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Insider Info That Could Save Your Wedding Memories!

By Candi Wolfe of Ericson-Wolfe Photography

My name is Candi Wolfe and I am owner of Ericson-Wolfe Photography, a Massachusetts based wedding photography studio. For many years, we have been photographing couples and watching weddings unfold beautifully. We are dedicated to creating a perfect wedding with a team of professionals who collaborate to make the day perfect for our couples.

Our experience has been wonderful, yet we have also heard how some wedding photographers can ruin wedding day memories. Even though the couples who have these bad experiences are not Ericson-Wolfe Photography couples, I still wish for everyone’s wedding day to be all they want and more. I want to spread the relevant information in an effort to help couples avoid making a wrong choice.

In this e-book, I have included a series of questions that I have been asked over the years. My answers are meant to give you insight into the importance of your decision in regards to choosing a wedding photographer. If I were a bride, I’d LOVE to know more about the truth of the industry from an insider. I hope my information helps save your wedding day memories! If you have any more questions, my contact information is on the final pages of this book. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or clarify anything I’ve written here.

Congratulations on your wedding day! I wish you the best!

Tell us the worst horror story you've ever heard regarding someone's wedding photography? I've heard a lot of horror stories! In fact, one of the worst that I've been told was one of the most recent. Unbelievably, a couple's wedding photographer never showed up! Lots of people were trying to contact the photographer while the bride was getting ready but the photographer could not be reached. Even by the time everyone reached the church, the photographer was nowhere to be seen. The day was half over at this point and there was nothing anyone could do. What the couple did was ask the guests to take extra photos just to so they had some memories of their wedding day. Even the DJ offered to take a few images with his small camera because the bride was in tears and he wanted to try to help. As a result of their photographers 'no show', the bride will not have a wedding album; instead, they may just manage to throw together a scrap book of guest photos. To be honest, I don't understand how the photographers could not have showed up! I felt bad for the couple because you just cannot go back and correct things like this. I have heard a lot of horror stories, but that one made me feel sick. Everyone loses out, not just the couple, but their families too! That bad experience will painfully stick out for them now and will be a huge part their wedding memories. This makes me so angry and it should never have happened. I wish I could have saved their day for them.

What shocks you the most about other wedding photographers? I am mostly surprised that the effort level does not seem high enough for an event were you have one chance to help create the memories and experience perfectly for the couple and their families and friends. I am surprised when I hear the horror stories about how photographers do not plan ahead, do not show up on time, do not give their all, and do not take safety precautions to protect the images they created! It's all about 100% effort, focus and dedication... and there is no room for less.

After your years of experience in the industry, what is the most important thing you'd look for in a wedding photographer? Now that I know the wedding day experience inside-out, I can tell you that the most important thing I would be looking for (aside from a style I LOVE) is a photographer that I feel comfortable with. It would be so important for my entire day to flow easily and I want to be happy the entire day - not stressed, mistreated or rushed! I now see that a great photographer can make the experience one that is better for me before, during and after the wedding. This is the kind of service and wisdom that I find extremely valuable and am certain would make my day perfect!

Have you ever "saved" someone from a bad wedding photography experience? Oh yes. It was unfortunate that we had to, but I am happy to have been there for them. What happened was that a couple received some previews from their wedding day and they were happy with the images. The problem began soon after when they received an unexpected email informing them that the photographer was going out of business!! He refused to talk to all any of his clients, but eventually the couple pushed and received a mail containing their images on DVD. This couple was stunned and didn't know what to do. They had paid him for a full package and now would be without their album. When the couple called us, they were very upset and unsure what to ask for. We invited them to our studio and asked that they bring in the images they had. We took a look at the previews and DVD and saw that we could create a beautiful album for them since they owned the copyrights to the images. In the end, we were able to produce a custom designed coffee table style album for them that they loved! We were even able to do some digital editing on a large wall print as a gift for the bride's dad. The couple and the family were relieved and happy, and so were we! We had to let the couple know that they, despite everything that happened, were still very lucky since they had the high resolution images! We have had many calls where couples have been let down and do not have any images or digital files to work with at all. When this happens, unfortunately there is nothing we can do. However, this couple who did manage to salvage the DVD now has a beautiful album! Ironically, this couple were guests at a wedding we photographed not long afterwards. They were excited to tell everyone how much they love their album again!! I'm so happy this turned out well in the end.

If my photographer is not known in the industry, does this make any difference in my photos? Yes, it can make a big difference, especially in the amount and the quality of photographs that you will receive. I have always said that it takes a team working behind the scenes to help create the perfect wedding day. All the professionals pull together to ensure this happens. It's so much easier when the photographers know when and where to be throughout the day. This means they will not miss crucial photo opportunities - many happen just the once and then for just a split-second! Obtaining this level of understanding takes communication and mutual respect from the team. Unprofessional or inexperienced photographers just don't seem to work as a team with the other professionals during the day and they DO miss out details, especially with timings and formalities. Sometimes, an unknown photographer is so new that they do not even know the sequence of the general wedding events and the ceremony details. Meaningful photo opportunities are left to luck and this is not an option when there is so much at stake. It's crucial that your photographer works professionally with coordinators regarding timings and facility preferences. When photographing a wedding, it's almost impossible to try and find out what you need to know on the day itself without upsetting the flow of events. Experience is the key to getting great images and perfect memories of your day.

What do you think about photographers that have full time jobs and then shoot weddings in their spare time? In the industry, part timers like that are called, "Weekend Warriors." This is not said with respect either! Weddings cannot be a photographer's priority when they have to give their regular employment their attention. Some "weekenders" don't have the time, space, or focus to give each wedding their 100%. I just cannot imagine "squeezing in" weddings when they are serious events!! You need to have a system in place regarding image back-ups, maintaining regular contact with the couples, being available for their questions and input, checking in with the facilities, keeping on top of equipment maintenance and making the critically required investments in time and money... I just cannot see making this a weekend-only focus. If it were my wedding day, I'd rather be in the safe hands of a full time studio.

How could wedding images be lost? How could this happen? There are multiple ways that a careless photographer could lose the wedding images. If they still use film, they could lose the physical rolls or perhaps the development process could fail, both resulting in lost images. With digital cameras, which most professional photographers use today, the files could be corrupted or wiped by camera failure or storage card failure or just improper care. It is essential that the cameras should be well maintained and well understood. Cameras are rated for only a certain amount of images, as are the storage cards that the images are recorded upon. A genuine professional photographer will be well aware of this and will be certain to make the proper investments in their equipment accordingly - having the cameras serviced periodically keeps the sensors clean and keep them running at peak performance. The cards used to save the images need replacing after a specified time since they give no warning when they are about to fail... they would simply stop recording images! Keeping up to date on your camera and having backup is essential. This is why I do not believe that part time photographers can operate without a high risk to the capture and preservation of those important images!

Another thing to know is that images can be lost by mistaken deletion from cards or computers. Without a tried and tested system of back-up in place, it can be very easy to accidentally delete an entire wedding! Cards can also be misplaced, written over, dropped, or not stored in the optimal protective case. All are risks to the images being lost. There are many, many ways to lose wedding images, but it is something that can be easily prevented with proper attention, investment in time and money, and dedication.

Have you heard of photographers going out of business? What happens to the wedding images? Yes, we have heard of many photographers suddenly going out of business. This seems to be happening more and more frequently of late and it is an unfortunate risk for couples who could lose out as a result. If a photographer does go out of business or decides to not do wedding photography any more, the fate of the images is up to the photographer alone. Some couples receive nothing. Others may receive previews only. Some are lucky to receive a DVD of images, either high resolution or low but it really does depend on the circumstances. Sadly, we have heard of each of those cases but we do our best to help the couples whenever we are able to.

What is the biggest complaint that you've heard about other wedding photographers?

We work with many couples, so we hear a lot about their experiences at other weddings. They thank us for not "taking over the day." Apparently, there is a consistent problem where photographers simply take over the day, especially with the posed photos. They take longer than they should, they do not listen or pick up on the needs of the couple or the facility in regards to preferences and timing of the wedding day, and they can even be overbearing and bossy. We hear the complaint about the photos taking too long repeatedly from couples and facility managers. We are often thanked for getting our couples where they need to be on time and being well aware of the schedule. While the most serious complaint would actually be when wedding images are lost, the most frequent one we hear about is when overbearing photographers take over the wedding day.

How can I avoid ALL of these problems and others I have not even thought about or would not know to worry about!! This information presented here wasn't meant to scare you, but to inform you :) If I were a bride right now, I would want to hear all of this information and then use it to my benefit. How you can get the most from all of this is to do your research both on-line and in person. Making sure your photographers are well known and liked is essential! Choosing a studio over a single shooter is also choosing peace of mind. Visiting the photographers, feeling comfortable with them and feeling important to them are good signs that your day will be better because of this relationship. Just keep in mind that some well established studios have photographers who care about you and their work. They may never have experienced the unfortunate situations that I have just shared with you, and they never will. These photographers do exist and you are now more equipped to go and find the perfect ones for you and your wedding day!

About Us:

Candi Wolfe Owner of Ericson-Wolfe Photography, LLC Candi Wolfe has been working in the professional wedding industry for over 11 years. She began as a wedding photojournalist and album designer and is now well known in the industry.

Website: Email:

Awards: The Knot's Best of Weddings Weddingwire's Bride's Choice Awards Better Business Bureau A+ rated Worcester Business Journal – Women in Business Winner Better Business Bureau Torch Award Finalist Address: Ericson-Wolfe Photography 386 West Main Street Suite 10 Northborough, MA 01532

Copyright ďƒ“ 2013 Ericson-Wolfe Photography All Rights Reserved

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