11 Things Most Photographers Won't Tell You (Aided by New Girl Memes)

As an avid watcher of New Girl (Nick and Jess... will they? Won't they?! COME ON!), I feel like one of the best ways to fully express my feelings in this situation is with memes from the show. If you're not a watcher, the show is currently available on Netflix. I suggest you do yourself a favor, and binge your face off.

Now, on to 11 things most photographers probably won't tell you---aided by New Girl memes!

1. They get really excited when you email them!

While you might just be casually hunting for prices, getting an inquiry for wedding photography from you can put a serious pep in their step! Learning about a new couple from their love story to their wedding day details is what drives many photographers and fuels their passion. Hence the cheering.

 

2. They get even more excited when you book. 

While this one is probably obvious, you probably don't realize just how excited photographers get when you book. They would probably freak you out with their unfiltered giddiness, so they play it cool. In truth though, a wedding booking can make their day, season, or year. Your actions at a future client likely have more power than you realize.

3. Consultations sometimes feel like a job interview. 

They're friendly; they're informative; and they feel like there's something on the line they care about: getting to photograph your wedding! Everything in them wants you to know they're the right person for the job, so don't be surprised when they show up in a blazer and pass you their proverbial resumé.

4. Engagement sessions are like wedding day training. 

Most photographers will tell you they want you to feel comfortable with one another before the wedding day. What they might not say is that because wedding day portrait times typically go very quickly (and can have unexpected delays because of things like weather), having experience with their posing and shooting style can make a potentially hectic wedding day experience feel like a walk in the park (but with fancier clothes).

5. The schedule is their baby!

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While photographers love to help you make a schedule that makes your wedding day go smoothly, they also know that it's crucial to making sure you get the photos you want and need. Deviating from the schedule could mean more stress and less photos. A little planning from your resident wedding expert (ahem... your photographer) can make all the difference.

6. They have a love/hate relationship with videographers.

While they try to get along with videographers, working with them can be something of a complicated dance! The pairing of video and photography is incomparable on a wedding day (and both are necessary parts of story-telling), but trying to juggle the space and time needed for both parties to get the shots they want is... tricky. Hence a Montague-Capulet-esque rivalry, until the end of time.

7. Your marriage means a lot to them. 

Even though weddings are something they see and attend considerably more than the average person, it doesn't mean that they are desensitized to the incredible covenant happening between you and your future spouse. They might be hiding their tears behind their camera as you exchange vows, but they certainly don't want people to catch them getting emotional while shooting. They are, more than you know, a cheerleader for your marriage, so naturally, cue the tears.

8. Seeing their photos printed through a sub-par lab is cringe-worthy.

Photographers understand that you want an affordable guest book at your wedding and you want to decorate your home with photos, but it can be rather painful for them to show up to a wedding and see that the images they worked so hard to edit to perfection were printed through a lab that doesn't calibrate their monitors or printers. Most photographers will gladly edit an album free of charge if you order them, saving you time and in essence money.

9. But they love it when they see their photos printed through a preferred lab!

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On the flip side, when they their images printed through a professional grade lab, they freak out. Little will make your photographer happier than printing the images through a lab that will honor the beautiful edits, time, and energy they put into your imagery. They will give you the shiniest gold star for doing so!

10. They can't wait to know what you think of the photos they took. 

It's not uncommon for photographers to edit photos, deliver the gallery earlier than expected, and then hear nothing from the clients. Many photographers just want to know you liked what they photographed. Even though you are probably so excited to look at your gallery, a quick note to say you safely received (and loved) the images is more appreciated than you know (and avoids some major awkwardness).

11. At the end of the day, photographers just want you to be happy. 

All the scheduling, booking, nervous energy, and fancy details aside, photographers more than anything just want you to be happy! Little makes a photographer happier than knowing that you not only liked your images, but that your wedding day was made better by their presence. That's worthy of petal-throwing for sure!

For more thoughts on this topic,
and to learn my celebratory coffee beverage,

WATCH THIS VIDEO.

 
 

Six Questions Brides Ask Before Booking (With Answers!)

With wedding season just around the corner, brides have a lot of questions on their minds about what their photography journey is going to look like. While every photographer does things differently, I'm going to quickly share my answers to a few commonly asked questions from brides during consultations. Let's dive in!

FIRST LOOK
Can/should we do a first look? What is a first look?

Whether it's describing a first look or deciding whether or not to have one, every consultation encounters this topic! In the past, I used to attempt to persuade every couple to have a first look (where the groom sees the bride before the ceremony), because I thought it made the schedule easier, however, I realized that approaching the wedding from that angle was not prioritizing the wedding day experience for my bride and groom. Now I'm happy to discuss the pros and cons of the first look with my future couples to help them decide what works best for them!

The image below is of Haylee and Andrew during their First Look in Manhattan last summer. They were so sweet and so happy to see each other!

POSING
Will you pose us?

Because everyone wants to know they're going to look good in their photos, couples frequently ask me if I will pose them. Call me a control freak, but I couldn't imagine photographing someone without posing them!

Over the years, I've done my best to learn how to pose clients in a way that looks natural and flattering, while still leaving room for them to let their natural emotions show. To get a better idea of what that looks like, every portrait on my web-site (apart from candids) has been posed. Rest easy, and know that you're going to look beautiful and feel like yourself!

Here are Anna & Brett solidly rocking out a walking pose!

SECOND SHOOTER
Can we have a second shooter? What will the second shooter do?

While every wedding doesn't need a second shooter (aka a second photographer), I'm always happy to discuss the pros and cons (much like a first look) with my couples.  When I have a second shooter, I prefer they act first as an assistant and second as a photographer.

For years I've been a one-woman-show, and I pride myself in my ability to adequately capture the story of wedding days singlehandedly. However, when days have more complicated schedules or when weddings are more large scale, it's occasionally helpful to have another set of hands on board. My assistants help with everything from running errands, assisting the bride and groom, and taking photos of extra moments on wedding days.

The reason I'm able to photograph weddings by myself is mostly because I work with the bride and groom to create a schedule that allows me to be in all of the key places as the most important things are happening. Despite that, I'm always happy to bring someone on board if need be.

TRAVEL
Do you travel? If so, what do you charge?

Traveling is one of the most exciting perks of being a wedding photographer! While every photographer has different policies with travel, I've tried to streamline this potentially tricky process as much as possible. My travel guidelines are the same whether it's a wedding or a photo session. They are as follows:

 
  • Travel within 60 miles of my location is included
  • Travel after that is charged by the mile
  • Depending on the timeline/location, lodging, airfare, and car rental might be required
     
 

BOOKING
How do we book and save our date?

Booking is something that I want to over-simplify for my clients, because the topic typically comes up mid-consultation, and I want to be able to explain it easily. The entire process from paying their retainer to signing their contract is completed online through my client management software. While every photographer has a different method, I've found that the following format is very easy to follow and works well for me and my clients:

 
  • Pay a 30% non-refundable retainer fee (amount based on collection total, reserves date)
  • Complete contract online
  • Pay collection remainder one month prior to wedding
 

DELIVERY
When should we expect our images?

While potential clients don't always ask when and how their images will be delivered, it's something that I like to cover because eventually they will want to know.  Not only that, but setting achievable expectations early is always helpful for them, and it sets me up for success! All of my brides are told that they will receive their wedding day images in 4-6 weeks, and that is being generous. Under promise and over deliver is my philosophy here, so I try to get images out as soon as possible!

Hopefully these questions for insightful for brides, grooms, and photographers alike! If you have more questions, always feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Instagram @rosewheat or e-mail emma[at]rosewheat[dot]com!


FOR EVEN MORE THOUGHTS ON THE TOPIC

WATCH THIS VIDEO


My Go-To Wedding Photography Gear



Figuring out what gear to buy as a wedding photographer can be incredibly difficult. Sometimes all the options can feel crippling, and you certainly don't want to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars only to find out you purchased something you don't like. 

Over the past several years, I've slowly grown my collection, taking time to add gear as my skills and finances are ready for it. Because of that, I am happy to share with you the gear I've purchased through the years, and why I've justified adding it to my bag, so that, hopefully, you can be assisted in your gear-collecting journey. This list specifically details my wedding photography gear, but everything listed can be used for most types of photography.

For more thoughts on my gear and what I have in my bag, I've shared my video about the topic at the bottom of this post. 

Now, let's dive in to my favorite wedding photography gear!

BAGS

Billingham Hadley Pro | https://goo.gl/t7wQmz
Manfrotto Roller 70 | https://goo.gl/hntrd4

While bags are essential for protecting your gear, carrying it around while shooting, and then ultimately getting it to your desired destination, let's be honest: they need to look good. While there are so many bags out there, (like so many... holy moly, there are so many) from hipster to hot momma to fresh-off-the-generic-camera-store-rack, I'm thankful that I found a brand early on that was absolutely fantastic.

I can proudly say that for eight years (holy moly to how long I've been shooting), Billingham has been my downright favorite camera bag brand, period. Even though it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other camera bags, it is a straight-forward bag that stays in good shape despite a lot of abuse. As an added perk, at first glance it doesn't necessarily look like a camera bag, which for reasons like theft-protection and generally looking inconspicuous, I think that's pretty great!

The bag pictured at the top of this post is actually my second Billingham, and the only reason I upgraded was on account of size. I needed more space for a bigger camera body and bigger lenses. Otherwise, I still own my original Billingham Hadley, and parting with it would take a few tears and maybe a fist fight.

My Manfrotto Roller Bag fills me less with aesthetic passion and more with feelings of practically. I'm not really going to go into super detail about my bags in this post (truly this is just scratching the surface), but I will say I constantly push the limits of what this bag can carry, stuffing it to the brim and rolling it all over the country multiple times a year, and it's (shockingly) still functioning. In fact, if it weren't for the slightly scuffed up corners and wheels, it almost looks brand new.

GO-TO GEAR

Canon 5D MK III | https://goo.gl/2qbIhS
Ciesta Leather Hand Grip | https://goo.gl/OKK7nZ
Canon 70-200 f/2.8L II | https://goo.gl/Q9slhJ
Canon 50mm f/1.2 | https://goo.gl/XVGBtw
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | https://goo.gl/wRKUPv

Ok, so here's where we get to the good stuff! I feel like extensively detailing ALL of my gear would just be a nightmare for all involved. So, I'm going to detail why I love my gear, because that sounds way more fun. Detailed below is my Go-To Gear. Everything in this category pretty much comes with me every time I'm shooting and lives in my bag more than anything else.

First let's talk about my main camera body squeeze: the Canon 5D MK III. It's a beauty AND it's a beast. Not only does it produce high quality images to get the work done, but it's of a reasonable size, it's easier to function than my previous body the MK II, and it's Canon. So... there's that. While the file sizes are bigger than my MK II, the quality is worth it. Naturally, I utterly adore it.

My Ciesta Leather Hand Grip is the sidekick to my MK III. I've had it for years (at least four). The grip occasionally loosens, but it's nothing a little adjusting can't fix. I prefer it over a neck strap as I have on occasion caught the neck strap by accident while my camera was resting on a table, and thrown my camera on the ground. Whoops! Emma proof = hand strap. It's an affordable and simple solution to relieving a little pressure on a wedding day!

The Canon 70-200 f/2.8L II is the bomb dot com. Not only is perfect for zooming in and getting far away ceremony shots, but it's a beauty in the compression department and allows you to get natural, non-distorted proportions when you're photographing portraits. Zoom can be used effectively to make the things in the background appear bigger, and this guy nails it. Also, because it has Image Stabilization, you can shoot at a lower shutter speed than you think. You might be tempted to look at buying the earlier versions, but I promise you, this one far out-performs them both. Just search for any comparison, be it video or blog, and you'll see what I mean.


The Canon 50mm f/1.2 is my right-hand lens girl. Woman? I'm not sure, but I love her. Not only is this focal length true-to-eye, but it's light-weight, it has some bonkers bokeh and lens flare, and it overall produces a better quality image than the two lower quality and cheaper Canon 50mm lenses, the 50mm f/1.4 and the 50mm f/1.8. I pined for this lens, and I do not regret purchasing it. If you're a photographer, I say this lady is a modern standard.


My Sigma 35mm f/1.4 has surprised me in the ways I have come to use it. When I first purchased it, I thought I made a mistake, and in truth, I have very limited uses for it. However, when I do need it, it performs beautifully. It's my go to lens for a not-too-wide candid moment that has killer sharpness, and it gets an intimate look during portrait sessions. In fact, this might actually be the sharpest lens in my bag, which... whoa Sigma. Didn't see that coming! While it took a while for me to grow accustomed to using it (I'm a bokeh-loving, compression girl, so this was a little wide for portraits for me), I came to see it's benefits and now it's a standard in my bag.

OCCASIONAL GEAR

Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro | https://goo.gl/2Fid6L
Canon 5D MK II | https://goo.gl/zw1vfV
Sigma 20mm f/1.8 | https://goo.gl/90xR7R
Canon 600EX-RT | https://goo.gl/yqoJ36

Now that we've covered the essentials, let's get in to the gear that I use less frequently but is still worthy of being listed here! 

My Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro is a fantastic lens that I've been using a few years now to photograph ring shots at weddings. Despite it being a great portrait lens, I pretty much only use it for ring photos and the occasional up-close newborn baby detail. Because of that, I'm considering re-homing it simply because I don't use it often. However, I know with certainly that it would out perform the alternatives (macro filter or other attachment).


While I won't go into too much detail about the Canon 5D MK II, I will say that it's a fantastic body. I use it as my back-up body in the event I have unexpected gear failure with my primary body. Even though it's not my favorite, it still produces fantastic images.

While I initially purchased the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 years ago, because I thought that it was a fisheye lens (It is not! Research before you buy, people!), I now use it at every single wedding to photograph dance floor images. It's wide enough that I can really get a feel for the action, getting up close and personal while those people are getting funky!


Talking about flashes is weird, because I find flash work to be mostly confusing. However, there's so much freedom in being able to beautifully control your light at a wedding reception, and the Canon 600EX-RTs do just that for me. Because they have radio transmitters, I can sync them together and shoot almost anywhere in the room. When placed properly, they can be used to make some gorgeous images!

As a final note, the batteries I use for my flashes are Enelopes, and I use a lens filter with all of my lenses to protect them, as opposed to lens hoods. I buy them on Amazon here!

Now, in case you haven't had enough, take a look at my video where I chat a bit about all of my favorite gear. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, and I'll be happy to help! Otherwise, I hope this assists your on your gear journey!