Well you guys, hello and welcome to the official Q and A session for our Creative Live, the Complete Wedding Photographer Boot Camp. What we have going on right now is we have two periscopes feeds going on. We have on periscope feed with Creative Live, we have one periscope coming from my particular account, and it's just exciting. So we're getting extra meta right now. It's Live on Live on Live. Which is just technology, and I like being at the forefront of it with an organization that believes in it just as much as I do. So if you are joining us on periscope, find us at CreativeLive.com/LiveFour. I feel like I'm doing one of those American Idol like four, vote for me, four! So CreativeLive.com/LiveFour, that's where you guys will be joining us. So please get us there. The feed will be a lot prettier than what's coming off on our phones and we're gonna be showing videos and photos, so join us there. So on that note, I want to say thank you so much for tuning into the Q and A portion f...
or this experience. Now up until this point we are halfway through this bootcamp, and it has been an adventure. And for people who are coming on and really just joining us, I want to say thank you. I think that this course has turned into more than I could have anticipated, because it's not about me, and it's not about a wedding, it's about everybody coming together and realizing how much we have collectively to grow and learn and better our businesses. Now what I want to make sure that you know is that this Q and A has nothing to do with me. This Q and A is all about you, your needs, your desires, and to fill in the gaps. I think that it's easy because I might have taken for granted me getting in and just doing what I do, right? So it's more along the lines of I'm running in, I'm shooting a wedding, I'm teaching courses, but there could be times where I jump over ideas. So what I would love for this Q and A to do is to fill in those gaps, to ensure that once this bootcamp ends, you feel great, you feel confidant, and you're ready to move forward. Now on that note, let's move forward. Let's start with the first question, and it was a great one. Shannon L. Johnson asks, how many of the images you chose are JD's? Seems to me the main photographer is mainly in the best place for the shot. How do you cull through a second shooter's images? Well when I shoot with JD, JD is my husband and he is my second shooter. When it comes time to cull our images, the thing that I'm going to do first is I'm gonna go through all my images first. I am the first shooter, I will obviously have the best angle. But JD has a second complimentary angle. So what I want to make sure that I'm doing is having JD fill in the gaps in the grout. So as far as culling goes, I go through all of my images first, and then I can kind of lay a framework. And a past Creative Live course, I have referred to my images being the tile and JD's images being the grout. So together we're creating a firm foundation for the wedding. That's great question, thank you Shannon. Now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move into our next question. So let's dive into Pamela's question. How are you able to get both the bride and groom in focus at such a wide aperture? Magic? Okay, well I hate to break the news to you and let you down Pamela, but is definitely not magic. There are a few things to really keep in mind when you're shooting in general, but specifically when it comes to wide apertures. Wide apertures, the things that we want to focus on the most if focal plane. Now theoretically there are two-- Not theoretically. Concretely there are two focal planes that we as photographers focus on. The X plane and the Y plane. If I focus on one thing along that X plane, anything alone that X plane should be in focus. If I focus on something on the Y plane, anything above and below that focal point should be in focus. So theoretically if I were to stand here and then somebody were to stand on my shoulders and you focused on my eye, the person standing on top of my shoulder's eye should be in focus as well. Because they're on the same Y focal plane. When I'm shooting a couple, I can't shoot really wide apertures if the couples are very different in height. But chances are couples are roughly the same height, and if the girl or the bride is wearing heels, she gets to be really close at the same eye level with the groom or the fiance. That is kind of the main thing that I'm looking for first and foremost, that I can shoot at an S2 if my couples are nice and close together and their faces are lined up and their eyes are on the same X plane. That is the trick, and that's the thing you want to focus on. No pun intended. The thing too to keep in mind that I was learning my first and second year was I would do a lot of shifting, I would focus and then shift and recompose. Now I was composing not on an X plane or a Y plane, so I would focus and then just tilt my camera ever so slightly maybe at a diagonal in either which way. Now if I focused and then moved my camera at a diagonal, the focus would be slightly softer because I was no longer on that focal plane. I hope that kind of makes sense. On that note when it comes to focusing, Caleb Rodriguez asked a great question. She said, "Do you do a lot of focusing and recomposing, "or do you quickly change between the focus points? "What is your strategy to getting sharp photos "when there is so much movement going on?" Now one thing that I really want to focus on and bring up to speed which I have mentioned before in my blog. When I first got into photography, I shot with a Cannon 20D, and then I upgraded to the Cannon 5D, and then I upgraded to the Cannon 5D Mark 2. All of these cameras (clears throat) have a nine point focusing system. So when I was working with a camera with a nine point focusing system, I was focusing and recomposing quite a bit. In fact if you look at my very first Creative Live course back in 2010, we shot a live wedding and what you saw me doing a lot of was focusing and then shifting my camera, focusing and then shifting my camera. And I got so many question from photographers being like, what is she doing? I was recomposing my photos so often. Well since that time I have upgraded to the 5D Mark 3, and that has a 61 point focusing system. So instead of nine focusing points, I have 61 points. So because I have 61 points in my frame, I no longer have to shift and recompose. Now during the wedding I was rotating the focal point extensively. With the 5D Mark 3 you have to use two, you have to use the knob on the top and nozzle on the back to find your focal point, and so I've become so accustomed and quick to it that I can change my focal point to ensure that what I want is in intact sharp focus. This is gonna be our last question on focus, because I did quite often get a lot of questions in regards to people wondering how I was focusing and what I was focusing on. So McKreena Rosales asked, "How do you focus when you do walking shots?' Now if you had tuned in throughout the Knot Dream engagement session, and if you tuned throughout the past five days, five lessons in regards to the Knot Dream Wedding, you will have seen me employ a certain tip or trick. Now every time I had my clients walk to me, I said the same thing, and when I say it you might be reminded. I said I want you to walk with me at a cadence. Now a cadence is simply a beat, and then I gave them the beat. One, two, three. And I told this to the groomsman, I told this to the bridesmaids, I told this to the bride and groom, and I said it to Samantha and Taylor at their engagement session. One, two, three. That is what I did again and again. And the reason why I'm giving them a cadence is before I want to pan with my subjects. Now I understand that if I do not move with my subjects and I focus on my subjects, the next step that they take to me will not be in focus. But if I can keep equal distance between myself and my subjects and I can focus in between each frame, then I know it's going to be tack sharp. I shoot in one shot. So one step focus, two step focus, three step focus. These are the things that I'm thinking about, and it's created a pattern that when I look back at the photos, I notice that there's a higher propensity for photos that are in focus. Now I did just talk about the Knot Dream engagement session. On that note I want to dive into a particular thing from the Knot Dream engagement session. But before I get there I want to remind you to please if you have questions, I want to make sure that this is just about you. I'm gonna be incorporating a lot of our producers for your questions to make sure that you feel a part of this process as much as anything else. So in this next slide I'm gonna be talking about one of the questions I received most after watching the Knot Dream engagement session. And a lot of people were asking me how did I create a connection so fast between my clients, especially having never met the clients? Now in a previous lesson if you had tuned in during one of the earlier lessons, I talked about how I prepared my clients for a successful engagement session. I taught you how I encourage communication with my clients before the engagement session. So once they arrived, what did that look like for us? How did we just meet? How did I go from just only talking to them via email to all of a sudden being warm and fuzzy and getting their true selves out in front of the lens? Because one, we had a previously lesson talking about the engagement session. We dove right in to shooting and posing and people thought well what did that first part look like? Well I'm excited because what I want to do is I want to talk about the three things that I first talked about with my clients, and this is directly pulled from a previous lesson that I had spoken about. In a previous session I talked about how I like to set the tone for the shoot, and I do this in three ways. Firstly, I ease into the shoot by introductions. I'd only spoken to the client via emails, so I felt like I had to introduce myself as a person, as their photographer. And I also for this particular shoot, JD does not always come with me on shoots, but he came with me on this shoot. So I had to introduce JD and his role for this shoot. Secondly I'm going to explain how the shoot will unfold. I'm setting out those expectations. Now thirdly I want to know that those expectations for me for them are simply to relax, enjoy, and have fun. So I want to show you a video about how that happens. We're gonna roll into that video right about now. This is JD, this is my husband, this is my second shooter.
Oh my God!
Hi, nice to meet you!
Oh, you look stunning. You look so beautiful.
Don't say anything else until the photo's shot.
No, you look so beautiful.
You guys look ready, you look prepared. Oh you guys look great, yeah.
I mean look at all these options you guys are bringing us.
You have no idea. We're like chickens with our heads cut off.
No, this is good.
Were you guys able to park inside?
No, we have no idea.
So we just went and parked by that construction site.
I thought that was a good idea. (laughing) That's actually a really good idea, I'm not gonna lie, I thought the same thing. I was like I guess we could just play the fool. But we were able to score parking, so that worked. Oh you guys, I'm so excited. Congrats on everything.
I've been watching things online, just how things are unfolding, my gosh. And the planning process, has it been just--
You know what's weird, it's been crazy but in a different way. Like I feel like wedding people it's crazy because they're wedding planning. With us it's crazy because it's like we're doing this fun stuff and we're doing that fun stuff.
Aww, that's great! Oh my God guys, so many people would love that experience.
Actually, I'm gonna carry a lot of your stuff.
Are you sure?
I'm positive. All that stuff, yeah yeah.
Please. We want you guys to relax as much as possible. On the wedding day JD shoots with me, but on engagement sessions he comes along just to kind of get to know you guys and carry stuff.
You guys are so cute. Your relationship reminds me of ours, because it's just like genuine in love, genuinely like them above all.
We'll know if it's truly telling if you feel like you're marrying up to the guy that you're with, then it mirrors. I totally feel like I married up, I really did.
Oh I thought you were saying, yeah I totally married up. I thought she was gonna bring it back to me.
Well you guys I'm so excited, it's gonna be great.
I hope this setting is good.
Yes, I mean it's-- Well here's the thing. I mean you guys are beautiful and in love and we could pretty much shoot anywhere and they're gonna be great photos. Right now we just kind of want to use this as an opportunity to get to know you guys, to hang out, awesome. And you know just build like a cool relationship before the wedding so that the time the wedding comes around, you guys aren't like that awkward meeting strangers. So this is cool, this is cool, okay. Let's head out.
I'm gonna carry you guys' bags too. I'm positive. This is why I'm here.
We wouldn't have brought two bags!
Oh please, you should've brought more. This is my workout for the day.
I know, I know! So as you just saw, that was our initial meeting. We wanted to make sure that we kept it warm, that we kept it intimate. And it was slightly informative, and it was slightly informative in that I was just repeating the things that I had prepared for them via email. Now what I wanted us to do was just to reiterate everything that I had told them in the four or five previous emails that we had shared before the shoot. So to ensure that we're bringing everybody who's in the chatroom and watching online involved in this conversation, I'm gonna turn and get a question from the chatroom. And JD I think he's in the chatroom, both our producers are in the chatroom, so they're reading everything.
Yeah no Celeste actually brought this question to me from the chatroom, and it's from Star Mercer. She asked do you ever tear up when photographing a wedding? I know I do. Yeah, she does, I do too sometimes.
Absolutely. I think that the minute you stop tearing up when you shoot what you're doing, it could possibly mean that maybe you're not as fully present as you should be. I think it's important for you to have a personal capacity as well a professional capacity. There are times where there's really touching moments during a speech that I get teared up, or when a couple shares their vows. It's still such a special thing, so yes I absolutely tear up. I mean I tear up during a few Creative Live courses, so there you go. I'm a natural crier. Let's move on to another question that we have brought in for this course. Anne Marie Gillery asks, "Why do you use your ghetto fabulous lens hood, your hand, instead of having one on your lens at all times?" I got asked this question so often, and the answer is, it's simply ease of use. Having a lens hood makes my lens longer as well wider, and it's very difficult-- I change my lenses rather quickly and a lot of the time. So if I'm taking in a lens hood and putting it back in and taking it out and-- It just becomes too complicated, and I really like the ease of movement. And quite honestly it's a personal preference. There's not a right way or a wrong way. I have just found that I can travel with less gear, make my camera less intrusive, by simply holding up my hand. And yes I refer to it as my ghetto fabulous lens hood, because it didn't cost a dang thing, and I can cut out on the haze that I don't really like. I'm not a really big fan of. We're going to get into the next question, which I thought was a little bit funny, and I debated even answering it, but I'm gonna get into it right now, because I got it a lot. "Girl, how do you stay looking so fresh on a wedding day?" Let me tell you. It was so hot in Sonoma. It was I think 85 degrees, but it was 85 degrees with humidity. And there was no shade. And so people were asking, well how did it not look like you were sweating? And the answer was I have no idea, because I was dripping. But what I can say is that before the Knot Dream Wedding and before any wedding, I really do put on quite a bit of makeup. Because I feel like not only from a personal perspective, I think from a brand perspective, when I show up as is the vision of my brand, I want to make sure that I'm still looking as put together as possible. Now this is a total girl answer and some of the guys are gonna be like, wah wah. I'll get through with it real quick. Here are a few tips that I want to share that I have shared in the past on my blog. What I want to do is I want to make sure that I put a primer on my face so that the primer's the thing that actually soaks up all the sweat. So I put a primer on, and the primer that I use is from Makeup Forever and it's called All Mat, and I put it on before I put my foundation on. So I put the primer, foundation, and then I pad it down with some powder. Once I do that I will use the Mack Prep and Prime. It's a little tiny pot that I use and I simply put it over my eyelid and it actually absorbs any sort of oil. So put it over my eyelid and slightly under so it keeps my eyeliner and mascara, everything just nice intact, and once I'm done with all of my makeup, I will use the Mack Fix Plus Spray. Now I just spray it on my face and it becomes a sealant. Does it sound like I'm embalming myself? Absolutely. But the trick of the trade is to actually look presentable, and that's only by putting in a little bit of effort before and in advance. So now all done with all sort of girly style questions. We're gonna get into a question from-- All of these questions have been sourced from the ever-amazing Facebook group. There is a 30 Day Complete Wedding Photographer Facebook group, and the people that are in it are amazing. I turn to them to say hey guys, can I get some feedback, what's going on? So the questions that are being sourced directly have been from the Facebook group. Definitely check it out, they're a group of phenomenal people. Now once I answer this next question, I'm gonna turn it over to again, either Celeste or JD for the question. So this is from Kelly Pamaroy. "About how many images on average "do you actually give a couple in their gallery? "I know you shoot about 100 images in hour, "but what do they actually receive edited final?" I chose this question from Kelly because I thought it was such a great question that I needed to clarify. Now I tell my clients that I shoot 100 images an hour, and that's what they should expect. So if a client hires us for an eight hour wedding, which is very average for us, they will receive around 800 images. However what JD and I are shooting is closer to 175 to 200 images an hour. So I will shoot somewhere in the ballpark of 1,500 images after a wedding, 1,600 images after a wedding, and then we bring that number down. Because our job as a photographer is yes to shoot photos, but it's also to be a curator of our images. It's going to be very important for us not to just spray all the photos and then turn them over to the client. Our goal is to shoot effectively, get the shots that we need, curate them down, and then deliver a series of images that are not going to be overwhelming for our client to sort of sift through an entire gallery. So thank you Kelly for that question. I'm gonna turn it over to JD, and JD is gonna ask a question real quick.
Okay, this question again comes from the chatroom from Autumn He-re-yay. She says, "Have you ever been called bossy, "and if so, (Jasmine snickers) "how would you respond? "Not saying you come off this way, "but you work with initiative and very quickly. "I second shot my first wedding a few weeks ago, "and one of the groomsmen told the lead photographer "that she and including me as well "was bossy and needed to tone it down a bit. "I was mortified." (groans)
I feel so bad for that question! Okay, so the answer is, have I ever been told that I was bossy? Like more times than I would like to count. But never from a client. My family thinks I'm bossy, my husband thinks I'm bossy, my dog thinks I'm bossy. But when it comes to clients I think that it's really important for me to understand that my personality has to be honed in because it's a reflection of my brand as well as it being a reflection of the client's experience. So as you saw if you were able to tune in as I shot for the Knot Dream Wedding is yes I was in control. Yes I was articulate. Yes I raised my voice when I needed to, but I always kept it going and as lively as I possibly could. I did that by laughing, I did that by smiling, and I did that expressing appreciation. Oh thank you so much for this, thank you so much for this. Oh that's so nice of you, I appreciate this. Any time that you can cover a sword with honey it's gonna be easier to swallow. So I don't know if that was the best analogy, it just came to me. Whether or not it worked or not, I'm not sure. I'm gonna get into another question so I'm gonna give the producers some time to source questions from the group chat, so let us know how that's going. Our next question comes from Erica Shie-di. "It looks like you don't use lens caps "during the day in your bag "and I was just wondering if you do that to make it faster. "Using them is definitely a hassle "but I'm too scared things will get scratched or something." This is a very similar question into why I don't use lens hoods. Now I don't use lens hoods and I don't use lens caps. Now I understand that I get a lot of heat as to why I don't use them, it's a personal preference and in the course of 10 years I have never, not once, had to replace a lens because it was scratched, or wasn't treated right. When we travel, when I have the lenses in storage, when I keep them in my studio, they have the caps on them, of course. But on a wedding day, because I move so quickly, they're coming in and out of my bag that I am never concerned that they are going to get scratched. I'm never concerned that they're going to get dirty, because the bag that I have has a flap over it. So in that transition between the bag and the camera, it's never been an issue. I'm gonna get into another question from Ashley Rose Fouts. She asks, "Will you be posting the entire gallery "from the Knot wedding for us to look at at Pixieset?" On Pixieset. And the answer is yes, of course, I will absolutely be posting a gallery of all of the images so that you can see because what I definitely wanted to clarify that I did not do at the wedding, is all of the images for all of the shoots I will produce as part of this boot camp, what you guys are seeing are images straight out of camera. There is no retouching, there no shushing, there is no making it pretty. So is this disconcerting to me as a creative, as an artist, as a photographer? Yes, it makes me wildly uncomfortable that people are seeing everything from the camera without it being retouched. However I understand that there's going to be a sense of greater good. That people can look at those images and think, whoa girl you have some work to do, and I will respond and say, "Yes I absolutely do, "but the end product is something "that I stand by and that I am proud of." So I would love people to see the gallery from the wedding. You can definitely check that out if you decide to download the course. The engagement session, the wedding, and all of our fix shoots, How to Pose a Curvy Bride, How to Work in Harsh Light, How to Pose a Tall and Short Couple. All of the shoots that we've produced for this boot camp you will be able to see galleries from it, so definitely if you want to see galleries, definitely check out the option for download. Celeste or JD, do we have another other questions?
We do, very lively chatroom Jasmine.
Oh good, good! I have to say, it's making me feel a little disconcerted like standing up here and it's so silent, and I'm like, hello, hello? Is anybody out there?
This is my first time chat hosting, so I was hanging out in the lounge like a dummy. And I'm like, oh, questions are over here in this one. So I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I got there and there's lots of questions there. (laughs) My bad guys. So a question from Missie Rich. One is do you see same day edits becoming more popular? How did you handle the 3:30 deadlines from edited images you had during the Knot wedding? Maybe a step-by-step process?
That's great, that's great. And unfortunately I don't think it's gonna be the answer that most people want to hear. I'm not afraid by same day edits in that I produce a same day slideshow at 99% of my weddings. And the way that I am able to do that is while guests are eating during dinner, I will be sitting just outside of the room or a room next door and I go through my cards rather quickly and I will produce a same day wedding slideshow. Now the same day wedding slideshow are images that have not been retouched. I'm okay sharing my photos at least on a wedding day at the venue on my computer unretouched. I believe that we should be shooting images as perfect as possible out of the can, and to be honest when it is on a slideshow, it's on a such quick flip that each image is being shown for 2.5 seconds. So that's a really short amount of time for somebody to look at it. Now image, put yourself in the mind of a same day edit viewer, right? They've been probably sitting in the sun or sitting in a church, they drank a little too much during cocktail hour. I have a running joke that never gets old to me, is like the more you drink the better my photos look. So I put out a slideshow after cocktail hour, after the guests have eaten, after course two. Then it's ready and as I usually put the slideshow in the line by the bar, because people going to the bar during dinner are the drinkers, and those are the people who are the most vocal, and if you're most vocal you're going to say, those are great photos, you've got to come see these photos! It really definitely works. So same day edits don't intimidate me. The Knot Dream Wedding same day edit did intimidate me, because they wanted all retouched images for their press deadline at 3:30. The wedding did not end until four o'clock, but as we know as wedding photographers, there is an end time, but that doesn't mean that that's the time that all the guests leave. So I knew theoretically that we were going to end at four but guests would not be departing until around 4:15, 4:20. And I thought to myself, how can I make this all work? Well what I was doing was I was shooting on cards and my first and second shooter, JD was my second shooter, Tammy was our third shooter. However at 2 p.m. I asked Tammy to sit down in another room and go through all of our cards and she was culling the images for me, so that when I walked back into the room, I quickly said, this image, this image, this image. And then we were together able to edit the images and get them to them at the 3:30 deadline without compromising my job as a photographer, to shoot the things I needed to during the wedding reception and not compromising the deadline for the knot. That was a fantastic question, thank you so much. I'm going to answer one of the keynote, and then I will toss it back to Celeste if that's okay. Our next question is coming from Mary McClellen Tarin. "When you have to travel for a wedding, "do you charge travel expenses? "If so do you build it into the cost of the "wedding slash session or charge separately?" Mary that's a great question. I got asked that quite a bit in the group as well. When it comes to shooting a destination wedding, it's going to be important for us to make sure that all of our cost in addition to the cost of the collection are covered. So a client will hire us and then they commission us for the collection. And then about if it's a domestic wedding, they're getting married in the US. 90 days before the wedding I will email the client, and I will say, you know it's time for us to get our flights. Here are a few flight options, this would work better for our schedule and here are the prices. Am I okay to purchase these and I will invoice you for them? So I'm letting her know of her options, I have cross referenced price to make sure that she's okay with it, and every single time my client says thank you so much for doing that work, yes please get these tickets. We're good to go. And once she approves of those tickets, then I say, wonderful, so we'll also secure a hotel, and it's whatever hotel she recommends her out of town guests to stay is the same hotel that we stay in. So I don't want to stay at a really fancy hotel, but I also don't want to stay at the Motel 6. Where she suggests her guests is also like a safe place for us. Not safe as in safety, it's safe in that if that's what she's recommending to her guests, that's also a price she would be willing to absorb to have us there as her wedding photographer. So once we book the flight, then we book the hotel, and we also book the rental car. At a later point in time we will invoice her for the flight, the rental car, the cost of the hotel, and any associated travels fees according to get us to the destination. So the client will see everything, and when it comes to paying the final payment, that is when all of that transaction is handled. Thanks Mary. We're gonna turn into questions from Celeste and JD.
I thought I'd move over here and we'd be co-hosts. Look at us! (laughing)
Oh my friends, my sweet friends. I love it, I love it.
We're like those characters from the Muppets.
I know, I know!
We've got a question from Kat Donovan in the chatroom saying, how do you calmly educate clients who hand you a shot list of 90 minutes of family and group shots when reality you maybe only have 30 to 45 minutes?
That's great. And I want to take a second just to highlight Kat Donovan, because Kat Donovan is one of like the leaders and the forerunners in the Facebook group. She's fantastic at really giving feedback, orchestrating conversations. And I believe it comes from like a real place. A place that we all collectively can make our industry stronger and better together. So Kat, I see you boo, thank you. Now, I'm gonna take a step back. If somebody is handing you a shot list on a wedding day, I'm going to cautiously say to you that that conversation should have happened at least at minimum 30 to 45 days in advance. I tell my clients six weeks before their wedding that I need all shot lists four weeks before their wedding. If I do not get their shot list one month before their wedding, I can not be eligible to work within a timeframe if say the day before I'm getting the shot list and I realize there's not enough time. So what we're trying to do is we're trying to exceed expectations by managing expectations. She cannot hand me a list and then me tell her, sure I can get this all done. If I was in your situation, because now the milk has been spilled, so now what are we gonna do about it? If I was handed a shot list the day of the wedding, I would review the shot list and then I would pull the bride and somebody else, not just me and the bride, I need a witness to the conversation. So maybe her maid of honor, maybe her mom, maybe the wedding coordinator. Whoever I can just have to keep us both accountable. I would say, I just got this timeline today, or I just got this timeline yesterday. I don't think that we can get all of these photos, so what I want you to do is I want you to prioritize the photos. We have 30 minutes for photos. Prioritize the photos that you want, and then any extra time we might have will be able to get into the extras. Now all the photos that we don't get into in this 30 minutes we will follow you during the wedding reception and we will ensure that we get all of these group shots so that you have them but maybe just not right now, because this is not the time or the latitude that we have to service you in the way that you need. That's the question. That's the answer, not the question, that's the answer. Okay, let's see. Do we have any other question from the group?
We do, we have lots of questions coming in. Actually Jasmine I'm starting to like this job, so you better watch out, 'cause I might stop working for you.
I don't need to watch out, Kenna Closterman needs to watch out! You're going after Kenna's job! (laughs)
Okay, we have a question from Lindsey Wol-pho-to. And she says, "Question about J STAR camera beep."
Oh I got this a lot. "Is there a reason why you have it on, "even during the ceremony? "Do you not feel like it draws attention "to you or is a distraction?"
Yes, absolutely. Well one, thanks for the question, it was a great question, and I'm glad I have the room to clarify. I left the beep on for this course., and I'm leaving this beep on for the course because I want people to know how often I'm focusing. So it was for educational purposes. But by and large we do not have the beeps on. What I wanted to do was make sure the beep was on so people who are watching, it'd turn into an educational adventure as opposed to me like in stealth mode and people weren't really understanding when I was focusing, when I was shooting, and those two different differentials. So thanks for the question. We're gonna get into one from the Facebook group, and then we're gonna toss it back to Celeste and JD. Oh this is asked by Jen Vasquez. "I don't see a strap on your camera. "Why is that?" Well Jen I have been asked this quite often, and it boils down to three things. And this is so important to me that I actually wrote notes about it. The first is that the strap gets in my way, if I'm gonna be honest. I do know there are photographers who have a strap and they wear the strap around their neck, but more often than not I see photographers with a camera and they have their strap dangling. Now I am quite honestly one of the clumsiest people I have ever encountered. If I dropped my camera, then the length of the strap would be hitting the floor, and I can guarantee that I would step into the strap and I would fall. I know this, I absolutely know this. So because I don't want that to happen, and because I run the risk of using a camera with a strap that's dangling so that even if I were to drop the camera I wouldn't be able to get it from the strap anyway, I consider it a complete waste. Secondly, vanity, it's vanity. Because I prefer that my camera just looks like my camera, and not a strap to distract. Now I know that there are really beautiful like leather and bedazzled straps. It's just not my cup of tea. I prefer it for specifically the third reason, which is professionalism and trust. When I first got my very first camera, like when I was in college, it was like a film camera and I had a strap on it. I just wanted to take such good care of it, and I loved it. When I would go to like Disneyland, I would see people with straps on their cameras, and when I would go to sporting events I would see people with straps on their cameras. When I went to tourist things, straps on their cameras. And then when I started getting into more of like the wedding world, I started noticing and seeing photographers that I was inspired by, editorial photographers, major landscape photographers, or people that I wanted to do more of like, lifestyle, commercial, editorial, I never saw straps on their cameras. And I thought to myself, in a very naive way I said, if that's the person I aspire to become, I must first start taking things and shooting confidently. That also comes into a form of professionalism. I want to have my camera with me all day. I never want it to rest. I want to know the focal length that I'm working with, I want to know my settings that I'm working with. It's easy to have a camera and then just let it rest and then pick it up and then realize you're at 400 ISO when you really need to be at 1,600 ISO. The fact that I'm with my camera, I'm constantly changing the nozzles and the buttons and it makes me a lot more confident as I approach the wedding day. So let's get into another question from-- Am I just talking too fast, too much? What is going on? This room is empty, so I just feel like I'm dying up here!
It's great, the chatroom is full of people. I will say we weren't planning on doing this, what we're doing right now.
Thanks guys. Thanks for rallying with me, it makes me feel less alone. I'm not gonna lie, I'm not gonna lie.
There you go, you've got an audience of two.
Thanks guys, thanks guys.
So I apologize if the lighting or the background-- We are literally winging this right now. And we got a text from Kenna saying that she has her eye on us. I'm pretty comfortable here, aren't you?
You know, I think Kenna does a better job, so Kenna don't worry, you're safe. (Jasmine laughing)
I don't know, I think-- I don't know.
You'd better watch out for Celeste.
All right we've got a question from Laura Terrel asking, "How do you shoot the reception details "if the guests arrive before you? "Most weddings I photograph "the guests are allowed in the reception area "while they wait on the bride and groom to finish pictures."
That's a great question, that's a great question. So the situation really depends entirely on the relationship that you have built with the bride and groom in advance. So even the weddings that I shoot today, the number one question that I ask, just to make sure that the client is accountable as well as myself is that I ask her to please make sure that the doors to the reception are not open. It's really important to let the client know that you need the room clean to get those shots. Now there have been weddings that I've walked in and all the guests have been seated. And when that happens what I want to do is I want to first find a table that's empty and then hopefully in the best light, because I might not be able to shoot-- Oh, let's bring this into a real situation. At the Knot Dream Wedding, I was not able to get a room shot or like the reception shot without having hundreds of people in it. The coordinator and all the guests started going to the tables and I realized I had not got that shot yet, so I turned to the coordinator, I said, "Is it too late to ask people to move? "I really need a clean shot." And she said, "I'm so sorry, it's just too late." So in light of that what I decided to do was find tables that didn't have like purses or coats on it. I tried finding it and putting it in good light. And then I shot a lot of the small details. So instead of fighting for a shot that had a clean shot from all the tables, what I decided to do was get clean shots of small details and once all the guests descended upon the location, I took a few steps, big big big steps back, and I stood on a ledge and I got an overview of the reception site with everybody in it. So while it wasn't a clean overview shot, it was still an overview shot that I feel like I can deliver to my clients. And I hope that helps. Sometimes when you're given a situation where people are in there you have to do the best you can given what you've been given, but at the same time giving yourself a front door in advance so that if the client says, "Oh well you didn't an overview shot of all the tables." You can say, "I had asked you to have your guests not go in." Or I asked the banquet captain, I tried to get there as best I could. But because everybody had gone in, I did the best with what I could, and so know everybody's on the same page. I'm gonna get into another question from the Facebook group. And this is from Liz Pento. "How do you use each lens? "I find myself changing them every five minutes "and I think that I'm wasting time "that I could use on photos!" I think that's a great question, and a question that I get quite often in regards to me only using one camera body. So I use one camera body and I swap out my lenses. But I don't feel like I'm losing too much time like on a wedding day or on a shoot. Because I do it rather quickly. I'm sure for those of you who have tuned in for the Knot Dream Wedding, you saw how quickly I was changing out my lenses and how effortlessly it happened. I don't think that my clients thought that, why am I taking so long or what am I doing? It was just part of what I did. And usually what I'll do is when I'm talking to a client or as you saw as I was posing the group photos, what I was doing was saying, hey everybody, guys, great, get in here, get in here, and I would turn my back to them and I would quickly change my lens so that when I turned around it was just simply part of the motion of what I was doing. I'm gonna show a quick video about how quickly I change my lenses, and you guys can see that right about here. I actually posted that video on YouTube flippantly. People had asked, hey how do you change your lenses? And I had video footage and I put it together, I put it up on YouTube. And that video has been seen quite a lot, and there are some pretty scathing comments in the comment section, talking about how unprofessional or how novice it was, and how you can get your sensor dirty. I don't think that what they said was necessarily wrong, I just happen to think that people become so preoccupied with things that don't truly matter. I've been doing this for 10 years and I haven't had spots on my sensors that could not be removed. I get my gear cleaned and treated four times a year. Having them treated four times a year never presents an issue, and I do believe that you can create a flow around swapping your lenses quickly and efficiently and completely own what that entire experience looks like. So we're going to get into a couple questions, we're gonna go into maybe 10 more questions. Excuse me, 10 more minutes of questions. So JD, Celeste.
Great, okay. This is also from the chat room, this one from Molly Sanchez. And she asks, "Is the Knot Dream Wedding "the most stressful wedding that "you've had to handle so far?"
Yes. I think it was the most stressful, but we have had other stressful weddings. Like that's just the truth of the matter. What we do, there are different pieces of stress. I remember a wedding that we had shot in New Port beach, and it was just for a very high profile client. And they had a wedding at a very beautiful luxurious resort and they really wanted these open beautiful views of the ocean and they had paid for those views and very unlike California, it was a torrential downpour. And the coordinator at the venue said, "Oh we're gonna move this inside." And the bride was like, "No, no no, we're having it outside." So it was pouring rain. Guests were walking to their seats in literally puddles that were four or five inches deep. The bride walked down sloshing down the grass so she can get her ocean views. That was an extraordinarily stressful wedding. There are other weddings where we come to find out the wedding ceremony will literally be three minutes, including the processional, the recessional, the exchanging of vows. And so that in and of itself is stressful. So that's just to say that yes the wedding was stressful, but it was stressful in a digested way in that I knew I had a lot of responsibility for so many different people and at the same time I needed to effectively articulate what I was doing, because I had the Creative Live team with me. So I think of those two levels of stress, but guess what, a week later, we're here, we're alive, we're happy, we're healthy, and I think that we're making the industry better as a result. I'm gonna get into another question here, and then we're gonna toss it back to JD and Celeste. Chris Boland asked, "I'd love to know where you get most of your bookings from. "Do you have a percentage of referrals? "Do you ask people where they found you? "I'd love to know that, thank you." So Chris asks a great question, and I think it's very important to understand where your leads are coming from, but most of the time you won't know where your leads are coming from unless you ask. So I have a series of email templates that I sell on JasmineStore.com. If you go to the email templates number one, you will see the exact email that I send to my client, and that is asking for the bride's name, the groom's name, the wedding date, the wedding location. All these things to get this information, and I also ask at the end, who can I thank for this referral? Because I don't want to say how did you find me, it's who can I thank for this referral? And then I can tell where the source of that originated. Now I keep track of every inquiry I receive, and then I also keep track of the referral source. So if for instance I happen to book-- Oh, this is perfect. Okay so you guys came on the journey with me as I met with Cory and Catherine during our client consultation when they met me at my studio in Orange County. Now I had asked Catherine how did you find me? And she had mentioned her sister had recommended her. And through a series of small connections I realized oh her sister kind of really loves photography, had been following me for a while. So when Catherine got engaged her sister said, you should really hire Jasmine. Well that brought us together. Once the cameras closed I said, "Catherine, do you think you can "send me your sister's address? "I'd like to send her something." And so Catherine had sent me her sister's address, and I sent her a dozen cookies from this amazing bakery in Las Angeles. And they are Delucious Cookies, like D-E-duh-licious Cookies in LA. So I sent her a dozen of those cookies with a thank you note just saying thank you so much for sending Catherine and Cory my way. I do want to know the origins of those referrals, specifically if they're finding me through Facebook. By and large a lot of my clients are finding me through Facebook. But not just happenstance. So they will see that a friend of a friend had been tagged in one of my wedding photos, and that is mostly how it's working. It's not just self originated and pushing, it's really just using your photos as a way to tag and get into other people's feeds. That's the strongest. So yes I ask and yes I do know where they come from. Thanks, let's go to questions from Celeste and JD.
I could get used to this, it's good.
The couch live! (laughs)
I don't know about that. Sea King asks, "At what points are you switching your cards in your camera? "How many cards will you use in a day?"
Great, that's a fantastic question, thank you guys so much. So I shoot-- I'm risk adverse. Like I like to hedge my hedged bets. So for a while, and I know it sounds so ridiculous when I think about it. I was shooting on four gig cards, and the more I upgraded my camera, the minute I got the Cannon 5D Mark the file sizes were so large that I realized it just wasn't smart for me swapping out my gig cards as often. Then I upgraded to the eight gig, and now what I'm currently shooting at is 16 cards, but I shoot large raw so I'm getting about 244 images on a 16 gig card and it feels pretty darn safe with that. And the reason why I feel safe with that is because I am shooting with a CF card and I'm also shooting with the ever-amazing backup SD card in my camera. And in a previous lesson I spoke about how and why I shoot with those cards and so you can definitely watch how that works, and that was in the gear and lenses lesson that had aired last week. But if you download the course you'll be able to see all that information and the reasonings why I do that. I'm gonna get into one question from the group, then we'll go into one last question from Celeste, and then I'll end it. So one two and three, because I'm organized, I'm efficient, Celeste you take the mic, don't try to turn it away, I see that back there. Okay. Okay. So McKenna Olsen asks, "I'm just curious. "What are some goals or improvements "you want to make for your business "at this point in your career?" I debated actually putting this question into the queue, but I felt like these are the things that I ask other people, so I myself must be able to be confident and comfortable answering the question. And I thought about a lot this morning, and the things that I think I want to move into as I move into the next year of bookkeeping and planning out my life is the thing that I want to be the most confident is in saying no. I think as entrepreneurs, as creatives, as business people, we run the tendency to doubt whether or not we're gonna make money next year, because what we do and the nature of our business is to get paid on a cyclical basis. I don't wake up and just go to work and get a paycheck. I have to hustle for each wedding. And sometimes I think especially earlier in my career, but I am tempted still honestly today to take weddings that may or may not be the best fit for me. So going into the next booking season the thing I want to hold fast to is if it is not the right wedding that I have to trust that I can pass them on to a photographer who I think is a fantastic fit for them, and then trust that the perfect bride will come my way. 'Cause I've said this a few times in this course and I'm gonna say it again, it is better to have two brides who are wildly happy and excited to share your name than to book 20 brides who simply feel like you're just doing a job. The goal is to get other people sharing about you so that they become your evangelist, not simply people who are just paying you to do something that you do. That's going to be one of my goals moving into the next season. We'll go to Celeste, and then I'll close it up with the last question.
All right we've got a question in the chat room from we couldn't decide if it was A-L-Y-S or Alice. So whoever you are, thank you for this. "Do you request a seat at the reception, "and do you eat the same dinner "that the guests eat at the reception?"
Fancy living, fancy living. Um, no, I do not request a seat at the reception. In fact there have been plenty of times that we have been given a seat at the reception and it makes me so uncomfortable. Because I feel that we as vendors and as photographers, whoever we're sitting with at the table, it makes them uncomfortable. It's like they're sitting with like the help. And so we have to make that awkward small talk and then you know guests are drinking, and we don't drink at weddings. But like it could be easily perceived as if we were drinking. So people would assume like, oh those photos are gonna be so blurry because those photographers be getting drunk. I just don't like to run the risk of any of that, so we keep it super clean. I prefer to take my meal outside of the room so that I can quickly eat as well as work on the slideshow. Those things are important to me. I do request in my contract to have a hot meal, and in advance because I am gluten free vegetarian. I have to make accommodations for that. If the hotel or the venue or the coordinator cannot make those accommodations, I will bring my own snacks to help us get through the day. So that's the answer to it. If you want to sit in the reception, feel free to ask for it. But I have to just understand that a lot of my clients are paying anywhere from $100 to $200 a plate for their meal. Whether or not I'm going to make that request for myself and my second shooter to be eating along with those guests isn't important. As long as we are served a warm meal, even if it's simple, I'm gonna be okay and very thankful for that. So I'm gonna get into our last question for this Q and A. This is from Sue Ann Simon. She asks, "What are three things you wish you knew "when you were starting your photography business? "What advice would you give someone "just starting their business?" This is a fantastic question, and for those who are watching who are in that first or second year push, the first thing that I want to say is one, take time to invest in your business. I want you to rent gear until you can afford it. Buy the best gear, but until you can afford the best gear, rent it and make wise decisions about what you're doing with your money. It is a risk to start your business. Now you don't want to start so deep underneath the ground that it's gonna take you a while to claw back up. For the first almost two years I was renting the gear I needed according to when I needed it. I had bought one camera and one lens and then every wedding that I booked, every gig I booked I put a portion aside and a portion aside and a portion aside, and then I saved up to buy my second lens, and then the more I hassled the more I hassled. Then I saved up to buy my third lens. But buying the right gear really does make a big difference. Secondly, I wish that I had taken bigger risks. So because I wish I had taken bigger risks, I encourage other people, when you think you can only jump four feet, take the risk and jump five and understand that the net will appear. Understand that you have larger wings than you know you are capable of. And that when you trust those wings you're gonna fly towards the destination of your dreams. And lastly the thing I wish I had adhered to most in the beginning, which is what I want to encourage new photographers, is ignore the naysayers. Ignore the people who are in your life who don't believe your capacity of success. If you believe it, if you are your number one supporter, it is absolutely possible, it is feasible the minute you set your intention, the minute you set your goals, the minute you walk towards your dreams, and once you get there, it is not a moment of sitting back and relaxing. I made it, I'm now at my dream. No, it's a cycle. The minute you get to a place where you're happy and you're thinking you've got those goals and dreams you're gonna start all over again. And guess what, there will be a new set of naysayers, people saying you can't do it or you shouldn't. What I want you to do is ignore them. I want you to trust your gut and I want you to run towards your dreams and never look back. Thank you so much for tuning in to this Q and A session. I am so excited to have you as part of this journey and toast to all of your hard work this week. Thanks guys!