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April 5, 2010


Hiring a Wedding Photographer

September 29, 2009

A good friend and fellow wedding vendor, Evan of, recently asked me to contribute to a blog post of his. He asked “How important is it to meet the photographer in person before you hire them?” So I sent him my answer. Of course, I got on a roll once I started typing, so I am including my full thoughts here, but my shortened answer and answers from some other photographers can be found on his post here:

How important is it to meet the photographer in person before you hire them?
In this world of instant online purchases, it is tempting to book a photographer online or over the phone. And while I have certainly had a few brides do this, I HIGHLY recommend meeting with your photographer face to face. Face to face communication will give you the best and most accurate picture of who your photographer is. We all know how much can be lost in email conversations: tone, expression, etc. The same can be said of a phone conversation – is the person on the other end really listening and fully attentive or are the pounding away at an email or checking Twitter while talking with you? Your photographer will be the one vendor who spends the most amount of time with you… in fact, ALL DAY with you! Often times, the only time alone that my brides and grooms get is when I send them off alone so I can shoot from a distance. It is the only time they are not surrounded by tons of people on this most equally intimate and public day. This is why a face to face meeting is crucial.

Meeting with your photographer does a couple of key things. First, you get to know each other. Do you click? Do you feel comfortable with the photographer or does he/she make you nervous? I want my brides and grooms to feel like I am an old college friend shooting their wedding, but some couples may want to have a relationship with their photographer who is more like a hired vendor. It is up to you, but that meeting will give you insight into their personality. Is he or she over the top and would outshine you on your wedding day? Will they be too pushy when it comes to helping create a timeline for the day? Will they be too timid to get the shots they need? Will they be so unobtrusive that they are never there when you need them? Is your meeting rushed or relaxed? Is it a sales pitch or delving into what you want for your day? Body language and time spent with you will say a lot between the lines. I believe in women’s intuition and you can certainly pick up those vibes from people the first time you meet.

Secondly, where and how you meet says a lot about the photographer. Some may meet you at your house, some at a coffee shot, some in their studio. I meet couples in my studio so they can see lots of samples, view a slideshow projected huge on the wall and see my decorating style. While that last bit may seem silly, if someone likes my taste, they will trust my eye for their wedding day. I love meeting in my studio because we are not distracted by others in a public place or limitations of meeting outside of my own space. I can only meet one night a week because I have 2 little ones under 4. My family is a priority and my couples know and respect that. I used to drive all over the place to meet with couples, but when my kids came, I needed to restructure my schedule. Now, when they come to my studio, they see a canvas of my family. That is part of who I am and I don’t separate that.

Lastly, meeting face to face really gives your photographer the opportunity to make mental notes of who you are as a couple as well. Oftentimes, I can read into a couple’s personality together from that first meeting. Did they come as a couple or did just the bride come alone, or with her mom of friend? I love getting a couple talking about their love story and their dreams for not only their wedding but their life. It gives me great insight into how I would shoot them on their wedding day. Hopeless romantics love the close intimate shots, modern artistic types like the funky unusual shots best. I don’t categorize folks, but the engagement session gives me even more insight into who they are as a couple and makes for a better wedding day shoot.

Here are some questions that I rarely get asked, but will volunteer the information because I think they are important and not always listed in your magazine list of what to ask your photographer.

How long and/or how many weddings have you been the PRIMARY photographer? This is important because there are TONS of shooters out their with photography businesses. With all the template based websites, and blogs it can be hard to differentiate those who are just starting with those who have put in their time. Their answer will have to sync with your comfort level. Maybe you want a newbie who has a fresh outlook on weddings and maybe you want a seasoned shooter who knows how to handle the hundreds of variables that happen at a wedding. This is up to you, but you must ask!

What is your backup plan if something happens to you? No one likes to talk about this, but the reality is that something could prevent your photographer from getting to your wedding. What plan do they have in place to cover you?

What is the realistic timeline to view images, order and album, etc? Everyone likes to think the world revolves around their wedding.. because right now, it does! Your photographer has other weddings before and after yours. How will your production time be affected by that? Do you want timelines in writing? Wrong expectations lead to frustration and resentment.

Ask to talk to previous couples. If a potential couple asks me for references, I have no problem giving them a list of names to contact! How hesitant is your photographer to give you a list? Is the list only 1 or 2 names? Make sure you ask the references how their total experience was. If the images are amazing but the customer service is lacking, what was it that bothered that couple and bring it up to your photographer. Ask them how they can do better. Everyone is growing and learning everyday, so don’t just write them off if you get a negative review. Remember, lots of personalities are in the mix, but trust your judgement.

Good luck and set your photography appointment now!

Behind the Scenes

August 1, 2009

*disclaimer* I hate posting to this blog right now because it is the lame basic WordPress template. The unbelieveable new blog is coming next week, so instead of posting recent weddings here, I am posting this look behind the scenes of last weekend’s wedding.

Sometimes when photographers shoot together, we shoot each other. Um, this is a post about that. Now, let me just say that I love the photographers I get to shoot with. Normally with a second shooter we could only get photos of each other and not together, but one weekend my sister Rebecca was with us. Adding that third element lends the day to plain silliness and her being able to capture it! Julia MacInnis is so fun! Enjoy. Some photos have comments beneath on what the heck was going on.

DC Photog Shootout

July 1, 2009

Yesterday I met up with a ton of DC area Photographers for a local shootout. Noah Hayes put up an awesome stop motion video from the day… VERY fun. Check it out:

Noah is great – lots of fun and a gear geek! He knows his stuff. We taught the lighting/off camera flash sessions. It was great to see everyone GET it and get excited about making all light “available” to them 🙂

I didn’t really shoot at all. I think I took 5 photos…. will get them up here later. I can also post the info Noah and I talked about to the facebook group 🙂

And if you didn’t get a chance to talk to Kyle from Eden Edit – here is his site:

Meet Kari { s t u d i o m a n a g e r }

June 8, 2009

Some of you may know that I am not the most organized person. I try to be. I want to be. It just doesn’t happen. I like to blame it on my creative side, but to be honest, I LOVE being a photographer, and sort of like being a business woman. I finally wised up and stopped complaining about all the business side that I have to handle and hired someone to do it! Meet Kari Smith! Kari is already proving to be the smartest business decision I have made 🙂 Some of my clients have already talked with Kari, but for those of you who haven’t, here is a little interview for you.

Kari Smith

Where are you from originally? Scotia, NY  (Upstate NY) (Kim’s note: yes, she has a little upstate accent!)

Where do you live now? Taneytown, MD

Family life? Husband and kids? A wonderful husband, Dan, and five children, Addison (2), Karalyn (8), Hannah (10), Amanda (16), and Nathan (19) (Kim’s note: Amanda and Nathan are Kari’s step children, she’s not that old 🙂 !)

Education:  Bachelor of Science in Health & Wellness from State University of New York College at Buffalo

Favorite book: Bible

Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookies and Cream

Favorite movie: The Notebook

If you had a day to yourself you would… Catch up on my family photo albums!

Favorite quote or verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”  – Philippians 4:15

Why work for a photographer? I have always LOVED the way a photograph can tell a story and bring you right back to a moment in time.  I have been known to have my camera with me at all times capturing memories.  I am greatly looking forward to working with Kim and her incredible talent!  It is nice to work for someone and something I really believe in!

What skills do you bring to the table? I have been running a very busy household for the past 10+ years being a stay at home mom while also working several small jobs from home.   I plan to bring organization, hard work, creativity, enthusiasm and a smile to work with me every day!  
(Kim’s note: Kari failed to mention all the volunteer work she has managed to balance within all of this!)

What are you looking forward to as new studio manager? I am looking forward to helping the studio/office run smoothly behind the scenes of Kimberly Brooke Photography.  Kim has an amazing gift in her talent with photography.  I hope to free her up from some of the office tasks that come with running a business so that she can focus on her artistic gift of photography.

Anything else you want to add? It is an honor and a privilege to be working for Kimberly Brooke Photography.  I genuinely look forward to working with you all as you capture your precious memories!

In the future you will be seeing more of Kari and possibly hearing more from her as well 🙂 Leave her some comments to say hello and welcome.  Off to work!

Headed to the OBX, Vendor Interview, & more

June 5, 2009

I have never wanted to be at the beach so badly. I just need a day to chill in the sun before today”s Outer Banks wedding. My site was hacked and the malware has created a warning for some folks. So clients are telling me they can’t view my site. Not good – especially after I put an ad in the FSK newspaper for { J u s t M e } Senior Sessions.  I stayed up all night Tuesday scrubbing my site and local machine. No fun. But the new look for this blog is coming soon!! Can’t wait!!

But the Facebook fanpage is alive and well. I also prepped images for editing. I can’t wait to show you the past 4 weddings, maybe I’ll post teasers of those weddings over there.

This past weekend I shot Drew  & Tara’s wedding. Evan of was the fabulous Master of Ceremonies. We had a blast. He just launched a new blog that will be a great resource for brides and he asked me to be his first vendor interview.  Evan is awesome and will make your party one to remember. Please go visit his blog and leave him some comments! Subscribe to get all the updates!

Also – some of you have asked why I haven’t been updating our family blog… I am back at it – only with photos and camera phone updates for now 🙂


Jesse & Laura { e n g a g e d }

May 18, 2009

Jesse and Laura are getting married next month at the beach – Corolla to be exact.  So we wanted to shoot their engagement session at the beach… but here in Maryland, that would be a 3 hour drive, so we settled for Sandy Point State Park. I had not been there in 10 years and Jesse and Laura had never been there, even though they suggested it. And while is was a little windy, this place did not disappoint. We had so many locations to shoot in. It was an awesome time. We had a lot of fun and I know I am going to have a gorgeous couple to shoot on the beach in less than a month! Congrats Jesse & Laura! Scroll down to see more pics.