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wedding photography
Photography Awards

Best Wedding Album
in New England 2006

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Blue Ribbon Album Award
in New England 2006

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Most Artistic Candid Wedding Album
in MA 2006

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1. Why should I hire a professional photographer for my wedding?
2. When I work with a professional, what am I paying for?
3. I’ve never hired a professional photographer before. How should I go about it and what should I be looking for?
4. How can I look and feel my best on my wedding day?

5. Who owns the negatives and the rights to the images?
6. What if I want a high resolution CD?
7. I’m thinking about doing my own album.
Do I have the time and commitment the to start and finish my album, or am I only dreaming?

8. What's the difference between the prints I get from my one-hour or online lab and professionally made prints?

1. Why should I hire a professional photographer for my wedding?
If you’re like most couples, you’ve been experiencing “sticker shock” as you’ve begun shopping for your wedding vendors. Everything costs so much more than you thought it would. Maybe you’re thinking about cutting corners with some of your vendors, like your photographer.

Think about it. Years from now, your flowers and favors and cake will be long gone, but your wedding photos will be handed down to your children and grandchildren. Your wedding cannot be repeated, and you and your family will never again be together in the way you are today. Why would you risk your precious memories to anyone other than a seasoned professional photographer?

It seems like everyone has a digital camera these days. The result is that more people are taking bad pictures than ever before. Some owners of high-end digital cameras (and there are more and more of them as camera prices continue to drop) call themselves professionals. Many of them moonlight on the weekend. But have you wondered what their commitment is to creating excellent images? Have you wondered what their long-term commitment would be to you?

2. When I work with a professional, what am I paying for?

When you hire a professional photographer, you are generally paying for the following services:

  • Creative fee
    When you work with Carol, you’re paying for her artistic talent and time in creating the body of work that is the raw material for your finished album or prints. You’re also paying for her experience and expertise. She is a seasoned professional.

  • Preparation and post production services
    For each hour she spends with you on location at your event or portrait session, Carol spends three to four hours in preparation and post-production services for you. Among other professional services she performs for you, she downloads and backs up your images with multiple copies on multiple media in multiple locations, she edits the images, color corrects them, renames them, and backs up the final edited set. She then produces and delivers your online proofs, printed proof portfolio, and/or proof CD. Other services may be included in your contract, as well.

  • Finishing the images
    Having received the Court of Honor for Best Wedding Album in New England in both 2005 and 2006, Carol has proven that she is an expert at finishing her work. She takes the raw images and finishes them into beautifully designed one-of-a-kind albums, each a unique piece of art that reflects you and triggers your memories of your most cherished moments.

3. I’ve never hired a professional photographer before. How should I go about it and what should I be looking for?

First, figure out your style. Do you want mostly traditional shots, posed shots, candid/photojournalistic shots, or mix of these styles? If you don’t know how to articulate your style, start by looking through magazines and tearing out images you like. Spread them all out and study them until you see the thread that ties your favorite images together.

Visit many photographers’ web sites. Identify at least three photographers whose style you appreciate and interview them. Ask a lot of questions and look at samples of their work. Here are some tips about making the most of your initial consultatation:

  • Looking at samples
    Ask to see a few albums that show wedding coverage from start to finish, rather than a collection of the photographer’s best images as you might see on their web site. This will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer is capable of. You want someone who will create a strong body of work and then finish it into an album that will reflect who you are, artfully.

  • Does this photographer have the vision to see something, or create an image, that no one else could?

  • Pay attention to the body language in the samples. Do the subjects look comfortable, like they’re having fun?

  • Consider the photographer’s skill set.
    Good detail shots require the ability to do still life shots. Candid shots require patience and anticipation. The best posed shots have good lighting and an interesting, meaningful background that add to the story of the day. Everyone looks fairly comfortable.

  • Has the photographer been published in any magazines?
    There’s a lot of competition among photographers to get their work published. Magazine photo editors select the best work for publication. Photographers with a large body of published work, like Carol, have a track record of creating high quality images over a number of years.

  • Ask about backups
    Always ask if the photographer carries back-up equipment. Also, make sure the photographer has a ready replacement who can photograph your wedding if he or she becomes ill.

  • What’s your personality?
    Look for a photographer that you feel comfortable with. Remember, you are not hiring someone to simply take pictures, but to work together before, during, and after the session. Look for someone with a pleasant personality who has a willingness to work with you.

  • Communicate
    Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to sit down with the photographer and discuss the services provided and the fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.

  • Ask about credentials
    Membership and active involvement in professional associations, certification, or a photography degree shows a certain level of commitment to the profession. These types of credentials can help you determine which photographer is right for you.

  • Ask about awards: What accolades has the photographer’s work received?

  • Check references
    A friend or vendor’s recommendation is an excellent source of information. Lacking those, ask to speak with or email the photographer’s past clients.

4. How can I look and feel my best on my wedding day?
While Carol will capture peak candid shots and suggest fun, comfortable poses that will make you look good, you’ll feel your very best if you take responsibility to keep yourself well rested, hydrated, and fed in the days leading up to and including the wedding day.

5. Who owns the negatives and the rights to the images?
In accordance with U.S. Copyright Law, the photographer owns the copyright on all of their images. This is the same copyright law that protects all artists, musicians, and software companies, among others. When you copy an image, a song, or piece of software without the permission of its creator, you’re stealing from them, and you are subject to civil and criminal penalties.

6. What if I want a high resolution CD?
All the wedding magazines these days seem to suggest that you ask your photographer about getting a high resolution CD, and these discs are available from Carol. If you think you’re interested in having one, though, please ask yourself these questions:

Why do I want that disc?  Do I have the technical ability, storage capacity, and desire to manage up to 1,500 images? What will I really do with that disc, toss in my desk drawer with all those other loose CD’s and see them next time I clean my desk (after my children graduate from school)? Do I want a professional designed, professionally printed, professionally finished album, or not?

7. I’m thinking about doing my own album. Do I have the time and commitment the to start and finish my album, or am I only dreaming? What will I really do with the CD? Why do I want it? Is it a good value for me to license those images, or am I kidding myself?

Photographers make their living by selling, or licensing, copies of their images. If you’d like to have a high resolution CD of all of the images of your event or session so you can make your own copies legally, Carol would be happy to license them to you in exchange for an additional fee that would compensate her for her loss of income.

8. What's the difference between the prints I get from my one-hour or online lab and professionally made prints, and why do professional prints cost more?
You may find professional printing machines such as the Fuji Frontier in places like Wal-Mart and Walgreen, and they print on the fancy "Fuji Crystal Archive Paper" right?   Right, they sure do. Even though they may have the same identical model number Fuji Frontier as a professional lab there are 3 big differences between them and the professional photofinishing labs.

1. Not the same paper: There are two main types of Crystal Archive paper categories, the professional and the consumer types.  The same thing is true with Kodak papers. The professional papers (speaking from the Fujifilm tech data only) have twice the silver content, giving them a deeper and richer look when you print a high quality file on them.  Also, the consumer papers have more contrast and tend to be glossy instead of the fine lustre finish of professional paper.

2. Not the same software and printer driver: In order to run the professional papers, a lab needs to move up to the premium software that drives the Frontier, or your labs' Kodak printer.  On the Fuji side, it's a $47,000 upgrade to the pro version of the "PIC" software that is the color and "rezzing up" brains of the Frontier. There are a few major differences but if we cut to the chase we discover that the consumer level PIC printer driver is designed to take crappy files and make them better by changing color and exposure values, reducing red-eye on the fly and trying to make skin tones look "most pleasant." These are great for snapshots but will inadvertently shift color carefully set by the pros.  The PIC Pro version will take good files and make them great.  It spends all its energy interpreting the sRGB input and making it smooth and rich and it does a stupendous job in rezzing up files into really great prints onto professional paper.

3. Not the same people: The folks at stores like Costco mean well, they really do. But they are hourly employees punching the clock to make a paycheck using a fully automated machine.  They cannot stop the printer when they see an opportunity to make an improvement, they cannot answer any beyond the most basic of questions. They're just doing their job.  The trained professionals at a professional color lab know that machine and it's workflow inside and out.  They can analyze the files and make changes as they see fit.  They can turn a good file into a great print.  Carol is committed to getting the best possible results from her images and always uses a professional lab.

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If you’re thinking about having
someone like Uncle Bob or a
high-tech friend photograph the
wedding for you, here’s a snap shot
of what you can expect from him
compared to the experience of
hiring an seasoned professional like
Carol Lundeen:

Uncle Bob, Volunteer Amateur
Photographer vs. Carol Lundeen,
Certified Professional Photographer

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Professional Photographers of America

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