Saturday 10 January 2015

Be sure you know exactly what the package includes before you sign the contract.

I frequently get asked why our packages are less expensive than many other photographers. The main reason is that we don't include albums or enlargements with our packages. We were finding that many of our customers don't want albums or enlargements and, many of those who do want them would prefer to create them themselves.

I've seen many packages with "all day" or "full day" coverage. I would ask exactly how many hours of coverage the package includes and be sure it is written clearly into the contract.

Also, I have seen other vague terms such as "up to 8 hours" of coverage. If you are paying for 8 hours you should get 8 hours, nothing less.  

Another equally vague term is coverage from "getting ready to reception". Does "getting ready" mean at the salon or where the guys/girls are getting dressed? Does "reception' mean a portion of the reception or the entire reception?

Many packages will include 2 photographers. Be sure to ask if that means 2 experienced photographers or 1 experienced photographer and a student. It makes a big difference.

Paul Potter
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Saturday 11 January 2014

Get the copyrights to your photos.

If you do not have the copyrights to your photos you will have to go back to the photographer every time you want a print made.

Copyright information can be imbedded into the digital files by the photographer. This copyright information cannot be removed by copying or editing the files. When the photo lab opens the file(s) the copyright information will appear on their screen. Labs can be fined for printing copyrighted photos and most labs will not do it.

I give all my clients the copyrights to their photos in writing. There is no extra charge for this. I also do not imbed copyright information in the digital files.

Paul Potter

Ask what it means when the photographer says they will edit your photos.

No retouching or special effects
were required for this shot.
The term ‘editing’ covers a broad spectrum of changes that can be made to a photo, some are very simple while others are very complex.

Many photographers will say they will edit a certain number of photos or even all your photos. You need to ask what they mean by ‘editing’. Are they referring to adjusting brightness, colour and contrast or, do they mean facial retouching?

Also, some photographers will apply Photoshop special effects to compensate for their lack of photography skills and will call this 'editing'.

My preference is to use advanced photography techniques, rather than Photoshop special effects, to create dramatic photos.

A well shot photo requires little or no editing.

I look at every photo and, where necessary, adjust colour balance, brightness and contrast. I also do facial retouching on key photos when requested.

Paul Potter

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Say no to the free photographer

The Waterfront in Hamilton.
First of all, there is no such thing as a free photographer, or a free DJ, or a free limo. Any vendor who offers something for free is charging you for that service or item. They are just including that cost with some other service or item rather than showing it separately on the invoice. Also, the vendor, venue or destination resort will most likely hire the cheapest person or service available rather than hiring the best person or service.

What if your friend or relative offers to shoot your wedding for you? If he or she is a professional wedding photographer, grab them, today is your lucky day! However, if they are not a professional wedding photographer my advice to you is to thank them for the gracious offer but tell them you have already booked your photographer.

I regularly get calls from recently married people asking if there is anything I can do to salvage their wedding photos which were taken by a friend, relative or photography student.

Shooting a wedding is a daunting task that requires incredible organizational skills, a thorough knowledge of photography fundamentals, and some very expensive equipment.

Balls Falls Conservation Area.
Selecting locations which offer great backgrounds and excellent light and getting a large amount of high quality shots in a timely manner is not within the expertise of the average hobby photographer. In addition, there are numerous technical aspects of photography that must be dealt with during the day. The auto or program mode used by most hobbyists will not provide the high quality photographs you are expecting.

The entry level DSLR with its plastic lens and pro quality DSLR with its glass lens can look very similar but, they are definitely not! The difference in image quality is very substantial.

This is one of those instances where you really do get what you pay for. So, if you want high quality photos to capture your special day hire a pro.

I hope this post has been helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Paul Potter
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Wednesday 21 August 2013

Beware of Gimmicky Photoshop Tricks

Caledonia Train Station in the fall.
Beware of gimmicky photoshop tricks as they are often used to cover up bad photography. 

Weird colour schemes like yellow, green or red skies, or photos that look like a film negative, take just a few mouse clicks. Theses types of colour schemes do not represent a style of photography but rather a photoshop technique which can be applied to any photo taken by any photographer.

Paul Potter
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Tuesday 13 August 2013

Be sure to see some large prints.

Many people can take photos that look good as 4x6 prints or small images on a website. The true test of a quality photograph is when you make a large print.  Be sure to see some big prints (like 16x20's) of wedding photos shot by the photographer you are thinking of hiring.

Paul Potter
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Monday 12 August 2013

Are the photos of real weddings?

Near the Distillery District in Toronto
Ask if the photos you are looking at are shots of actual weddings. Some photographers will hire professional models to shoot simulated wedding photos. These would be the featured photos in their portfolio, however, it is very unlikely they could duplicate the quality of these photos on a wedding day.

Make sure you see photos of entire weddings from start to finish so you know the photographer has photographed actual weddings.

I have seen non-professional photographers hanging around parks which are popular for wedding photos. As the brides and grooms pass by they ask if they can take a photo of them. Those photos will later appear in the photographers portfolio with the implication that the photographer shot the wedding. This gives the impression that the photographer has shot a large number of weddings when in fact they may have never shot a single wedding.

Paul Potter
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