How To Choose A Wedding Photographer

What are good questions to ask a photographer?

While these questions are important ones to ask any accomplished photographer you meet, they are also good questions to consider when thinking about a photographer whose work you are interested in, even if you might never meet them. The answers to these questions will teach you a great deal about what it is that makes a master photographer just such a master.

So let me explain the questions, and give you my answers:

How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera onto the film, chip or paper in just the way you want?

Every photographer develops their own shooting strategy in their own unique way, be that interning, apprenticing, assisting, graduate school, on the job training, etc. Understanding how each photographer develops their particular style is important in figuring out your own approach to photographing. I refer to the joke about getting to Carnegie Hall by “practice, practice, practice!” I have refined my skill as a photographer by taking thousands and thousands of pictures (possibly millions) over the years. I have developed my eye for making and critiquing images by listening to the frequently-critical input of the many talented photographers I have worked with over the decades. I also strive to photograph only those things I know I can photograph well, and those things I am interested in photographing.

 

Availability

Is my wedding date available?

Will you be the one shooting my wedding? If not, can I meet the photographer who will be on-site?

Pro tip: If your photographer is the owner of his or her business, and does not have a studio with other photographers in it, they will be the person shooting your wedding. If they are the owner of a larger studio and employ other photographers, make sure you meet whoever will be shooting your wedding before your wedding day—and try to have them included in the rest of this conversation.

How many other weddings will you photograph that weekend?

Will you have any assistants with you on our wedding day?

Pro tip: Some photographers always work with an assistant, while others determine if they need one based on the size of your event. If they do not always work with an assistant, adding an assistant or second photographer to your contract will most likely incur an additional fee.

Pricing and Packages

What is included in your standard package? What add-ons do the more expensive packages include?

Can I customize a package to fit my needs?

Pro tip: Many photographers offer add-ons, from engagement sessions to albums, that will allow you to get the coverage that works best for you.

Do you include engagement photos in your packages? What about pre-wedding events like rehearsal dinners?

How many hours are included in each package? How much do extra hours cost?

Pro tip: If your photographer’s base package is six hours, you may want to add some extra time so they can capture getting ready shots, or stay until after dinner to get some pictures of everyone dancing before they go home.

 

Can You Tell Me About Your Method Or Process?

This is your chance to get a look behind the curtain. Any professional – no matter who – should have distilled their work into some semblance of a system. This is especially important of photographers. They should be able to articulate how they do what they do. How do they get consistent, high-quality results for

their customers?

There’s no concrete answer to listen for and there’s no ‘right’ answer. You want to know whether or not their work stems from a carefully considered, reliable system that informs their decisions and moves the whole session along with clarity and ease. If they can’t point you to a precise system he or she has developed

over time, then at the very least they should be willing to dive in and explore the concept with you to the best of their ability.

 

You’ve worked with many people from vulnerable communities.

How do you develop a relationship with your subjects so they trust you and aren’t afraid of the camera during their weakest moments?

You have to simply build up a relationship. Make them trust you and relax. Don’t be afraid to be the photographer but be subtle at the same time, showing you’re there to tell their story to the world. If you are making someone uncomfortable, then you have to work on the relationship and show they are in a safe space.

 

What does manual mode mean and do I have to learn it?

Manual mode puts the photographer in complete control of how the photo will turn out. You have to manually set both the aperture, ISO, and the shutter speed. You can take this a few steps further and control the white balance, too. The camera will not make any automatic changes to the exposure. Your camera will still guide you to the best exposure with its built in meter.

For example, the following two images were taken at the same time. These are merely snapshots taken to demonstrate the power of manual mode. The first was taken in full auto mode and the second was taken in full manual mode. As you can see, the manual mode is better exposed and more pleasing to the eye. The image taken in auto is out of focus because the camera chose a slow shutter speed in attempt to expose it properly. Both of these images are straight out of camera.

Hire A Party Planner to Make A Perfect Party

Crucial Tips for Large Group Event Planning

So you’re in charge of planning a massive event. Congratulations!Whether you’re planning it for your company, a school, a charity, a professional group or any number of other entities, you’ve been entrusted with an important job: Plan an event that people will actually go to and enjoy, and do so ensuring that everything goes off without a hitch.

Why Are Large Events and Small Ones So Different?

At the most basic level, large events differ because of the size of the guest list. Duh! But that’s only the beginning. Let’s explore some of the key differences between planning small events and large events.

Large events require more effort and planning

If you’re planning on inviting over 100 guests to an event, you should be ready to put in a proportional amount of effort when it comes to promoting the event.

Large events often require more roles

Let’s say you run a real estate brokerage hosting a large corporate party in Minneapolis, and you want to invite every realtor from every branch in the state. That number could easily be in the hundreds!

Large events take longer to set up

More people means more chairs, more utensils, and more steps that need to be taken on event day to ensure that the event goes smoothly. It’s helpful to choose an event venue that takes care of setup for you, but if this is not the case, you will need to give yourself extra time to prepare.

 

Party Planning Tips

Getting ready to throw a party? Nerves racked from all the preparation stress? If that is the case, you are not alone. Venturing into the world of party planning can be quite daunting. What should you prepare? Should it be a sit-down affair or a buffet mixer? What kind of snacks should you serve? What should be in the goodie bags? Should there be goodie bags and what do you do if your boss brings along his diabetic 9-year old? Never fear! With a little forethought and preparation you will wow your guests!

Snack Mix Tips

Whether you are having a cocktail party or a sit-down dinner party, great snacks and appetizers are always integral to a great party and they are easier to make than you think!

­Party Planning Tips

The keys to good party planning are a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish, organization and a solid time-table to help you get everything done so that you can enjoy your own party as much as your guests will.

How to Make Goodie Bags

A staple at children’s parties, the goodie bag is now popular with adults as well. It is a great way to thank your guests for coming and to send them away with a special remembrance of your event

Holiday Entertaining Tips

The holidays can be stressful enough but taking on the job of holiday party planner brings a whole new level of meaning to stress. Don’t worry, with a few simple tricks you can alleviate that stress.

 

Event Planning Tips: The Best Ways to Get Organized

Planners have to be organized. It’s a non-negotiable. There are vendors to juggle, payments to make, stakeholders to answer to. With nonstop schedules, it’s easy to lose control of organization and do what you have to do to get everything done. There’s no better time to hit the reset button and get organized. But how do you get organized? There are some amazing tricks and tools out there that can help you get organized and stay organized

Put Everything in Your Calendar and Block of Time to Work

Your calendar is your lifeline. It not only tells you when you’re busy but others in the office. Put everything on your calendar. Color coding meetings based on event or topic can help. If it’s normal for you to be in meetings all day, every day, block some time off on your calendar to get work done. Even setting thirty minutes aside to send emails can help you stay on top of your task list.

Take All Notes in One Place

It’s easy to bounce from computer to notebook to phone, but if you want to ensure that you never lose the notes you take, then take them in one place. The best place for notes is somewhere that accessible wherever you are. If that’s a notes file on your phone or a doc that lives in the cloud, choose a place and stick to it. If you love handwritten notes, carry your notebook with you wherever you go.

Organize All of Your Folders – Email and Files

When you run multiple events throughout the year, file organization is key. Set up folders at the start of every event. By taking the time to set up a file structure, you’ll be able to find documents more quickly later on. As the event unfolds, don’t get lazy. Always, sort everything into the correct folders.

Set Reminders to Check-In on and Start Projects

Email is wonderful, even more so because it’s trackable, but it’s easy to lose track of a conversation when someone doesn’t reply. When you send out emails, always set a deadline for a response. Then, set a reminder for yourself to check-in on that date. That way, if the person you reached out to forgets to respond, you won’t realize too late that you never got a response.

 

Tips For Planning A Corporate Event

Identify your goals and set your budget.

Ask yourself what the company is trying to accomplish with this event.  Are you trying to raise funds? Launch a new product? Educate employees? Setting goals for your event will help you decide how to allocate your budget. If you do not already have a budget in place, now is the time to put together a proposal. Once a budget is established, you can start planning

Make a plan.

Once you have locked in your vendors I recommend scheduling an on-site walk through with your team. Walk through every aspect of the event from set up to break down. Take notes, make a list, delegate tasks, and assign deadlines. Divide and conquer!

Make a Plan B.

Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. This is not always the case, but with the many details that go into events, there is always a chance for a hiccup or two. Be prepared for the unexpected and have contingency plans in place for the things that may go wrong. For example, if your event is outdoors, have a solid plan in place in case the weather is not cooperating

Make it social.

Events are a great way to harness your company’s social media presence before, during, and after the event.

Be creative.

Corporate events do not always have to be so corporate. Think outside the box to create a fun and engaging event. Do your research on event trends and ask your vendors for suggestions. Whatever it is, your attendees will get more out of the event when creative measures are taken

 

How to Start an Event Planning Service

The special events industry has grown enormously in the past decade. According to recent research conducted by Dr. Joe Goldblatt, CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional), spending for special events worldwide is $500 billion annually. Goldblatt is the founder of International Special Events Society (ISES), the founding director of the Event Management Program at George Washington University, and co-author of The International Dictionary of Event Management. “Suffice it to say, the marketplace is large enough to support and sustain your endeavor,” says Goldblatt. “If you’re working in one special events area, there are many directions in which you can expand. If you’re just entering the profession of special events, there’s a lucrative market awaiting you on many fronts.”

According to Goldblatt’s research, profits in this industry continue to rise. Just a few years ago, Goldblatt says, the average profit margin for an event planning entrepreneur was around 15 percent. His most recent studies, however, show profit margins can be as much as 40 percent. He attributes the industry’s good health to several factors, including the improved economy and the trend of corporate America to outsource their meeting-planning functions. Since you’re not some tech startup bidding for programmers, you can get started without a lot of money.

What Is Event Planning?

This question actually breaks down into two questions: What kinds of events are we talking about? And, what is event planning?

This list isn’t an exhaustive one, but as the examples illustrate, special events may be business related, purely social or somewhere in between. Now we move to the second question: What is event planning? Planners of an event may handle any or all of the following tasks related to that event

Why Do People Hire Event Planners?

This question has a simple answer: Individuals often find they lack the expertise and time to plan events themselves. Independent planners can step in and give these special events the attention they deserve.

Choose The Best Event Planner For Your Event

THE BEST EVENT MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

TAKE A STEP BACK AND THINK BIG PICTURE

While some degree of micromanagement is warranted, an effective event planner needs to be able to take a step back and think about the big picture of their event. Your primary responsibility as an event planner is to meet expectations. How well do all the pieces of your event fit together to accomplish that? Consider the type of experience you want to deliver to each of your attendees and what value they want from your conference to improve it.

COMMUNICATE

Fostering open lines of communication with your staff, attendees, and sponsors are incredibly valuable. For one, if you have a clear understanding of your staff’s, attendees’, and sponsors’ expectations, it is much easier to meet them. Additionally, healthy communication highlights issues early on when they are often easiest to address.

PREPARE FOR BEST AND WORST-CASE SCENARIOS

You need to be prepared to run a successful event, whether it’s according to your ideal plan or a backup. Making sure that your event meets core expectations even in a worst-case scenario is the only way to guarantee success. On the flipside, preparing your team to capitalize on a best-case scenario maximally, makes perfection possible.

DELEGATE TASKS RESPONSIBLY

Effectively delegating tasks is a critical part of effective leadership. Make sure that high-level event staff doesn’t take on too much responsibility. Try to equitably distribute workload across a variety of high-level staff and other workers to ensure that no member of your team becomes overloaded.

EVENT MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

Now that you have a basic outline of what you need to do to plan a successful event, here are a few tips that will smooth the process.

 

The Top Event Planning Tips to Keep You Organized, Efficient, and Valued

Learn the workings of other industries

While an event planner is not required to know the specific operational details of how other industries function, it is important to have an idea of the general workings which will make your  job much easier. For example, when calling other companies and vendors, be as specific as possible about your needs.  A good understanding of how to estimate the number of square footage needed for tables, tents, and other rentals always helps. Also, you should have some understanding of generator wattage, heating and air conditioning BTUs, and more! Knowing this will guarantee a higher probability of your event going off flawlessly.

Set clear expectations

“Set expectations with the client to ensure a successful outcome. We like to try to have ALL event details nailed down 30 days before the event, with no major changes or additions allowed two weeks prior to the event. This allows for excellent communication between us and all vendors to ensure that everything is planned and executed as best as it can be.”

Implement a system to track client touch points

“I developed systems and processes within the enterprise edition of Salesforce. We run our business completely on this platform and have created a proprietary system which we enhance almost weekly.

Loop in your content team to generate buzz and excitement

“Work with your content team for owned media promotion of the event. Tap key company leaders to help develop content for the website, blogs, and social media channels. These can be testimonials on why to attend or thought leadership teasers of what speakers will share at the conference. Space out the distribution of content to promote the event for a couple of weeks to generate a buzz.”

Strategize your media plan early

“Work closely with your public relations team to create an earned media plan. Identify key spokespeople who will be attending the event, structure their talking points, and reach out early to the conference organizers for a media list. Connecting early with attending media increases your chances of being included within full feature stories or roundups about the event.”

 

Event Planning Tips…Even If You’re Not An Event Planner

Get Out The Whiteboard

No matter the type of event you’re planning, you need to map out a strategy. What’s the goal of your event? Are you introducing a new product or service to customers? Running a demo for analysts or prospects?

Bring Up Budget

Once you have your goals outlined, you need to consider how much it will cost to accomplish those goals. Personally, I make a checklist of every single cost item I need to make an event happen. This can include signs, invitations, graphic treatments for the website, food, beverages, music, giveaways, etc. Think back to events you’ve attended and imagine all the little things that were involved. What do you absolutely need and what can you live without? Make up a checklist and start developing an overall price tag.

A Time and Place for Every Event

Are you hosting executives or managers? Is it a presentation or a mixer? Is this event part of your demand generation strategy or about brand awareness?

Iteration of an Invite

The invitation to your event is one of the most important aspects of the entire planning process. You don’t want to send out the first invite too early or too late. Three weeks out is a good rule to live by. But if you want to get on executives’ calendars, you might want to send it out even earlier. A more detailed, elaborate invite for a dinner event is appropriate, but you may want to be more simple and straight to the point if you’re presenting a demo. Include directions that include access to public transportation. Make it easy to be an attendee.

Walk a Mile

Visit the venue the day before your event. Envision how you want attendees to experience the event. What signs need to be in place to avoid confusion? Where should you station staff? Basically, you want to understand what your guests will see from the time they walk into the venue to the registration table to the actual event. Feel matters. And the only way to anticipate how your event will feel is to walk a mile in your guests’ shoes.

 

The Ultimate Guide on How to Start Your Event Planning Business

Establish your expertise

If you want people to trust you with their events, you need to demonstrate you know what you’re doing.

Build an effective business plan

A business plan essentially establishes what your business goals and strategies will be moving forward.

Secure startup capital

It only takes about $2,000 to $5,000 to get your business off the ground. Beyond that, there will be recurring costs that you need to factor in to your budget, since you won’t be profitable right away.

Invest in the software you need to effectively run your business

There’s an overwhelming number of software types you can use for your business. Some of them you’ll find helpful right away, and some of them you’ll find helpful further down the line.

Figure out what you need to legally operate your event planning business

Putting in the effort now to make sure that your event planning business is above board and protected means a lot less paperwork (and a lot less in terms of potential legal fees) later down the line.

 

Creative Ways Event Planners Can Find New Clients

Offer Experiences

People want more than a traditional event. They want experiences and a story they can share with friends and family (mostly via social media). Can you offer experiences as part of your events? Think about combining your events with classes, paint nights, demonstrations, special food or cocktail tastings, or fitness activities. Take a look at popular trends such as beer yoga, cooking classes, and escape rooms, and see what would fit best with your ideal clients.

Demonstrate Expertise

There’s a reason people hire you to run their events: You are an expert at what you do. Show off your expertise by creating a blog, or using email or social media to share tips, advice and your perspective on news or trends in the industry. It’s OK to give away a few of your secrets, because prospective clients will appreciate the information and they’ll begin to recognize you as an expert. Also, search engines will find the information you’re sharing online, and index it. When people search for someone who is an expert on the topics you write about, your business is more likely to appear in that search.

Work with the Local Blogging Community

Speaking of blogs, consider about reaching out to the popular bloggers in your community to spread the word about what you do. Think about it: Bloggers that write about weddings, food, travel or what’s happening in their town would be interested in your services and could introduce your business to their audiences. Do a search for bloggers in your area that write about those topics, and then hold a small event for them to show an example of what you offer in exchange for a mention on their blog and social media.

Partner with Nonprofits

Volunteering to help nonprofits with events is a win-win. You help people in need and show that you are invested in your community. And you’ll meet a lot of people during the process of organizing the event and at the event itself.

Go Live

If you’re using social media, you may have noticed that more businesses are taking advantage of new live-streaming tools. Because it works. Social media users watch live videos three times longer than prerecorded videos. They’re also 1.7 times more likely to buy the product or services mentioned in the video. Use the livestreaming tools on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to promote your business. You can show off what’s happening before or during an event, have a Q&A session or offer helpful tips.