Before you start shopping you need to consider how much you are willing to spend on your wedding dress. Let me tell you right now that you can actually spend upwards of $20,000 on a wedding dress so please do not assume you do not have a budget. Whether your budget is under $1000 or under $5000 for your dress you will be able to find a wide variety of styles and designs. Many times you will find a dress in a wedding magazine made by a top designer that is very closely duplicated by a less expensive designer. Although there are not many but some wedding gown retailers will have semi annual sales to clear out their stock or you may even be fortunate enough to find a trunk sale in your area so do not worry if you cannot afford a top designer dress without forgoing those really cute favors you found. I can tell you right now, some of the most beautiful wedding gowns I have seen were purchased for less than $1000! In the past you have probably dressed up for some kind of formal occasion. What was your favorite dress? In pictures, what cut of dress has proven to be the most flattering on your body? You may envision wearing a mermaid cut gown but if you do not have a waist this is probably not the best option for you. Also consider the location and weather when narrowing down the style of dress you will search for.
If you are going to get married on a beach in July you will want to find a dress that is more lightweight without a cathedral train; if you are getting married in a 100 year old church in April you will probably want to look for a more traditional gown with a longer train and veil. Another factor on the overall style you choose should be your comfort level. If you are the kind of bride who will throw your hands up in the air like you just don’t care and dance the night away at your reception, a strapless dress may leave tugging your dress up all night long.
You may be very particular about having bare shoulders or how many layers of “fluff” line the underside of your skirt, again these are all things to be considered when choosing the style of your wedding dress. You should make an appointment to view dresses. This will ensure that when you arrive there is a salesperson ready to cater to you. When you meet with her you should let her know your budget and what style of dress you would like to look at. Remember that most wedding dress sales representative’s work on commission so they will be more than happy to show you $5000 dresses all day long. Do not be afraid to be firm if you are not being shown what you asked for. Also feel free to walk through the dresses yourself and choose a handful to try on along with the ones chosen by the sales person. You will probably want to bring at least one person with you to give you honest feedback.
If you truly think your mother is incapable of telling her princess that every dress is not made for her then you may want to bring someone else. Many times the bride to be will bring her mother, soon to be mother in law and her bridesmaids along. If you choose to bring your entourage, be prepared for a wide range of opinions. You know yourself, your family and your friends so you should know if they will truly be able to help you make this decision or if they will hinder it. Once you decide on your wedding dress you will now be faced with the alterations. Wedding dresses are made up of so many more different components than any other type of clothing that the alterations will require a professional seamstress with a great deal of experience working with wedding gowns.
There are typically three fittings: the very first, one mid way through the alterations and the final fitting. The entire process averages about six months. This is why you should begin shopping for your wedding dress at least 9 months before the big day or layer on some big bucks for a speedy alteration schedule. And last but not least most women say, “I do” and then mentally say, “I’ve got to lose 15 pounds!” It is very safe to assume that with all of the stress of living your daily life on top of planning the wedding of your dreams you may very well lose a few pounds. However, do not purchase a wedding dress a size smaller because you just know you will be able to squeeze into it before the big day. Also, once you have purchased your wedding dress do not continue to lose additional weight. At the final fitting with your seamstress she may be able to take in a little more here or there but just know these changes may not always be flattering to the actual dress design.
At the end of your magical day you should know that you looked beautiful and felt even better. Finding the perfect wedding dress will take some time and effort on your part but when you are told a thousand times that you made the most beautiful bride you will thank yourself for all of the hours you pored over those wedding magazines searching for an inspiration.
We have all seen the professional portraits that line the walls of our friends and family’s homes. How many times have you told yourself that you really need to get your family wrangled together at least once a year to capture your beautiful brood? Finding the perfect photographer can be a little bit like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Before you talk with any photographers you should talk with your spouse or other family members who will share the expense of the portraits. You need to decide how much of an investment you are willing to make. Price does not always buy quality, but more often than not it does when you are talking professional portraits. The more money the photographer charges you it typically equates to the large amounts of money they have invested in their equipment and training. Keep this in mind when deciding on your budget. Once you have decided on your budget you should have a good idea of which photographers are in your price range. When you meet with photographers, trust your initial reaction. Do you like him? Can you see your family spending at least one full hour in their company? Do you think he will scare your little ones every time he comes near them? Do you think he will be able to set everyone at ease enough to make for a wonderful portrait? If you talk with enough people you will soon find that once someone finds a photographer they truly like, they will use that same photographer for as many years as they can.
Also remember that just because your neighbor despises a particular photographer does not mean you won’t love them, and vice versa. Out of all of the advice you could possibly receive about choosing a photographer, this may be the most important piece and it should be regarded in that manner. Do you dream of your family portrait showing your family sitting in front of an elaborate background or a beautiful on building? Your desired location will make a difference as well. Not every photographer is equipped to go off site and the ones that are will charge an additional fee for doing so. No matter where your portrait is taken remember that everyone will probably be dressed and ready for the picture before you get into your vehicle and the longer you are in the car the more wrinkles and time allowed for spots to appear. It is highly recommended to choose a location no farther away than 30 minutes. If you are going to have your portrait taken in a studio make sure there is an adequate amount of room to accommodate everyone who will be included in the photograph. Feel free to ask the photographers while interviewing them if you can see the area where he will set you all up and tell him how many adults and children will be in the portrait. Another area for discussion with the photographers during the interviews is time slots. If something causes you to be late or if the photographer is running late, will this take away from the time needed to get the perfect shot? He may tell you that if you are running late you will only have until the end time of your allotted appointment but if he is running late he will honor the entire appointment time frame. This is important to know because many times a good photographer will continue taking pictures until he is sure he has the perfect shot and in order to do that sometimes they exceed the appointed time.
Be sure and look through the portfolios that will, no doubt, be setting all around for your viewing pleasure. Look at the larger portraits hanging on the walls. Do you like the majority of them? Photographers choose certain portraits to use in their portfolio or for advertising purposes, because they are the best representation of their work. Chances are, if you love what you see then you will love what that photographer will do with your family portraits. If you see every single family portrait looks the exact same then you should fully expect yours to look just like them. However, if you do not like the majority or you feel the photographer may be unable to capture your darling daughter’s dazzling beauty with his work then he may not be the best option for you.
Once you decide on which photographer you will use you will want to get everything in a contractually binding agreement. Not that a contract is the end all solution but in the event of you remember him telling you that he would throw in a free 8×10 and he has no recollection of that something in writing will take care of any doubts. With that being said, feel free to negotiate a free sitting fee or prints while meeting with the photographer. Many times photographers are more than happy to waive a sitting fee or throw in additional prints if you purchase a certain quantity of prints through them.
Ask your chosen photographer what he recommends everyone wear. He may have a very nice backdrop that looks great with black and white clothing but terrible with browns. He has seen the results of every color combination and should have a well enough trained eye to know what is flattering and what isn’t with his studio props. Some photographers even have a selection of clothing to match different back drops available to use or even a make up artist on hand. If you think these may be helpful tools to your family portrait then by all means tell them you would like to utilize them. Keep in mind, there may be an additional fee though.
Above all, having a family portrait is creating a lasting memory of that day spent together. If there is tension building up to the very moment he says, “Smile” then every time you look at the portrait you will all remember it. Try to take care of enough legwork and research before you choose your photographer, that once the big day arrives you feel completely confident in your choice and know that it will be a great day to cherish forever.]]>
If you have never purchased a digital camera or have bought one but didn’t know what you really needed to buy, this can be a very daunting task. Heaven knows, every person you ask their opinion on the subject matter will give you a completely different version of the must have’s for your digital camera needs. Before going to a store or asking your friends for their personal opinions, take the time to read up on the different options now available to digital camera owners and decide for yourself what you must have and what really doesn’t matter to your camera needs. We have provided you with a list of items everyone should consider when purchasing their next digital camera and a detailed explanation of what each item means to the everyday photographer.
Megapixel simply means how many millions of square dots make up your picture. Not so simple? OK, one megapixel equals 1 million microscopic square dots. If your camera is 2 megapixels then each of your pictures is comprised of 2 million square dots. The more megapixels your camera uses the higher quality your pictures. Currently, you can purchase a digital camera ranging from 2 to over 9 megapixels. As expected the lower the megapixels a camera offers the lower the price and the higher the megapixels the higher the price. While a camera that offers 2 megapixels won’t be great for making prints it is great for children to use or to simply email pictures. If your goal is to take pictures well suited to print in 4×6 you would be very safe in choosing a digital camera with about 4 megapixels. If you believe you may opt to make larger prints from your pictures you should strongly consider making the investment in a digital camera that offers at least 7 megapixels. One fact to remember is that as new technology emerges on a daily basis the older technology becomes cheaper. If you are eyeing a 10 megapixel digital camera but are not quite ready to swipe your charge card consider waiting a couple of months and see if the price comes down a little; on the other hand if you make the investment on such a quality camera your investment will come back to you ten fold as you see the beautiful pictures you take come to life in prints.
Glass Lens’ are important when purchasing your camera. Many times you may read that the lens is made of plastic and while not all plastic lenses are bad they will never offer you the clarity that a glass lens does. The simplest way to explain the theory is to imagine a pair of eye glasses. Now, would you rather look through a plastic lens with imperfections throughout or a pure piece of glass with no imperfections? In the realm of digital photography there are so many factors in what constitutes a good picture and before you ever get to that point you have to have a good starting point, which in this case would be a clear image captured for your digital camera to work it’s magic on.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. In terms of your digital camera this equates to being able to hold more pictures in your camera without sacrificing the quality of your pictures before you have to transfer your pictures to your computer. Most digital cameras hold their pictures on memory cards or sticks so this may not be a large factor in your choice, however if you believe you would prefer not to depend on using a memory card make sure the digital camera you choose has a high RAM.
Zoom is defined in optical and digital zoom. You should never compare the digital to optical zooms, only compare digital to digital and optical to optical zooms. Digital zoom is basically a cropping tool that can also be used in a software editing program on your computer once your pictures are transferred over. Basically, when you use your digital zoom you bring the entire picture closer and crop out the edges of the image. When you use your optical zoom your camera’s lens actually moves closer to the image, therefore creating a better quality image. Having both optical and digital zoom on your camera is a good thing but make sure and learn how to use both features in the right photo opportunity.
Flash is another component of the digital camera’s ability you should compare when searching. The flash is a short burst of light used to illuminate the image you are photographing. Cameras can have many flash modes used in different settings or lighting opportunities. The more flash modes your camera offers, the more options you will have when taking photos in different lighted settings. You should read your owner’s manual carefully to fully understand the functions of each flash setting to achieve optimal photographed images.
Viewfinders are a little more in depth when you actually research what they do for your final photographed images than one may imagine. There are four viewfinder options: Optical Viewfinder on Digital Compact Camera, LCD on Digital Camera, Optical Viewfinder on Digital SLR Camera, and the Electronic Viewfinder on Digital Compact Camera. The Optical Viewfinder on a Digital Compact Camera is the small opening you look through when taking the picture, think about your last 35mm camera and how you positioned your shots and this is what we are talking about here. The problem with these viewfinders is that there is a difference between what you are seeing through the viewfinder and the actual image taken by the camera due to the two different locations of the viewfinder and lens on your camera. The LCD on a Digital Camera is the small screen that shows as a live shot of your photo subject. This viewfinder allows you to see exactly the same image your camera will capture. The downfall of the LCD Viewfinder is that its constant use will drain your battery and in bright settings it may be difficult to see and you will have to resort to using your Optical Viewfinder. The Optical Viewfinder on a SLR Digital Camera combines the best features of the Optical and LCD Viewfinders. This viewfinder requires you to look through the small opening like in the Optical Viewfinder but there is a mirror over the lens that allows you to see exactly what the lens sees and as you depress the shutter button the mirror flips up allowing the image to be taken. The Electronic Viewfinder, again, is a combination of the Optical Viewfinder and the LCD Viewfinder but in a different fashion than just mentioned. With the Electronic Viewfinder the image is shown in very small screen where you would typically find the Optical Viewfinder.
Accessory features such as auto focus, macro features, shutter release lat times, bundled software and many others are the icing on the cake as far as digital camera are concerned. Most digital cameras will offer a variety of options in this department and you should decide what is important to your personal photography goals and make sure the camera you choose offers them. From one camera to the next, each item will function in the same manner so there is really no comparing necessary. Just make sure you know what they are and how to use each of them because these small features can actually make a good photograph a great photograph when used properly.
Removable Media is simply the means in which you are saving your photographs such as media cards, media sticks, etc. There really is no one option better than another except when you are talking storage space. The more storage space available on your removable media, the better. When you begin to fill up your media card your picture quality will suffer and once it is full you have three options: do not take anymore pictures, use a back up media card or transfer your images to your computer. This is one case where you can make the determination of what your personal needs are after purchasing your digital camera and buy your removable media later.
Batteries are a touchy subject with many avid photographers. There are digital cameras that use regular batteries and rechargeable batteries. Again, this is a personal preference option. Which would you rather use and are you willing to carry an extra set of? You can also research any battery life saving options the digital cameras you are looking at offers, such as turning off the LCD option. Just remember, it is “Murphy’s Law” that as soon as you have the perfect photo opportunity your batteries will die. So, make sure you are prepared for this to happen because it is not a matter of if but when it will happen!
Additional Options such as USB or IEEE connectivity, battery indicator, and output options are available in different combinations with every camera. Is your computer better suited for USB or IEEE connections? Would you like to see when you are close to running out of battery life? Would you like to be able to use video cables to connect your camera to a TV and show your photographs on a larger screen? These are options that you should consider before making your digital camera purchase.
With all of the information available on digital cameras it can become overwhelming and exhausting deciding which information is valuable and what is purely opinion. We hope the information provided has brought more understanding to you and has helped you better judge what is important to you in your next digital camera. Always remember, a picture is worth a thousand words but a great picture is priceless.
One of the most importantpeople you will hire will be your photographer. Why is he the most important you ask? The product he sells you is the only, let me repeat that, the ONLY product you will pay for that will last the duration of your marriage. Everything else will be drank, eaten or thrown away at the end of the day. There are many qualities you should consider when choosing the perfect photographer for your special day.
First, talk to your local friends and family and ask what they thought about their wedding photographer. If they loved him you should meet with him on your own. If they hated him or if he made blatant mistakes make note of his name and do not call him. Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can start your list with. Chances are if you talk with enough brides you will soon see a pattern of the best and worst photographers in the area.
Other places you can look for photographers is in your local phone book, wedding magazines, wedding websites, PhotograpphyPros.com, wedding shows and many times other wedding vendors will recommend a great photographer to you. Just remember you should reserve a good photographer at least 4 months before your wedding and do not be surprised if the best photographers are booked a year out.
Once you have your list comprised you should call and make appointments to meet with the top 5 photographers. Undoubtedly you will have a budget for your entire wedding, what portion of this budget are you willing to spend on your photographer? There is no golden rule as to what percentage is acceptable because each bride sets different expectations on the outcome of their day. You just need to have a very clear understanding of your budget when you meet with the photographer because if you decide to spend more than expected you should know what you will be giving up in another area.
When you go to meet with them you should have a very clear idea of what your dream wedding photographs will look like. Do you want a more traditional photographer or a photographer who will take several “in the moment” shots? Be very clear about your wishes because not every photographer is great at both styles of shooting. When you meet with any photographer he should have available to you a portfolio of previous weddings he has shot. Look very carefully at these photos because it is what your wedding pictures will look like.
The people will be different but the style and quality will be the same. You should also have a detailed list of the different photographs that you will require: bridal party, family portraits, pictures of your dress, etc… This list will help the photographers you meet with develop a better sense of who you are and what your expectations of the final products are. They may realize that from your list they will need to spend more time before the wedding with you than they usually do or you may want them to only spend an hour at the reception as opposed to the entire time. From this information they will also be able to direct you to the best package they offer that will meet your photography needs.
Once the photographer has directed you to a package he feels will meet your needs, feel free to ask what else is included. Do you want engagement portraits, bridal portraits, pre-wedding, wedding or reception pictures? Many times you can negotiate with a photographer to include a certain number of bridal or engagement pictures into the package prices. The next question is who will own the actual images? There are a few options here as well. If you are fortunate, the photographer you choose will either give you or offer for you to purchase a CD with all of the images. If this is the case you own the images and can do with them what you please but you will also be responsible for finding a printer who can provide you with high quality prints. Other photographers will maintain ownership of the images and in order to get prints of them you will have to purchase the through the photographer.
Purchasing your prints through your photographer is more expensive typically, but you also tend to get higher quality prints than you would if you find a printer on your own.
Last but not least, do you like him? This is a person who will be with you more than anyone else for the entire day. If you find his voice makes you want to run and hide, he is not the photographer for you. If you feel that you would be perfectly comfortable with him taking pictures of you getting into your wedding dress then it is pretty safe to assume that through all of the festivities you will welcome his presence.
At the end of the day, you should know without a doubt that your wedding photographs will rival those in all of the wedding magazines you have pored over for months. There is no one thing that you should focus on more than the others because each element of choosing a wedding photographer is equally as important. With that said, do not hold the highest value on the price because the most expensive photographer is not always the best and the cheapest is not always the worst. Of course the exact opposite holds true as well. Remember this is your day to enjoy so do not let poor quality photographs put a quick end to your wedding day bliss.]]>
Okay before I get started I would like to say, search engine formulas are constantly changing and optimizing a site to rank high in search results is a complex and ongoing procedure. This article will cover some of the very basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and should not be considered a full guide on SEO.
A lot of people choose to create their own websites or unknowingly hire someone who calls themselves a professional but do not know fundamentals necessary for ranking well in search engines. Unfortunately, anyone who can buy ( or pirate ) a web development software,
can call themselves a web design business, but that does not mean they know what they are doing. It is amazing how many sites are not covering the basics and some people pay good money for people to do bad work.
The following tips should help you optimize your photography site for higher ranking in search engines.
1) Give serious consideration to what searches you want your pages to appear for in the major search engines. If you are a wedding photographer in Birmingham Alabama you will probably want to come up for searches such as “Birmingham Wedding Photographers”. For your pages to appear in search engines for such searches these words MUST appear throughout your site. ( It is very surprising to see how many sites make absolutely no reference to what area the photographer services. There is no way for search engines or visitors to know where you are from and what areas you service if you don’t say so on your pages.)
2) Title Tags – Title tags are perhaps the most powerful words on your pages when it comes to search engine optimization. Consider what people entering a Google search may look for and be sure to have these words in your title tag. It is a good idea to target one search per page. If you have a 10 page website each title tag should target a different search and the search it targets should be relevant to the page. (ex: a good title tag for a Pet Page for a Photographer in Halifax would be “Halifax Pet Photographer”
What is a title tag?
When on a webpage you can see the title tag at the top of the window. The title tag in the image below is “Find Professional Wedding photographers - directory”
In the code of the page (aka the HTML or Source code) this title tag reads as follows
<title>Find Professional Wedding photographers - directory</title>
This title tag is also what is shown as a text link when a page is listed in Search Engines. When you do a search in Google or other search engines a list of sites is displayed. Items in this list have a) a text link for the title of the page b) a description of the page and c) the url (web address of the page). Your page’s title tag is what will appear as the title in search engine results.
I will say this again… Title tags are perhaps the most powerful words on your pages when it comes to search engine optimization. Give thought to what phrases you want to rank high for in the search engines and use these words in your title tags.
SAD BUT TRUE
Many people have either created their own sites or have hired web developers who do not have a clue. In a lot of these cases title tags are completely overlooked. Easy ones to spot are pages that have “Unititled Page” or “Home Page” as the title. The words “Home Page” are completely useless. If a web developer has created a site for you with title tags like this ASK FOR A REFUND!
Your pages should also have something known as a description tag. The description tag is not actually seen by visitors on your site but is seen by search engines. An example of a description tag is <meta name=”description” content=”Wedding Photographer list - Photography Pros is an online directory of professional photographers around the world.”>
When on a web page you can view the code that makes up a page by clicking View / Source in your browser (or View / Page Source). Look for <meta name=”description” content=” to see what the description of your page is. When doing a search in a search engine this description tag is used to describe the page. In the example below the description used in the tag was “Tips on how to make an effective professional website for a photography business.”
Website Content – The words seen on your pages
It is a common mistake for photographers to not include much or any text on their pages. This may help the presentation of your portfolio but it drastically reduces the effectiveness of the page, from a search engine optimization perspective. If you want to rank well in search engines you should not only display your best photos, you should also describe your services and write text that has key words you are targeting throughout the paragraphs.
Links / Buttons – The navigation menus on your site –
If your site is more than one page (as it should be) visitors will need to see a navigation menu so they can click through from page to page. These navigation menus are created either using text links or images (often referred to as buttons) . The names of these links tell the visitors what will be on the next page VERY IMPORTANT – The names of these links also tell the search engines what will be on the next page and therefore are a major factor in ranking the page. If your text link says “Wedding Photography” it will strengthen your position for “wedding photography” searches in search engines.
If you are using images for your navigation instead of text, search engines will read alt tags to understand what the name of the link is. A properly created page will have alt tags on all images (Especially those that are linking to other pages). If your image links to a wedding portfolio a good alt tag would be “wedding portfolio”. This would strengthen your pages search engine ranking.
An example of the code used to make an alt tag on a linked image is as follows. (The alt tag is highlighted in red)
<a href=”http://www.photographypros.com”><img src=”/images/pic1.jpg” alt=”photographers” width=”125″ height=”98″ border=”0″></a>
Backlinks are incoming links to a web page. The number of sites that link into your pages indicates the popularity or importance of your pages to the search engines. Search engines use the number of backlinks that a page has as one of the factors in determining that page’s search engine ranking. Entire books have been written on backlinking importance and strategies so please know that these two paragraphs are not to be taken as a guide on backlinking.
If both you and your competitor follow search engine guidelines and create search engine friendly sites, you will likely be competing for placement for the same search phrases. With all other things being equal, the site with a lot of strong back links will rank higher than the one without.
Please note: When attempting to get more backlinks pointing to your pages it is very important to be ethical and follow guidelines set by the search engines. Breaking the rules or trying to cut corners in search engine optimization can actually lead to you being banned from search engines. If you choose to hire a search engine optimization company, do your homework and check their references. An unethical company can do you more harm than good.
We hope this information has helped. Please feel free to send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org