What's in the bag?

As the photographer at many events throughout the year, be it weddings, parties, corporate events, or charity events, I get asked a lot of questions about my equipment. I also get asked by lots of potential clients if I have backup equipment, and what type of cameras and lenses I use.

In response, I decided to share the answers to three of the questions I get asked most often about my gear.

  1. What's in the bag?
    • 3 Camera bodies
      • Canon 5D Mk III
      • Canon 5D Mk II
      • Canon 7D
    • 4 Speedlights
      • 580ex
      • 580exII
      • 2 600ex-RTs
    • Lenses galore
      • Canon L-series 16-35 F/2.8
      • Canon L-series 24-70 F/2.8
      • Canon L-Series 70-200 F/2.8
      • Canon L-series 100mm Macro F/2.8
      • Canon 85mm 1.8
      • Canon 50mm 1.8
      • Canon 16mm Fisheye
      • 2 other back-up lenses, both by Canon
    • Off-Camera Flashes
      • 1 Einstein 640 with reflector and softbox
      • 1 CheetahLight with reflector and softbox
    • Video Light
    • Tripod
    • Various Light Stands
    • Various triggers for off-camera lighting
    • TONS of batteries of all shapes and sizes
    • TONS of memory cards, also of varying shapes and sizes
    • Tissues, Hand Sanitizer, Shout Wipes, Bobby Pins, Safety Pins, Screwdrivers, Pliers, Needle and Thread in varying colors, and many other tools and items a bride might not know she needs on her wedding day.
  2. My favorite question is, "How many MegaPixels is that camera?"
    • I don't personally get too caught up in MegaPixels. My typical response is, "Enough that we can put these guys on a billboard if we want to." As technology continues to advance and sensors in cameras get larger and larger, the megapixels continue to increase in size. At the end of the day, the very first digital SLR I had could make a billboard and it was 6.3 MegaPixels. Most people are not going to notice the difference in any of the photos shot with a camera of 6 megapixels or 26 megapixels. There are certainly advantages to the newer technology, but at the end of the day, the megapixels aren't anything to get too caught up in.
  3. "That camera must be expensive. How much did all that cost?"
    • Now there's a fun question... Anyone who wants can google the prices of the items listed in my gear and add it up. My favorite answer comes in the form of a statement/question that was made to me the first time I walked out of the studio with a bag full of gear almost ten years ago. My boss at the time said to me, "You know what you have in that bag cost more than your college education, right?" Granted, the way college costs have skyrocketed, I'd venture to say that my gear bag comes in under the current four-year-degree mark at this point, but let's just call it "a lot".

What other questions do you want to ask about your photographers gear? Post a comment and I'll update the post with answers to any questions. :o)

Happy Thursday!

Consultation Time...

If you have been following along with my series on Bridal Expos, you have a good handle on what an expo is,  what to do to prepare for the expo, and what to do after the expo. This post will carry you even further into the process... The Consultation.

Consultations are the key to making your final selections for your vendors. These are typically face-to-face meetings where you get to talk through the details of your wedding with each vendor and determine who best fits for your day.

These meetings are important because they let you get a better feel for the photographer's style, personality and how they do business. It's also the perfect time to ask detailed questions pertaining to the photographer and your wedding.

While I can't speak to the details of a consultation with a florist, caterer or DJ, I can detail for you what to expect and what to know going into a consultation with me. (This can also serve as a rough outline for what other photography consultations may be like, but DISCLAIMER: I can't speak for everyone, so other consultations may vary from what I am about to describe.)

Once you decide you would like to talk with me more about your wedding, I work with you to find a time and location that is convenient for everyone. This often ends up being a weekday evening, since most of my clients work during the day. Occasionally, during non-peak wedding times, I'm able to meet on a weekend.

The first part of the consultation is spent getting to know you as a couple. As we talk about your story, we'll also talk about the ideas you have for your wedding and the things you want photography-wise. I'll ask specific questions about your plans and we'll come up with a rough timeline of how your day would flow.

Once we figure out what you need in terms of coverage, albums, and the like, we'll create a package to fit your wedding. All of my potential clients leave the consultation with a specific quote detailing their package.

As we move through the consultation, you are also invited to ask any questions you have about my photography, the business, the products, my experience, and anything else you can think of. I am also happy to share other wedding professionals that I know and trust.

After every consultation, I email the potential client a recap of our meeting. This includes the timeline, package details and quote, and any other things we discussed that are important.

Be on the lookout for an upcoming post on what questions you should be asking during the consultation!

Happy Tuesday!

My Favorite Wedding Pros

So, still in need of a few other vendors for your wedding? Here's a list of some of my favorite people to work with! If you contact them, please let them know I sent you! This list is ever changing as I work with new people, so check back often!

Hair and Make-up Artist:

  • Amanda at Atrium Salon, Nashua, NH
    • http://salonatrium.com/
    • (603) 594-4100
    • Not only is Amanda fantastic for weddings, she is also my personal hair guru. She ALWAYS does such an amazing job. I've never walked out anything less than 100% happy with what she has created!

Venues:

Videographers:

  • Harborview Studios

  • Fisher Productions

    • http://www.fishervideoproductions.com/

DJs:

Transportation:

  • Grace Limousine

    • www.gracelimo.com

    • They are the ONLY ones who bring out the Bentley in the Winter!

Cakes

  • Jacques Fine European Pastries
    • www.jacquespastries.com

Photographers are living the dream... and other myths.

There are a lot of people out there who think those of us working as professional photographers are living the dream. Not really working, just walking around taking photos and "playing" all day every day. There are an equal number of us photographers who WISH this was the truth! Unfortunately, the life of a photographer isn't always as glamorous as it may seem. There is a TON of behind the scenes work that goes into it that most people aren't aware of.

As any small business owner will tell you, everyone does everything, (this includes cleaning the toilets, just FYI), and if you are the only full-time employee, then YOU do everything.

I consider this pie chart to be one of the most accurate graphics I've seen depicting the breakdown of what I do. (The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers originally posted it in 2009, and not much has changed. You can see the full article here.)

  For the full article and original post on www  .ispwp.com/ click   here  .

For the full article and original post on www.ispwp.com/ click here.

While taking photographs and working with clients is one of the most exciting and fun parts of the job, it ends up being one of the smallest parts. There are bridal expos to be worked, there is equipment to clean and repair. There's marketing to be done, and oh so many decisions to make about what products to offer to clients.

Like many of my photographer friends, I strive to find the best possible product for the price for my clients. I want you to walk away with an heirloom. Something that you can look at and be proud of for years to come. This doesn't just happen. There are hours spent researching different products and evaluating cost versus quality until I finally find the right balance.

There are computers, multiple back-up drives and a web site to maintain. Facebook and blog posts to write, and let's not forget about all that editing... for every hour shooting, you can count on at least that many hours editing (but probably more).

One photographers interviewed for the article linked above estimated that his company put around 90 hours of work into each client/wedding they booked each year, and if you consider that we only spend around 10 hours actually shooting photos of the client, that leaves 80 hours of behind-the-scenes work, which includes responding to emails, timeline planning, readying equipment, editing photos, posting them online, ordering prints and designing and ordering albums...

Oh, and, let's not forget about those toilets...

Come See Me!!

Tis the season for engagements! Christmas and New Year's are prime-times for getting engaged, so if you are one of the lucky ladies or gentlemen that "put a ring on it" over the holidays, now is a wonderful time to start looking around for vendors for your upcoming wedding!

It is NEVER too early to start looking. Venues and Photographers book quickly, so you want to be sure to start looking for those as soon as you have a date and a great place to do that is at a Bridal Expo!

Come see me at two upcoming Bridal Expos this month:

  1. WZID Bridal Expo in Manchester, NH
    • January 11, 2015
    • 11am-3pm
    • Armory Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel
      • 700 Elm Street, Manchester, NH
         
  2. The Great Bridal Expo in Boston, MA
    • January 25, 2015
    • Noon start time
    • Westin Boston Waterfront
      • 425 Summer Street, Boston, MA

And, before you go, be sure to check out our 3-Part Bridal Expo Blog Series on What an Expo Is, What to Know Before You Go, and After the Expo. There are some great tips to help you prepare for the expo and help you wade through all the information you gather afterwards!

Changes.

There have been a few changes taking place around AliCaliPhoto lately, and we are excited about them! In no particular order...

  1. More blogging
    • There was once a blog associated with AliCaliPhoto, but having irregular hours led to the blog being neglected and eventually abandoned.
  2. Regular Office Hours
    • Starting in September we began having regular office hours on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am-4pm. This means it's easier to reach me on the phone during those hours, as well as schedule shoots and/or consultations. I'm always still available during evening and weekend hours by appointment, and I will still be responding to emails within 24 hours no matter what day it is!
  3. Revamped Web Site
    • You may have noticed the new look to the site. I didn't hate the old one, but I didn't love it either. It got me by until I had time to sit down and put together a site I found a little cleaner, and that I felt represented my brand a little better. All the main parts are still there, they just look a little better now, and we've got a lot of new photos in the portfolio section, so be sure to take a look!
  4. New Proofing Site
    • Over the last few months I've been made aware of the incredible number of emails being sent out from Pictage, who I previously used to host client photos. There was always something that was "ending soon" or the infamous, "time is running out!", and it gets overwhelming. I'm no different than you, Spam is not my friend, so by switching to a different proofing site, we're getting rid of the annoying marketing emails, as well as being able to offer better pricing on our prints! Get excited! I know I am!

That sums up most of the outward changes around here for now! Stay tuned as the blog should be getting a lot more love and attention now that wedding season is slowing down and we've got all these awesome office hours!