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Welcome to our team Amanda Causey!

We are extremely excited to announce that Amanda Causey will be joining Mark Eric Weddings as an associate shooter.   Amanda is a very talented photographer based in Central, LA.  She has a passion for photography that is contagious, and eye for capturing moments, details, and people is beyond impressive.

Photo courtesy of Stevie Ramos

Amanda also loves shooting babies and family sessions, which she will continue doing on her own (and we encourage our clients to use her!)   Check out her website at Baby By Amanda Causey.     We have already booked a couple of weddings with Amanda, and we are looking forward to being able to serve more couples by offering Amanda’s service on dates that Mark is already booked.   We do plan on bringing a few more associates aboard soon, so stay tuned!    For now, enjoy some of Amanda’s work:

 

Welcome to our team Amanda Causey!
  1. Eddie Marroquin: Boom goes the dynamite!!! August 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm
  2. Jordy: That's awesome! Congrats Amanda! August 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm
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Ask m.e. How to deal with guests with cameras

This question came from a Facebook follower.

I have a quick question about weddings –I was photographing one tonight + there were only a million + one people surrounding my partner + i during the cake cutting with their cameras.I ended up getting a shot during the cake cutting that was completely blown out due to all the flashes that were firing…..all i kept thinking is ‘what would mark do…’ lol

 
do you have any rules for this?
 

What would I do?

What a great question.   I can certainly relate to situations where guests with cameras seem to be aligned against our team.  Sometimes it seems that they know exactly when to step into the frame to ruin a perfectly composed image (especially when the bride is walking down the aisle).   During family portraits, it’s as if they are waving huge posters directing the subjects to look at them instead of the photographer.  Their flashes do occasionally interfere as well.   It’s tempting to combat them with insider tactics like setting my strobes to fire via slave every time they take a picture (so that their picture is blown out),  but there are other things to consider before taking such drastic (yet funny) measures.

Guests are not the enemy-  they just want to remember the event (and be the first to post images on facebook)

Wedding guests really aren’t the enemy.  Contrary to popular belief, they really aren’t there to make our job as wedding photographers more difficult, or to interfere with our work.  They simply want to capture the celebration and have images to share.  I certainly don’t have a problem with this.  As a photographer, I love the fact that others are enjoying themselves with their cameras, and I certainly hope they have images that they can enjoy for a lifetime.   So if they really aren’t the enemy-  how do we approach these situations?

 

1.  Communication with your clients

Any communication with your clients about this issue should be handled well before the wedding day.   Many photographers have clauses in their contracts that state that they are to be the only photographers at the wedding.  While that is extreme, it can be one method.   However, I don’t think Brides and Grooms should be in a position to police for other cameras at their wedding.   They should be able to enjoy their day without having to worry about enforcing any rules.   One thing that we have started offering is a “no cameras please” card from Design Aglow.  Clients can simply have these cards available during the ceremony so that guests are tempted to waive their cameras in the aisle, obstructing the photographers view while the the bride is walking down the aisle.  Check out the template at http://www.designaglowshop.com/collections/contracts-forms-workflow/products/wedding-guest-request-cards-no-cameras-please.   Of course, something like this could be used for the ceremony only, or it could be worded to cover the ceremony and reception.

 

2.  Communication with guests

Wedding photographers have to be a little vocal at times.  It’s wise to choose your battles wisely, and only give direction to guests during critical times.  In our business, we generally give direction to guests on 4 occasions.

A.  During family portraits.   We ask guests with cameras to not take pictures until we finish with each pose (this way, guests will look only at our camera instead of 10 different directions)   If we are on a tight time frame, we ask that no pictures be taken because we only have a few minutes to complete the portraits before the church lady kicks us out.

B.  During cake cutting.  As mentioned in the question above,  sometimes flashes can interfere with the image by causing the couple to look different directions.  The flashes can cause distractions, especially if there is a reflective surface (like a window) behind the couple.  Occasionally- the flashes can cause the main photographers image to be blown as well (as mentioned above).   Our studio uses pretty powerful quantum lighting that will easily override any flash on a guest’s camera, unless they came prepared for battle.

C.  During bouquet and garter toss.   It’s not very often that we have to give direction here,  but occasionally guests prefer to line up in front of our cameras so they can get the shot.  When they do- we throw something at them, in the spirit of the moment, of course.

D.  During the exit.   We tell them where to form the tunnel for the best shot.  We ask them not to step in the tunnel.  If they are drunk, we pour water on their sparkler so they don’t burn us (not really- but that is tempting).

 

3.  Other Useful techniques to squish any intruders.

A)  As mentioned above, use a flash strong enough to overpower the flash on smaller cameras.

B)  Use multiple shooters.  It’s impossible to keep everyone out of your shot at all times,  but when your team is shooting from multiple angles, chances are much slimmer that you’ll miss the shot.

C)  Form barricades, especially around the cake table.   Set up light stands.  Team up with the video crew to form a front line.

D)  Be mindful of the venue rules.  If the intruders are breaking them, inform the venue.

 

 

Communication is the absolute best defense against any intrusion, use it to your advantage.  Guests aren’t there to interfere on purpose- they are just happy about the couple’s big day.

I hope this helps!

 

If you have a question,  simply email us (mark@markeric.net),  or post it on our facebook wall  ( www.facebook.com/markericweddings )   Your question could be used in our next “ask m.e.”  blog post!

 

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Ask m.e. – July 8th

We get several emails each week from photographers asking about our business, workflow, and other photography related topics.  Rather than try to answer each email,  we will pick questions to answer here on the blog so others can see.

This week’s question(s) come from a facebook follower. 

“Your work is truly amazing. I am also a photographer (no where near your level yet lol) and I just had a few questions for you.
I just recently did my first wedding and I was wondering if there was any key tips you could give when it comes to shooting them (I was so nervous). Another question is how long did it take for you to get the level you are at now? Okay and finally what kind of camera/lens do you use. Whatever it is I know I can’t afford it but I’m just curious.”

 

Thanks for the kind words, and congrats on your first wedding!

My advice for shooting weddings:

1. It’s about the client, not the photographer.   Many photographers love the art of photography, including me.  I love the opportunity to be creative with lighting and my camera.  If those opportunities present themselves on wedding day- I take advantage of the opportunity to create something unique and artistic.  However, my main priority is making sure I capture the story of the day for my clients.  I always focus on three things:  people, moments, and details.  Find a way to capture those three things in a way that tells the story of the day, and you’ll do a great job for your clients.

2.  Make sure you have back up equipment.   Last week, I read a status update on facebook about a photographer who’s camera had broken on wedding day.  He was looking around for a camera to borrow.   I felt horrible for that bride.  It’s very careless for a photographer to take on a wedding when he or she is not thoroughly prepared for equipment malfunctions.   Portrait sessions can always be rescheduled, but weddings can’t.   Weddings are not a hobby!  Any photographer who does not have backup equipment (camera bodies, lenses, and flashes) should not photograph a wedding, period.

3.  Be prepared.  Know where each venue is, and have a route in mind.  Find out alternative routes in case of traffic problems.  Bring an ice chest with plenty of water and snacks.  Always carry umbrellas in your car.  Keep an emergency kit on hand for you and your clients (safety pins, stain removers, tape, scissors, etc..)   Being well prepared will help you get through the stressful moments that will arise on wedding day so you’ll be able to focus on capturing and creating.

 

How long did it take me to get to where I am today?

Honestly, I view everything as a journey.  I’m not satisfied with where I am today, and I never will be.  I’m always pushing to better myself, my family, and my craft.   So it’s hard for me to measure where I am today in terms of success.  However, for the sake of something tangible-  let’s chat about how long it took me to get to a point where our business was established enough for me to leave my other job.  While some photographers have been able to start their business and thrive within the first year or two-  it took us much longer.   From the time I first picked up a camera to shoot professionally-  it took me seven years to build up my skill level and income level to a point where I could move away from my career at a bank into photography full time.   Some of that time was spent shooting youth sports photography, which I credit to really helping develop my ability to capture moments and capture emotion.   Much of that time was also spent building a quality word of mouth referral business.  This takes time, but when done right, the payoff is enormous.   We currently don’t advertise in any magazines or publications.  Our clients come mostly by referral from previous clients, and we’re often booked a year in advance.

My advise for anyone starting out in wedding photography is to take the time to shoot portraits or even sports photography for the first few years.  Develop relationships.   Learn lighting and how to use your camera properly.  Use the money to purchase back up equipment.   When you are finally ready to start your wedding photography business, the foundation will have been laid and you’ll be set up for a successful business.

 

What kind of Camera/Lens do I use?

I’m currently shooting with a Nikon D4 as my primary camera.   I use the 70-200 2.8,  24-70 2.8, 14-24 2.8, 85 1.4, and 105 macro 2.8.   I’m using a combination of Nikon 910 strobes and Quantum Trio’s for lighting at weddings.

 

I hope that helps!    If you have a question that you’d like to see addressed here on the blog, please post it to our facebook page,  www.facebook.com/markericweddings , and maybe we’ll pick your question next!

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The list of why we don’t like checklists… list.

Checklist.   It’s a word that makes many wedding photographers cringe.

I’m not talking about the list of family members that clients want portraits with-  we love that list!  We also love knowing the important details of the wedding day that are “must haves!”.  In this post,   I’m referring to the dreaded wedding magazine checklist for photographers.  I’m sure you’ve seen it.  It’s published in many wedding magazines.  It includes things like:

___ Wedding dress lying over a chair
___ Zipping up or buttoning the wedding dress

___ Mother of the bride fastening the bride’s necklace
___ The bride’s garter
___ The bride’s veil
___ A close up of the bride’s shoes peeking out from under the dress
___ Bride looking into a mirror
___ Bride looking out window
___ Bride and bridesmaids putting on makeup
___ Bride pinning corsage/boutonniere on mother/father
___ Mother/father handing bride bouquet ___ Bride hugging parents
___ Bride touching up
___ Bride and parents leaving for ceremony
___ Groom tying tie
___ Groom looking into mirror
___ Groom looking out window
___ Groom pinning corsage/boutonniere on mother/father
___ Groom hugging parents
___ Bride and parents leaving for ceremony

I could go on,  but you can see more examples of this dreaded list here: http://weddings.about.com/od/photographer/a/Photogchecklist.htm

 

Why we dread it.

1.  The wedding becomes one huge script.   It becomes very unnatural, and somewhat painful.

2.  Photographers are stuck reading a list and setting up cookie cutter shots (that everyone else does at their wedding), rather than capturing moments as they naturally occur, moments that make each wedding unique!

3.  We’ve shot hundreds of weddings.  We have a good idea of what’s important.

4.  A list could mean that the client really doesn’t trust us to do our job.

5.  We know the client will be much happier without having to pause every few seconds for another set up shot.

6.  Dear wedding magazine,  1981 called, they want their list back.

7.  We put lists on our I phone, which means we have to face the urge to look at facebook more often.

 

What do you think about lists?  Like them?  Hate them?    Leave your input in the comments, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

The list of why we don’t like checklists… list.
  1. Kim Spears: I have been following your blog for a long time now and I don't think I have ever commented .. sorry !! I HAD to on this post. THANK YOU !! I could not agree more with everything you said and point #6 made me crack up! Keep up the amazing work :) March 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm
    • Mark Eric: Thanks Kim! March 18, 2012 at 11:49 pm
  2. RobyFabro: What's the point of spending time and energy looking for the right photographer, going through hundreds of photos, when you have to tell him/her what to photographs!! If you don't trust the guy to be capable of doing a good job at your wedding, you should not hire him/her then. March 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm
  3. Sue Broderdorp: Hate, hate lists!!! I had a MOB give me a THREE PAGE list once, including (and I kid you not) mother crying. March 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm
  4. Edna: Yes, that list takes away from the natural shots of the wedding. When you have to stop for those you miss others. Your pictures are always awesome, really like your photography. March 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm
  5. Susan: So true! I ask for the "must have shots" like Bride with her Grandmother but I don't like the script. I normally tell my brides that all of those shots on those lists are covered by good coverage or something that is old and outdated. (Prom pose anyone???) Thanks for sharing! March 5, 2012 at 11:43 am
  6. Stephanie HIckerty: Great article! I met with a bride recently that had a similar checklist & was reading it off to me. I was dying to ask her where she got the list...now I know! lol Seriously, I don't have time to look at a list when I'm shooting a wedding...besides, I really don't want all my weddings to look the same...and truly, I imagine my brides don't either. March 5, 2012 at 9:31 am
  7. Julie Paszczykowski: Too funny, I think I like #7 the best! LOL I love when a bride and groom let me now their MUST HAVES, what is really important on their wedding day that doesnt happen at every other wedding. But, since I take the time to get to know my clients before the wedding day I have have a good feel for what they want and as a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, we know how to watch the day unfold naturally and capture THOSE moments, not the posey, posey . Like you said, the list of those family members, yes.. the rest is capturing memories! Great post! March 5, 2012 at 9:03 am
  8. Rebekah: Something like that? HATE it! So stiff! March 5, 2012 at 6:56 am
  9. Chris Lin: I make fun of shot lists. http://chrislinphoto.com/2010/08/the-shot-list/ March 5, 2012 at 12:54 am
  10. Katey: Soo true!!!.. I agree with you 100% !..I mean, you can be inspired with new ideas with each wedding that goes by. Why read off a checklist??...I think you should ask the bride and groom what specific kind of pictures they would like to have no matter what, but make it your own style with a splash of creativity!! This coming from a amateur photographer. . . God Bless! March 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm
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Michelle is married!

Wedding pics coming soon from Michelle and Mark’s wedding.  She was a stunning bride!

  1. Katey: Thanks!.. I'm trying to decide whether I should buy a 25-70 or 70-200... What do you get most use out of? I need it for my brothers wedding.....Any suggestions?? January 7, 2012 at 1:14 am
  2. Katey: May I please ask what lens you used to take this photo??. . .Awesome work! January 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    • Mark Eric: Hi Katey, This was shot with a Canon 70-200 on a 1D Mark IV January 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm
  3. ainsley: Stunning to say the least! I love following your work. December 15, 2011 at 10:48 am
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