Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Family photo time can be one of the biggest pitfalls of the entire wedding day, and I’m going to share a few tips for helping you navigate this necessary wedding day event so that you stay on schedule by managing this brief and potentially challenging period of time effectively.

Have a specific plan

I usually recommend family photos take place immediately after the ceremony. Why? Because everyone is already there for the ceremony, gathered in one spot.  You will want to communicate to the family members who are to be photographed exactly what is expected of them: where they will meet, when they should be there.

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Family photos should take place away from cocktail hour and the rest of the guests

In a perfect world, right after the ceremony, all the guests will be directly ushered to another part of the property to enjoy cocktail hour, while the bride, groom, and their immediate families stay behind to be organized into family photos.  Diverting the traffic away will help ensure that family photo time runs smoothly without the constant interruptions of well wishers that will take up precious scheduled photo time. Believe me, everyone will want to come up to the bride and groom to congratulate them, so it’s important that guests make their way to cocktail hour.  A good caterer will also provide appetizers and drinks for the bridal party during photos, so no one will feel compelled to go searching for a drink… because if the father of the brides goes off in search of a drink he’ll get sidetracked by other guests and then we’re all standing around, unable to do the photos because Dad is missing.

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Limit Family Photos to Immediate Family Only

I would strongly suggest limiting family photos to parents, step-parents, grandparents, and siblings. Other extended family groupings can always be photographed during the reception. The larger the groups and the more complex all the various groupings, the higher risk for utter chaos, and you end up with a lot of people standing around waiting for their turn to be photographed, rather than enjoying cocktail hour and mingling with guests.  I am always very happy to accommodate all family requests during the reception, and this is a great time to photograph alllllll the cousins.

Ask yourself: What will I actually do with all these family photos of innumerable combinations?  If it’s not something that you genuinely think you’ll be printing or gifting to others, then your time could be better spent on gorgeous bride and groom portraits. Often I am given a very specific amount of time to accomplish all the family photos, bridal party photos, and bride & groom portraits, so the important thing to remember here is: PRIORITIZE and budget your time wisely.fitzpatrick mcquaide_094

Designate a Coordinator with a Loud Voice

It’s important to have someone who knows who everyone is who can help organize the groupings. The photographer is unlikely to know who everyone is, and therefore it’s a huge help to enlist a family member who can call together groups by name. Even having someone with a loud voice call together people from a list is a huge help, rather than have the photographer try to manage everything at once.

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Choose a Photographer Local to the Area

You can avoid additional travel fees by hiring a photographer located in the area where your wedding is held. Asking a photographer to travel, for example, 100 miles or 2 hours each way to your location will certainly incur extra fees.  That said, if you find a photographer far away whose style you adore, then paying extra to allow them to travel to you is absolutely worth it. The disappointment of settling for a local photographer whose work doesn’t speak to you will never go away.

My location in southern New Hampshire makes it easy for me to travel to many popular areas such as the Lakes Region, Seacoast, Massachusetts, and the Monadnock region. Travel to the White Mountains has a modest travel fee. 

west mountain inn vermont barn wedding

Reduce Hours of Coverage

Eight hours of coverage is generally regarded as a standard amount of hours to adequately cover a wedding day. Can you do 6 hours? For a relaxed wedding where everything takes place in one location, absolutely! But you need to make sure you reduce the right hours. I recommend shaving the hours off the end of the night, rather than the beginning of the day. You want lots of photos of your details, shot in natural light in the daytime. All those pretty photos of your dress, shoes, and flowers setting the scene for the day will be invaluable once everything is quickly overtaken with guests, the food consumed, and the decorations wilted.  You don’t always need photography coverage until the very end of the night. Three consecutive hours of dancing photos can be a bit redundant, and when everyone has been drinking since before noon, they may not be the most flattering photos at that point. Generally if I can cover about 1 hour of the dance party, that’s enough time to round out your wedding day gallery with after dinner coverage.

My wedding day collections are offered as 6 hour and 8 hour packages.

Beautiful October wedding at Public House Historic Inn | Sturbridge MA

Hold Off on the Wedding Album

Find a photographer who offers high resolution files as part of the included package, so that you can make your own prints on your own time as your budget allows. Make sure you understand what final products will be included. Purchasing your heirloom-quality wedding album from your photographer for your 1st anniversary is a great way to free up some budget for something that will have amazing impact on your photos–upgraded flowers, perhaps?

I offer my clients a beautiful online gallery where they can download their images, order inexpensive prints, and share to social media.

New Hampshire wedding | Bride and Groom in a field

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I just wanted to let you know that a great place to keep up with me is Google+. Since Facebook is a sinking ship for businesses, I’ve found it much easier and more rewarding to connect with new folks on Google+. I will continue to be more and more active over there and reduce my reliability on Facebook as more local people join G+. So come on over and find out how easy it is to connect with everybody and get to see everything in your feed! Plus, the wedding photos look so awesome on G+. If you have a gmail account, you already have a G+ page! It just makes sense for everything you already use.

erika follansbee photography google+ page

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Hiring your wedding photographer is a two way street. Obviously, you want to choose a photographer whose work, style, and personality reflects the kind of photos you want from your day, but your photographer also has to also choose YOU as well. The photographer-client relationship goes both ways.  For me, accepting a wedding commission is quite an undertaking. It’s a big investment on my part, in terms of time, energy, creativity, time….. oh yeah, and did I mention? TIME.  So basically, if I’m going to spend as much time on your wedding as it deserves, it’s because I WANT to, and I’m excited about it. I actually turn down many more weddings than I accept, because I’m looking for nice, friendly couples who are getting married in unique places with lots of details and personalizations, and I want my clients to have the absolute best experience and the best of my work. Here’s how to make sure yours  is one of the weddings I accept.

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1. Please complete my contact form with specific details.

The contact form on my website is our very first introduction. You’ve read quite a bit about me  on my website…. my style, what kinds of weddings I shoot, how I work…… so here’s your chance to let me know how your  wedding will fit into those preferences.  I ask for your names, your date, your venue, and a little bit about your wedding. That’s because I want to know all of these pieces of information.

I clearly ask for your venue, location, and its website (if any). You’d be surprised how many people respond with nothing but “NH” or just a town name. Photographers are very excited and inspired by good venues. We squeal when we we get inquiries about venues that we’d be excited about shooting at. Longlook Farm? OMG! A sweet rustic country bed & breakfast? Hell yes!  Sooooo….. when you start out our interactions with giving me no kind of idea of the wedding you’re planning, I have sort of a lackluster interest from the start.  Answering your venue location with “NH” feels rude and secretive to me. NH is not a venue.

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2. Review the information on my website and make sure we are creatively a right fit.

I am a little bit different from other photographers in my area in that I put everything on my website. I put my prices, my style, my policies allll out there so that you can read it all thoroughly before you ever make the decision to contact me.  When I have a bride fill out my contact form, and ask for basic information like pricing, I know right away that she hasn’t even looked at my website. Because it’s all right there.  I’m not out to waste anybody’s time, so I provide all of that information.

When brides email me and explain that they’re having a church ceremony and  a reception to follow at xyz country club, that’s a red flag right there that they haven’t done their homework about the services I provide. I’ve tried to make it abundantly clear in both photos and text that I’m focusing on outdoor weddings, and rustic venues like inns, bed and breakfasts, barns, etc.  I kind of think that brides should be looking to hire photographers who frequently work in the types of places that they’re having their wedding, so hiring a natural light outdoorsy photographer to shoot your indoor church wedding doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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3.  Let me see your personality.

I know, it’s hard to really let your personality shine when all you’re doing is completing the umpteenth vendor contact form this week. You’re just looking for some dang information about some wedding services. Florists, caterers, bakers, yadda yadda yadda…… But I highly suggest that you write in a cordial fashion, something friendly to set yourself apart. Introduce yourself, be friendly, perhaps indicate what about my work caught your eye. I will bend over backwards to work with brides and grooms who are really excited about my work and want to work with me. That’s a win-win relationship. Photographers love that!

One time I met with a couple and asked them “So was there something about my work that you especially liked?” And the bride looked me straight in the eye and goes “Yeah, you were in our price range.”   Ouch.

So yeah, the more you can let me know about YOU and your personality, the more I will be excited about it. I will be excited about YOU when I know that you are, in turn, excited about working with me.

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Let’s work together!

Hiring a photographer involves some soft skills….. we are not a commodity that you buy off the shelf. We’re people, and we’re artists……. who get emotionally invested in our work. It’s in your best interest to get your photographer creatively excited about your wedding!  Start that relationship off on the right foot by

  • reading the website thoroughly before you even decide to contact (educate yourself),
  • make sure your wedding is creatively a right fit for the photographer and provide specific information,
  • and finally, show your personality and enthusiasm when you make that initial contact.

First impressions go a long way.  When I choose to work with a couple who are stylistically and personality-wise a good fit, magic will happen. 🙂  Hopefully these tips will help you understand what a photographer is looking for when we try to find couples who are a good match.

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Hopefully this post will explain to you and educate you about the differences between high res vs. low res digital files. In all of my work, whether it’s for weddings, portraits, or commercial food photography, I always provide the high resolution files (if purchased) along with the low resolution versions for your convenience.

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High Resolution (for print)

This is used for print. For print only. Literally, only if you are having this photo printed on something physical like paper.  The high resolution files are enormous, in the range of 5760 x 3840 pixels. That’s enormous. And a good thing! The files that come out of the Canon 5D Mark III (and Mark II) are huge and there is no reason whatsoever to use those files for anything other than printing. Because the printing process requires as many pixels as it can possibly get, resulting in a fine quality print.  So if you are uploading your Erika Follansbee Photography images to something like mpix.com (or worse–Shutterfly) be sure you are using the high resolution files.

This is not the appropriate version to upload to Facebook, or to use on your website.

Low Resolution (for screen)

Here’s where people get confused. I think people mistakenly think that low resolution = low quality. It’s NOT true. Simply put, the screen you are currently viewing cannot possibly use or display alllllll of the pixels involved in a high-resolution, 3-6MB each, photograph. It’s TOO BIG. Computer screens, smart phone screens, allbenefit from using a high quality yet low pixel version of a photograph (and by low, I mean comparatively speaking with the full-res files that come out of today’s professional cameras).

For your convenience, I resize each photo into a manageable size that your web browser can deal with. A low res photo is loosely defined as anything below 1000 pixels on the longest side. (all of the wide horizontal photos you see on this blog are 900 pixels wide, usually).   So yes, it does remove many of the pixel dimensions but it does not reduce the quality of the image itself. In fact, due to the sharpening that I apply to low resolution photos, the overall quality is much BETTER.

If you’re posting on Facebook, your blog, sending email, or posting onto any website, you’ll want to use the spiffy sharpened low-resolution web-sized files provided.  Most of the beautiful images you see that I post on Facebook myself are 640 pixels on the longest side.

Keep it Simple

So that’s really all there is to it. When I provide you with a folder called “High Resolution for Print,” that is what you use when you’re ordering prints.  If you want to post your photos on anything that has a screen, you would use the photos in the folder called “Low Resolution for Web.”

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