Babak & Daniella | Beach Engagement

Beach Engagement Session Miami Wedding Photographer

All my client’s personalities are different, including my friends! Many of them are fun and quirky and don’t like the constant public display of affection, let alone getting photographed while this is going on. Babak and Daniella are getting married … Continue reading

Is Blogging worth it? – Tuesday Tips & Tricks

I recently went in for a job interview at an online distributing company that was looking for a Web Content and Social Media Specialist – I wasn’t really looking for a job but since it was so close to my house and the pay wasn’t so bad I thought I should give it a shot. After sitting down with them and talking about the position for about an hour and a half they seemed interested in hiring me but said they would call back the next day. So I came home and started thinking whether I wanted to take the job or not if they did offer it to me.

Then I came to the realization that if I was going to be writing about a business as well as updating their social media constantly I should be doing that for my own business. But then I asked myself, does blogging really work and is spending time on social media really worth it?

I constantly hear other photographer’s like Jasmine Star and Susan Stripling talk about Blogging, Social Media, and SEO and at first it was all gibberish to me. I have now begun my research and realized that maybe Social Media through Facebook isn’t the best way anymore because of how much things have changed now, especially with the whole paying to boost your post issue. But, there are other ways to keep yourself on top of Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, and so many more apps that are being developed each day can help you stay on top of the game.

In this industry finding ways to stand out and marketing yourself for free can seem challenging but it becomes easier as we begin to put more effort and time into it. Blogging is a great way for SEO, in other words for Google to find you through keywords, and if you write articles that are interesting to people they’ll start following you, pinning you on Pinterest, and sharing your posts – meaning they will help get your name out there. One of the best things about blogging, at least from my own experience, is the ability to have your clients/followers/subscribers get to know you as well as grow with you and see your evolution as a photographer.

I have noticed that when I write blog posts about the props I use for my newborn shoots and how I make them I drive people to my blog. People are always looking for content that will save them money, teach them how to do their own DIY projects, or even help them grow as a professional photographer. I love sharing secrets with people because I wish someone else would’ve shared them with me when I was first starting out.

From my perspective blogging has helped me reach lots more people than Social Media. But, I do link my blog to all my social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and I make sure to pin them on Pinterest. That will only drive more people to your blog which will drive more people to your website and your work.

Key West Engagement Session | Katerina & John Michael

key west sunset key cottages

There’s something about going to a different destination to shoot that makes my heart warm and my brain jiggle with creativity. When I met Kat and her family they all suggested we’d go back to Key West where she and … Continue reading

Miami Beach Resort & Spa | Annie & Carlos Wedding

Ever meet someone and feel like you’ve known them for years? Like you could possibly become best friends? The minute I met Annie & Carlos at a Bridal show I participated in last year we clicked. Carlos has a great sense of humor and loves Annie more words could ever explain. Annie on the other hand is a laid back, loving girl, full of grace and a good heart. I met them and I immediately fell in love with them. A couple of weeks later we sat down at the studio and we were both sold! I was sold on them because I knew almost immediately that I wanted to tell their story through photographs and they were sold on me because I listened.

I will always be so grateful for both of them – because to me they didn’t become just my clients they became friends! I mean, they even moved all the way from North Miami Beach to my area cause they didn’t want to stay away from me after their wedding! lol 😉

Here’s a sneak peek of their gorgeous wedding this weekend at Miami Beach Resort & Spa.

Dadeland Marriott | Becca and Matt Wedding

Here’s a glimpse of Becca and Matt’s wedding in December at Silver Palm United Methodist Church in the Redlands followed by a beautiful reception at the Dadeland Marriott.

Tips and Tricks on a Sunday: My “Bling Ring Kit

Glitter Wedding Ring Shots

Many of you may have the same problem I’ve had in the past when shooting a wedding. You have all these ideas of detail shots you pre-plan for in your head but when you arrive at your client’s house or … Continue reading

Redland Koi Gardens Wedding | Joseph and Camila

Sparklers wedding exit homestead fl redland koi gardens

I am so lucky to have the most amazing and supportive friends in the world. Many photographers will tell you that they don’t like photographing their friend’s weddings because they want to enjoy it or because they feel like they … Continue reading

Wedding Wednesdays: Why I change my memory cards constantly

As I mentioned in my post last week (5 things I can’t live without) I carry a pelican case memory card holder with me when I shoot weddings. This pelican case holds about 12 SD Cards and a couple of Micro SD Cards, but I love the way it fits in one of my Shootsac pockets and I can access it during a ceremony without creating much distraction.

There’s a ton of different memory card holders but many have a velcro or magnet closure. I don’t believe in using the ones with magnets, because I am very careful with my memory cards and I don’t want to risk the magnet damaging the cards or making me lose my information. The velcro ones are a lot of photographers favorites because they fit a lot of cards and are a little softer to touch. I never really liked them, because of the noise the velcro makes when you try to open it up.

Now, in my memory card holder, you’ll always find 10 memory cards, (2 are always in my d600), making that 12 memory cards total. You’ll find all types of capacity starting from 2GB – 32GB. And here’s how I use them:

I change my memory cards constantly during a wedding and the reason why I do it is because I don’t want to risk a memory card failing on me and having all the images from a wedding get lost. For example, imagine you’re using a 32 GB memory card and you shoot all through the prepping shots and ceremony with it, but when you get to the reception you get a message that says “Memory Card Error” this doesn’t happen very often but it doesn’t mean it’s not bound to happen. The result is that you’ve probably just lost all of the images from the prepping stage to the ceremony and those important family portraits and maybe even the bride and groom’s portraits. On my client’s wedding day that is definitely something I don’t ever want to risk.

So, I start off by using an 8GB Memory Card on Slot 1 of my D600 and a 16GB Memory Card on Slot 2. Slot 1 is recording all the shots in RAW and Slot 2 is recording all the backup shots in JPEG. The 8GB card on Slot 1 is only used during the prepping stage of the wedding. Once I get into my car to drive off to wherever it is that I have to go for the ceremony, I grab the card from Slot 1 and put it in my memory card holder backwards. That way I know that the memory card has images I have not backed up on my hard drive or computer. When I get to the ceremony, I slip in another 16GB Memory Card on Slot 1 and once again record all the shots in RAW of the ceremony and family portraits on that memory card. Once the ceremony is over, I grab that once again, and place it in my pelican case backwards. Then I move on to the Bride and Groom’s Portraits which I also save on another memory card, usually this is an 8GB one and if I feel like my backup memory card on slot 2 is filled up I replace that one with another 16GB memory card. I make sure all the portraits are saved on one memory card alone, because the bride and groom will most likely never get into their dress and tux again, and certainly won’t get their hair and makeup done again for portraits unless they’ve prepared for it beforehand, so I want to make sure that their portraits will be safe and that nothing will happen to this memory card. As soon as I’m done with the portraits, I place that card into my Pelican Case and move on to my last and final card change which is into a 16GB Card that will store all of the reception photos; from the grand entrance to the toasts and shots of people dancing. All while making sure everything is being backed up in JPEG.

Now you may think it’s ridiculous that I use so many memory cards but I definitely don’t think so. I think I’m just being safe rather than being sorry later. I also love to back things up as JPEG because there’s so many photos I feel like are shot so great in the camera that they don’t need much editing so JPEG will speed up the process of selection and editing. I also have now started to do Mini Teasers for the Bride and Groom to see their photos at their reception that, obviously, having the photos in JPEG will make it easier to upload them to my computer and create a slideshow for them to see in as little as 10 minutes. I will probably talk about that in another post later! But it’s definitely been a major hit at the last few weddings where I’ve done it.

So there you have it, those are the reasons why I change my memory cards constantly and why I decided to go for a pelican case memory card holder instead. I’m sure my bride and groom don’t want to be listening to a velcro being ripped apart in the middle of their ceremony because I need to change cards and I  don’t want to risk using a magnet closure to corrupt my cards. I also went for a Camera that has 2 memory card slots instead of just 1 which I think is something most wedding photographers should look into.

Tuesday Tips & Tricks: Finding an Assistant Photographer

I have a couple of Second Photographers I completely trust with my eyes closed during a wedding. Meaning I know that IF I have to rush to the bathroom during the first dance or toast they’ll be able to take full control of the situation and shoot just as if I was the one shooting. This really has never happened but you always have to think 5 steps ahead during a wedding, because you just never know.

Weddings are not something you can really predict, anything can happen, and by anything I mean from getting your car lost at a Hotel’s Valet to getting a flat tire and being late to the ceremony or being sick to the point of throwing up and not being able to stand for very long. Not that these things have happened to me, (except for the first one, my car did get lost at the Bride’s prepping hotel) but I’m always thinking about all the wrong things that can happen during a wedding, that way if they ever DO happen, I’m already prepared and have a Plan B or Plan C up my sleeve.

This is why I find it imperative that all photographers use an assistant photographer during a wedding and I always include one in all my collections, because brides just expect the day to be perfect and sometimes are not very realistic.

The hard part comes down to finding the right assistant photographer. When I was searching for one, I would go on Facebook, I would google photographers in Miami, I would ask around, and I even considered training people I knew, to be my second photographer. I started off doing weddings with my boyfriend’s cousin, Danny, and he was amazing because as a guy he knew exactly how to deal with the grooms, but I knew it wasn’t really his thing. Danny was more into the cars and the artists than he was into doing weddings. So I had to move on and find someone else so he could venture on his own stuff. So of course I had to try new people and different eyes but always researching them first.

My second thing was meeting with them and talking to them, seeing that they would agree to my terms while always making sure I was being considerate of their own feelings and terms. Just because their “second shooting” for me doesn’t mean I have to treat them as if they’re below me, NO! if anything I want them to feel extremely comfortable with me so that it’s pleasant to work with one another.

I, unlike other photographers, let my second shooters keep their photos and give them a USB for them to place their images on. But I let them know my terms ahead of time. I don’t want my second shooters friending my clients on their facebook or instagram, or uploading their images and taking the credit as if they found the client. They can credit the image as them taking it but my client doesn’t need to know that or see them posted everywhere else but my page. At the end of the day they ARE representing my business and they need to understand that. Why do I let them keep their photos? because I want them to be able to access them years later and see how they were shooting before and how far they’ve come. I want them to see the difference in their own work and be proud of it. I want them to build their own portfolio and I am not that greedy photographer that needs all the credit to herself. That’s not what I’m here for, I’m here to photograph YOUR day not make it about myself.

I do believe if you want to find someone and train them or mold them to do things the way you like them to be done you can do that, but don’t forget just because you’re training them doesn’t mean they’ll see things the way you see them behind the lens. I also don’t expect my second photographer to take the most important photos, that’s MY job, that’s why the couple hired ME. They hired Andrea, because they like Andrea’s style so the portraits will always be done by me. I want my assistant photographer to shoot what I’m not shooting, meaning if I’m shooting the Bride and Groom during the ceremony and the bride’s mom is crying in her seat, I want my assistant to photograph that. I also like to make sure that my second shooter is professional at all times, does not have an attitude with my clients or their guests, dresses the part, and FINALLY just has FUN! I want them to just have fun at all times and to feel like I’m their friend and not a boss, because I don’t consider myself to be their boss, they’re independent contractors that are doing what they love and doing me a favor. My second photographers own their own businesses and I try to make sure to book them ahead of time, but if they book something of their own I am understanding about it and always have more than one to go to that can back me up.