You Might Be A Thief: The Common Practice of Copyright Infringement

Here’s a startling reality - you’re probably guilty of copyright infringement or at minimum, know someone who is.  

Today, I want to talk you about Copyright - something that most of us don’t know much about and hopefully offer a bit of education for both photographers and everyone else.*

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What is Copyright?

"Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.” That means that at the moment that shutter clicks - whether it’s on your phone or a $3000 camera, you own that photo - pretty cool right?

If you reproduce an image that you did not create, whether on social media, your website, or physical print, and you do not have permission from the owner - it is theft.  

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How does that apply to me? 

Whether you’re a photographer or not, you may have very easily committed this crime or have had it committed against you without realizing it.

Like me, most of you probably haven’t read Instagram’s Terms of Use.  However, I’d like to highlight a very interesting section for you.  Under the section, Rights, #4 it reads - 

"You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Service or otherwise have the right to grant the rights and licenses set forth in these Terms of Use; (ii) the posting and use of your Content on or through the Service does not violate, misappropriate or infringe on the rights of any third party, including, without limitation, privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights; (iii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of Content you post on or through the Service; and (iv) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms of Use in your jurisdiction.”

Have you ever seen a photo on Instagram, Pinterest, or even Google images - saved it and posted it on your website or your Instagram account? That’s theft. Maybe you gave credit to the original photographer? Still theft.  If you don’t have permission, it is stolen and you've violated Instagram's terms of use. Side note: It’s even harder to find the original on websites like Pinterest.

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Alright, you’ve convinced me, I’m a thief.  What do I do if I’m not a photographer who can create their own images?

  1. Hire a photographer to do some branding photos for you.
  2. If you see a photo you want to use, ASK for it.  Many photographers want the exposure and are more than willing to let you use their image.  Personally, if I have worked with vendors at a wedding, I am more than happy to share those images with them.  It helps all of us in the wedding industry. 
  3. Expect to pay - if you ask for an image, they may let you use it, but if you’re a business trying to sell something and you want free images for advertising, that may not happen.  If you’re making money off of someone else’s work, they need to be paid too.
  4. Use stock photography (not google images) - there are many stock photography websites out there - some even free.  

 

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Someone has stolen my images - HALP! What do I do?

  1. Screenshot the image for your records.
  2. They may not realize what they’ve done is illegal.  Take a moment to be flattered that they like your work, but then educate them. DM or email them letting them know that they are violating copyright law - reference the terms of use if necessary.
  3. Ask for payment (you set the price) or for them to remove the photo. As photographers, we make our living off of our photographs and we can’t afford to live on “exposure”… but that’s another topic…

If it gets really intense, there are more aggressive routes.  Format.com offers some great guidance HERE.

Have anything you think I should add? Have any experience with this yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

*I’m not a lawyer, but would encourage you to reach out to one if you’d like a deeper understanding of copyright laws.

All images from our Minimalist Styled Shoot

Mr. + Mrs. Harrison | Sanctuary Estates | Cleveland, GA

This wedding was so full of sentimental details and nostalgic moments.  I have known Tori's family all growing up and was friends with her brother and his now wife.  Her grandfather was even my bus driver when I was in Elementary school! There were so many blasts from the past for me at this wedding and it was so special to see Tori and Will become husband and wife after so many years.  I'm so thankful they allowed me to play a part in this special day!  Some of my favorite moments included Tori and her father arriving by horse drawn carriage and their epic Father-Daughter Dance!

Venue | Sanctuary Estate, Cleveland, GA

Dress | Winer, Winnie Couture

Cake, Catering, and Florals | Tim at GG Events

Make up | Bombshell Creations

Hair | Shannon Davis, Kuts n Kurls

DJ | David Osbourne, Sound Insights

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How/ Where did you two meet?

Will and I met in the 8th grade. I was the third wheel while he was on a date with one of my bridesmaids Allie Benton. I "apparently" spilled sweet tea on him that night, because I didn't like him.

How did he propose?

Will blind folded me and took me on a picnic to his grandmothers land and proposed in the woods.

What are you looking forward to most about being married?

Being able to wake up next to Will in the morning.

Rachael + Travis | Piedmont Park Engagement | Atlanta Photographer

This lady may look familiar because she was a bridesmaid in Chelsea and Justin's Wedding last month.  For their engagement session we went on a stroll through Piedmont Park and stopped at a few favorite spots along the way.  Rachael and Travis were high school sweethearts and now they're finally tying the knot!  Can't wait for this sweet couple's wedding at the Cator Woolford Gardens!  

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Mr. + Mrs. Campbell | The Engine Room | Monroe, GA Wedding

I met Chelsea many years ago when we were just preteens so it was so special that I was able to be there to capture her Wedding Day.  Justin is the perfect fit for her and I am so excited for them both as they start their new life together. The wedding day itself was so full of sentimental details and people.  Justin's grandfather officiated the ceremony and family friend, Jeff Foxworthy, hosted a special "dollar dance" where guests paid to share a quick dance with the bride.  They also incorporated their love of UGA with a red pom pom exit!  

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Campbell! 

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Setting The Mood | Anderson House | Washington, DC

Last August, I had the pleasure of traveling to Washington DC for the Jeremy Chou Workshop where we were able to participate in a few different shoots.  The inspiration for this shoot was "Setting the Mood".  It turned out that this day was dark and dreary outside which helped in setting the mood for us.  Shooting inside with little light proved a bit difficult for film and was definitely a learning curve for me, but Jeremy taught us a little about pushing film and shooting hybrid and below are the results.  A big thank you to Jeremy and to Elizabeth for her vision and direction.   

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Photography: Holly Von Lanken Photography

http://www.hollyvonlanken.com/ @hollyvonlanken

Workshop: Jeremy Chou Photography

http://www.jeremychou.com/ @jeremychouphotography

Creative Direction: East Made Event Company

http://www.eastmadeevent.com/ @eastmadeeventco

Florist: Wild Green Yonder

http://www.wild-green-yonder.com/ @lori_tran

Calligraphy: Julie Ha Calligraphy

http://www.juliehadesign.com/ @juliehacalligraphy

Hair & Makeup: Georgetown Bride

http://www.georgetownbride.com/ @georgetownbride

Cake: Fleur and Flour

https://www.fleurandflour.co/ @fleur.and.flour

Gowns: Emily Riggs Bridal

https://www.emilyriggsbridal.com/ @emilyriggsofficial

Hairpieces and Earrings: Maggie Wu

https://www.maggiewustudio.com/ @maggiewustudio

Rings: Susie Saltzman

https://www.susiesaltzman.com/ @susiesaltzman

Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes

https://www.bellabelleshoes.com @bellabelleshoes

Models: Patrick and Fontaine from Modelogic

http://modelogicmidatlantic.com/ @modelogic @patrickkearney_official @fontainelexis

Furniture Rental and Tabletop: White Glove Rentals

http://whiteglove-rentals.com/ @whitegloverentals

Candlesticks

@chris_targoni_clay

Ribbons: Frou Frou Chic

http://www.froufrouchic.com/ @froufrouchic

Styling Surfaces: Simply Rooted

http://simplyrooted.co/surfaces/ @simplyrootedsurfaces

Venue: Anderson House

http://www.societyofthecincinnati.org/ #andersonhouse

Alex + Tim | Piedmont Park Engagement Session

I absolutely loved getting to meet and spend time with Alex and Tim.  They are so sweet with one another and for their engagement session we went to Piedmont Park where Alex and Tim had their first date.  I can't wait for their wedding next Fall at the Taylor Grady House in Athens, GA!

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Emily + Matt | Cator Woolford Gardens Engagement

I'm so glad I got to finally meet these two and photograph them for their engagement session at Cator Woolford Gardens.  Emily and Matt met while at Auburn and will say I do this summer at Ashton Gardens and I can't wait!

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Mr. + Mrs. Sherer | Monday Night Brewing Wedding

I loved getting to be a part of Wendy and Chris' big day at Monday Night Brewing.  Every detail about this day was true to this couple and their 70s Bohemian vibe.  The ceremony was beautiful and intimate outside at Monday Night Brewing's patio.  Even down to the music -only 70s and 80s music allowed - this couple stayed true to their theme and themselves.  Thank you for letting me share in this special day, Mr. and Mrs. Sherer!  Congratulations!

How did he propose?

He proposed at Smyrna Market Village, where we met and had our first date.  Our friend, Ally LeFevre, hid behind bushes and snapped photos of Chris proposing.  It was such a sweet gesture for her to record this special moment.

Describe your fiance in 3 words:

Sincere, Generous, and Passionate

What are you looking forward to most about being married?

I am looking forward to sharing new experiences with Chris. Both the big things like traveling to Europe and the little things like coming home to him every night.

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Photographer | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Venue | Monday Night Brewing

Hair and Make Up | Margaret Snider

Shoes | The Loft

DJ | Chris Watson of Lethal Rhythms DJ

Caterer | Happy Belly Food Truck

Floral | Candler Park Flowers

HVL Photo Travels | Christmas in New York

Last December, my mom and I took a spontaneous trip to NYC.  I got tickets to the Jimmy Fallon Monologue Rehearsal and then not much convincing was needed for us to use up my parents hotel credit card points, some skymiles, and book a trip to New York... in December... where dreams come true.  Seriously though, New York at Christmas time is kind of magical.  Everything is decorated and it just feels happy.  In the book, "1000 Places to See Before You Die" there's a whole section devoted to NYC at Christmastime.  I think I might need to start making annual treks to New York.  There's always something new to see.  This time we were in the city for only a few days, but we got to do and see some new and exciting things!

new york city christmas

Day 1 - December 10, 2016

We got to the city, dropped off our bags at the hotel and started to stroll around the city.  We went to go see the New York City Public Library, wandered by the Chrysler Building, went into St. Patrick's Cathedral across the street from 30 Rock and did a quick trip into Macy's, who's storefronts are definitely worth a see.  

new york public library christmas
new york city public library christmas
new york public library christmas
new york public library

One thing to note is that apparently lots of people are there to also see all of the Christmassy things so foot traffic by Rockefeller Center was pretty nuts. Oh, also, apparently Santa Con was going on so there were Santa's EVERYWHERE.

grand central station christmas
grand central station christmas
st patrick's cathendral
st patrick's cathedral christmas
rockefellar center christmas

Day 2 - December 11, 2016

We hopped on the subway and headed over to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  I'd seen the outdoor memorial before, but hadn't had a chance to go into the museum.  It is definitely worth the trip.  It is one of the most somber museums I've ever been in.  One reason is that anyone 20+ is old enough to remember that day and how it made them feel.  To see and relive that day is sobering.

st paul's trinity church
one world trade center
9 11 museum

After the museum, we took a train under the river to Brooklyn.  Next time I go, I want to hang out in Brooklyn more.  We got pizza at Grimaldi's in DUMBO and took some photos by the water because that was one of the reasons this photographer wanted to go there. Side note on Grimaldi's - apparently the Original Grimaldi's was in a smaller building a few doors down from this one.  Then they got bigger and moved to the building pictured.  Then in the 90s Grimaldi sold his pizzeria and rights to his name to the now owner, Ciolli.  Here's where it gets good - a few years ago, Grimaldi opened up a new pizzeria in the original Grimaldi's place with it's original brick ovens!  Since he couldn't use his own name, the new/old place is now called Juliana's.  So, which one is the real deal? Next time I'm there, a trip to Juliana's will be on the list.

Grimaldis pizza brooklyn dumbo

After pizza, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge!  This was also on my list of things I wanted to do and let me tell you, it was freezing, but worth it! It started snowing an hour or so later when we went to a market set up in one of the squares where my friend, Tiffany was working!

brooklyn bridge dumbo
dumbo brooklyn
manhattan new york city
brooklyn bridge
brooklyn bridge new york
brooklyn bridge
had to include some iphone pics :)

had to include some iphone pics :)

That night we went and saw Matilda on Broadway, which was awesome and TKTS pulled through for us.  We had only enough time to run back to the hotel real quick, but we made it the theater and seats were great.

matilda nyc

Day 3 - December 12, 2016

The day we left, we went and got some Stumptown Coffee, went to look at the giant tree at Rockefeller Center and then piddled around while we waited to see Jimmy! 

jimmy fallon monologue nyc

Quick shout out to my friend, Kristen for snagging a photo of us!  This was the day that instagram live was new to Instagram and Jimmy Fallon was testing it out during his monologue rehearsal that we were at!  KP saw us when the paned over the audience and took a screenshot! MVP.

What are some of your favorite things to do in NYC? What should we do next?

 

HVL Photo Travels | Washington D.C.

I'm getting the travel itch again so instead of buying a plane ticket I'm sharing some photos from Washington D.C.... much cheaper.

I had the opportunity this year to attend the Jeremy Chou Workshop in D.C. and after two full days of learning and styled shoots I had a day on my own to explore and sightsee.

As we'd been shooting film all week, I decided to keep it going and only took along my Pentax 645nii to capture places around our Nation's Capital.

Scanning and Developing | The Find Lab

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

world war II memorial
World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

washington memoria reflection pool
Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

DC War Memorial

DC War Memorial

Potomac River

Potomac River

Thomas Jefferson Memorial with Airplane

Thomas Jefferson Memorial with Airplane

National Archives Museum

National Archives Museum

Montaluce Winery Wedding Photographer | Dahlonega, GA

Erik and Elissa were married at the beautiful Montaluce Winery and Resort, though you may have been fooled in thinking that they were married somewhere in Tuscany.  Villas provided the bride and groom places to get ready while still enjoying tuscan views. The beautiful North Georgia mountains provide the perfect landscape for the rolling hills of the vineyard.  The beautiful vines crawling up the stone walls of this venue make me long to travel to Italy.  Erik and Elissa shared their vows in the cellar of the winery and their reception took place in the restaurant with dancing on the balcony overlooking the vineyard.

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Mr. + Mrs. Bick | 173 Carlyle House Wedding | Norcross, GA

Amy and Kevin were married at the lovely Carlyle House in downtown Norcross.  This wedding was full of love and fall colors for a late October wedding in Georgia.  I actually knew Amy from our AXO days at UGA and it was fun to reconnect with her through the whole wedding process as well as see the other AXO girls who made up half of the bridal party.  I'm so so excited for these two as they start their new life as man and wife together.  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Bick!

How/ Where did you two meet?

Kevin and I met at the University of Georgia through our mutual friend Meghan Jordan during the first week of school. I took Kevin on my first sorority braves date night and I remember rewriting my text message over and over again to ask him out. It ended up being "Hey this is Amy Z from Centennial, do you want to go on my Braves date night with me?" Of course he said yes, and he ended up paying for all of the food and drinks on the date night, lets just say I wasn't exactly sure how sorority date nights worked, and I guess I should have paid. Kevin and I ended up falling into the same group of friends at UGA and we went to almost every UGA football game together. We have been inseparable ever since! Since college we have made it a priority to work hard, but to always travel and have fun wherever we go.

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How did he propose?

Kevin planned a mountain weekend trip as a birthday present. We stayed in a cabin right outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. On our way to Tennessee, we stayed the night in Athens and went to a nice steak dinner at Porterhouse (A restaurant neither of us could afford while in college). We went out in our old stomping grounds, and then headed in for the night. On Friday, we hiked for a few hours in Talulah Gorge and then we got back into the car and drove another few hours to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. We got to our final destination slightly behind schedule- it was around 5:00 pm and starting to get dark. We hiked up a trail named Clingman's Dome, which overlooks the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina. Kevin had planned one last hike for the day to an overlook named Andrew's Bald. On our way to this final hike, we ran into a park ranger who advised us to not go, because it was getting dark and there were bears in the area. I was okay with heading back due to our long day of hiking, but Kevin was determined to finish the hike before sunset. Andrew's Bald was a beautiful overlook of the Great Smoky Mountains. No one was there and it was very peaceful, we both sat in silence to take in the moment. I wanted to get a panoramic picture of the view before it got too dark. In the middle of my picture, as I was turning to my right, I saw Kevin down on one knee. He said "Amy, put your phone down" and I threw it on the ground, and what he said after that was a blur. We had a great weekend together in Gatlinburg, and kept our engagement a secret besides telling our parents on Saturday morning. It was a perfect weekend just the two of us, but we were both eager to share the news with our family and friends. We are both so excited to share our wedding day with our closest family and friends!

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Describe your fiance in 3 words

Kevin: Sociable, Smart, Planner

Amy: Laid back, kind, thoughtful

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Venue | Carlyle House

Dress | Suite Bridal

Cake | Cathy Clement, Publix Aprons Event Planning

Paper | Minted

Florals | Maria Schendzelos Designs

Hair and Make Up | Taylor Gutierrez/ Ashley Martin of Blush

Videography | Evan and Jenna Creative

DJ | Jermaine Jennings, Spontaneous Entertainment

Mr. + Mrs. Wood | Bradford House and Gardens Wedding | Flowery Branch, Ga

Page and Brian were married at the Bradford House and Gardens in Flowery Branch, GA.  This quaint little home was the perfect spot for their intimate wedding.  Their bridal party consisted of each of their siblings playing the parts of maid of honor and best man and I must say this might have been the most calm wedding I've ever been a part of.  Usually, I am the one being calm for everyone else - a common theme amongst the sweet reviews I've received.  However, on this day, no one needed me to be calm.  It was a new feeling.  Also, I have to brag on the staff at the Bradford House.  They were some of the friendliest people I've met.  They made sure to provide the best service for both their clients and vendors present at the venue.  

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Love is the Only Gold Inspiration | Anderson House | Washington, DC

Back in August, I had the pleasure of attending the Jeremy Chou Workshop in DC.  During our workshop, we had the opportunity to participate in several different styled shoots.  Each one was carefully designed and crafted by Elizabeth of East Made Event Company.  For this particular shoot, the inspiration was "Love is the Only Gold" using fine gold details in a gold room at the Anderson House in Dupont Circle.

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Photography: Holly Von Lanken Photography

http://www.hollyvonlanken.com/ @hollyvonlanken

Workshop: Jeremy Chou Photography

http://www.jeremychou.com/ @jeremychouphotography

Creative Direction: East Made Event Company

http://www.eastmadeevent.com/ @eastmadeeventco

Florist: Wild Green Yonder

http://www.wild-green-yonder.com/ @lori_tran

Calligraphy: Julie Ha Calligraphy

http://www.juliehadesign.com/ @juliehacalligraphy

Hair & Makeup: Georgetown Bride

http://www.georgetownbride.com/ @georgetownbride

Bridal Boutique: Carine’s Bridal Atelier

http://www.carinesbridal.com/ @carinesbridal

Gown Designer: Berta

http://www.berta.com/ @berta

Veil Designer: Peter Langner

http://www.peterlangner.com/ @peterlangner

Hairpiece: Maggie Wu

https://www.maggiewustudio.com/ @maggiewustudio

Ring and Earrings: Susie Saltzman

https://www.susiesaltzman.com/ @susiesaltzman

Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes

https://www.bellabelleshoes.com @bellabelleshoes

Model: Jillian from Modelogic http://modelogicmidatlantic.com/ @modelogic
@jill_models

Settee: White Glove Rentals

http://whiteglove-rentals.com/ @whitegloverentals

Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic

http://www.froufrouchic.com/ @froufrouchic

Venue: Anderson House

http://www.societyofthecincinnati.org/ #andersonhouse

Mr. + Mrs. Capps | Mercer University Wedding

Grant and Candace met at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and were introduced by mutual friends at Sanford Stadium.  After graduating, Grant went off to Mercer University's School of Medicine where he is studying to be a doctor.  I love college campuses and I'm so glad we got to incorporate both of these into their photos!  Their engagement photos were taken at UGA and they were married at the Newton Chapel on Mercer's campus in Macon, GA with their reception following at the Blacksmith Shop.  

These two are so full of joy and laughs and danced the night away at their reception.  There were many heartfelt moments and I'm so excited to share this sneak peek with you. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Capps!

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Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Second Shooter | Hannah Youngblood

Ceremony Venue | Newton Chapel at Mercer University

Reception Venue | Blacksmith Shop

Wedding Coordination | Heather Perrin

Bridal Shop | Carrie's Bridal Collection

Cake | Lori Thigpen

Caterer | Alexander's

DJ | Rusty Pearson, Entourage Entertainment

Mr. + Mrs. Boyd | Dunaway Gardens Wedding

Ansley and JB's wedding day was simply magical.  The ethereal venue that is Dunaway Gardens provided the perfect outdoor oasis for Mr. and Mrs. Boyd to say "I do".  It was a lovely September day with the weather providing hints at the start of fall.  The elegant woodland theme was evident throughout through their color choices, decor, and even favors.  Ansley and JB are also two of the kindest people and I'm so thankful to have been chosen to photograph their big day.  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Boyd!

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Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Second Shooter | Shelby Norris

Venue | Dunaway Gardens

Videographer | APV Wedding Films

Caterer | Tulla White Cuisine and Catering

Rentals | Lagrange Rental Company

Invitations | Of the Earth

Bridal Shop | J Andrew's Bridal and Formal

Calligraphy | Carried Todd Keller

Ceremony Music | Luna Strings

Band | Norris Dates and Power Surge

Florals | Ross Harper and Jimmy Mitchum

Jewelry | Ara Terzian

 

5 Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer at a Consultation

Ok, so you're searching on line and there are LITERALLY (read like Chris Traeger) thousands of photographers. They come in every area, price point, and varying styles.  You may have also heard horror stories from some friend of a friend who read a blog about this girl who's photographer was horrible and you don't want that to be you.  You've finally decided to chat with a few of them, but you don't know what to ask.

Here are a few questions that will help you sort out hobbyists from professionals as well as help you feel comfortable and confident with your choice of the person to capture one of the most exciting days of your life.

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1. Do you have a business license*?

This is a yes or no questions and shouldn’t take long to ask.  It may even be in their FAQ page if they have one.  However, it will sort out the hobbyists from the professionals.  

2. Do you have insurance*?

Another simple yes or no question that will help you sort out professionalism of any vendor.  This is also a great question because many venues will require a photographer to have insurance.

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3. Is this your full time job? / How long have you been in business?

If the answer is no, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good photographer or aren’t professional, but it does mean that their time may be limited and scheduling meetings or engagement sessions, and response time to emails may prove to be a little more difficult.  Asking how long they've been in business may also provide you with an opportunity to hear more of their story and how their business got started as well as giving you confidence that they've been through this process many times before.

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4. Can I see a full real wedding gallery?

I’ve seen many photographer’s websites that only contain images from styled shoots. While these images may show off what a photographer can do, a styled shoot is nothing like a real wedding day.  At a styled shoot, you have plenty of time to photograph every aspect of the shoot and shoot it multiple ways.  You may be using models who don’t need much direction.  There may even be a stylist who has arranged all the details for you and has created a table with far more detail than you might see on an actual wedding day.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love styled shoots, but if you’re a client, you need a realistic expectation of what your day might look like.  Most brides are not models, the details are often arranged by the photographer. Styled shoots also don’t offer you the ability to see what family photos or dancing at the reception might look like.  Many photographers may be like me who’s favorite photos are those with the bride and groom and so we over show those photos and forget to show the actual reception.  As a potential client, look through the gallery not at whether or not you like the details in the photos, but if you like how they are composed, the coloring, how their photos with flash look, etc.

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5. Lastly, ask any clarifying questions you may have and get to know you questions. 

This could be be anything from how do you do family portraits? What does a timeline look like? What does “retainer" mean?  Most likely you’ve never been married and this may all be brand new to you, but your photographer and other vendors have been a part of many wedding days and would be happy to make sure you feel comfortable.  It also may not hurt to ask some questions about them and how they got started or even what they do when they're not photographing weddings.  You will be spending a lot of time with this person on your wedding day so make sure you hire someone who you puts you at ease.

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*Note to Photographers: 

If you’re making money or intend to make money shooting weddings, you need to have a business license and insurance.  Weddings are a big liability and you need to protect yourself as well as your clients.  If you want to be a legitimate business this also means paying taxes. If you need any help to get pointed in the right direction, I’d love to meet with you. If you don’t have a full real wedding gallery because you’ve only been second shooting, that’s fine!  Be open and honest with your clients.  They may be able to get a great deal on their wedding photography because they are willing to take a risk with someone who is newer. I'm so thankful for those first clients of mine who took a risk and allowed me to prove myself.

If you're a photographer or vendor, I'd love to hear what other questions you'd suggest couples ask before hiring a wedding photographer.  Leave a comment below!

Mr. + Mrs. Kostopoulos | Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation | Atlanta, GA

It was so good to be back at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation for Claire and Pete's classy wedding day.  I met these two through Pete's cousin, who's wedding I photographed last year.  This day was beautiful despite a little bit of rain and we were still able to head outside for that beautiful natural light and white beams of the courtyard.

How/ Where did you two meet?

University of Georgia, sophomore year on Pete's birthday (9/10). Started dating February of senior year. We grew up about 3 miles away from each other but went to different high schools so we didn't meet until college.

How did he propose?

New Orleans. Just ate at Antoine's, came back to the hotel to change shoes before beignets at Cafe du Monde, he said "I can't wait any longer" and asked in the room.

Describe your fiance in 3 words

Funny, selfless, creative

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HVL Photo Travels | Key West, Havana, and Cozumel

In light of Irma, I decided it was time to share some views of the Caribbean in it's sunnier days.  I'm so glad I was able to visit these places and hope that the towns and the people are safe and recover well.  Our hearts go out to you!

This year for our mother/ daughter trip my mom and I decided to go on a cruise.  I'd never been on one before and they're actually pretty affordable.  We started researching and I came across one on Royal Caribbean that listed Havana, Cuba as a port of call and that was that.

A week before our set sail date, the President announced that he was cancelling Obama's policies about our relationship with Cuba, which meant our ship might no longer be headed to Cuba.  Thankfully, we were still allowed to go as planned.  If you're interested in traveling to Cuba, you can read up on it here.  In summary, there will be no more independent travel, but group tours will be allowed.  

Day 1: June 21, 2017 - Tampa

Mom and I arrived to Tampa the day before and we were able to go to a Tampa Bay Rays game.  If you haven't learned already, I love baseball and I love travel so getting to visit a new ballpark to check off the list was awesome.  Also, Tropicana field was like none other.  I had the hardest time wrapping my brain around it because it was INSIDE.  This makes complete sense for Florida as it is either very hot or very rainy.  It wasn't crowded and it also happened to be $2 hotdog night!  We ate our hotdogs and had some OJ (tropicana field... it felt appropriate) and went and saw the live devil rays in their tank.  The next day, we checked onto our ship, The Empress of the Seas, and began our journey!

Day 2: June 22, 2017 - Key West

On Thursday, we woke up to the bluest water I have ever seen.  We docked in Key West and explored around.  Technically we were still in Florida just with more chickens. 

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We took the trolley and saw the Ernest Hemingway House, the lighthouse, and stood in line to take a photo with the Southernmost Point in the Continental US.  We found the Starbucks because we wanted Key West mugs to add to our collection, but apparently those don't exist... just Florida.  (Starbucks, if you're reading this, please make a Key West Mug.  Thanks!) Key West is mega touristy and while I enjoy some touristy things (like famous buildings and museums 'cause I'm a nerd) I'm more of a go where the locals go kind of girl.  

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If you've ever been on a cruise, you know that they provide various forms of entertainment.  One of our favorite activities was the guest lecturer! She is a professor and has lived in Cuba and our nerdy selves loved listening to her about the people and giving us lots of helpful insight for our next day in port.

Day 3: June 23, 2017 - Havana

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On Friday morning, we woke up in Cuba!  Falling asleep in one country and waking up in another is a unique experience that I hope everyone gets to try at least once. It took forever to actually get off the ship and into the city.  We signed up for a walking tour as there is very little information about Cuba on the interwebs including maps.  When we were in Paris, we downloaded city maps from google to our phones so that we could still make our way around without internet.  You can't do that for Havana.  It's blocked.  

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Eventually, we made our way through security and customs and exchanged our money.  Got that Cuba stamp in my passport!  Note: There are multiple currencies in Cuba.  There are CUP and CUCs.  The CUP is the Cuban National Peso for the local Cuban people.  CUCs are the Cuban Convertible Peso, which is supposed to be equal to the US dollar.  After fees, it comes out to about $0.87 on the dollar.  Be careful though because 25 CUPs are worth 1 USD.  Always check your currency.  

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I feel like I learned so much about Cuba and it's culture that there may not be enough room in a single blog, but I can share some of the highlights.  Finally walking out into the city after so much anticipation was amazing!  You walk to the Plaza Vieja and the city is alive with hustle and bustle and antique cars and vibrant people everywhere. 

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We took the walking tour, which actually also turned into a partial bus tour as well.  They took us to a place where we could try Cuban coffee, cigars, and rum.  While I felt the tour was a bit too long and I would have preferred to walk around on my own, we learned and saw a ton.  We eventually broke off from our group (I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that mean?) and got lunch at a local restaurant, bought some treats on the street, along with some cigars, coffee, and rum to bring home, and  explored more on our own.  We went to the Camara Obscura, which is super cool and only cost 2 CUCs.  It's this crazy lens that projects the city in real time.  It's not recorded or digital.  It's on the roof of a building in one of the plazas and also has a great view of the city.  Next time, if there ever is a next time, I'm jumping in a taxi and heading out to see the rest of the city.

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Day 4: June 24, 2017 - Cozumel

Cozumel was actually one of my favorite stops because our activities (or funtivities) were some of my favorites. We debated back and forth about what we wanted to do and I'm so glad we chose what we did.  We booked the Jeep Tour.  These Jeeps were old and falling apart (I'm talking exposed wires, non working dash, and alignments that would make you drive in circles.) . I'm pretty sure none of these cars would have passed an emissions test in Atlanta, but that just made it more authentic. :) We made some friends who happened to be in our tour group the day before and jumped in the jeeps.  We drove first to a beach to go snorkeling, which I'd never done before, but was so fun! Our guides were really great too because no activity felt too long or short and we got to experience it all.  After snorkeling, we drove over to a little beach where we were originally supposed to go, but the water wasn't clear enough for snorkeling.  Then, we went to a lighthouse which had some pretty views and some giant waves crashing on rocks, which is my fave.  We also saw some mayan ruins before heading back to the ship.  

Day 5: June 25, 2017 - Day at Sea

On our day at sea, we avoided the pool since that was where everyone was going to be.  We got some coffee and went to a second (yep) Cuba lecture by the same professor.  I still find it all fascinating and it was nice to be able to hear more since having experienced a little bit of the culture.  For the rest of the day, we hung out and read books and just enjoyed some rest after exploring 3 cities in 3 days.

Day 6: June 26, 2017 - Arrive in Tampa

Landed back in Tampa and made our declarations.  

Have you ever been on a cruise before? If you have, or want to go on one, where would you want to go?