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  1. DeanSanderson

    Splash The Dress

    No dresses were harmed in the taking of these photos
  2. But its just a photo.... So you realise the value of having really great wedding photos, or you wouldn't be reading this... We all know wedding photos are the ones that end up on the mantel, not just of your home but in all likelihood those of your children and their children too... In fact its probably the only photo of our parents taken before we were born that we EVER display... and together with the rings, the photos are really the only tangible commemoration of your wedding day..... Nonetheless, so often Dean and I find ourselves answering the question whats the difference between a professional photographer and resort photographer.... or even just a family friend who takes good photos.... why is it so expensive...what does the money actually pay for.... and how can you actually tell if someone is any good as a photographer from the myriad of websites.... If these are questions you are asking yourself read on.... Let's face it, when you get married is probably the first time any of us even consider hiring a professional photographer, and to be honest, as someone new to the business, it's a minefield.... as well as an expense that perhaps you wouldn't think to factor in at first... Then, as you start to explore the idea further and really think about it you realise how important it actually is.... and you often need to convince your partner / family of the reasons why.... In this post, with Dean's help, I hope to start to shed some light on it all.... (no one will be more surprised than I am if I succeed.... ) as well as tell you how to spot someone who knows what they are doing and is likely to deliver good photos for you from someone who most likely won't....Whether you choose to work with us, or for whatever reason you decide to work with someone else we want you ALL to have some really spectacular photos that capture the love and emotion of your special day. And, hands up, guilty, I confess, before I worked with Dean I also thought its just another photo.... then I saw the shots he took of my mother in natural light, with some bobbi brown bronzer, mascara and lip gloss in the car park of an apartment building and now I like, gettit!!!!! Below are some common questions (from me) and answers (mostly from Dean), please let me know if I have missed anything..... Question: What is the difference between what Dean does and a Mayan Riviera resort photographer? It is really difficult to explain the difference between what Dean does and what the company on the resort does in text as tone is so much of how we communicate. But let me give it a try and please know that we obviously prefer what we offer, however, at the same time understand that the resort company is the right decision for a lot of couples and our goal is always to make sure people make the decision that is best for them. Dean used to photograph for the largest image collection in the world (www.gettyimages.com) which is known for representing some of the top talent in the world and has been photographing for almost 10 years. His university degree is in psychology and he learned photography by training and working with some of the best in the world. His focus is people and he is a master in the craft of photography and his art is to use a camera to capture peoples personality... So with Dean you are choosing someone who loves working with people, understands all types of group dynamics and wants to capture the real you. With the photography company, many times you are not able to choose your photographer for the day and my understanding in talking with photographers that work on the resort, they get paid $250 to $500 on average for a wedding. Now this is not always the case as some do get paid more, however, much of the time this is the case. Another reason people find the resort photography companies appealing is that they include prints and/or albums in their packages. We believe the most important thing is to get quality images first. Once you have these great images, you can then get those products because honestly an 8x10 photo or a photo album is only as good as the photos in it. So with us, we try to give you the best photos possible, then give you the right to choose us for your prints or you can go elsewhere it's totally up to you. In conclusion I think the difference between choosing Dean (or any other outside photographer) and the resort company is that with Dean you are really choosing an artist. A specific artist that is going to spend the day with you to capture your day they way you want it captured. Whereas when you choose a resort company, you are choosing more of a product and there will be much less attention to detail and/or personalization of your imagery. Again, I obviously prefer Dean (or an outside photographer) over the resort photography companies so I am a bit biased, so sorry for that but Dean and I find that 5 Star resorts often don't offer 5 Star photography and it really perplexes us and it is something we have been working on as we have been in contact with resort management in hopes that we can help train or even become one of these resort companies, but we are really not there yet. Question: How do I spot a good photographer from a bad one? Dean: There are a lot of things you want to look for and for me the number one would be how you feel when you look at the photos. Are these the type of photos you want to show your family the day after your wedding, one year after your wedding and 10 years after your wedding? Then there are technical things like colour, focus and other aspects of the photograph that really make a difference. And sorry to say, here's the bad news for you. You can't look at a website and determine focus. The images are too small and you can cheat when it comes to focus on digital images, so that one's out when looking for a photographer online. Then there is colour. Again, from a distance on a website you can't really determine colour as monitors vary and if your monitor is off, then you will not be able to determine colour correctly. However, look for consistency as your monitor should be reading every image the same, so look for consistency (and use a newer computer as the newer the monitor the more likely the colour will be accurate). So since many of the technical things you would look for in a photographer are not available to you when you are looking at work online here's a little gem for you... Look at the horizons. For the most part horizons should be straight. Sure having photos where the horizon is on an angle every now and then is fine and maybe fun, but when you go to put these photos in a frame if the line of the frame does not match the line of the frame it will look very off balanced. Even more so, if you decide to make a photobook, when you put several of these photos together with the horizons off they will look really silly and unprofessional. So when you look through a website, look for horizons being straight. Even if they are off my a tiny bit, it shows either a lack of attention for detail, or the photographer simply is not experienced enough to know... and because you can fix this later, it really is an attention for detail... So there you go, a little gem for you... O and if you doubt me, pick up a magazine and look for a photograph where the horizon is on an angle. Because as soon as you start putting text around a photo that has the horizon off it looks horribly amateur. ... Question: What terms and conditions should I ask for from the photographer to make sure dont get messed around or find myself with a larger bill than I anticipate? Dean: Make sure you are able to get all the high resolution photos YOU want from a photographer and no extra cost. You should not have 'find' your photographer in 10, 15, 20, etc.. years to get prints. You should own theses. O and listen, a photographer might shoot 2-3,000 images on your day and it's not fair to ask them to edit all of them. And if you do, it is very likely that you will not get great editing. And I also understand that a photographer might want to choose the first images that they want to give you. That makes sense because you will love those photos and be excited about your day. But you should also be able to get that not so great photo of grandma as sure from the photographers perspective it's not technically a great photo and she is kind of making a funny face, but it is the best one that has been taken of her in the last 10 years and you only have her around for so long. Not to mention she is always making that laughy smiley weird face thing and that's why you love her... the photographer does not know that, only you do and you should be able to choose that photo. Or anything similar.... So long as you have your high resolution files you should be able to make prints on your own and do whatever you want to do with your photos afterwards.... Question: What does my money actually pay for? Your money pays for the photographers time, on the day and the tremendous amount of production work that goes on to make sure you get the very best photos of your day. This is in many ways one of the biggest differences between a good photo taken by an amateur and one taken by a professional. A professionally shot wedding will have at least 12 hours of selection and editing work factored into the cost, and more the longer the wedding. A break down of how these hours are spent is in the next question and answer. Question: How long will my photos actually take to get to me? and what actually happens once they are taken? Why cant they just be ready the next day? Dean: Make sure this is in the contract. At our studio we promise 3 weeks and for every week we are late we give you $100 off your package. They are not ready the next day because this is our process: They are downloaded, renamed and double backed up - 4-6 hours of computer run time. Then they are initially selected by an editor to choose the best 40-50% of images - 3-4 hours Then a photographer looks at every one of these images at 100% to make sure they are technically correct and will print well. 2-3 hours Then an editor looks through them again and chooses just the best images as well as subsection ideas (like what is best for emails, blog posts, facebook posts, etc.. ) - 4-6 hours Then a photographer or tech edits each individual photo by for proper colour, density and a tone of other technical attributes like correcting all the horizons. 4-6 hours (btw. we are really fast at this and some studios can spend 20+ hours here getting the same results) Then a they are exported to .jpg files for you 1-2 hours Then they are reviewed again by the editor to make sure colour is consistent and that they have chosen the best files as now with the new colour correction sometimes photos that looked OK before are great as it still amazes me how a photo can go from OK to amazing with some colour correction. 1-2 hours Then sample photos are emailed to the clients, posted on Facebook and the blog - < 1 hour Then photos are uploaded to server for download .... this is all computer time, but can take anywhere from 6 to 18 hours depending on internet speed and we like to do it in the evenings as it really slows down the internet connection. So sometimes three nights!.. and if this does not work, we send disks.. Question: If I hire another photographer is there anything I should know that might really affect me that they will not tell me? Dean: Yes, the biggest error our there is that DVD/dics's will last forever. THEY DO NOT... they only last 5-10 years on average and some last 15-20 years. Please DO NOT store your photos on discs... we did not know this when we started using discs so even please tell your friends that have been married this as well. Get those photos on your computers. And not one computer, but at least two... I hope this helps demystify the process and explains things somewhat.... If nothing else you might have read this and have a clearer idea of what the right photography options for you are... and at least be able to make sure you know what to look for when booking with someone, or perhaps be able to explain to your partner more eloquently why you think hiring a professional has value....
  3. Congrates and welcome to the Forum... Â do you know that the Royal is right in the city of Playa del Carmen? ... that can be a good thing because you do not have to stay on the resort and guests can go wherever they want for dinner, drinks, dancing, shopping, etc... Also that the beach there is quite busy, so if you are having your wedding and reception out on the beach, there will be a lot of 'locals' and tourists walking by... but this is not necessarily a bad thing. it just is what it is... Â And the Royal is a beautiful resort. The weddings there look fantastic and if your ok with the above, you will love it there.. i've only heard good things. Â All the best, -dean Â
  4. Congrates fellow Canadian..  I would love to give you some advice, but I try to stay out of the resort vs resort thing because one couple will love a resort and then next couple will have a less than desirable experience... If your really stuck PM me... (with budget too please) ... the other thing I can do is get you in touch with some great travel agents from Canada that specialize in these... ??  best of luck!  -dean  btw. 3 months, no problem.. the more time, the more you have to fret and worry, so there you go, less worrying ... the only problems are if your guests can make it for the date and the rings... if you want custom rings, go now! .. cause it might take time to find and make those things... .. other than that, your good and have fun..
  5. I totally agree with both Jystar and Elizabeth on this one... If photography is important to you and you want great photos, then hire an outside photographer.  Three things I would like to add.  -Try to talk to them on the phone or skype... you want to make sure you can communicate well with them before you hire them as they will be directing you on a day when you want things to go smoothly...  -Ask for references. Good experienced photographers will have them and their clients will be more than happy to say good things about them.  -Look in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera for a photographer before bringing someone who wants to 'build their portfolio'... Taking someone who does not have much experience to an area that they have never photographed to shoot something they have never or seldom photographed before is quite the gamble. You are going to have to pay these people at least the cost of their plane ticket and accommodation as well as some extra money in order for them to work on the photos postproduction when they get back (btw. Post production takes 1-3 times the amount of time you shoot.. so a 5 hour day is can mean 5-15 hours of post depending on how experienced the shooter is. The less experienced, the more time. And if you are doing this to save money, you are hiring someone less experienced, right? ) I would rather see couples take that money and look for someone down there… ok, I’m going to jump off my soap box now  i hope this helps you (and others)... -dean
  6. Welcome to the Forum... another place to look is the Now Jade Mayan Riviera Resort... It's in the same area and really nice as well.. I'm shooting a wedding there in early April and the clients are very excited about it. There is even a good thread with some very helpful people on it in on this site.. Â good luck! -dean
  7. There seems to be a few things about photographers in this thread.. one of which I hate reading... "Photography: I'm working on the name of the photographer. He also was around taking pics by the pool with monkeys lizards ect. There is a fairly tall guy that also takes the pics by the pool it is not him though. Hes a shorter guy. If you have a wedding soon ask Maria because she will definetely know who he is and ask not to have him. I previously posted about this topic so I won't say much more then to not use them if at all possible!!!!! " I wish there were more standards in our industry for all you bride and grooms... Unfortunately there aren't any ... but in general, those working at resorts are people that know how to work a camera, they are not photographers. That doesn't mean you won't get photos and that doesn't mean you won't love some of them... it just means that if you want really nice photos and that is very important to you, please hire someone outside the resort. Good luck out there and I wish you all the best in planning..
  8. Send us photos!... I LOVe doing TTDs and I hope you were able to find someone -dean
  9. Hi Amanda Congratulations and welcome to the Forum!.. I LOVe Playa del Carmen... so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask... and if you have the chance, go to the second floor of the Baseco (sp?) hotel on 5th to the restaurant. Best shrimp tacos and they have the best people watching tables in town by far... Cheers, -dean
  10. Welcome and Congratulations!
  11. DeanSanderson


    Welcome to the forum Annick! As for resorts?? It really depends on budgets and so many other factors... I would suggest talking to a travel agent as well... If you want one that specializes in DW Travel, PM me with where you are from and I'll see who I have on my private list.. And I also want to give a shout out to Oriental Mandarin .. Roxanne there is amazing and the resort is awesome (five Diamond)... One couple had everyone stay at one resort and then had the wedding there... anyhow, it is off the beaten path so I thought I would mention it.. good luck! -dean
  12. Hi Cindy, Congratulations and welcome to the forum! ... I hope this helps! As for response times from the Resorts... It is not all that unusual for it to take quite a while for them to get back to you. And feel free to send a few messages. Probably won't affect the response time a lot, but don't worry.. .they will take care of you when you are there.. -dean
  13. Another way to save some money on the photos is to use the resort photographer for the day of the wedding and do a TTD with an off site person... Usually you can also talk the resort into just a regular day pass for the photographer. For instance, my wedding packages start at $1,500 for three hours.. but my TTD's start at $500 for an hour in the pool.. as a couple bucks for a walk on the beach in your wedding dress before jumping in the pool and you'll have great photos.. One problem.. hair and makeup.... if you're ok doing your own, then it is a great idea ... -dean btw. The main reason for the difference in price is the number of photos. For every hour of shooting there is 3-4 hours behind the computer. Good photographers take good photos and make them great after. And your resort photographers, most of them will take the photos directly from the camera. I hope this helps...
  14. Jessiphi, use a travel agent! Some of your guests are going to NEED one, or you will be organizing and hand holding a lot.. and it's your wedding and you should be partying, not making sure your aunt and uncle are in the suite they were promised...Or that they even got out of the bloody airport.... Also when you are with a group at the resorts, you have a lot more pull because they respect that you are there with 10 other rooms and that's a lot more money than the one couple standing at the front desk... -make sense? They can also make sure those who want to be near each other at the resort are near each other.. (and might I say, those who want to be further away are further away..) btw. If you use a travel agent, nothing is stopping those who know how to from using a website. Anyhow, that is my advice, I've been to several DW's .. staying at the resorts, or not and heard a lot of stories ... so my advice, get a travel agent. Feel free to PM me if you want.. -dean
  15. Sorry to hear so many girls are having problems with your TA's... I actually have a decent list of them and if you would like some names, numbers, email addresses, etc... to see if you can find a good fit, please PM me or email me and I will try to send it your way.... They are from all over Canada and I don't really think it matters where your travel agent is. So long as they know what to do, that's the important thing... cheers, -dean
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