Waldron Portraits: Blog http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog en-us (C) Waldron Portraits (Waldron Portraits) Wed, 23 May 2018 13:05:00 GMT Wed, 23 May 2018 13:05:00 GMT http://www.waldronportraits.com/img/s/v-5/u788914472-o1009091448-50.jpg Waldron Portraits: Blog http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog 79 120 Family Photos at Wedding http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/5/family-photos-at-wedding Let's just admit it. Family photos (can be) the most stressful portion of the wedding for the photographer and the bride. I said can be, because they do not have to be! If you expect every photo with children in it to have everyone looking at the camera with a perfect smile, please look at the formal photos from the latest royal wedding! You will see cheesy smiles, a bride who looks like she's caught in the headlights, and a small bridesmaid who is (gasp!) not looking at the camera. They were taken by a celebrity photographer who was probably paid tens of thousands of dollars. This is a photographer who understood that children will be children (or maybe he just didn't want to use a duck that quacks "Old McDonald Had a Farm" in front of the queen)! I typically don't post a lot of family photos because they're not the most interesting ones, but they are some of the most important photos of the day for the family!

Sometimes children cooperate perfectly, and you get photos like this straight out of a camera:

And sometimes, people arrive late, and you have a whole bunch of little children who aren't used to cameras and don't want to leave their moms behind for a single picture and you have to work really fast, and they're moving around so much you can't even do head swapping in photoshop to get the best expressions of everyone:

Hence, my biggest tip for photographers and brides is not to put high expectations on children and let them be who they are. Here are a couple more tips to make that portion of the day less stressful for the bride, in particular:

1. Appoint someone in both of your families (you know who the bossy ones are) to round everyone up from the far corners of the church, to get on their phone and call people if they're not there when they're supposed to be, and go hunt them down if necessary. Brides and grooms are stressed enough without the worries of rounding up family members.

2. Give everyone a time to be there, and tell them a time that is 15-30 minutes before the time I need them to be there. You know your families best. If they are always on time types, then do 15 minutes. If they are laid back folks who always have trouble making it out the door, give them more than 30 minutes.

P.S. We love this family, and had no idea just how much they would come to mean to us! They win the award for easiest large family group to photograph ever!

3. If there are a lot of small children, I highly recommend taking family photos before the wedding. Let's face it, wedding are BORING to some children!

4. I send out a questionnaire to all my brides listing individual family pictures and which ones they want. Please let me know if there are people who you have a really special relationship with that you would like me to focus on. I love to get photos of you and that person interacting instead of just looking at the camera.

5. Indoors or outdoors? I can do both, but outdoor photos are generally faster. For indoor photos, depending on available light, I may need to set up lights. People tend to blink a lot more, so I have to take more photos of each pose. But if it's super cold, super hot, or super windy outdoors, then we'll look for the prettiest spot (usually the front of the church) indoors.

6. If there is time, I will grab photos of your siblings families as well. Since everyone is all dressed up for the wedding anyway, it's the perfect time to get a family photo.

7. Parents, don't worry about your kid's expressions, just your own. I can't tell how many times a picture was unusable because the parent was looking at the child to see if they were looking at the photographer. Don't worry, if they're picking their nose, I'll let you know!

8. And hey, it's ok to be goofy and ham it up for the camera sometimes! And sometimes I ask people to. Fun pictures like this one make everyone laugh and laughing relaxes people for pictures!

9. I love photos of the grandparents and parents, with and without the couple! I always try to get at least one picture of the bride's parents and groom's parents at some point during the wedding or reception.

And, that's about it! Family pictures can be one of the most fun parts of the wedding if everyone decides to relax and have a good time!

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(Waldron Portraits) http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/5/family-photos-at-wedding Wed, 23 May 2018 13:05:18 GMT
Business Questions http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/3/business-questions

This time of year, pretty blooms are opening up everywhere. We admire their beauty, but we don't really think of all the things we can't see that have provided that tree with the ability to blossom. A lot of time and energy has gone into that bloom, but the visible results are what attract our attention and thought.

Photography is the same way. We see the pictures, but what we don't see is the enormous amount of time and energy that goes into the business aspect of opening and maintaining a business. It can feel overwhelming when new photographers realize that there is a lot more to running a business than taking pictures, editing, and getting paid. There are questions about income tax, sales tax, property tax. There are questions about pricing and how to attract clients. And there are questions about whether you need a business license or liability insurance or LLC versus sole proprietorship. And then there is the whole question of websites and social media and invoicing. It can be overwhelming at first. Where does a person even start?

But first, a disclaimer: I am not an authority on this subject, and things vary a lot depending where you live. I can point you in some general directions, but you need to do your own research. Some of your best resources are going to be your accountant, your county or city website, your state department of revenue website, business blogs of other photographers in your state, and google. Tax laws can be confusing, so don't just get your information from one source. I highly recommend reading sales tax laws and bulletins that apply to photographers or digital sales.

Let's look at a list of the most basic essentials to make sure that you are conducting business legally and legitimately. Even if you are a hobby photographer, if you are making any money from your photographs, you need to know what the laws and regulations are. Let's hit the biggest question first.

1. Should I be charging sales tax?

This depends on your state and what you are offering customers. The way things are going, I'm afraid eventually photographers everywhere will need to be charging sales tax on all services and products, even if they are just offering digital products. In all states, if you are offering any physical products to your clients (even a USB drive), you must charge sales tax. Now, the next part gets a little tricky, and requires some research to figure it out. Many states are going to a model where all digital products (and the service that goes into producing them) is sales taxable. Virginia is one of those states. There is still some debate among photographers here, but after reading the latest tax laws pertaining to digital downloads and respected photographer's blogs, it's pretty clear that if you are a photographer in Virginia you need to be charging sales tax on the entirety of all packages. Charging and filing sales tax is a pain, but it is not extremely difficult to do. In Indiana, I did this once a year, but in Virginia, I have to file (even if I didn't make anything) once a month. You can go to your state's tax website and fill out all the necessary documents online. Even if you're a hobby photographer making less than $10,000 a year, you are still required to do this. This should be one of the first things you figure out when opening a business and is no expense for you. Your clients should be the ones paying the sales tax.

2. Do I need a business license?

Again, it depends. This is a question your accountant or county offices can answer. I did not need a license in Indiana, but I do have one in Virginia. The process and paperwork were outlined clearly on the county website. In our county, a business grossing under $10,000 a year does not need a license and is qualified as a hobby business. Even though I might fall under that for this year, I still needed to get a license and register the name of the business at the courthouse in order to open a business banking account. I had to go to three different offices to do all the necessary paperwork, but it was only $30.

3. What about a bank account?

I highly recommend creating a separate business banking account, even if you aren't a full time business. It makes things so much easier for tax purposes to keep your personal and business accounts separate. If you are ever questioned on anything or audited, you will be really glad you did that.

4. What about other taxes?

No matter how small your business, you may need to pay personal property tax on equipment. This is another thing that's easy to miss in the beginning. The first step is to create a spreadsheet for equipment you buy. Write down the name of the camera or lens, the price you bought it, and what year you bought it. An accountant can use this to figure your depreciation, and what you owe the county for property tax. In Indiana, I had to pay property tax until two years ago when the county changed their property tax rules. In Virginia, I will be paying property tax on my gear.

When it comes to income tax, you need to know if you will be required to pay estimated income tax quarterly as someone who is self-employed. Again, something an accountant can tell you. The IRS doesn't like people to get to the end of the year and owe a bunch of taxes.

You can get a lot of free accounting programs for photographers or small business owners to keep track of income and expenses, and if you set aside one day a week or month (depending how busy your business is) to do bookwork, it makes for a lot fewer headaches this time of year!

Bonus Question: What about a website?

This isn't a question of legality, but it's one of the first things you should probably think about. Websites can be a complicated thing to figure out if you're not a super techie person, and the options can be overwhelming. Even if you're not ready for a website, I highly recommend purchasing your domain name, especially if your name is a part of your business name. You never know when someone else will snatch it up and when you will need it. Again, this is not a large outlay of cash for a beginning business owner, and it's not difficult to do.

It can look like a mountain if you're the kind of non business person (me!) who struggles to balance a checkbook. But if you take it one task at a time, it is doable!

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(Waldron Portraits) business photography small tips virginia wedding http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/3/business-questions Wed, 07 Mar 2018 16:59:17 GMT
How Am I Supposed to Hold This? http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/2/how-to-hold-a-bouquet This question comes up a lot at weddings. Where and how should a bouquet be held? I've always told people when asked to hold it at waist level or slightly below, but it turns out there's more to bouquet etiquette than that. Here are some general guidelines (although nearly every rule is made to be broken at some point).

1. Bouquets should be held slightly below waist level. That's right, you don't want to cover up your waistline with the bouquet. You also want a slight bend in your elbows with space between your body and arms. However, a lot of this depends on the size of your bouquet. Large bouquets are going to cover part of your waistline no matter where you put them. Smaller bouquets like this bridesmaid's are going to be a lot easier to accomplish this with.

There are times to break this rule. Sometimes I like to vary the height of the bouquets when taking pictures of the bridesmaids. When a groom is a lot taller than the bride, holding the bouquet a little higher looks better. Sometimes the bouquet looks nice dropped by your side.

 

When it comes to bouquet rules, some people say that the bouquet shouldn't be wider than your waistline. But I think that really depends on the type of bouquet, because large, cascading arrangements can be larger that that and look beautiful. I've observed that smaller bouquets are really nice when you have a lot of details at the waist or textures in the skirt, because they don't distract from the pretty dress. Large bouquets look nice with simpler dresses, but you might want to think about how much it will weigh. You'll have to lug it around all day, and often brides are surprised by how heavy a bouquet actually is.

2. When you're taking pictures, flowers should be pointed towards the camera, with as little stem showing as possible. This also applies to sitting with flowers. There are exceptions to this as well, depending on stem length and shape of the bouquet. The longer the stem, the less you are able to angle flowers toward the camera.

3. Hold your hands as high on the stem of the bouquet as possible. Minimizing hands as much as possible is also ideal when photographing bouquets to create simple lines and eliminate distractions, although it isn't always possible with smaller bouquets. Make sure your fingers are together around the stem, rather than spread out. This is where even seasoned photographers struggle, because most people aren't that conscious of where their hands are at all times. This isn't an absolute by any means, but it is good to think about when taking a picture where the bouquet is the focus.

Is it a huge deal if your bouquet isn't properly positioned? No, in the end, most people are probably not paying attention to it. But, if you want your flowers to look their best for pictures, you might want to practice holding flowers ahead of the big day. During the wedding itself, you won't be pointing your flowers toward the camera, but you will still want to angle the stems slightly back toward you. Flowers do tend to creep upward when people are nervous, but that's okay. The flowers shouldn't be the top thing on everyone's minds anyway!

If you want a simple way to remember what to do, just think about pointing the stems toward your belly button. Bingo, problem solved. But don't stress over it. There are a lot more important things to be thinking about on your wedding day. I just wanted to mention this in case it's helpful to other photographers, brides, and bridesmaids!

Bonus tip: Make sure you credit your florist in the program, whether that's a friend, relative, or professional florist. There are a lot of different names to put on a program, and that's one that sometimes gets missed.

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(Waldron Portraits) bouquet holding photography wedding http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/2/how-to-hold-a-bouquet Wed, 07 Feb 2018 21:14:25 GMT
Tips for Candlelit Receptions http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/1/tips-for-candlelit-receptions

There is {almost} nothing more romantic than a candelit wedding reception. Turning off the overhead lights can really make a cavernous gym feel cozy and smaller somehow. There's something about the glow of candles that makes winter weddings seem warmer somehow. I get all mushy just thinking about it.

Before we get into the how to, there are a couple situations where a candlit wedding is not ideal. The first scenario I can think of is if you or the groom are blinkers. I think this is a genetic thing. If you want to know if you have it, look at your childhood photo albums. If your eyes are closed on half the indoor pictures, the same thing will happen at your wedding. Although flash may make your blink in a bright room, the tendency is exaggerated in a darker room. The camera shutter may be open a tad longer, giving you a split second more to react with a blink.

The second scenario is a really tight reception area where people are scrunched up against each other and there is not much space between tables. Your servers and photographers may find it difficult to navigate the minefield of purses and diaper bags that hide in the dark. Servers carrying pitchers full of drinks will thank you the most for making sure it's bright enough to see obstacles on the floor. And if parents put sleeping children partway under the table, it could really become dangerous, especially if they're wearing dark clothes.

The third scenario is something only Mennonite wedding photographers will understand. If you have a lot of Old Order Amish relatives who are very uncomfortable being around cameras, really dark receptions might not be a good idea. It's hard to take a stealth photo of your grandma you really want a picture of, but who doesn't want to know about photos taken of her. I always want to honor the couple's wishes when it comes to how much to photograph Amish relatives, but taking photos without flash feels more respectful in iffy situations.

Now that we have those scenarios out of the way with, let's talk about some basic tips.

1. Always preview your lighting scenario ahead of time. Not all candlelit spaces are equal. You want to make sure you have enough light for people to see where they are going, yet still have it dim enough to set the mood.

2. Your bridal table should be at least as bright as the surrounding area, maybe even brighter. People like to be able to see the bride and groom at a wedding, and the bridal table is a focal point. Your friends' cell phone camera photos will look better. Bridal party members will be able to take better selfies if you have some more ambient light. But if you're both super reclusive and want to hide from your guests and want a completely unplugged reception, then less light might be your thing.

3. Twinkle lights are always a good idea. In addition to looking nice in pictures, you are probably going to need some additional lighting to what is on the tables. Get creative, and string them wherever you can. And if your reception is in a gym, then make use of the basketball hoops!

4. Think beforehand about when you want the lights turned off. I've been at weddings where the lights are on until just before the bridal party comes in, or after they are seated. It is really nice for reception ushers and even servers to be able to see clearly across the room. And, people typically turn the lights back on as people are leaving. In addition to helping the folks cleaning up, guests can see things they may be leaving under tables a little more easily.

5. This goes without saying, but enjoy your candlelit reception! A designated lighting person will make that easier to do. Let someone else worry about making sure all the candles are lit and the lights are turned off at appropriate moments. That job can be done by candle lighters, ushers, or reception coordinators. Better yet, give the job to a relative or friend you have no jobs left for, but you want to be involved in your day.

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(Waldron Portraits) candelit reception tips wedding wednesday http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2018/1/tips-for-candlelit-receptions Wed, 31 Jan 2018 21:49:34 GMT
Guestbook Glitches http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2017/9/guestbook-glitches It happens at nearly every wedding--a wrinkle in the otherwise smooth fabric of an organized wedding day. A wrinkle that could easily be ironed out, if coordinators and brides were aware that it happens so frequently.

The bride nervously waits with her girls for the coordinator to tell her it's time to start walking in. The coordinator is running around, trying to make sure the music is ready, the parents and ushers are set. And then she sees it. The line of guests still stretches out the door, guests needing to be seated before the wedding can commence.

Now the coordinator tries to snag an usher's attention. "Come on and seat these people already," she thinks, even if she is too calm and polite to say it like that. But the ushers have seated everyone who is ready to be seated. The line of people are waiting to sign the guestbook. At this point, experienced ushers and coordinators whisper to the line of guests, "Sign the guestbook on your way out." Ushers and coordinators with less experience get nervous and look despairingly at the clock and conclude that the wedding will start late. And sometimes, the photographer will nudge the coordinator and suggest having people sign the guestbook after the wedding. Part of our job, after all, is to help a wedding run as smoothly as possible.

So now that you're aware that the dreaded guestbook pileup happens, what can be done about it? There are several things that can help, but one really simple solution that trumps all the others. Why not make a nice little sign beforehand, and tell the guestbook gals to prop it on top of the guestbook five or ten minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to start? The sign could say, "Please sign the guestbook on your way out." Or, "Latecomers will forfeit signing the guestbook, and will not be recorded in the history of our special day." I'm guessing most brides would prefer the first wording!!

A standard guestbook or photobook with pictures from the engagement is such a lovely tradition and keepsake that I would hate to suggest ditching it in favor of faster guestbooks. Just be aware that if you only have one or two people who can sign at once, you do need to put more thought into planning how to take care of the last minute pileup.

I've seen a lot of creative guestbook ideas that involve more that one or two people signing in at a time. Puzzles and wooden hearts are just a few of the unique ideas at weddings recently. You're only limited by your imagination and Pinterest when it comes to "out of the book" ideas. Pileups can still occur, but having a few more pens and options does help.

 

Or, you could just start your wedding late. It wouldn't be the first time, or the last. But if you want to save your coordinator some last minute stress, you might want to think about it.

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(Waldron Portraits) guestbook wedding tips wedding wednesday http://www.waldronportraits.com/blog/2017/9/guestbook-glitches Thu, 14 Sep 2017 01:59:52 GMT