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All about the e-shoot | What is an engagement session and why should I get one?

This is the second in a series of posts to feature advice from brides, wedding planners and Lisa Rice from Lisa Rice Photography.  Check the Lisa Rice Photography blog Tuesdays and Thursdays for more about how to have the best wedding photos ever!

Upcoming topics include boudoir photography, planning your wedding day schedule, and how to deal when everything goes wrong. Click here to view all the posts in the series.

Hey, hey! If you’ve followed the last couple posts, you now have your photographer pretty much picked out. Maybe you’ve even signed a contract or put down a deposit. And then your (incredibly awesome) photographer (who takes killer pictures at just the right price) asks you a question: “When do you want to do the engagement shoot?” Whoah! Slow down there, dude! Let’s back up a second.

What are engagement pictures?
Engagement pictures are photos of you and your honey doing what you do best: being in L-O-V-E. These photos can range from traditional portraits to a concept shoot (ex. vintage picnic) to photos of you two doing an activity together (attending a carnival, playing mini golf).

Why get engagement pictures taken?
Oh man, I could go on forever here about all the reasons it’s a good idea to get engagement photos, but I’ll limit it to three for now:

1) It helps you get to know your photographer
Remember, this is a person you’ll be spending a LOT of time with on your wedding day. In rare cases, an engagement session can let you know if you and a photographer just aren’t clicking. Being in sync is one of the keys to an excellent end result!

2) It helps you relax in front of a camera
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have paparazzi following me around in my daily life. If you’re not used to having your photo snapped constantly, it can be kind of unnerving.

3) They have many uses!
Newspaper announcements, Save the Date cards, a photo guest book and home décor! Often the more casual vibe of engagement photos will fit in better with your home décor than your wedding photos will. They’re just nice to have around.

Are you convinced? I hope so! If you live in Central Ohio or the Cincinnati area, give me a ring at 614.507.1135 or shoot me an e-mail and we’ll set something up!:)

P.S. These are actually anniversary pictures for a couple whose engagement photos I took a long time ago. Aren’t they cute, though?!

jacin {lovely little details} - what a great post!!March 10, 2011 – 8:51 pm

Lisa - Thanks, Jacin!March 10, 2011 – 9:03 pm

How to choose your wedding photographer: FAQs


This is the second in a series of posts to feature advice from brides, wedding planners and Lisa Rice from Lisa Rice Photography.  Check the Lisa Rice Photography blog Tuesdays and Thursdays for more about how to have the best wedding photos ever!

Upcoming topics include engagement photos, boudoir photography, planning your wedding day schedule, and how to deal when everything goes wrong. Click here to view all the posts in the series.

So hopefully by now, you have at least some idea of who you’d like to hire as your photographer. Maybe you plan to meet him or her in person or, if you’re out of town, talk on the phone. What should you ask this prospective photographer?

I thought I’d take on this post a little differently. I’ve asked several brides and grooms what questions they thought were good to ask a photographer, so we’ll run through those. And since this is my blog, I’ll give you my answer for those questions, k? Here we goooo!


About Technology:

What kind of camera and lenses do you use?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II, which is considered the industry standard for wedding photography. My lenses are lenses that are recommended for wedding photography. I own a Canon 50mm 1.4, a 28-75 2.8 and a 135 2.0 and I rent additional lenses/equipment on the day of.

I also have a Pentax K1000 film camera which I’ll use if you request it.


Do you have backup equipment?
Yes! I would never shoot a wedding without backup equipment!

Do you back up your images? When, where and how?
I back up my images multiple times to multiple locations as soon as I get home from your wedding.

How do you edit your photos?
I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to edit. I cull my photos in Lightroom and do an intial edit for color, contrast and tone. Then those photos are run through Photoshop, where they get my special color recipe applied to make them look super awesome! I also make sure my favorites are perfect perfect — edit out things like stray hairs or Exit signs. You’ll see all these edited photos in your online gallery.

About your Photography Package:

Will I receive high resolution digital copies of my images?
It depends on whether or not it is included in the package you booked. If it is not included with your package, you have the option to purchase a DVD of your edited images ala carte!


How many photos can I expect in the final delivery?
This depends on how many hours you have booked and whether or not you’ve chosen to book a second shooter, but most of my couples will see 400-600 edited images in their gallery.

Can I request a 2nd shooter? How experienced is he/she?
Yes! I am happy to book a second shooter for you if you would like. My second shooters are all professional photographers with their own businesses and are very experienced. Occasionally, my husband will assist me on the wedding day, and he is also an experienced photographer. I will let you know in advance who your second shooter will be.

If we want to extend our coverage time at what rate will the time be billed?
When our scheduled time is up, I will ask you whether or not you are ready for me to leave. Additional coverage is billed at my regular hourly rate as quoted to you ahead of time, minus 10 percent if you booked my standard package.


After our event what is a normal timeline for delivery of the end product?
The first thing you will see after your wedding is a teaser photo posted on Facebook, usually within 1 week of your wedding. Within 4-6 weeks, I will e-mail you a link to a slideshow of my favorite 50 images. Within 48 hours of that, I will e-mail you a link to your password protected gallery with all your edited images, as well as a link to your pre-designed album. If you order an album, your album and DVD will be delivered to you in person 3-4 weeks later. If you don’t order an album, I’ll deliver your disc ASAP!


Do you shoot video snippets as well?
No, I’m sorry! My #1 goal is to get awesome still shots of your day, so I don’t divide my attention.


On the Wedding Day:

What makes you unique?
If time allows, I will visit your venue during the rehearsal to get an idea of how to move during the ceremony and get a look at the lighting. Most of the time I take a photojournalistic approach. I won’t ask you to do things over again or pause in the middle of zipping up your dress. With a few exceptions, I’ll stay out of your way. I’ve also been known to chip in and help with last-minute DIY projects and set up, if needed.:)

What do you do in case of rain?
It’s up to you! I am happy to shoot in the rain and carry a poncho for me and a dry bag for my camera. But if you’d rather not brave the weather, we can find a nice place inside for photos.

How comfortable are you giving us direction in portrait and group photo situations?
Very comfortable! It would be good for you to have someone in charge of rounding up friends and family members that you want in formal photos, however. I don’t know what everyone looks like.

How much input do you expect from us on possible shots?
If there is something you REALLY REALLY want, please tell me! I don’t usually work off a list, but if you are the type of person who is going to be disappointed if you didn’t get a shot of something specific, you should probably give me one. If you give me a list, I will use it. I generally play the wedding day by ear, so if you don’t set aside time for formals we won’t do them.



How flexible are you in terms of locations, props, posed vs candid, etc.?
I am very flexible! If you set aside time to travel to another location on the wedding day, I’d love to! The more time we have, the easier it is to take candid shots vs. posed. Like I said, I’m a go with the flow kinda girl. Just know that if you don’t take time for photos on your wedding day, you won’t end up with the best results you could have otherwise.

What do you do in low-light situations? Do you have examples of a shoot you did in a low-light situation?
My equipment is professional grade and is capable of handling low light situations. I shoot both with flash and without in low light. You can see an example of a low-light shoot here, but the camera I have now is even better!

What is your contingency plan in case of illness or emergency?
Unless I or someone in my immediate family is physically incapacitated, I will be at your wedding! I’m not going to skip out because I don’t feel well. If for some reason I cannot  be there, I have a strong network of local photographers I could count on to fill in for me.

Well, that’s it for now. Any other questions you’d  like me to answer? Any other questions a bride and groom should ask their potential photographer?

Anni - Great post! Love that you shoot film. Jonathan Canlas has me very inspired lately.March 3, 2011 – 10:19 am

Puppy power! | Union County Human Society

I hope you guys enjoyed the first post in the new series yesterday! I was a little wordy so I thought I’d break it up with a nice, short post today.

This little guy is Hyena (aka Tigger) and he’s one of the pups up for adoption from the Union County Humane Society. I’m going to be doing some work with the UCHS over the next few months, so expect to see more cuties like him in the future! Happy Wednesday!

Carlee - Lisa, I love this! There is a rescue in Cincinnati, Recycled Doggies, that gets a lot of help from Phodographer with photographing their adoptable dogs, or dogs at high-kill shelters in need of a foster home. I think professional photos of the dogs really help prospective adopters, so your special skills are really helpful in getting them adopted!March 14, 2011 – 11:57 am

Kristy - Oh my Lisa! This is a amazing pictures of this boy :) It shows his beautiful eyes and how he makes amazing eye contact! You most certainly have a gift :)March 21, 2011 – 10:41 am

How to find your wedding photographer

This is the first in a series of posts to feature advice from brides, wedding planners and Lisa Rice from Lisa Rice Photography.  Check the Lisa Rice Photography blog every Tuesday and Thursday for more about how to have the best wedding photos ever!

Upcoming topics include how to choose your photographer, engagement photos, boudoir photography, planning your wedding day schedule, and how to deal when everything goes wrong.

So you’re engaged?! Congratulations! You’ve got the ring, a date and hopefully a venue. If you’re 18-12 months away from your wedding or even less, then it’s time to search for a photographer.

If you’re more than 12 months away from your wedding, you may have trouble booking a photographer right away. Many photographers — myself included — don’t book more than 1 year out. Don’t let that stop you from checking around the websites of photographers you’re interested in or sending an inquiry to introduce yourself. Maybe you’d even like to book an early engagement session. All these things will give you a leg up when it is time to book.

Where did you look to find photographers?

But where to start?

Well, first you should know your budget. I know, I know, thinking about money isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but it won’t do you any good to fall in love with the work of a photographer who is totally out of your price range. Some wedding websites will recommend a particular percentage of your overall wedding budget be spent on photography, but personally I believe you should consider how important photography is to you. Once you know that, you’ll have a better idea of how much you’re willing to spend on photos.

Now that you know your budget, it’s time to browse the internet. Obviously, pricing is somewhat dependent on the local market, so my recommendations are going to be tailored to the Central Ohio bride. Please adjust for your local cost of living!

If your budget is more than $3,000 …

You can afford to hire one of the most prominent/experienced photographers in Central Ohio or you can book a slightly less well-known photographer and get top notch service (think unlimited shooting hours, high-end, deluxe albums, etc.). Top results for Google searches will be for studios within your budget. Check out Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book, which is an exclusive vendor directory. The Knot will have wedding photographers in your price range, as well. If you can’t find anyone from Central Ohio who fits you perfectly, consider hiring someone from out of town to fly or drive in for your wedding.

If your budget is $1,000-$3,000 …

Check out The Knot for photographers in your price range. Wedding Wire, too, will have a number of photographers that could work for you. Be sure to check out reviews of potential photographers. Many, many brides fall into this price range, so ask your friends who have been married recently which studio they hired — and whether or not they’d recommend them to you.

You will find plenty of reputable, talented photographers in this price range (including me)! At this point, your decision becomes about style, personality and experience, which I’ll cover more in a minute.

If your budget is less than $1,000 …

Check out the Creative Services and Event Services ads on Craigslist. I will say this, however: Be wary of photographers who advertise a full day of wedding photography for less than $1000. No full time photographer can afford to work for so little. Those who charge less are either new to the profession or aren’t talented enough (either at business or at photography) to charge more. Hiring a newbie isn’t always a bad decision; just make sure you understand the risks and are familiar with the photographer’s work before you make a commitment. You could get a great deal.

If photography is important to you and you have less than $1000 to spend, don’t think that having a tiny budget necessarily precludes you from working with a good, experienced photographer. Consider hiring a photographer for fewer hours or holding your wedding on a week day or in the off season (winter), when some photographers offer discounts. Don’t be afraid to ask, but don’t be offended if your dream ‘tog says “no” to a request for a discount. This is her job; please respect that she has to make a living.

“At first, I didn’t even want (a photographer),” says The Nodakademic, a.k.a. Mrs. Mary Jane. “This was my second wedding, and I wasn’t entirely happy with the pro photos from my first. I figured the photos from guests’ point-and-shoot cameras would be fine. When I changed my mind and decided our wedding was worth more to me than a couple of blurry or badly-framed shots, I actually looked to my friends for recommendations.”

The Nodakademic ended up getting a great deal with a talented professional photographer by only booking three hours of photography on a Wednesday. Score! I have been known to give discounts for off-day weddings on occasion (it all depends on the date).

Maggie hired me for four hours on a Sunday afternoon

By this point, you should have an idea of the style of photography you like and maybe even have a list of your favorite photographers. How should you narrow down your options?

Brianne from Being Breezy says she was looking for a particular style of photography. “I kept clicking and clicking until I found someone’s photography blog that really caught my eye. His photography struck me as ‘thoughtful and light,'” she says.

A key factor in your decision will obviously be availability. Call or e-mail your top choices to see if they’re booked for your date. Allison S. focused on style first, followed by availability and communication. “I narrowed down my options by checking out their websites and blogs to see if their style matched the style I/we were looking for. Then I would contact each photographer about price and availability. I would also gauge how quickly they responded and how nice and professional they were in their response,” she says.

Unfortunately, one of her favorites wasn’t free on her wedding date. What’s a girl to do? “If you find a photographer you really like, but they’re booked on your date, ask them if they can recommend anyone,” she said. “One of the photographers I contacted was booked on our date, but she offered to ask around to her friends and see who else was available. I know not all photographers are going to have the time to help out like that, but I would hope they could tell you a couple photographers they respect and could recommend.”

When I’m booked on a particular date, I almost always try to refer brides to another local photographer that I respect, and I know some of my brides have found me that way, as well! (I’m looking at you, Autumn. 😉 )

Emily Schanie says she picked a photographer (me) who was good at communicating with her and understanding her needs.

“One of the factors that helped us narrow down our photographer was communication. Remember a photographer cannot read your mind,” Emily says. “The ability to communicate with your photographer will help not only with questions you have but with the vision you have for your wedding day.”

Emily chose a fall wedding in part so she could have pictures like this one

Recommendations from friends and online reviews are great, but style is extremely important. Amy & Matt caution against hiring someone whose online portfolio doesn’t match up to the images you’re hoping for. “We see so much beautiful and unique wedding photography in the wedding blog world I think it is very important to be realistic about your photographer’s style and abilities,” they say. ” If you desire more unique images, does your photographer have an established history of delivering this type of image?”

I hope these tips from past brides help you get down to your top one, two or three photographers. If you’ve already chosen a photographer, how did you find him/her and how did you make your decision?

Adrienne - Great post Lisa! I can’t wait to see the rest of your advice features! :)March 1, 2011 – 9:43 am

Twitted by FrenchieBirdie - […] This post was Twitted by FrenchieBirdie […]March 1, 2011 – 11:25 am

Rachel - Great advice, Lisa! I agree with everything here. :)March 1, 2011 – 11:37 am

Emily - Just lovely, Lisa! Can’t wait for the rest.March 1, 2011 – 3:26 pm

Nodakademic - I love this series! :)March 3, 2011 – 10:33 am

How to Have the Best Wedding Photos Ever!

This week is the start of something new here on the blog — my first ever series! It’s titled “How to have the most awesome wedding photos ever,” so I’m not relying on my own experience alone. I’m calling in the big guns — brides from all over the country and experienced wedding planners to give you the answers you need on wedding photography. You’ll learn where to find a photographer, what to ask your potential photographer, and how to have amazing engagement, boudoir and wedding photos. I. am. psyched.

The other exciting thing about the series is that it’s going to give me a chance to show off some photos I haven’t had a chance to blog yet. Expect to see the first post in the series tomorrow, and in the meantime, enjoy this teaser of what’s to come!

T w i t t e r
F a c e b o o k