Archive for category Weddings

My take on being a professional photographer

The word “professional” can mean many things. As a professional photographer, I believe it must include:

  1. Being courteous.
  2. Being creative. But remembering it’s always your wedding, your session, or your company; not simply an opportunity to create “art” (the anti-Prima-Donna clause).
  3. Taking the time to understand and exceed your expectations for fine photography.
  4. Representing my abilities faithfully. This includes knowing when to refer you to another photographer if my abilities won’t meet your expectations.
  5. Not just being on time, but a little early.
  6. Maintaining primary photo equipment.
  7. Maintaining backup photo equipment for when the unexpected happens.
  8. Living a healthy lifestyle to allow for work at the peak of my ability.
  9. Charging a fair price for my services.
  10. Remaining a student of photography. Keeping current on industry trends and techniques along with regular upgrades to improve imaging and service

Chico Bridal Fair

I just returned from what has to have been one of the best organized and well-attended bridal fairs I’ve ever attended. Class Act Entertainment always does a great show. I was fortunate to have time to meet and speak with several new vendors and colleagues. It still surprises me that Northern California is home to such a robust professional wedding community. Since I’ve relied on mostly word-of-mouth advertising, I haven’t done a show for quite some time; certainly a lot of work, but more than worth the effort. If I had a chance to speak with you briefly and you have more questions, please give me a call this week.

Brian Peterson Photography Booth

Brian Peterson Photography Booth

Lauren and Sam

Rain threatened the wedding of Lauren and Sam today, but fortunately they were able to move the whole ceremony into the reception venue which was a restored turn-of-the-century hardware store. A very cool location indeed! As a photographer, there were almost TOO many rustic settings to choose from.

Lauren Houser

Lauren Houser

Sam and Gang

Sam and Gang

Wedding album design

Lay-flat storybook albums with seamless bindings have become very popular in the past few years. In fact, they have all but replaced the more traditional enlargement-based albums. With this new format you have nearly unlimited creative control of how to tell the story of your wedding day and we are proud to be the exclusive provider of quality albums by VisionArt. But we understand that with this much flexibility can come confusion. That’s why we make it incredibly simple. All you have to do is tell us which photos are your favorites and we do all the rest. Once we have a draft ready, we send you a high resolution PDF file for you to approve or make changes, and then it’s off to the printers and binder. Plus, every album is custom designed – we do not use templates of any sort, so you know your album will be one-of-a-kind.

Wedding album spread

Wedding album spread

Kristy and Dane

One of the best parts about being a wedding photographer is getting to work with couples that are ready to try something a little different. Kristy and Dane met meĀ  today, just a few days before their wedding date, and spent about an hour tromping around a bluff overlooking Chico to get some spectacular shots. After the wedding they even want to take me up on my free Trash the Dress session. I hear mud-wrestling will be involved. A post on THAT later!

Kristy and Dane on the edge

Kristy and Dane on the edge

Kristy and Dane

Kristy and Dane

Heather and Brian

Heather and Brian are engaged to be married in June, but when they booked me they didn’t yet have a good photograph of the two of them for the announcements. So we went to Chico’s One Mile park, which is one of my favorite places in Chico for a variety of looks, and spent about an hour moving around the park and simply putting them together in ways that made them both feel comfortable. The rest comes naturally.

Heather and Brian

Heather and Brian

Choosing a Photographer

Personality counts.

Few professionals will work as close with you than your photographer. That’s why it’s important that you not only like the photographs of your photographer, but their personality as well. So if you like the quality and style of a particular photographer, and their fee is withing your budget, what more is there to decide?
Often, when new acquaintances ask me what I do, they immediately recount stories of their own or a close friend that had a horrible experience with their photographer; “they were bossy, dictatorial, or downright rude. Plus the pictures came out bad.”
So how can you tell if you’ve got a photographer that’s going to be both professional and easy to work with? Here’s a quick 5-point checklist I always ask myself – see if they work for you:
1. What does your “gut” tell you? Some people call it intuition, a sense, or a first impression, but how you feel after your first few interactions with your photographer should be a big part of your decision. Don’t let a low or even high price temp or sway your choice if you can’t shake an uneasy feeling that things might turn sour at some point.
2. Meet at least twice before making a decision. First impressions are usually a good guide, but maybe your first meeting was at a bridal show, and there wasn’t enough time to get a sense of what the photographer is like. Schedule at least one additional follow-up meeting where both of you will not be distracted.
3. Do they listen at least as much as they talk? This is critical. You never want to feel like you’re being “sold.” You are not buying a car or an insurance policy. Be sure your photographer understands what you want; this includes everything from the style of photography to what they wear.
4. Ask questions. Especially in this new era of digital photography, it is important to be very clear about what you are actually purchasing. Will your photographer allow you to make personal copies? What kind of album, if any, is included? How long will it take before the proofs are ready? How will the proofs be delivered to me? One of the best ways to ensure you are not disappointed is to align your expectations with their service and the package you are purchasing.
5. Do they appear to be genuinely interested? This may make up a large part of your good or bad feeling in general and can be difficult to put your finger on. But sometimes you can just tell that they are not attentive to really helping you make your special day, special. There can be all sorts of reasons for this; maybe they’ve burned out on doing weddings or they talk too much about their expensive equipment or qualifications, or simply they don’t seem to care that deeply.