Topic: Wedding Tips
In the current economy there are so many choices when it comes to selecting a photographer for your wedding, event or portrait, that it can be confusing. Where do you begin? Who is right for you? What should you look for?
This post answers the question of why you would choose a professional photographer in general, and why you would choose Ayer Photography of Vermont in particular. The truth of the matter is that not all photographers are created equal, not all have the same operating principles, and not all have the same personality or guiding vision. Furthermore, what is a good compromise for some customers will be a poor choice for others.
And in the case of a wedding, it is about a lot more than just the images - it is also about the full experience - many customers opt for a photographer, who will do more than document the event - they want someone who will enrich their day and make it better, while also capturing great photographs.
Our most recent bride and groom just sent us a thank you card. They wrote, "thank you, thank you, thank you! We are so excited to see how our pictures look. We had such a great time and you were there to capture everything. You helped us both feel at ease and I know our pictures will be great! You were both so wonderful to work with. Thanks again!" They sent it to us while on their honeymoon and before they had seen more than a small fraction of the final images! They were thanking us for the experience, as most of our customers do! This is one of several reasons our customers select us for their wedding photography; and then refer us to their friends and families.
Some of the elements that our customers have told us differentiate us from some of our competitors are as follows:
Our artistic goal is to tell the story of what makes our clients uniquely special, and the treasured relationships they have with the people, with whom they are connected in this life. We do this through photographic art, that touches the heart and reflects their priceless value.
Take a look through our galleries and albums to get a sense of how our artistic vision captures real events and emotions; and even see how it has evolved over the years. While art is always a subjective thing, indications that our art is appreciated include: a) multiple repeat and referral customers, b) peer recognition and awards in professional competitions, and c) our images being selected for publication in regional magazines, including two covers.
At heart we are storytellers - some long, some short - but stories, nonetheless. That is to say, our images have something to say about their subjects - about who they are, what they are like, and who they love. This aspect of our business is most fully realized, when we produce an album. From the moment we pick up our cameras we are working on your album, your story - collecting all the images and other elements we will need to tell it professionally.
Then we custom design your story. While some of our competitors offer little more than a photographer's portfolio, we tell your story, with your favorite images and give you final approval of our final design. We do not use templates; and we do not use stock photos or graphical elements. Every image and embellishment comes from your wedding.
Once the design is complete and approved, we print and bind it, creating an heirloom quality product in one of our three album styles, or two photobook styles. We have produced multiple albums of each of our styles with album partners, that have a proven ability to repeatedly and consistently meet our exacting standards for print quality and accuracy and attention to every detail of high-quality album construction. Even then the final album must pass our designer's final inspection, before it is delivered to you.
While it is nice to be lucky, consistent high quality products and services is rarely an accident. We work at it. We understand for example the twelve elements of a high quality image and apply our experience and knowledge to achieving them every time. We retouch every single image before we present it to you--you do not have to imagine what it could look like. We use professional grade materials, equipment and software. We use only proven professional lab partners and rigorously calibrate our equipment with theirs to achieve a consistent quality output. Our labs inspect and correct every single product to our exacting standards of excellence, and every product partner has to demonstrate repeated consistent quality to remain our partner... right down to how it is packaged and shipped.
Professional Customer Experience
Our tagline is "Telling Your Story In Pictures!" When we take your photograph, or design and produce the final product, we do apply our artistic vision and expertise. But we always remember it is your story, it is your wedding, it is your heirloom album or piece of wall décor. How we execute that vision is as important as the final product. This is why we take the time to talk to you and get to know you before the event or session. At a wedding, for example, we want to be as unobtrusive as possible - it is your wedding, not ours, and the final product should reflect that. It is also why, for example, we will ask you to select your favorite images for inclusion in your album. While we will design it and make it as artistic as we know how, we will use the images you love best. At the end of the day, it is your album, that you will treasure and show to your grandchildren
Nobody likes surprises. So we make every effort to communicate clearly and completely. This is why we have a website, that shows more than pretty pictures. While we know that you need to see examples of our work, we also know that that is only one step in your decision-making process to hire a professional photographer. We describe our products and encourage every potential customer to come and meet with us face-to-face. We will answer all your questions and give you a good opportunity to see how our personality meshes with yours. Like us, we assume you want your decision to be an informed one, based on facts and clear understandings, rather than guesswork or assumptions.
We use only professional equipment that requires a serious investment. While we realize that under ideal conditions, an experienced photographer can probably produce a good image with consumer-grade cameras and lenses. The trouble with weddings, for example, is that conditions are very often far from ideal for some part, if not all of the day. It is under less than ideal conditions that professional grade cameras, lenses, and other equipment enable the professional to produce quality images. Our prime camera body, for example, is a Canon EOS 1D mark IV on which we mount only Canon "L-series" lenses. And our backup is a Canon EOS 1D mark III. Such equipment costs many times more than the prosumer models. But we made the investment so that we can still "get all the shots," even when conditions are far from ideal.
Our lead photographer, Warren, has been taking photographs for other people for over fifty years. We have been offering professional wedding, event, and portrait photography services as Ayer Photography of Vermont for over ten years. During that last ten years, we have photographed weddings in barns, hotels, ballrooms, tents, fields, and forests; in simple country churches, historical landmarks, and ornate cathedrals; on hilltops, mountaintops, beaches, porches, and boats; in the harsh sun of day, the cool shade, the warm light of afternoon, candle light, star light, fire light, or under fireworks; in spring, summer, fall, and winter; windy, calm, rainy, and even snowy. We have photographed weddings based on Christian, Celtic, Vedic (Hindu), Peruvian Indian, and even made-up traditions. Your wedding or event will be unique with its special and traditional elements, but chances are, we have seen something like it before, and will be prepared.
No true professional ever stops learning. There is always something new - new equipment, new software, new techniques, new products and new trends. We are members of several professional organizations (e.g., Professional Photographers of America, Wedding & Portrait Photographers International, and Vermont Professional Photographers). We take advantage of their conferences, workshops, and specialized training to get better, to take our craft to the next level -- year after year producing better products and higher quality service, than we did the year before.
We live in challenging times - where the media floods us with one pitch after another. Sometimes it is hard to sort out. This is why we state up front, that we are not in it for the quick sale. We want your referrals and return business. For that we need your trust.
As professionals we subscribe to a code of ethics to treat people fairly and honestly with integrity and respect. It also means, for example, that we will not disparage our competitors, nor will we even talk to you, if you have already committed to one of our competitors. What we will do, is explain our products, services, and terms as clearly as we know how, we will keep our commitments to the best of our abilities, and deliver what we promise. As members in good standing of Professional Photographers of America and of Vermont Professional Photographers we specifically subscribe to their codes of ethics, published on their respective websites.
We have been in business as Ayer Photography of Vermont for over ten years. We are not a fly-by-night, here-today gone-tomorrow operation. We are in it for the long haul. We have founded our enterprise on sound business practices -- we pay our taxes, we meet our commitments, and we charge enough to pay all of our expenses, whether it is for equipment, advertising, insurance, training, or the materials and service to build your album. Oftentimes, wedding customers will hire us more than a year in advance of their wedding, and then not make their last selection until months after their ceremony. We have structured our business, so that we will be able to meet our commitments well into the future. Our customers deserve one less thing to worry about.
Posted by Warren and Linda