Get Over It | The Realities of Your Wedding Budget

By Season Hurd | | Comment

Advice meme

I apologize sincerely to the couples who are waiting on me to publish their weddings. Particularly those for whom I’m very late on posts. But I have to stop my regularly scheduled programming to have a chat with y’all. Come closer now because Mama has some truths to lay on you. All comfy? That feeling will probably be gone in a second. Here we go…

Marriage IS a right. But a wedding is NOT a right, it’s a privilege. And having a “dream wedding” is a full blown luxury. Despite what Pinterest would have you believe, most weddings don’t have every cool extra or the best of the best. Concessions are made to bring dream to reality. Like added money or lessened expectations. Lately I have seen a lot of people who expect quality vendors to seriously undercut their worth simply because they feel their wedding is super special and has a “budget”. What wedding doesn’t? And what does that even mean without the context of actual numbers? A lot of different things to different people, that’s for sure. Worst of all, anyone who they deem “unaffordable” is called out for being “ridiculous” or a “ripoff”. They expect to have every one of their wishes checked off no matter the size of that budget and assume there will be no decline in quality. The entitlement and lack of understanding of the work involved for wedding vendors is astounding. We need to admit when we have sticker shock that we can’t afford it in our budget instead of saying “it’s outrageously expensive”. That devalues the vendor for knowing their worth instead of correctly explaining that we simply can’t work the numbers in order to achieve it. No doubt if we had a lot more money to throw around, it would never be a second thought. So it’s not that the item/service is overpriced for its quality, it’s that we can’t afford that price. You don’t go to Elway’s and ask for a full meal to the tune of $15. And you don’t go to Wendy’s and complain that they don’t have lobster on the menu. There are different classes of vendors for different budget levels and it’s unreasonable to expect luxury at a bargain basement price. If you take to the webs wanting a “fantastic photographer for 10 hours” with a budget of $200…well as my mother always told me, “People in hell want ice water.”

The event industry is just like any other. There is budget and luxury. There is competition within groups that keeps prices at bay. There are tactics used to reward those who book early, create repeat patronage, etc. And there is certainly NOT a conspiracy whereby all wedding vendors got together to bump up their prices “just because it’s a wedding”. New and eager people arrive on the scene daily who want to work with your budget to improve their skills. Veterans of the field are always available when you want a “sure thing” and high end product. There is room for most everyone on the wedding budget spectrum when it comes to basic services if only couples are realistic. That being said there happy couple, it is your job to make the things you need/want fit into your budget or adjust that budget accordingly. It is not a vendor’s job to adjust their family’s income because you found the math inconvenient. (Sorry Sally, no summer camp this year. All of Mommy’s couples this season were “on a budget”.) Strangely enough, they don’t place the value of their chosen livelihood on what you have left to kick around in your budget. The vast majority of wedding vendors are just trying to get paid for their work so they can make ends meet…just like you! They are small businesses with tiny margins and huge obligations. I’m not naive enough to believe that no wedding professionals have ever been determined to con a starry-eyed couple out of their hard earned cash. It happens in all aspects of life. But it seems like every article out there anymore leads couples to think that the world is out to screw them as soon as a ring is pulled out. The end result, however, is a legion of savvy (in their own mind) brides and grooms who actually aim to pull one over on their vendors. The jaded engaged. (Tuck back in that bottom lip – even I’m guilty. And I will offer constructive advice in addition to silly memes!)

Wedding Meme, Wedding budget meme

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Guest Post: How to Hire a Boudoir Photographer – With Brooke Summer

By Season Hurd | | Comment

How to hire a boudoir photographer, denver boudoir, Brooke Summer Photography

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and boudoir photography is on many minds. With a barrage of Groupons and other deals, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. More daunting yet is knowing whom among the sea of prospective photographers is talented, friendly…and not a total perv or criminal. Brooke Summer, the premier Denver area boudoir photographer, offered to write a post about the considerations involved when hiring a boudoir photographer. She has had hundreds of happy boudoir clients and takes the art form very seriously. In her beautiful, light filled studio, she turns everyday women into models with her fun, encouraging, and genuine personality. As an incredible talent, she also finds herself becoming a safe haven for those who have experienced “boudoir gone wrong”. Her stories range from bad lighting/angles to legitimately dangerous situations. While you should certainly hurry if you want pictures by Valentine’s Day (it takes time to edit them, deliver them, and even more if you want physical prints!!), please take the time to do your due diligence and ensure an incredible experience that will be a keepsake for a lifetime. – Season

It’s that time of year again!f

The holidays are over, everyone is taking a collective sigh of relief, and we’re starting to look forward to what the year has to offer. Next up, Valentine’s Day!

Ahh yes, the holiday of lovers. The sexy holiday. The holiday filled with romance and love!

Sometimes, Valentine’s Day doesn’t always play out like that, am I right? We have these expectations based on what we see around us, and it doesn’t always work that way. Life gets in the way. BUT – while life may throw us some curveballs when it comes to our holiday plans, you can still get an amazing gift for the person you love.

No, I’m not talking about chocolates. Isn’t it ironic that one of the top candy holidays falls right after new years resolutions are made?

I’m talking about a little something sexy. A little something different. A little something…. fun.

Boudoir makes an amazing gift for any holiday, but Valentine’s Day is particularly big! A holiday to celebrate romance, what better than a sexy little book to show him the side of you that he doesn’t get to see every day? And right after Valentine’s Day we start sliding into wedding season. Bridal boudoir is an amazing and sexy groom’s gift, a reminder of the hot chick he’s marrying.

Valentine's Day boudoir photography, boudoir session with a red heart-shaped box of chocolates, Brooke Summer Photography

It all sounds so perfect, right?!

Yep, it really is, but it can turn into a nightmare quickly if you aren’t careful.

Sorry, not trying to be a downer here – let me introduce myself. I’m Brooke of Brooke Summer Photography. I am a top Denver boudoir photographer, and have worked with hundreds of women in my studio to get those amazing shots of a sexier side of my clients. Oftentimes they come in to get a gift for someone else, but leave with a gift for themselves. Why? Because boudoir should be an EXPERIENCE, not just an assembly line of taking your clothes off.

So what is this nightmare I speak of?

Fly by night boudoir photographers, with questionable reputations and even more questionable business practices.

Yep, it can be scary. Taking your clothes off in front of someone is scary enough, especially when they will be capturing those images for posterity.

I have worked with so many clients lately that have had negative experiences with their boudoir photographers, so I want to share with you my top 5 tips for choosing your boudoir photographer!

Denver bridal boudoir photographer, wedding boudoir, bride with a bouquet, Brooke Summer Photography

  1. TALK with your boudoir photographer BEFORE booking. Okay, it doesn’t have to be talking in person, email or phone is fine too – but really talk with them. Get a feel for who they are. Is this someone that just wants to have you take your clothes off and make a quick buck? Or is this someone that is passionate about working with women, and making sure that they are really comfortable? Don’t book sight unseen. If you have questions – make sure to ask them, even if they’re embarrassing. Remember, not only are you going to be hiring this person to take photos, but you will be in a vulnerable position – make sure this is someone you trust.
  2. During this conversation – find out how much experience this photographer really has. And not just photography experience, how many BOUDOIR sessions has this photographer done? Anyone can pick up a camera, but boudoir is a very different genre. There are different poses that are flattering for different figures, and there are definite NO’s during a boudoir session. If a photographer doesn’t work with boudoir consistently, they may not be familiar with the ins and outs of photographing someone in their skivvies. Furthermore – does this photographer work with a specific type of woman, what do you see in their portfolio? Do you only see one size of woman, one specific age? Do they do couples boudoir as well, if this is something you’re looking for?
  3. Find out the specifics of your session – does this photographer have a studio, or will you be working in a hotel room? I have heard horror stories of creepy basements too! Does the photographer have an assistant present? This isn’t always necessary, but if you are working with a specific gender, you may want the other gender present as well. Which brings me to another point – WHO will the photographer be? It sounds like a silly question, but there are several assembly line type operations that don’t assign photographers until the day of your session – so you have no idea who you will be working with.
  4. What is this photographer’s privacy policy? There are a few things to think about when it comes to privacy – who will be present at the session? Can anyone just waltz into the studio at any time? Will there be team members going in and out, potentially causing you to be uncomfortable? Discomfort will show in your photos, you want to make sure you’re in a situation where you can relax. Another very, very important privacy question – what happens with my photos after we are done? Are they going to be posted online for everyone to see? Sold? Is my name attached? Will there be a billboard of me on a major highway? It sounds silly but again – these are serious considerations. US Copyright law states that the person who takes the photo (the photographer) owns copyright. There are requirements for model releases and usage of your likeness, but be careful, and make sure to ask!
  5. Finally – do your homework. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Check out social media. Look on Facebook. Look for reviews online that are NOT on the photographer’s website. What does this person’s reputation look like, have they been working with women for a long time? Do they have a lot of negative reviews they have to contest? Everyone can have one or two, but do you see a consistent pattern of unhappy clients? Or do their clients seem not only happy, but ecstatic with the entire experience, including the photos?

Bridal boudoir photography, Brooke Summer Photography

Taking your clothes off for photos can be daunting. Make sure that you trust your photographer fully. Go with your gut – if someone doesn’t seem like a good fit, they probably aren’t. I have had clients fly in from as far as Hawaii for their sessions – because they couldn’t find anyone locally that they trusted.

A boudoir experience should be fun and empowering – you should leave feeling amazing, never cheap or uncomfortable.

If you are considering boudoir for a gift, I would love to talk to you further to see if it is a perfect fit for you! You can contact me directly to ask questions, or to book your session.

I am so privileged to be a top Denver boudoir photographer! My clients’ privacy is a top priority for these intimate portraits. Any and all boudoir images that are posted have been shared by the subject with written permission. I am honored that my clients choose to share their images with the world, and talk about their experiences with those images.

Brooke Summer

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