Photographer: Events, Weddings, Portraits – Austin, Texas

Wedding Photography

Are Your Wedding Photos Saved or Archived?

As a person who just got married or as a bride who will soon be married, you may not be thinking about what will happen to the photos that are captured on your wedding day. But perhaps you should. Do you know if your wedding photographs/images will be archived or saved by your photographer? Do you save your wedding photos?

Ok, I know that this isn’t the sexiest, most fun topic to think about. I’m sure it would be fun to talk about Lindsey Lohan or Charlie Sheen, but perhaps this topic is worth considering.

Today, on my way downtown to meet a couple for a photo session I was listening to NPR on my car radio.  The story being discussed was that of silent movies from the early 1900s, when Hollywood was new and the idea of a film for entertainment purposes was in it’s infancy. The discussion that was ongoing was that many of the silent films from the early 1900s were missing or lost and some were being recovered from Russia, of all places, to be placed in the Library of Congress vaults. The disturbing statistic that stuck in my mind was that somewhere around 80% of all the silent movies of that era were considered missing or lost. 80%!! That means that only 1 in 5 movies made during that time is still around, approximately 80-100 years later. And what I’m talking about here is a little different because what I’m discussing is digital images captured on a SLR camera. But the topics are certainly related. Those movies that were filmed and lost surely weren’t intended to be lost or go missing, and neither are peoples wedding photographs

In the past when a wedding photographer took photos of your wedding with his/her film camera, they would have the film developed and either retain the negatives or hand them over to the bride and groom. Since most photographers shoot digitally these days, they can save your wedding or event images in a number of ways. And you have the power to save the images too, if you choose. Sometimes it’s just a matter of asking your photographer.

I think what compelled me to blog on the subject of photo archiving was a couple of things. One thing to remember is that your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and you will definitely want to have some lasting momentos to remember it by, in particular I’m thinking of photos. The second thing that concerns me is that these days if you are creating a budget, do-it-yourself wedding from scratch and you’re on a limited budget, you can visit Craig’s List or other sites online and connect with photography novices who make big promises, but may or may not actually be able to deliver. What I’m saying is that the guy who you picked to photograph your wedding for $225 from Craig’s List, who has a great portfolio of images from his trip to Machu Pichu, Peru and the Dominican Republic is likely not archiving your photos for you. This means that the burden is on you to keep the images safe.

CDs are an obvious and easy option for archiving images

What to consider when archiving important images.

Many times photographers deliver images to their clients in a more refined, manageable format. For example, after your wedding the photographer may provide you with selected images which have been edited to his/her personal standards, which have been reduced in size (and possibly quality). They may look fine when you post them to Facebook, but what happens when you decide to make large prints? You may discover that this is not an option.

I recommend that if you want to archive your images, ideally you will want to start by using the original images. That is to say, if you are archiving an edited version of the original, then you are saving a degraded, reduced file. Saving the original image, whether it be in RAW format or a JPG file, will allow you to have maximum leverage when you decide to access it for use in the future, which equates to more printing options and better image quality (in theory).

Options for archiving are abundant, but I’m going to discuss a few that are familiar to me and that have worked for me. The first and most obvious way to archive is to save images to a compact disk (CD) or digital video disk (DVD). Both options are relatively inexpensive and the only noticeable difference between the two is amount of storage space available; DVDs tend to have significantly more space available for image storage than do CDs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that among CDs and DVDs, you have the option to upgrade to a truly archival CD or DVD. However, however truly archival the CD/DVD may be is unclear. I purchased some a few years ago, but it’s still too early to tell if they will outlast regular CDs/DVDs in longevity. Based upon my research, regular (non-archival) CDs/DVDs are rated up to 100 years or more; however, there are reports of disk failure in much shorter times (less than 10 years), so who really can say?! I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t have a straight answer regarding how long a CD or DVD might last. For now I suppose I’ll just have to trust in Verbatim (the brand I frequently use).

When I shoot a wedding, I return home and immediately dump the images from the camera’s compact flash card onto my computer hard drive. As a secondary backup system, I subsequently burn the original images to DVD disks. I also save a copy of the originals onto my external hard drive as a tertiary backup. External hard drives are fairly cost effective if you have gigs and gigs of images to store. For PC users, last time I checked, you can purchase a 1+ terabyte external hard drive for around $100. That’s 1,000 gigabytes of storage (a whole lotta photos – even in RAW format!). One consideration with external hardrives: treat them gingerly. Several years ago I bumped my old external hard drive and it never worked again, so keep in mind that they may have sensitive parts inside. For my $130 external hard drive, I was quoted my the manufacturer a price up to $2,500 to recover my lost data. I just about fell off of my chair when I heard the price. So buyer be ware!

One other option for storage as a go between are flash drives, also called stick drives. These are tiny, pocket sized storage devices that are great for storage of images, sharing of images and more while you are on the go. For example, if you are shooting on location and want to dump images from your notebook on to the USB flash drive,  it can be easy and quick. These can also act as backups considering that these days flash drives can store up to 256 gigabytes of data (Amazon: $700 – not all that cost effective, by the way), which is no joke considering how small they are.

One relatively new method of storage is to save your images onto a storage host website. Many websites offer this as an added option to having an account with them (think smugmug, wordpress, picasa, etc.), but often you are limited in storage size. However, some websites are dedicated solely to image/data storage and guarantee the safety of your data. These sites are of course not free, but can be a great and convenient option for image storage.

So my whole point of this blog was to explain many of the options that are available for backup storage for important events, or even those that are just dear to your heart. I personally sleep a little better at night knowing that I have multiple copies of images of my family stored away safely. And most of my wedding and portrait clients probably have no idea of the trouble I go to so that their images are safe, but that’s ok. So the question that begs to be asked when meeting with your photograher: will our photos from our special event be archived? Hopefully they’ll have the right answer for you!

External Hard Drive for backing up images to your computers hard drive

Portable flash drives work great for temporary storage

Archive CDs, specifically designed for long term storage


Avery Ranch Wedding

A new, up-and-coming and popular location for brides to get married in North Austin is Avery Ranch. I’ve photographed several weddings at Avery Ranch Golf Club and I’ve never been disappointed by the beauty, convenience and charm that it has to offer brides and grooms.

Located near the major intersections of Highway 183 and 45 Toll Road, Avery Ranch is slowly becoming one of Austin’s premier places to live, work and get married. It is conveniently located between Austin and Cedar Park, centered in the North Austin area,  where much of Austin’s growth is happening at the moment.

Avery Ranch is a master planned community that features a medium sized community of classy homes, restaurants and entertainment nearby and featuring Avery Ranch Golf Club. Despite the luxurious overtones that the area exudes, I’m told by brides that Avery Ranch is quite affordable, as compared to some other known event venues in Austin. It features a large lake, golf greens as far as the eye can see (relatively speaking) and the venue itself, which includes the clubhouse/restaurant and the separate ballroom.

One thing that I loved about Avery Ranch was the beauty it offers an outdoor wedding ceremony. The golf course greens and the lake intersect just behind, and below, the Avery Ranch Clubhouse. Adjacent to the clubhouse and overlooking the lake is a green area shaded by large oak trees which features a concrete patio with stone pillars upholding a wooden trellis, where the wedding ceremony is held, overlooking the glassy lake. It’s a wonderful experience and a great place to have a wedding. Did someone say beautiful sunset location?!

 

Groomsmen relaxing before wedding ceremony

 

From the Avery Ranch Website:

Avery Ranch boasts a beautifully furnished 4,000 square foot banquet facility with up to 200 person capacity and a dramatic lake-front view of the Texas Hill Country. A Full-Service professional catering staff will pamper you with semi-formal to formal dining packages, and we offer dramatic sunset ceremonies complete with a backdrop of Avery Lake.

S-E-R-V-I-C-E is our middle name.  Do you have a special occasion, corporate meeting, club gathering, party or reunion in the coming months? We can help with any banquet or special meeting needs you may have. The Lakeview Room is fully equipped with state of the art audio/visual equipment that’s perfect for corporate meetings, wedding presentations/videos and more.  Our Cordon Bleu Chefs will customize a menu specifically for your event.  We have a complete set of services to make your event a success and have planners to assist you to ensure everything goes smoothly.  Call Bob Brady at (512) 248-2442 ext. 3 for more information.

-         http://www.averyranchgolf.com


Zilker Botanical Garden Wedding

I’ve written about Zilker before but I wanted to post some fresh wedding photos from a wedding a I photographed there a while back. I frequently photograph engagement sessions and some bridal sessions there, but Zilker Botanical is also a wedding destination for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Although the garden has it’s limitations (I believe it’s limited in number of guests and by amount of time allowed for an event), it’s still a great choice for your wedding if it meets the specific needs and requirements that your wedding event demands.

The couple who I photographed for the wedding in the photos chose to have a short, romantic ceremony in the Rose Garden of Zilker Botanical, which is one of the popular areas to host a ceremony. The bride (and everyone else) arrived dressed and ready, strolled the short distance down the hill to the Rose Garden, and completed the ceremony under a trellis decorated with vines and flowers on a sunny afternoon. Bridesmaids were dressed in pink and groomsmen dressed in black/gray with pink ties. After the ceremony everyone stayed for a few formal photos in the garden and then were whisked away to the reception which was held at a private, rural residence.

As I’ve said before, Zilker Botanical Garden has to be one of the most popular places for photography of any kind in Austin. Not only is it a huge repository for plant life centered in Travis County (which is why people are drawn to it) but it’s also one of Austin’s little jewels that’s been around for many years. I’m pretty sure that the creators of Zilker never intended it to be one of the foremost popular venues for photography around Austin, but that’s what it’s become.

ZBG features many different plant species and specific garden areas that are dedicated to a particular theme or cultural plant cultivation, if you will. For example, one of the popular areas of Zilker is the Japanese Garden, which features Koi-filled fish ponds, stone trails leading around bamboo gardens and a structure made of stone and bamboo that only could fit into a Japanese garden . The entire area is shaded by trees and feels like being in another world.

Zilker Botanical Garden also features a beautiful rose garden where weddings frequently occur (where the photos in this blog were captured, by the way). Colorful roses line the concrete paths that wind down the hill from the main entrance of the park. The Rose Garden area is very open, located at the edge of the tree line bordering the Japanese Garden. It also features a red and white gazebo next to fish ponds and a historic brick structure in the shape of a keyhole that has been apparently transplanted from historic downtown Austin.

Other areas featured at ZBG are the Prehistoric Gardens further down the hill from the main office, which feature “old world” plants, pools and even a beautiful, natural-looking water fall. Toward the front of the park is an area that contains historic Central Texas pioneer homes and work areas made of wood.

Ultimately there are many, many different areas of the Garden that offer photography opportunities for weddings, bridal sessions or engagement sessions. After visiting and photographing friends and family there for years I’ve grown to love and appreciate Zilker Botanical Garden for the beautiful part of Austin that it has always been and hopefully will always be!

…………………

Martin Whitton is a passionate wedding and event photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email your questions to him at AustinAmericana@Gmail.com.


Guest Photographers at Weddings

The wedding photographer is tasked with a stressful, difficult job – take great photos of a constantly evolving, mobile event (with no re-takes or do-overs) and do it with grace and confidence. Experienced photographers, as well as most new photographers and photo novices who try shooting weddings and end up quitting understand this pressure. Being a wedding photographer is a job kind of like being a rodeo cowboy; it looks exciting and fun, but behind the scenes the preparation and expectation, as well as the physical and psychological toll required to complete the job can be overwhelming.

So imagine adding one more challenge to the balancing act: other photographers. It seems like a recipe for disaster.

Scenario 1: The Sniper. You’ve photographed the bride and bridal party as they stroll down the aisle toward the altar. You settle into a nice spot where you can quietly capture some intimate photos of the bride and groom exchanging vows. As you focus the lens of your camera on the bride and groom you realize that in the background (behind the bride and groom) one of the guests is moving around trying to get a photo of the wedding couple, and he’s in your frame, essentially ruining the shot!

Guests taking photos at wedding

Scenario 2: The Paparazzi. It’s time for the toast. A large group of guests assemble around the bride and groom to “clink” their glasses in celebration of the new life that has begun between the bride and groom. As you glance around to find the best place to position yourself, you realize that the large group of people is tightly packed around the bride and groom and many of them don’t have champagne glasses; instead they are donning cameras and are intent on getting photos.

And, unfortunately, there are many other situations where guest photographers will challenge your ability to get the best shot at a wedding, such as during formal photos and other important events involved in the wedding ceremony and reception. So how do you avoid having problems and focus on getting the best shots while being courteous and respectful to the bride, groom and their guests?

One word: Preparation.

The first thing that you as a professional wedding photographer can do to prepare for a wedding is to meet with the bride and groom. Listen to what they want from you and ask them questions if needed. Meeting(s) with the bride and groom can be your opportunity to explain how important capturing photographs of their wedding day is and how you appreciate them choosing you over other photographers. Obviously, it’s not good to scare the newlyweds, but it’s definitely ok to define yourself as “the” wedding photographer. It’s important for the bride and groom (and anyone else attending the wedding, for that matter) to know that a professional photographer (you) are being paid good money to provide photographic coverage for the wedding. And as such, the photographer should be given free license and full authority to photograph everything, free from limitation, i.e., free from guests hanging out of the pew into the aisle trying to get a cell phone snap shot of the bride.

Obviously, human behavior is unpredictable. And we can’t tell guests what to do. We want everyone at a wedding to have fun and enjoy the day. But at the same time, it’s important for you as the photographer to empower the bride and groom with this knowledge of photographer privileges so that they can share it with others who will be there on wedding day. Because ultimately, if I’m following the bride down the aisle as her official photographer, and a guest hops out in front of me to take a picture (believe me, it’s happened), there’s no undoing the shot.

Now let’s talk about insurance. We live in the digital age where the way we photograph everything is different. In the old days (picture the 1980s :)), getting “the shot” was of the utmost importance. Photographers had to make sure everything was ready and right before pressing the shutter button on their camera. After all, there were limitations; each roll of film that was used costs money, and there was a finite number of rolls of film that any photographer would bring to an event. In addition, equipment used for low-light photography (which is needed for most weddings – think dark, candle-lit rooms with few windows) was not as good then as it is now. These days we have high powered flashes, an abundance of fast lenses, great editing software and amazing technology for processing light in cameras.

In 2011, I can shoot a wedding continuously and go home with 3,000+ images to choose from (note: I don’t usually shoot that many). Having the ability to use top-notch equipment and shoot digital with almost unlimited capacity for images means that I am bringing an insurance policy to weddings. I am hedging my bet, insuring that I will get lots of great images from each event, thanks to technology. So even if someone steps into the shot, 9 times out of 10, I’ve already gotten a very similar shot prior or after the instance where someone stepped in and blocked my vantage point. The same reasoning goes for the “sniper” scenario above. Problem solved.

So what about the paparazzi? Again, part of the solution to avoiding the paparazzi scenario is education. Brides need to let their guests know that it’s ok to take photos, but that it’s also important to her and the groom to allow each important event during the wedding to be captured appropriately by the official photographer who is being paid to cover the event.

The second part of the solution is assertiveness. Be courteous but assertive when you are charged with photographing an event. It is obviously very important to your client to have photographs of their event and they have put a lot of faith in you (the photographer) to act in their stead to capture those precious, meaningful moments. Keep that in mind when you politely ask guest to give you a little space.

You can also advertise that you are the official photographer, albeit in a somewhat quiet way. You don’t need a bullhorn to announce to everyone your intentions (ok, maybe during formal photos). All you need to do is look the part. Have you ever been to a costume party in full costume? I’ve always noticed that if you attend the party donning a special costume, you get treated differently, perhaps even better than if you just showed up wearing what you do every day. So do the same at a wedding. Show your clients and their guests that you are serious and professional with your work. Dress up and include a lanyard with an ID badge with your company’s logo. People make judgments every minute about the way a person looks, is dressed or carries themselves. What judgment do you want your clients to make about you?

Ultimately, I don’t have a solution for every possible shot. Every now and then something or someone will find itself in your shot when you don’t want it there. Your job as a wedding or event photographer is to show up for the event prepared for the worst, expecting the best and ready to handle anything that gets thrown at you. I’m sharing all this because it has worked for me, and I’m certain it can work for anyone else. Good luck with your shooting!


Photo Album Secrets That Photographers Don’t Want You To Know.

Psst! Hey, I want to share a secret with you. Yes, you!

What kind of secret? I’ll give you a hint: it involves making photo albums with digital images and it is inexpensive, quick and shipped to your door. And you can use the professional quality photos that I take at your wedding to do it.

Question: Why am I sharing this secret with you? (despite the fact that I’m a photographer and many photographers sell their clients albums – hint: I’m not selling you anything here)

Answer: Because I like to share cool stuff with my friends. That’s it.

Many photographers are probably mad that I’m about to share this secret with you because they like to charge tons of money to sell you a wedding album that is full of their photos. In fact, the old way of running a photography business was to photograph a bride’s wedding, edit the photos (i.e., have the photos developed from the rolls of film used on wedding day) and create a “proof book” for the bride and groom to view and select photos for printing. Later, the photographer would spend hours with the respective couple putting together photos in a mounted wedding album (the photos were literally mounted onto the book). Phewwww! I’m exhausted from just thinking about all the time and effort that went into the old way of doing things!

Today things are arguably simpler when it comes to creating a wedding album. After I’ve edited the photos from a wedding, our designers use software to design a custom album using photos you select (telling the story of your wedding from start to finish). Once the design phase is finished, we create a PDF for you to review and share with friends. Once the bride approves the PDF custom designed album (which is purely in electronic format), we send it off for print, which only requires about 3 weeks turnaround time to get to your doorstep. It’s actually pretty uncomplicated.

And don’t get me wrong – there are great things about professional albums. There are many options these days from the traditional leather bound album, the faux leather album for the environmental bride or the modern coffee table style book for other brides. The problem for many people with professional wedding photo albums is not the quality but the price. A quality, leather album can range from $800 to $2,000 alone. Every bride and groom want to be able to enjoy seeing the photos from one of the most meaningful days of their life. But it’s simply a matter of what a bride can or will pay to have those memories immortalized on a book page.

Round Rock Engagement

The paradigm has shifted in the 21st century for the modern photography business. It is no longer standard or even obligatory for a photographer to set up shop on Main Street with a receptionist running the front and a photographer in the back studio snapping photos on a medium frame camera. Things have even changed from just 20-30 years ago when families loaded into the family sedan with freshly combed hair and new dresses to travel down to the strip shopping center for photos at the local photo mart.

The other paradigm shift is to give things away. It’s no longer good business to hold back or keep things under wraps. So I’m here to arm you with information and to help provide you with tools for your tool box. These tools will hopefully make your life easier and help save you money.

Today when a person needs a photo captured, whether it be for a wedding, portrait session, event or whatever, they ask a friend or search online to find a photographer. Many people don’t want lengthy, expensive sessions with long waits to view a proof book. Clients in the 21st century want inexpensive, quick and fun photos with a rapid turnaround time. They want a CD with images that are ready to be shared via social media sites like Facebook or that allow them to upload to their computer for email sharing or other uses.

Couple in South Austin

Which is where I get to my point. I frequently run into clients who are excited to see their wonderful wedding photos, yet leary of paying gobs of money for albums. If you don’t want to, then you don’t have to do so. There are many companies that offer free album design online that is seamless and so easy to do. One of these album design companies is called Mixbook and I can tell you that designing an album for your wedding is a snap. Just check out Monica’s Wedding Album, a bride who’s wedding I photographed a few months ago at Casa Blanca in Round Rock, Texas!

I’ve also included a 30% Coupon for Mixbook that I found online for your convenience. Keep in mind that these aren’t going to be the high-end quality books that you get from companies like Leather Craftsman or Asukabook, but they can be a fun, inexpensive alternative when your budget dictates what you can afford.

Go check it out! (links are above)


20 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Bridal/Engagement season is off and running and we’ve been getting more emails and phone calls than normal with questions about wedding photography. Some of the questions I’ve been hearing are questions that I hear over and over from brides each year. I never get tired of answering brides questions, and in a way I feel like it’s my duty to share my experience and expertise whenever asked. In fact, when I started shooting weddings a number of years ago I prepared myself for the most difficult questions that a bride and groom might ask by looking online at different websites that had advice for brides-to-be, such as wedding planners, bridal boutiques, venues and wedding consultants. I figured that if I could honestly answer every question that these advice websites had for brides, then I’d be ready to be a wedding photographer.

My task: find every relevant question that a bride should ask a wedding photographer and ask myself how I would answer it. So, after many hours of research on the subject, I narrowed my frequently asked questions list down to around 20 questions (see below).

Until recently, I only shared this information with brides that met with me face-to-face. But at some point I started realizing that brides can easily get confused between qualified professional photographers and inexperienced photo novices who make big promises and often, sadly, disappoint brides with poor quality work (or no work at all).

But let’s lighten the subject for a minute and talk about wine. Why? Why not?! :) One of my favorite things to ask a wine drinker after they tell me about the expensive bottle of Merlot they just opened is if they know the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $110 bottle of wine. They usually shrug their shoulders and plead ignorance. The answer: $100

Unfortunately, photography isn’t that simple. Although many photographers look the same, we all charge significantly different rates and there’s a big difference between one photographer and the next, although it may be difficult to discern. Let me explain.

Each photographer brings a different set of skills, equipment and responsibility to an event. The key is to determine what you want and then be armed with the right questions to ask your photographer. As I tell many brides, anyone can put together a “best of” slideshow on a free photo website like Shutterfly; but can the photographer who will be responsible for capturing all the wonderful moments at the most important event of your life show you photos from a several past wedding (photos of entire wedding, start to finish)? Believe me when I say that it’s a big responsibility to be the photographer for a wedding – bigger than just owning a camera and saying you can do it.

casa blanca on brushy creek, round rock, TX

The reason I’m blogging about this topic this week is because I met with several brides-to-be this past week. In fact, I met with one bride in particular who was really enjoyable to meet with (our meeting was more like having a meal with an old friend). We enjoyed speaking with one another and she complemented my work several times, which I was grateful for. She also commented positively on Austin Americana’s pricing and professionalism. I left our meeting feeling confident that I would be photographing her wedding soon.

Unfortunately she contacted me a few days after we met to tell me that she had decided to allow a “photographer friend” to shoot their wedding instead of hiring me. I always respect bride’s decisions, even if they don’t choose me. In business, you get used to rejection – it’s just business! After all, you can’t take it personal and I certainly don’t.

But what frightens me about this situation is all the terrible wedding horror stories I’ve heard from brides over the years about bad experiences with novice photographers who make promises and then realize on wedding day that they can’t deliver. Is there a chance that her photographer will do a good job? Sure. But why take that chance when you can hire a professional? We all have car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, etc; When you write a check to a professional wedding photographer, you are buying insurance – a written guarantee that you will get great wedding photos of the most important day of your life.

So how do you tell the difference between a legitimate professional photographer who will take great photos at your wedding and deliver them to you -and- a novice who won’t? A good start is to ask the right questions. I’ve put together 20 questions that you should ask your wedding photographer. If they can’t honestly answer these questions with satisfactory answers to meet your wedding needs, then you should probably look elsewhere.

20 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

By: Martin Whitton, Austin Americana Photography©

1. What’s your primary style? Posed and formal, relaxed, photojournalistic, creative, artistic, candid, traditional?

Answer: I consider myself a photojournalistic wedding photographer, although I normally include the standard posed shots associated with most weddings today.

Photojournalistic wedding photography to me means shooting as many candid, unrehearsed moments as I can which capture the emotion of the day and which tell a story.

2. Do you shoot in color or black and white? Or both? Do you shoot in a digital format that can create both color and b/w versions of the same picture?

Answer: I shoot all digital, color photos, which means I can take a lot more photos quickly. In post production/editing I can choose to convert images to black & white, sepia and also utilize specialized filters for an artistic effect.

3. What type of camera do you use?

Answer: I shoot with 2 cameras (with one additional backup): Canon 5D Mark ii, EOS 40D & 30D, professional cameras that are well regarded in the

industry. In fact, as of the writing of this material (year 2010), the official photographer for our U.S. President is using the same camera that I do!

Bridal Photo - Austin, Texas

4. What kind of input can we have on the direction of the shots? Can we give you a shot list to work from?

Answer: I would like to get as much input as possible from you. I draft a Wedding Photo Schedule that is customized specifically for your wedding. The schedule allows you to see how many hours are needed for shooting your wedding and exactly who will be photographed when & where. You will have the opportunity to edit the schedule as much as you like.

5a. Are you the wedding photographer who will actually take our pictures? If not, can we meet the person who will be?

Answer: I will be your photographer the day of your wedding (unless otherwise specified). If a 2nd shooter and/or an assistant is needed, I’ll let you know.

5b. We would like 2 photographers for our wedding. Is this something you can provide?

Answer: Yes, we can provide 2 qualified professional photographers for your wedding. An additional fee for this service will be added to your wedding package price.

6. Is there a limit to how many photos you can take?

Answer: No, there is no limit (within reason) to how many photos I can take. My cameras are digitally formatted and use digital media cards to store each photo as it is snapped. I could potentially take 2,000 – 3,000 photos in a single outing. This is very unusual, however. I normally capture 500 – 1,500 images each outing.

7. How many times have you worked specifically as a wedding photographer? How many were similar to the size and formality of our wedding?

Answer: I’ve been photographing people and places since 2002. I photographed my first wedding professionally in February 2007. In 2009 my staff and I photographed approximately 75 events, including over 30 weddings in Austin, Texas. If you would like to see some of my work, please feel free to visit my website at M.Whitton Photography or our new Austin Americana Photo Blog, or ask for a slideshow presentation of some of my past wedding shoots.

8. How many other events will you also photograph that weekend?

Answer: We only photograph one event per day, which eliminates rushing your event or the possibility for errors in scheduling.

9. What kind of equipment will you bring with you? How intrusive will lighting, tripods, other equipment or assistants be?

Answer: Most of our equipment is very mobile and small. I don’t use lighting equipment (except on-camera flash, of course) unless necessary for exceptionally large group photos indoor. I don’t necessarily require the help of an assistant, but one frequently will assist.

10. Do you develop your own film? Do you offer albums?

Answer: I shoot all digital; there will be no film used. The edited image files are developed by quality, professional labs and shipped to your doorstep. Our albums are designed and printed by AsukaBook USA – a renowned, award-winning album company that strives for quality workmanship and style.

11. What type and how much assistance will you provide in planning my album?

Answer: I have partnered with AsukaBook USA to provide relatively seamless album services. We design your album using select images and email you an Adobe PDF file for review. Once you approve it the file is submitted for print and shipped to your doorstep! Yes, it’s that easy!

12. Will you give me the negatives or what is the charge?

Answer: My shooting fee includes providing you a DVD copy containing all of professionally edited images from your event, which allows you to conveniently print images at a discounted rate (No more waiting for the photographer to release rights or paying inflated print prices).

13. How long after the event will the proofs be ready?

Answer: Average turnaround time from wedding day to delivery is usually less than 2 – 4 weeks – sometimes less, sometimes more. Your DVD will be mailed to your doorstep once editing is complete. The proofs will be viewable on my website.

14. Will there be backup equipment available? And what happens if the photographer is ill?

Answer: I have invested in backup equipment for each camera and apparatus that I use. During your event, I will be shooting with at least 2 cameras. If for some reason I am no longer able to honor our agreement to be your photographer (hospitalization, for example), I would contact a reputable (qualified) photographer to act in my stead.

15. What attire will you and your assistants wear?

Answer: Professionalism is very important to me and I dress accordingly – normally in slacks and button-down long-sleeve shirts with a necktie. If the event calls for stepping up the attire, i.e., a tuxedo or suit, please let me know and I’ll be glad to oblige.

16. Can other people take photos while you are taking photos?

Answer: Yes, but I usually ask attendees to shoot before or after I shoot, to prevent confusion, blinking, flashing, etc.

17. Have you worked at my event location before? How did it work out?

Answer: I’ve worked at dozens of locations in and around Austin, both indoor and outdoor. I normally visit the ceremony/reception location 1-2 weeks beforehand to aid in planning the shoot.

18. Should the event last longer than scheduled, will you stay? Extra charge?

Answer: Normally planning prevents the need for additional time, but if needed, I will stay longer. I charge $200/hour for additional shooting time. Once your wedding schedule has been drafted we will be able to determine how much time will be required for your big day.

19. Can I get a discount? I don’t want everything you have to offer in a package price…

Answer: Sure, I offer discounts. If you would like to customize a package to fit your needs I will work with you. I also offer discounts at different times of the year to encourage new clientele and to offer more competitive pricing, including working with discount coupon online stores like Groupon, Localiter and DealOn.

20. After you’ve asked these questions of your potential wedding photographer, there are several questions you’ll want to ask yourself:

A. Do I like this person? B. Do I get along with them or get a good feeling from them?

C. Do I like their work as a wedding photographer?

D. Is it well lit, focused, well framed?

E. Looking at their albums/prints, do I feel like I have a good feeling for the wedding?

Chinese Jewish Wedding at Spicewood Vineyard

 

Sources: About.com, 2007 and http://www.weddingphotousa.com


Wedding Photographer 101 Class

I’m anxious to share some really exciting news with you, my friends and fellow photographers. Since early last year, I’ve been contemplating and dreaming about teaching others about wedding photography. Over the years I’ve been keeping little scraps of paper, printouts, articles, images and more, somehow knowing in the deepest part of my subconscious mind, that I’d be sharing the knowledge and experience I’ve gained about wedding photojournalism over the years with others. And the 1st day of my wedding photographer class draws nearer each day! I can’t wait!

Ok, so I know you aren’t as excited as I am. And perhaps there are some people out there who are naysayers and who wonder what I have to offer. And to tell you the truth, I won’t be offering anything if no one shows up for my first class. But it will be their loss if that happens. Let me tell you why.

I’ve been photographing for 10 years now. No, that in and of itself does not make me a great photographer. I have good rapport with people, I have knowledge of photo technique and I have vision. Those attributes are valuable, but many photographers have them and they don’t necessarily make me a great teacher. What I have that you are going to want to learn is what I didn’t have 10 years ago: extensive experience photographing weddings. In the past 5 years alone I’ve photographed over 100 weddings and an estimated 350 total events. The 2nd thing that I have to offer my students is that I’ve been managing a successful business the entire time and managed to stay in business by making clients happy (since most business that fail do so in the first 5 years, perhaps I should be teaching a business class!). Third, my business has one multiple awards for excellent business practices, recognized by such organizations as Wedding Wire, Merchant Circle and Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI).

Bride & Groom Exchanging Nuptials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But who wants to hear about credentials – I mean, it’s all just talk, right?! The proof is in the pudding! What will the curriculum of the class look like?

When I asked myself the question of how I wanted to engineer the scope of the class, I realized a couple of things:

1. Good photographers don’t always succeed in creating a good business; and,

2. Good business people don’t always succeed in creating good photography.

I realize that what I said is very simplistic. But this is the beauty of what I want to teach; simplicity, planning and determination to take that next big step when the little voice inside your head may be telling you all the reasons why you can’t.

I plan to talk about all the things that a wedding photographer needs to do to make his/her wedding business successful. You don’t have to be the best wedding photographer in Texas or the United States to run a successful wedding business. What you need is a good plan and the willingness and determination to see it through. I’ve already walked the path and developed a plan for how to be a successful wedding photographer. Are you ready to learn how you can succeed as a successful wedding photographer?

Some frequent questions that photographers often ask when wondering how to go about starting their business, which I plan to address in my wedding photography class:

What kind of photo editing software should I use?

What kind of equipment do I need for weddings?

How much do I charge my clients for weddings?

How do I bring in new clients? (everyone wants to know this one)

What kind of business do I create? Sole proprietorship, corporation, LLC or LLP?

What kind of wedding contract do I use?

What do my clients want/expect from me? (other than good photos)

And many more questions…

Plus, I’ll be sharing documents and templates that took me years of research and fine tuning to develop in my business, like package information for new clients, checklists, forms, efficient workflow, and so much more. These little nuggets alone will be worth their weight in gold and will be something to take home and start working with immediately.

Suggestions for what you might want to learn about in the class? Although we will be discussing tons of great material, we will be limited by the time we have for the class (likely 2 meetings). Therefore, I’d like to maximize the amount of useful information I provide. I’ll be developing the final class curriculum for the 2011 Wedding Photographer 101 Class over the next few months and would love to have input/suggestions. In particular, what do you want to learn about? Email me at AustinAmericana@Gmail.com or just post a comment below this article.

I can’t wait to interact with my fellow photographers! See you soon!

Priest Waits For Ceremony To Begin


South Congress Engagement Photography

Through a promotion that Austin Americana ran a few months back on Localiter, I had the privilege of meeting Angelica and Cesar, a cute couple with a great story and a lot of affection for one another. They met while she visited Chile (he is from Chile, she from Texas) and fell in love. Now they both live in Austin and love the South Congress area (SoCo, as it is lovingly referred to by locals).

To them, SoCo represents all that is weird and fun about Austin and it’s a place where they’ve had some special dates together. And what else could a person want? There are resale shops, famous hotels (Hotel San Jose), festivals/First Thursday, pizza (Home Slice), Ice Cream (Amy’s), and so much more. So naturally the couple decided that South Congress should be where they get photographed for their engagement session.

We all met up on a cool, windy December afternoon and strolled down South Congress after meeting up at Guero’s Taco Bar, probably one of the most well known attractions in SoCo. Angelica and Cesar had a few things/spots in mind that they wanted to capture in their engagement photo session. These included Amy’s Ice Cream, Home Slice, The Virgin Mural, and some shots of them crossing the street. I think we were able to capture some great stuff. You be the judge…

Sharing an Ice Cream Cone on S.Congress


A Chinese-Jewish Wedding at Spicewood Vineyard

In the Texas Hill Country about 35 miles due west of Austin (just west of Lake Travis) is a quiet, rural area that is home to Spicewood Vineyard. If you’re looking for a weekend trip (who can beat wine tasting?) or a place to host a great event like a wedding, then this is the place. Spicewood Vineyard stands out as an award-winning creator of wines with a Texas taste.

When I first visited the place (after a little winding, hill country driving) I was greeted by the friendly owners who welcomed me into the main tasting room. They were eager to share their home grown wines and talk about Texas wine. Honestly, I’m not very knowledgeable about Texas wines, or any wines for that matter, but I still enjoyed the conversation and the opportunity to try several different vinos.

Chinese Jewish Wedding at Spicewood Vineyard

Eventually, after some lively conversation and fun, we got around to talking about the real reason I was visiting: I would be photographing an international wedding ceremony there in a few weeks. I was whisked away for a tour of the barrel room and the grounds, including the lovely ballroom and vineyards. The whole place is beautiful and was a fantastic choice for such an important day.

If you imagine rows of green, viney grapes on a sprawling Texas farm in the Hill Country, then you’ve imagined Spicewood Vineyard. The grounds are beautifully manicured and well kept. The tasting room and barrel room where wine is kept is next to a beautiful ballroom. The ballroom is spacious and roomy with ample light and a bar, featuring beautiful stained concrete floors, a concert piano and lots of other details you can only appreciate in person.

My bride and groom married there a few weeks later. Their ceremony was a marriage of world culture and varied beliefs. She was Chinese and he was Jewish. They both loved to travel and to learn. The couple, together with their families, brought both cultures together in a way that you could hardly imagine. There was amazing cuisine, photographs, art, decorations, dress and more from all over the world. All told the event was a great success and was another memorable and special wedding that I was privileged enough to photograph.

Grapes at Spicewood Vineyard

If you would like to visit Spicewood Vineyards for a tasting or to see the facilities you can check out their website here, or make a short trip just outside of Austin. Information is below.

From the website: Wines from Spicewood Vineyards are available not only at the vineyard but also in Texas stores and restaurants. The winery features a large indoor tasting room and outdoor pavilion. The large underground barrel room can accommodate 400 barrels.

The winery is open for tours and tasting Wednesday through Sunday. In addition the winery also offers facilities for special events such as weddings, receptions and meetings.

Tasting Room Hours are:

Wednesday through Saturday 10 to 6

Sunday 12 to 5

Monday and Tuesday by appointment only.

Spicewood Vineyard, 1419 Burnet County Road 409, Spcewood, Texas

Phone: (830) 693-5328 ‎

Wine Barrel at Spicewood Vineyard

International Cuisine

Vineyards at Spicewood

Chinese Wedding Symbol
Outdoor Jewish-Chinese Wedding Ceremony
Piano in Spicewood Vineyard Ballroom


A Book For Wedding Photographers (Or Anyone)

I just wanted to share a book that I recently read that I really enjoyed that’s a quick read and I highly recommend:

It’s called “the accidental millionaire” by Gary Fong. The reason I read it is because it was a gift from a family member and I was naturally interested because Gary Fong is a famous wedding photographer, inventor and entrepreneur. I realize that everyone might not connect with the book in the same way I did, but this one is a really fun read because it is so conversational and such an honest, intimate look at one man’s life and struggles. There’s really not much in the book about making millions (which is probably a good thing) – only the philosophy of thinking about things in a different way and having fun while doing it. I like to think of it as the modern, simpler version of “Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance”.

One of my favorite little nuggets of information comes at the very end of the book (page 260 of 264):

Gary says, “When you’re passionately preparing for one thing, the universe may be preparing you for something else. As long as you’re actively and creatively preparing for something, you’re usually on the right track.”

I got the photo of the book above from Amazon.com, where Gary’s book is currently listed less than $11! Go grab it today!


Photography Good Enough For The President!

A few months back I blogged about how excited I was to announce a new addition to my wedding camera family: the Canon 5D Mark ii. While it probably doesn’t mean much to my wedding and portrait clientele that I’ve upgraded, to a photographer it means a lot. To the photographer it’s the difference in a full frame and partial frame sensor; greater flexibility in low-light situations; the ability to capture high-resolution HD video and more. Ultimately for my brides and grooms it means that they’ll be getting more great shots than ever with an increased quality in images that can be seen in the printing process.

Ring Bearer & Flower Girl Are Escorted Toward Austin Wedding Ceremony

I recently read an article that President Obama’s official portrait was taken with the Canon 5D Mark ii as well, which really surprises me. So now I’m telling my clients that if the Canon 5D Mark ii is good enough for our American President, then it’s definitely good enough for their wedding photographs. It’s definitely an exciting time for photography in America as we watch things change and evolve so quickly. I’m proud to be an American Photographer!

Large Floral Boutonnière In Groom's Tux at Austin Wedding Ceremony


Why Dressing Professionally Matters For Wedding Photographers

Today I was a patron at one of my favorite local restaurants here in beautiful Austin, Texas. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with the warmest of greetings, from the hostess, the busser and my server. Now, it might be because the restaurant is full of friendly attentive workers or because everyone’s having a wonderful Thursday afternoon – or it might just be because I’m dressed very nicely (slacks, button-down shirt, tie, etc.) and they think I’m a good tipper. I like to assume the latter.

The point is that people notice the way that you dress, whether it is acknowledged or not. As a wedding photojournalist I take my job very seriously, and I want people to know this, so I dress appropriately when I photograph weddings or other events.

Martin Photographing A Wedding At Chapel Dulcinea

I recently met with a bride and her maid-of-honor who pointedly asked me how I dress at weddings. They both agreed that it was important how the photographer dressed at the wedding because they had bad experiences in the past with a photographer who presented themselves in attire that was disheveled, unprofessional and distracting. I promised them that I always dress professionally for my events.

As a wedding photojournalist it’s important that you become the “fly on the wall” so to speak, which helps you capture all those candid, unrehearsed shots of wedding participants doing what they do in order to tell the wedding story through photography. I find that dressing well helps me to blend into the wedding and be the invisible photographer when wearing jeans and sneakers might stick out like a sore thumb. Dressing professionally lets people know you take your job as a photographer seriously and in my experience inspires confidence in what you do.

Martin Shooting A Wedding At Casa Blanca

Martin Whitton is a professional wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email: austinamericana@gmail.com


We Use Auskabook Wedding Albums!

Martin Whitton Photography in association with Austin Americana Photography proudly offers our brides the professional, modern beauty of Asukabooks.

Here are some examples of online wedding albums you can take a look at that were converted into coffee table-style wedding albums for our brides. Of course it’s difficult to appreciate the quality of the albums without actually seeing them in person.

Jennifer & Stan’s Wedding Album

Ashley & Adam’s Wedding Album

We love Asukabook because they are professional looking, elegant and easy to design with a quick turnaround so brides don’t have to wait an eternity to see their wedding in print.

About AsukaBook

AsukaBook USA is an international company located in Bend, Oregon. Our parent company, Asukanet, started manufacturing coffee table books in Japan in 1995, and continues to print and bind books for clients worldwide. Asukanet asked Kevin Kubota to be their USA representative in 2005 and thus AsukaBook USA launched in March of that year. Business has been booming ever since! Kevin is also the owner of Kubota Image Tools, Kubota Photo Design, and Red Boot Design™.

Kevin’s business mantra is “to empower photographers, and everything we sell and do is designed around that simple principle. If it won’t help you make money, or become a better photographer, we won’t offer it.”

AsukaBook USA was one of the first companies to offer professional quality coffee table style printed books for photographers. AsukaBook USA is widely endorsed by professional photographers and graphic designers because of the exceptional quality of our products. We offer a superior product with a polished look that is very popular with photographer’s clients.

AsukaBook USA products have received the Hot One award in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010. AsukaBook USA is proud of these accomplishments and strives to continue to be innovative and provide customer service that exceeds all expectations.

Source: http://asukabook.com/




12 Things You Don’t Want To Hear From Your Wedding Photographer.

I’ve written several times about what separates serious professional photographers from any person off of the street who has a Digital SLR. I certainly don’t want to discourage the “newbie” who’s just starting out and learning about photography, but I’m continually hearing horror stories from brides and other wedding professionals about how a “photographer” was hired to photograph a wedding and didn’t deliver in one way or another.

First, let me say that there’s nothing wrong with a person who’s interested in photography going out and buying a new DSLR and experimenting with it; there’s no better way to learn that through experimentation with your camera. That’s how I started out as a photographer and many other photographers start out using the self-taught method as well. Where new photographers have to be careful though is in being aware of the range of their abilities and knowing when to say “no”.

If you’re new to photography and you don’t fully understand how your DSLR camera works (be honest with yourself) and your friend who’s getting married next week asks you to photograph their wedding what do you say? Many “newbie” photographers gladly say yes and are hopeful that everything will turn out well. If you’ve explained your inexperience to the bride and that you wouldn’t feel comfortable shooting the wedding and she insists, you should still say “no”.  Why? Weddings are significant, milestone events in a person’s life that happen once and can’t be re-created. This scenario is definitely not the time to experiment with your new camera, at least not in an official capacity.

But many amateur photographers have gone a step further and actually solicited weddings far below standard wedding photography rates, only to confess later (after serious failure) that they were not prepared for the demands that a wedding can impose on a photographer.

I personally feel very passionate about this subject (bad wedding photography) because in many cases the events surrounding the unraveling of good wedding photography can be prevented by good habits, good technique and preparation. Here are 12 things you don’t want to hear from your wedding photographer, all loosely based on true stories.

1. Oops! I just accidentally deleted all your wedding photos from my compact flash card (CF Card).

2. Oh, sorry. I’m no longer in the photography business and I don’t have archive copies of your wedding photos/digital images/negatives.

3. The good news is that I have your wedding images; the bad news is that I’m going to have to charge you more than I had told you before.

4. [On location, at your wedding] I’m not feeling well and I have to leave now. Sorry about not being able to shoot your wedding.

5.  Oops, I forgot to load my camera with film. Can we re-do those photos?

6. [On location, at your wedding] Umm, I forgot to print the bridal/engagement print you ordered. Oh well…

7. Sorry I’m late. (insert excuse for being late here)

8. I know some people in your wedding party said I was hitting on the guests, but I really wasn’t. Honest.

9. [On location, at your wedding] What’s wrong with me wearing flip flops and jeans to your wedding? It’s cool, right?!

10. I know I told you that I could shoot your wedding next week, but I’m going to have to cancel on you because I have another wedding.

11. I’m having equipment issues. Can we re-do those shots?

12. I don’t normally drink this much when I work at a wedding. I don’t know what happened!

All of the 12 things listed above are from situations where an amateur had the opportunity to be professional and do the right thing, but did not. Don’t let these things happen to you. Talk to friends and family who have worked with a professional near you. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional photographer with a track record. You’ll be glad you did.


How Do I Find The Right Wedding Photographer?

Last year I wrote a few articles on the subject of weddings and wedding photography and this is one I’d like to share again in case you missed it. I think it has some great little bits of information and it’s written by a real wedding photojournalist – me! :)

Finding a wedding photographer can be a daunting task given the sheer number of photographers in large Texas Cities like Dallas, Austin & San Antonio; A search of the Austin, Texas Yellow Pages yields over 393 professional photographers alone! And let’s not forget the “weekend warrior” photographer, who operates off of the photography grid and whose numbers can only be estimated. So how does a bride find the right photographer in a sea of wedding vendors? Here are some suggestions:

1. Referral = 1st hand experience. If you know someone who got married recently then make this your first lead. Check out the photographer’s website or portfolio and talk to bride/groom who hired them. If you like a particular photographer’s work and he/she gets a favorable review, make an appointment to meet with them. If you like a photographers work that you’ve found elsewhere, don’t be afraid to ask for references.

2. Pick a photographer based on his/her style. If you like his/her photos from past weddings, then you’ll probably like the photos they capture at your wedding! Find out what is the photographer’s primary style? Traditional posed shots? Candid or artistic? Photojournalistic? Other? Then decide which style you like best.

3. Try not to meet with too many photographers. Ideally you will want to select less than 5 wedding photographers in your area whose style you like and who are in your price range (don’t be afraid to ask this question when telephoning). Meeting with too many photographers will get confusing and will likely be counterproductive to your search.

4. Do you like the photographer you met with? This is the person that will be following you around for hours photographing you, your fiance’ and family/friends on your big day. Be sure it’s someone that you feel at ease with; otherwise your uneasiness will show up in the photos.

5. Ask to see images from an entire wedding (start to finish). Just about anyone can put together a slideshow of good pictures they have taken over the years. But a professional wedding photographer can capture great photos from every segment of a single wedding – bride dressing beforehand, ring exchange, kiss, formals, 1st dance, bouquet toss, etc.

6. Request a wedding day photo schedule. One element (possibly the most important) of wedding photography that is frequently overlooked is the Wedding Day Photo Schedule, which details when shooting begins/ends (i.e., number of coverage hours), who will be photographed during formal photos and provides a specific time line for each wedding event that will be photographed. If the photographer doesn’t provide one, then request it – it will be invaluable.

7. Is there a limit to the number of photos captured? Find out how many photos the photographer estimates will be captured on wedding day and how many photos will be provided after image selection/editing. Most photographers who use digital cameras can give you an estimate based on the number of hours of coverage provided at the wedding.

8. Do you get a CD with full-sized images? Many photographers are reluctant to provide you images from your wedding on CD, even though you may pay them handsomely for covering the event. Ask about getting the images on CD and if this costs extra.

9. Inquire about back-up cameras and equipment. Does the photographer you are meeting with have back up equipment in the case that his/her equipment malfunctions or fails? Professionals will frequently have on hand 2-3 cameras, numerous lenses, and at least 2 of everything else. Wedding photographers always have to be prepared for the unexpected!

10. Beware of inexpensive photographers. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is applicable when it comes to wedding photography. If someone posting on Craig’s List offers to shoot your wedding for $250, it’s probably b/c they are new to photography. If your wedding budget doesn’t allow you to hire a professional and you think that photographs from wedding day aren’t that important, then hiring an amateur may be OK. However, if images from the big day are important to you, then don’t skimp on photography; hire an experienced professional. You’ll be glad you did.

Sources:

1. www.yellowpages.com/categories/Austin-TX/photography, 2009.

Martin Whitton is a professional wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas.
Email: martin@mwwphoto.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Martin_Whitton


Canyon Of The Eagles Wedding

lace strap wedding dress

wedding dress on hanger

Canyon of the Eagles Resort is a state-of-the-art event center located in the Texas Hill Country and within a 940-acre nature reserve, located on the banks of Lake Buchanan and the Colorado River. It frequently hosts vacationers, wedding parties and anyone looking to get away from it all and get back to nature.

There are apparently lots of opportunities for guided tours, hiking, site-seeing and more at Canyon of the Eagles (COTE). But I’ll simply give my impression from the experience I had there while photographing a wedding recently.

First of all, COTE is far removed from city life and as a result nearby wild life is abundant and present. It’s a Hill Country afternoon drive from Austin through the rolling central Texas hills which is to be thoroughly enjoyed.

When I arrived with all my photo gear in tow I noticed immediately that the place looked cleaner and newer than when I had photographed a previous wedding about 18 months before. I was greeted by Al, the manager, who was friendly and welcoming. He mentioned that COTE was under new management.

Bride and her father walk down the aisle toward Lake Buchanan

As I began photographing the bride and groom prior to the ceremony I observed the beautiful arrangements and setup that the COTE crew were working on – beautiful flowers, linens, dishware all arranged neatly. As the photos continued it became clear that a rainstorm was coming so the staff were quickly able to make arrangements to move things from the outside patio indoors, something that brides should consider when choosing a venue.

The wedding ceremony for my couple was held outdoors (as the storm clouds loomed in the distance) on a hill overlooking Lake Buchanan. The ceremony was simple: Purple flowers, white chairs, flower petals strewn down the aisle and decorative flowers seasoning the wedding trellis.

The bride and groom wore simple black and white; bridesmaids donned purple dresses with beautifully colorful bouquets. There were two flower girls and one ring bearer – the bride and groom’s dog.

After the ceremony ended everyone walked over to the expansive, stone patio – complete with large wooden rocking chairs, a fountain, a bar and a beautiful view of the setting sun.  As the sun set and as everyone relaxed with a cool drink a sense of peace settled over everyone.  I’ve never observed so many smiles at one occasion!

Later a few raindrops fell and the entire wedding party rushed inside to begin the reception. The COTE staff had already prepared an amazingly beautiful and delicious meal for the 100+ attendees. And it seems that no matter where you are on the Canyon of The Eagles property (indoors, on the patio, out under the trellis, etc.) you are at a great vantage point over the lake to see the sunset.

Beautiful, neatly set table at Canyon of the Eagles

View of flowers on the patio at COTE

Once the rain stopped and everyone finished eating the party moved outdoors again, onto the patio. The bride, groom and their families all took turns sharing dances and toasts together beneath the moon light, ambient light and the outdoor decorative lighting to end a wonderful evening and joyous occasion.

Bride's Father Prepares To Speak and Make Toast

Bride and Groom Dance Beneath The Moonlight

See More Photos from this and other weddings at www.mwwphoto.com/weddings

(more…)


New Wedding Engagement Guestbook!

Martin Whitton Photography is pleased to announce the release of our beautiful, new wedding book: The Engagement Guestbook!

wedding guestbook

engagement guestbook allows space for guests to write!

So, what is it? Well, The Engagement Guestbook is a hardback, coffee table style book which incorporates engagement photos of the couple-to-be along with lined, decorative pages for wedding guests to write personal messages to the bride and groom.

What’s exciting and different about the The Engagement Guestbook you ask? Well, for starters it’s a brand new idea and a new trend in wedding photography to have what our special book provides. Many brides display a framed engagement print at their wedding and also have a special guestbook for guests to write personal notes in. But The Engagement Guestbook combines both of these concepts: Beautiful, personalized photos of the couples’ engagement bound in a hardback book that includes space for guests to write special messages during the wedding ceremony/reception. How great is that?!

guestbook is full of your beautiful engagement photos!

Imagine beautiful photos of you and your fiance’ captured by professional photojournalist Martin Whitton. Martin carefully plans every detail of your engagement session at one of the many sought-after venues in and around Austin, photographs you and your fiance’ with style and grace, and then designs your Engagement Guestbook using exciting photographs from your shoot.

We’ve teamed up with new album design professionals to offer the Engagement Guestbook to brides-to-be in the Central Texas Area at an affordable price. Martin Whitton Photography offers you access to samples one of our new books upon request as well. Check out the photos and email or call for details about how you can have your Engagement Guestbook designed and delivered on or before wedding day! We know you’re going to love it!

guestbook is hardback, color and has custom text for your wedding!

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Martin Whitton is an accomplished wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Schedule your own personal photo session with Martin by emailing martin@mwwphoto.com.


Bridal Photography Session at Zilker Botanical Garden

Recently I photographed another beautiful bride at Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas. Zilker has to be one of the most popular places for photography of any kind in Austin. Not only is it a huge repository for plant life centered in Travis County (which is why people are drawn to it) but it’s also one of Austin’s little jewels that’s been around for many years. I’m pretty sure that the creators of Zilker never intended it to be one of the foremost popular venues for photography around Austin, but that’s what it’s become.

Bride poses for photograph at Zilker

ZBG features many different plant species and specific garden areas that are dedicated to a particular theme or cultural plant cultivation, if you will. For example, one of the popular areas of Zilker is the Japanese Garden, which features Koi-filled fish ponds, stone trails leading around bamboo gardens and a structure made of stone and bamboo that only could fit into a Japanese garden . The entire area is shaded by trees and feels like being in another world.

Zilker also features a beautiful rose garden where weddings frequently occur. Colorful roses line the concrete paths that wind down the hill from the main entrance of the park. The Rose Garden area is very open, located at the edge of the tree line bordering the Japanese Garden. It also features a red and white gazebo next to fish ponds and a historic brick structure in the shape of a keyhole that has been apparently transplanted from historic downtown Austin.
Other areas featured at ZBG are the Prehistoric Gardens further down the hill from the main office, which feature “old world” plants, pools and even a beautiful, natural-looking water fall. Toward the front of the park is an area that contains historic Central Texas pioneer homes and work areas made of wood.

Ultimately there are many, many different areas of the Garden that offer photography opportunities for brides or couples. After visiting and photographing friends and family there for years I’ve grown to love and appreciate Zilker for the beautiful part of Austin that it has always been and hopefully will always be!

Bride poses on the bridge at Zilker Botanical

Things you’ll need to bring if you photograph a bride or couple at Zilker:
- Payment for photographing someone at ZBG
- Water
- Bug/Mosquito repellant
- Sun block
-Comfortable walking shoes (ZBG has lots of trails)
- Patience. If the park is busy, you may have to wait for that perfect shot! :)

Hints/Tips: Arrive early and check park closure times (which change with daylight savings time). Park staff require visitors to leave 30 minutes prior to gate closure.
………………..
Martin Whitton is a passionate wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email your questions to him at martin@mwwphoto.com.


About Me

My name is Martin Whitton and I’m an Austin, Texas wedding photojournalist. I’ve lived in Austin (and now in Pflugerville) for about 10 years. I’m a native Texan. My family settled in North Texas in the mid 1800s, where I resided until I went off to college. I recently married the most beautiful and intelligent woman I’ve ever met and we now have a 1 year old son together who is more loving and clever than you could imagine.

I’ve been shooting weddings since 2006 and last year I photographed over 70 different events, including more than 30 weddings. But photographing lots of weddings doesn’t make me a great photojournalist or the right match for a particular bride and groom. I ask each couple that I meet with to look at my work and to get to know me and discover whether I’m the right fit for the most important day of their life: Wedding Day!

Am I the right photographer for your wedding? You be the judge. View my photos here… or go to http://www.mwwphoto.com/Weddings


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