Erica Velasco Photographers
- Phoenix, AZ 85050
- (480) 862-3363
"Wedding Site Basics"
Modern wedding reception sites today are breaking tradition when it comes to creativity and special settings.
There are basically two general types of locations. The first is on-site, which means that the place can provide services such as food, drinks, wait staff, tables, linens, china, maybe even flowers, music and the wedding cake. Some favorite on-site places include:
Church and community centers
Inns or bed-and-breakfast establishments
The other location type is off-site: There are no services offered. You have your own space or pay a rental fee for one and bring in everything yourself, from seats to spoons. The good news? You can have it all your way. Here are some popular off-site places:
Wildlife preserves and zoos
On the beach
Wherever you choose, book your site as far in advance as possible. Visit the site while another wedding is taking place to see how the staff runs the affair. Sample the food, inspect the kitchen and check the restrooms.
If space allows, an at-home wedding can be the perfect alternative to renting a location. Just know what you're getting into. Logistics may pose a problem if electrical, toilet and parking facilities are inadequate for the number of guests attending. For outdoor weddings, a tent is recommended in case of rain. If you're determined to be wed at home, an experienced caterer or party planner may get you over the larger hurdles.
For those extra special places, the search may be become more involved. Here's how to go about it:
Naturally, the web is a sure bet for tons of leads. If you haven't already, do a search for "wedding locations" and watch what's revealed. You'll turn up websites that deal with specific regions of the country and others that offer helpful links.
Check with a caterer or party planner in your vicinity. They know where the best spots can be found.
Next, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, parks commission, historical society or National Register of Historic Trusts to find out about specific sites.
"Money Saving Photography Tips"
First, it must be emphasized that your photography is NOT an area of the wedding where you should cut corners. There are a few ways to save money but overall, you DON'T want to skimp on your photography. Here are a few ways to save money, but without sacrificing the quality of your wedding photos.
ALWAYS hire a professional. DON'T ask your friend who "takes good pictures" to photograph your wedding. Hire a professional and one that has experience photographing weddings. You've only got ONE chance to get it right, so don't take chances.
Ask your photographer to limit their time taking pictures. Some couples choose a "ceremony only" package where the photographer takes pictures before and during the ceremony but not at the reception. The photographer would take all of the formal pictures of the bride and groom, family and wedding party and photograph the ceremony. Then, ask friends and relatives to take candid photographs at the reception.
To save money on your videographer, you can also ask them to videotape the ceremony only and then have friends videotape the reception.
When using disposable cameras, think twice before placing one at every table. The cameras are inexpensive, but the cost to develop 20-30 roles of film is not! Try assigning an hour for each camera use, having cameras passed out to designated people, or place a camera on every other table.
Choose a photography package rather than purchasing all of the items separately. If there is something that you really want that is not included in a package, ask the photographer if something can be swapped without increasing the price.
Sometimes choosing the smallest or least expensive photography package is not the most cost effective option. One bride chose the least expensive package and afterwards spent $700 to buy additional prints that were not included in her original package. A more comprehensive package would have cost her only an additional $250 more if purchased up front.
Be careful of all the extras that your photographer may offer, such as the "Deluxe or Ultra" wedding album or a framed wedding portrait. Remember, what really counts are the pictures themselves - not the packaging!
"Picking the right wedding photographer"
I'm going to try to start doing themes for some of my blog posts. When I have an idea for a theme, I will announce it that week and all my blogs will focus on that topic.
This week I chose to focus on tips to choosing the right wedding photographer. This not only includes the search process, but also what kinds of poses you should ask the photographer to use on your wedding day.
Today's post will focus on what questions to ask a photographer when you are interviewing them.
Are you the one who's going to be shooting our wedding, or will it be one of your colleagues?
Make sure the person whose book you've seen is also the one who takes the pictures. Not only should you meet the photographer in question, but his or her name should be clearly indicated on your contract. This is not to say, the photographer shouldn't have an assistant or second shooter.
What percentage of your pictures are candids, as opposed to posed?
This is going to be important if you prefer formal portraits to spontaneous shots, or vice versa, or want a mixture of both.
How many rolls of films or digital images are you going to shoot?
The more pictures your photographer takes, the more shots you'll be able to choose from for the final prints. You'll also want to find out whether pictures will be in color or black and white, or both, and whether you can pick your own album. As a general rule, the more flexible your photographer-and the greater the options you're offered-the greater the likelihood that you'll be pleased by the final outcome.
Have you shot at the selected wedding and reception sites before?
Photographers should be aware of the various rooms' special lighting needs, or specific restrictions regarding picture-taking or, say, the use of flash equipment. If they haven't shot at the location, it's not a deal breaker at all. But you want to make sure they will visit the site ahead of time with you to familiarize themselves in all possible shoot areas.
When must I put the deposit down, and when is the balance due?
Costs are tricky, and you should establish ahead of time what is owed when, and whether it is refundable (rarely!) if you decide to cancel. Normally, it's half due at signing the contract and the remaining amount due a week prior. Some photographers will do payment plans. You should also find out whether there is a charge for overtime, when the albums will be delivered, and whether you can hold onto the negatives longer than scheduled--or other loving members of the family--keep coming back for more! Also, see if there are smaller album options for making two or three albums; maybe your Mom or your Mom-in-law would like a small yet professional album.