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Dying to Shoot More First Looks?

What I love the most about writing this blog for photographers is that Jeff and I get to say we’ve been there. Any frustration, roadblock, disappointment you could throw at us, we probably have a story of our own to tell. If you’ve walked around all day at a wedding with spinach in your teeth, I’ll tell you about the time I had a huge black mascara swipe straight across my face for most of the day and then fell backwards over a chair in front of the entire bridal party – in a dress. Or what about the time I stepped into a pile of manure that went up to my knee? Again, in front of the entire bridal party. Yeah, that’s a fun story to tell.

Which makes me ask myself – why doesn’t anyone in the bridal party actually WARN ME when I’m about to completely embarrass myself??

Anyhoo, the same goes with the First Look. One look at our wedding blog and it’s clear that Jeff and I shoot a LOT of First Looks with our couples, but that wasn’t always the case. During our first few years of business, only a small handful of our couples would opt for First Looks, so we had to become pretty adept at educating couples about them until the tides began to turn in our favor.

So how can you begin shooting more weddings where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony? I’ll walk you through how we educate our couples (notice how I say ‘educating’ and not ‘convincing.’ BIG difference.), and how you can begin turning the tides in YOUR favor. It’s easier than you may think.

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The Perfect Wedding Photography Schedule

There’s nothing better than a stress-free wedding day when everything runs on time, people are ready to take pictures when you need them, and you have creative freedom to do your job well. Can I get a ‘fo-sho’ from my wedding peeps out there?

And you know what the best part is? There’s a lot that you can do as a photographer to make sure that these kinds of wedding days happen more often than not, which is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. In fact, the photographer and the wedding coordinator have the most control over how a wedding day is run, which means two things:

  1. You get to create the best photography schedule to help make YOU successful
  2. You need to create the best photography schedule to help make the WEDDING successful.

In other words, we need to set ourselves up for success with every wedding we shoot, because it is our job to create the best wedding day experience we possibly can for our couples and their families.

After years of shooting weddings of all shapes and sizes, we’ve fine-tuned a schedule that has become our foundation for every wedding we shoot. This schedule changes, of course, based on the unique logistics of a particular wedding day, but the real value of this schedule isn’t so much the exact timing as it is the principles behind the timing – giving ourselves time and space to photograph what we need to and when.

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How to Create Beautiful Portraits in Harsh Sunlight

If you think about it, wedding days are totally against us as photographers, particularly when it comes to light. I mean, who has two thumbs and ends up shooting bridal parties at high noon in July? For four weekends in a row?

This girl.

One of our most frequently asked questions at The Youngrens is “How do you shoot in harsh sunlight?”

The short answer? We don’t. We find shade. Any kind of shade. Shade from a tree, a building, a cloud, a doorway, a diffuser – anything. As much as we humanly can, we try to avoid harsh sunlight.

Which brings me to our second most frequently asked question.

“Ok, but what if there’s no shade to be found? Anywhere.

Fair question. We’ll start with the basics, then throw out a few tips. Continue Reading

The Key to Crazy Awesome Engagement Sessions

Some people ask why we include engagement sessions with every wedding that we photograph, and the answer is simple.

We’re selfish.

The engagement session is the perfect excuse to hang out with our clients, get to know a LOT about them, and allow them to get used to being photographed by us. These are big advantages in crafting a comfortable, smooth, positive experience for our couples.

But what is the key to crafting an amazing experience for your couples during every single engagement session? If you’re shooting more than ten weddings every year, then it can be difficult to help each couple feel unique and appreciated.

You’d be surprised at what the key to a great engagement session really is. It’s not the location or the clothes or the backgrounds. It’s not even your technical abilities with your camera.

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Tips for Customizing your ProPhoto4 Blog Theme

It’s no secret that we LOVE our ProPhoto Blog theme – we’ve been fans of Jared & the gang at NetRivet (the crew behind the whole thing) for years. Not only is it a great platform that’s been built & coded very smartly – it’s also SUPER easy to customize. They’ve included a wide array of point & click options within the admin panel to get things looking how you’d like – and then if you need to get super specific with the look it’s really simple to add custom CSS styles to the theme – which is LARGELY to blame for the custom look of our site.

By FAR, one of the most frequent types of questions we get from photographers is regarding specific customization questions relating to ProPhoto4. So, we thought we’d start compiling a Q&A here! If you’ve got a question, ask it below in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer it.

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10 Books that Every Photographer Should Read

No matter how much formal education you’ve had in your life, your true education begins when your business begins. There’s nothing like learning on the job to bring you up to speed on your profession, and every education needs a school book, right? It’s so important to continually educate yourself when it comes to your business, so Erin and I keep constant reading lists of books, both fiction and nonfiction, to keep our minds sharp when it comes to marketing, finances, business, and entrepreneurship.

In fact, our goal is to read at least one business book or audiobook every two months – whether or not that actually happens is debatable! BUT, we certainly try because we realize the importance of staying keen, wise, and thinking critically within our business.

Over the past few years we’ve gathered together a list of books that we’ve found to be the most helpful when it comes to running a small photography business, and as we continue to come across more page turners, we’ll continue to add to this list. And, if your favorite business book isn’t on the list – I’d love it if you dropped the title and a little about the book in the comments!:)

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