Photography By Two Women: Blog en-us (C) Photography By Two Women (Photography By Two Women) Wed, 13 Apr 2016 02:07:00 GMT Wed, 13 Apr 2016 02:07:00 GMT Photography By Two Women: Blog 88 120 Top 12 Relationship Tips for Newlyweds be-ego-infograph
Top 12 Relationship Tips for Newlyweds image via Brilliant Earth

]]> (Photography By Two Women) advice compliment contribute dating effort friends grace gratitude marriage newlywed partner partnership patience respect responsibility sweetheart vulnerable Wed, 13 Apr 2016 02:07:03 GMT Your Pet in Your Wedding Hi there!  I've been blogging for a few years now and have quite a history on my blogs... which ones are visited, which ones fell flat on its face, but by far, the most popular blog I've written is about having your pet in your wedding. That's why I am revisiting this well-loved topic.

We love our pets, we tend to think of them as our furry, four-legged children.  Recently I signed a wedding photography contract and as I was leaving the couple, I innocently asked if they had pets.  Boy! I got a rundown and photos on one of the most beautiful golden retrievers I've ever seen. The couple is being married at a private residence so having a dog there is very doable.  But, they decided not to.

"Why not?"

Sometimes, it's just about the safety of your animals.  We love them so much, we always want them with us especially at these momentous occasions! But, if you really loved your furry friend, you'd think about their safety.

Are they comfortable with strangers?  Are they used to large gatherings?

If you're the slightest bit hesitant, work with your photographer to include your pets BEFORE the guests arrive or better yet, make an appointment with your photographer to have a portrait shoot with you, your new spouse and your pet AFTER the wedding. 

Give me a call and we'll set something up (908) 229-1694.

And your pet thanks you!!


]]> (Photography By Two Women) cat comfort dog golden retriever love pet photography safety spouse wedding Sun, 28 Feb 2016 19:55:28 GMT
A Small & Intimate Wedding Sometimes you want the whole world to know, but sometimes it just seems more heartfelt with only your closest family and friends in attendance. Brianna & Manuel were married just this week in such an intimate setting. They wrote their own vows and with only fifteen people in a banquet room, their love was the biggest thing!  Small doesn't mean they are any less married, nor that they love each other less. Tears, hugs and laughter were abundantly present.

Thank you for letting me be part of such a special evening.  Large or small, let me capture your forever memories. Call for your free consultation at 908-229-1694.


]]> (Photography By Two Women) Hackettstown New Jersey beauty bride intimate love photography professional small wedding Sun, 21 Feb 2016 02:17:17 GMT
7 Conversations to Have Before You Marry As a wedding photographer, I only want to take photos of your wedding once.  I know, I know.  Sometimes things happen and divorce is inevitable.  There was a recent article from The Huffington Post that I thought was helpful for those who get married and really want to stay married.  It involves seven conversations you must have before you wed.  They are not difficult, but sometimes they are uncomfortable.  Get through them and you're more likely to work through any problems you encounter together, rather than feeling you are alone in this world.  Your future spouse is supposed to be your best friend. Open up and TALK!

Read the article here:

]]> (Photography By Two Women) conversation divorce marriage wedding Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:44:03 GMT
Your Life's Events Deserve Professional Display Each year I research well over 50 wedding and event photo album providers. Why?  Why don't I just go on over to Walgreens or Costco and get a really inexpensive album for your wedding?  I mean, it shouldn't cost more than $25 or $30 to put those photos into a book for a lifetime's display, right?

WRONG!!! I have one of those albums. I bought it so I could show my clients the difference between the quality your life event deserves and what you think you can afford.  I had no input on how the photos were oriented (some came out upside down), how they were cropped, or even how the album flowed from front to back. The hardcover is paper and the pages are plain. The binding is photo bound (no lay flat technology), so pictures on the inside edge are cut off in order to capture the page with glue.

A really quality album is leather bound, hand sewn, thoughtfully designed and beyond the budget of most "bare bones" weddings. These are the albums I offer to my clients.  The research I conduct is designed to bring you the best quality in photo albums without creating heart-stopping gasps in my prices. Still, if I were to offer my base album, it would still cost my clients about $350.

This year, 2016, I am pleased to present my preferred album suppliers:

From Finao -

The Finao Playbook

From Zookbinders -

The Photobook

The Lustre Book

From Collages - 

The Seamless Bind


Thank you for your trust in me to capture your photo memories. Your albums deserve the best I can offer to you, my valued clients. Call now for your free consultation 908-229-1694.

]]> (Photography By Two Women) Collages Finao Zookbinders album event memories photography professional research wedding Sat, 23 Jan 2016 22:42:49 GMT
Why Are Professional Photographers So Expensive? It's a question I get a lot... I mean A LOT!

I've read other photographers' blogs and I agree with the reasoning:

  • Professional Gear (times two for quality backup equipment)
  • Expenses,  taxes and insurance for running a business
  • More time invested in a photo project than the client actually sees (up to three or four times the hours the client THINKS we spend)
  • Photo Assistants, Second Shooters
  • Continuing Education
  • Blah, blah, blah

and yet I see NO ONE mention that we are truly artists AND have the knowledge and expertise to do a job right.  We have a vision for your wedding, engagement or other event, based on what you shared with us during prior consultations (time that you never considered when we spent it with you).

Please compare the following:

  DIY Professional
Nails $2.50 for bottle of polish $45.00 for manicure
Hair $1.50 for a pair of scissors $65.00 for a salon job
Car maintenance $20 for 5 quarts of oil $40.00 for oil change (a real bargain, considering)
Clothing $20 for 4 yards of fabric $250 for an outfit


Just yesterday, a woman called me to inquire about a business portrait. When I quoted her a price and a one hour timeframe, she wanted to know why she needed an hour and why it was so expensive.  She thanked me and said she would continue to look around for someone who could be in and out of her house in 10 minutes and charge her commensurately (one-sixth of my price). She never considered the travel time (to and from), set up, metering, test shots, tear down, nor the editing time of the images. To her, it was ten minutes of her time. That's all it took and that's all she wanted to spend.

We understand lighting, exposure, color balance, composition and artistry. We spend years learning our art and months investigating constantly changing new technology. We have to - people pay us for our eye and our product. So I just don't understand why someone would seek out a professional photographer and then not expect to pay for a professional photographer.

So now, tell me again why you think your wedding photography shouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars.  If you still think that way, go out and grab your iPhone and selfie stick and snap away.  Be my guest.

]]> (Photography By Two Women) Art DIY Experience Expertise comparison cost education photography professional time wedding Sat, 16 Jan 2016 17:58:47 GMT
Ten Hints to Look Epically Gorgeous for your Wedding Photographs It's Engagement Season!  It happens every year, from Thanksgiving to Valentines Day, more "will you" questions are popped than at any other time of the year - - AND NOW IT'S YOU!!

All brides are beautiful but just to make sure you are at your absolute best, here are ten hints to help you look stunning!

  1. One of the best ways to look good in  your wedding photos is to hire a professional photographer. The is one of the most important days of your life and it's just not worth gambling with your wedding memories by hiring an inexperienced photographer or worse yet, leaving it in the hands of a good friend with a good camera. NOTHING MAKES UP FOR EXPERIENCE.
  2. Get your hair and makeup done. Ask for a trial beforehand to make sure you are happy with how it looks. 
  3. Buy a dress that looks great on the body you have, not the body you'd like to have. Whether you are slim or curvy, there is a dress out there that is flattering for you. Have fun with accessories: a little bit of bling or a feather jacket can look great in photos. Think about your veil length or go glam with a birdcage.
  4. SMILE! It may be obvious but don't worry about the details on your day. Just enjoy it - and if something goes wrong NO ONE will know because your beautiful smile says you are not worried.
  5. Practice smiling. It's not always about pearly whites in the lens. Try a variety of expressions for the camera. Serious, sexy, smoldering. If you remember to breathe through your mouth during the non-smile photos, it softens the look.
  6. Mom was right - stand up straight! Slouching is not attractive and when you look taller, you look more slender.
  7. If you don't have toned arms, don't squash them against your body. Move them slightly away from your body (no more than an inch or two) and your arms will magically appear slimmer.
  8. Book a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer. Most people have never been professionally photographed before their big day, so it's a good idea to experience it beforehand. It also makes for a great intro to your photographer and how she works. You'll feel more confident and relaxed in your photos with just that little bit of comfort.
  9. Leave enough time for your photographs. You won't look or feel rushed. 45 to 60 minutes for couples photos is just about right.
  10. Listen to your photographer. We know what we are trying to create and we've done this before. 

Call for your free wedding photography consultation and ask me about posing hints.  (908) 229-1694.  There's no substitute for experience.



]]> (Photography By Two Women) beautiful bride dress engagement experience hair love makeup photography posture professional slender smile stunning taller wedding Tue, 05 Jan 2016 02:39:37 GMT
Your Professional Headshot and What to Expect From Your Photographer There are different types of headshots, so the best thing when looking for a professional photographer, is to let them know how you want your headshot used. Spend some time with your photographer so they understand you and the very best way to illustrate your features and illuminate your strong points.

Acting Headshot

Your acting headshot is a small window into your personality and your passions in life. It is truthful in its representation of you and your eyes should be in absolute focus. There should be no question this is a photo of you so there should be very little or no retouching of wrinkles, or reduction of excess weight. Makeup is natural and minimal and lighting should define your features. This photo is taken from the waist or mid chest, NOT closely cropped, with no distracting elements in the background. Casting directors see thousands of headshots in a month, thus yours must stand out. Your best feature should be amplified in the photo.

An actor's headshot is the personal calling card for you and is designed to get your face in front of the casting manager.

Modeling Headshot

This photo should reflect the type of modeling you want to do. It can be face and shoulders, or full body. A woman's complexion is usually smoothed and a man's skin can be either minimally softened (to remove blemishes) or rugged. Lighting should be again be indicative of the type of modeling you are targeting for work. Dramatic lighting is more powerful on a man but can also be used for a woman in high fashion shots. Preferred modeling lighting is soft and even.  Makeup should be well blended and shimmer finishes should be avoided for the eyes. Lips should not be shiny.

A modeling headshot is to present your artistic features to an art director in order to amplify their vision. (It is NOT a glamour shot)

Corporate Headshot

This term is applied to the photo of you that is used for business purposes.  It could promote your personal business or be a representation of you on your company's directory. This is the writer's picture on a book jacket or the small thumbnail on a realtor's business card. It is your LinkedIn profile photo or the friendly face that accompanies your resume. It shows you are friendly, approachable, promotable, hireable, and nice. It is taken with either a neutral background for a formal photo, or in surroundings (called an environmental shot) for more casual or familiar purposes. NEVER single yourself out of family picture for this image as it will look like you just don't care.

Whatever your headshot needs, call me! I know the industry, I know your needs.  This is the one area of photography where you'll need a professional!  (908) 229-1694.

]]> (Photography By Two Women) New Jersey acting actor actress artistic business card calling card corporate entertainment face glamour headshot industry makeup model modeling photographer photography professional Fri, 18 Dec 2015 13:32:55 GMT
The 8 Biggest Wedding Day Regrets and How to Avoid Them Coulda, woulda, shoulda… something that we’re all guilty of every once in awhile is regretting something we did or didn’t do. It’s easy to reflect on things in hindsight and realize that you made the wrong decision, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes we make bad decisions! When it comes to a momentous occasion like your wedding, the last thing you want is to be filled with regret, whether it’s regarding the color scheme you chose or the font on your invitations. Of course, it’s best to try not to sweat the small stuff (like the font on your invitations), but sometimes there are wedding decisions you made that you wish you hadn’t. Here’s how to avoid the biggest and most common wedding day regrets.


1. Not hiring a professional photographer

Many brides are constantly looking for ways to cut corners and save money on the cost of their weddings. After all, weddings are expensive events! The number one regret I  hear from brides that their biggest regret is not hiring a professional wedding photographer. They had hoped that they would save money by asking a friend to take photos for them, but unfortunately these friends were unable to deliver the beautiful wedding day memories that they wanted. Hiring a professional wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your wedding. Remember that only a professional will have the knowledge, skill and expertise to create stunning images and really tell the story of your wedding day. If you’re struggling with a photography budget, ask your photographer if she can create a custom package to fit your needs or work out a payment plan so you'll breathe easier. I want you to have the memories of your wedding day forever and there are no opportunities to do wedding pictures over if you don't hire a professional to get it right. 2. Not allotting enough time to take photos with special guests

In a similar vein, not allotting enough time for photos on your wedding day is another huge regret brides experience. You stress over meticulously planning out the wedding day timeline, but somehow it doesn’t work out according to plan. Even if you find yourself short on time for posed photos, it’s absolutely crucial to make time to take a few pictures with those who are most important to you. Your elderly grandmother, your best friend who flew out from Europe, your dad who lives on the other side of the country – all of your VIPs deserve to have a few minutes so that you can take photos with them. If your allotted time for posed photos isn’t enough, be sure to make a point of bringing your photographer with you around the reception to capture those special moments you’ll treasure forever.


3. Not inviting someone you weren’t sure about
Creating a wedding day guest list is extraordinarily hard – everything is based on your budget and venue space. You likely had to pick and choose between a few different people to finalize the guest list. One regret many brides share is choosing not to invite someone they weren’t 100% sure about. Unless you’re absolutely positive you do not want this person to be at such an important event in your life, we suggest sending the invite anyway. It’s better to have extended the invite than to regret not including this person later on in the future.


4. Forgetting to eat or drink

As the bride or groom in a wedding, you are in extremely high demand. You’re on a strict schedule and everyone is pulling you different directions. One of the biggest mistakes brides make during their weddings is forgetting to eat or drink anything all day! Staying properly hydrated and nourished in such a demanding situation is absolutely crucial for your health and happiness. Ask your maid of honor and best man to keep an eye on you to ensure you are eating and drinking enough. Besides, you’ve spent all that time and money choosing the menu, so you should enjoy it!


5. Drinking too much

On the other hand, another regret some brides have is that they drank too much on their wedding days, causing them to either forget parts of the day or embarrass themselves in one way or another. Enjoying alcohol on your wedding day is your prerogative, and every bride and groom should be celebrating with their guests. Being too drunk on your wedding day is problematic, so it’s important to have your maid of honor or best man be aware of how much you are drinking. Alternate one glass of water for every glass of alcohol you consume so that you can maintain a good level of sobriety.


6. Not speaking up

You might think that you’ve hired professionals to handle everything in your wedding, so if you’re not sure about something they are doing, you’re too afraid to speak up for fear of being referred to as a bridezilla. This can lead to you being dissatisfied with the results, whether it’s your wedding photos or the way your emcee is talking during the reception. This is your big day – you spent all this time planning it and choosing the right vendors for the job. If you ever feel as though something is not right, speak up! Your vendors would prefer for you to speak up and get the job done right than have you complain after the wedding.


7. Forgetting to get vendor details in writing

When you’re hiring your wedding vendors, there’s a lot of back-and-forth communication through various channels. A lot of times, you’ll reach a mutually agreeable decision on the phone or in person, meaning that it might not necessarily get written down. One of the most important things you need to do when signing any contract is to make sure everything you’ve discussed is there in writing. For example, maybe your caterer told you on the phone that she won’t charge you extra if you go less than an hour over the allotted time. But then, when you receive your final invoice, you see that you’ve been charged for the overtime. Having these sorts of agreements in writing on your contracts is the only way to guarantee that there won’t be any confusion during or after the wedding.


8. Getting swept up with the stress

We know – it’s super easy to get swept up in the craziness of your wedding day.  One of the biggest regrets brides have is letting the stress get to them. All the anxiety and stress that comes with wedding planning can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to keep a level head and not let the drama get to you. Keep in mind that your wedding day is meant to be the happiest day of your life – when you look back upon such an important day, you only want to remember the happiness and beauty of the day, not how stressed out you were making sure everything was perfect. Try to let go of the little things and focus on the big picture: you’re marrying your best friend, and all your loved ones are there to celebrate with you.


Throughout all of the tears, laughter and joy you’ll experience while planning your wedding, it’s important to stay focused on the big picture and try to enjoy everything that’s leading up to such a happy day in your life. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have your doubts, make sure you hire trusted professionals, don’t forget to eat and drink and most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff!


And when it comes time to hire a professional photographer, don't have regrets. Ask about special packages or payment plans. I even have a photo registry!  Call today for your free consultation - (908) 229-1694.


]]> (Photography By Two Women) bridezilla contract drink eat guest invite mistake package payment plan photographer photography professional registry regret stress vendor wedding Thu, 10 Dec 2015 01:43:20 GMT

Now, before you get all bent out of shape, I'm not suggesting you come to your wedding in your birthday suit.  "Naked" means without artifice, honest, true to yourself.

Let's make sure your wedding is all about your innermost preferences.

I know what you're thinking... "My friend had this spectacular wedding! It was in a giant hall with a two-story atrium and golden pillars decked with twinkly lights. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and I want my wedding to be just like that!" Rutgers Wedding

Well, that sounds wonderful, but let's take stock of YOU!

  • Do you prefer barefoot summers or high heeled nightclubs?
  • Fine dining at a 5 star Michelin restaurant or ribs at a barbecue?
  • Desert? Mountains? Seashore?
  • Daisies or Orchids?

So many choices, I could go on and on.  The main thing I'm trying to say, is that while a flamboyant, gilded wedding would knock my socks off, it's not really me. I'd want MY wedding to be about ME. It should be a direct reflection of me.  Maybe a balloon animal artist and a chocolate fountain - Yeah, DEFINITELY a chocolate fountain. And lots of breathless dancing!

So, for those of you who want black tie and tuxedo class - it's because you are classy; and for those of you who think a simple park, a waterfall, or a beachfront is perfect, it's because it is perfect - for you!

So now do you understand naked?  It's authentic; it's totally YOU - - just the way you are. No extras, if that's your thing; no sleepy stuff, if it's not you.

Whatever your choice, it needs to be captured in photos that will live to show your style to your grandchildren and great grandchildren when they ask what your wedding was like.  And THAT'S my job! As your photographer I capture your very first family heirloom.  The history you will pass down to future generations. Call me for your free consultation! (908) 229-1694



]]> (Photography By Two Women) balloon black tie bride chocolate class daisy dancing desert fun heirloom history love mountains orchid park photography shore tuxedo waterfall wedding Sun, 06 Dec 2015 18:58:07 GMT
Every Bride's 8 Greatest Fears The Eight Greatest Fears Of Every Bride On Her Wedding Day Your wedding day is meant to be one of the happiest days of your life. It’s portrayed as a fairytale-like dream come true, celebrating the love you and your partner share with your closest friends and family. But beyond all the happiness and joy of the day is a great deal of stress and fear. The pressure of knowing you are the center of attention and everyone is there to witness you tie the knot can be terrifying and cause a bride to become scared on what’s supposed to be a joyous occasion. There are several common fears that many brides experience, but don’t worry – take a deep breath and everything will be okay.


You Won’t Look Perfect

As you walk down the aisle, every single person will be looking at you. You’ve spent ages carefully selecting the perfect dress, shoes, hairstyle and makeup look for your big day. Not looking absolutely perfect on your wedding day is without a doubt one of the most common bridal fears. What if your dress and shoes don’t fit how they’re supposed to? Or what if you’re having a bad hair day and your hairstylist can’t achieve the look you had your heart set on? Or – worst of all – what if you wake up with a huge zit on your face? These are all huge concerns for every bride-to-be and, thankfully, the likelihood of any of these things happening is very low. Prepare for your wedding by trying on your dress and shoes beforehand and holding a hair and makeup trial run. You may want to do this for your bridal shower so the shower pictures will be fabulous! By not waiting until the day of to do these things you will be able to alleviate some of the worries you’ll have of not looking perfect on your big day. And if you do happen to wake up with a pimple or dark eye circles, your makeup artist should be able to cover it up expertly.


People Won’t Show Up

Another extremely common fear for brides is that people (both guests and vendors) aren’t going to show up. If guests RSVP’d yes and didn’t show up, you would feel sad and embarrassed that people didn’t feel the need to attend your wedding. If your vendors didn’t show up, it would ruin the entire day. Although it’s possible that some of your guests may not show up, remember that the people you chose to invite to your wedding are people who love you and would want nothing more than to be able to celebrate with you. To help give your guests a gentle reminder that your nuptials are coming up, send out an email or letter outlining the details of the big day, such as directions to the venue, a schedule of events and accommodations for the out of town guests. To prevent your vendors from flaking on you, make sure you call them before the wedding to reconfirm all details and to also provide them with additional information such as itineraries and schedules, venue location and parking information.


Bad Weather

If you’ve planned an outdoor wedding, bad weather is probably the worst thing that could happen to you on your wedding day. Not only will you need to relocate indoors, but all of the décor, details and photo ops you had planned won’t be as special as if it was a beautiful sunny day. If you’re having an indoor wedding, bad weather would still ruin your photo opportunities and also your walk to and from venues and cars. Check the weather for your wedding day a week before so that you can start preparing for whatever the forecast says. Keep in mind that the forecast can change abruptly so it may be good to err on the side of caution and continually check the weather until the actual day. You should also check the weather for your honeymoon destination so that you can pack accordingly.


You’ll Embarrass Yourself

I'm sure you've seen the video of a bride being dumped into a fountain by the clumsy best man. It's a common fear people have is embarrassing themselves in front of a big crowd. Brides are often afraid of tripping over themselves as they walk down the aisle, messing up their vows or crying so much that they ruin their makeup. The best way to avoid tripping is by practicing walking in your dress and shoes beforehand and walking slowly as you make your way toward the altar. Practicing your vows is always a good idea, and you can bring note cards to help you out if you forget a line or two. As for crying, there’s no telling how emotional you’ll be once you’re there so have a few tissues handy (ask your maid of honor to hold them) and ask your makeup artist to use waterproof makeup.

What happened to the bride in the fountain? Well the video went viral and is really a treasured memory!


The Photos Will Be Bad

You want your wedding photos to be just as stunning as you are. They’ll be the lasting reminder of how great your wedding day was and how fantastic you and your partner both looked. You’ve hired a professional wedding photographer to document your big day and ideally you will have had a chance to see how you look in his photos during an engagement shoot or a few practice shots before you hired him. Remember that you’ve hired a professional who knows all the right lighting and angles to flatter you and accurately capture how beautiful you look. Also, a good wedding photographer will take multiple of the same shot to ensure there will be good ones. If you’re really concerned that you don’t look good in the pictures, you can always ask your photographer to see the digital image before moving onto the next pose.


Someone Will Get Too Drunk

A wedding cliché that is frequently portrayed in movies and TV shows is that one person gets way too drunk and causes a scene. If this is one of your biggest worries, you’re not alone. Many brides are concerned that they’ll have to deal with someone who may be unruly, aggressive, inappropriate or dramatic. Although you can’t quite control how much each person drinks at your wedding, you can try to avoid the situation by asking the people you think will be the most likely culprits to please try to control their drinking. Designate someone to be in charge of handling these sorts of situations so that the person in question can be quickly removed from the venue and the wedding can go on.


You’ll Get Cold Feet

On your wedding day you may enter panic mode and wonder if you’re really doing the right thing by marrying this person. This is a common feeling and it’s important to be really sure that you want to be with this person. Ask yourself before the wedding if you can picture spending the rest of your lives together and if that thought makes you happy. If the answer is yes, remind yourself of that if you get the pre-wedding jitters and instead of worrying about things that could go wrong, think of all the things that will go right.


Things Won’t Look The Way You Planned

You’ve spent months, possibly years, planning out every last detail in your wedding, from table decorations to bouquets to aisle accents. When your wedding day comes, you might be disappointed or upset if the flowers aren’t the perfect shade of crimson, or if the centerpieces are much smaller than you anticipated. Don’t panic – although you wanted everything to look exactly how you planned, remind yourself that these details are simply just details. The most important thing is that you are marrying the love of your life and all of your closest friends and family are there to celebrate with you.

All your treasured memories of your wedding will only be memories if they are not captured to live for generations beyond you. Calling the right photographer means everything. Get on the calendar before the dates all fill up - - CALL ME!  (908) 229-1694

]]> (Photography By Two Women) New Jersey bride decor drunk embarrass fear fun generation guest memories memory perfect photography tragedy vendor weather wedding Fri, 04 Dec 2015 17:08:31 GMT
15 Crucial Questions to Ask Before Booking a Wedding Venue The wedding venue is oftentimes the most expensive part of a wedding, so it deserves a little extra research and consideration. Your dream venue’s look and location may be everything you’ve ever hoped for, but before you sign the contract, make sure you are agreeing to a mutually reached-upon document. After all, you want your dream venue to not only look perfect and be in the right location, but fit your needs and your wedding’s needs as well. When you are touring spaces and meeting with coordinators, make sure you ask these 15 crucial questions to cover all your bases.

1. Do you have my date available?

As with any other vendor, this is the most important question. If you have your heart set on a certain date and they don’t have it available, then unfortunately this is not the venue for you. If you are flexible with dates, ask them what they do have and ideally it will be early enough for you to change your plans.

2. How many people can the venue hold, both seated and standing?

When you’re looking at wedding venues, you probably don’t have a final guest count quite yet. However, you might have a general ballpark figure of the number of guests. Knowing how many people the venue can hold, both seated and standing, will let you know whether or not there is adequate space to host all your loved ones. Make sure there’s plenty of indoor space to hold everyone in case there’s bad weather.

3. How much does renting the venue cost, and what exactly does that include?

Learning the cost of the venue and what it includes will help you determine if it fits your budget. Even if the initial dollar amount seems high, many venues include various items with the rental fee that helps to offset the total cost. If they provide items such as tables, chairs, linens, power cords, speakers or serving stations, be sure to clarify whether or not they will be in charge of all the set up, tear down and cleanup of these items. One good tip is to ask how much the rates are for the “off days” surrounding your preferred date; oftentimes venues will be cheaper on Sundays or Fridays. Make sure you ask how many hours are included and how much each additional hour would be if your wedding ran over the time limit.

4. Is there adequate parking available for my guests?

If many of your guests are local enough to drive to your wedding, you’ll need to have ample parking for them. Find out how many spots are included and if you’re able to rent additional spaces if needed. If the venue offers a valet service, ask how much it costs and whether or not it can be bundled into your overall package at a discount.

5. Am I free to hire my own vendors, or do you have a list of preferred vendors?

Some venues will require you to use their vendors as they have already built a trusted relationship with them. This preferred vendors list could include anyone from the caterer to the photographer to the officiant. However, some venues will allow you bring in any vendor you’d like. If you are hiring your own caterer, be sure to ask the venue if they’ll be able to use any kitchen facilities. Caterers will charge an extra fee if they have to bring in their own refrigerators and stoves. If you are required to use their preferred vendors, we suggest that you conduct some research of your own to make sure their styles and services are up to your standard.

6. What is your alcohol policy?

Some venues don’t allow any alcohol at all. Some require you order through them. Some allow you to bring your own, but beer and wine only. Some allow you to have an open bar. Make sure you clarify what the venue’s policy on alcohol is so you can plan accordingly. Ask if there is a corkage fee should you decide to provide your own liquor. If you are creating your own bar, ask if they will provide ice and cups as part of your package.

7. What time can I start setting up on my wedding day?

Aisle décor, table settings, centerpieces, the DJ or band, speakers… there’s a lot of details and technical items that need to be set up before your wedding is ready for you to walk down the aisle. If you’ve hired the venue for a certain amount of time, it’s important to know whether or not you are allowed to come in earlier than that, or even the day before, to start setting up. If the venue doesn’t have anything else booked, they’ll most likely allow you to come in early to get started. We suggest also asking if there will be staff members available to help out.

8. If my wedding is outdoors, what is the contingency plan in case of bad weather?

If you are planning an outdoor wedding, there is always the possibility of bad weather. In those cases, your venue should be able to provide a plan B to save the day. They may offer a tented canopy, or to move the entire event indoors. Based on the contingency plan they suggest, make sure that your wedding specs work with the proposed space provided. You wouldn’t want to get rained out and then be cramped for space inside because you didn’t plan ahead.

9. Are there any restrictions for the venue or how I use the space?

Some venues won’t allow you to hang things from the ceiling, use flash photography, film in holy areas or use candles with open flames. It’s important to ask these questions ahead of time so you aren’t in for a surprise when you arrive on your wedding day. If your venue doesn’t allow photography or videography in certain areas, you may consider sitting down with your wedding photographer to see what workarounds they suggest in order to get plenty of great shots.

10. Are there any noise restrictions?

You and your guests will be happily dancing the night away at the reception, but some venues may require you to turn off the volume at a certain time. Or, they might have a maximum noise restriction in place. Knowing what the noise policy is will help you plan your DJ or band and keep your wedding day timeline in check.

11. Do I need any permits or insurance for my wedding?

Wedding insurance is an expense that is often overlooked. Most couples will think that they won’t need it, but in reality wedding insurance is a safety net that can come in handy. Ask your venue if they have liability insurance or if you should take out your own policy. You may also need specific permits to use certain spaces, such as park areas, or do something spectacular, like setting off sparklers during your dramatic exit. Be open with your venue coordinator about the ideas you have so that you can apply for permits as needed.

12. Are there bridal rooms and groom’s suites to get ready in?

Something that surprises couples is when they’ve booked their dream venue and arrive on the big day only to find out that they’re expected to get ready in bathrooms or hallways. This makes for an uncomfortable dressing situation and also looks terrible in wedding photos. Ask your venue if they have special areas set aside for the wedding party to get ready in, and if they don’t have private rooms, where they suggest the wedding party get ready.

13. How much is the deposit, and when is it due? What is the refund policy?

Your venue will require a deposit ahead of time to secure the date and the space. The amount varies from venue to venue, but it’s typically a percentage of the total amount of the booking fee. Make sure you know when the deposit is due so that you don’t risk losing your reservation. You should also ask whether or not the deposit is refundable in case anything happens and you have to make last minute changes. If it is refundable, take note of the last day that you can get your money back.

14. When is the final balance due?

Your final balance might be due a few days prior to the wedding, or it might be due afterwards to account for additional charges incurred on the day of. Or, it might be due immediately following the wedding, in which case you might want to delegate your maid of honor or best man to take care of any final payments. If you have a grace period after the event to pay, be sure to mark it in your calendar so that you aren’t charged any late fees.

15. What is your cancellation policy?

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned and you’ll have to cancel your venue booking. Some venues might return your deposit if you canceled within a certain period of time, but oftentimes the deposit is nonrefundable. Ask for a clear cancellation policy so that you are aware of potential consequences if you need to cancel.

After you’ve asked all these questions and clarified any concerns you have, the most important thing is to get a contract with all your agreements clearly written out. When you book a venue, you may have discussed things verbally that aren’t in a standard contract. Read your contract carefully to ensure everything is included, and if not, ask them to revise it to include what’s missing. This is important so that you don’t get in trouble later down the line and don’t have written consent for certain things. Choosing your dream venue is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning, so make sure you do it smartly by asking the right questions.

This is just one of the planning tools I provide when you book your free wedding photography consultation with me. Call for your free consultation now!  (908) 229-1694

]]> (Photography By Two Women) booking bride consultation date deposit free parking photography planning question reception refund tools venue weather wedding Mon, 30 Nov 2015 17:15:18 GMT
Regional Wedding Reception Traditions Recently, a friend of mine traveled from the New York City area to attend a relative's wedding in Texas.  When she returned, she asked me (because I am a wedding professional) if I thought the weddings here in the Northeast were too formal, stuffy or just plain overdone.  When I asked her to explain, she detailed the wedding day's events in the Lone Star State.  She told me about the

  • Preparations (no big difference there, except perhaps the absence of a professional makeup artist)
  • Ceremony (no big difference there, either)
  • Reception (BIG Difference - keep reading for more info!)

WHOA - wait a sec! What happened to the cocktail hour?

Well, it seems a cocktail hour is not done in some parts of the country. It's just not even considered. The preferred time for formal photos by a professional photographer while the guests sit and mingle doesn't even happen. It may seem to be a formal thing but it REALLY serves a purpose in the flow of a wedding.  As I mentioned, this is the time a photographer grabs the family and does the formal portraits.  This is the time the guests get to meet each other and find long lost friends and family. This is the time for a quick bite and a relaxing deep breath before the celebrating begins. 

Okay, so do away with that and you've shortened your reception time. Thus, one less hour on your venue reservation. Nope, no carving stations, no fancy appetizers, no waiters passing champagne sips and finger food on silver trays.

Now for the reception...

Well, let's do away with the sit-down, four-course dinner for starters.  Remove the salad selections and provide ONE entree (on a buffet line):  Chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy and boiled stringbeans.  Yuppers, sure sounds like a special meal to me - - NOT!!!

C'mon, if you can get that at any roadhouse, why would you serve it at a wedding??  Well, one reason is that a majority of the people attending actually like this and will think you went to a lot of trouble figuring out their preferences because you care.  Another reason is that the attendees are getting something to eat.  In order to keep costs down, some afternoon wedding receptions consist of coffee, tea, punch, cookies and wedding cake. In the courtyard of the church where the ceremony took place.  It's cozy, it's familiar AND it's very inexpensive.

You'll also note, dancing the night away is not obligatory. After a tray of cookies, everyone wishes the bride and groom good luck and (gasp!) that's it. Goodbye, go home, see ya around.

So, back to the original question... Are we too formal? Stuffy? Overdone??  From someone else's point of view, maybe. We tend to look at weddings as a once in a lifetime event. I think we want the wedding to be an indelible memory for ourselves and our guests. I don't think we put on a big show to impress anyone; I think we do this because it IS special and we want it to feel special.

At the end of the day, doing it with a smaller budget, without some of the frills, doesn't make you any less married.  And just maybe, that's the way it's done OUTSIDE of the New York City area.

What are your thoughts?  When you look for a professional wedding photographer to capture the day, fancy or plain, look no further - - call me! 908-229-1694

]]> (Photography By Two Women) New Jersey New York bride ceremony cocktail hour cozy familiar fancy frills fun groom guests photography plain reception special wedding Sat, 28 Nov 2015 00:52:18 GMT
Making Photo Holiday Cards With so many photo services at local drugstores and discount warehouse stores, you can great a really great deal on those wedding photos that you've turned into holiday cards.  And it's really inexpensive, too!

Um, there's just one problem...
The photos weren't really professional because Aunt Mary had a really nice camera and we asked her to take some snapshots.  Do you think anyone on the holiday card list will notice?

Or...    you can reach out to the photographer who took such awesome photos of the baby last year. I'm sure they know professional labs who would make our holiday cards look beyond epic. Go ahead - - call that photographer!  There's really no substitute for quality. When you want to make an impression, do it right. Christmas, after all, only DOES come once a year. 

As a professional photographer, I have those resources that are not available to you at DIY places.  Call me and let's see what a grand impression YOU can make!  Remember, the holidays are right around the corner.  (908) 229-1694

]]> (Photography By Two Women) Christmas DIY cards holiday impress photographer photography professional quality resources Wed, 25 Nov 2015 02:00:00 GMT
Fall (and) In Love It seems I book a lot of engagement photo sessions in the Fall.  I think there's a really good reason for this, too! Other than the fact I've been told I take REALLY good photos, there is no more spectacular show of Mother Nature's coloring box than the Fall.  Autumn colors just seem to enhance the look of love in a couple's eyes. 

This past month's was no exception! With all the crazy weather we experienced here in New Jersey, Autumn color seemed to be a crap shoot but the day dawned for Trish's and Tony's appointment with a sparkling clarity. After a few days rain earlier in the week, we were assured of a nice run in the nearby stream and newly rinsed leaves.  Driving to Hacklebarney State Park in Chester, New Jersey, I was mesmerized by stunning displays and overjoyed with the results:

]]> (Photography By Two Women) Hacklebarney New Jersey autumn chester color dazzling dog engagement fall fun leaves love nature outdoor pet photography stream stunning trees weather Tue, 17 Nov 2015 16:23:22 GMT
A Stolen Phone Number and a Wedding Beverly was determined! The handsome man who frequented her office could not be ignored and one afternoon, she acted and "stole" his phone number from the records log at work and called him.

Theus was intrigued - - one thing led to another and before long, they were dating.  Early in October this year, they were married! And I was there to capture the event; such a beautiful event that was embraced by two families who became one.  Decorations were DIY with the whole family contributing to the mint and cream colors, but you'd never know because they were perfect. The Forge Inn in Woodbridge, New Jersey, provided the venue, catering, cake and all the extras.

And two happy families danced into the night!  Let me capture YOUR forever memories - call for your free consultation: 908-229-1694

Bev & Theus Vows



]]> (Photography By Two Women) DIY New Jersey The Forge Inn Woodbridge bride cake cream dance families flowers free consultation fun love mint photography vows wedding Thu, 12 Nov 2015 16:27:03 GMT
What's YOUR Wedding Theme? Popular Wedding Themes

Nothing says romance better than the sweet fragrance and bowers of flowers! Think about an outdoor wedding chapel under a spectacular canopy of flowers and lush gardens to elegant interior rooms in creams and ivories with rich tapestries, glistening chandeliers and glowing candelabras. This defines romance one way: Yours. 

Photography would be soft pastels with dreamy / misty muted backgrounds.  So sweetly pure, you can almost smell the flowers in each photo!

An eclectic mix of art deco design and classic elegance is the perfect tableaux for your vintage wedding. Add your own individual touches – pearls, feathers, lace – to opulent surroundings and period furniture for a vintage wedding style that's all your own.

Photography would be softly muted colors shining through a sepia or black/white photo. You can hear that early jazz music playing in the background of each shot!

Simple country elegance should be the hallmark here. Choose a luscious outdoor garden setting, barn, vineyard or an understated classic interior venue. Child-friendly and family-oriented, this is an atmosphere for fun, fun, fun!

Photos are whimsical accents, whirligigs, comfortable shoes and clothes, with the laughter always shining through each shot!

From the elegant fireplace trimmed in white onyx in a grand hall to gleaming marble floors, alabaster chandeliers and European hand-loomed rugs, this is a wedding of black ties, tuxes and formal place settings for dinner. Don't hire a DJ for this type of venue - - you'll want a full band to go with the white-glove service.

Your photographer should catch the harpist or violinist as you walk down the aisle or during your cocktail hour. Don't forget that sparkling crystal chandelier in your formal portrait and the guests in all their finery. These photos will become real family heirlooms for your generations to come.

Boho Chic
Sandy white beach? Chiffon draped wedding canopy? Sun beams through tall trees with you, the wedding couple, bathed in splashes of sun and color? 

Whatever your boho-chic vision, your photographer should make that come to life for you. You should be able to smell the ocean, feel the breeze through the drapes or imagine the earth beneath your feet as you go through your wedding photos.

Don't just hire an average photographer - - bring along the photographer who shares your vision of your wedding and wants you to relive it, year after year, generation after generation.  Hire a professional. Call me for your free consultation and we'll build your wedding vision together!  (908) 229-1694

]]> (Photography By Two Women) art-deco beach black tie boho chandelier chic dreamy eclectic elegant feathers fun garden heirloom jazz love pearls photography professional romantic sunlight theme tux vintage vision wedding Tue, 10 Nov 2015 17:22:10 GMT
HELP!! What is YOUR Take on a Wedding Reception Flow?? I'm really puzzled! I've been advising brides on reception flows and how to maximize theirs and their guest's enjoyment for a number of years but I was recently invited to a wedding (one I did not work at), and through the ENTIRE reception (cocktail hour, dinner, toasts, EVERYTHING), the DJ played dance music. Guests got up to dance between the salad course and the main course - - didn't pay attention to the toasts - - even while the wedding cake was being cut!  Of course, this means the attending children were continually running from table to table and eating from their own plates, their grandparents' plates, and each others' plates. Guests trying to eat were bumped by those on the dance floor. No quiet time for visiting or conversations.

I really thought it was rather chaotic and distracting to not have the bride and groom be the center of attention during their MAIN EVENT but that is how it was orchestrated.

Now, as I said, I'm puzzled. Is this the millennials trademark? Should we all be multi-tasking at everything we do, sacrificing a once-in-a-lifetime spotlight in favor of a current trend?

I'm sure dancing is important, but so is a dinner that obviously was thoughtfully selected, and probably expensive.

Please, readers, tell me if I'm wrong in making sure an event flows smoothly so, as a photographer, I can carefully record and document everything that happens. This becomes difficult, if not impossible if there is no focus to an event. I really felt sorry for the photographer in charge of making sure this wedding was cared for.

PLEASE POST YOUR RESPONSES TO THIS BLOG. If anything and as a wedding photographer, I need to know how to adjust my work to encompass this task if this is the new norm.  THANKS!!!!


]]> (Photography By Two Women) New Jersey children dancing focus guests meal millennials multi-tasking norm photographer photography spotlight toasts trend wedding wedding cake Wed, 21 Oct 2015 16:30:58 GMT
Don't Hire These Photographers! Wedding photographers come in all shapes and sizes with price packages big and small.  Depending on your budget and personal preferences, here are eight types to choose from (can you guess which are the ones you need to stay away from?):

Boutique Wedding Photographer A company that focuses on wedding photography Can include a team of professional wedding photographers with an in-house production team Much more expensive than other photographers $$$$
Full-Time Professional Wedding Photographer A small business owner who shoots 15 - 30 weddings per year Professional work for professional prices Professional work for professional prices $$$
Weekend Warrior A photographer with an unrelated full-time day job who shoots primarily on weekends May shoot as many weddings as a full-time professional Slower post-production time and more limited resources $$$
Professional Photographer (non-wedding) Often a landscape, product, travel, fashion, or commercial photographer Less expensive than a wedding photographer, but has editing experience Experience may not be transferrable to weddings $$$
Film Fanatic A photographer who shoots only film Expect a classic and traditional style with great references Photo poses can look old fashioned and dated $$$
Shoot & Burn (Spray & Pray) Day-of photographer who sends raw footage straight after the wedding Fast Results 100% unedited and may contain many shots which are unusable $$
Aspiring Amateur A non-professional  photographer, often a student, who wants to become a professional May know the latest techniques and trends Lacks experience and usually has very limited equipment $
Family Friend A hobbyist with a good camera Free No experience and probably more interested in partying than in photography  

Now, which ones should you stay away from? Well, there are a few things to consider

  • How important are your wedding photos to you?
  • How experienced are you in photo editing?
  • What products do you want to be included with your photos?

Most people plan on being married only once so these are the pictures that should last a lifetime. They tell the story of your love to your future generations and they do not deserve to hide away in a closet because the photographer wasn't very good.  If it were me and my wedding, you better believe those photos are vital to me. I'll never be that young and beautiful again and I want people to remember the happiest moment of my life. I would not trust these moments to:

  1. A Family Friend (As much as I love my family and friends, I want this moment to be captured by a trusted professional)
  2. Shoot & Burn (You'll pay for hundreds, maybe thousands of photos and you'll only be able to salvage 10 or 15 good or mediocre pictures)
  3. Non-wedding Professional (While the photos will be technically perfect, you'll be surprised how many of those once-in-a-lifetime moments were completely missed)

Getting married? Hire the right professional wedding photographer! Call me for your FREE quote and LOVE your wedding photos! 908-229-1694



]]> (Photography By Two Women) Boutique New Jersey experience full-time love photography professional trusted wedding Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:32:48 GMT
Be Prepared! Getting married?  I'm sure you've thought of EVERY detail, right?  You've chosen your service providers with care and respect them for their work. You took their schedules into consideration because you KNOW you will receive the utmost service when it comes to you, your event and your date.

Let me tell you, not everyone thinks that way however. Last Tuesday I received a frantic call from a groom who was getting married on Friday.  I guess he thought he was doing good by thinking a whole TWO DAYS in advance of his wedding! He was looking for a photographer to cover six hours of ceremony, fun & merriment.  Now, I'm considered flexible when it comes to scheduling and, if available, can accept a wedding with as little as only two weeks notice before the day. Needless to say, I refused the job. My husband doesn't understand why I would turn down work but I have a few very valid reasons:

  1. I was out of town, on vacation when I took the gentleman's call. I would have been back at home for the wedding but only JUST back. I would have camera gear to inspect, batteries to charge, work clothing to prepare, etc.
  2. I had no idea of any of the other vendors, venue location, preferred images or type of ceremony. There was no time to meet with any other providers or investigate potential cultural quirks to be prepared.
  3. There was no prepared timeline for significant events during the wedding (for example, would the cake be cut before or after dinner? Would there be a dinner?). What if I had to take a bathroom break during an important scene? These are things I schedule around a bridal couple's schedule!
  4. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY... How would my services be respected and valued if photography was an afterthought to the entire event?

I gently refused the man on the phone with an apology, saying I would need a minimum of two weeks prior to any job to accomplish most of my pre-work. I wished him well but stood firm as he begged. I could not, in good conscience, even recommend a colleague for him.

Wracked with guilt? A little, but feeling good about my decision to feel good about me and my craft. I cannot educate couples about the value of the art I bring to their wedding and their everlasting memories if they are not open to respect for the value of what I do for the generations that follow them.



]]> (Photography By Two Women) art batteries camera craft detail educate forgot inspect photography planning recommend respect schedule service timing value vendor wedding Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:52:11 GMT