couple walking in vineyard.Love in the VineyardOur engagement sessions are in locations of your choice. We capture the essence and character of your relationship. The best photographers get booked quickly — sometimes a year or more in advance, so don’t wait until a few months before the wedding to book your photographer. We usually fill June, August and October very early.

2. Be willing to pay a professional fee.

Now is not the time to skimp on your photo budget. Call around and get a price range for services and remember: when the cake is long gone and the dress is stored away, your wedding photos will be the only thing left. All of our packages are a great value, and the most popular range in price from only $2500 to $4000. 

Bride and Groom on couch at Peaches Inn Bed and BreakfastRelaxed LoveCouple enjoying quiet moment in the midst of our Romance Session. 3. Make sure your photographer is a real pro.

Only hire someone who has experience taking the style of photos you want, liability insurance, backup equipment and knows what to do when things go south. Find a PPA (Professional Photographers of America) photographer. PPA photographers have the technical expertise and artistry to make you look your best and bring your vision to life. Connie is not only a member of PPA, but has a Bachelor's degree in Photography from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Kathy, our second shooter for weddings, also has a bachelors in photography. 

4. Request to see a full gallery of real weddings.

Meet at the Mission Meet at the Mission Wedding couple outside Mission San Buenaventura at destination wedding. We artistically capture your relationship and the details of your surroundings. Ask to view some entire wedding albums to see a photographer’s true style and get a sense of how he or she might tell your “story.” You are seeing our images on all the pages you visit, but check out our wedding gallery also.

5. Work with your photographer to create a detailed plan.

PPA wedding photographers can also help you create that shot list as they know what key moments tell a wedding story. But talk about your must-haves and walk through the entire program with your photographer ahead of time. Work together to understand one another’s needs and expectations ahead of time to ensure that your vision becomes a reality. Check out these other blogs for specific information about how we work with you. Wedding Day Timeline, Questions to Ask Wedding Your Photographer

Wedding on the WaterWedding on the WaterSpring Lake Wedding Party. We look for creative places to get fun and unique images of your wedding day. 6. Plan your post-wedding photo strategy… ahead of time!

Almost as soon as the festivities are over, you’ll be eager to look at the photos so you can relive your big day over and over again. Ask your photographer for teasers or a “sneak peek,” and a timeline for when the rest of the pictures will be available. Make sure you know how their post processing procedure works. Check out this other blog for specific information about how we work with you. Questions to Ask Wedding Your Photographer


Step Out of the Wedding Box!

August 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Outside the Wedding Box

I love weddings! They are all unique and each couple's story is amazingly different. We encourage our couples to step outside the wedding box. Think of places, activities, ideas that would tell something about your story, show your interests, display your characters and personalities. But sadly, when it comes to wedding photography, most couples just assume that the images should look a certain way, should be taken in traditional locations, and include traditional poses. And that is what they settle for.

Here's a non-traditional couple who opted for some very non-traditional wedding images. I've never had more fun doing wedding images than with them! She's a photographer (friend) and he's an avid fisherman. They also love hiking in the desert. Wanna' see more? Click here.

If you live in West Michigan you don't even have to have a destination wedding to find amazing locations for images. All you have to do is plan an extra few hours into your wedding plans to get some amazing images. This can be done the day of your wedding, or even better, the day before or after. Day of can run into your wedding festivity timeline, but day before or after provides a relaxed time-frame for creativity and fun!

Here's some examples of outside the box images:  Barefoot and beautiful!

 

Got some fun ideas you'd like to incorporate into your wedding portraits? 

Step outside the wedding box, and let us get creative for you.

 


Wedding Budget Blues

September 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

PLANNING FOR YOUR WEDDING? Here's an

important tip to avoid the blues.....

Create a realistic budget and stick to it! 

Every bride wants her wedding day to be the fulfillment of all her dreams. However our dreams often look very expensive. Never forget this important fact. The reason you are having a wedding is because you love each other and want to spend your lives together. No matter what your wedding is like, the end result will be that you are married and starting your life journey together.

Having said that, let me repeat, our dreams often look very expensive, but they don't have to be. You can find creative ways to make your budget stretch or to tastefully mimic expensive ideas you like. BUDGET...that is an important word in planning a wedding. You need to figure out before you starting spending on your wedding what is reasonable for you (and your family or whomever else will be helping you pay for it) and then stick to that amount. 

How do you determine what you need to spend on your wedding? Here are several expenses you will have and some ways to save:

  • Love In Your EyesLove In Your Eyes Bridal Gown Purchase a floor sample or discontinued style. Consider a purchase online--if the seller is reputable. If you have a great seamstress with plenty of experience, consider having it made. It will be a one of a kind dress, so unless it is simple, it could cost more than a store purchase. If you buy at a store, alterations are much less expensive from a seamstress who doesn't work for a store. Remember all the accessories in your costs: veil, undergarments, slip/hoop petticoat, shoes, etc. 
  • Groom's tux, suit or clothes and accessories. Get a free rental with the rental of groomsmen tuxes. Purchase a suit that can be used later. A casual wedding requires much less expensive clothing choices.
  • Wedding Venue and Reception Venue. Having a church wedding? Does the church have a great reception location? Consider reception venues where you can cut costs by using their caterer, baker, etc. 
  • Wedding Cake & GownWedding Cake & Gown Wedding Cake. Ask around. There are excellent cake decorators who don't have a storefront which helps you can keep costs down, but make sure you see real work. Consider a smaller cake and/or use sheet cakes or cupcakes. 
  • Other Food -- catered or not. Depending on the time of your wedding, wedding guests may not expect a meal. Can you get by with cake and punch? A buffet or formal meal? If you have friends or family care for it, there will be more stress on you. Do you have to pay for the food or will it be their gift? Consider whether it is worth the cost savings?
  • Wedding Photography This is near and dear to my heart and I've seen too many sad after-the-wedding stories to not say this. Plan NOT to skimp on wedding photography. You get what you pay for! You can book far ahead to spread manageable payments out over a period of time.
  • Decorations. Themed weddings are in. Start planning early. Get ideas online. Can you purchase used decorations online? Can you and/or a friend make decorations? 
  • Bride's bouquet and daggerBride's bouquet and daggerBride's bouquet and dagger Flowers. Do you or someone you know have the ability to create beautiful bouquets? Are you okay with silk flowers? Selecting in-season flowers for your wedding will be less expensive.
  • Officiant. This is a minor expense, but one that you should not forget to include.
  • Music, DJ, Entertainment. Do you want live music, a DJ to run the show, or can you and/or someone you know plan and pull together the equipment needed to have the music you need at your wedding and reception. Who will deal with this on your wedding day? You won't have time.
  • Limo or Carriage, etc. Will you leave the wedding/reception in a limo or carriage or some other special means of transportation? 
  • Equipment Rental. Do you need to rent chairs? Chair covers? Tables? Aisle runner? Candelabras? etc.
  • Hair and Makeup. Where and by whom do you plan to get your hair and makeup done?
  • Last Minute Expenses. In the 22 years I've been shooting weddings, I have rarely been to a wedding that didn't have some last minute needs come up. Plan to have money set aside to pay for unexpected expenses.

Saving money requires planning and research...find ideas online. Look for deals. It also requires networking. Ask people for referrals to vendors who can do the job well and save you money. DON'T settle on an inexperienced or cheap vendor just to save money. You could be sadly disappointed afterward, as I mentioned about photography. Planning will save you money, and as I said in a previous blog, it will save you stress and lots of headaches.


Why Should You Have a Wedding Coordinator?

September 01, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Connie Rohne, Photographer Your wedding day will be one of the most emotional and memorable days of your life. You want to be able to enjoy every detail of it. However, if you are responsible for the details on your wedding day, you will be too busy making sure everything is done right and cared for, that you won't be able to relax enough to enjoy your special day.

Josh Rohne, Photographer Weddings are complex events. Details include preparation, a ceremony event, a party event, and exit plans and first night and honeymoon details. Details include clothing and accessories, flowers, transportation, music, traditions, food, personnel, guests, vendors, decor, and much more.  

A wedding coordinator can ensure your wedding day will be a dream come true rather than a nightmare. Whether hired or volunteer, you want an organized, managerial person who will be responsible for all the details on your wedding day so that you can relax and enjoy your wedding, family and friends. Do not expect to deal with details and be relaxed. Do not make a close family member or friend that will want to be involved in your wedding activities your wedding coordinator. 

Connie Rohne, Photographer I photographed a wedding last year that the bride had planned so carefully, even creating a detailed manual of events. On the day of the wedding she was still the "go to" person to answer questions. She was so stressed she cried through the pre-ceremony preparations and most of the wedding. When a wedding coordinator is on the job, every question can be directed to that person rather than the bride.

 

Connie Rohne, Photographer There are three choices when you consider a wedding planner. Do you want/need:

• a full-service planner who will plan every detail (getting your approval on everything)

• someone to choose your wedding location and vendors

• a day-of coordinator (who will actually be involved with you for the last month before your wedding)

The first two will most likely be hired, the third could be. If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, here's a good guide to help select one.

Connie Rohne, Photographer Should you select a friend/family member to be a day-of coordinator, select someone you feel comfortable with knowing personal details; someone you trust; someone who understands and supports your wedding vision, theme, dream. Remember, do not choose a family member or friend who will want to participate in the activities/details of your day. It needs to be someone who will enjoy your wedding as a onlooking worker. Consider these questions. Will this person work within your budget?  Do you have enough history with this person to know and feel comfortable with they way he/she works? Do your personalities work together well? Do you trust this person to make instant decisions that will carry out your plans?

Josh Rohne, Photographer How do you work with this person to get prepared for your wedding? It is all about organization. Hopefully MONTHS before the wedding, you start working with a wedding planning guide, a book or online. Your wedding coordinator can use this planning guide to complete and fulfill your wedding plans. The last month before your wedding, schedule several meetings to go through details. The first meeting you, the bride, will be sharing these details. By the final week before your wedding your coordinator will be the one to answer questions and share all these details. At your rehearsal and on your wedding day, your coordinator will ensure your day is the fulfillment of all your wedding day dreams.