Wedding Photography on DVD

More wedding photographers today are providing full resolution and custom retouched JPEGs on DVD with full copyright release. But is getting your precious wedding images on DVDs such a great idea?

Some people, including a few professional photographers, believe DVDs may only hold data for up to 8 to 10 years at best. This is probably pretty accurate for most standard consumer grade DVDs. However, for archiving important files, gold archival DVDs are available which may keep precious photographs and other files archived over 100 years. You may find suppliers of gold archival DVDs by simply searching with this phrase in all the popular search engines. As of time of this writing, gold archival DVDs cost around $2.50 each. It is also good to know that there are blu-ray discs for high definition wedding videos which may expect to hold the video for over 200 years as well. To those photographers who are not so sure whether Gold Archival DVDs will keep wedding photos for so many decades, I remind them, gold is inert and does not oxidize. At minimum, it is reasonable to expect and believe 24 karat gold enveloped in a scratch resistant coating must be more archival than the conventional photo paper and chemical process which puts a wedding image on top of a sheet of paper! Yet, there are some photographers who want brides to believe the chemical process of putting an image on top of a sheet of conventional photo paper is more archival than 24 karat gold and which has been enveloped in a scratch resistant coating!

Brides who retain a professional wedding photographer who will provide her wedding images on DVDs might want to make sure the photographer uses gold archival DVDs. Some pro photographers, including myself, will provide on gold archival DVDs at a slightly higher cost. Brides who prefer not to pay the higher cost for gold archival DVDs know they will just be using the standard DVDs as a medium through which to acquire their wedding images for archiving on electronic storage media in its various forms. The DVD is simply a temporary portable means of sharing those images with others to copy and print.

DVD technology is therefore not a problem. But the concept of providing professional wedding photography with full resolution, custom retouched and full copyright released JPEGs on DVDs is the basis of a non-traditional business model for the wedding photographer. How does this new and growing “DVD wedding photographer” business model compare to the traditional “album package wedding photographer” model?

First thing you will notice which distinguishes these two photographers is the DVD wedding photographer does not contractually obligate the customer to a wedding album at time of signing the wedding contract. The DVD photographer prefers to allow the customer to first view their wedding photographs. Once the client has viewed her photographs, selected her favorite horizontal, vertical and various sizes, it can be more easily determined the wedding album the bride will actually need which best fits her particular needs and taste. Album package photographers on the other hand must obligate the bride to some pre-designed album package before the bride has seen any photography at all. While this makes business sense and must be required by the album package photographer, it is purely in the self-interest of the photographer and shows no concern for the best interest of the bride.

The second most distinguishing difference is that from the DVD wedding photographer the bride simply receives the valuable DVD of full resolution, custom retouched and full copyright released images. This benefit is not even on the table with album package photographers. And what a list of practical benefits the wedding DVD provides to the bride!

1. Cropping, retouching, photo tilting, blowing-up and other creative photo manipulation and control as she desires for her photographs and album(s).

2. If her photographer retires, moves out of state, passes away, goes out of business, suffers a business catastrophe or whatever, the bride has her wedding images! She has them!

3. If the bride’s wedding album gets lost, damaged or stolen, she can always easily have another new album created since she has her wedding DVD.

4. She does not have to pay the photographer a middle man fee to have prints made. She may send her photos from her DVD to her favorite online or local photo lab for printing at direct lab prices. Of course, we all know that album package photographers sure can have a middle man fee tacked on print and album prices!

5. Most, though not all, album package photographers require the bride and groom to place their album order within 30 to 60 days after the wedding date. This can often be an inconvenience for the new couple just starting and who have arrangements to make to get their new life together organized. Some photographers will rush the bride and groom through this process and that really isn’t the best way to make sure the bride receives a wedding album she is going to love. The DVD photographer does not require the purchase of a wedding album. If the bride wants to order one from her DVD photographer, she may do so at her convenience, on her schedule when she is ready. She may order an album if she chooses from any one of the dozens of online album services. It is her decision to do what she believes is best.

6. Depending on the wedding contract, with the DVD wedding photographer, the bride does not have to pay for an album which she may lose if she has to cancel her original wedding date. The only nonrefundable fee to the DVD wedding photographer is the booking retainer for the date. Any and all other money paid on the contract to a DVD photographer is refundable in the event the wedding date is canceled or rescheduled.

There are other differences inherent between DVD wedding photographers and album package wedding photographers but those differences vary in how both types of photographers choose to treat those issues in both their policies and contracts. That is beyond the scope of this article for me to address.

The reluctance of so many album package photographers today to accept the DVD photographer business model reminds me of the same reluctance to switch to digital photography from film. So many album package photographers were film photographers originally. It took many of them years before making the switch to the digital camera. Now that most of them have switched to digital photography, they still have this age-long industry mentality of placing their profits largely on the photographic prints and albums they sell. In this case, they want to keep the “digital negatives” and full copyright ownership and charge an arm and a leg for photographs and albums. But this old pricing philosophy does not take into account the inherent differences between digital photography and film photography as the benefits of each relates to the consumer and even to the professional photographer.

There are a lot of reasons why album package photographers still hold to the old business model. I’m not sure but I think it is mostly due to photo labs and album companies which are constantly providing programs and incentives to keep photographers thinking in terms of placing their profit on photographs and albums. Otherwise, there would be a dramatic decrease in business for photo labs and professional album companies. So photo labs and album companies have a lot of reasons to keep photographers thinking in terms of placing large profits on prints and albums.

But when it comes to digital photography, there are a growing number of photographers who feel that we can provide better and more efficient services and products to our customers through a different business approach. Instead of pricing photographic prints and albums at high enough prices to collect our necessary profits, we instead price our wedding photography skills and full resolution and custom retouched JPEGs at prices to collect our necessary profits. Unlike film negatives which were useful only for printing photos from, our JPEGs are immediately viewable and enjoyable “as is” right out of our cameras. Since wedding photography customers may use JPEGs in a wide variety of ways to include digital magazine style wedding albums and very sophisticated slide shows set to music, our “digital negatives” are in fact a more marketable or desirable photographic product than what photographs and wedding albums use to be. With all of today’s digital devices including large 50″ plus plasma monitors, being able to view one’s wedding day images as a sophisticated slide show set to music IS very often more enjoyable to modern brides than flipping through photos in a small book.

When it comes to pricing our photo quality images, there are a few basic approaches. First, the larger the JPEG, the greater the price per JPEG. Secondly, some photographers sell their photo quality JPEGs in quantity discounts. The more photo quality JPEGs a bride purchases, the lower the price per JPEG. Also some photographers do not provide a full copyright release and they definitely will not transfer copyright ownership under any circumstances. But some do and at a hefty profit and then only after a certain minimum number of JPEGs have also been purchased. The idea behind this pricing approach: We as professional digital photographers are selling our actual work; we are selling what the vast majority of electronic media savvy customers really want to have – the digital negatives. Finally, we are still getting paid and handsomely for doing this!

Now, IF and when the customer wants to buy photographs and albums, she may do so anytime after her wedding day. She may still order photos and albums from her photographer or from any of the many labs and album companies online. The choice is hers.

This article is not by any means intended to persuade album package photographers to switch to the DVD wedding photographer business model. (I don’t want the extra competition). I’ve simply hoped to explain why many of us have adopted this approach. I know this approach to operating a digital wedding photography business is NOT for everyone. Especially those photographers who feel they may lose money on the additional sales of photographs and albums if they give up full resolution images and copyright. That is a very good point in theory. And sometimes it is a practical fact. I’ve operated my business both ways over the years. For me, I personally feel the advantages to my customers and for my reputation far outweighs the loss of some extra income. Instead, I prefer to make more money serving more customers than trying to get larger sells from a single customer.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to both the digital photographer and to the bride when the photographer simply offers the full resolution and copyright released wedding images on DVDs to the bride.

The Five Biggest Wedding Preparation and Planning Mistakes

Just as with any big show, your wedding day will not be perfect – but that’s okay. While you cannot plan ahead for every little detail or problematic situation that may arise, you can arm yourself with some helpful advice to be prepared at all times for any potential wedding mistakes. But before you begin planning your special day, consider these five biggest wedding preparation and planning mistakes that amateur ‘wedding planners’ often make.

1. Not Budgeting Costs

It’s hard to believe, but true – many couples do not create a budget when it comes to wedding preparation and end up in a deep hole of debt. The very first thing you should do to avoid disastrous (and bankrupting) wedding mistakes is devise an itemized budget, allowing for the necessary requirements, such as a venue for both the ceremony and reception, food and drinks, flowers, favors, decorations, etc. If anything is left over, either use this money for your honeymoon or spend it on something a little more frivolous, like a horse drawn carriage for your departure from the reception.

Budgeting ahead of time also involves your acknowledging the fact that you may surpass the total by at least 10%. Surprises do happen, so cutting back on other needless things will ensure that you don’t go over budget too much. In these initial wedding preparation stages, you and your fiancé need to discuss who will be paying for what. It used to be that the bride’s parents paid for everything, but this ideal is slowly fading away. If you’re still coming up short on funds, there are literally hundreds of ways to cut costs for your wedding day, including having fewer guests, choosing an off-season date, selecting flowers that are in season, and having friends and family play a bigger part by making the wedding cake or trying their hand at photography.

2. Not Giving Yourself Enough Time

The image of the harried bride has been engrained into the psyche through a number of television shows that hype up the combination of little to no time and a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. This is why giving yourself ample wedding preparation time is necessary to ensuring that your wedding flows seamlessly. If you want a large, extravagant wedding, you need to begin planning at least a year and a half in advance; for a smaller, more intimate wedding of about 50 guests, eight months to a year is fine. You need to take into account what your plans are for your wedding and adjust your schedule accordingly to prevent costly wedding mistakes from occurring.

Giving yourself more wedding preparation time allows you to order your cake, dress, wedding favors, flowers, decorations, etc. well in advance so that you don’t come up empty-handed from last minute rushing. Allotting enough time also applies to your wedding ceremony and reception. Don’t keep your guests waiting at the reception venue while you and your wedding party are taking hundreds of photos – consider taking a majority of the pictures before the ceremony and the all-important couple, wedding party, and family pictures after the vows have been exchanged.

3. Not Delegating Responsibilities

Delegating responsibilities, wedding preparation tasks, and roles is vital – you cannot do everything! For brides, their bridesmaids are there to help them with the important duties of the wedding day, so creating a short list of responsibilities for each friend is not unexpected. Mothers, family members, and friends are also glad to help run a few errands or make calls for you if you ask. Just make sure you ask someone you know will get the job done on time.

Part of the wedding experience also relies on a number of people who require detailed wedding preparation directives from you, such as the caterer, photographer, florist, transportation and/or drivers, and DJ. Discussing your ideas with them ensures that you can work together on the same wavelength and avoid embarrassing wedding mistakes during the actual reception. You should also arrange for the wedding party to meet at the church or the wedding ceremony location at a specified time. Corralling so many people at the same time is what leads many couples to pick up the wedding party members at their homes. Late arriving wedding party members is one of the most frequent and sometimes uncontrollable wedding mistakes a bride and groom have to deal with.

4. Not Hiring a Wedding Planner or Someone You Trust

Many brides swear by their wedding planners, and yes, it’s true that they take care of just about everything involved in wedding preparation and planning, preventing a number of the more common wedding mistakes brides make. It’s kind of like you and your fiancé are the stars, while the wedding planner works behind the scenes for your big performance, seeing everything from start to finish. Wedding planners know all the ins and outs of great wedding preparation and planning and can help the couple find reliable caterers, bridal attire and supply stores, transportation, and DJs at lower prices. Before signing any contracts, however, talk with the wedding planner to see if it’s a situation you’re happy with.

While incredibly helpful, wedding planners can also be pricey, unfortunate for the bride who is trying to cut costs. This scenario goes back to delegating responsibilities – ask someone you trust to help you make wedding preparation arrangements and appointments with each wedding supply store and/or vendor. You can even scale back operations and have a simplistic wedding that you plan or DIY completely to save money.

5. Not Fully Considering the Reception Venue and Details

Sending your guests on a wild goose chase to find the reception venue is something that happens more often than you’d think and is one of the biggest wedding mistakes couples overlook. For out-of-town guests, this is confusing; for in-town guests, it’s an annoyance. Choosing a reception venue that’s close to the wedding site is a must, unless you provide the transportation to and from the reception. More than 15 – 20 minutes away is a hassle, and some guests may not even bother going if it’s farther than that.

Otherwise, if your reception venue is outside (or exposed to the elements), rain and windy conditions may appear so you should always have a back up in cases of inclement weather. A rained out wedding reception is one of the more common wedding mistakes brides have neglected to plan for. Part of the wedding preparation necessities should also include your requesting the venue’s landscaper to spray for bugs so your guests aren’t being bitten by mosquitoes and gnats.

Learn to Laugh Off Those Wedding Mistakes

Pre-wedding preparation, while helpful, will inevitably miss some little detail of your big day. These wedding mistakes (or, more likely, minor ‘blips’) are to be expected and may even provide a funny moment for you and your fiancé to laugh about in the future. Wedding mistakes do and will happen, but you shouldn’t be bothered by them. Simply go on with the show and smile – no one will know the difference!

When to Choose Classic Wedding Invitations, and When Not To

There are many types of wedding invitations to choose from when planning a wedding. Before making your decision, consider the type of wedding that you are having. This can dictate whether a classic style invitation is right for you or if you should use another style. There are several situations where classic wedding invitations are used. The most common is for a wedding that is taking place in a church or another type of formal ceremony.

Classic wedding invitations look like they are quite old fashioned. Most of the time, they come on one sheet of paper, without any folds. They are often in an envelope with a sheet of tissue paper, and usually have one or two colors. The background is usually white or off white, and the color of the printing is a dark color. There is usually a boarder, and the wedding invitation has important information about the wedding on the inside. This information consists of who is getting married and the time and place where the ceremony is being held. Classic wedding invitations are usually all the same general size, and they have a very formal and traditional tone to them. However, the colors and borders can be customized. It is also possible to customize the text on the invitation to make it your own.

When to Go Classic

There are several situations where a classic wedding invitation is the best choice. If you are very religious, and the biggest factor in your wedding is going to be the traditional, religious aspect of it, you may enjoy having the classic wedding invitation more than you would enjoy having a different, more contemporary wedding invitation. If you are inviting many people who have very traditional values, and you want to make the traditional values into what is most important in your wedding, you may also prefer to choose the traditional and classic wedding invitation.

You want to make sure that your wedding follows this traditional theme after your choice of invitations. This is important because it can help you make sure that you are on track for a formal celebration right from the start. Often the more classic and traditional wedding invitations are the best way to show right from the start that you are planning a traditional and formal wedding. If you are not planning a traditional wedding, it is still possible to use this formal invitation. Although it may not match the exact theme of your wedding, the invitations are very simplistic and you are sure to find one that works well.

When to Choose another Option

Even though there are plenty of reasons that you might want to choose classic wedding invitations, there are also some times where that style is not the best choice. If your wedding is very informal, a classic wedding invitation just is not going to match the theme or setting of your wedding.

Many times, traditional afternoon weddings, followed by evening dinners and receptions do well with the classic wedding invitation. However, weddings that are in the morning, with afternoon receptions, or weddings that are in the early evening with late night receptions are ceremonies that might benefit from a different type of wedding invitation. You have to use your best judgment and ask yourself if a traditional wedding invitation is really the best style for your ceremony.

In addition, if you are having a destination wedding, you probably do not want to go with the classic wedding invitation. A destination wedding is a great time to explore different possibilities when it comes to choosing this type of event , so you want to be sure that you are leaving your options open for the type of wedding invitation that you want to send out. A destination wedding in another location such as the beach, or a different country, may call for a more creative wedding invitation rather than a classic wedding invitation. In this case, you may want something that is the color of the ocean or a landmark of the country where the wedding is taking place. These are just a few informal ceremony ideas where a traditional themed wedding invitation would not work as well.

No matter what, you are going to have a decision to make. You want to take into consideration the overall theme or idea behind your wedding. You also want to think about the time of day, the type of wedding you are having, and the level of formality that your wedding is going to have. All of these factors are very important because they help you to show how important your special day is, and they help you to choose the wedding invitation that is going to mean the most to you. Your wedding invitation should be something that you really love and enjoy.