The latest episode of our Tea with Jainé Podcast has been released and it is jam packed with amazing blogging advice and SEO tips from Cinnamon Wolfe. Cinnamon is photo editor and business coach who specializes in helping creatives maximize their business potential. This podcast is so incredible and packed full of helpful advice that you will definitely have to listen to it twice. Seriously, it's so good!
Social Media has been a dominate topic of conversation ever since it started to impact small business owners. It's how our customers find us, interact with us, contact us and ultimately (and hopefully) hire us. I will admit that I didn't really understand the power of social media until a few years ago and have since put in a lot more effort using it to grow my wedding photography business. I thought I'd share my social media tips with the biggest platform I use, and know the most about, Instagram. I am in no way an Instagram expert but I do feel strongly about these 3 tips for wedding photographers who are using Instagram.
No. 1 - Create A Business Account - If you already have an account on Instagram you should convert it to a business account immediately. Heres why:
- Link Your Pages: Facebook owns Instagram (if didn't already know that) and you will be able to easily link your instagram account directly to your Facebook Business Page. You can share your feed in both places, respond to messages and reply to comments from inside Facebook.
- Contact Buttons: Your profile will now display the Call, Email and Directions buttons directly above your feed. This is so helpful because viewers will be able to easily contact you with a click of a button, making it much easier and faster for potential clients to contact you.
- Analytics: This is probably the BEST feature of being a business account. After you've converted your profile, Instagram will start to track your engagement on your posts and within a few days you will be able to see your statistics. This is the most useful and priceless information to creating new content, crafting your ad's and engaging with your audience.
- Swipe Up - The rumor is that sooner or later ALL business accounts will receive the coveted Swipe Up feature from Instagram. As of today, you have to have 10k followers or more have this feature activated. I will 100% honest, I'm dying for this feature and hope Instagram would share it with everyone sooner rather than later.
No. 2 - Plan Your Feed & Have A Plan - Social Media can actually become very stressful. It's hard t come up with new content everyday so I recommend planning your feed & content a few weeks at a time and all in one day. For myself, I sit down at my computer and plan my feed two weeks at a time twice a month. How do I do this? I created a Instagram cheatsheet for myself. I made my own grid with nine squares and in each square I put in a topic I wanted to discuss. For my wedding photography business, my grid will consist of photos of Brides, Grooms, Bridesmaids, Engagement Photos, Motherhood, Maternity, Babies, Photo Tips, Tea with Jainé and Personal Posts. Knowing what I'm going to be talking about takes all the stress out of planning because now that I have a plan, I can map out my grid quickly in advance and not stress about what I'm going to post.
How do I plan my grid? I use Planoly to plan my Instagram account and use their Auto Post feature which is amazing. It's such a time saver! There are other applications to use such as Later and Iconosquare which are different software options. I encourage you to do a trial of each software and pick the one that best for you.
Quick Tip: Every few months I will go back into my old wedding, engagement and style shoot galleries and pull content from my archives. There is absolutely no rule about what you can post and how old or new it is. If it's relevant to your business and you can write good copy, I say use what you've already have.
No.3 - Advertise - I hate to break it to you but the days of instant success and gazillion followers on Instagram are O V E R! So, instead of complaining about it, you can use Instagram to your advantage play the game. I'm NOT recommending paying likes or followers (honestly, it's so bad if you decide to do that and everyone can tell when your account isn't genuine) but investing some of your marketing budget in Instagram Ad's is going to give you a very good ROI. First off, you have to remember that Instagram is F R E E. You do not have to pay to join, use their application, interact with people and potential book couples from Instagram. Instagram is a very big way that my clients find me and I happy to advertise on Instagram.
As I mentioned above, Instagram is owned by Facebook which means that Instagram has access to your clients Facebook status (engaged, single, married, ...it's complicated) and where they live (ie. their zip code). With this information, you can create incredibly targeted ad's aimed for your ideal client. You can create ad's that will just show up in a specific zip code, for engaged couples who are interested in weddings. Get it?! It's unreal the power of Instagram Ad's and the best part is that they are very inexpensive. But, if you think that advertising isn't for you, or you don't "do advertising", I'm here to ask you why? Why do you feel that way? Let's be honest, how many purchases have you made because you saw an Ad and thought "hey, I LOVE that and I need it immediately!". I have too many to count! Don't believe me? I would highly suggest you follow Gary Vaynerchuk and listen to his wise words of wisdom. Seriously, he's amazing! Ok, back to Instagram Ad's...
Advertising on the biggest platform that couples are spending the most time and paying amazing low advertising rates, is an incredible way for you to get your name out there directly to your potential couples. Also, you have to keep at it. You simply cannot create one ad and then give up. You have to see what works and what doesn't. You'll be able to see the analytics from each advertisement so moving forward you can make an even bigger impact or adjustments. For myself, if I see that one of my photos is really doing well with a lot of likes and comments, I will promote it because I know it's connecting with my followers.
Most recently, I booked a fantastic couple who saw my Instagram Ad. They saw my ad, liked the photo and visited my profile, checked out my work, contacted me and ultimately hired me to capture their wedding day. I think I spent around $30 dollars on that ad to run for a few days and it was worth every penny because my couple is amazing and the exact client I am hoping to book. I can't recommend Instagram Ad's enough!
So what about you? What do you love about Instagram? Do you have any features or applications you'd like to share? Please leave us a comment below and I hope this article was helpful!
The latest episode of Tea with Jainé is now LIVE on our podcast channel. I interview my good friend and fellow wedding photographer Jessa Schifilliti of Love and Light Photographs. We chat about how Jessa started out as a second (sometimes third!) photographer, built her wedding photography business, and successfully implemented an associates photographer program. Jessa talks about defining her brand and finding her signature style. She shares her thoughts about how to network and create authentic relationships inside the wedding industry. To find out more about Jessa and see her wedding photography, visit her online at Love & Light Photographs and @jessalovelight on Instagram!
You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more. Check our our Anchor profile for a full list of available platforms.
I wanted to share my best practices when it comes to setting up your Adobe Lightroom Catalog because I think it's very important to start off on the right foot when editing, backup and archiving your photos. Lightroom is an incredible photo editing program that has a ton of features which can become very overwhelming when you are first starting out. I have studied and mastered how I use Lightroom to edit my photos and I wanted to share with you how I prefer to setup my Lightroom Catalogs along with some of my favorite Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts.
I will preface this post but saying that I wouldn't know anything about Lightroom if it wasn't for Jared Platt's Creative Live course Lightroom 101. I bought that course and watched it 3-4x's in a row to truly understand how to setup my catalog and edit my photos as efficiently as possible. I would highly recommend checking out his catalog of courses on Creative Live. I met him once at WPPI and thanked him for helping me and changing my editing workflow process from top to bottom.
How to Setup Your Lightroom Catalog
No. 1 - Create a NEW catalog for each and every job you photograph. Think of a Lightroom catalog as filing cabinet and your photos are the "files" inside. You want to keep all of the folders and files inside one filing cabinet at a time. If you were to keep all of your photos inside the same catalog, archiving and and keeping track of your "files" (aka. your photos) is going to become a hassle and you could get the dreaded question mark (Folder Missing Icon) inside of your catalog. To keep everything organized, I create a new folder for each client and create the same file set inside their folder which includes a Catalog, Images and Print folder. When I am done organizing, editing and exporting the images and have delivered them to my clients, I will archive them to my backup drives and within time, deleted them from my computer. If I were do this while only using one main catalog, I'm going to have a hard time keep track of all the photos that belong to each job. For me, it's peace of mind knowing that everything is in ONE place and can be easily opened, archived, and worked on anywhere without ever missing important photos.
No. 2 - Turn on Automatic Backups and Write the XMP data for Each Catalog. After you've created your new catalog you should immediate turn on two important functions of Lightroom every single time.
It seems like a no-brainer but turning on Automatic Backup's every time you quit Lightroom is just a extra level of protection for your files. Sometimes catalog's get corrupted but if you've turned on this feature, you can simply go into your Catalog > Backups Folder and simply unzip the last saved backup and start working as if nothing happened. It's 100% worth turning on and takes only a few seconds to complete once you quit the program.
Open Lightroom > Go to the Lightroom Menu > Catalog Settings > In General Tab > Backup > Choose Every Time Lightroom Exits from the drop down menu.
When you are editing photos inside Lightroom (and hopefully your are shooting in RAW) all of the changes you make to the image don't actually touch the image. What's happening is the data is being written to the "sidecar" file which is the XMP file. The XMP data writes on top of your photo like a piece of vellum. It's only a layer that can be easily removed however, Lightroom doesn't automatically process these changes while you are working. Why? I have no idea so you have to tell the program to do this for you thus saving you time and energy if the program were to crash and you lost all your work. Nobody wants that!
Open Lightroom > Go to the Lightroom Menu > Catalog Settings > In General Tab > Metadata > Check the box next to "Automatically Write Changes to XMP".
No. 3 - Build Your 1:1 Previews for every catalog - I'm sure you've heard of Smart Previews when importing your photos into Lightroom. It renders a faster preview of your image so you can edit faster BUT it's still not the fastest. It can still take time to render each image inside of Lightroom thus slowing down your editing time. Your images can look pixelated until Lightroom catches up and processes the file. I find that when I make the Smart Previews upon import, I still need to build my 1:1 Previews to have my images load instantaneously with absolutely no lag time.
After your images have been imported successfully into Lightroom, select all the images in the Library Module. Next, go to Library Menu > Previews > Build 1:1 Previews. It will take a while for the previews to load so I will go make myself a cup of tea or respond to emails until the process has completed. Once it's done you are ready to edit your images without any rendering or lag time in editing. FINALLY!!
No. 4 - Keyboard Shortcuts - Oh my goodness, Lightroom has a million shortcuts that will become second nature to you the longer you use the program and sometimes they change them on you without warning, which is the worst!
Keyboard Shortcut: SHIFT + R - REFERENCE VIEW
My favorite keyboard shortcut is the Reference View. You must be in the Develop Module (D key) for this to work. The Reference View creates a split screen inside the Develop Module for you to do a SIDE-by-SIDE edit without having to use the pop up window option anymore. Once it's selected, you can drag your Reference photo on the LEFT and on the right, you can edit and toggle between photos to match your REFERENCE image. It never moves until you drag and drop a new REFERENCE image to use. Seriously, it's the BEST shortcut ever for hybrid photographers like myself or anyone looking to match images.
Keyboard Shortcut: SHIFT + F - FULL SCREEN MODE
I prefer to use my Lightroom screen to it's fullest capacity which means I do not want to see my menu bar (For Mac Users), my dock, the clock or any other apps while I am editing. So I love the SHIFT + F keyboard shortcuts. They allow me to toggle my screen from being able to see my menu bar, to completely hiding it. It's a great shortcut to help you max the screen space that you have.
There you have it! My favorite Lightroom Catalog tips and setup options I use just about everyday. I hope they were helpful and will save you time and peace of mind in the future. What are some of your favorite Lightroom Tips and Tricks? Any keyboard shortcuts you want to share? Please leave them in the comments below!
Over in the Tea with Jainé Facebook group, I received a question about what to do when a potential client starts to negotiate about your prices while you are already in a meeting. Ummmm, can we say awkward? This person had two potential couples start to haggle with her at the very end of their meetings and she was beginning to feel discouraged. She wanted to know if I had any tips to help avoid this from happening again. Boy, do I! This is such a great topic that I recently posted my thoughts over on my Instagram IGTV channel and wanted to follow up with a more in-depth blog post. Here are my top three tips how to avoid awkward client negotiations about your photography prices.
No. 1 - Make Your Wedding Packages SIMPLE - I think the biggest "A-HA" moment for myself was when I started to reflect on what my couples were booking vs. what I was offering. When I first started out, I had several collections with all sorts of options that frankly, were VERY confusing. Every couple wanted something different and I was tired of making "custom collections" so I decided to update my wedding packages to what my couples really wanted and go from there. I created three collections and I made my base collection the minimum I needed to do my job of capturing a wedding from start to finish. This way, there would be no more negotiations about what to "take out" because there was literally nothing to take out. For myself, my base collection will always include 8 hours of photography, a second photographer and the digital files. Once I decided that this was the right formula for me, I built my next two collections on top of this base collection so when someone asks to take out the engagement session or remove the albums, I refer them back to the base collection. I will not remove anything items or services from the base collection because it's the minimum I need to do my job. I wouldn't take a job that wanted me to do less (unless it was a small wedding or elopement which would have separate pricing all together - see my note below).
So, how do you do this for yourself? I would figure out what is the minimum you need to cover your weddings or events and start from there. It won't be the same as mine but knowing what your base collection is will stop clients haggling over your services because if they can only add-on, they won't be able to take anything away.
Also, I would recommend having a different collections for the different types of weddings and events you photograph. If you specialize in small weddings and elopements, having different pricing for those types of events will alleviate the frustration of creating smaller collections from your full wedding day services every time someone inquires. If you are a destination wedding photographer, having separate collections for your destination and local weddings is a great way to minimize any type of price negations as well. Only send your potential client the pricing information for their type of event.
No. 2 - Share Your Prices In Advance - I cannot stress this enough but no one, I mean, NO ONE wants to be surprised especially when it comes to talking about money. They want to know in advance how much your services cost (if not start at) and you should tell them well in advance to ever meeting them in person. As I mentioned in my blog post about Ghosting, one of the biggest reason people ghost you is because they have complete sticker shock. I strongly suggest listing your starting price on your website contact and investment pages. When I first reply to new inquries, I always reiterate my "starting rate" and I ALWAYS send my pricing guide before each phone call.
What should you do? I would create your own process where you will send clients your full collection guide prior to any phone call or meeting so they have time to read and review it. They'll be able to see your wedding packages, prices and be able to ask any questions specifically related to your prices during your meeting or phone call. No more awkward conversations about "asking for a discount" or "what can we do to lower the cost" when you are already in a meeting. Phew!
No. 3 - Get Comfortable With The Word "No" - I know, no one likes to be the bad guy and say "No" to a potential client but to be a successful business person, you have to learn to say the word "No" and for the right reasons. However, with that said, I do have a twist on the way you say "No" without really having to say it. When someone asks for something that I'm not comfortable doing or I don't want to "swap out" to lower the price, I always suggest something else that could possibly be a better solution and benefit both of us. How you ask? Let me explain...
Let's say someone is asking for a discount on an album and I already know that don't offer discounts on albums. How would I answer them? I would say is "Unfortunately, I don't offer discounts on my albums but if you choose to add and album to your collection, I would love to gift you additional spreads as my way of saying Thank You". I'm saying "No" but in a positive way and offering something of value to my client vs. taking money away from my profits. Offering your client something of value such as additional hours of coverage, more pages in their album, an engagement session, etc... is inherently more valuable to them then lowering your prices for your services.
Being able to confidently explain and defend your pricing will lead to less haggling and negotiations during your client phone calls and meetings. I truly believe streamlining your pricing structure for your photography services, being up front with your prices and able to politely (but firmly) say "No" is the best way to avoid awkward negotiations and book the perfect couples just for you.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever had an awkward conversation about your prices with a potential client? What did you do? I hope these tips were helpful and I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
We are so excited to have our very first Tea with Jainé Podcast interview LIVE on our channel- HOORAY!! We interviewed our good friend and fellow wedding photographer Cassi Claire of Cassi Claire Weddings. We had so much fun chatting (and laughing!!) about all things wedding photography. Cassi talks about working with your spouse, defining your own version of success and shares her favorite workflow apps and tips. There are SO many good tips that I just know you are going to LOVE it!
Flash photography can be intimidating - I totally get it!! You've finally gotten comfortable using your own camera equipment, posing your couples and then you have to add a flash into the mix. Sheer panic ensues! Don't worry, I have been there too! When I second shot my very first wedding I had NO CLUE how to use my flash. My dear friend just said "put it on TTL and don't worry about!". That got me through my very first reception but I knew that I had to really buckle down and learn how to use my flash on and off camera. I wanted to share with you the gear and resources I would highly recommend to anyone just starting out or looking to up their flash game a bit. Once you understand how to use your flash, you can really photograph just about anything anywhere and that is truly empowering!
Flash Education and Resources: The first thing I would recommend would be reading a book or two (and of course read your instruction manual) on how to use flash. The first book I ever read about how to use my flash was Understanding Flash Photography by Bryan Peterson. It's a great photography book that goes over the beginning concepts how to control your flash from capturing motion, to creating motion blur (on purpose!) and so much more. You can pick up a copy here or rent one at your library. I also watched a ton of free Creative Live courses about how to use my flash from other wedding photographers. I am a visual learning so when I saw other photographers share how they use their flash, it all clicked for me and I haven't look back since!
Pro Tip: I can't express how understanding your gear is going to help you be a better photographer in every aspect of your photography.
Flash Equipment and Recommended Gear: I am a Nikon photographer and I have two Nikon SB-910 flashes (discontinued). The Nikon SB-5000 is the latest model of wireless flashes and I will probably upgrade to two of these in the very near future. Since my flashes aren't wireless, I have to use Receiver and Transmitter to get them to talk to each other wirelessly. I use the Pocket Wizard TT1 and Pocket Wizard TT5. I have been using these wireless transmitters for years and they have never let me down. They are so easy to use and very light on my camera which is very helpful for my back. Pocket Wizard releases firmware updates pretty regularly for their equipment so they are always up to date.
Because of how I like to shoot my flash photography, I prefer to use a flash modifier on top of my flashes to create soft pretty light vs. a harsh light on my subjects. The Nikon flashes all come with a light modifier (Canon's do not - sorry folks!) but I was introduced to MagMod about three years ago and their products have changed my life! Oh boy, are they AMAZING and so worth the investment!! I have MagMod MagGrips and MagSpheres for each of my flashes. I also have the MagBounce and MagMod Gel Set if I need to color balance a bad lighting situation (ie. terrible hotel rooms). These magnetic modifiers are 100% safe for your photography equipment and make your on and off-camera flash so so so pretty! I have subsequently gotten a few of my fellow wedding photographer friends hooked as well!
As for light stands, I use two Cheetah Light Stands and carry everything in my Manfrotto Light Stand Bag. I like the Cheetah Light Stands because the tripod legs automatically come down and open as soon as I loosen the bottom screws. It's just a little time saver when I'm busy getting ready for the reception.
Camera and Flash Settings: I will preface this part with - this is how I like to shoot my receptions and use a flash for my wedding photography. There is no wrong or right way to do anything - just the way that works best for you!
Ok, so I do NOT use TTL. EVER!! I never ever use my flashes built in TTL (through-the-lens) metering system. Why? Because I prefer to automatically set my flash power and output vs. letting the camera and flash decide for me. Just how I shoot in Manual Mode (never automatic or program modes) because I want to control my Aperture, Shutter and ISO settings to achieve my desired look for my wedding photography. You are way smarter than any camera could ever be!
For my On-Camera Settings: My flash power is usually between 1/32 to 1/64. My camera's ISO settings are between 1600 or 2000 ISO with an aperture of f/2.2. I prefer to have as little ISO noise in my reception photos and like to keep the ISO low whenever possible. If the reception venue is very dark, I might bump my settings up ISO 2500 and 1/18th flash power but this is very rare.
For my Off-Camera Settings: I like to setup my off-camera setup is really pretty easy and, in most cases, the same for most weddings. I will put one flash connected to my Pocket Wizard Receiver on my Cheetah Stand hidden by the Band or DJ Booth. Usually right at the edge of the equipment and out of the way of the dancing. I don't want my equipment to be too noticeable inside the actual wedding space because lets face it, camera gear is not attractive. I will use the Pocket Wizard Transmitter, along with my second flash, securely tightened on top of my camera. I will test them both to make sure they are talking to each other before the reception begins. Since the flash is to one side of the room at all times, I will photograph the dance floor from usually three of the four sides to ensure I have the same look throughout the images. I like to rim light/backlight and side light my subjects during the dances and toasts. If the venue has white ceilings that I can easily bounce my on-camera flash from, I will not use my off-camera setup.
Every wedding venue is different but knowing how to properly use your photography gear and flash equipment will help you feel 100% confident going into ANY situation. Whenever I get asked if I've shot at a certain venue before and I haven't, I can confidently say I can light any room and capture my couples wedding in my signature reception style.
What are some of your flash tricks and tips? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave a comment below and can't wait to hear from you!
I'm so excited (and a bit nervous) to let you know that the "Tea with Jainé" Podcast is now LIVE!! That's right, we've started a podcast! I wanted a place where I could chat and interview my friends, industry peers and amazing wedding vendors and share their advice directly with you. Everyone has so much to share and this podcast will be another place where you can grow, expand and develop your knowledge. I'm so EXCITED!!!
So, how can you hear the latest episode? You can listen on just about any podcast platform including Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Spotify, and Stitcher. I am using Anchor to create and distribute my podcast and it's so easy and free.
I'd love for you to stop by, listen and hit that subscribe button and if you like what you hear, please leave us a review. It's the best and fastest way for new people to hear our show and discover us online. We'd really appreciate your amazing support and kind feedback!!
Last week, I asked everyone in the Facebook group which topic they wanted me to discuss on the next on Tea with Jainé on my IG TV channel. I offered a few different topics but Ghosting clients was the clear winner. It's so interesting how people will just disappear after they've spent the time inquiring about your services but never follow up. Never heard of Ghosting? Well, let me explain!
The term "Ghosting" started in the dating world. Let's say you would start seeing someone, go out on a few dates, think everything was going fine and then out of nowhere they would disappear. Never to be heard from again. This Ghosting! It also translates nicely into the business world. Your a business owner, you receive a promising inquiry from a potential client and reply letting them know more about your services. You wait and wait for their response but they've disappeared into thin air and vanished just a like a ghost. Ghosting can be very frustrating and potentially upsetting, if you let it get the better of you, so I wanted to share my top 3 tips on how to help minimize ghosting with new client inquires.
No. 1 - Be Transparent! When a couple begins to search for their wedding photographer, where is one of the first places they'll look after they've found you? Yep, your website. They'll browse your photos, read your "about" page, and if they've decided that they like you enough to inquire, they are going to want to know how much your services start at. F A C T. What do you do once you've found a top, or bag you like in a store? You look inside and find the TAG to see if you can afford it or maybe, sort of afford it, right? If you do not clearly list your starting price on your website, you are going to have a very high ghost rate because nobody likes surprises, especially when it comes to to money. The number one reason someone doesn't reply to your email, is probably because they got a bit of "sticker shock" after you've shared your pricing information with them. I would also stay away from the thought process of "I'll tell them my rates AFTER we've met", or "during our meeting", or "after our phone call". Honestly, you are wasting everyone's time by "hiding" this information. Be transparent on your website and in your communications with your potential couples! I strongly believe that if you list your starting price on your website, on a few different pages (mine are located on my Contact & FAQ pages) your ghosting rate will decrease immediately. Couples want to know if they can afford you, so help them out!
No. 2 - Be Honest (with yourself) I know, it's tough to admit but you probably are not the only wedding photographer the couple has inquired with for their special day. They've looked online, asked their friends, family and co-workers for recommendations and luckily, you made the list. However, if they simply don't reply to you, please don't take it personally. It's taken me a long time NOT to get upset when a couple I really like and the venue I've dreamt about, didn't work out but hey, that's ok!! You can't be everyone's cup of tea! You have to focus on the wins and the positives in every single situation. Focus on the couple you DID book you, who is obsessed with your work, and cannot wait to have you be part of their day. Think of ways to make their experience with you even better so once the wedding is over, they'll be telling everyone about you! Look, rejection is apart of being a business owner and having a thick skin is necessary. Knowing in the back of your mind that couples are probably inquiring with a few different photographers will help keep your expectations in check AND more "ok" if they never reply.
No. 3 - Follow Up. Follow Up. Follow Up! Let's take a minute and think about everything we have to get done for today. Boy, it's a lot and I'm sure we have so much more on our never ending "to-do" lists. We are ALLLLLL sorts of busy these days and people have good intentions but then they don't follow up just for the sheer fact that life got in the way. A potential client will inquiry and then never respond. They actually might not be ghosting you, they might just really really busy. How do you know the difference? Follow Up! Not once, but twice!! I have found that following up twice works the best for me and isn't too much of an annoyance if they have really moved on. First, I'll reply to their initial inquiry and include my starting collections - again I'm reminding them what my services start at so there is no "shock" if they didn't see it on my website. Next, if I don't hear back within the first 48 hours, I'll send a quick follow up and make sure my email made it through their SPAM filters. You'd be surprised how often this still happens!! Last, if I haven't heard from them in another 48 hours after my second email, I'll send my own version of the "Magic Email". If you don't know what the "Magic Email" is, just do a quick google search to find out more. I simply send a final email letting them know that since I haven't heard from them, I'm going to assume they've hired another photographer and I'm going to be closing their inquiry and reopening the date on my calendar for future couples. I want them to know that I'm interested in talking with them but I also have other inquires and need to keep the date open if they aren't serious. My time is just as important and valuable as theirs and I don't want to waste either of them.
So, there you have it. Theses are my top 3 tips to avoid ghosted by potential new couples. For myself, my ghosting rate has decreased each year and I'm happy to say that just about everyone replies. So, will people really stop ghosting you? Probably not but I think implementing these tips and shifting your mentality a bit, will help you experience less ghosting and not take it personally.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about ghosting? How does it effect you? What have you done to minimize getting ghosted by potential clients? Let me know in the comments below!
One of the most common questions I receive is "what lens do you use?" and "what is your favorite lens to use on a wedding day?". I thought that this would be a great topic to discuss on the blog and over on my Instagram IGTV channel. I use several lenses throughout the course of a wedding but I definitely have my favorites and must-have lenses. I've listed each lens below including why I love it and how I use it for each part of the wedding.
Oh, and I should mention that I do not use zoom lenses. Yep, you read that right. From the compression, higher aperture's and slower speeds just do not work for me in my own wedding photography. I prefer prime lenses for their speed, low light capabilities, and overall sharpness. They are, however, VERY expensive and unfortunately there is no way around the price of prime lens so if you can find a good one used, I say grab it while you can! I hope its helpful!!
Let's start with my all time ride or die lens - the 50mm 1.4. I absolutely love the 50mm focal length because it's as close to our own eyes as possible. I love that there is no distortion and the perspective is exactly how we see it. It's very flattering on our faces and bodies keeping everything as natural as possible. I have two 50mm's but the one that spends 95% of the time on my camera is the 50mm 1.4 Sigma Art lens for Nikon. This lens is simply the best 50mm out there in my humble opinion. It's unbelievable sharp (which I actually turn down in post-processing) and is a true workhorse. I purchased this lens 3 years ago and it hasn't left my side since! I photograph everything from the details, getting ready, bridal portraits, bride and groom photos, reception details, wedding toast and speeches with this lens. However, when I do get to the reception, I will switch out the heavier Sigma lens for my lighter Nikon 50mm 1.4G. This lens is so small and light that it's perfect for receptions when my back starts to ache from running around all day. This lens has zero distortion or vignetting (dark shading at the corners of the frame) which is exactly why I prefer the 50mm lens to any other. Also, the 1.4 aperture allows me to shoot very wide open and let in a lot of light in low light situations like wedding receptions or sparkler exits. This is hands down my number ONE recommendation for any wedding photographer looking to build their gear kit. It's a must-have, can't live without kind of lens for me!
the 35mm 1.4 Lens is a fantastic wide angle lens that has very minimal to no distortion on the edges of the frame. The 35mm is the perfect lens for those tight hotel rooms or stunning ceremony locations. I will use the 35mm for getting ready photos in small hotel rooms. I always use this lens for clean wide ceremony photos just after the bride and groom have walked down the aisle. This is the perfect time to take a few stunning wide photos of the ceremony space with everyone seated so the couple can remember what it looked like. The 35mm is great for large bridal party shots and always on my camera body for family formals. Especially, the extended family! This lens is great for cocktail hour photos when asking guests to smile for the camera. Last, I will use this lens for the first dance, father-daughter/mother-son dances and speeches/toasts to include more of the reception room in the photos before switching to a tighter lens. When guests are eating, I like to include a few ambient photos of the space so the couple can get a full sense of their wedding venue during their reception. I think it's a nice way to add to more photos into their final wedding gallery. I will put the 35mm away after the last toast and switch it out for a wider, lighter lens. (see below). A less expensive option, would be the 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art Lens for Nikon.
the 85mm 1.4 Lens is a beast! She is perfect for getting in close without being noticed and still has the power and speed of a prime lens. I use the 85mm during my engagement sessions when we are just starting and couples can be a bit nervous. I'll walk away and give them an action to do and capture them from afar so they can start to get comfortable. I like that I can get a close up shot without being directly in front of them. I love this lens for wedding ceremonies and getting close up reactions from family members, the bride and groom and wedding guests during the service. It also produces the prettiest bokeh (blurry background) in the photos. I always use this lens during the reception for couples first dance, parent dances, speeches and toasts. It's just the right compression with no distortion to create a beautiful photos capturing real authentic moments. I will say that it's incredibly HEAVY (all that glass!!) and once the last speech is done, it's put back in my rollie and it's finished for the night.
The 105 Macro 2.8G Lens has just one purpose in my gear collection. It's for ring detail shots and ring shots alone. It's an expensive lens for just one thing (I KNOW!) but it's worth every penny to make those epic ring shots for your couples. I manually focus this lens around f/6.3, f/8, or even f/11 to created a incredible detail shot of the rings. Since it's a macro lens, the compression and depth of field are still extremely low at higher apertures BUT shooting higher lets you get the prongs, diamonds, engravings in focus each and every time. I do manually focus this lens because the autofocus is just a waste on a macro images. I usually get very low to my subject (the rings) and take my time manually focusing my shot. I'm usually sweating at this point during the detail photo process because of all the concentration I have to do to nail the foucs. It's not a pretty sight!!
The 28mm 1.8G Lens is perfect for wedding reception dancing photos! I purchased this lens a few years ago when it was released from Nikon and boy, do I LOVE it! It's so little, light and the perfect wide angel lens for getting in close on the dance floor and capturing all the action. I'm usually in the middle of the dance floor (I have several bruises to prove it!) with the 28mm capturing really fun wide shots from the heart of the party. There is some distortion on the edges of the images but that is to be expected with such a wide lens. I'm ok with this look during the reception but only at the receptions! It's a prime lens which means it's still fast in low light situations (ie. candlelight dinners, receptions) which is exactly why I prefer this lens to a 24-70mm 2.8 Zoom. In my opinion, it's just too slow and doesn't open up wide enough to let in the pretty ambient light I love for my style of photography. My back loves this lens too because it's so light and easy to carry around for several hours during the reception.
The 135mm 2.0 Lens sits in my bag 95% of the time throughout a wedding day. Since I do not use zoom lenses, I needed a lens that had a longer focal point past 85mm but was still sharp enough to create great images. I found this 135mm Lens from Nikon used and it's amazing for ceremonies where I'm not allowed to be in the first few aisles. Some churches have very strict rules about where the photographer and videographers are allowed to be during the actual ceremony, so having this long prime lens in my kit is definitely handy in those less common situations. It's a 2.0 aperture which is just fast enough to let in a lot of light if needed in a dark church or synagogue. Usually, I have already spoken with the facility director and know what my limitations are for the ceremony space, so I already know if I need to dust off this lens and use the day of my wedding. It's a great long prime lens to have "just in case" I need it and I always like to be prepared. I do, however, love when my second photographer has a 70-200mm for the ceremony to get in nice and tight to the Bride and Groom or reactions from the guests. It's a great addition to the couples overall wedding gallery but not a lens I'm going to purchase anytime soon.
And finally, I also use the Black Rapid LensBling Caps on each of my lenses so I can quickly see which lens I'm reaching for inside my Shootsac or Thinktank Rollie. They are so helpful and by the end of the night, I can never find any of my front or rear lens caps. It's the truth!!
So, those are MY favorite lenses. What are yours? I'd love to hear from you jn the comment section below. Am I missing any amazing lens options out there?!