Rinat Halon

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Posts Tagged 'Rinat Halon'

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As soon as Maty contacted me I knew I was dealing with a uniquely wonderful young woman. She found me online, knowing that she was coming to visit Disney all the way from Tennessee; Maty came up with the original and fun idea of having her senior portraits done – at the Magic Kingdom. Maty saw I was previously Walt Disney Imagineer’s in house photographer, so she realized I knew the Disney parks inside and out.  She also loved how colorful my photos are on my web site. She put two and two together and reached out to me to see if I can help make her dream come true.

At the same time here in Orlando myself and the rest of the state of Florida were going through Hurricane Mathew. You got to believe me when I say that getting a text from someone who claims they are in school and will call me when they get out to discuss senior portraits – I thought someone was pulling my leg as, well, Florida was closed at the time and everyone was sitting put under careful waiting for this massive storm to pass.

But as it turns out Tennessee, of course, had school that day, and Maty and I planned her senior portrait session over the phone and met in front of the Magic Kingdom gates one very early morning.

Our concept was a Disney fashion shoot. Maty loves bright colors – a girl after my own heart – so she wore a couple of very bright colored outfits for this session.

And there we were, on the Magic Kingdom’s crowded Main Street – snapping away as waves of people, kids and strollers pass us. At the beginning I realized Maty was feeling uncomfortable in front of all these people. I walked up to her and said “just look at me, pretend none of these people are here. It’s just you and me, and we are turning your dream into reality. Just think about that, realize how happy you are, and ignore everything else” Maty smiled her beautiful smile at me, and from there on she was enjoying every moment of the experience.

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As I was photographing I was wondering to myself what will happen first – will I get run over by the mob rushing to see the show at the castle, or Disney police will walk up to me and escort me out of the park. But neither of these happened. And I realized no one cared. It is, after all, the happiest place on earth. And in that spirit everyone was busy – being happy.

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We ended our session on the Dumbo the flying elephant ride. Turns out it’s a favorite ride for both Maty and I, and proving you are always a kid at heart no matter what your chronological age you actually are – we both jumped on the ride. I asked Maty to sit behind me, and as the ride started, and Dumbo was airborne, I turned around and saw Maty stretched her arms out in pure glee, I snapped a few frames and I knew it was a wrap. We succeeded in this pursuit of happiness. What an incredible high school senior session!

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On a personal note, after the session, on the way out of the park I passed Walt’s portrait. It is hanging by the entrance, just a black and white standard 8×10, most people pass it and not even notice it. When I was WDI I had to photograph in the parks before and after opening hours. Whenever I was photographing at the Magic Kingdom I would stop in front of Walt’s portrait and say hello. After the senior session with Maty, on my way out, I stopped in front of Walt’s portrait again. I smiled at him and thanked him for this incredible place he created. And I swear he smiled back at me. Hey, it’s possible. it is the Magic Kingdom after all.

For more information about high school senior portrait packages available and to book a session CLICK HERE

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When is the last time you got something in the mail except bills and ads? I mean, something that really got you excited and made you happy?

I realized that on my last birthday when unexpected greeting cards came in the mail. It made me so happy to open the envelope, and glee with excitement to read these love notes. A couple of cards even made me tear up. And I hung all the cards I received on my pantry door in my kitchen, where they hung for months and months after my actual birthday, reminding me that I am loved.

Honestly, one hand written greeting card made me happier than 300 people posting Happy Birthday on my Facebook wall. Why is that, I wondered.

In this virtual world we live in it seems we all live online, and the hand written word is disappearing quickly. But the value of putting pencil to paper, of someone’s familiar handwriting, the feel and smell of the paper it is written on – that is so valuable. Because that is what makes us human, separates us from a machine, and connects us on a personal level. And all this is lost when using a virtual greeting instead.

Another thing that is lost in a virtual greeting is – the greeting. I mean, how many of you scroll back to see your birthday wishes after your birthday has passed? I am going to venture to guess none of you do that. But if you had a hand written card? Would you throw it out the day after your birthday? Or would it be sitting proudly on your desk for months after you received it?

As a professional photographer I am now preparing for the holiday season coming up sooner than we realize. Starting October I will be busy with capturing family sessions, to ensure I have their portraits ready to be put on holiday cards and mailed out to their loved ones to be received in time for the holidays.  

Because no email or Facebook post will ever replace the feeling you get when you walk to your mailbox and between the bills and junk mail find a hand written envelope addressed to you – and inside it is a card that not only has a beautiful photograph on it of this family you love so much – but also a hand written note, to you, telling you they are thinking about you during this holidays season, and that you are loved.

I am going to bet that you would wallpaper your fridge with these holiday cards! Because they are tangible, and therefore have the ability to make you feel connected with your loved ones no matter how far away they are physically from you. They just send you their essence in this holiday card – and you can feel it.

Happy holiday season everyone!

NOW BOOKING 2016 HOLIDAY PORTRAITS, Contact Rinat to book your holiday portrait session available in the greater Orlando Florida area at 407.607.3297 or http://rinathalon.com/family/

 

 

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Like any other young girl growing up, I looked up to Marilyn Monroe as the idol of beauty. Her perfect hair, her perfect smile, her soft voice, that sense of mystery her eyes reflected. She was the essence of what being a woman meant, all bottled up into one perfect looking model of femininity.

I never thought much about the influence Marilyn Monroe had on my definition of femininity until I had a photography job at a Marilyn Monroe spa. I was there to photograph the opening of this new spa location, and between the guests, the food, the drinks and the music just like in Susan Vega’s song, Marilyn’s face watched us from the walls. I was drawn into her photographs, all beautiful, perfectly depicting this ideal symbol of femininity. As oppose to my childhood when I only saw her outer beauty, now the mystery in her eyes pulled me in. It was almost like she was asking me to come in behind the perfect façade and meet the real Marilyn Monroe.

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Click here for the Marilyn Monroe Spa web site

Just as I was thinking that, Marilyn in the flesh came walking out into the spa, working the crowds, her presence so strong everyone stopped what they were doing to follow her outside and watch her perform “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” to the delight of the audience.

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Kelley Thomas Singing Diamonds are a girl’s best friends as Marilyn, click on the photo to see Kelley’s FB artis page

I have seen a few Marilyn impersonators over my career, but nothing like the quality Kelley, this Marilyn, brought to the most famous sex symbol in the world. It was as if she was channeling the real Marilyn. Right then and there I knew I wanted to get her into my photography studio for a photo shoot.

Having no idea of what I was going to do or what I wanted to photograph, when Kelley agreed to come to the studio I started researching Marilyn Monroe.

Knowing that before she was Marilyn Monroe she was Norma Jean. I searched to see what Norma Jean looked like. Coming across one of her earlier photographs, there she was: young, happy – and with a head full of brown curls, a cute smile revealing teeth that are not so perfect and playfully holding a camera. She looked nothing like Marilyn Monroe. She looked like, well, many cute Jewish girls next door, and could easily be mistaken for one of them. In fact, she reminded me of someone. Me. She reminded me of myself when I was 15. Before my TV show at 16. Before I became known. It was unbelievable, and made me even more curious about the mystery behind those eyes of the iconic Marilyn – how did she go from Norma Jean to being the world’s most known sex symbol?

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Norma Jean as photographed by her friend and photographer Andre de Dienes

First thing I learned is that the name Marilyn Monroe was given to her by the studios. In fact, when she first took on the name she had to ask how to spell it when she had to sign autographs. That tidbit of knowledge made me smile. Amusing enough as it is, it’s even funnier as I cannot seem to be able to spell the name Marilyn Monroe either. Every time I type it into this blog article the red spell check lines appear. On the other hand the name Norma Jean comes out naturally.

While researching online I came across a series of black and white photographs that stood out from the rest of the glamorized Marilyn Monroe photos. It was a black and white series shot by Alfred Eisenstaedt – the legendary life magazine photographers. Captured in 1953 at Marilyn’s back yard. As only good photographers can do in these photographs Alfred created portraits of her soul. Marilyn, wearing a black turtle neck, seems comfortable in her own skin. These are the only photos I ever seen of her looking real. Vulnerable. And a little sad. These are the only photos I ever seen of Marilyn where I could see Norma Jean’s soul reflected through her eyes.

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Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt

I knew that is what I wanted to capture in my studio. I called Kelley and asked her to bring nothing but a black turtle neck.

When Kelley sat in front of my camera, Marilyn wig on and the black turtle neck, we started talking about Marilyn.

It was incredible to watch how our conversation was bringing Marilyn to life through Kelley right in front of my camera. Being the committed professional that she is, and such a sensitive soul, Kelley was able to follow my directions and at one point of the shoot I felt like it was Marilyn herself sitting in front of me, reminiscing on her days as Norma Jean.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

She told me that despite her world fame she was always very lonely. She told me about people she trusted manipulating and using her to their benefit. She told me how she had no idea she was going to become so famous, as no other actress before her ever got to be sp famous, and she felt she was not truly prepared for the pressures that came with the fame.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

That venerability, that sadness in her eyes that Alfred caught so many years ago – there it was in her eyes reflecting through my lens. We did it Kelley and me – we brought Norma Jean back to life.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

I was a little embarrassed, but share with Kelley that the night before the shoot I dreamed about Marilyn. I don’t remember my dreams often, but this one was clear and concise. Marilyn said to me: “You and I have more In common than you think”. In my dream I looked at her puzzled, “Really?” I asked. She just smiled her mysterious smile and shook her head yes. “You’ll find out” she said.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Kelley and I looked at each other shaking our heads; we didn’t know what it could be. We laughed it off and kept photographing. Only later, when we were almost done with the shoot Kelley said: “You know, she really just wanted to be a mother. She had to get abortions 6 times. All the other actresses did as well back then, because they were considered to be owned by the studios. When she was finally ready to get pregnant her body couldn’t hold the pregnancy.” I was tearing up behind the camera. There it was. The answer to my dream, Marilyn was right, I did find out what we had in common. I never imagined her wanting to be mother, as many people who meet me can’t imagine I never became a mother because I could not, not because I didn’t want to.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

 

As we were wrapping up Kelley told me how when Marilyn died she still owed money on her house. It seemed everyone was making money on the iconic Marilyn – except her. “But she was just starting to take control of her own life” said Kelley “right before she died she started making changes, she started planning her future and deciding what to do next that would benefit her first. And then she was found dead.”

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

I named this blog post “I Am Norma Jean” in honor of this strong, uncompromising woman. This woman who until recently, like the rest of the world, I could only see her outer beauty. Thinking forward, my wish is that every young woman who finds out about the iconic Marilyn Monroe – is also taught about Norma Jean. Norma Jean, the face behind the façade. The lonely soul that just wanted to be loved. The woman who came from nothing, took her destiny in her own hands and despite her fears – kept bettering herself. Learning from her mistakes and making changes as she was walking life’s path. Because without Norma Jean – who she was, her personality, and the actions she took – Marilyn Monroe would not exist.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

 

  • We are currently looking for a space to exhibit these portraits seen here and more from the photo project “I Am Norma Jean. If you are interested in sponsoring the exhibit please contact Rinat at rinat@rinathalon.com.

Every couple planning their wedding day dreams their beautiful vision will come to life perfectly – and dreads the possibility it will not.

How do you ensure your wedding day is perfect? Well, you really can’t. A wedding day is a very complex day, comprised of many moving parts and relay on many people’s involvement and efforts. If one thing doesn’t work in this chain – it can create the domino effect that may turn a beautiful wedding day vision into a frustrating mess.

The good news is, there are two things you can do to increase the odds of your wedding day success exponentially

The first one is PLAN. Plan as much as you can. Research, prepare, create vision boards. Ask recently married couples what they would have done differently on their wedding day if they could. As the saying goes – planning, really does – make perfect.

The second thing to do is HIRE PROFESSIONAL WEDDING VENDORS. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING will affect your day as much as your decision who you trust to execute this most important day of your life.

Professional wedding vendors understand it’s a team effort and will work together to carry your vision into reality. They are reliable, knowledgeable and accurate. Most importantly – they have seen it all, and they will know what to do when something doesn’t  go as planned – and if there is anything I can guarantee, it is that something will not go as planned on your wedding day.

These pictures are from behind the scenes of Noel & Cesar’s perfect wedding day at Paradise Cove. Yes, a couple of things did not go as planned. But the group of professional vendors were there to fix the issues and move on – without anyone noticing.

Because on your wedding day, after you did all the planning and hired the professional vendors – you want to relax, have fun – and your only job should be to say “I Do”.

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Professional make up team arrive on time, do beautiful work, and have the wedding party ready for their pictures on time. In this picture Kristy Alonzo and her team prepping Noel & Cesar for their close up. Kristy Alonzo Design Team

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My wonderful assistant Shelby Gavin allows me to be creative and not have to worry about the small stuff by ensuring we follow our timeline – and that I drink plenty of water.

 

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Kayli from Paradise Cove, phone on hand, coordinating all the moving pieces of this complex wedding day Paradise Cove

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Rich the wonderful seaplane pilot took the grooms special entrance to a whole new level – and with such a smooth landing! Florida Seaplanes

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And ensured no one’s feet got wet getting off the seaplane

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See the guy in the black shirt behind the grooms and the drag queen? (Yes, I will have a whole other blog post about the wedding itself) He is one of the Paradise Cove employees who was always around if help is needed – and at the same time he made sure to stay behind me so he is not “photo bumbling” any of my pics.

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Tam N Ho, one of my second shooters, did a great job capturing the day from another angle.

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The video team from Castaldo Studios ensuring they are capturing the moment and staying our of my photographs. Castaldo Studuis

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Kayli giving the grooms last minute directions as the guests are being prepped for the ceremony.

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Kristin Wilson from Our DJ Rocks working the fog machine so the grooms can dance on cloud 9 Our DJ Rocks

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While Gaby from Our DJ Rocks MC’s and teaches the guests some new dance moves

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End of the day I am going over my wedding day shot list ensuring I captured every treasured moment.

I absolutely loved working with Meagan and David from the moment we met. Since this sweet down to earth happy couple was such a joy during the engagement session, I was very much looking forward for their wedding day.

After our pre-wedding phone meeting I knew this was going to be a beautiful wedding to capture. And since we will be in the quaint Park Avenue area, I was getting very excited about the photo possibilities.

The next day after our conversation I realized what was THE shot I wanted to get. I called Meagan and David and asked them if they remembered what the Beatles album cover “Abby Road” looked like, and proceeded to explain my vision of an Abby Road style wedding picture.

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To my delight, the cherry on top of my vision coming to life was that the beautiful Maid Of Honor was very much pregnant. Since the Man Of Honor had to walk barefoot (thankfully he didn’t have to think twice when I asked him to take his shoes and socks off for this photo…) I got to capture let alone an Abby Road style wedding, but a “barefoot and pregnant” at that.

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Here are some more wonderful moments from Meagan & David’s wedding day:

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When seeing his daughter for the first time as a bride Megan’s father could not hold back his tears – and neither could Meagan.

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The dress awaits – in a moment Meagan will become a bride

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The frog turned into a prince in this love story

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The ring barer boys were so cute, I asked them to talk to their sleeve and pretend they are secret service – they pulled it off no problem! 

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Surrounded by love after the ceremony

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The bridal party at the beautiful Alfond inn

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Happy Ever-After!

Vendor list:

Photography: halonwp.com

Second shooter: Chris Gillyard

Photography Assistant: Shelby Gavin

Venue: The Alfond Inn

Coordinator: Pixies and Petals 

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“I’m walking in sunshine, woah

I’m walking on sunshine, aooah

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And don’t it feel good!!”

(Katrina and the waves, as well as any Bride-To-Be that ever lived)

You just got engaged and you feel like you’re floating on air. Everything is perfect. Life is beautiful. You are lovingly planning your perfect wedding. You know you want tasty food, a great party, and beautiful photos. You’re on Pinterest all day creating your wedding day vision board, adding more and more reference photos of how you envision you will be photographed.

Then the budget reality hits. You realize how much this party is gonna cost you… You and your fiancé start thinking about where you can cut some costs. Venue and food – you know they have to be perfect. Same thing when it comes to your dress (hello?!?!?!?!? You’ve been dreaming about this wedding dress since your Barbie was wearing one).

You and your sweetheart seem to hit a cost cutting wall. But then, as your Facebook friend posts photos from her wedding and you go on bridal blogs and read what other brides are sharing, you know you hit the jackpot of cost cutting:

The Photographer!  You turn to your honey and excitingly announce: “Eureka! We can cut cost with the photographer we hire to photograph our wedding!”

After all, everyone is a photographer nowadays. The market is saturated with photographers, and really anyone can do it. And with that in mind you lower your wedding photography budget to an open bid of whomever offers you the lowest price to shoot you wedding. And you are very happy that you found a way to cut your wedding day cost!

Of course, you just turned your wedding day memories for beheading at the nearest guillotine, where the unmerciful blade chopped off what was to be the only thing left from your magical wedding day – your beautiful photos that is. Because unlike common believe NOT everyone is a photographer. The fact that everyone owns the tool – a camera – does not mean they are qualified to capture your once in a lifetime precious wedding day memories. Think about it this way– anyone can buy a stethoscope on line. Does that make them a doctor you would trust with your medical diagnostics & treatment?

With that in mind, here are my top 5 tips on how to determine what qualifies a camera owner to be your wedding day photographer:

Tip #1 – Is this how the photographer makes a living?   – “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” said Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the fathers of photography. My question for you is – do you really want your wedding pictures to be within someone’s first 10,000 photographs? There are many photographers who are dipping their toe in the professional photography pool.  They want to make sure the water feels good before they jump in. Of course, sometimes the water is cold…and they decide they don’t want to jump in – and back to their day job they go! If you hired one of them to be your wedding day photographer one of the following may happen to you: A week before your wedding the photographer calls to let you know they cannot make it to your wedding day leaving you shocked and, well, ditched / If they do show up it takes over a year to get you wedding day photos back from them / you get your wedding day photos only to realize many key moments were never captured, and the photos that were captured are just not what you were hoping for.

I tell my students photographing a wedding is like being a war photographer – the difference is the only shots on a wedding day are done using a camera not actual weapons (let’s hope). Just like photographing during a war, you have to be on your toes, alert at all times in order to get THE shot. Because once the moment is over – it is never coming back. And that, my friends, takes practice. Lots and lots of practice. It also takes jumping into the cold dark water of the professional photography pool, cannon ball style, “nothing’s holding me back, I’m all in and can handle anything this wedding throws at me” attitude – which is a badge of honor only experienced professional photographers can proudly wear.

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Tip #2 – How long has the photographer been in business full time?  So let’s talk about the business of professional photography. Just like any other small business owner the professional full time photographer actually WORKS in their business. They have a business license. They have contracts. They have liability insurance. They pay sales tax and income tax on their profits. Many times they have a couple of employees. They are aware of the latest copyright laws and know how to protect you and them from image theft. If you hire a photographer to photograph your wedding day that is not a full time photography business owner you may encounter one of the following: No contract to refer to when the photographer decides to leave your wedding since they feel they got enough shots / When your aunt trips on the photographer’s tripod and breaks her ankle you get the hospital bill/ Yelp and the Better Business Bauru never heard of your photographer, so the bad reviews you post after the wedding day about the photographer walking in on you naked while you were getting ready, demanding to photograph you – are absolutely useless.

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Tip #3 – Are they a member of a professional organization?  Doctors have the Hippocratic Oath, where they vow to be ethical. I wish photographers had the Nie’pce Oath, or the Dagnuerre Oath (both are considered fathers of photography). Well currently there isn’t a professional photographer oat. And the closet thing you can find to such an ethical oath is if a photographer is a member of a professional photography association such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Members of these organizations are at the very least passionate about their craft, and most likely are professional photographers, not enthused photography wannabe’s.

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Tip #4 – Do you like the photographer?  One of the first tips I ever got from a professional photographer was to get a personality. No he wasn’t talking to me specifically, but to a room full of photographers, telling us why clients like working with him. “You have to have a good personality” he said, “and if you don’t have one – buy one”. What he said resonated with me, and felt applicable over the years especially when it came to wedding photography. Here is why: On your wedding day the one person you will spend the most time with – is your wedding photographer. That’s right. More than with your bridal party. More than with your parents. More than with your honey. Your wedding photographer will be glued to your hip all day long. What can I say? You better like them!

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Tip #5 – Will their past clients recommend them?  So here is the thing: what you really, truly want to do before you hire your wedding photographer is connect with their previous clients. I mean, the photographer can show you beautiful photos they took, but what you really want to know is what happened behind the lens on their wedding day. Was the photographer on time? Were they pleasant to be around? Were they creative with the wedding photos? Did they deliver everything they promised? And the Million Dollar question (drum roll please)… If they could go back in time – would they hire that photographer again?…

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As you can see, none of the tips is about cost. I will say this – if its sounds too good to be true… you know the rest of this sentence, right?

Choose your wedding day photographer for the 5 reasons above. Then see what they charge for their services. Chances are if they want to photograph your wedding day they will work with your budget (as long as it’s realistic compared to what they ask for). They may help you with a payment plan, or give you the option of purchasing your album after the wedding day instead of upfront. Here is an example of something I offer that surprises my clients:  Gift registration with my studio. That way, their wedding guests can purchase from my studio gift cards that will apply towards any prints, enlargements and albums the couple will want to order.

And if all else fails and you find out that the photographer you had your heart set on is out of your budget – simply look for another photographer. Lucky for you there are many, very talented business owner professional photographers out there. Since they are professionals they charge what they know their talent and services are worth – and these prices vary from professional photographer to professional photographer – one of those could fit in your budget.

Do your research. You will not regret it. Many years from now when your granddaughter climbs up to cuddle in your lap with a treasure she just found – your wedding album – and she turns the pages asking you if it’s really you in these photos, and telling you how beautiful you looked, you will feel the joy. The joy of your memories coming back to life. The joy of being able to share these memories with a mesmerized child you love so dearly. The joy of knowing your beautiful wedding day is treasured forever.

You may not remember you read this article. But in your heart you will thank the universe for making the right decision and choosing a qualified professional to capture your wedding day memories. And these memories lived happily ever after…

 

  • Rinat Halon, previously Walt Disney Imagineers In House Photographer, started researching the power of a photograph while working on her personalized honors degree from The Ohio State University in Photography & Visual Merchandising ,where she wrote the thesis “The Influence of photographic Images on Brochure Appeal for the Family Financial Management Program” (May 2001). For the past 17 years she has been photographing internationally portraits, weddings and magazine lifestyle & fashion spreads. To see Rinat’s wedding online gallery and contact her to check availability for your wedding day CLICK HERE

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Remember when we were children and wanted to buy something? We had to physically GO TO the store. It seems almost surreal in today’s Amazonic reality, but that was reality not too long ago.

Let’s say you wanted to buy a cool Tshirt. One that all the other cool kids would want. So you went from store to store, WALKING, in search of the perfect Tshirt. You checked out window displays before deciding to go into a store. You walked into all the known chain stores, but couldn’t find what you were looking for. Then you saw a small store across the street, one you never entered before. It had a window display that attracted you to walk over, and you were welcomed by the store owner, asking you what you were looking for. After listening to you carefully he told you he had just the right Tshirt for you. He then proceeded to walk over to a hidden shelf and pull out the most awesomest perfect Tshirt you have ever seen.

What are the chances that you would have gone back to this store? Most likely, you would have made this YOUR store. This was back in the day when small business owner’s visual brand was visible.

Today the small business owner’s brand gets lost in the online shopping world. Window displays were replaced by web sites, and today online is the FIRST PLACE where a potential client meets a small business. IT REPLACED THE STORE FRONT. That is the place where the small business owner can intrigue (creative window display), connect on a personal level (ask what are you looking for?) and create a call to action (“I have the perfect Tshirt for you!”).

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Unfortunately so many small business owners are unaware of their visual branding power. They spend so much money on SEO to bring traffic to their web sites. But once the potential client lands on the web site – those 15 seconds a potential client dedicates to decide if to stay or click away – they have nothing to connect to. Nothing makes them want to stick around. There is nothing there to intrigue them to know more, see more – and ultimately shop. What’s worst is, many times the thoughtless “let me just stick this photo on my web site, it didn’t cost me anything and looks kind of pretty” visual branding can literally turn potential clients away.

It’s because these photos don’t really show who you are.  Nobody really knows what you do, or understand the magnitude of gifts that you offer, the services that you provide, and the miracles that you make happen for your clients every day. But it is easy to fix. Here are my top 5 tips on creating relevant, intriguing, emotionally moving photographs that will help your business succeed:

Tip #1 – Listen to your heart – Paul Tillich said that “the first duty of love is to listen”. If you want to send a clear message to your clients, clarify first with yourself some key facts such as what are you selling? Why are you selling it? Who are you selling it to? Once you are clear about your “business being”, it much easier to figure out photographs that represent it well.

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Tip #2 – Google your business – Now that you understand which photograph you want to represent your business see which image comes up in a relevant Google search. These are the pictures potential clients see first when they Google your business. Are these images you want to be associated with?

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Tip #3 – From scratch or re-birth? From your newly acquired perspective check out the images you currently have on your web site. Do your images do you justice? Decide if you want to keep a few, and just revamp your site with more relevant, intriguing, action creating photographs. Or would you like to drop all the photos on your site and start from scratch? Either way, you should have a solid reason why you are keeping a photograph. Explain to yourself how this photograph is helping promote your business. If you convinced yourself – the photo stays.

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Tip #4 – Which photographs WILL work for your business? Now that you figured out which photographs don’t work for you, it is time to decide on the photographs that will create a call to action for potential customers brought to your site by SEO. Which photographs will make them want to connect with you? In the Personalized Image Bank process I break down the image bank to three defined photographic areas. These three areas together create a complete visual of your business story. They are the professional portrait, the atmosphere shots and the scene captures. The atmosphere shots for example depict the environment you work from, where your business is located. What this does is create a visual connection for the client, so when they walk into your business they feel comfortable, like they were there before. This familiarity raises the trust a new customer feels towards the business, which in turn encourages moving forward to do business together.

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Tip #5 – Be relevant –Today your web site is your store front’s window display. Make sure you stay current by updating your web site every time there is a change in your business. If an employee leaves, or a new employee is hired. If your business moved location, or if you painted your office walls purple. If you started selling a whole new product line – any of these changes need to appear on your web site. And a personal request from me – please ensure your portrait is current. You want clients to recognize you as soon as they walk into your business. If the portrait on your web site does not look like you any longer, it is time to replace it, as this can create trust issues for a customer who may wonder what else you may be hiding…

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  • Rinat Halon, previously Walt Disney Imagineers In House Photographer, started researching the power of a photograph while working on her personalized honors degree from The Ohio State University in Photography & Visual Merchandising ,where she wrote the thesis “The Influence of photographic Images on Brochure Appeal for the Family Financial Management Program” (May 2001). For the past 17 years she has been photographing internationally portraits, weddings and magazine lifestyle. She started working on creating Personalized Image Bank™ for small businesses 6 years ago, creating proof of sustainability for this service. Recently she was accepted into the We Venture entrepreneurship program, where she is working on scaling the PIB service and product. Her goal is to create a new, personalized, affordable, visual branding option for small business owners worldwide. For more about the Personalized Image Bank CLICK HERE. To apply to qualify for the FREE Personal Styling Session for your small business visual branding CLICK HERE.

This month I asked the event planner Andrea Pavone to write her thoughts on how to hire a photographer for an event or a wedding. “What do you like and what do you not like about working with photographers?” I asked her. Andrea and I have known each other and worked together for over 10 years now. I love working with her and value her professionalism, attention to detail, and great personality. 

Andrea was very gracious to write this blog post for us. Here it is, in her words:

In my opinion Photography is one of the most important investments you will make on your special day.  There is no way to go back and redo the photos or capture that moment again so be sure you have made the right choice and hire a professional photographer that fits your personal style.

As a wedding professional for over 10 years, here are some tips on wedding photography:

Be a Team Player and Follow the Timeline: The wedding day is so hectic and there is so much going on and so much to do.  It’s important to have a planner to keep you on schedule so you can get all the shots you want to get. The worst thing is when the photographer is taking the bride and groom off for photos and it’s time to cut the cake or time for parent dances.  Your wedding team is there to capture all your moments and make the day special for you.  Ask your vendors who they normally work with and at least look into their services.  The more vendors you have that work together on a regular basis the smoother your event will run. Johnston wedding

 

Communicate to your Photographer what shots you want taken: It’s so important to communicate definite shots you want taken so those can be a priority on your wedding day.  You can’t go back to your photographer and be upset that they didn’t get shots of something if you didn’t communicate that to them, especially if it’s not the norm.  Ask your photographer what shots they always do and any suggestions they have for your venue or style of the wedding.  A good photographer will be honored to do something unique for you, given the opportunity to be creative.   Stengl278

 

You want someone with a great reputation: You want someone who is a true professional and has a great reputation in the industry.  They will dress appropriately, show up on time and work well with the vendors you have hired.  The last thing you want is your photographer showing up in shorts and a tank top, even if it is a beach wedding.

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Don’t be afraid to ask for references: And call those people.  These are going to be the best testament to what you can expect on your big day.

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Remember you have done your research and have hired this photographer for a reason, let them be creative, sometimes those shots are the best ones. When they catch a moment and you weren’t even paying attention.

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Lastly, relax and enjoy your special day! It goes by so fast and when you get your photos you get to relive all those moments again and again.

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Photo by: Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

 

 

      Andrea Pavone, Pavone Events

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Pavone Events is a boutique planning company that offers personalized and customized service to all of our clients.

 

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When Noel called me for the first time he was very hesitant. First he asked if I do engagement shoots, and I told him I did. “Well”, he said “I want to make sure you are comfortable with photographing us”. I was guessing what he meant, but kept listening quietly. “We are same sex couple” he said “and many times before photographers were not comfortable photographing us”.

I felt so sad to hear that. It took me back to a phone call I received a year ago, from a transsexual who wanted new portraits made for her and her wife. As she explained it “I don’t look like the man in our photos any longer, and I want my wife and I to have new memories”. I was so honored to create these new memories for them!

As a professional photographer I’m aware there may be plenty of situations that could make me uncomfortable to capture. So far in my 17 years career I turned down only one photo shoot because it made me uncomfortable. However, I was uncomfortable because I felt this man may have intended on hurting me. Aside from that, as I told Noel over the phone, I am happy to photograph any kind of love.

We decided to do Noel & Cesar’s engagement photos at one of my favorite locations – Paradise Cove, where they will be getting married next year. We had such a great time capturing their engagement photos. When we walked back to the car, I realized we forgot to photograph the Campaign toast they wanted to capture. It was turning into a good old hot and sticky Florida day, so Noel and Cesar were almost ready to forget about it, but I wouldn’t. So we got the Campaign bottle and glasses out, and walked back to take a few more pictures. When I got the shot of Noel popping the cork off the Campaign bottle, I know we got THE shot, and the photo shoot was a wrap.    

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One of the things I highly recommend for couples who book me to capture their wedding day, is doing an engagement session with me. First off, it gets them comfortable in front of my camera. It also gives me time to find out about what they like and don’t like about themselves in photographs. For example – someone may dislike their smile. Someone else may have a side they consider to be their “good side” and only want that side photographed. . This in turn makes capturing the wedding day photos so much easier, as the couple and I are on the same photographic page – they know where their chin needs to be for a great composition, I know which angle they don’t like to be photographed from. And that means we can get the pictures done so much faster on their wedding day – they actually get to enjoy their cocktail hour!

As my clients indicate on the post wedding feedback form the engagement session is one thing I do that they absolutely love and value, as do I – because it increases the odds of incredible wedding day photos significantly.

So, back to Noel & Cesar’s engagement session, by the end of it session, Noel, Cesar and I were BFF’s.  What can I say? In the words of the wonderful song: “what the world needs now, is love sweet love” –

Noel & Cesar sure bring plenty of that to the world!

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