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Old 06-15-2010, 10:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: An Area of Space Occupied by a Population, SC, USA
photos Would you hire me for your wedding?

I'd like to ask a hypothetical question to all members. If you were getting married and needed a photographer, and if you found a photographer at an exceptionally reasonable price (say, a $1000 package that has everything you need), would you hire him (or at least request a consult) based on these sample photos:

M. B. Keene (click on the photography link)

I really need some opinions on this, as I'm extremely nervous. All of the photos in the wedding photography gallery were taken at my girlfriend's cousin's wedding, which I just happened to be attending. I literally thought of taking photos as I was leaving my house that day.

EDIT: Because the site doesn't offer very high quality and the site itself keeps acting wonky, here are some of my favorite samples:











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Last edited by RetroGunslinger; 06-15-2010 at 09:49 PM..
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As a former pianist for many weddings.. I can tell you right now there's no such thing as any one vendor who will please everyone.

You would be best off trying to figure out what your style and unique approach is.. and seek out and match yourself with clients who are looking for that specific thing.

Also, if you are offering a package deal, have samples of each part of your package (Album, negatives, video (if any), and some prints up and framed. It's hard to tell from a web based picture whether the quality will translate to something they walk away with at the end of the day.

Your strength from the link you provided seems to be natural portraits of one or two individuals. The posed shots lose a little of that character that made me stop and look more closely.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Some priceless photos of the children, but you seem to bump up the contrast on your images. This makes any inconsistency in lighting that much more apparent.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amonkie View Post
You would be best off trying to figure out what your style and unique approach is.. and seek out and match yourself with clients who are looking for that specific thing.

Also, if you are offering a package deal, have samples of each part of your package (Album, negatives, video (if any), and some prints up and framed. It's hard to tell from a web based picture whether the quality will translate to something they walk away with at the end of the day.

Your strength from the link you provided seems to be natural portraits of one or two individuals. The posed shots lose a little of that character that made me stop and look more closely.
I plan on having quite a bit ready for the couple during the consult. I'm also going to be putting up details on the packages, I just haven't gotten to it yet as I just got the galleries up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by genuinegirly View Post
Some priceless photos of the children, but you seem to bump up the contrast on your images. This makes any inconsistency in lighting that much more apparent.
I'll readily admit bumping up the contrast and vibrance of the images. I personally love deep, dark shadows highlighting everything. Could you possibly give an example of a photo where it hurts the presentation? I'm afraid I don't see it. This is exactly why I posted this in the first place, so thanks a bunch.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
Eat your vegetables
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroGunslinger View Post
Could you possibly give an example of a photo where it hurts the presentation? I'm afraid I don't see it. This is exactly why I posted this in the first place, so thanks a bunch.
Sure! No problem.


http://www.mbkeene.com/photography/?album=2&photo=15
In this image, the bride's face comes off as less important than the glowing tree beside her (flash?).

http://www.mbkeene.com/photography/?album=2&photo=13
Here the groom's face is strikingly bright, and the bride in turn appears to have a black eye.

http://www.mbkeene.com/photography/?album=2&photo=14
This one makes the bride look fat because you can't easily distinguish between the bride's dress and the window behind her.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well sorry to say no I would not hire you, the website to start off with is not good. Also the picture RJ Looking Forward you are missing the top of his head and Cake the contrast is way to high. Did like Kiss but again top of the head missing, and also really liked coupleoftheday. I am getting married later this year and have looked at lots of wedding sites, and really sorry to say it comes across as a good amature but at the end of the day people want the something a bit more professional.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Seattle, WA
Note that is somewhat related:

Your image host is making the images look worse than they are; they're actually much larger, and the host is shrinking them down inline, which causes artifacting. The concept of thumbnailing, that is, giving a smaller version of an image, should actually be done before the page is delivered to the browser.

If you hit your main album listing, here: Photography M. B. Keene you'll see that those images are actual thumbnails. If you download or view the images seperately you'll see that the image you get is a true thumbnail.

However if you browse through, ala Photography M. B. Keene, you'll notice that the image takes considerably longer and that there appears to be JPG artifacting. That is because the brwoser is being served an image at 3074 x 2002 and being told by the HTML to shrink that data into something 450 pixels wide:

Code:
<img src="http://www.mbkeene.com/wp-content/uploads/wppa/21.JPG" alt="Grandma!" class="big" width="450">
This is a bad idea because it doesn't actually solve anything. The browser still has to retreive the whole large size image, and so the loading time is the worst possible. Also, because the browser is handling resizing on the fly, you get all sorts of artifacting. If you look at that page you can visually pick it up in the woman's face.

I'd be turned off by that myself because I'm a former web designer and I know what's happening. But I might be turned off as an end-user because the artifacting makes the images look of lesser quality than they actually are when shrunken by the browser.

Random note in tune with arc101 above, you may consider getting a more professional contact email than retro_gunslinger@yahoo.com to put on the page. Assuming you own your domain, you could create an account on that and simply forward the messages to the email you actually check. An @yahoo email seems less professional.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arc101 View Post
Well sorry to say no I would not hire you, the website to start off with is not good. Also the picture RJ Looking Forward you are missing the top of his head and Cake the contrast is way to high. Did like Kiss but again top of the head missing, and also really liked coupleoftheday. I am getting married later this year and have looked at lots of wedding sites, and really sorry to say it comes across as a good amature but at the end of the day people want the something a bit more professional.
Aside from the mentioned photos, if my website was more professional (mostly in the ways Jinn described), would it create a greater sense of professionalism or would the photos still be a problem? That's my main question. I know the website is awful, and I'm working on it, but the photos are my primary concern.
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Last edited by RetroGunslinger; 06-15-2010 at 02:19 PM..
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm having lots of trouble with the website. 404 errors. I see an image of a duck. Occasionally a mediacom page. It's not working for me.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fnaqzna View Post
I'm having lots of trouble with the website. 404 errors. I see an image of a duck. Occasionally a mediacom page. It's not working for me.
Yeah, I took care of that. I'm still not 100% sure what happened, but it should be fixed.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroGunslinger View Post
Yeah, I took care of that. I'm still not 100% sure what happened, but it should be fixed.
No change for me. The top link /photography gets me a 404 page and a pic of a duck. Clicking the photography link sends me here:

Domain not found
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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EDIT: Oh, I found the problem. Because I keep messing with the design, the url sometimes changes slightly. Just go to http://www.mbkeene.com and click on the photography link.

That's peculiar, it's working fine on my end.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Considering the relative ease of being able to find someone willing to pay you for your services, regardless of the quality of your work, whether or not you could drum up business based upon the strength of these weddings isn't much of a standard. I don't see much wrong with these photos but also don't see much to like. Were I a prospective client, I really wouldn't know what to expect you to deliver after having seen these. Clear enough vision, sufficient technical proficiency but nothing that'd sell me on you over anyone else. Build a stronger port before putting yourself out there.

If this is the only wedding you've shot then hone your skills by shooting for free or seeking out a second shooter/assistant apprenticeship with an established photographer. Besides the damage to your business/brand, running headlong into this before you're ready leaves you open to a world of legal troubles.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Wow! I literally haven't visited this forum in YEARS. So, forgive me for just jumping right in here (especially on a topic a month old)...

Disclaimer for the following comments: I am a professional wedding photographer. I've shot a number of weddings as a "second" shooter, a number of them as the "primary," and a number of them alone.

The first point I'd like to make is that trying to figure out your package deals is, to be honest, the very least of your worries.

Shooting a wedding casually -- that is, walking out the door and deciding on a whim to take your camera -- is worlds different from shooting one for hire. There is a lot of pressure. You can't just rely on getting some "neat" shots at the end of the day. You have to be savvy enough about the wedding process to know which shots to look for and have the timing to be able to get them. You have to be able to move quick, but also stay out of the way. You have to be able to nail the shots in ALL kinds of conditions. It's easy shoot a nice outdoor wedding with plenty of light. Not so easy to get decent shots in a dim church where you're not only not allowed to use a flash, but also are forced to stay at the back of the room (I've been there - it sucks). You have to know how to be a mediator and work people sometimes to get the shots you need -- they will sometimes be stressed and won't have the patience for you.

In short, it's a tough job. A blast, but a tough damn job.

Have you thought about contracts? Wedding photography is a business. It's a high dollar business, and there's a LOT of risk involved (you only get one shot to get it right for any given client). It's vital to have an iron clad contract that spells out exactly what you will and won't do and also outlines all of the services you offer. Not only that, but it needs to also protect you from circumstances beyond your control.

Have you thought about how you will offer your shots? Are you planning on turning over all of the digital files (generally, not common practice)? If that's the case, you'll need to know to give them the rights to get them printed -- many places will turn down printing images that look "professional" without proof of ownership. If you plan to offer prints and wedding albums, have you looking into where you're going to get those?

I don't want to come off as harsh, but if you haven't shot any weddings as a hired gun (either as a primary, a secondary, or solo), then you're not ready.

If you haven't put together a contract and run it by a lawyer, then you're not ready.

If you don't have a business license / tax ID, then you're not ready.

The very best advice is to do what Manic_Skafe suggested: Get hooked up with a pro wedding photographer and shoot a few weddings as a second. This is the absolute best way to learn what to expect when you go it alone. You'll see what shots you have to have without all of the pressure on you.
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