Photos by Lara
Lara Hanlon Welcome to the blog of Lara Hanlon Photography! Enjoy checking out some of my latest work and news, and as always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

I still have a few slots left for 2013 weddings and have started booking 2014 weddings! Shoot me an email to get your session on the calendar!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

frequently asked questions : weddings

: How do I choose a wedding photographer? Are there any hints for choosing a wedding photographer?

Yes! Check out the post I wrote on choosing your wedding photographer here.

: How long have you been shooting weddings?

I've been shooting for friends and family forever...professionally, since 2007.

: What type of camera and equipment do you use?

I currently shoot with a Canon 5D digital camera. My favorite and most-used lenses are the Canon 50mm 1.2L, Canon 24-70 2.8L and the Canon 70-200 2.8L. I also have backup equipment including an extra camera body, lenses, flashes, batteries, memory cards, etc., that I bring with me to every wedding JUST IN CASE. I haven't had anything fail on me yet...but if it DOES happen, I'm prepared!

: Will YOU be the one shooting my wedding? Do you have an assistant?

Yes and yes! I shoot every wedding I book. I do bring an assistant with me to every wedding to help me out (so keep that in mind if you need to include us in the meal count if it's a full reception!). However, she does not shoot. You can add a second (or third!) shooter to your package for an additional cost.

: How many weddings do you shoot in a year?

I shoot about 15 weddings a year, and I only book one wedding per week. Believe me, you don't want a tired, cranky photographer to shoot your wedding! Doing one a week gives me time to start the editing process, make sure my equipment is ready to go for the next wedding, and most importantly time to recharge!

: How do I book you for my wedding?

It's easy! I need a signed contract and a deposit. To set it up, just email or call me to schedule a meeting. At our consultation, we'll discuss your wedding, the type of package that fits you best, answer any questions that you might have, etc. At that point, I'll also go over the contract with you. Most couples do choose to give me their deposit and sign the contract there, but some like to take the contract home and mull it over with their parents or away from the pressure. Either way is fine! Just remember - the date isn't reserved until I've received both the signed contract and the deposit. If two people are interested in the same date, the reservation will go to the person who turns those in first.

: How many pictures will I get from my wedding? How long will it take?

While it varies greatly depending on the wedding, I shoot around 1,500 pictures at an average wedding. In general, your gallery will have between 500 and 600 fully edited pictures six to eight weeks after your wedding. What happened to the other thousand that I didn't edit? Well, most of them were duplicates since I might shoot several frames a second in some cases. For others, someone had their eyes closed, someone walked in front of the camera, the flash didn't fire, it caught you in a bad angle....I may cut an image for any number of reasons. Remember, I want you to look your best and have the best pictures possible!

: Will I get any black and white pictures? What about selective color? Sepia? Texture?

You will definitely get some black and white pictures! However, I do not provide every picture in both black and white and in color. Why not? Well, there are some pictures that lend themselves well to being black and white and some pictures that do not. For example, if you get married in a church with a busy background and lots of colors, the colors may distract from the main subject - you! To help draw attention back to where it belongs, I may convert the picture to black and white (examples here and here). Conversely, if you're wearing a brightly colored shirt against a contrasting background, you'll really pop out of the picture - and converting to black and white will draw attention AWAY from you (examples here and here). I may do a tonal monochromatic picture with a blue-ish or sepia tint depending on the feeling of the image as well. I will occasionally, but rarely, do a picture with a texture overlay - although I love and adore the look, I realize that it is a trend. I try to keep your pictures as classic and timeless as possible - your hair and clothing will give away the date enough, the pictures don't need to look outdated too! I do not ever do selective coloring for the same reason - it's a trend, only one I really dislike personally. :)

: Can I print from my disc of images?

It depends on the package! The silver package comes with low-res files that are great for sharing online or via email. The gold and platinum packages both come with high-res files that are suitable for printing...up to poster size, if you so desire! You can make as many prints from your disc as you want.

: What about making prints?

If you purchase the full disc of images or opt to receive the high-res file, you also receive print rights with your pictures. This lets you make as many prints as you want! While you can, of course, make prints from your local Walgreens, I recommend using a quality service like Mpix. If you have a CostCo membership - surprise! They do good prints too!

If you purchase a print from me, I will guarantee it for color and quality. I will also check it for any extra editing that it may need prior to printing - for instance, editing out blemishes or other small things that I don't do for the high-res files on the disc.

Regardless of whether you're printing it yourself or buying it from me, check out this post by Stacy Reeves on cropping. Remember, images straight out of the camera are sized at a 2:3 ratio, meaning that with 4x6 or 8x12 (or 16x24, 32x48, etc.) prints you don't have to do any cropping. However, if you order a 5x7 or 8x10 or other size, you will have to crop the image. Consider this before ordering prints - if important parts of the pictures are near the edge, they may be cropped out if you order those sizes.

: I found a photographer who will give me the raw, unprocessed files from the wedding for me to print from. Will you do that?

While some photographers do provide unprocessed images to their clients, I personally do not. I believe my clients hire me not just for the pictures I take, but for the editing I do to each image. I include high-res files in two of my packages and it's always an option to add on if it's not included. This allows you to print the images whenever and wherever they want!

It's the best of both worlds, and my preferred solution. I wouldn't want you to have or print unprocessed files - they don't accurately reflect my work and you won't be looking your best - but I do want you to be able to print if you want to!

: What are the albums in your packages like?

Mmmm...they are beautiful!
I use a company that works exclusively with professional photographers. Your album will be leather-bound in Italian leather (it's absolutely sumptuous!) and the layouts will be printed on real photographic paper, then permanently bonded to cardstock. The result is a thicker, more durable page. You don't have to worry about the pictures curling or sliding out of the album like you might have seen in your parent's wedding album. Would you like to see some pictures of what your album will look like? Okay!

: Do you ever do custom packages?

Of course! The pre-created packages work for 95% of couples - but if you're in that 5% who is looking for something just a little different, I'm happy to customize a package just for you.

: Who did you use for your wedding vendors? Do you recommend them?

I loved
(most of) my vendors. I have a list and some reviews of the people I used right here.

: Do you have any recommendations to help make
our wedding unique and memorable?

For sure! To start with, make the wedding YOU. Make it personal. This is by far the biggest, most important part. Every couple has unique aspects to their relationship, whether it's a shared love of classic books, '76 Cameros, Guy Richie, s'mores, whatever! Take that unique thing and work it into your wedding somehow. Decorate the cake table with classic love stories. Do your grand exit in a '76 Camero. Use quotes from "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" as your table names. Supply a firepit and provide s'mores as a late-night snack (I did, for my wedding!)! With a little bit of thought, you can find ways to incorporate these types of personal things into your wedding without being cheesy. Toast with your favorite beer instead of champagne. Have a food station featuring your favorite foods, and one with his. The possibilities are endless!

Similarly, look for things that are different. Instead of using a guest book, use a wishing frame. Instead of a cake, do a sundae bar. Instead of doing a bouquet toss, present the bouquet to a favorite aunt, or to the one who has the next wedding coming up! Attach a gift card to the garter to give some incentive to the guys. Rap your vows. Dance while you go down the aisle. Scour Etsy (my ALL. TIME. FAVORITE.) for unique, handmade wedding finds - from gowns to headpieces, from invites to programs, from favors to ring bearer pillows.

Pay attention to the little things, like colors, fonts, designs, etc. You might not think people notice that your invitations and place cards and programs all used the same font and same beautiful magnolia flower design....but they do! Even now, a year after my wedding, people comment on the details...and I didn't even think anyone would notice them! :)

No matter what, every wedding has aspects that are going to be the same. In the end, no matter what, two people are coming together in love. But there are so many things you can do to make your wedding day YOURS...why wouldn't you? :)

: How should I fit photography into my wedding timeline?

I must be reading your mind! I wrote a post about that here.

: What's a "first look"? Should I do one?

A first glance is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony - which does break tradition, but has a lot of benefits! You can read about my thoughts on the first look at the timeline link above, and I recommend checking out
this post by the amazing Jasmine Star (which includes some thoughts from the groom's perspective), and this post (which includes pictures of MY first look!) by the wonderful Stacy Reeves.

: Do you have any hints about hair and makeup as they relate to photography?

Of course! You can check them out here.

: Any ideas for fun places for our engagement shoot?

The possibilities are endless! Looking for an outdoor location? Dog park! City park! Kayaking! Cutting down a Christmas tree! A field! A lake! Golf course, amusement park, farm, sidewalk cafe, building a snowman, rollerblading, rooftop, junkyard, playing softball, the zoo, Fontenelle Forest, playing mini golf. Boating! Buying a hotdog from a street vendor! What about some indoor locations? How about playing Wii? Doing yoga? Jumping on a bed! Having a pillow fight with feather pillows! Painting a wall! Grocery shopping! At a pet store, at a flower shop, at an arcade, bowling. At a pizza parlor? At an ice cream parlor! Going antique shopping! At a stadium, in a fancy hotel lobby, at a skating rink! At a one-room school house!

Find a place that just screams "you." Think, too, about when you're getting married. If you're getting married in the summer, do you want your engagement pictures taken in the summer to match your wedding pictures, or do you want them in the winter for something completely different?

Bring props! Look for Scrabble letters that spell out your name or the word "love." Bring posterboard that says your wedding date. Have him hold a sign that says "Will you marry me?" and her hold a sign that says "Yes!" Bring your grandma's antique teapot, bring the set of your first edition encyclopedias, bring the chair that's been in your apartment since you were 18. Think about the little things that make you guys YOU and we'll try to incorporate them into the pictures!

: Would you shoot a gay wedding?

It would be an honor.

: Why, oh why, is wedding photography so expensive?

Great question! Not because it's hard to answer, but because it's so easy! I wrote a little bit about this very subject here.
Why is it worth the investment? Because when all is said and's all you'll have left from this very expensive, very important, once-in-a-lifetime undertaking - other than your new spouse, of course!

It's easy to assume that all you're paying for is six or eight or twelve hours of coverage on your wedding day. While that's partially true - you're definitely paying for that! - it's not even close to everything. Also included in the price of each package is meeting with you both in person and on the phone prior to the wedding, wedding day preparation (making sure all the equipment is working), the backing up and storing of the files after the wedding, posting the photos online, creating a wedding album (if it's in your package), creating the disc of your images, paying the assistant, keeping current with equipment, and the most time-consuming part....EDITING the pictures. It takes about eight hours to edit for every hour of shooting. And will I ever give you unedited pictures? Absolutely and unequivocally not. Editing is such an important part of the creative process, and, while the nice camera is part of it, it's one of the big differences between the pictures you get from your friend's point-and-shoot camera and a professional photographer. For another perspective, and a chart of what photographers actually do all day (hint: it's not all taking pictures and partying like a rockstar!), check out this wonderful post by the equally wonderful Stacy Reeves (who shot my wedding with Darbi G!).