Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WedPix Article - The Rehearsal Dinner

I love it when something I have offered from the beginning, such as Rehearsal Dinner Coverage, is the topic of an article of something that is beginning to catch on or becoming trendy :)
The following article is from the WPJA's 'WedPix' magazine....

Next to the pomp and fanfare of the wedding day, the rehearsal dinner has historically gone undocumented by the wedding photographer. Without photographs of the evening, it’s been treasured only in the memories of those who attended it. Well, no longer. A number of vanguard wedding photojournalists now document the rehearsal dinner and in so doing are able to capture the entire wedding experience, from the setting of the first plate to the dimming of the dance floor lights at the reception.
In order to gain more insight, we turned to two WPJA award winners whose work has led them to document those once not-so-flashy dinners. Not surprisingly, we found that their experience reflects the overarching aim of every wedding couple who hires a wedding photojournalist: It’s about the moments.
In looking for the origin of this relatively newer practice of photographing the rehearsal dinner, we found that most signs point to the beach, the mountains, abroad, and to every other idyllic locale imaginable. When family and friends fly from far and near to a beautiful destination to be with one another and celebrate their host and hostess, it’s common for the bride and groom to want more than a single day’s worth of photography. Especially since the photographer is flying in as well, most likely for a pretty penny.
Yet you don’t need to be hundreds or thousands of miles away from home in order to capture the magic of the rehearsal evening. Wherever those closest to you are gathering, even if it’s just down the street, you can still preserve those one-in-a-lifetime moments.
In either case, for some, it seems a waste to wait until the actual wedding day for the camera to start flashing.
Award winner Hollye Schumacher notes that “A lot of times the rehearsal dinner is when the family members see each other for the first time. This initial reunion is a little more genuine…it’s exciting.” By the day of the wedding, those first emotional moments have passed. While there is definitely a lot of excitement on the big day, it surrounds the bride and groom, and the guests may be more reserved, at least until the reception is in full swing.

Schumacher’s photograph of a rehearsal dinner cocktail hour overlooking a cityscape was taken of several guests and family members who had flown to Scottsdale, Arizona, from England. In this instance, the bride had asked Schumacher to attend the rehearsal dinner as a guest, and never to be one without a camera in hand, she photographed the evening.
Beyond the initial reunion between the guests, WPJA award winner Meg Baisden finds that she is able to gain greater insight into the relationships between the guests and the bride and groom. She notes, “We can make real honest connections with our clients; and being a destination market, that’s not always the case if you show up the day of. This [photographing the rehearsal dinners] gives us the opportunity to find out who their families are and view them interacting.” By the day of the wedding, she is more adept at spotting those special interactions between the guests who are most significant to the bride and groom.

What happens at rehearsal dinners that doesn’t happen at wedding receptions? A lot, according to Baisden. She says, “It’s where the real toasts are given. Everyone stands up to toast the couple. It’s one of the most emotional events of the whole wedding process.” She speculates that more toasts are given on this evening because the crowd is generally smaller and there is a more relaxed vibe.
Many WPJA photographers point out that photographing the rehearsal dinner also enables the guests to become comfortable with them. By the day of the wedding, they are less camera-shy than they would be if they had only shown up on the wedding day. They may even completely ignore the photographer, which is her goal, Baisden explains. “If they’ve already seen that I work in the background, letting them ‘do their thing,’ they are more likely to fall into a groove right away without worrying about what I’m doing.”
While more and more photographers are capturing rehearsal dinners, many brides and grooms haven’t considered it as an option. Baisden has a blog devoted to the rehearsal dinner so that potential clients know ahead of time that she offers this add-on and they can see the results for themselves.

When you consider that your wedding photojournalist may be available to document the entire wedding experience, it’s not hard to understand the potential memory opportunities in photographing the rehearsal dinner, even if the dinner is expected to be relatively small. Baisden has had clients who had not planned on having a large party but after seeing her work and “the smiles and the tears,” decided to build a big rehearsal so she could photograph it.
How much extra might this cost? It depends largely on your wedding photojournalist. Schumacher charges her clients an hour and a half for the dinner, so, as she puts it, “They know my time is valuable. Otherwise, they would be asking me to stay indefinitely.”
Baisden is also reasonable in assessing her fees or the rehearsal dinner coverage.
The basic idea behind photographing the rehearsal dinner is the same as that used for the wedding reception. Schumacher says, “I get all the overall shots, because that’s what they’re looking for. I photograph the location, the restaurant signs and so on to get a broader feel for the setting, and then I move in and get the moments that are happening inside.”
Baisden finds that at the rehearsal dinner there are a lot more of what she calls “grip ‘n grin” pictures, where guests request that their pictures be taken, usually with an arm clutched around a couple of people. Though she generally shies away from these types of pictures, always opting for a photojournalistic style, she prefers to get them out of the way at the rehearsal dinner.
It makes sense to plan for the rehearsal dinner to be a part of the memories you want captured. The additional planning and expense involved with having your photographer present is worth it. Photographs of this evening will help tell the story of your wedding experience in its entirety.
—by Lauren Ragland for the Wedding Photojournalist Association

WedPix Article - Church Restrictions

The following article is from the WPJA's 'WedPix' Magazine...

You can argue that of all the photos on your wedding day, the ones taken during the ceremony are the most meaningful—that’s why you’re there, right? It’s ironic, then, that wedding photojournalists regularly have the most trouble shooting their best work in the churches where these very ceremonies take place. Often times, significant moments unfold in front of camera lenses that are too far away, positioned at awkward angles, and photographers are forced to operate under sub-optimal conditions.
While few wedding photojournalists would recommend selecting a church based solely on how the photos will turn out, there are some important points to consider before the big day—if capturing the moments of your church ceremony is a priority, that is.

Church restrictions pertaining to photography can vary wildly. And while wedding photojournalists all cite different restrictions that make them particularly crazy, one thing seems to jive with many: they want to know up-front what the restrictions are, so there are no surprises on the wedding day.
“Very few brides and grooms even think about this stuff beforehand. They book a church because it’s beautiful and then they get their rules,” says WPJA member Tyler Wirken, who gets frustrated when brides and grooms have to play catch up, retrofitting their photography needs to fit often misunderstood—and in his opinion, arbitrary—restrictions.
“There are times when I’m not allowed to photograph the ceremony at all,” WPJA member Kathi Littwin says. “But it shouldn’t be something that just pops up on the wedding day. They need to find out ahead of time, so they can decide how to proceed.”

“That’s when you have to dissect those rules, like nobody’s business,” Wirken says. If they say “Absolutely no photos during the ceremony,” he recommends getting creative with semantics: Does that mean no photography? Or no photographer? “Because you can always set up a camera on a tripod, just scheduled to shoot away with no photographer.” You may not get the greatest photos, but at least you’ll have some record of what actually happened during your wedding ceremony.
Wirken is very frank with his clients about what he can accomplish, given tight restrictions. “I don’t just say, ‘We’ll figure it out.’” He feels strongly about letting his clients know exactly how the restrictions are going to affect the photographs. For example, if the church will only allow a photographer to shoot from behind the last row of people, then the couple should not expect a spread of shots showing their facial expressions during their vows. There’s always going to be a repercussion.
Churches often impose rules about where the photographer can stand during the ceremony. Some churches won’t let photographers on the altar. Others insist they can only stand behind the last row of people, or shoot only from the balcony. WPJA member Peter Pawinski says the most common request he gets is the pick-one-spot-and-stay-with-it restriction. He can do it—and get some really nice, tight shots from almost anywhere—but the couple should not expect a wide variety of angles.

“The couples need to understand what is and isn’t possible. The bride and groom should discuss the restrictions with the wedding photojournalist,” says Pawinski. “Feel him out. See if he’s comfortable working with the restrictions.”
Wirken doesn’t mind having to be in one spot, as long as he can get access to the emotion during the ceremony. “I have to see those faces during the ceremony,” he says. “That’s the whole reason we’re there that day. It’s that 30-minute ceremony. To me, that’s the peak action.”
He wants to be able to capture those poignant moments that define the wedding day. “It’s the little glances—that’s what I live for during the ceremony. If I’m in the back of the church, I can’t get that, and it frustrates me. I’m back there, knowing those moments are happening, and I can’t get them.”
Pawinski agrees. In the albums he shows people during consultations, there’s a beautiful shot of the bride facing the groom during the ceremony. “It’s a quiet, intimate moment shared between bride and groom. As a photojournalist, I’m really disappointed when I can’t get into a position to capture that.” During every wedding, he says, there’s a glance at one another, a shared laugh. “There’s a whole gallery of expressions when they’re at the altar that you can’t capture when they’re facing the priest,” he says.
Our wedding photojournalists have the same advice: talk to your wedding official. They usually have the power to bend the rules. Sometimes the restrictions are outdated, sometimes they are not enforced, or the official is willing to overlook them, if you make a strong case.
“I go to rehearsals just to sit down and talk to the official,” Wirken says. “I’m one of those photographers who says, ‘No, I want to be here.’” He says it can depend entirely on the mood of the person making decisions that day.
The clergy person or justice who will serve as your wedding official, or officiant, needs to understand that your wedding photojournalist is not going to show up and cause a major disturbance. Perhaps that person has had bad experiences with pushy, inconsiderate wedding photographers in the past. It’s your job to let them know your wedding photojournalist will be respectful of the ceremony. Littwin makes sure the officiant knows that your photographer will shoot with a tripod and without flash, if necessary. Wedding photojournalists, by definition, are there to capture what’s happening as inconspicuously as possible —almost invisibly.
“In journalism training, you learn to move at certain times, when you’re not going to make a distraction. I wait for everyone to stand up in the pew, when there’s going to be noise, before I move,” Wirken says.
“There are times where I’ve seen a photographer step on the altar during the ceremony, and receive instruction from the officiant. I will not do that,” Littwin adds.
In order to capture facial expressions in a church that won’t budge on its photographer location policy, Pawinski recommends asking the officiant if they’re willing to set up chairs facing the audience. When there’s no angle straight-on, this at least allows the photographer to capture their faces during some of the significant moments.
Another point to raise: the restrictions are usually placed only on the photographer—not the guests, who are all snapping (and flashing!) willy-nilly with their point-and-shoot cameras. That’s one of Wirken’s biggest frustrations, considering he makes every effort at being discreet—and will avoid using flash when asked (“it doesn’t look good anyway.”)
If patient explanation gets you nowhere, bring out the big guns. “My last-straw, biggest trick is always the bride. Never tell them, ‘My photographer wants this.’ If the bride says, ‘I want him to be able to be up there.’ That goes a longer way. It works,” Wirken says.
What most wedding photojournalists will not do is break the rules. “There are rules within the church,” Pawinski says. “And most of us will not break the rules for the bride and groom. We have to show professionalism. And the ceremony is a sacred event, not a theatrical show,” Pawinski says. ”I’ll move wherever I’m allowed, but I will not draw attention to myself.”
Other wedding photojournalists may not be so docile. As the ones hired to actually document the ceremony, they feel that if rules are placed only on them and a ‘No Photography’ or ‘No Flash Photography’ general announcement is not made to all guests in attendance at the wedding, then they are free to follow what the guests are doing. If the guests are shooting flash, they’ll use it as well, if needed, regardless of the do's and dont's that were mandated in advance.
In churches where they won’t allow photography at all, Littwin says, they usually suggest restaging the important moments from the wedding. “Nobody ever wants to do that, including me,” Littwin says. It defeats the notion of wedding photojournalism.
What’s most important, she insists, is that the couple has an attachment to their church—that they feel comfortable and connected to the place they choose. “My desires are second to that. Regardless of what the priest lets me do, I make it work.” Just like most wedding photojournalists, her biggest request is open communication. “I don’t want to be surprised or have to look for someone on the wedding day.”
— by Meghan McEwen for the Wedding Photojournalist Association

Monday, February 26, 2007

Don Morrison's Crab and Corn Chowder


If time permits I like to catch '207' on WCSH TV 6 out of Portland which airs at 7:00 p.m. Great local flavors for the arts, entertainment, food, areas of interest, etc.
Well one night a while back I happen to watch when Don Morrison was on making his Crab and Corn Chowder. I am so glad I watched that evening! We here in Maine love to have Chowders as well as stews and soups in the long cold winter months....but mostly Chowders. I love chowder! I love all types of seafood chowders and I really enjoy a good corn chowder as well. I never would have thought to combine the two until now. This is wicked good! Do yourself a favor and make this chowder! If you go to the WCSH Website and look under the '207' section you can even find the video of Don Making this. Enjoy!!

Don Morrison's Crab and Corn ChowderIngredients:
4 oz. Butter
1 ea. Large Onion (diced fine)
4 ea.Large Potatoes (cubed and cooked)
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 cup Evap. Milk
1 cup Clam Broth
2 cans Canned Whole Kernel corn (Drained but save the Juice)
1 can Creamed Corn
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/2 pounds Fresh, hand picked Maine Crabmeat

Directions:Step 1: Preheat 6-quart soup pot on med high heat with butter.

Step 2: Add onions, whole Corn, and half the crabmeat. Cook until onions are clear. Add Old bay seasoning and Cook 3 more minutes.

Step 3: Add Clam broth, liquid from corn, and creamed corn. Bring to boil and add evap. milk and 1/2 & 1/2 and slowly bring chowder to a low simmer being careful not to boil. Add potatoes. Add the remainder of the Crabmeat the next day, just before serving the chowder.

Step 4: Cool chowder in refrigerator overnight and serve the following day. All chowders are always best if made the day before. Enjoy!

Wedding Party Roles

Being a member of the WPJA, I get an online magazine from them called WedPix. It has some really great articles in it pertaining to the Bride and Groom so I thought I would start putting some of them onto my Blog for you to read. I hope they prove to be of interest and of help to you :)

The following article is from the Feb 2007 issue of WedPix:


While wedding party stereotypes still exist, most people realize there’s more to being a bridesmaid than looking beautiful, more to being a groomsman than adding life and excitement to the reception party. But even the bride and groom might not fully understand just how helpful these roles can be, long after the train is bustled and the speeches given. With a little direction (and not that much effort), members of the wedding party can facilitate great wedding photojournalism—a favor that will elicit enduring gratitude every time you look at the wedding pictures.

WPJA award winners offer some insight on this matter:


Don’t assume that everyone in your bridal party understands wedding photojournalism. And it’s not your wedding photojournalist’s job to spend the day educating everyone. You have picked (and paid) your wedding photojournalist for his documentary style and creative eye, so you don’t want him fielding too many special (cheesy and posed) requests from your wedding party—taking away time from the natural moments you hired him to capture.

WPJA award winner David Crane, who has had mostly positive experiences with wedding parties, attributes his good fortune to working closely with the bride and groom before the wedding day, so they understand how he works. “The bride and groom have paved the way for me to do my job,” says Crane. “They have briefed their family and friends as to how I will be working throughout the day and what to expect from me.”

Introducing your wedding photojournalist to your wedding party is key, says WPJA member Nate Kaiser, stressing the importance of the informational introduction. “Say something like ‘Hey everyone, this is Nate. He’s a wedding photojournalist, which means he takes candids.’ You need to preface the style. It’s pre-wedding instruction,” he says. A few of his bridal parties have actually circulated wedding day handbooks, including a line or two about the wedding photojournalist and how to act (or not act) for the camera. “It’s really important to let them know they don’t have to stop and smile and pose for the photographer,” he says.

WPJA member Kevin Kelley says it’s helpful when brides and grooms let their party know to go about their day naturally, as if the camera isn’t there. “Awareness of this general rule helps drastically,” says Kelley. “I’ve missed some beautiful shots as a result of someone stopping what they were doing because the camera was present, thinking I wanted them to smile.”


When you’re briefing your wedding party about the philosophy of wedding photojournalism, it’s crucial to include a list of things not to do, so your wedding photojournalist can get the best possible photos.

Kaiser offers a couple of examples of how your wedding party can be detrimental to good wedding photojournalism. First, there’s the quintessential frat party photo: “The group that won’t let you take a candid shot without stopping and grabbing their friends, who all throw their beer can at the camera.” Then, even more annoying (because the wedding photojournalist takes the brunt of the scorn) there’s the person who takes personal offense to the efforts: “The moment you train your lens, you get the look of death that says ‘What are you doing? Get away from me.’”

This is why it’s important to explain to your wedding party what kind of photos your wedding photojournalist will be taking.

“When a wedding party understands your style of shooting, they won’t freak out when they see you capturing an odd angle or photograph of detail, says Kelley. “A general understanding of your style by the party will also aid in producing a higher level of quality photos throughout the day. If your style is to capture everything naturally, the more people who know this, the more opportunities the photographer will have for great images.”

The wedding party should also understand when it’s appropriate—and even more often, when it’s not—to give your wedding photojournalist direction.

“The ‘direction’ that I don’t mind is when people alert me if there is action on the other side of the room or dance floor that I may not be noticing at the moment,” says Kelley. An overprotective bridesmaid who wants your wedding photojournalist to capture every perfect photo op is another story.

Kaiser agrees. He has experienced bridesmaids who want to stage situations that were photographed at their own weddings—like requesting he photograph the bride’s head going under the veil, and then insisting that she do it again and again to make sure he gets the right shot.

Help your wedding party understand the difference between direction and friendly forewarning—especially when a memorable and unplanned scene is unfolding across the room and the wedding photojournalist is immersed in another (maybe not as important) photo.

“I have gotten some fantastic shots because family and friends of the bride and groom have given me a heads up about a situation that they know is going to occur. With the popularity of wedding photojournalism growing, my ‘job’ has become much easier,” says Crane.


An obvious task for wedding party members is making sure everyone is where they should be for group photos. “When important people are missing from such shots, I have to spend much of my time during the rest of the day rounding up the missing people for the group shots, which the couple wanted, sometimes missing great "moments" to do so,” says Crane.

Kaiser recommends appointing a go-to person, like the maid-of-honor or a sibling, who knows all the family members and important guests. He usually asks the couple before the wedding to designate someone to find missing people, so the bride and groom don’t have to worry about it.

Last year Kaiser shot a 600-person Chinese wedding, and no matter how much he tried to negotiate, they wanted 45 formal group shots. An incredibly helpful and outgoing groomsman stood at the front of the church and barked orders to families, and they got through 45 formal groupings in 25 minutes. “He rocked,” says Kaiser. “And we’re actually shooting his wedding this year.”

Photo by Kevin Kelley, Connecticut

Kevin Kelley

Kelley says the wedding party can also help make the wedding photojournalist’s job easier by trusting the photographer and heeding his/her suggestions, such as moving to a different location for portraits because of lighting. And, of course, staying focused and attentive during the portrait session helps with flow. If the bride and groom are nervous, their nervousness will show up on camera. Bridesmaids and groomsmen are the best people to help put them at ease, so their wedding photos reflect more genuine expressions.

As the night progresses, ask one or two members of your wedding party to check in on your photographer from time to time. Water, dinner, questions, administrative needs (like handing over any checks, or requesting additional time), so you’re free to enjoy your wedding. Often these gestures do something even more important than the obvious: they make your wedding photojournalist feel welcome. You might even want to encourage your wedding party to invite the photographer into semi-private moments or unique settings throughout the wedding and reception. It’s the little things. “I would go anyway, because that’s my job,” says Kaiser. “But it’s nice to know that you’re wanted.”

—by Meghan McEwen for the Wedding Photojournalist Association

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Gear Arrived!!

Well my new Canon 5D arrived safely last week. A few days late due to the Blizzard, but better late than never! This camera is unbelieveable!! I LOVE it!!!!! I won't bore you with all the reasons why I love it so much, but a few things I truly love are the full-frame sensor, the incredible files this thing delivers and the ability to have soooo much control of of how the images come out of the camera with the in-camera settings. Below are some samples, and NONE of them have had any post-processing done to them...they are straight out of the camera (even the b&w's). The colors are amazing, just amazing. I have barely put this camera down since I got it 5 days ago and have already put a few thousand clicks on it. It is just such a sweet piece of equipment!!

I was really impressed with the following outside shots. The snow can really cause troubles with whitebalance & exposure and make it hard to get good images without doing some post-processing work so I knew this would be a good test. Again, all images straight out of the camera...

Later on, after the sun had gone down where we were sliding, the images were still great. The color is still fantastic after the sun dropped below the western horizon. No sun, no flash, and the colors still "popped". What a great camera. I am soooo pleased!!!

I soooooooo can't wait until the weather warms up and everything turns green so I can start shooting my Incredible Clients with the new 5d!! :) In the mean time I have a few great sessions coming up in the Portland area with some beautiful ladies, and of course I will grace the BED BLOG with those H-O-T images as soon as they happen!

Think Spring!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

California Dreamin'

(Today, the day after the "Valentines Blizzard of '07" as seen from my breezeway)
Or This...

Santa Catalina Island as seen from Laguna Beach, CA

Ahhhhhhhh, Sunny Southern Cali....this time last year I was in Laguna Beach. This year I am two feet deep in fresh new powder...but not skiing, no no. Snowblowing. ugh. Quite a storm...I would rather be in Laguna (sigh). Being a skier you would think I would be excited. I am, sort of. I do like snow and have always loved big storms. But I have Southern Cali in my blood now and winters just don't seem the same (sigh again). Well here in the Western Mountains we definately had blizzard conditions, with white out conditions all through the overnight. The winds are really strong today as well with gusts upwards of 50 mph which really makes snoblowing a drag. The snow blows in the face, can't see, not to mention the wind chill factor.

I am expecting new gear, a new camera and lens. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday by UPS but they failed to show. I went out in the storm every two hours yesterday and snowblowed my drive and yard just so the UPS guy could get up to my house (I have a drive that is an easy 300 feet long with the first 100 or so uphill). No small task. And he never shows!! I have been tracking the new gear online and UPS stated that I, "WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO SIGN FOR DELIVERY OF PACKAGE". That irritated me a bit to say the least, after I made sure I was home all day and even kept this huge driveway and yard cleared of snow during the storm so he could deliver. He just failed to show and then put it in the system that it was my fault. Oh well, let's hope he arrives today as I am very anxious for my new gear!! :) I'm like a kid on Christmas morning when it comes to new photo gear arriving!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

BLOG Much?

Wow, where to start.....I have been sooooooo slack with blogging! I cannot believe how long it has been since I made the last entry. I had all the best intentions to BLOG regularly when I started but I have found it very hard to maintain. Maybe it is because of my lifestyle; Those of you who know me know that I raise my three young children by myself which is extremely time consuming, operate two businesses, and outsource nothing. I was going to get back in the swing of regular blogging on New Years...how'd that work?!?! Well at least it wasn't a resolution ;) (Happy Belated New Years to you all btw). I think blogging is a good thing, it allows clients a chance to know me better and to get a glimps into my world not only professionally, but also personally. As you can tell by the archives, I tend to mostly blog about the personal side. I plan to do more on the business side this year as well, especially since I link to this Blog from my photography website. That is also the reason I need to blog more regularly...I considered taking the link from my website since I never seem to update the Blog, but decided it best for all reasons to leave IT and just try to find the time to blog more :)

Just got over the Flu, ugh! It had me in it's clenches for what seemed like forever. Then of course it had to make it's run through the house making the kids sick as well, UGH! The past few weeks have sucked to say the least. No maid shows up when I am sick, no chef, etc. Things still have to be done to keep the household up and running, when all I really want to do is stay in bed and rest.
Then there was the trouble with my WebHost. Because I have been sick and/or taking care of sick kids I didn't notice for awhile...but I was not getting any e-mail!! Once I realized this I contacted My WebHost to let them know that I was not getting mail for almost two weeks and poeple I spoke with told me they were getting e-mails returned saying my box was full, trunkated, etc. Once informed, the WebHost addressed the problem and my inbox was flooded with two weeks worth of e-mail. I have been trying to catch up so if I have not gotten back to you, I will. Anywho....

I have a lot of photos I planned to include in my posts throughout the Fall, so i may just start plugging those in in my next few posts, just to make sure I am blogging something ;)

If I had gotten around to blogging a bit sooner than this, I wanted to do some sort of Valentines Day promo. Something along the lines of a contest perhaps, awarding the lucky winner a free session (engagement, bridal, something wedding related). Maybe offering a discount on any wedding package booked on Valentines Day...something. So if I have any 'BED Blog' followers left, let me ask you...Is/Was this a good idea and is it too late to do so(maybe run a post-Valentine contest....kind of like a "Belated Valetines Day" thing??????) Comments welcome.

There are some great things in store for 2007. I have some wonderfuly fantastic couples that I can not wait to work with! And I WILL keep things up-to-date on here (that's nt a promise, that's me convincing myself to do so) ;)