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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does the word "Photojournalism" mean?  Photojournalism means a lot of things to a lot of people. Because it is currently a very popular word with brides, many photographers are using the word without photographing in a photojournalistic way. Photojournalism to us is photographing in a very unobtrusive way, and capturing the emotion and interaction that took place throughout the day. Formals are kept to a minimum, are posed very quickly, and are photographed with the concentration on expression, not perfection. Photojournalism concentrates on finding individual moments and photographing them from interesting angles to show you a side of your day you would never have seen. Memories that are only remembered through photographs.

Q:  CAN I HAVE BOTH TRADITIONAL POSED PICTURES AND PHOTOJOURNALISM STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY?  Yes, you can!  If you want, we will document both the events and your guests who were there in a more traditional, posed style.  We will also capture the candid emotional moments that can't be posed, in a non-obtrusive way.

Q:  WHAT TYPE OF EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?  IS MEDIUM FORMAT BETTER THAN 35MM?  We use professional medium format cameras for the bridal portraits and formal pictures and 35mm professional camera systems for candid and photojournalism coverage. We bring portable lighting for formal portraits and we always bring backup equipment to every wedding. For enlargements smaller than 11x14, there is not a noticeable difference in quality between medium format and 35 mm.

Q:  Who will my photographer be?  The owner, Greg Vincent, is the principle photographer and will photograph each and every wedding. For most weddings, Greg will bring along a second photographer to assist and photograph from other angles.

Q:  Do you have a studio?  We work out of our home, so we shoot only on location. All of Louisiana is our studio!

Q. What are the relative merits of large studios vs. independents Quality of work and service are more important than size. Large studios offer resources and backup in case your assigned photographer gets sick. Some feel more comfortable in dealing with a larger, more substantial firm. Most employ subcontractors, many of whom use photography as a supplemental income source or are just learning the trade. Some big studios are geared to low-budget events. Small studios and independents excel at individualized personal service. You will most likely have your first contact directly with the actual photographer who will do your event. The advantage here is that your album will more closely reflect your personal wishes.

Q:  CAN I HAVE BOTH COLOR AND BLACK & WHITE?  Yes, of course.   I use professional color negative film and  true black and white film .  We can also print from color negative film onto sepia or black and white paper with good results.

Q:  How many proofs will I see? How many pictures will you take?  This depends on each individual event. It can range from 200-600 images depending on the package. We promise you this: We won't skimp on film. If things are happening we are photographing! We will post your proofs online for easy ordering and so you can share your special day with family and friends. We also offer proofs as prints and on CD.

Q:  Do you sell proofs and negatives?  We include a set of proofs with each package - choose from a CD with digital files, a portfolio which includes a 4 x 5 print of each image, or an Art Leather proof album. The negatives are included in most packages.

Q:  DO YOU HAVE PACKAGE PRICES, OR CAN I CHOOSE A LA CARTE?  You can choose from one of 5 packages (and save lots of money), and add any  of the many offerings from the A La Carte menu.  You won't get locked in to buying something you don't want. I am a firm believer in up-front pricing for what it will take to deliver the result the client expects without depending on add-ons later.) There are no big surprises or hidden film and print costs!

Q:  HOW DO I RESERVE A DATE?   Contact me by phone (504-368-3119) or e/mail me to find out if your wedding date is available.  A $300 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your date.  The deposit is applied to your package or A La Carte selection.

Q:  Can we make payments?  Yes, couples may make payments throughout the year while others may choose to pay all at once. However, the balance of your contract is due 4 weeks before the wedding. We accept Visa and MasterCard via secure transactions with PayPal.comBillPoint.com, or Yahoo PayDirect (these sites are popular with Ebay users).

Q:  Do you take weekend appointments Yes, as long as it doesn't conflict with a wedding.

Q. Is it better to do the formal pictures before or after the wedding?   If you can actually get all of your family members and the wedding party there before hand, it may be less stressful to do them before the ceremony. It also will be more convenient for your guests. You will have to have access to the church at least 1.5 to 2 hours before the ceremony. Another problem arises if important people are late or the wedding party and family arenít ready for when pictures are scheduled to start. If that happens you'll end up doing formals before and after the ceremony.

Q. How long do the formals take?   No matter how fast we go, it always seems too long. Depending on the size of your families, they generally take 30 minutes to an hour from the time we start shooting. Having a logically ordered shot list beforehand goes a long way to getting through the formals quickly.  If we do the formals prior to the ceremony, we like to be done at least a half hour before the ceremony starts. This gives us time to put away equipment and the bride time to drop out of sight as guests are arriving.

Q. What makes a good photograph?

  • Sharp, clearly focused image - at least the main part
  • Full range of tones from the whitest white to the blackest black
  • Attention drawn to the main subject of the photograph
  • Clear, distinct center of interest or emphasis without distractions
  • True, vibrant colors
  • Definite subject or theme
  • Good finish quality.

Q. What makes a good album?

  • Sequence of images tells the story of the day and makes sense
  • Good photographic quality throughout
  • Logical flow from one image to the next
  • Consistent color and quality throughout
  • Solid mechanical feel and workmanship
  • Good protection and alignment of photographs.

Q. What are the possible situations for photography?

  • Informal environmental pictures, with B&W glossies for newspaper engagement announcement, gifts for the families, wall-size display, or creation of a sign-in card for display at the wedding reception (guestbook replacement)
  • Formal bridal portrait in gown, taken in advance - for newspaper, etc.
  • Wedding couple's portrait session in advance
  • Wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Bride getting ready at home
  • Pre-ceremony preparations at ceremony site
  • Pre-ceremony portraits on wedding day or different day
  • Ceremony (with and without flash) with processional, etc.
  • Formal groupings after the ceremony
  • Reception activities, plus informal groupings of families and guests
  • Next-morning brunch, if held.

I offer all of the services shown above.

Q. Rehearsal dinner photography? Next-Morning BrunchYes, here are two great opportunities for spontaneous photographs of the couple with attendants and families. While no substitute for wedding day photographs, this captures a spontaneous part of the wedding celebration that is often missed. It also can provide a more natural "everyday clothes" photograph of the wedding couple if a casual environmental portrait is not done.

Q. What about having a friend or relative photograph it?   I advise against imposing on friends and relatives to do the official photography. Also, a competent friend may be to an incompetent "professional." It is unfortunate when a couple truly limited in budget gets poor results. (I cover this about six topics ahead.)  There is another big danger here.  If the photography fails for any reason, then there is lifelong damage to the relationship. 

Amateur coverage usually fails due to:

  • Inadequate flash and battery power for the long distances and large rooms involved
  • Unfamiliarity with church or synagogue photography rules
  • No tripod and no remote shutter release as needed for non-flash ceremony photographs
  • No backup equipment and procedures in case something fails
  • No experience with dealing with common wedding situations
  • Improper film which is too contrasty and unflattering
  • No experience with proper posing and grouping
  • Inadequate technical knowledge of photography beyond automatic cameras
  • Inability to work effectively under the time pressure
  • Inability or unwillingness to forgo enjoying the party to concentrate on doing the photography
  • No knowledge or access to professional processing, printing, retouching, and album supplies
  • Use of 35mm or smaller formats in situations which demand medium format

Q. What are the popular album types Library Bound - simply the best. Bound as a real book. Photographs are individually matted, then matte-pages are bound as a book with a personally tooled leather cover.

Z-Page - photographs are slid into the page, which forms the border or matte. The page has steel pins on one edge for snapping into a cover. Most covers are of simulated leather, such as Art Leather's Aristohyde. It's cheaper than library-bound and allows pictures to be changed later, but it's less elegant. This style is the most popular in US today.

Q. How can we get away from the standardized "posed" look First, put enjoyment of the wedding day ahead of posing for pictures! Choose a photographer whose samples illustrate the look you want and who is willing to work with you in creating a unique repertoire of images. If you have some unique or novel ideas, share them with your photographer. Do some brainstorming together before the wedding day. Pick a photographer who works unobtrusively and goes for natural expressions. If doing formals and portraits, schedule as many as possible early in the day - before the ceremony, or even on a prior day. Make sure the photographer is keenly aware of your wishes.

Q. Should the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for portraits?  Don't worry about this unless you want lots of portrait groupings or combinations which involve the bride and groom in the same picture. I firmly believe that couples who are opposed to a pre-ceremony photo session in wedding attire, for whatever reason, should not be pressured, coerced, or embarrassed into it. But they must also be made aware of the consequences with respect to picture results or impact on the flow of the day. If you want lots of posed romantic portraits, there's no other way, unless you are willing to take time out from festivities or don wedding attire a few weeks later for photos.

Q. Do we need to feed the photographer?  The photographer's day starts several hours before the wedding and goes on for several hours after the party's over. It is a long, hard, tense day of being creative under pressure. It is in your interest to help him function comfortably and effectively, and providing a suitable meal helps; it doesn't have to be a full banquet meal. Your caterer may offer a sandwich or snack that's just right and will be greatly appreciated.

Q. How can we get everyone in at least one picture?  This is easy for very small events, but challenging when the guest list climbs toward 100 or more. In my experience, the best way, when having formal seated dinner service is to get table shots (before main course, preferably). Or, have the master of ceremonies call for a huge group shot of all the guests. It's fun and makes a great shot for the album!

Q. How can we best preserve our photograph album Keep the album closed and flat; don't store it vertically. Keep it in a cool dry place. Don't expose the pictures to excessive UV from sunlight or fluorescent lights. Avoid abrasion. When kids arrive, store the album till they are old enough to respect it. And keep the photographer abreast of address changes so you'll get the negatives before he trashes them.

Q. Why can't we just copy the proofs to save money?

  1. It's illegal, unless you have been given written permission to do so.
  2. Quality will be very poor.
  3. Prints from negatives give the best quality.

Q. How can we be sure our photographer won't mess up?  Photography inherently involves an element of risk and speculation due to its technical nature. You can lessen the chance of problem by booking a competent photographer and clearly communicating your event information and expectations. But mess-ups happen. Film jams. Labs ruin film. Cameras break. Most photographers are very sensitive to customer perceptions and will try to remedy the situation or compensate you in some way.

Q. What if  our photographer gets sick or has an emergency Most have a contract provision that says, in effect, that in such instances they will attempt to get a substitute, but that their liability is limited to a refund.  However, realize that all the details of your wedding involve an element of risk.

Q. How can we get the most from our photography investment?

  • Establish a win-win relationship with your photographer
  • List the essential and important people to be photographed
  • Be on time for your portrait sessions
  • Insist that your wedding party and family members be on-time
  • Tell them how important your pictures are and that you consider cooperation a personal favor to you
  • Ask your guests (or have the best man do it) not to interfere with the pro when he's doing group shots and formals
  • Most importantly, ask your photographer, "What can we do in terms of cooperation to help YOU do the best job for US?"

Q. Our photographer did a great job? Is tipping appropriate The size of your order for additional prints is one indication of your satisfaction. The most valuable gratuity is your recommendation of the photographer to others. Also, a very special token of appreciation is a personal letter of recommendation to the photographer.

Q. How or where can we learn more BEFORE MAKING A DECISION?  Work as an assistant for a photographer for a day to observe from the other side of the camera. Take Photo 101 at a community college or seminar.


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