Wedding Cancellations Are A Bummer

But they do happen and I just had one happen recently. I never like to get that message, but it happens at least once a year. That’s why I wanted to post a reminder to couples to read your contracts carefully and make sure you understand what your signing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Most wedding vendors will have retainer amounts in their contracts. This is an amount that the vendor will retain if the contract is canceled by the couple. On my contract, the 1/3 paid at the time of the contract signing is a retainer that is nonrefundable. I also have all payments made within 30 days of the event are nonrefundable as well.

You might be wondering why. From the time we sign a contract together, I will turn everyone else away when they contact me about the date, potential income I’m turning down. I can only afford to do this if I know I’m absolutely going to get paid on the date I’m holding. Re-booking the date with a new couple is nearly impossible because the couples I turn down have booked with other photographers. So that’s why we have to have a retainer policy in the contract.

You’ll want to think about who is signing the contract, too. For instance, I had a situation where the soon to be mother in law paid for the photography, but the bride signed the contract, making the bride my client, not the mother in law to be. Any credits or refunds that might be due will go to the bride because she is the one I have a signed agreement with and only her.

Anyway, I always hope to not have cancellations in the first place. I’d rather be working and doing what I love. Read your contracts, keep copies of them, and make sure the appropriate person signs the contract.

More Likes at Facebook Equals a Deal For Everyone!

I’ve decided that I need more likes on Facebook and more sessions to shoot!

So here goes the deal. If I reach 1000 likes by Sept 30th, 2012 here at Crouse Photography, then I will offer FREE 1/2 hour sessions during the month of October. And yes I realize that is the most beautiful month of the year around here and that’s why I picked it. You have to like my page to qualify and I have to reach 1000 by midnight on Sept 30th, 2012.

If we make it, I will add a link to my scheduling website and post the link here for everyone to start scheduling their sessions. You can do family portraits, babies, engagement session, or trash your wedding dress, any session you like. You’ll get half an hour at any local location near Martinsburg WV (which we can discuss together at the time your making the appointment). The session must be scheduled during the month of October and will be hosted online for viewing and ordering. Reprints and digital files will be offered at discounted prices for those sessions only(contact me for the prices. They will be the same prices offered during my new web-hosting launch back in the spring) What a great opportunity to get your family together during the fall foliage! Start spreading the word NOW and get those likes adding up if you want a free 1/2 hour session!
Click here to like Crouse Photography

I Don’t Understand Why Photographers Want To Limit Themselves

I know a lot of the other photographers in the area. I’ve met them at bridal shows, photographer meetings, and other ways. I’ve never been much of a talker so I listen a lot and I’m surprised at how anti they are to some photography equipment and options. I’m not sure why a photographer would want to limit themselves, at least that’s how I see it. I know now your like, “What is she talking about?” so let me explain.

Lets start with tripods and monopods. I use tripods and monopods a lot, but I’ve heard other photographers say how they hate them and would never use one. When I hear this I raise my eyebrow in confusion but stay silent. No need to stir the beehive. At weddings I use tripods all the time. I like to try to keep my iso to no higher than 400 as much as possible, especially with the posed family shots. So I put my camera on a tripod and use a slower shutter speed with my flash color gelled to match the location lighting and on a light stand. If other photographers aren’t using a tripod I wonder how they are showing the backgrounds of dark churches? I guess they could bump their iso up to 1600, 3200, even 6400, but I’ve found when your album designing and you have to crop in close to something, that those high iso numbers introduce a lot of grain I don’t want. I use a tripod during the ceremony when I’m not allowed to use flash (some churches restrict flash use). Again for the same reason as above, I don’t want to use high iso numbers, plus the images are so much clearer when you shoot them on a tripod.

The image above was shot in a very, very dark castle with only one flash on a light stand at a slow shutter speed, 1/15 I think. If I had hand-held this the stairs would have been dark or I would have had to use iso 3200 making it grainy. I shot this at iso 400 making so I can crop all the way to her face with no quality loss.

I’ve also heard photographers say they hate using brackets. For those who don’t know what a bracket is, it’s a device that holds your camera and flash and makes it so you can always position your flash on top of your camera even when you are shooting vertical. Here’s a picture of one.

I love my strobo frame. I love that I can flip my flash to the top in a second. I’ve shot with my flash mounted directly into the hotshoe of my camera before and when I turn the camera vertical I get an ugly side shadow that I don’t want. I’ve tried bouncing the flash from ceilings and walls to eliminate the side shadow and sometimes it works, but having the flash directly above the camera while shooting vertical works even better. Maybe the photographers shooting vertical directly in their camera hotshoes know a secret I don’t to eliminate the side shadow. Please feel free to leave a comment about it if you do. I’d love to try your technique out, but until then I’ll stick with my strobo frame.

I recently read a thread on facebook between some photographers who said they hated a bunch of different types of special effects like white vignettes, black and white with color, faded look, and overlays etc. I guess that’s why the brides are coming to me because I do all of those effects and more. You might think a white vignette is old and outdated, but a brides mom who had an image like that of herself loves to have one of her daughter too. If a photographer chooses not to do those effects, that’s fine, but I think you are missing out on some sales you could be making. Why limit your potential. Just about every couple and their parents I meet with love vignette shots and selective color shots. Remember, it’s not about what the photographer likes. It’s about what your client likes.

That’s my two cents on the matter. I feel every time I hear a photographer say they don’t like to use something or do something they are limiting their photography world and potential sales they could be making.

Yesterday’s Wedding at Berkeley Castle

I t was an early wedding. I had to get up at 5am. Being so early and the fact that the bridal party were an hour late getting to the rehearsal, I figured the bride and bridesmaids would not be ready a 8:15 am and I was right. Not a big deal, it happens all the time. As I tell all my brides, “If we don’t get it done before, we’ll just do it after the ceremony”. It just makes the after session a lot longer and I have to cut out the more creative stuff I planned to do. Which I was sad about this time because I’ve never shot at Berkeley Castle before and had all kinds of cool ideas I wanted to do. Oh well, that’s the way wedding photography goes. Maybe next time.

Wedding at Berkeley Castle in Berkeley Springs WV

At least it didn’t rain even though it was burning hot. It was probably better we didn’t do outdoor shots before the ceremony because the bride would have melted into a puddle of white lace and chafon. The ceremony went perfectly even with six kids all under the age of ten. The kids did make the group shots after the ceremony quite interesting as they wondered in and out of the frame. I was using a very slow shutter speed on a tripod because the castle is very dark and in one shot a little boy jumped in from no where and he looks like a ghost in the shot. I don’t know how the couple will feel about it but I thought it was neat looking and kept it in.

The reception was at the Bathhouse at Cacapon state park. Normally it’s a great place for a reception but yesterday I guess it was just too hot for the air conditioners to keep up and it was a bit warm in the room. I enjoyed meeting the string quartet that played at the ceremony and reception. They were very nice and extremely talented players. They called themselves the String Poets and I highly recommend them. The fairy tale theme went wonderfully with the castle. I think it turned out to be a great day and the couple seemed so happy. I hope they had a safe trip back to Michigan.

Need a Wedding Album Made From That DVD Collecting Dust?

You took all those photos. Now you can sit back and let Crouse Photography design the album.

Did your photographer happily hand you a disk then disappear leaving you
unsure what to do with your images? Then give Crouse Photography a call. I can
help you get your images into a beautiful and affordable wedding album

Crouse Photography provides photographers and brides with custom-created,
magazine-style albums. You just send me your photos on CD, DVD, or Blur-ray and
I hand you back a magazine-style, custom-designed album or your design on DVD in
PDF or JPG format.

My Millers Layflat books, Millers layflat Albums, and Photobooks by
Zookbinders are some of the most beautiful and affordable wedding albums made
today. The layout of each album is done on computer so each page is a unique
creation. The albums come with photo covers and are an original design based on
your wedding colors and tastes.

The Millers Panorama Albums and Zookbook Panorama Albums are a nice step up
from the options mentioned above. The covers are made of leather and the inside
pages are thicker and made to last and be handed down generation after
generation. They also feature computer laid out pages like the albums above
giving your photographer complete creative freedom.

All of my wedding albums come with a variety of photo styles from color to
black & white, infrared, sepia tone, selective color and overlays. This is
why my albums are so unique and are cherished for a lifetime.

Contact Crouse Photography for pricing information.

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About to leave for an Engagement session at Hagerstown City Park

Before I take off to shoot another engagement session I thought I’d share a pic I took at Hagerstown City Park a while back.

I always liked this pic. Hopefully I’ll get some today that I like too. And the couple too, I hope they like them. I’ll be posting on my website a new session soon, a family/ engagement portrait session. You can see all my current work by going to this link All the hosted sites are open to the public so don’t be shy, take a look and see if there’s anything you like.

Outdoor Family Portraits

Enjoy One Fantastic Day together, and come away with breathtaking portraits that capture the magic between you.

Crouse Photography is an unforgettable outdoor family portrait experience, as you come together for a personal pro location portrait shoot by one of the area’s most imaginative contemporary photographers.

Crouse Photography specializes in dynamic and exciting location portraiture for real families. Not a hurried session in a studio. A fun, involving day out, planned around your life, and captured forever in a set of beautiful images. For more information please contact me at

Crouse Photography is your family’s chance to experience the excitement of a professional outdoor photo shoot, with the attention of a professional lifestyle portrait photographer focused solely on you.

How it works

When you schedule me using the following link:

I’ll call you to talk about your shoot. You’ll tell me who’s going to be in the photographs, who else you’re bringing to the shoot, and where you might like the pictures to be taken. We’ll discuss clothing and ideas you have to make your images more personal. I will also take a credit card number or send you a pay pal invoice to lock in your date and time. The session fee is $125 plus tax.

The shoot itself

Your photography shoot is a family event in itself. It’s a fun hour to share together, like going bowling, or going out for lunch together. It’s exciting, and well…really rather glamorous. We’ll meet at the location chosen at the appointed time and get started right away. Feel free to bring props and family pets.

Who’s going to be in your pictures?

You’ll have your own ideas about who the stars of your photography shoot are going to be. For lots of our clients, it’s simply their children. But almost all combinations of family members, and even some people outside your family group, can make for fantastic portraits. Crouse Photography specializes in energetic, lifestyle portraiture.

After the shoot

I like to take a week or so after your shoot to look carefully at all the pictures we’ve shot, and make a selection of images. If these need any digital wizardry to bring out particular aspects, this will be done during this time. The Images will be hosted online for viewing and ordering for 60 days. A link to your photo site will be emailed to you. Feel free to pass the link to other family members and friends. After the 60 days you will need to schedule an appointment for a portrait viewing.

Choosing your location

The place you choose could be at your home or at a park. It could be in your home or garden. The important thing is that we’re not only looking for a backdrop: we’re looking for a setting in which your family can live, breath, laugh and play naturally while I captures your interactions.

A piece of moorland where you go walking with the kids and your dog? A tree under which you like to picnic? A favorite beach? A rundown old lock-up where your husband and son tinker with the car? We’ll discuss ideas with you when we speak. (It’s worth keeping in mind that busy public places can be a little difficult to work in and may require special permission to shoot and sometimes a permit.)****

Leaving the location to me

I’ve found that some people prefer to put themselves entirely in our hands, and wish simply to turn up and be photographed in a beautiful place. I will give you suggestions and directions to places you’ve never been.

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