Royal Engagement Photos - Theirs and Yours!

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Prince William and his soon-to-be bride posed for their first official engagement portraits recently.  And, as expected, they look amazing!  So how can you get awesome engagement photos without the celebrity photographer?

  • Choose a photographer that you get along with.  If you feel relaxed, you will be relaxed in your photos!
  • Be yourself.  Don't were ridiculous outfits that have nothing to do with your personalities.  If you are jeans and t-shirt people, by all means wear jeans and t-shirts!
  • Along the same lines, think about having a theme for your session.  If you love a certain area of town, a tv show, or have an interesting hobby, why not incorporate this into your shoot?
  • Bring a few changes of clothes so that you have some variety to your  photos; just remember that patterns aren't great in photos.  Also remember to bring touch-up makeup, especially lipstick!
  • Rely on your professional photographer to get fun and unique shots.  Don't be afraid to do something crazy - it might just be your favorite shot!

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Tuesday Tips: Photography Basics

I always stress the importance of photography and videography to my clients.  After the party has ended, your photos and videos are the only thing you will be left with other than memories of your wedding day.   Here are some things to think about when interviewing photographers:

  • What type of equipment do you use? Is it professional-grade?  It's not important to get into too many specifics here, but the thing you want to know about is resolution and print size.  If a photographer is using a camera from Best Buy, the resolution may not be high enough to create the wall-size portrait that you want.
  • What is your backup procedure?  Most pros will "dump" their media cards (usually similar to what is in your point-and-shoot digital camera) as soon as the wedding is over and back everything up to CD or DVD.  But what happens from there?  Is there an external hard drive backup?  Does a copy get stored off-site in case of fire, theft or other damage at the studio?
  • Also regarding backups, how long are your images stored?  I was recently at an industry event where Master Photographer Susan Michal was addressing this issue - she has backups for every wedding she has ever shot.  This might seem extreme now, but what happens if your house burns down in five years?  Wouldn't it be great to know you can turn to your photographer to still have your wedding images?
  • How many images are edited?  If your photographer gives you a CD or DVD as part of your package, find out if these images are edited for color correction, etc.
  • Can I see images from an entire wedding?  Often a photographer might show you an album with one or two of the best images from several weddings - ask to log in to their online proofing website to see a full wedding.
  • What are your emergency procedures?  Do you have backup equipment?  Do you bring it with you?  What if something happens to you on the wedding day, can you send another photographer?

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Reminder: Peek Romance Photography Giveaway!

One week from today, we will be announcing  the winner of Peek Romance Photography giveaway!  Check out the post about the contest here:

We've had some great entries but it's not too late!  Get your entry in soon.

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Boudouir Is Back!


Fabulous photographer Jennifer Brum just sent me an email with a sneak "peek" of her latest project, and I'm so excited to share it with you!  She has launched a new division called Peek Romance Photography, dedicated to making women feel sexy, alluring and romantic. According to Jen, her style is "fresh and creative without being too revealing," so there is a lot left to the imagination!  Here are some sneak "peeks!"

Peek By Jennifer Brum

Peek by Jennifer Brum

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How To Hire a Wedding Photographer

The following article was originally published in our e-newsletter, before we had a blog.  It's great information - enjoy! How To Hire a Wedding Photographer Resources, Questions to Ask and Tips

By Jennifer Brum, Certified Professional Photographer |  phone 904.382.7255

For many brides, the wedding photography is often the most important part of the event. After the music has stopped, the cake has been eaten and the guests are gone, the wedding photos are all that remain of your wonderful day. For that reason, hiring a wedding photographer can be one of the most important and yet, nerve wracking decisions you’ll make.

But, don’t stress! There are many resources available to brides-to-be including local and national professional photographer associations and many experienced, well-trained and professional photographers in Jacksonville. Even your friends that are former brides can be an excellent referral source for you. 

Did you know that there is a local association for professional photographers? The Professional Photographers Society of North Florida (PPSNF) is an organization of photographers committed to helping photographers achieve career success and professionalism through education and networking. They have an excellent website, that includes a complete member listing. Brides can view member websites, preview a gallery of work and contact the ones they would like to meet. 

On the national level, many photographers belong to the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) which provides similar resources, but also includes an explanation of the certification process for photographers. The PPA website is

Most importantly, interview many photographers in your area to find the best match for you. After checking their credentials, does their photography style match how you envision your day? Do your personalities get along? What about references? 

Ask about their experiences at your location. What type of equipment do they use? Have they been trained in various lighting styles? What do they need from you to provide the best images possible? What type of albums and packages do they offer? 

After you have hired your photographer, communicate with them often. Let them get to know you. An engagement session is the perfect opportunity to get better acquainted in a relaxed setting. 

Lastly, remember to plan your day so that you can relax and have fun. If you are enjoying your day it will show in your images. So, try to accomplish as much as possible before the big day, delegate tasks that can’t be done early and focus on you and your groom.

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Wedding Photojournalism Q&A

An Interview With Wedding Photojournalist Dan Harris Tell our readers what Wedding Photojournalism is?

DAN: The dictionary defines photojournalism as telling a story with pictures. Today there are more definitions of wedding photojournalism than there are photographers who truly practice it. Wedding photojournalism started when a bride hired a working newspaper photojournalist to cover her wedding and he did it just like he would any photo assignment using black and white film and unobtrusively documenting what really happened.

How is it different than regular wedding photography?

DAN: 'Regular' or traditional wedding photography has always involved lots of direction, posing and control by the photographer. The term Wedding Photojournalism was popularized by the Kennedy family photographer Denis Reggie. He categorizes unadulterated wedding photojournalism as photography that is captured without any control, influence or direction by the photographer.

What has made wedding photojournalism so popular today?

DAN: With so many wedding day plans and pressures many brides prefer their wedding day photography to be unobtrusive, spontaneous and natural. They prefer the photographs of the real moments captured that bring back real memories of what really happened rather than the staged or orchestrated ones.

Doesn't every wedding photographer today offer wedding photojournalism?

DAN: Because of its popularity when asked if they offer photojournalistic photography most every wedding photographer will say yes. But what they offer may not be the same as what the bride had in mind. There is a lot of confusion in the marketplace and photography style terms abound. i.e.: Classical, Contemporary, Natural, Romantic, Photojournalistic, Documentary, Illustrative, Fashionable, Eclectic, Story-Telling, Dramatic, Artistic, Life-stylistic, Environmental, Fantasy, Fine-art, Elegant, Candid, etc. Any two photographers will use the same term to mean two different things.

How does a bride eliminate the confusion between the different styles and terms?

DAN: The bride really only needs to concern herself with two classifications of photography. 1) the staged type that requires pre-planning, setup and time out of your wedding-day schedule and 2) the type that occurs naturally during the course of your event without any interruption to your event timetable. Your preference in regards to these two classifications will determine how much time will be spent 'posing for pictures' (time away from your guests) on your wedding day and the type of photographer you should hire.What if a bride wants a mix of styles?

DAN: Every photographer has his own unique style and strengths. Some do a fantastic job of spontaneously capturing the decisive moments at an event, others have the talent to orchestrate a glamorous pose and no two are quite alike. Not many photographers are the best at both. Multiple photographers may help or they may just end up in each others pictures. It is critical to do extensive research into your photographer's style to insure you know what they are really capable of and to insure you hire the right photographer to match your own style.

Do Wedding Photojournalists take formal group photographs?

DAN: Some will and some won't. Over Fifty percent of the brides I work with request some type of group photographs. (Some formal and some casual) Our goal is to give our brides the highest quality natural-looking group photos in the least amount of time and have fun while doing it. We never go over the pre-planned time allowed for posed photos.

What are the advantages of Wedding Photojournalism?

DAN: The advantages include natural looking images, unobtrusive photographer, complete coverage, unexpected images and lots of photographs capturing real memories of what really happened. No interruption of your event timetable. ~ Less cheese.

What are the disadvantages of Wedding Photojournalism?

DAN: You won't know in advance exactly what you are going to get. Not all real images are pretty! You may have some wasted shots.

What should a bride do to find the photographer who is right for her?

DAN: I have written a lengthy pamphlet on this subject. (Available online at: ) In regards to style, I think it is critical to see lots of images and complete albums from your potential photographer as this will give you a realistic view of what they can really do for you.

What about viewing images on a photographer's website, literature and in their advertisements?

DAN: That's a good place to start but you must go deeper than that because too often a photographer's true capability is masked by the limited number of edited photographs they allow you to see. Ten of a photographer's best edited photos from the past 10 years may not be a true representation of the type or style of actual images you will receive from your wedding day. You can prevent disappointment if you look at hundreds of images and several albums from your potential photographer as you will have a true and realistic understanding of their style and what they can do for you prior to hiring them.

What about digital wedding photography?

DAN: Professional high-definition digital cameras (DSLR w/10+ megapixels) in the hands of an experienced professional photographer (with extensive computer skills, software training and staff) can make great digital images that far exceed any photographic quality previously achieved from any other equipment or medium. The camera alone doesn't make the photographer. Today there are a lot of inexperienced people who are experimenting as part-time photographers, although they may call themselves ‘professionals’ I would be cautious.

How can a bride prevent wedding vendor problems?

DAN: A bride should take the same logical steps they would in hiring any wedding-day vendor, check references (both previous clients and other wedding vendors) and verify insurance and licenses, check their Better Business Bureau report, make sure they are upstanding members of local support organizations and read the fine print on their contract and clarify everything in writing. I would pay with a credit card because they will work to insure you get what you pay for and will be your mediator if you have any problems.

Dan Harris is a member of the prestigious Wedding Photojournalist Association ( a highly screened, critical organization of the world’s most talented wedding photojournalists. Less than 5% of all wedding photographers qualify for membership.( Members of WPJA have the goal of 'telling the story of your wedding day, not dictating it for you'.) He is also a member of the National Press Photographers Association. For more information, please visit his website at or call Dan at (904) 398-7668 with your photography questions.

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