Q&A: My First Wedding, Tips For Success on Facebook, Using SmugMug

Here are the answers to last Friday’s open Q&A on Facebook.  Thanks to all those who participated!

1. Raj B.:  When was your first professional shoot and what was it about?  I wanna hear how you felt at that time.

I remember the first wedding I photographed in 2007.  The first few actually.  I would go back and forth between feeling confident and nervous as hell. Scared I would mess up… scared the client wouldn’t like the photos.

2. Arianna T.:  What was your most memorable photo shoot??

I can’t choose just one! A recent one that comes to mind right now was photographing Matt & Nichole’s wedding in the Cook Islands.  When we were heading out to the private island on the boat, I felt like I was dreaming.

3. Patricia F.:  How do you stay in such a good shape?

I eat healthy and exercise (hike with my dog and do Vinyasa yoga). My mom used to tell me that it’s impossible for me to gain weight because of my genes. That is not true! I didn’t exercise and ate crappy when I lived in NY, and during that time went up 3 dress sizes.

4. Oliva T.:  What was Julie Benz like in person?!

Julie is awesome. She’s laid back and fun. When I photographed her wedding, her husband was the picky one. Hahaha. Love you Rich!

5. Rosie H.:  What do you feel really defined your style as a photographer?  =What has been your biggest learning curve since becoming a wedding photographer?

Doing things based on my intuition…doing things that feel right….doing things that feel good.

Biggest learning curve… I feel like I’m constantly learning. I’m learning a lot right now about transitioning into the photographer I want to be. I’m in the luxury wedding market now and I also started teaching workshops. The way I have branded myself, I have to learn to be comfortable in the spot light. There are a lot of changes happening and although it can be a challenge, I like it because it’s necessary for growth!

6. Laurence D.: Are you single?

Yes, and I’ll leave the door open for anyone who wants to lift heavy things for me.

7. Haring S.:  Can you share with us a before and after (edited) photo?

Sure. My style used to be more muted but now I opt for more natural skin tones.

8. Margot D.:  Tips and tricks for success on Facebook?

Engage with your followers. Put out content that is only relevant to your branding. Update consistently, multiple times per day (I call this as “feeding the beast”).

9. Christine C.:  After you edit your photos, any tips for saving them and presenting them so that your clients can get their photos at the highest/clearest quality for prints or for web?

I use SmugMug. Clients can easily view and purchase prints from there.

10. Milton R.:  What college did you attend?  Did you always want to be a photographer?

I went to UCLA and majored in International Development. My gut always knew I wanted to do something creative, but wasn’t sure what exactly until . . . I got my first SLR camera one year after I graduated.

11. Jamie G.:  Out of all the events you have photographed, which one were u most satisfied with the quality of your final photo product and which one event were you least satisfied with? Why?

I can’t pinpoint one particular event but this is typically the recipe for feeling really satisfied:

– the event is authentic and emotional (lots of chemistry between whoever is there)
– the client and I have good chemistry
– the lighting is superb

The recipe for being least satisfied is the complete opposite. It rarely happens. People I don’t have chemistry with don’t hire me because my brand is clear on my site, and I like to educate everyone on the lighting before their wedding day. “If you want your photos to look soft and glowy, don’t have your wedding outdoors at noon!.”

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