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Wedding Photography

Avoid Wedding Stress

— 05/05/2020 by Monika Wertman —

Avoid Wedding Stress leading up to your Wedding Day by hiring the Right Professionals for the Job.

You have been planning for your wedding since you were a little girl.  In your mind, the day features blue skies with just a dappling of puffy white clouds, your hair and make-up is flawless and the entire day runs smoothly and exactly as you planned for years.  Every family member is happy for you and your bridesmaids are the best and most helpful friends you can imagine.  Everything goes to plan.

Over the years of capturing these happy occasions I can tell you that something will go awry.  Plan for it, because it will happen. I have seen anything from the DJ arriving 5 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start, making everything run 30 minutes late because he needed time to set up, to the bride realizing that no-one knew where the flowers are, so a last minute pick up had to be arranged.  We have captured an outdoor wedding that was supposed to be perfect and held by a pond with the bride arriving in an open, white, horse-drawn carriage that turned into a rained out indoor event, and a wedding a bridesmaid missed because she found herself in labor a month earlier than expected.  These are just 4 examples of minor to more upsetting incidents that can happen and the bride did not plan for.  From missing rings to a wedding license that had been placed in a random spot to a virus which led to postponed weddings so everyone attending would stay healthy, our brides who have dealt with these issues have risen above it all to still celebrate a wonderful day.  You ask how?

The answer is simple:  Each bride surrounded herself with a wedding party who cared and helped her through the disappointment of the rainy day, found the missing rings and license and sent someone to pick up the missing flowers. ​In the case of the postponed weddings, each of our brides had decided to hire professionals who helped her through the stress of rescheduling it all by making it as easy as possible for her.

In short, a great team by your side makes all the difference in the world.

It is important to have a team by your side for many aspects of your wedding day, including a selection of professionals, with experience in their chosen field of expertise and in particular weddings.  It all begins shortly after you get engaged.  If you are a planner, you will schedule your wedding at least one year out from the time your beloved other half asked you for your hand in marriage.  You may attend a bridal show or two to meet wedding vendors and begin to make a list of those you want to interview and get to know better.  At the top of this list you will either place your venue or your photographer.  Next in line is your bridal salon to pick your dress, then the caterer and florist and a bakery for your cake.  Some venues offer all inclusive packages for space, food and cake, some even have preferred florists they work with.  In most cases you make these choices separately from each other.  Somewhere in this mix you will also need to decide on music and who to hire for that aspect of your day.

We recommend the following order of importance, based solely on how quickly these vendors book up and become unavailable:

  1. Venue, this may be your church for the ceremony and a venue for the reception, or a venue to hold both the ceremony and reception.
  2. Photographer, we are in high demand and generally book out at least one year in advance unless you are looking at a Friday evening wedding.
  3. Bridal Salon to pick your dress, this is a fun process and alterations can take up to 6 months.
  4. Caterer, many caterers book weddings and events well in advance.
  5. Bakery, cake orders will generally need to be placed 3-6 months in advance, especially if your sights are set on a very popular bakery.
  6. DJ, 3-6 months in advance is a good measure for a DJ as they work with all sorts of events and not all of them have more than one employee.
  7. Florist, 3-4 months in advance is usually enough time to secure a florist.
  8. Hair Salon and Make-up Artist.  If you are planning on having your hair and make-up done professionally for your big day, these services need to be secured about 4-6 months ahead of time as well.  Ask if they will come to you, not all salons offer this little extra and even if they do, they may charge additionally for the service.

 

 

I gave you this list as a guide to go by to decide what consultations to schedule as soon as you have set a date and which can wait a bit.  Number one and two are interchangeable depending on your flexibility of importance for either one.  1-6 are an important part of the team of professionals who can make or break your day and why you need to choose them carefully.

I want to point out that it is imperative that you insist on meeting with all parties you consider hiring, in person.  Face to face consultations will give you a good impression on how well you will work with each vendor.  Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime occasion and choosing any of the vendors over the phone can lead to disaster.  If a vendor is ready for you to hire them over the phone, insist on meeting in person.  If you live a fair distance away, a Skype consultation is a good second option.  Let’s dive into what questions to ask to help you vet your prospective vendors beyond the first impression and the cost of their services.  Remember that the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is always true.  If your budget is tight, prioritize by importance, not by how much each service costs.

The venue is an obvious important choice to make, a gorgeous place will make for great photos.  Beyond the visual implications, some other important issues need to also be addressed.  Consider asking the venue’s consultant the following:

  1. Where can my groom and I get ready?  (Most venues and churches have bridal and groom suites, special rooms set aside for this purpose.)
  2. Who will my point of contact be leading up to the big day and day of?
  3. Will my officiant and photographer be able to talk to you in person and see the grounds and facility before the wedding?
  4. What does the rental fee include? If food is included, ask if you may bring in your own caterer instead.
  5. Do we have a choice of a plated dinner or a buffet?
  6. Do you offer a payment plan?
  7. Will you take care of decorations or do I need to do that?
  8. Do you provide table decor, such as linens, plates, glassware and flatware?
  9. How early can the wedding party arrive on the day of the wedding and when do we need to leave?
  10. Who is in charge of clean-up?
  11. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

The photographer is one of the most important vendors, if not the most important vendor for your wedding.  Your wedding day only happens once, none of the moments can be recreated and your photographer needs to be able to capture them all without fail.  While you may be able to glean some of the information from the Photography Studio’s website, consider asking the photographers you are meeting with the following:

  1. What does your starting package/collection include?
  2. Can I have price lists for items not included in the packages/collections so we can plan our budget accordingly?
  3. Will you have more than one photographer capturing my wedding?
  4. What role does each photographer play the day of my wedding?
  5. Will you help me prepare a time line?
  6. Do you have recommendations on the flow of my wedding day?
  7. Are you comfortable with pets? (if you plan on using your dog in the wedding ceremony)
  8. Can I send you sample images I would love for you to capture?
  9. Do you want a list of family members we want photos with?
  10. Will you meet with my other vendors and scout the wedding venue?
  11. How often will we be in touch between the signing of the contract and the wedding day?
  12. Do you offer a payment plan?
  13. How much is the down payment and when does it need to be paid?
  14. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

A good and conscientious professional photographer who is experienced in capturing weddings will love that you are this detailed and will be in touch with you throughout the time in between signing the contract and your wedding day.

The Bridal Salon also finds itself on the top of the important vendor list for obvious reasons.  Picking your gown will be a fun experience if you choose the right salon for you. Here are some tips on how to choose and what questions to ask:

  1. Am I able to browse without an appointment?
  2. Is the staff friendly and courteous, not matter what your body type is?
  3. Does the salon have a variety of dress sizes on the floor to try on?
  4. How long are appointments?
  5. How big of an entourage may I bring with me to the dress appointment?
  6. How long will dress alterations take?
  7. Am I bound to the alterations department of the boutique/do I have to use the seamstress who is recommended?
  8. Do you offer a payment plan?
  9. Do you offer discounts to my wedding party if we purchase those gowns in the same boutique?

wedding gowns

The Caterer finds him/herself among a lot of competition, and it ultimately comes down to your budget, taste in food, and the overall theme of your wedding, on who you choose.  If you want to support a local, home grown business you need to find out how many years they have been catering weddings.  Local eateries are fantastic, but not all of them cater and may not have the right tools to do so or the required experience to cater a larger event such as a wedding.  Beyond those thoughts, consider asking some of the following questions:

  1. What is the cost per person?
  2. How much is the down payment and when is it due?
  3. Will you provide staff to help with set-up and break down.
  4. How much does set-up and break down cost if it is not included in the food price?
  5. Do you provide flatware and silverware?  (You may or may not need this depending on your venue).
  6. How many staff members will you provide for service during the event?  What is the cost?
  7. Do you have an off premise liquor license?
  8. How much do you charge for liquor per person and type of alcohol.
  9. If we hire you for our food, but want to buy our own liquor, are you able to serve it?
  10. Do you offer a desert option that would supplement our wedding cake?
  11. Do you bake cakes?
  12. Are you prepared to serve our cake and do you know how to cut it?
  13. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

The Bakery for your wedding cake or cupcakes will have their creation featured in your wedding photos.  This special center piece of your day needs to not only be delicious but also pleasing to the eye. Take advantage of bridal shows and try a few samples.  When you make an appointment to schedule a tasting, consider asking the following questions:

  1. How big of a cake do you recommend for x number of guests?
  2. I want to do cupcakes and a small wedding cake, how many flavors can I pick?
  3. Will you provide trays and displays for the cupcakes and our cake? If so, will you pick it up from us or do we need to get it back to you and when?
  4. Do you deliver the cake the day of our wedding or do we need to pick it up?
  5. Does the price of the cake include delivery?
  6. Do you offer gluten free cakes?
  7. How much is the down payment and when is it due?
  8. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

​The above set-up is from the wedding of a nurse and a fireman.  I loved the cute figures on the main cake.  Some bakeries are very creative when it comes to cake toppers.  This cute set was completely edible.

The DJ will add a fun element to your wedding if you hire the right person for the job. Here are some tips about what to look for:

  1. How responsive is the DJ you contact?
  2. What kind equipment will he or she provide, i.e. lights, how many speakers, microphones for speeches, etc.
  3. What is included in the fee?
  4. How flexible is the music selection offered?
  5. Is the DJ able to meet special requests for your wedding day, i.e. the bridal song, your entry to the reception music, first dances.
  6. Will you be able to have your theme accommodated?  (We shot a wedding at a ball park last year and the entry music had overlays of a personalized baseball announcement for each person and pair of the bridal party.)
  7. Will guests be able to make requests?
  8. How much is the down payment and when is it due?
  9. Is the DJ willing to meet and talk to your photographer and coordinate your timeline.
  10. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

The Florist is delivering another visual aspect to your wedding that will be captured in many of your photos and featured in some. You should consider meeting with a couple of florists in person to discuss what you are looking for and gauge their creativity by asking leading questions such as below:

  1. I would like to reflect the season of our wedding in my flowers, what do you recommend?
  2. Do I have to choose flowers or can you make arrangements from greenery and succulents?
  3. Do you work with fresh flowers only or can I incorporate dried flowers?
  4. Can I order my bridal bouquet and boutonnières but loose flowers for my bridal party?
  5. Do you deliver and what is the cost for that?
  6. What does the cost of bouquets depend on?
  7. When do I need to order everything and what is the down payment?
  8. Do you offer payment plans?
  9. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees?
  10. If we have to reschedule during a different season, can we change the floral arrangements we originally ordered?  (these are valid concerns in our current state.)

The Hair Salon and make-up artist complete the list of professionals generally hired for a successful wedding day.  You are the star of your special day along side of your partner, and both of you will be in a lot of  pictures.  Your wedding day will be exhausting and professional hair and make-up will last all day if you hire the right salon to add to your team. Your first instinct may be to hire your usual stylist to do the job.  Before you do, find out how many weddings this salon has done.  Do they specialize in special occasions or do they focus more on cutting and styling hair? Here are a few things to ask:

  1. I would love to have you take care of my wedding party and myself on my wedding day, will you be able to handle (insert your bridal party number) of us?
  2. Do you travel to our location?  What is the cost involved?
  3. Will you bring more than one stylist?
  4. How many trials does my bridal hair and make-up include?
  5. How much time do we need, to get all of us ready?
  6. I want my photographer to capture some of our getting ready time, are you comfortable with that?
  7. What types of hair are you comfortable with?  (This question is especially important if your bridal party is a mix of ethnicity as most salons have a mix of talent they can draw from and need to know who to send to you to give you the best results.)
  8. I am not comfortable with heavy make-up as I do not wear it often, but I realize I need to have some as I will be in a lot of pictures, will you be able to help make me feel beautiful without overdoing the make up?
  9. I want matte finishing spray to set my bridal make-up, is that something you can do?
  10. Finally, ask hair related questions, especially if you are going to a salon where they have never done an updo for you.  Trials are important, as your hair needs to hold all day and maybe exposed to adverse weather.
  11. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

Here at Wertman Photography we are in unchartered waters concerning the current crisis, but well experienced with weddings as we shot a great number of them over the years.  We, like many others, were faced with our spring and summer brides who had to postpone their weddings this year and we worked with each couple to make sure they did not have to worry about their images.  Each vendor will have different challenges when it comes to rescheduling, so ask that question.  We do not know how long this virus will affect our nation and our every day lives.  It is best to be prepared and have everyone on one page and on your side.

I hope you can use these tips to help you find the right professional wedding team for your personality. Remember to prioritize what is the most important aspect of your wedding day outside of marrying the love of your life and budget accordingly.   Please call with any questions you have for me and my team of photographers and I will will do my best to help.   I would love it if you decide to include us in your special day.

Check out our wedding gallery on this site and email us to set up a consultation to find out more.

 

 

 

 

Gift Cards for Sessions or Artwork

— 03/27/2020 by Monika Wertman —

gift card

Gift cards for sessions or artwork are a great way to support our business during these times of social distancing!  We are restricted in how we can work with you, but you can still secure that you will be able to use us when this is all over!  Whether you are a new client or a returning client, we can send you a gift card virtually to keep you safe.  You may use the gift card now to purchase wall art from a recent session to send to a loved one, such as a parent or grandparent.  Our labs are on top of safety during this virus and your order will arrive directly from there, ready to hang on any wall you want to decorate.  We will gladly create a mock-up of the space you want to fill to show you what it will look like in your space.  Just send us a picture of your blank wall and we will create the look you want.  We will to also be happy to consult with you via Skype to figure out sizes and finishing styles.

Here is a sample of what two canvases or metals can look like hanging side by side: room mock up, pictures on wall

For those of you who want to work with us at a later date but want to take advantage of your tax return or other pay-outs, purchase your certificate now and use it later.  We can set up a Skype consultation to discuss your plans and get you on our calendar in July, August or September after this virus runs its course.

Whatever your pleasure and comfort level, we are here for you to bring a bit of sunshine and joy into this odd time we are muddling through together.

Your Wedding Day

— 01/21/2020 by Monika Wertman —

Your wedding day is a special occasion with moments that only happen once and can not be recreated.

wedding day

Hiring the right photographer is of utmost importance if you want to preserve those moments for eternity.

Weddings are expensive, we get it.  It all adds up, the dress, the venue, the food, the alcohol and then there is the photographer.

Weddings are budget heavy, and entertaining their guests well is often one of the top priorities on a couple’s list.  We have shot weddings for several years now and have talked to countless brides, hearing the “our budget is limited” argument all the time.  Here is the thing:  We understand that, but you can save money on food and your guests will not mind.  Save money on linens, no-one will care.  Play bad music, your guests may notice, but they will survive.  Hire a bad or inexperienced wedding photographer and end up with bad images and you face regrets for a life time.

wedding day

As a photography team we work with families at every stage of their lives.  One of the biggest complaints we hear a lot during consultations is:  “We should have spent more money on our wedding photographer and hired a professional with experience;  it is the biggest regret we have.”

So here is the fix:  Hire a professional with experience in wedding coverage.  Check their credentials.  Believe it or not, some photographers are not always all that they say they are.

You will also find that capturing your wedding day is quite different than capturing baby pictures or family moments.  It takes a special eye to capture weddings and the willingness to move all day long and pay attention to all that is going on.  Wedding days are marathons for a good, experienced wedding photographer.  We are constantly on the ball, missing nothing.  It is one of the reasons we charge what we do.

wedding day

It is also imperative that the photography team you hire is, in fact, a team.  This means two photographers.  Yes, read this again:  two photographers.  Two of us capture more than one.  You want two!!

And please, for all that is holy, do not let uncle Mike or aunt Suzy take care of your wedding pictures!!!!  Even if they have a good camera and produce decent photos of their pets and children.  They will not capture your day the way you want them to.  Friends or relatives have their own agenda on your wedding day and will miss a lot.  Remember, you did not pay them, they are a family member and friend.  Just invite them, treat them as you will all of your other guests and pay for a good photography team on your wedding day.  Your wedding day is special, treat it that way!

wedding day

 

Regrets are no fun.

Budget for photography, budget generously, and you will have no regrets!

 

 

Networking with Venues and other Businesses

— 03/19/2018 by Monika Wertman —

Networking with Venues and other Businesses

Once or twice a year I get in contact with JB Bridals in Chambersburg, PA, Bella Salon and Spa here in Hagerstown and a venue to create images that benefit us all.  I reach out to models I have worked with before and love and add a few fresh faces into the mix.  Sometimes these shoots are designed around something I really want to play with and have not had a chance to do, and other times they are designed around one of our business partner’s needs as was the case this year.

wedding dress  wedding dress back

We have been allowed into the Miller house for a few bridal sessions, family photos and engagement sessions and have developed a great relationship with this local non-profit historical home that houses the historical society of Washington County. The governing board decided to begin promoting the house as a wedding venue and we helped out, not only by providing images from past “real” sessions but also from this styled shoot, specifically designed to highlight some areas of the house we had not worked in before.

getting into the dress

I really enjoy the days during which I just get to play, everything connected to a styled shoot is fun.  I love working with JB Bridals and picking out gowns and tuxes for the event.  Jackie always pulls the most gorgeous gowns according to what my plans are and the models have a blast trying them on.

this train

Bella Salon always sends me the best stylists and make up artists and they perform their magic turning my models into brides and brides maids as was the case this time.  We work together for trade, and everyone benefits from the session.  I love the pace I get to set on those days, there is no rush to get to the next stage of the day and I get to meticulously plan each shot.

great hair

As a photographer it is important to continuously push myself, and to take time to explore ideas and different ways to utilize a setting, light, and mood.  During a wedding I am stuck with whatever the chosen venue has to offer and I am tied to the wedding day timeline.  I know how to work within the confines of all that, but it is nice to be able to control each moment, which is one of the reasons I arrange for at least one styled shoot a year.

This year I am planning a second one and it will be fabulous 🙂

Within this post I am showing you a few of my favorites of the day and since we were working at a historical venue, several of them are in either muted tones or black and white.  The gowns had gorgeous trains which I showed off in several of the shots.  Enjoy 🙂

Will You Marry Me?

— 12/06/2017 by Monika Wertman —

Will you Marry Me?

 

We are about to enter the season for proposals.  All over the globe one half of a couple will decide to get down on one knee this holiday season and pop the question:

“Will you marry me?”

Here at Wertman Photography we love this season. Since the answer “yes” leads to new brides-to-be who we will get to meet with over the next few months, during bridal shows and consultations at our studio, I thought I would point out a few things a newly engaged couple should look for when interviewing a photographer.

  1. Do not focus on price alone.  Some studios will have a low entry cost, but itemize every product, leading to a higher price tag in the end.  Ask what is included.
  2. Look over several websites.  Are the images consistent, do you notice a style?  If you love the style, call to set up an appointment to talk to the photographer.

3.   Set up an in person consultation with the photographer whose style you like.  If they are not willing to meet in person, do not hire them over the phone.  You should develop a relationship with the team you hire to capture one of the most important days of your lives.  This relationship starts during the in person consultation.

4.   Do not get scared of by a higher entry cost.  If a starting price is listed and seems outside of your budget, call the photographer anyway to talk to them. You may find that many things are included in this cost and that they are willing to work with you in terms of payment plans and that the starting cost is lower as the overall cost at a studio that is not all inclusive.

5.  Find out if your chosen studio works as a team or flies solo.  A wedding is a big job and if you hire a photographer who works alone, he/she will likely miss something.

6.  During the in person consultation you will get a sense of who you will be working with.  It is important that you click with your photography team.  They will record memories for you that are unretrievable.  It is important that you feel that you can trust them.

We worked with some great couples this past year, both during weddings and engagement sessions.  I have included some of our favorites from these sessions and we are looking forward to capturing the weddings of these engagement session over the next year and beyond.

Here is to a great Holiday Season, filled with Love and many who will answer “yes”.

Anatomy of Great Photography

— 08/16/2017 by Monika Wertman —

Prelude

wertman photography Adrienne and Joshua wedding-14

Life happens and it happens fast. We try to capture as much of it as we possibly can; from Mom snapping pics with her cell phone, to National Geographic Photographers capturing worldwide documentary quality images, fit for magazine print and awards among the best in the world.

wertmanphotography Morgan and Derek engagement_-36

Perusing photos throughout our lives, we will at some point, begin to see differences in style, composition, quality and so on. Our appreciation for great photography has been well noted, as so many marvel at truly wonderful pics. We hang them, post them, share them, comment on them and even sell them!

wertmanphotography-ab-swim-2016-action-37

Some believe that the differences in quality of photography start with the camera. I’ve heard people say, “Wow! Those are great pictures… You must have a really good camera!” There are those who say that it’s in the education and experience of the photographer. (We stand by this one!)

wertman photography bailey senior-10

Still others maintain that wonderful photography happens by chance or by luck. These ideas beg the question, “What does it really take to produce Great Photography?” We are going to pursue the answers in this series. Please join us and feel free to comment. Participation is always welcomed!

wertmanphotography Peteranecz family-13

Indian Wedding Shoot

— 02/17/2017 by Monika Wertman —

In October it was suggested to us to participate in a styled wedding shoot, Indian style.  Several venues were bounced around and after a while it was settled that the Kamran Center close to Frederick would be the place to do this.

kamran center, indian wedding

We worked with three models, one male and two females, one of which we worked with before.  It was fun to experience the differences in wedding attire and to see first hand how long it takes to get wrapped into a Sari.

indian bride

While the guys are much more comfortable and it seems carefree in their wedding attire in the Indian tradition, the girls have it much harder, as the Sari tends to slip off the shoulder when they move and restrict they way they can walk etc.

indian couple

I can not even imagine dancing in one.

indian bride

After this experience I will forever appreciate the ease in which a western bride gets into her gown and can move pretty freely depending on the style she chose.

indian couple

All in all this was an interesting experience and we did get some great shots from our great models.  Both ladies are gorgeous and witnessing them being transformed into fairy tale creatures was fun.

indian bride

We are currently organizing a western wedding shoot for March, again working with JB Bridals and if you are interested in participating in that, please read last week’s model call posted here.

indian bride

indian bride

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