Posts Tagged ‘wedding photography’
How to decide on which type of digital photography camera and features are best for you.
There are basically 4 types of digital photography cameras that a Photographer may purchase. This article will explain the differences with the camera types, the pros and cons, and the cost range for each. The 4 types are: Point and shoot, compact point and shoot, super zoom & Single lens reflex (SLR) which is the most expensive and would be more for the advanced amateur or professional wedding or portrait photographer. All of today’s digital cameras can also shoot video as well. The quality of the video recorded will vary with the type of digital camera. All of the below cameras have replaceable digital media. SD, compact flash, XD and memory stick duo pro are the types of media that these cameras record on. All of the below camera types have built in flashes only the SLR can use a separate more powerful on camera flash. I will also cover Flip cameras, which are essentially hybrids of photo and inexpensive video cameras. I will also explain all of the features that all these digital cameras have so you can make the wisest decision on what digital camera to buy.
The point and shoot cameras “PAS”
The point and shoot “PAS” camera is by far the most popular type of digital photography camera. They are also the least expensive ($45 to $300) and they give you the largest bang for the buck. These cameras have a permanently attached zoom lens that ranges from 3x to 5x (the number before the x means how many times the image is zoomed in from the widest setting on the zoom) so they are great for general photography purposes. The size of these cameras is small enough for a coat pocket but a little snug for a pants pocket because the zoom lens retracts into the camera. This mechanical telescoping zoom makes it hard to make a very thin camera (.7 inches) and if you want a camera that is thin enough for pants pocket consider the compact point and shoot “CPAS”. The sensor/lens size averages to about 1/3 to 1/ 2.3 of an inch, the larger the sensor and lens the better the pictures quality regardless of mega pixels. “PAS” are between zoom cameras and compact point and shoot in size and weight (about 4.5 ounces on average). These cameras have only an LCD on the back of the camera for a viewfinder; these cameras are not equipped with an optical viewfinder. There are the full mega pixel range represented with “PAS” cameras from 8 to 18 megapixels. Thease cameras are for general photographic use where objects are reasonably close to the photographer. This is a great kind of camera to bring to photograph a wedding.
Pros. Large enough to take great photos, small enough to take everywhere you go. Best selection and price offerings. The sensor and lens size is much larger than for the compact point and shoots. Better ergonomics and photo quality than compact point and shoots. Power zoom. Cons. Much thicker and larger than compact point and shoots. Annoying shutter lag between pressing the shutter and taking the photo. No way to change the lens or its zoom ratio. The motorized mechanical lens that telescopes out of the camera when the camera is turned on can be a major place that may need service in the future. No optical viewfinder.
Compact Point and shoot “CPAS”
The compact Point and shoot “CPAS” camera is very popular because of its portability, robustness and compactness. “CPAS” cameras have all the advantages that regular “PAS” cameras have except they are 40% thinner and are lighter as well. The price range is about the same as “PAS” cameras except these cameras usually have fewer features than a similarly priced “PAS” camera. The major difference is ‘CPAS” cameras have a smaller lens and image sensor so there is no mechanism that moves the lens telescope out from the camera, like on a “PAS” camera. There is usually a sliding cover that protects the lens that also turn on the ‘CPAS” camera. Having a non-telescoping zoom makes the zoom more reliable because it moves internally and can’t be broken during the telescoping process. The trade off is the lens is smaller in diameter and the imaging chip is also a little smaller too. Having smaller lens diameter and chip makes the camera worse in low light and the picture will have more noise regardless of the mega-pixels of the camera. Because these cameras have simpler optical systems, waterproof and underwater variants are available for underwater shooting with a “CPAS”. These cameras have improved over the years, although they are optically inferior to “PAS” cameras with their telescoping lenses, some of these cameras have as large of a sensor as a “PAS camera (1/ 2.3”). These cameras are for general photographic use but are better when the photographer needs to keep the camera portable and robust. I-phones and cell phone cameras are in this category.
PROS. Smallest cameras available and also the most robust. The lack of a telescoping zoom makes for a more reliable zoom lens. Some of these cameras are waterproof. CONS: Worse picture quality and less low light ability than other types of cameras. Less camera features than “PAS” cameras Less of a zoom ratio than “PAS” cameras. No optical viewfinder. CPAS get an annoying shutter lag when taking a photo.
Super zoom cameras or “SZC”
Super zoom cameras or “SZC” and (“SLR like” cameras that can change lenses) are a growing and changing category of digital photography cameras. Super zoom cameras are essentially a Point and shoot camera with a beefed up zoom lens. These cameras are much less portable and more expensive than “PAS” cameras ($180 to $475) because instead of having a zoom that simply telescopes out, the lens is always out and bigger than the rest of the camera. These cameras have a zoom ratio that ranges from 5x to 36x for extreme close-ups and wider wide shots. Most (but not all) of these cameras have permanently attached zoom lenses that dominate the camera body and form factor of the camera. These cameras also have a larger image sensor so they get better image quality and low light ability than the point and shoot cameras. These cameras usually have 2 different viewfinders, one with a 2.7” to 3.0” LCD like on the “PAS” camera and one with an eyepiece electronic viewfinder that is a .24” lcd with a diopter for adjusting for your vision. This eyepiece electronic viewfinder differs from a SLR digital camera viewfinder because on an SLR, the eyepiece is actually looking through a mirror and prism to see directly through the lens. The “SZC” is less precise in focusing and is less responsive and less expensive than a digital SLR camera. Some SLR “like” cameras have interchangeable lenses but they still have an electronic eyepiece instead of seeing directly out of the SLR’s lens. These proprietary interchangeable lenses are not compatible with other lens systems from the same manufacturer. This would be a great type of camera to bring to photograph a wedding where you can’t get close enough to the subject to get a good close shot.
PROS: Better zoom ration and picture quality than less expensive “PAS” cameras. More responsive, better video recording and better features than “PAS” cameras. The power zoom makes for different shots when shooting video. “SZC” cameras have the best zoom ratio because SLR lenses are more expensive and can’t zoom in as much. Less shutter lag than “PAS” cameras CONS: The lack of seeing through the lens makes these cameras less precise for focus than SLRs. More shutter lag than SLR cameras (but less then “PAS” cameras). Most cameras don’t allow change of lenses. These cameras are much less portable than “PAS” and “CPAS” cameras.
Single lens reflex cameras “SLR”
Single lens reflex cameras are the largest, most sophisticated and most expensive type of digital camera. Range from ($500 to $8,000) SLRs are different from the previous type of camera “SZC” because they have an optical viewfinder (not electronic) that has an internal mirror that flips out of the way during the exposure and a prism that rights the image for the photographer to see the actual image going trough the lens. When the Professional photographer or advanced amateur takes a photo, when he presses the shutter release the mirror that is reflecting the image into the optical viewfinder flips up and simultaneously a mechanical shutter exposes the larger imaging chip to light and creating the exposure. This action of moving a mirror and having a mechanical shutter makes a SLR camera much more complicated than other digital cameras that don’t have a mechanical shutter or mirror flipping mechanism. This extra mechanism burns up batteries and makes the SLR a little less reliable than other types of digital cameras. Because of the more precise optical viewfinder and the instant shutter response. and the ability to change lenses, makes SLR’s the only choice for professional photographers. Also the size of the sensor is many times larger than all of the other types of cameras. One comparison is that an older SLR with only 6 megapixels can take better pictures than a newer“PAS” camera with 18 megapixels, because the sensor size is many times larger on the digital SLR. One other feature, although all the other camera types have built in flashes, most SLRs also have a built in flip up flash. SLRs also have the ability to add a larger on camera flash that is 10 times more powerfull than the built in flash. One new feature of SLR cameras of late is the ability for the camera to show the image on the LCD instead of on the optical eyepiece called “live view”. This makes the SLR operate like a point and shoot camera for certain shots where your eye can’t reach the eyepiece. The other addition to the features of SLRs is the ability to shoot high definition video with the same Digital SLRs. The superior quality of the larger chip with a SLR and the larger format lens makes SLR’s get a better picture quality than conventional 3-chip video cameras. The draw back of SLR’s shooting video is that the record time is only 10 to 20 minutes as opposed to the 60 or 90 minute record time on a conventional video camcorder. SLRs are what professional portrait and sports photographers would shoot with.
PROS: Best quality photos, best quality video, most precise for focus, iris, shutter speed. The ability to change lenses & add a professional on camera flash. There is almost no shutter lag with an SLR. The most complicated to use, but the best ability to do a manual setting. Professional wedding photographers use SLRs exclusively. These cameras can shoot in camera RAW for better looking photos that are uncompressed. CONS: Most expensive, least portable, worst battery drain, the mechanical shutter makes noise, the mechanical shutter and mirror flipper makes this type of camera less reliable. You need to buy extra lenses for this camera and you will need several to do every type of professional shot that a professional Chicago wedding photographer can do. The zoom is manual not powered so it is tough to do an on camera zoom when in video mode.
Flip style video and photo cameras
Flip style video and photo cameras are quite popular now. Flip cameras (flip is a brand name, but there are many imitators that are similar) cost from $100 to $200 and they usually have the media built in. They have 4 Gigabites or 8 Gigabites depending on if it is a 1 hour or 2 hour unit. Instead of using replaceable Compact Flash and SD cards, these cameras have built in memory and a flip out USB 2 interface to get video out of the camera. These cameras have a vertical form factor (as opposed to a horizontal form factor for still cameras). They also have a thumb zoom control to operate the measly 2x digital zoom. The type of video compression that these use is H264, which is more, advanced than Motion Jpeg (that the less expensive digital photo cameras record on). These cameras have a simple video-editing program built into the system so you can do simple editing right on the flip camera. The problem with these cameras they have no optical zoom and they shoot still photos at a mere 1 megapixel. Most cell phone cameras shoot at 3 megapixels. I also don’t like the fact that these cameras can’t change media, so once you filled the memory, the camera can’t record more without deleting or downloading.
PROS: Great video compression like SLR video using the more advanced H264 for high definition quality. These cameras have built in editing software so you can edit a finished video right in the camera. This camera is very easy to use. High definition video CONS: Only 1 megapixel stills makes it a video camera only. No optical zoom means you have to he close to the action to get the subject a decent size in the frame. I would not shoot a wedding where the wedding videographer is restricted on where he can go. The fact that you can’t replace the media, once you shot the full memory of the camera you can’t shoot anything else without deleting or downloading. The 2” screen is smaller than most digital cameras.
Some digital camera features explained
LCD size: The larger the LCD screen the better. These screens range from 2 inch to 3.5 inch diagonal. A larger LCD can indicate a problem with a photo that was taken. The better resolution and size of the LCD will enable the photographer to make better corrections in the field. Most cameras can zoom into the image on the LCD to see if a photo is in focus and to see it there is any blur caused by motion and a too slow shutter speed. There is a hugh difference between a 2” lcd and a 3” lcd because when you double the hypotenuse of a right triangle you quadruple the surface area of the screen. So a 2” LCD is 1/4th the size of a 4” lcd screen.
Optical stabilization: This feature has a jelly filled lens that optically counteracts any camera shake that is picked up by a sensor that senses camera shake. This feature fixes shaky video footage and can enable the photographer or videographer to shoot at a lower shutter speeds for still photos. This makes still pictures have less camera shake than without optical stabilizers. This feature runs down the battery more than not using this feature, however with electronic stabilization the picture zooms in by 20% which affects the picture quality of the finished product.
Face detection: This enables cameras to recognize a human face and this enables the camera to know what is where the human face is, and makes exposure and focus adjustments based on the human face being the subject of the photo. This feature does not work well when shooting a face in profile because the artificial intelligence of the camera only sees one eye.
Optical Zoom Ratio: Zoom ratio shown with a number like 12x means how many times closer a camera can get to the subject with just the onboard zoom. The wideness of a zoom before the camera zooms in is also an issue because the wider a lens, the less you have to back up to include a large group of people. Zoom ratio is shown in both optical, which optically makes things closer. Electronic zoom is a virtual way to zoom into an object but electronic zoom loses picture quality based on how much you are zoomed in. Electronic zoom should be avoided because it makes for worse picture quality.
Scene modes: Most cameras have preset settings for specific situations for photography. IE for a fast moving sports mode, the camera would automatically use a faster shutter speed. A mode for shooting sunsets would make the camera better in low light and would turn off the flash because the sunset is out of range of the flash. Scene modes are more of a consumer feature than a feature for a professional photographer.
In camera Effects modes: Is an in-camera feature that enables the photographer to do Photoshop type effects right in the camera. This enables the amateur photographer to do professional effects and print them remotely without needing or using the computer.
Movie Mode: This is a great feature of most all-digital photography cameras. Shooting video on most cameras is lower quality than most video cameras but it just great for the Internet. This means the decision to buy a photo or video camera is less of a decision today. I have found that digital still cameras do a better job of shooting video, than dedicated video cameras do at shooting still photos. Today’s high tech high end Digital SLRs actually shoot better video than video cameras. These SLRs include the Canon 5D mark II and the Nikon D5100 and D7000 that can shoot incredible looking high definition video. The record time of photo cameras has been limited to under 30 minutes for import tax reasons.
Burst Mode: This is a mode on a camera that can shoot many photos quickly so you can capture an important scene with as many photos as possible. The more burst photos a camera can do the better.
Megapixels: The more the megapixels the better for taking great quality photos. 6 megapixels is equivalent to 400 asa film in grain and resolution. I have seen cameras for consumers that are as much as 18 megapixels. This is misleading, because the size of the imaging chip has as more effect on the picture quality than the megapixels. After all, a 6 megapixel SLR with a 1.3 inch sensor can get a much better picture quality than a 18 megapixel camera that has only a 1/3 inch sensor. Remember don’t pay too much for a lot of megapixels on a consumer camera that has smaller imaging chips. Bigger chips always improve picture quality.
Battery type: Some cameras take proprietary batteries that only work in that camera. This is good but you have to have spare batteries for the chance of running out of power. Some cameras take double AA rechargeable batteries. These cameras can have an advantage because once the AA rechargeable batteries die, you can just use regular alkaline AA batteries that are either disposable or rechargeable. Cameras that take AA rechargeable batteries can be more versatile than the others that take special batteries.
Professional external hot shoe Flash: All SLR’s and a few super zoom cameras has the ability to add a more powerful professional flash onto the hot shoe of the camera. This is a good idea because most pop-up flashes and SLRs and “SZCs” are pretty underpowered and can’t really properly expose something over 12 feet. The Canon or Nikon Professional flashes run about $300 to $500 depending on power and features of the external flash.
Power Zoom: Most digital cameras that are not SLR’s do have a power zoom. This means you just push a zoom in button to zoom in or out. This makes it harder to get a perfect focal length as you have to stop exactly where you like the focal length. With SLR’s the lens has a manual twist control for zoom. The zoom on an SLR is more exacting, but since there is no motor, when you are shooing video, the zoom speed may be choppy. A power zoom on a non SLR camera is nice for shooting video because you can do a smoother zoom than by rotating the lens barrel on an SLR.
Live view (for SLRs): This has been a feature for all digital cameras except for SLRs since the beginning. The consumer can actually view the live moving images on the back LCD screen while framing the photo. This was not the case for SLR’s because they have a mechanical shutter AND a mirror that flips up to enable the photographer to see right through the lens. With the advent of Live view for SLR’s the SLR actually locks up the mirror and the shutter and enables the photographer to frame the photo while watching a live image on the back LCD screen. Because the mirror and the shutter is locked up, you can’t use the optical eyepiece viewfinder until the camera goes out of “live view” mode. Live view on SLR’s makes shooting video possible on these incredible SLR cameras. SLRs can sometimes get a much better picture than conventional video camcorders.
Waterproof- Water resistant: This feature will enable the photographer to shoot photos and or video either underwater or near the water. These cameras are usually compact point and shoot cameras that do not have complicated telescoping lenses. This feature will enable the photo enthusiast to easily take underwater photos that used to take a lot of equipment to shoot underwater.
Shock proof: This a great feature too, similar to above, the camera is a “CPAS” type camera that is made to take shock and abuse. Many shockproof cameras are also waterproof. These cameras can take the abuse needed to get these cameras into the field and the photographer does not have to worry about ruining his equipment when taking his equipment into hostile environments.
Dust reduction: This is a feature of SLR’s only. Only SLR’s can change the lens and this makes it possible to get dust on the exposed sensor while changing lenses. This sensor needs to be cleaned to keep the dust from making black spots on the finished Jpeg file. When the professional photographer notices a problem with dust collecting on the sensor. He opens the lens and hits the sensor cleaning button. The camera will vibrate and or spray air on the sensor to self clean the sensor in the field. Cleaning a sensor manually is too much work to do in the field. That is why this newer feature is so important
Ergonomics: The way a camera feels in the hand, how easy is it to work the controls. This us one of those things that is different for every person. Make sure the camera works easy for you. I once bought a camera that was designed for the index finger to work the zoom, however the camera also was designed for the same index finger to hit the shutter AND the autofocus. This made the camera hard to work for me because the index finger was doing all the work with the thumb doing nothing. I returned the camera and got one where the thumb was controlling the zoom and the separate index finger presses the shutter and auto focus. Always try out a camera in your hand before decideing on which camera is right for you, your hand and your eyes.
I hope now the consumer has a better idea of what type of camera to purchase and what features are important to you. This guide does not claim one brand over another, yet I feel that Nikon, Canon and Sony are the leading companies that make great cameras that are updating all the time. Try a camera in the store and see how if feels in your hand. Once you have decided which is best for you it is time to go online and see who has the best price who won’t rip you off. I have had nothing but good luck with B&H camera and video who is the largest camera seller in the USA.
This article is written by Bob Busch, he is a professional wedding photographer with 26 years experience and he has sold consumer electronics and has advised many of the purchase of consumer photographic equipment.
Copyright Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo and video. 2011 all rights reserved. No part of this article may be used without direct written permission from Robert M. Busch.
Milestone Photo and video includes an outdoor engagement photo session (in the western suburbs extra charge for downtown engagement photos $100) with the full day 10 hour (or less) Chicago wedding photography package. This package is $1399, you get to keep all the photos on DVD (in 2 resolutions) that the Chicago wedding photographer takes regardless of how many, an 8″x10″ leather photo album,photo montage DVD that shows the best photos that the photographer took, a 13″x19″ engagement photo print. The following photos are examples of photos we took at Adler Planetarium: Adler is an awesome place to shoot photos. Check out Milestone ‘s wedding website.Adler is awesome for the Chicago wedding couple who want their photos shot if front of the Chicago skyline. This is an awesome location to shoot engagement photos for the Chicago skyline. This day it was hazy making the Chicago engagement photo session a good one.
Milestone Photo and video includes an outdoor engagement photo session with the full day 10 hour (or less) Chicago wedding photography package. This package is $1399, you get to keep all the photos on DVD (in 2 resolutions) that the Chicago wedding photographer takes regardless of how many, an 8″x10″ leather photo album,photo montage DVD that shows the best photos that the photographer took, a 13″x19″ engagement photo print. The following photos are examples of photos we took at Churchill woods: Churchill woods is an awesome place to shoot photos. Check out Milestone ‘s wedding website. Churchhill has the rustic look of a camping trip and a lake. It is awesome to do engagement photos of the outdoors minded engagement couple.
Milestone Photo and video includes an outdoor engagement photo session with the full day 10 hour (or less) Chicago wedding photography package. This package is $1399, you get to keep all the photos on DVD (in 2 resolutions) that the Chicago wedding photographer takes regardless of how many, an 8″x10″ leather photo album,photo montage DVD that shows the best photos that the photographer took, a 13″x19″ engagement photo print. The following photos are examples of photos we took at Lilacia Park: Lilacia Park is an awesome place to shoot photos. Check out Milestone
Cafe La Cave Banquet hall.
Milestone Photo and video has done many wedding at the Cafe La Cave Banquet hall. Randy Sutter has been instrumental in making his couple’s dreams come true. We at milestone Photo and video share that vision in satisfying our customers. We received the wedding wire brides choice award for 2011 based on being in the upper 5% in customer satisfaction. We are highly experienced Chicago wedding photographer and videographer.
One of the most popular and celebrated wedding locations in all of Chicagoland, La Cave banquets truly provides a beautiful and sophisticated setting for your once-in-a-lifetime event.
With a stylistic decor and setting of unmatched beauty, La Cave banquets is the ideal place for your enchanted wedding reception and intimate dream ceremony. With the unique attention to detail La Cave banquets can customize your wedding in many different ways.
Come experience our exquisite hospitality.
We promise to make your wedding unforgettable.
As a family owned business we would like to extend our most gracious welcome to the La Cave Banquets, located in the Chicago land area. Here you will take a magical journey into a fairy tale era of utter opulence.
La Cave Banquets has stood for the very best in cuisine, service and the attention to every detail for a successful celebration. Our guests have come to appreciate and expect the personalized attention, cordial service and quality of food La Cave is well known for.
You will experience the glamour from the moment your guests make their entrance into a soaring gilded lobby that recalls all the splendor of Versailles. Feast, dance and romance among ballrooms resplendent with our sparkling chandeliers and exquisite detailing.
Let us make your dreams come true.
- Gus Sutter
- Randy Sutter
- Kimberly Sutte
The following wedding video highlight has the reception at the Cafe La Cave.The package at Milestone photo and video that give you a highlight is $1399 Check out our prices for video at: Milestone
The Following wedding highlights are “Fusion” highlights. This means the Milestone photographer actually shoots video at the same time as photos and he can make a wedding video highlight while the same photographer is also shooting video as well. We charge $1899 for shooting unlimited photography and you also receive a highlight wedding video as well as the rest of the footage with chapter points and menus, Check out prices here.
Tips on how to plan a time efficient and cost cutting wedding to get the most our of your time and money.
- Make an itinerary on what is happening on your wedding day, make this schedule realistic and make sure there is enough time to do all the things on the list. This schedule should be given to all your vendors. If you can’t keep to the schedule don’t fret it is just a guideline to know what activities are important to you.
- Find a reception hall that is somewhat close to your church and possibly also near an outdoor photography location too (see our other blogs). This way all the locations will be quick to get to and a lot of time is not wasted on traveling from one place to another. This will same on some gas and limo service as well.
- Don’t cut corners with your only two records from this most important wedding day. Wedding Photography and wedding videography are your only record of the day.
- Do a (practice) drive from one location to another on the same day of the week as your wedding day. This will give you a guideline for how long it takes to get from one location to another. Use this information in your itinerary and invitation.
- Consider hiring wedding vendors that offer multiple services. Many companies offer big discounts on booking multiple wedding services on the same day at the same location. Milestone offers $250 in savings a for couples who book BOTH wedding photography and wedding videography on the same date.
- Shop for your reception hall on a Saturday during the normal wedding season. Dress properly for a wedding and you can check out these halls like a guest. Take a look in the rooms and see how they are decorated and how the food is served.
- Have a tasting at the hall on an actual wedding day to see how the actual food will taste. Bring others to have then give their opinion on the taste of the food.
- Consider writing and printing your own invitations. You must use expensive paper or parchment to give an expensive look.
- Wedding consultants and planners are great for organizing your wedding day, however they can be expensive. Some consultants require a “kick-back” from the vendors that they recommend. These “kick-back” consultants should be avoided because they should recommend vendors based solely on the vendors service quality not a “kick-back”. Consider hiring a less expensive “day of” wedding consultant. They will help with making an itinerary and getting things to run smoothly on your important wedding day. Another idea is have a friend who previously had a well-run and memorable wedding be your guide. She will make YOUR wedding day just a well-run and memorable. Friends have some great suggestions.
- Make a note of what romantic songs are important to you. That way you can make good suggestions to your DJ, band or videographer on what music to use on your most important wedding day. DJs play an average of 45 songs during an average wedding reception, so choose wisely.
- Make sure your wedding photographer allows you to keep and own your wedding photographs on DVD. Some wedding photography companies require that the couple order a certain amount of photographs (sometimes $3,000 worth) for the couple to have full rights and a DVD of the corrected wedding photographs.
- Consider having your wedding on a Sunday or Friday instead of a Saturday which is more popular. Also consider having your wedding in a slow month between November and April. Having your wedding on these less demanding times will earn you 10% discount for an off season or Sunday/Friday wedding. To save even more have your wedding on a weekday. This can save you up to 40% as well. Also your guests will have less conflicts when your wedding is the only one on a certain day. Milestone Photo and Video has offered may discounts for this in the past.
- If you are having trouble affording Limousines, consider hiring the limo starting AFTER the ceremony and having them just drive you to the reception and the service would finish at the beginning of the reception. Limiting the amount of time of the limo service (and the mileage) will lower the price of the service. The photographer will still have to limo for photos after the ceremony and at the reception.
- For a great way to entertain your guests at the reception consider showing a photo montage of old photos of the bride and groom growing up over the years at the wedding reception. This can be presented on a monitor during the cocktail hour or projected on a big screen during dinner. Milestone can do a montage and show it during the reception
- Send a “save the date” pre-invite card out before the actual invitation. This will make sure that your guests will reserve your wedding date BEFORE they receive your formal invitation. These “save the date” cards consist of a 4″x6″ photo usually an engagement photo of the couple and the date of the future wedding they should be sent about 9 months before the wedding date. Milestone Photo and video has made some great “save the date” cards in the past for a nominal charge.
- Consider picking out bridesmaids dresses that don’t look like obvious bridesmaids dresses. That way your bridesmaids will feel more comfortable and they can wear their investment on another occasion saving your bridesmaids money on clothing.
- Don’t plan your wedding on Super bowl Sunday or other day that may distract your guests or cause them not to show because of a date conflict.
- Instead of an expensive photo booth, have your photographer bring a separate photographer who only shoots portraits and group shots all over the reception and prints the photos at the reception just like a photo booth. Milestone can provide this service as well.
- Portillo’s makes great chocolate Chicago wedding cake. This cake is much less expensive than other wedding cake alternatives. You will need several Portillo’s chocolate bunt cakes depending on the number of guests at your wedding.
- You do not need to pay (directly) for a meal for your wedding vendors (photographer, videographer, DJ). You need to tell you hall that you have 2 or 3 vendors that need to eat but don’t include them in your guest count. On the wedding date these vendors will take the meals or places of your no-shows. In the event of all people showing the hall should still be aware that these vendors need to eat and they should be able to accommodate these vendors.
- A lot of time is wasted getting guests from ceremony to the reception. Consider moving the wedding ceremony to the reception site. This is especially good for couples who do not regularly attend church or are not very religious or are short on time for their wedding. Rev. Phil Landers, of I do weddings a professional wedding reverend, can be a perform a scripted and personalized wedding ceremony that the guests will remember.
- For your honeymoon trip, book an all inclusive package so there are to surprise charges for room and food.
- DJs charge much less than Bands, and do a better job of keeping the wedding well structured. Bands offer a more personalized service, but choose one that gets things done according to your itinerary.
- If the couple likes the look of chair covers that cost as much as $6 per chair. Try to find a reception hall that will throw it in as a bonus.
- To save money on a sign in book; hire a photographer who provides a free sign in Engagement photo that the guests sign around the edge of the engagement photo. Milestone makes an 19″x13″ engagement photo mounted on a 20″x30″ black matt that guests sign with gold and silver pens.
Copyright 2011 By Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo & Video All rights reserved. No Part of this article my be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch.
How to look your best in your wedding day photographs.
- Have the photographer shoot posed photos in the shade because the direct sun can give extra wrinkles. On a sunny day shoot wedding posed shots with the sun behind you or in the shade. “Milestone Photo” photographers always look for shade or create it with a fold up diffuser.
- Don’t have a friend do photography or videography at your wedding. You want them to enjoy themselves and they will be distracted by all of their friends at your wedding. If they do not do a good job, it may also get in the way of your friendship. Always trust a professional who does not know people there and won’t be distracted by your guests.
- Have the photographer shoot the posed photos in “Camera RAW” (instead of using Jpeg for posed photos) which enables the photographer to have better dynamic range and exposure. Milestone photo and video shoots posed photos in camera RAW whenever possible for the best quality wedding photographs possible.
- Do not chew gum in photos. You will look like you are chewing gum in photos.
- Do not over tan yourself for your wedding. You still want to look like YOU.
- Find out the rules of the church before you book them for a wedding. Churches that do not allow flash to be used during the wedding, or restrict the amount of time for photographs after the wedding, should be avoided.
- Look through bridal magazines and websites and determine what types of wedding photos you like most. If you like corny-cheesy posed shots or modern avant-garde shots or traditional old fashioned posed photos, (or just candid) tell (and show) the photographer what types of shots you like best. Photographers don’t always know what you like till you tell them.
- Have a professional makeup artist and Hair stylist for your wedding day for the bride, bridesmaids, mother of bride and others who would benefit. Give extra time for this because stylists can be late. They will give you a more dramatic look than the everyday look you get when doing your own makeup. Covering tattoos and zits is a specialty of many makeup artists.
- Have a bridesmaid armed with matching makeup to do touch ups through out the day.
- Do not have too large of bangs that hang down on your face. This is because this can cause shadows on your face that are not seen when you look in the mirror. Check your hairstyle and makeup in all types of lighting.
- Hire a wedding photographer who a variety lighting techniques. You don’t want all your photos to look the same. Get a photographer who does bounce flash, existing lighting, flash assisted existing light, direct flash, flash backlighting. If all the photographers photographs look flat and don’t have a natural look, he is using direct flash only. There are some photographers who shoot without a flash at all (existing light only). This is not a good idea because while some existing light photos look great. However taking only existing light photographs can be grainy and can be unflattering in harsh light. You want a variety of lighting techniques like Milestone Photo and video. We use many different flash techniques all day long.
- Do your makeup under the same light as you will be seen. I.E. If it is a daytime wedding with a lot of natural light at the reception, you would apply makeup under similar lighting. Having a night time wedding you would apply makeup under indoor looking lighting.
- Do a practice of how to bustle the wedding dress before the wedding day. I have seen dozens of brides who did not know how to bustle the dress until the wedding day and it wasted an hour of the wedding figuring it out . If the bride and friends cant figure it out the bride will have to carry the train around the whole reception.
- Have a sewing kit with scissors/needles/safety pins on hand with both Black and white thread (and bridesmaid’s color too) to fix last minute wardrobe malfunctions in your wedding photos.
- Carry “Tide” or “shout” stain wipes or even baby wipes to get any stains out of dresses and tuxedos. Be careful getting in and out of the limo watch for door grease.
- If pictures are shot at the bride’s house before the wedding, make sure the flowers are delivered to the brides house (not the church) so the photographer can use the flowers for the bride’s photos at the house.
- The tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding is outdated and is an Arabic tradition. Shooting photos of the bride and groom together before the wedding, gets things out of the way and makes more time for enjoying the celebration of the party after the wedding. There is a lot of things that can get done sooner when this old and foreign tradition is ignored.
- Get a dress that matches and flatters your figure type. Consider buying a custom dress made just for you by a quality company like Priscilla of Boston in Oak Brook Terrace IL. (On 22nd street 2 blocks west of Oak Brook Mall)
- Pick a bridesmaid dress color that is flattering to a majority of the bridesmaids. If some don’t look good in that color, consider multi color brides maid dresses.
- Do not concern yourself with things you can’t change like the weather or who shows up. Just relax and enjoy the day. When you are happy, you will look happy in the wedding photographs.
- Don’t get distracted during photos sessions. If you try to micromanage during the photo session, you might be looking elsewhere instead of looking at the wedding photographers lens.
- Consider a reception hall that has stairs to layer people for large group photographs. Stairs can layer up to 100 people in one great photograph.
- Hire a photographer who shoots engagement photos. You need to practice the various poses for your wedding day. Your photographer will instruct you on the poses during your engagement shots. After looking at the engagement shots you will know which poses look best for you and your future spouse. Milestone photo and video shoots engagement photos with all full day packages.
- Hire a photographer who corrects and provides ALL the photos he takes. You may prefer one of the photographers rejects. Milestone corrects and provides all photos. Couples get to keep all photos with all packages with Milestone!
- If there is time and weather permitting, consider going to an outdoor location that is designed for wedding photography. See our other blogs to find a suitable outdoor or indoor wedding photo location.
- Consider a reception hall that has a gazebo or small picturesque outdoor area so you won’t have to go elsewhere for cool outdoor photographs during the reception.
- DO not schedule your wedding on super bowl Sunday, or other date when your guests may be distracted by the game.
Copyright 2011 By Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo & Video All rights reserved. No Part of this article my be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch.
Worth Metro Water Reclamation District.
Worth Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Worth IL. It is located at 115th & Harlem just of the bridge on the east side. This place is awesome, it is free to use for wedding photographers in Chicago, you just need to call 312-751-5600 and get permission to shoot there. There are several bridges, several layers of water falls, and many weeping willow trees. There is also a building that has posts and a cool vanishing point in the shade. PROS: Free use, waterfalls, not used as much as other places, it ahs many places to shoot with waterfalls, lakes, trees and bridges as scenery. This is a great place for a Chicago wedding photographer to shoot wedding photos in the sounth Chicago suburbs. Cons: none Check out: http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Georgios_Orthodox/ and http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Garden_Chalet/
Oak Lawn City Hall Gazebo
Oak Lawn City Hall (Gazebo), Oak Lawn IL. Oak lawn city hall is located just north of 95th street at 9446 South Raymond avenue, Oak Lawn IL. The actual Gazebo is right behind the City Hall. Please call 708-636-4400 for info on permission to shoot here. I love this place, though it is not very popular so you won’t have to fight the crowds to shoot here. I took this picture around Christmas and it looked awesome. There is a large field lined with bushes and at one end, a huge gazebo, decorated with Christmas lights! PROS: Gazebo is great for shade, Located right by 95th street, Christmas lights lend a mood for night shots. I do not think there is a fee to shoot there. CONS: Not alot of shade aside from the gazebo: check out the photos athttp://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/
Lake Katherine Palos Heights IL, It is located off Route 83 at:7402 Lake Katherine Drive Palos Heights, IL For permission to shoot there call (708) 361-1873 there is a $75 fee to shoot there. Lake Katherine is a great place to shoot Chicago wedding photography in the south Chicago suburbs. It features Gardens, a great multi-stage waterfall, wooded areas. a bridge and some nice shady areas. PROS: Shady, waterfall, beautiful flowers, grassy areas. CONS: It costs $75 to shoot there. Chcek out Milestone photo and video’s photos there http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g114/
Fabyan Forest Preserve Geneva:1925 S. Batavia Ave. (RTE 25) Geneva IL. Fabian Forrest preserve is on the eastern banks of the scenic Fox River in Geneva. This pretty yet Unknown park features Scenic views of the Fox River and mini lighthouse, trees, shade, huge lawns, a bridge over the river and a beautiful restored Windmill built in 1875 and (featured on a famous stamp) that really works and you can even explore its workings. Pros: Shade, River views, Beautiful Lawns, Windmill is one of the nicest in Chicagoland, Undiscovered site has very few others taking pictures (no waiting) Cons: Long walk to picture area.
Philips Park Aurora
Philips Park is located at 901 ray moses drive Aurora IL. Philips park is a multi use park that has a zoo, golf course and sunken gardens.Thease sunken gardens are beautiful and are quite famous. However there is no shade there, so shooting on a sunny day can be tough to put people in the shade. This park can be better on a cloudy day. Pros: Cool location for photos with great flowers. Cons: no shade, possible fee for shooting.
Boy Scout Island, Saint Charles IL. It is located on the east side of route 31, about a half-mile north of North Avenue in Saint Charles IL. Boy scout Island is a peninsula that is used to launch boats on the Fox River in Saint Charles IL. This peninsula juts into the water to enable some great River views with the pretty and scenic views of the town of Saint Charles in the background of the river. This spot is beautiful at dusk as the lights of downtown Saint Charles glimmer and dance in the reflection on the water. Hotel Baker a beautiful hotel just south of the peninsula, it has similar views with a tiny Gazebo right on the edge of the water. Pros: Great river and city views, no fees, Cons: Small parking lot, not a lot of versatility with just the river view.
Island Park, Geneva Park District. Is located at Routes 25 & 38 in Geneva IL. Island Park is a peninsula that extends south of Roosevelt road and is between two tributaries of the Fox River. This park has many trees, flowers, ducks and beautiful river views. And there is a view of the Roosevelt avenue waterfall north of the bridge. Pros: Versatile place with many views of river, flowers, trees,; Lots of shade. Cons: park on Roosevelt and walk quite a ways to the pretty places for photos.
Copyright 2011 By Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo & Video All rights reserved. No Part of this article my be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch.
Adler planetarium/ Shedd Aquarium is one of the most popular locations for doing scenic backgrounds for Chicago wedding Photography. It is located along Solidarity Drive (westbound) on Northerly Island adjacent to the Shedd aquarium on the lakefront. This location has in incredible scenic overlook of the Chicago skyline on the lakefront from the grassy northern facing shores. Because this island has water between the island and the skyline, it appears as if you are on a boat on the lake. There are trees on the northern shore of this island, to give shade for the Chicago Bridal Party, Bride and Groom for photos. Unfortunately the Chicago police don’t allow you to park for more than 5 minutes there, and they regularly tow vehicles that are left unattended for over 5-10 minutes. This are is very congested during a Chicago bears or sox games. Pros: Great skyline shots, some shade if you find a tree to shoot under. Cons: Parking headaches. Click these links to see wedding s a this location http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Pazzos/and http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Hyatt_of_Naperville/
The Wrigley building is located on Michigan Avenue just north of the Chicago River drawbridge at 410 North Michigan Ave. Just south of the “Magnificent mile” It is one of Chicago’s most beautiful buildings and is lit incredibly well so day or night it is a real Chicago landmark. At this location you can take photos in from of the beautiful marble building, do shots by the Chicago River, which runs past this great landmark. Also there is a huge median that can be great for a bridal party shot amongst all the beautiful buildings on the “mag mile”. Sometimes on Saturdays there are fireworks are shot off the Michigan avenue drawbridge. This location has a large curved driveway that is easy to double park on. You can leave your car there about 10 minutes without problems. This is one of the best places for parking of the downtown locations. This is a real downtown Chicago wedding photo location! Pros: different shots by river, Michigan ave; building lit at night, shade, cool architecture. Cons: Parking limited to 10 minutes. Dave & Bob’s Favorite.Click here to see more photos. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g60/
The Bean is one of Chicago’s newest attractions and is one if it’s most popular for wedding photos. Located on Michigan & Randolph Downtown, It is a shiny aluminum modern sculpture that is basically a distorted curved mirror that can reflect the Chicago skyline (distorted) behind a Bridal couple or bridal party. One problem here is there is no shade, so the bridal party might squint if it is a sunny day. Because of this, “The bean” is better on cloudy days. You would double park on Randolph just east of Michigan avenue for a short time without being towed. (you can only double park for 5-10 minutes) There are other places for photos in Millennium Park such as the gardens behind the bean. Aside from the parking limitations and lack of shade, large crowds are a problem, because you can’t control who will be in the photos. This is a favorite of Chicago wedding photographers! Pros: cool reflected skyline shots, great gardens for photos. Cons: Difficult to park, crowd problems, little shade. Please click hereto see more photos. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Hyatt_of_Naperville/
North Avenue Beach
North Avenue Beach
North Avenue Beach is located where north ave. (RT 64) (also known as La Salle) ends at the lakefront. It features a similar beautiful skyline shot similar to Adler, but there is no lake in the foreground of the skyline. Also there are some trees amongst the sand so you can shade the bridal party pretty easily. It also had great views of lake Michigan. Because it is not in the loop, parking is a lot easier than other downtown locations. However you should avoid this location during a Cubs games. Pros: great skyline shots, easier to park than other locations, versatile shooting areas. Cons: you need to walk a ways to get to the areas for photos, sand and cameras don’t mix. Dave’s Favorite. Click here to see more photoshttp://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g60/
Lincoln Park Conservatory: Is located at 2391 North Stockton Drive Chicago IL. This conservatory can be used rain or shine because it is both indoor and outdoor. It has most every kind of pretty flower or plant. There are some beautiful rose gardens just north of the building. There is a bridge south of the gardens that goes into the Lincoln Park zoo. This bridge yields an incredible view of the Chicago skyline. Just below the bridge there is a scenic spot where there is a scenic lagoon where there are paddleboats and swans.Parking is tough to find on Cannon drive. If you pay you can find a spot in the lot dedicated to the conservatory. Pros: Rain or shine use, great skyline shots, and beautiful flowers (best in Chicago). Cons: Little shade, parking headaches, Possible fees for indoor use.
Garfield Park Conservatory: Is located at 300 North Central Park Ave. Chicago IL. Similar to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Conservatory is a great place to take indoor photos rain or shine because most of the plant life is indoors in the huge greenhouse. Some of the tropical plants there can not normally grow in Illinois. There is much less outdoor plants life, unlike the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Pros: Rain or shine use, Beautiful flowers and plants. Cons: Not much outdoor plants, High humidity may cause camera lenses to fog up.
Buckingham Fountain: Buckingham fountain is a very popular attraction for wedding photos and is probably the most popular over the years. It is located where congress avenue (RT 290) ends at Columbus drive Park at Grant Park. It is the world’s largest fountain of its type. Buckingham is HUGE so a small bridal party will be dwarfed by it’s huge size. One way to cut the size difference is the have the bridal party be about 50-75 feet in front of the fountain and have the fountain in the background so it is smaller in the frame than it would usually be. There are beautiful rose gardens that flank the fountain and are even prettier than the fountain itself, for a very pretty background. One problem with this location is there is no shade around the fountain so the bridal party will probably squint a lot if it is a sunny day. It is preferable to put the bridal party on the east side of the fountain so the skyline (and the sun) will be behind the bridal party. This location is very congested, like the bean you can’t control how many strangers can get into your wedding photos. Pros: A classic Chicago landmark, great rose gardens, Cons: Crowds, no shade, no direct parking, use Grant Park garage, wind shifts can spray bridal party with water, fountain is not always running.
Copyright 2011 Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo and Video. No part of this article may be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch.