Archive for February, 2012

Sportsman’s Lodge Wedding Photographer ~ Mia and Danny ~ The Wedding

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Mia and Danny planned a lovely wedding at the newly renovated Sportsman’s Lodge. It was a very classic, elegant affair; to the red and black color scheme and very personal ceremony-Mia and Danny carefully thought out every detail of their day. It was a day truly centered around family and friends-Mia and Danny felt that everyone there was important to them and it really showed.

And some of the other vendors that made their day special:

Officiant: California Marriage Officiant
DJ/MC: Baby Boom DJ (On a side note, probably one of the best MC’s I’ve ever worked with)
Bakery: La Crème Bakery

Mia and Danny opted for a first look and I couldn’t have been happier. They had lots of family and bridal party photos scheduled and this look allowed them a few precious minutes alone.

Mia is an absolute classic beauty.

This is probably one of the most beautiful looks I’ve ever seen a groom give his new bride.

Northridge Wedding Photographer ~ How to select a videographer

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

One of the biggest questions that I get is, “do you have a videographer that you can recommend?”

I’ll usually send you a few names of people I like, but my favorite videographer to work with is Jeremy of On Bended Knee Films. He and I have been working together for ages!

I asked him to write a guest post on how to select a wedding videographer and he was nice enough to agree. BTW: just a small disclaimer-Jeremy and I do refer potential clients to each other, but we never give or receive anything for it. We just work well together and are super confident in each others work.

This is a great read-well worth the time and even taught me a few things I didn’t know!

by: Jeremy Dayton/ On Bended Knee Films

So, you’ve decided to hire a videographer. Congratulations!

Wedding videography is an affordable and extremely rewarding option.

Since you’re already on board with hiring a videographer for your big day, now the question becomes, what do you look for? How do you find a videographer that best fits you?

Well, we’ll get into that. But first, let’s try a little exercise:

I want you to think of your favorite movie of all time. Now, think of the scene that stands out most from that movie? Think of the scene that gives you goosebumps. That line that makes you shiver.

Are you there yet?

Whether it’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet on the Titanic, John Cusack with a boombox over his head, or Julia Roberts with Richard Gere, there was a feeling. The feeling you get from any of those movies is the feeling that the ideal wedding video will elicit, only it will be tenfold in emotional impact because it’s personal.

So what it really boils down to is style.

There are a few styles of wedding videos. There is the cinematic style and the documentary style. Now there are different levels of cinematic video production, so we’ll break it down into three levels: Upper, Middle, and Standard.

1. Upper level packages are for those with an extensive budget allotted for videography. This entails steadicams, jibs and cranes. It’s a full on production and can look like a film set. DSLR cameras are often used for these shoot, to provide a stunning, film like look. Think Big Screen in 3D. Think $8,000 plus.

2. The middle level brings with it a level of sophistication as well. A tool commonly used for shoots of this nature, are called sliders. Sliders provide a short dolly track for video cameras, to reveal elements of your wedding day in a very stylistic and cinematic way. DSLR Cameras are used at this tier as well. Think Big Screen. Think $2,500 plus.

3. Standard cinematic packages use elements from the two above, but without the equipment. Most of the camera movement is by hand. Think television. Think $1,500 plus.

Why did I explain these differences?

Because the first thing you need to do is decide WHAT YOU WANT in your wedding video. As a professional videographer, I get asked all the time what I offer. While I offer a wide array of packages, and cover each tier of packages, the most important question to me is, “What do YOU want?”

With your wedding dress, I venture to say you searched and searched until you found one that suited you. One that you know you’d look great in. With your venue, you chose one that best fit your needs and desires. Your video is no different. The first thing you should always do is ask your friends for suggestions. Watch their videos. See what you like. Referrals in the wedding business are probably more prevalent than any other profession.

After you’ve asked your friends, ask the vendors that you’ve already hired. Some coordinators have a preferred list, as do venues. Photographers, especially, usually have at least one or two that they prefer to work with, if given the chance. The one thing I suggest to ask any vendor you ask for a referral is: how many times have you worked together? I prefer it when a referral is strictly a friendly suggestion.

If you haven’t found someone that you’re happy with via referrals, the first thing you need to do is search different videography websites and watch some sample videos. Figure out what types of video you enjoy watching the most. What videos elicit certain emotions from you? When you find a video you like, inquire with that company.

Make sure that the videos you are watching are actual client videos, and not a special demo reel made up just for the website. (Many videographers will have an account with Vimeo or Youtube, where they hold an extensive library of videos, usually connected to their website). If it’s not easy to find, ask them for a link.

After you’ve found companies whose style seems to mesh with yours, set up an appointment. A personal relationship with your vendors, especially ones who will play such a direct role in your entire day, such as your photographer and videographer, is extremely important. A good photographer/videographer will make you feel at ease. When you meet with any potential videographer, if you already liked their style, and you get along with them, all that’s left is price.

Prices can vary dramatically depending on what you are looking for and where you’re trying to find it.

When I was starting out, there were so many little things that I didn’t realize the importance of. I was still able to deliver great wedding videos, and I built my business off of the referrals from those weddings; but over time, you learn where to be, what to anticipate, and how to act and those things only come with experience.

To get a quality wedding video, with a cinematic montage and a custom made DVD, you’re probably going to spend a minimum of $1,500-$2,000 but rates will vary between vendors.

Spending more money doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better product either. There are a few secrets you should know when asking about price with your videographer:

1. The high end production companies: Their prices are inflated to account for heavy overhead.

2. The production companies that pop up first in search engines: First, they pay good money to get to the top of Google and Yahoo, so they want to recoup that money. They do so in their prices. Secondly, these places sometimes sub contract work to less experienced videographers. You may still get a great deal from these companies, but make sure to request a primary shooter when booking with these places. They often make their money through pure volume of sales, so while they offer competitive prices, they also don’t spend as much time on each video, or the editing is passed off to someone else.

3. Smaller “in house” production companies, usually offer the best deals. Their package prices reflect the time and effort put into your video, and nothing else. No advertising or overhead to inflate the prices. With that said, a point can be made that there is less reliability with these options, since they usually don’t have the online credibility afforded the bigger places. For those issues, you can always look to bridal websites like,, and You’ll find hundreds of brides more than willing to offer up reviews of their vendors. Most of these sites have a review section as well, so you can just type in the name of your vendor, and see what’s been said from his/her previous clients. Either way, that brings us back to the steps previously mentioned.

Watch the videos.

Meet the videographer.

Go with your gut. This is YOUR big day.

And more importantly, all the sights and sounds that you’ve worked tirelessly to gather together for this perfect day will be professionally captured by the videographer you carefully selected. You’ll be able to vividly remember every last detail as you sit down later to relive the day that changed your life forever.

Here are some questions to ask your potential videographer:

1) Will YOU be the videographer, or someone on your staff?
-If not you, who will it be? When will I meet them?

2) What type of equipment do you use? Microphones?
-How do you record sound?
-Will you/they bring backup equipment?

3) What type of lighting will/can you use? (Good to know if your location
will need additional light).

Good luck in your videographer hunting, and congratulations on your engagement!

Northridge Wedding Photographer ~ Bride’s Choice Award

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

We won the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards 2012! That means we are in the top 5% of Wedding Pros nationwide. Thank you so much to all of our couples! We really appreciate it!

Weddings, Wedding Venues
2012 Bride's Choice Awards | Best Wedding Photographers, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Cakes, Wedding Florists, Wedding Planners

Northridge Wedding Photographer ~ FAQ’s

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Hi! We get a lot of questions this time of year…everything from: tell me about yourself, to the kind of equipment we use, to what we’re going to wear on your wedding day. So, I put together this FAQ to answer some of the more common (or interesting, or just plain amusing) questions we’ve received over the years:

1. What kind of experience do you have?

I feel that this is the first question that you should ask a photographer. It’s SUPER important to get along with your photographer, but if they don’t know how to, say; shoot in the rain, under low light, with location restrictions, or anything out of the ordinary, you should keep looking. I’ve been a professional photographer for 10 years. My background is in photojournalism, but I’ve primarily focused on wedding, event, and portrait photography for almost as many years. In that time, we’ve probably encountered almost any venue, lighting, or weather issue you can think of and handled them without a problem.

2. What kind of equipment do you have?

I won’t provide a total laundry list (but our extensive collection gives me the greatest excuse to indulge in my camera bag habit. Currently, my favorites are my Kelly Moore and my Undfind); however, we shoot with Canon 5D Mark II’s and bring at least 3 back up camera bodies to each wedding in addition to all Canon L-series lenses.

3. Will you bring Brian with you to my wedding?

Most of the time, yes. When he’s not available, I have some fantastic second photographers I would trust enough with my own wedding.

4. Awwww, it’s OK, bring Ian to the session! I want to meet him!

This was a comment I received a lot during the holiday season, so, thank you! I would LOVE you to meet him before he learns how to flush Lego’s down the toilet and ask to borrow the car…but this time is about YOU. Your children, your session…When you come by to pick up your photos he’s usually keeping me company in the office and he loves meeting new people (especially people with things to chew on).

5. OK, come on now…what’s your worst wedding experience?

Easy: Mine

6. Will you do my headshots?

Nope. If you want some nice, relaxed, environmental portraits showing off who you are-I’m your photographer! Headshots are an entirely different kind of photography; but I’d be happy to refer you to some great photographers.

7. How about my B-Pics?

First, I am SUPER flattered that you asked and trust me enough to do them. I think Boudoir photography is a beautiful art form and I wish I had some of those photos taken before I had Ian. Frankly, I feel that you should go to people who specialize this in art. Again, if you’d like some referrals, please just ask.

8. Do I get the rights to my images?

You can use your wedding photos for unlimited personal use-prints, photo albums; those super cute keychain or mug things…we’ll even give you a permission letter for printing.

9. Can you match the pricing you charged my friend?

Depends: when did your friend get married? If it was in the last two years-probably; just ask. If it was more than two years ago-possibly not, but I’d be happy to customize something for you.

10. So, we’re your favorite couple, right?

Is there wedding cake involved? What flavor? That’s a huge deciding factor, you know.

11. I emailed you awhile back and didn’t get your pricing-why?

We’re sorry! Please email me again. We get lots of inquiries and, unfortunately, sometimes things can be missed or end up in SPAM. Also, as a side note-if you’re another photographer and you want to know my pricing please don’t pose as a bride or groom. Just ask and I’d be happy to send it to you. :-)

12. Will you go anywhere for an engagement session?

Assuming there are no geese involved, sure! :-) Some packages include local engagement sessions and some include sessions anywhere in the Los Angeles or Orange County areas. We can work something out-let us know where you want to go. Along those lines, if you need some suggestions, I’d be MORE than happy to provide you with some!

13. Why didn’t you blog my session?

That’s a good question. It’s NOTHING personal-honest. I send all of my couples and clients samples within 2 weeks of their event-usually a lot sooner (some may even have their photos done at that point). Until recently I’ve been focusing on emailing and Facebooking (like us on Facebook) the images. Blogging does take a lot of time, BUT, I’m actually making a point this year to try and blog the majority of my sessions. Some, I can’t due to privacy (or shyness) reasons but expect a lot more posts on the blog this year.

14. Where do you work? Can I come over?

Lots of places! Sometimes, I work with other photographers at their studios, sometimes: Starbucks or Coffee Bean for a change of scenery…but most of the time I work out of my home office. If you’re not allergic to cats or babies, you’re welcome to come by and meet me (and Ian and One Eye) there.

15. What if you haven’t been to my venue before?

On the off chance I haven’t had the opportunity to photograph your venue before, we offer free walk-throughs of your venue before your event. In fact, this is a service we offer even if we HAVE been to your venue before. I may know your venue inside and out, but there may be parts of your venue that you love and want to show us. Please do!

16. So, then, what ARE you going to wear to my wedding?

I always thought it was a given that wedding vendors wore nice, (usually dark) clothes. Over the years I’ve seen vendors wearing anything from t-shirts to jeans! I never know what to say when I see that – I am blown away! We always wear wedding-appropriate dark clothes to your event.

17. Can I tell you what photos I want taken for my wedding?

Oh my…I have a long overdue post coming about “shot lists” but for now, I’ll say just this: we have a lot of suggestions; but if there are photos that are important to you, by all means, please send them-I’d love to see them. But, please, please, don’t send me one of those pre-made lists that has suggestions like, “Bride walking down aisle,” or “bride getting ready.” LOL! :-) Send me what matters to YOU!

18. How do I know you can shoot an entire wedding and not just 60 great images?

Good question! If you’re considering Karen Leah Photography as your event photographer; first, thank you. Second, some of my clients have agreed to have their weddings used as samples…all 800-1200 (and sometimes more) images. If after we meet (in person, over the phone, or via skype) you’d like to see an entire wedding, please let me know and I’ll send you one.

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me an email and we’ll include it on an upcoming post!