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Weddings Inspired Northwest (WINW) — Coeur d’Alene Wedding Conference

Last May, I had the chance to attend the inaugural Weddings Inspired Northwest Conference, hosted by Cameo Events. I wrote a little bit about it here, and I said I’d talk more about what I learned later. But I never did! The second annual conference is coming up on April 15th, and it’s hosted at the beautiful Hagadone Event Center at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. and I’m so excited to attend again! Last year, I wasn’t sure what I would get out of a conference like WINW, because it’s not photographer-specific. And it’s true that, as a photographer, you’re not going to walk out of there with a “how to” guide for conquering your local market, or with a bunch of photography tips and tricks. But I did learn a few very important things about being a better business owner, and working in the wedding industry, things that I use every single day in my business.

Weddings Inspired Northwest // Cameo Events

To give you an idea of what I learned last year, I pulled out three things I learned last year. I can’t give all the awesome inspiration away, but I know from talking to last years’ attendees that they learned so much as well. My top three:

  • Misty, of Cameo Events, taught me that it’s okay to say “this is my time” and step away from my business when I need time. Since setting work hours for myself and creating a schedule so that I don’t work on days when I’m off, I’m much less stressed. And when I am working? I’m not goofing around, because I know I only have so many hours of time to work before I’m off. Misty will be speaking again this year, and I’m so excited to hear what she has to say. She’s a phenomenal speaker and a wonderful part of the Inland Northwest wedding community.
  • Alexis Jones spoke about taking chances. I’ve always been a go-getter, but Alexis reminded me that, oftentimes, we don’t get something because we haven’t asked for it. It’s so much more than that, but she said: why not me? why not now? For example: this last week, I attended a concert. And I asked the band if I could come back the next day and photograph it for them, and they agreed. Boom. That’s just one example of how, in the past year, I’ve reached out and asked for opportunities. Sometimes the answer was no, and sometimes the answer was yes, but if you never ask, how will you ever know? [That’s me with Alexis below. It’s pretty much as fangirl as I get.]
  • Linnyette, the “Wedding Diva“, was my favorite speaker last year. She was funny, on point, and has changed the way I do business. She’s a wedding planner, but what I learned from her was echoed by Susan Stripling (who is a fantastic wedding photographer) on Creative Live — know your numbers and know your business. What I learned from Linnyette changed the way I do business — how I interact with my clients, how I handle my money, how I view the wedding industry — and I use those things every day. If that’s not a lasting impact, I don’t know what is! I was ready to attend WINW again the moment I heard Linnyette was returning this year. She’s that amazing.

Meeting Alexis Jones of I Am That Girl

I think it’s really important to invest in some kind of education each year. I know that, for me, it keeps me from feeling stagnant. I meet other business owners, wedding professionals, and photographers who I can network with, and who push me to grow my business. In years past, I’ve attended WDS in Portland, which is neither wedding nor photographer specific. This year, I’m attending both WINW and CPC. I’m very excited for I’ll learn and how that will help me as a business owner. Misty puts it better than I can:

“We all strive to grow our businesses but all too often the energy, desire and determination to focus time on that growth is lost in doing what we do best… creating the best experience for our customers.  So, are you taking care of you?  Are you investing time to educate yourself? Whether the answer to that question is no, maybe, or even yes, join us for the WINW event and be prepared to be Inspired, Educated and Network with some of the top industry experts.” 

The Coeur d

This year, when it was announced that Preston Bailey was going to be the keynote speaker, I was so excited. Not only is he coming to Coeur d’Alene, but he’s doing a hand’s on workshop on April 14th! I won’t be attending, since I have other commitments that day, but I found out that there are only TWO tickets left to his workshop. So get on that. Now. The tickets are $600, and include the workshop, a meet & greet with the conference speakers, and your workshop ticket. If you don’t snag one of those tickets, the regular conference tickets are $250 through April 1st.

What has me so excited about this year’s conference isn’t just the people attending, or the people speaking, and it’s not even the amazing food, it’s the fact that we have all these things here in our area. I love when I don’t have to travel far to conferences, and I never imagined we’d have these amazing speakers coming to Spokane & Coeur d’Alene. And if you’re a wedding professional who isn’t local, come visit. The Inland Northwest is beautiful, and you won’t regret a mid-week escape to our beautiful area.

You can read more about the speakers on the Weddings Inspired Northwest website, and book your tickets here. What are you waiting for?

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This post was written in partnership with Weddings Inspired Northwest, but all words, opinions, and photographs are entirely my own. I loved attending this conference last year, am so excited for this year, and I think it’s a fantastic event put on by great wedding professionals. I only recommend things that I truly stand behind as a person and wedding professional. 

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The Language of Wedding Photography — Tips for Clients

A lot of couples I meet with ask me questions about some of the more technical aspects of photography. Some are aspiring photographers or technology nerds, and we get to “geek out” over different things like megapixels, my favorite lenses (35mm f/1.2 and 135mm f/2.0, if you were curious), and the RAM needed to run Photoshop smoothly (a lot). But most of them are asking me questions because to them, “photographer speak” is similar to “legal speak”. It’s a foreign language that they don’t understand.

The Language of Wedding Photography // Emily Wenzel Photography

 

So today, I’ve got the first part of my series on understand the language of wedding photography. It’s my hope that this will give my clients more confidence, and more understanding of this “photography” business. And maybe you’ll learn something you can show off at a party, too. Some of the terms I’ll be going over include: photography packages, print releases, RAW files, digital negatives, high (and low) resolution images, proofs, editing, and retouching. Today, I’ll be explaining the mystery of photography packages, proofs, and the difference between editing and retouching. Remember that every photographer is different, so things may be different when you look at others’ packages and policies. This is my own experience, my own reasoning, and my own style of work. As the saying goes, “your mileage may vary.” :)

Couple

A lot of times, I’m asked about my photography packages. For my business, I choose to have packages because it’s easier for my couples. You’re already making dozens of decisions about what you like and who you should book, why should you have to make a decision about the details of your photography coverage? That said, I currently have four different photography packages that range from the 5 hours to 12 hours. They’re designed to hit all the sweet spots that most couples need to cover their wedding, from intimate weddings of 30 guests to all days coverage, I know that these packages are perfect for most couples. Because of my experience in the wedding industry, I know these packages will work best for most people. Which is why, once I’ve created my coverage packages, I discount them. I know that I’m going to have happy clients because I can recommend the perfect package for them. I know these packages work. And sometimes, especially with destination weddings, I end up creating custom packages.

Pro tip: Like a photographer but don’t they don’t offer a package that sparks you? Ask what it would cost to change things. I’m always up for adding to or adjusting a package to fit your needs. Weddings aren’t one-size-fits-all and I don’t intend my wedding packages to be either. They’re more like suggestions that help you get started. Most likely, this is the first time you’ve planned a wedding, whereas I’ve shot more than I can count. :)

Spring Creek Ranch Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

One of the “vintage” terms you still come across in wedding photography is proofs. When photographers shot on film, they’d give their clients proof images. These images were sometimes all on one page in small images, or sometimes slightly larger, individual, but they were basic proofs. They’d had no retouching or editing, and when all on one page, were processed the same. It’s complicated to understand, but there was a dark room equivalent to Photoshop. It’s true! From those proofs, you’d pick the few dozen photos you wanted to have printed. The photographer would keep the negatives, you’d get a few enlargements and that’d be in. These days, with digital photography it’s a lot different. I shoot a lot more on my digital camera than on my film, which means I’ve got sometimes three or five images that are very similar, especially when I’m doing family photos because there is always someone about to blink. From those, I pick the best images and pull them together to tell the story of your day. Instead of wasting time by showing you a bunch of unedited images and having you pick them, I edit up all the good images, discarding all the blurry, out of focus, duplicate, or just bad (hello, that shot of my own feet doesn’t need to be in there) photos. Which means I’m not delivering proofs to my clients. I’m delivering hundreds of edited images and you can print those through me, and my professional lab, or at home, or at any store of your choosing.

Pro tip: While some photographers offer proof prints, most don’t. If it’s something you’re interested in having, ask your photographer about getting a set of 4×6 prints of all your wedding images. If one of my couples asked for this, I’d be on board and make sure it wasn’t too expensive! Because you should still be printing your photos ;)

Mazama Ranch House Wedding Photography

The last thing I want to talk about today is what happens after your wedding. I’ve gotten home, backed up your images in a couple different spots, and now I’m getting to work on the photos you’re going to receive. At this point, I start editing your images. What that means to me is that I’m doing the kind of things I could do in a darkroom. In college, I shot film and developed it in a darkroom, and I try to stay true to those roots. This means I’m adjusting the exposure, correcting little things like dark and bright spots, and making sure the image is polished and in focus. I’m not retouching the images, for the most part. That means I’m not going to make your arms skinnier, or smooth out the wrinkles on your face. Wake up on your wedding day with a big zit on your nose? Yes, I’ll fix that, because no one wants to remember that zit on their wedding day. But I’m not going to polish you to look like a magazine cover. Why? I believe that, while I could make you look like a model, I’m not going to. I don’t think it’s good for you or your friends and family to see a fake version of yourselves. It only makes me feel more insecure in the everyday, when I see highly photoshopped versions of myself. And I believe that, on your wedding day, you’re already so beautiful because you are marrying the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. You don’t need smoother skin or skinnier arms.

Pro tip: If you’re not sure about how you feel about the editing level of your photos, ask your photographer. A photographer who has an established style and brand is going to be able to tell you exactly what they do (and don’t do) and can show you that in an album or proofing gallery.

Jewish Wedding Photography

Are there other photography terms you’d like explained? Let me know what they are in the comments, and I’ll add them to my list!

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Spring is Here — A Personal Post

Today is the first day of spring and it’s supposed to be 64 degrees! It’s been a long, hard, winter. Not necessarily cold or snowy, but gray and dreary. Next winter, I’m planning to get away for a vacation to somewhere sunny and warm.

The last couple weeks my brain has been a little scattered, so here are a few random updates for you.

Spokane Davenport Wedding Photography // Emily Wenzel Photography

1. In the past week or so, I’ve blogged a fall family session and a downtown winery wedding. I’m almost caught up with last year’s posts. Just in time to start blogging this year’s session. You guys will keep me on top of it, right?

2. Recently, I’ve been devouring non-fiction books. Somewhere, in an alternate universe, teenage Emily is going crazy. I’ve never been a fan of non-fiction or biographies before. Lately, they’ve been all I wanted to read. I read The Pianist (watch the movie too!), which sparked me to grab Argo when I saw it at the library. I also finally read How to Be a Woman, which has been on my list for a while now.  That said, have you read anything lately that I should add to my list? Fiction, non-fiction, I’m looking for something good!

3. I’m heading back out on the road in April, and I’m so psyched! The last couple weeks, I’ve had some serious wanderlust. If you’re interested in getting a session done or meeting for drinks, hit me up at: emily@emilywenzel.com. I’ll only have space for 1-2 sessions in each area, and this year I’ll be offering travel specials! Or maybe you’ve gotten a camera recently and want some help to use it confidently? Let’s have a mentoring session. If you’d like a session but can’t do it on one of these days, click here to add your name to my interest list. I’ll send you an email only when I’m coming to your town(s). :)

Emily Wenzel Photography // Travel Schedule

This weekend, I’m working around the house — we’re hoping to get some flower beds in place, and we’ve got someone coming in to trim a few trees. I’m excited for spring!!

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