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Things You Should Ask Your Wedding Photographer AND YOURSELF: Henry + Mac

Guest blog from Henry + Mac, a Boston based wedding photography business owned by ’11 NESOP graduate Dana Curran (Tavares) and her husband Zak. You can find their work featured in publications like Brooklyn Bride, Style Me Pretty, The Wedding Chicks, Intimate Weddings, and Classic Bride or check out their Facebook page.

Figuring out who should document your wedding day can be a pretty stressful ordeal. Photographers book 1-2 years in advance – meaning it’s usually your 2nd commitment (if not first) after picking your venue.  There are literally thousands of options in the New England area alone. Figuring out where to begin can be overwhelming to say the least.

My wife and I are in a unique position because not only are we wedding photographers, but we just got married ourselves this September and got a whole new education on the hiring process. So we’re going to give you a little insight from our vantage point, the side of the vendor and the side a couple who just experienced it.

We’re often asked our advice for picking a photographer; what should a couple ask?  Who did YOU hire?  How did you decide?  If you keep up with popular blogs you’ll read over and over again questions like, “ How many images do you deliver,” or “ what equipment do you use,” or,” do you have insurance?”

Ugh. Look we get why that idea is out there.  These questions are important to understand before entering into any agreement.  The wedding machine will push this on you constantly. It’s nothing against that line of thinking it’s just, well, is that what’s really important?

So, this will not be that sort of list.

Any professional photographer worth a damn should be able to deliver you plenty of professional images, have insurance and all that. You’re inviting someone in to one of the most important days of your life so far; that’s a big deal.  If you ask vanilla questions, you’ll get a vanilla photographer.

We also included questions we think you should ask yourself. In the roller coaster of wedding planning they’ll hopefully give you a better idea of what you want your day to feel like, and what you want your experience to feel like with your photographers, you know, the ACTUAL important stuff.

  1. ASK YOURSELF: DO YOU WANT A BUSINESS TRANSACTION or PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP? We each have our own priorities and a vision for our big day that are often drastically different from one another. Both are great options just be honest about which you are looking for upfront.  Really think about this.  The rest of your communication from then on will hinge on this decision.  If you have a personal relationship it DOES NOT mean you don’t get the same professional treatment. Make sure you get what’s included in your package, discuss what that means, and set expectations. Make sure you understand the contract and your usage rights.   But also make sure that if you want something more personal out of the relationship your photographer has the depth and connection to do so.
  2. ASK THEM: Hourly vs. full day coverage. The toughest thing when talking to photographers is comparing apples to apples. Some charge by the hour, some full day. Some deliver edited photos, some don’t.  While every photographer builds his/her business differently for very personal and legitimate reasons, you just need to make sure it fits your vision.
  3. ASK YOURSELF: WHAT’S OUR BUDGET?  Yes, we’d all love to fly Jonas Peterson in from Australia to flawlessly capture our day and make us look like movie stars.  Unfortunately, we can’t all afford it.  Sometimes, a budget is a budget.  Be realistic, do your research to find out what the market bears, know what’s important to you, and try to set your expectations accordingly.  Find a few photographers you’re drawn to on a few different levels – talk to them – find out who fits you best – then go with your gut.  Find the happy place between the disappointment of an unattainable figure and the disappointment of choosing based solely on numbers.  There’s a match for you at every budget level.
  4.  ASK THEM: WHY DO YOU THIS / HOW’D YOU GET INTO THIS? Ask some questions about how they got into their business, what motivates them to do this? What’s important to them?  What are they looking for in you and other couples?  Why is always the heart of the matter.  This is usually something a photographer volunteers anyway and comes up naturally in our conversation but if this matters to you, ASK.  We think this is a vital question to discuss.
  5. ASK YOURSELF: DO YOU TRUST THEM? Can I let go and allow this person be the professional?  Can I trust them to do their job?  Not just that they’ll deliver what you’ve agreed to, but that you also feel comfortable trusting their creative process.  Do I trust them with this enormous responsibility?
  6. ASK THEM: HOW WILL WE PLAN FOR THE DAY TOGETHER? WHAT DOES A DAY WORKING WITH YOU LOOK LIKE?  When the right one answers these questions you should find yourself nodding along, having revelations, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what we were thinking!”  Timeline meetings, phone calls, a site visit. Be on the same page 30 days out so when you see them on that day, they just do their thing so you can do yours.
  7. ASK YOURSELF: DO YOU LIKE THEM? The last question you should always ask is of yourself. It should go something like, “ Do I like hanging out with these people? Would I love having them around on my wedding day?” Any other answer besides, “Hell YES,” should warrant serious reconsideration of hiring that person. We spend more time with the bride and groom than anyone else on their wedding day. If you want to enjoy every minute of a day that always flies too fast, you must be comfortable with your photographer.  It’s the only way you will look back on your photos and truly feel like a piece of you is reflected, that your story was told.  That, to us, is everything.




Expert Insights: Keitaro Yoshioka

NESOP Architectural Photography instructor, Keitaro Yoshioka, took a few minutes to share his thoughts on the most important elements for an emerging photographer in developing a marketing and business plan.


NESOP: What do you believe are the five most important elements to guide an (emerging) photographer in developing his/her business plan and why? 

Keitaro: First of all, I think it is important to note that I don’t believe the standard MBA-format business plan works well for photographers.  It doesn’t fit the creative model for new photographers attempting to launch their careers.  Originally a vehicle for obtaining bank or investor funding, the “traditional” business plan has elements that are important but others that simply don’t apply in this context. 

I also think it is important that anyone entering this field understands the difference between photo enthusiasts and professional photographers.  If you want to make a living as a photographer, you need to have technical, creative and business skills and understand that, as a professional photographer, you are running your own business

With this in mind, I require my students to create both a marketing plan and a five-year plan.  Five key elements in developing these are:

1.                  Have a vision and trust your vision.  Know what makes you and your work unique.  The are a lot of photographers out there and they all have something different to offer; the most successful ones will all agree that you must trust your vision.  As an emerging artist, understand that your portfolio may be as good as or better than many of the established professionals.  To succeed, you must stay true to your vision and market yourself well. 

2.                Create your marketing materials and marketing plan; keep your “brand” in mind when doing this.  You are going to send out your own promotional cards and other promo materials (hard copy and/or electronic depending on your clients and strategy).  These materials should include your strongest image(s) and the images and materials should clearly represent/describe what you do.  Your materials should convey the image you want for your business. 

3.                Research the market to identify your potential clients. Create your (client) database based on research.  Your database should contain the company name (if applicable) and contact information (mailing address, e-mail address, direct phone or extension, website, social media sites, etc.) for all the individuals who will make the hiring decision.  Don’t simply target a department—send your materials to the marketing director, photo editor, creative director, art director, etc.  Ultimately, you want to get in front of these individuals, show them your portfolio and make a (positive) impression on them.  Create a schedule to follow up with anyone to whom you’ve sent your promotional materials—do what works: make a cold call, set up an appointment to meet, etc.  Just be sure to follow up. 

4.                Plan (and budget) to stay educated and stay in business.  Photography is always changing.  Today, more than ever, photographers must stay current with the latest technology and trends and always be ready to reinvent themselves.   This is true in terms of the equipment we use to make images and the ways and technology we use to market ourselves.

5.           Have a (five-year) plan.  Rejection is part of being a photographer, so if you are a freelancer or planning to operate your own studio, the ultimate question is how you will handle that.  Do you have a plan for the “lean” early years?  Do you plan to take other (unrelated) work in an effort to support your photography?  If so, how long can you support yourself in that unrelated field while still managing to produce new bodies of work and promote your photography business?  Because THAT is the focus—building your business and your career as a photographer.  Some may see results within a year.  Others may take five years to start earning a “stable” income from photography.  There’s no guarantee in this business.  One thing is certain, though:  If you are not shooting and if you are not aggressively marketing your business, you will not get jobs.  So, however you do it—make a plan, set goals for your photography business and constantly revisit them and work toward achieving them.        __________________________________________________________________________________

Keitaro YoshiokaA successful commercial photographer for over 25 years with client lists including IBM, Microsoft and Proctor & Gamble, Keitaro is not only a masterful photographer, but an expert in handling the business aspects of the job.

Alumni Profile: Catalina Piedrahita

2011 NESOP graduate Catalina Piedrahita has her work published in the latest issue of Revista Indigo, a Colombian magazine dedicated to showing artistic talents in multiple areas (graphic design, illustration, photography, visual arts and writing).

“This series presents images produced as an answer to sexist and misogynous attitudes that pervade our society. In particular, they are a reaction to conservative positions on issues like professional equality, sexual violence and reproductive rights in the context of American politics.  My objective is to contribute to the conversation and help shake the complacency of those whose rights are being violated; to encourage them to take on a more active political role and advocate more strongly for themselves. The rights of women are mutilated, partly due to fear of change and loss of privilege. But even more dangerous than this abuse by others is self-degradation. Women have become complicit in this war against equality by agreeing – implicitly or explicitly – with their own inferiority, or simply by remaining silent.

These images seek to show the literal and symbolic marks that aggression makes on women, while reminding the viewer of integral aspects of womanhood such as sexuality, sensuality, fertility and beauty. It is necessary that men and women alike accept the nature of femininity and allow all women to flourish with all their aspects and virtues.” – Catalina Piedrahita


© Catalina Piedrahita 2013


© Catalina Piedrahita 2013


© Catalina Piedrahita 2013

To see more of this series, and to view her other work, visit her blog.

NESOP Students’ Work Selected for Exhibition at PhotoPlace Gallery

NESOP Students Work Selected by PhotoPlace Gallery

Second year NESOP students Yorgos Efthymiadis and Arielle Simmons had their work selected by juror Aline Smithson to be part of ‘The Magic of Light‘ exhibition at the PhotoPlace Gallery, VT.

For this exhibition, I was looking for work that was talking about light, showing its magic, its possibilities, and nuances. I was also looking for sophisticated images and work that was sometimes unexpected, but was shot with intention and focus. In a world where everyone has a camera, it is important to make work that is well executed, create submissions that are consistent, but also make work that is fresh.” – Aline Smithson

Both photos will be included in ‘The Magic of Light’ exhibition catalogue.

Exhibition dates: Mar. 1 – Mar. 27, 2013
Gallery hours: Tuesdays – Fridays, 11-4; Saturdays, 10-1

NESOP Student Rob Collins Lands Cover of Focus Skateboard Magazine

NESOP Student Rob Collins Lands Cover of Focus Skateboard Magazine

2nd year student Rob Collins has snagged the cover shot for the latest edition of Focus Skate Magazine.

Focus is a bi-monthly East Coast skateboarding publication highlighting the culture surrounding the sport.

This is Rob’s 2nd Focus Magazine cover.

Alumni Profile: Scott Achs, 2011

Alumni Profile: Scott Achs, 2011

’11 NESOP Grad Scott Achs was recently the featured artist for ‘Viewfinder’, an ongoing series that appears on the Official Blog of the Impossible Project.

“I usually think of myself as a contrarian, but from time to time, for the sake of inspiration, I find it important to experience a cliche. With this in mind, I put on my mid-October tourist hat, and along with my POLAROID ONE 600 and several packs of PX 680 Color Shade film I took to the road.”

To read more, please click here.
To see more of Scott’s work, please visit his blog: http://blog.scottachs.com

Alumni Profile: David Butler

David Butler graduated from the NESOP Professional Photography Program in 2008 and has spent the last 3 years based in Phoenix, AZ working as the Brand Photographer for skin care company philosophy.

In this role, David is responsible for all of their advertising images ranging from in-store display ads seen in Macy’s, Nordstrom and Sephora, to Magazine ads seen in Vogue, InStyle, People and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as any digital advertising.

“Attending NESOP was one of those critical life changing decisions for me, I am sure I am not the only graduate that feels this way.  I have been working night and day to make my dream come true since the second I enrolled at NESOP, and I have never really stopped working (luckily). There are many truly powerful forms of art, and I believe photography is up there with the most efficient mediums that communicate a message, story, emotion, and even sound and smell sometimes.   I am amazed and inspired everyday by the possibilities and potential one person and one camera contain.”


Click on image to see more of David’s work.


Macy’s – Milford, CT

Dana Tarr featured in Boulder Magazine Fall Fashion Issue

Dana Tarr featured in Boulder Magazine Fall Fashion Issue

NESOP alum Dana Tarr has his work featured throughout the Fall 2012 edition of Boulder Magazine.  Dana graduated from the Editorial Fashion program in 2008, and is now based out of Boulder, CO, shooting creative vibrant fashion / celebrity / portrait photography.  Click on the photo to see more images from this project, and visit his website: www.danatarr.net

NESOP Grad Jeff Glotzl in ’12 Communication Arts Advertising Annual

NESOP Grad Jeff Glotzl in '12 Communication Arts Advertising Annual

Caption: “Question Your World”

Jeff Glotzl is a digital artist / retoucher who graduated from the NESOP Professional Photography program in 1993.  His recent work for the Science Museum of Virginia will be published in the 2012 Communication Arts Advertising Annual due out in November.

You can view a step-by-step slideshow of how this image was created in the portfolio section of his website: www.glotzl.com

Compositing and retouching: Jeff Glotzl
Photographers: Beach – John Henley, Boy – Todd Wright
Agency: Siddall Inc.
Art Director: Shari Hindman
Client: Science Museum of Virginia

Upcoming Exhibition by NESOP Documentary Instructor, Michael Hintlian

Upcoming Exhibition by Documentary Instructor, Michael Hintlian

NESOP Documentary Instructor Michael Hintlian‘s Exhibition “No Transfer: Photographs from Public Transportation” opens August 31st at The May Gallery at Webster University, St. Louis, MO.

“All the photographs in the No Transfer gallery were made from the window of a bus or train. Starting out of a frustration with working on the street in Boston – a very difficult place for a street photographer – it grew into an absorbing project. Shooting from a bus offered new challenges, how quickly I needed to work, the right seat, dirty and tinted windows. Almost immediately something different began to happen, something I had been trying to honor for a long time, the ability to respond to the first impulse before my mind starts to run the photograph. On a bus or train there are no second chances or time to consider anything more than perception and react with a camera. Henry Wessel said it well: “…(being) outside your mind, your eyes far ahead of your thoughts.” On a bus or train there are no second chances or time to consider anything more than perception and react with a camera. And I am still learning.”

– Michael Hintlian

To see more images from this gallery, please visit: http://www.hintlian.com/

Michael Hintlian has been teaching documentary photography at NESOP since 2007. A dedicated, award-winning documentary photographer, Michael’s projects have taken him across the globe. He earned his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University and his MBA from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. In addition to NESOP, his teaching includes the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. Michael has also been a lecturer and presenter in several venues throughout the U.S. including the Leica Historical Society of America in Charlotte, NC; The Photographic Resource Center in Boston; the Hoboken Historical Museum in NJ; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; WGBH, Tufts University in Medford, MA; and the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. Michael’s work has been widely published in periodicals including The Christian Science Monitor, Architectural Design and Boston Magazine. His work has been exhibited all over the world. His book, Digging: The Workers of Boston’s Big Dig, has been a success in the documentary world. It remains a revealing source of local history and a celebratory tribute to the men and women working America’s most ambitious infrastructure project.