Friday, May 29, 2009

Why you want a wedding album

One of the trends that I have noticed with the digital age is that people are starting to forgo the album in favor of the Hi-res DVD of images. It's only natural to assume that a generation raised with computers is content to view all their wedding pictures on a screen.

I think this is a mistake for several reasons.

But, before I tell you why you should be buying a wedding album, first let me come clean about the price. Wedding albums are the most expensive product that I sell. They are the most expensive to produce, the most time consuming to create and the lowest profit margin of anything I sell... and yet I really want you to buy one. Why? Why do I care what you buy? Shouldn't I want you to purchase the items that bring me more profit for less work?

No. I want you to buy a custom album and here's why:

1. It's an event.
An event? What does that mean? Well, it means that when you have an album you pull it out whenever you are talking about your wedding with friends and relatives. You turn the pages... point at pictures... tell stories about the day. It's a shared experience. Compare that to clicking through pictures on your computer screen. An album is tangible, you hold it in your hand and connect to it.

2. It's just long enough.
I may give you 10 pictures of the Father/Daughter dance but it only takes one to convey the moment. Less really is more when it comes to wedding photography. Sure, it's nice to have 700 images on a disk but it's too many for browsing or telling a story. An album collects only the very best images from the day and uses them to tell the story of your wedding. One red rose is simple, elegant and beautiful. Five-hundred red roses is just a mass of flowers.

3. It's an heirloom.
100 years from now your album will be sitting on your granddaughter's bookshelf. When she plans her wedding she will pull it out and show her fiance'. It will connect her to you in a way that a disk of images never will. She will one day give it to her daughter...

4. It's the best showcase for my work.
A flush-mount, leather clad, custom designed album is the absolute best way to present my images of your wedding. The pages are photographic paper and the prints are hand re-touched by me to perfection. I'm proud of what I do. I work very hard at it. I like to think that people who see my work will see it in the way it's intended to be seen. I know... seems a little selfish... but it's impossible to be a great photographer without having a passion for the art and that passion doesn't stop the day after your wedding.

Whenever I think of a client showing her wedding pictures to someone on a computer monitor that hasn't been hardware calibrated I cringe. You see, no two monitors are calibrated the same so what you see on your monitor is almost definitely not what the picture really looks like. Wanna test it? Print a picture and hold it up next to the same picture on your screen and see if the colors match. Trust me, they won't. This is the reason that professional photographers have an expensive little gadget that they attach to the front of their computer monitor every month. This gadget runs a test and then calibrates their monitor to true color. That's how I know that what I see on my screen is exactly what the print will look like.

I can't tell you how many times I have been at someones home or office and been amazed that they ever hired me since they viewed my website on a computer that turned everything green. Go into Best Buy and look at the TV wall. Look at the three most expensive televisions in the place and I'll bet the picture doesn't look the same on all three.

The only way to truly see a picture the way it was intended to be seen is to print it. And it needs to be printed by a professional lab, not the ink jet printer on your desk and not the 1-hour printer at the drugstore. I have a giant, professional, $1000+ photographic printer and I still don't use it for client prints (I use it for promotional material and test prints).

It's your wedding! You spent all that money and all that time in preparation... it deserves to be preserved in a way that is beautiful and tangible. When you take out a leather 12x12 album of your wedding day you are presenting the day in the finest way possible. It's a once in a lifetime moment and deserves an appropriate showcase.

This is why I offer payment plans on my albums when needed. If I have a couple who wants an album but can't afford it right now, I'll work out a payment plan because I want them to have an album. I don't care that it's hours and hours of work. It's worth it to know that all the hard-work and time I put into capturing the emotion of the day will be forever preserved in the most fitting way possible. I guarantee you that on your 50th anniversary, at the big party with your children and grandchildren, when everyone is gathered around your album laughing and telling you how beautiful you looked, you won't be thinking, "Gee, that was a waste of money."

Get an album. You'll thank me later. :)

Booray Perry Photography produces stunning wedding albums in Tampa

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Save the Date cards - Cheryl and Matt - Tampa

Cheryl and Matt are getting married in November and I'll be their wedding photographer. I love all my brides but I do have a special place in my heart for the ones who obviously have put a lot of thought into the kind of photography they want for their wedding. I have a passion for what I do and I have much more fun when my wedding couple is as excited about the creative process as I am. That's Cheryl.

We finally were able to take engagement photo's last weekend after four unsuccesful attempts (it's been raining all week inTampa). I've been designing a "Save the Date" card for them and below are my two favorites...

Booray Perry is a wedding photographer in Tampa Bay

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are you a thief in disguise?

One of the consequences of the digital age is that people who would never think of stealing are becoming thieves. They don't mean to do it, they usually don't even know that they're doing it.... but they are. I see it all the time.

I was talking about this issue just today when a good friend (and client) of mine said, "If I scan a picture of my daughter that I bought from a photographer, that's not stealing."
"Yes, it is."
"But I'm not making prints, I'm just putting the picture on Facebook."
"That's stealing and it's illegal."
"But it's my daughter in the picture and I paid for it!"

I hear this sort of argument all the time. Most people think that when they buy a print, they can do whatever they want with it. In fact, buying a print is no different than buying a music CD or a novel. We've all seen the record companies struggle to keep people from uploading their music to file-sharing sites and you can bet that Stephen King's lawyer would have a problem if you uploaded the entire contents of his latest book to Facebook. But tell someone that they can't upload a picture of their child that they bought and they look at you like you're crazy.

The thing you have to understand is that when you buy a photograph, you are not buying the right to reproduce it. Reproduction doesn't just mean making prints.... if you scan it or even take a photograph of it you are reproducing it. In the case of something like Facebook, you are making hundreds, maybe thousands of copies... one for each person who visits your page. This is illegal. It's just as if you owned a television station and broadcast movies that you bought at Wal-mart. Buying a movie at Wal-mart doesn't give you the right to broadcast it and buying a picture from a photographer doesn't give you the right to post it on the web (or send it to someone via email either). It doesn't matter what the subject of the picture is, what matters is who took it. The photographer has rights just as the musician and the writer do. (Did you know that radio stations and nightclubs have to pay a fee in order to play music?)

That's not to say that you can't purchase the rights to put your pictures on the web. You can. When I photograph a wedding I offer all the pictures on hi-res DVD with a limited release of copyright. The release gives you the right to print the pictures or put them online as long as it's for personal use. With portrait sessions I offer digital prints with the same rights and DVD slideshows that can be shared as well. I often post pictures on Facebook from sessions and weddings and my clients use them for their profile picture (I have my web address on them so I get some advertising and they get to share their picture for free. Everyone wins!)

I'll admit that some people are taken aback when they learn that a digital print costs $150. It may seem like a lot but consider the alternative. When you buy a full-size, hi-res image and post it online or email it you have, in effect, given a 20x30 professional portrait to every person you know. Hundreds of people. All of them now have a copy of your portrait. Imagine what it would cost to buy that many prints and mail them out. Plus, there's the added bonus of being able to re-print the image as much as you want forever.

Let's do the math: Sally has 240 friends on Facebook. A sheet of wallets(8) from her child's school pictures costs $20. It would cost $600 to buy a wallet-sized picture for every friend she has on Facebook. However, for $150 she can buy a digital print which she shares with everyone on Facebook and since she has a release of copyright, she can go down to the drugstore and they will make prints for her or holiday cards or a picture-pillow or anything else that they do with pictures nowadays. $150 is a bargain.

I guess part of the problem is that everyone uses digital camera's now and they all share their pictures on the Internet so it seems wrong that they would get a picture taken and not be able to share it that way. But we photographer's have to eat too and we can't support our families if people buy one picture and email it to everyone in the family instead of buying a couple of sheets of wallets (or a digital print). There's little we can do to stop it short of threatening to sue people all the time and no one wants to do that. I always make sure I educate my clients on the benefits of having their pictures retouched and printed by me. There can be no doubt that a print from me with a full retouch is head-and-shoulders above the same picture printed at a drugstore. Still, some people will pay good money for a professional photographer and print the pictures themselves (which is a little like buying a new BMW and painting it with a can of RustOleum.)

If you feel you must be able to post your pictures online, ask your photographer what he can do to help you. We want our customers to be happy.... we just don't want them to steal from us.

Booray Perry is a wedding and portrait photographer in Tampa FL.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tampa Dance Photography at Karl DiMarco

I spent the last three days shooting dance pictures at Karl DiMarco Dance Studio and it was a great experience. The costumes for the upcoming recital were really fantastic. I was blown away by how great everyone looked. This was made even better by the fact that all my subjects were dancers... THEY KNOW HOW TO POSE! Everyone was attentive and eager to get good pictures.

The very last costumes that we shot were the hobo's. Unlike the other costumes, each of these was unique and made by the girls themselves.

It's very common to use Photoshop when shooting group pictures because it's impossible to carry a 20-ft wide backdrop with you to every photo shoot. So, you position your group in the middle and use Photoshop later to fill in where the backdrop is missing. However, in this particular case I actually like the picture in it's original form. By leaving the extra background clutter intact you change the feel of the picture. Now, the picture takes on a more casual observer feel.... it's not a "formal portrait" anymore, it's now a snapshot of a formal portrait session. (Does that make sense?) Magazine's will sometimes photograph celebrities this way to give the picture a sense of casualness while still getting the benefit of excellent lighting. This picture is the only one that I offered to the parents un-retouched. I'm curious to see if anyone chooses this one over the "perfect" one. I'm guessing that I'm the only one who like it better this way. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The best of both worlds

I want to talk a little bit about a dying art form in wedding photography: Classic Portraiture.

The current trend in wedding photography (especially in Tampa with carefree beach weddings) is photo journalistic. Take a look at just about any website for a wedding photographer in Tampa Bay and you will see dozens of fun, candid pictures from the wedding day that "tell the story." This is my style of shooting as well, I typically deliver around 600 images from a wedding day shoot. It requires a certain skill and talent to be able to capture moments in a unique way that is still artistic and there are a lot of very good wedding photographers who devote a lot of time to this particular style.

What I don't seem to see much of anymore is classic portraits and I think that it's a shame.

You see, in the "old days" before the digital revolution, wedding photographers didn't take 600 pictures at a wedding. Film was expensive (and there's the cost of developing) so the focus was more on classic, posed portraits. We've all seen these pictures in old wedding albums... the family together, the cake cutting, etc.

Now that we use digital camera's we can shoot all day long with no added cost. The "classic portrait" has fallen by the wayside and rightly so... I think it's a little silly to "pose" people for the cake cutting. However, I do think that there is still a place for classic portraits in wedding photography, specifically when it comes to the bride.

Candid, fun pictures from your wedding are the most personal but it's the classic portrait that will last forever. When your long gone from this earth, your great grandchildren won't appreciate the fun pictures because they don't know those people, they don't have a connection to them. It's the classic portrait of you in your gown, beautifully lit, that will be cherished the most because it's just you at your very best.

Many brides don't want to take the time to pose and many photographers don't want to take the time to learn how to take the shot (or bring the equipment necessary. I can sometimes use three different flashes for one picture). I'm often a little sub-conscious about the formal portraits because it's the only time of the entire day when everyone is waiting for me to get set up. I just keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it when they see the pictures. The bride spends hours getting ready, then squeezes into a very expensive dress..... it should be captured in the best way possible. Even if you personally don't like posed shots, there are a lot of people who do (like your parents and grandparents, for example..)

Looking at the two pictures on this page it's obvious that the first one is the one with the most heart. The bride dancing with her father is one of the most emotional moments in a wedding (especially for me, I have two daughters. Don't be surprised to see your photographer crying right along with you!). But it's the second picture that will be cherished by future generations. The second picture will come to represent you and your wedding day over time.

Photo journalistic style and classic portraiture. There's a place for both of them in modern weddings.

See more wedding photography on my website.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tampa Engagement Photographs in Ybor City

Ybor City is one of my favorite places to take pictures. There are so many textures and colors to work with that I could spend an entire day thare and never take the same picture twice.

Here are a few pictures from Douglas and Danielle's engagement session. For more wedding and engagement photography in Tampa, visit my website.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Engagement photographs, Lindsey and Tom at University of Tampa

I shot engagement photographs for Tom and lindsey last week at University of Tampa (one of my favorite spots). They actually met as toddlers and have known each other their entire life. They were great together and we got some terrific shots.

For more Tampa Bay engagement pictures visit my website at