Orlando Wedding Photographer ~ Southern Charm

It’s not very often when you get a groom who is super excited about his wedding images, but Craig was that groom. Not to say Katy wasn’t excited, but when you arrive the day of the wedding and the groom has a huge smile on his face and is “ready to do this”, it sure makes for some fun images with tons of variety. After our engagement shoot with these two at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral, we knew the wedding was going to be a blast.

Located in charming Winter Park, Florida, Winter Park Presbyterian Church is a great location for a ceremony, and Laurie Mcleod Combs, the coordinator there, does a fabulous job keeping everything rocking and rolling. Katy looked beautiful in her strapless Watters gown purchased at Solution’s Bridal, her bridesmaids dawned sleek, stylish LulaKate dresses from Bella Bridesmaid and all hair and makeup was provided by LeJeune Hair & Makeup Artistry. After a touching and emotional ceremony, a stunning reception followed at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market. A touch of the south gave life to beautiful décor and Jennifer Sutton Roe provided the floral arrangements throughout the day. Delicious food as always by Arthur’s Catering and rocking music provided throughout the night by The Fabulous Classics.

To say we had a great time at this wedding is an understatement. Both Katy and Craig gave us the time and energy to capture some memorable images, and we thank them both for that. We wish for many years of love and happiness for you both and can not wait to see where your life together takes you! 

Orlando Wedding Photographer ~ Craigslist Response… Why Wedding Photography is Expensive

This post is a bit off the norm for us, but this craigslist post showed up on Facebook today and really frustrated and angered me, so I have drafted a response to this bride to hopefully help enlighten her about wedding photographers.  This is not meant to offend or upset anyone, but it’s a true rendition of the day to day ins and outs of running a photography business and why photography costs what it does.

Here was the post linked here:  http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/evs/2804332414.html  And a recap…


WHY is finding an amazing wedding photographer so difficult? :/

I am a Bride who is getting married this summer and have yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.

WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos? Oh, because no bride is going to go without so they are going to pay it, because they HAVE to. They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15 grand after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!! You’re making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic. I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand. (Thats making 19$ an hour) So you’re going to take someones WHOLE MONTH paycheck for one flippen day of photos? Just because you CAN!!?????? So that maybe they will not be able to feed themselves or pay any other bills they have, right? It makes me SICK! 

I know im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot of brides out there think the same thing. & I bet all you fancy photographers wont even read this. oh-well.
Maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos :)  

I felt the need to respond, trying to be tactful even through my anger and frustration at the sheer lack of respect tossed by this poster publicly on Craigslist.  My response…


This is in response to your craigslist ad in regards to wedding photographers charging what they do for their work.  Your post has made it to facebook where it has sparked some anger and hard feelings within the photography community.  I am replying to help educate you and answer some of your questions about the costs associated with wedding photography and how things may not be how they may appear to you.

Q: WHY is finding an amazing wedding photographer so difficult?  

A:  Simply put… Because you are searching through a sea of photographers with little experience based what you are willing to pay.  Experience is everything in photographing weddings, and you will pay for the experience of each photographer accordingly.  Newer photographers are still learning, and while you might find a diamond in the rough, most of your lower priced photographers will not provide the same quality of work as someone who has been in business for many years and educated themselves to perfect their craft.  The simple answer is that you get what you pay for, as with most everything.

Q:  WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos? Oh, because no bride is going to go without so they are going to pay it, because they HAVE to. They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15 grand after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! 

A:  Your budget is up to you… you can choose to spend money on linens, chair covers, a fancy dress, etc or you can skimp on those things and have amazing photos from your day.  A wedding does NOT have to cost $15K, you could choose to elope if you have such an issue with spending that much money.

Q:  I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!! You’re making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic. I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand. (Thats making 19$ an hour) So you’re going to take someones WHOLE MONTH paycheck for one flippen day of photos? Just because you CAN!!?????? So that maybe they will not be able to feed themselves or pay any other bills they have, right? It makes me SICK! 

A:  Photographers charge what they charge based on their costs associated with doing business.  Just like any business photographers work to earn a living and to help feed their families.  There are FAR more costs associated than you are even beginning to think about.  Here’s a likely scenario of cost and REAL time involved for the $3K photographer… 

  • The average professional DSLR costs about $3,000.  Education to learn how to be a good photographer costs at least that, more often than not MUCH MUCH more.  If the photographer has a studio there are those costs, which can be anything from $750 – thousands of $$ per month.  There are repair bills for cameras, lenses, flashes and equipment that is used for your wedding.  There is second shooter costs of $30-$75/hour.  There is gas costs and travel time of often upwards of an hour in each direction to a venue.  There are hours spent the morning of a wedding charging batteries, cleaning gear, and getting everything packed and ready to go.  There is an average of 8 – 12 hours of shooting time on a wedding day.  There is liability insurance that many venues require, and equipment insurance to cover gear that might get dropped or stolen, insurance costs roughly $1,200/year.  There are professional licensing costs, and local business license costs to be legal and legit.  There are marketing costs associated with websites, blogs, any listings on wedding websites, or print ads, etc.  Marketing is often in the thousands of $$’s each year.
  • Client communication (emails/phone calls, etc) can be into the dozens of hours in the year or so before the wedding, and continues after the wedding.  Editing of an average wedding takes anywhere from 15-40 hours of time after your wedding day.  Add in the costs of computers, external hard drives for backing up your images, and photoshop to edit your images.  ONE computer with the latest version of photoshop and all of the needed peripherals will run you anywhere from $1,500 – $4,000.  If your photographer is creating any slideshows for you or burning discs, there is more time.  On average our studio spends between 50-100 hours per wedding to complete the job NOT including the actual day of shooting.  And let’s not even get started on income and self employment taxes which take a substancial chunk, and the fact that most photographers don’t have health insurance, etc.  The list goes on and on… but THIS is why quality photography is expensive.  What your photographer actually sees in their bank account after the wedding is probably less than 1/6 of what you pay to them for the service after all is said and done.
  • For our studio there is even more time and cost involved.  Both my husband and I shoot weddings together.  So that is TWO people’s time involved for your wedding day.  With two shooters there is even more editing time involved because there are two people photographing, which also means twice the editing time as well.  Let’s not forget two photographers also means twice the cameras, lenses, flashes, etc.  And any true professional will always carry duplicate back up gear which is another huge expense.  We also have to hire and pay a babysitter for our children on wedding days which runs at least $100-$150 for a 10 hour day of being gone from home.  Obviously not all photographers have children, but many do, and this is a business associated cost.

While I am not going to add up the numbers and costs involved, you can see the costs of running a business are VERY high.  The above costs/time involved is not even a complete list, but gives you a good idea of a starting point for the average full time photographer.  Time is money… for you to say that all photographers do is  “hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them” is an insult and completely disrespectful to our profession.  You really have NO idea what all goes into the business, what it takes to even keep a business alive for the long haul, to thrive and to even begin to make a living in our industry.  It’s people like you who have NO appreciation for the art of photography and the real heart behind what we do that have brought the industry to where it is today.  While it may look easy to just click a button and sit behind a computer and edit, there is FAR more involved than that.  Most photographers are barely making minimum wage.  The life may sound glamorous and like we are rolling in dough, but truly, we struggle just like everyone else.  Even more so because we don’t have a guaranteed paycheck to turn to every week, we have to WORK for it, and save for months when we might have NO weddings to count on to feed our families.

I know im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot of brides out there think the same thing. & I bet all you fancy photographers wont even read this. oh-well.

Maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos :)  

I know I am speaking for more than just myself right now, I can guarantee you that ALL of the photographers that I know and associate with have the same feelings about your post.  If you cannot afford $15K for a wedding or whatever your budget is, then have another type of wedding, or elope and have none at all.  If you cannot feed yourself and pay your bills because of a wedding, perhaps you have your priorities out of order.  No one is writing checks for you on your behalf and spending your money, only you can choose what you spend it on. Some people can only afford the Hyundai, some can afford the Mercedes.  Comparing a “cheap photographer” to a “fancy photographer” is like comparing apples to oranges… There is NO comparison.  Each bride makes a choice in what portion of her wedding budget she wants to put towards photography.  The photos are truly all you have left from your wedding day… Many brides on a budget choose to cut back on other things in their wedding to have the photographer of their dreams.  If you can only afford a few hundred dollars, then find the best photographer that you can find for the money, but it isn’t fair of you to bash the higher priced photographers for their prices.  That would be like walking into the Mercedes dealer and calling them “wack” because you could only afford a Hyundai… the logic just doesn’t make any sense.  The classier thing to do is to continue looking for the photographer that suits your budget and leave those of us that charge more alone.  People pay our prices, so obviously they feel okay with what we charge.

For what it is worth, our studio rate for a six hour day start at $4,000 and tops out in the $10,000 range for full day unlimited coverage on the wedding day.  I feel we are worth EVERY penny that our clients spend.  We POUR our heart and souls into our business and our client relationships every day and sacrifice our weekends with our families to capture priceless memories for our clients.  We work harder than we have ever worked at any “regular” job, and yet we struggle every day at the same time to overcome the disrespect of people like you who put no value in something that you will have for the rest of your life to remember one of the most special days of your life.  I’m guessing even the “cheaper photographers” will have no desire to respond to your insult filled ad for services, as it’s pretty obvious you would never appreciate the effort and work they put into your wedding day and the months before and after being of service to you.  Best of luck finding the right photographer for you.  I hope you have read this with an open mind and gain some respect and insight into the industry that you so publicly bashed.

If you would like to read more about running a photography business I would suggest this link to help you better understand as well.  http://www.professionalchildphotographer.com/information/?page_id=16

Thank you,

Cristy Nielsen | Owner/Creative Director

the Nielsens Photography & Design

Oviedo, Florida

Orlando Wedding Photographer ~ Simple and Sweet

So we were beyond thrilled to shoot the wedding of Erin & Matt recently in Orlando, Florida. After our E*Session with these two both Cristy and I commented on how much these guys oozed with love for each other. You can just tell by the way Matt looks at Erin and in return how Erin looks at Matt. From their first look before the ceremony at College Park Presbyterian through their last dance at their reception, which may I add they did as their guests exited the reception and lined up for their final send off, these two were just smitten with each other. This was something even brought up in the father of the bride’s speech, which was emotionally charged and full of tender personal thoughts and stories. One of the best we have heard, in our humble opinions. Their reception was at Historical Dubsdread Ballroom where Cathie Ashby and her staff do a top notch job putting on a seamless event. Gorgeous floral decor was provided by Tommy Murphy at Greenery Productions, Inc. and a stunning wedding cake was custom designed by Party Flavors. Entertainment, dancing and mood lighting at the reception were all provided by the ever spunky Kristen with OurDJRocks! From the time we showed up, to the time we left we enjoyed every second of being a part of this special event. We want wish both Erin & Matt a long, prosperous, healthy marriage. Congratulations!!! 

Destination Wedding Photographer ~ The Clouds Parted and then…..

So they say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day, right? Well what do they say if there is a crazy thunder, lightning and rain storm on your wedding day? Fortunately for Catharine & Chase, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and we were graced with one of the most breathtaking sunsets we have ever seen.  If there is one place you want to be for a fabulous sunset, it is at The Moorings Club in Vero Beach, Florida. After a sentimental and joyous ceremony, we made sure to get out and capture some stunning sunset images with the bride and groom, and these two were very happy to oblige. This wedding was sprinkled with little special details throughout. The bride’s heirloom bouquet broach and comfy boat shoes, the groom’s shotgun shell belt buckle and turtle design tie, the driftwood signature board for the guests, the long island iced teas served in mason jars, Grandma’s Girdle Buster Pie for the bride and groom in lieu of cake, and of course, the goodbye and exit on their fishing boat. Tonia Shaw, the amazing coordinator at The Moorings Club, along with her awesome staff, are incredible to work with. Insane dance moves were displayed throughout the evening to the rocking tunes of the City Lights Band. Beautiful floral bouquets and displays throughout were arranged by Hutchinson’s Floral Artistry and hair and make up for the all the ladies was provided by A Pampered Life. We are so fortunate to be able to be a part of such special wedding days like this one. Thank you Catharine and Chase for trusting us with the responsibility of capturing your wedding day. We enjoyed every minute of the time we shared with the two of you. Many years of happiness, health and joy to you both!

Orlando Wedding Photographer ~ Savor the Moment….

Some weddings can be hectic, busy, basically a blur, especially if there are hundreds of guests in attendance. So what do you do as a bride and groom to get through this? Let me re-introduce you to Sarah & Miles whom we thoroughly enjoyed working with throughout their entire wedding process. The two had told us that they had been to quite a few weddings recently and one of the common disappointments they  heard coming from the bride and grooms mouth were, they didn’t get enough alone time together to enjoy what was happening, to “savor the moment”. Well Sarah & Miles made it a point to make time together alone to enjoy each other on their wedding day. I mean after all, this celebration, this event, this gathering is really about one thing. These two people coming together to share a life together, right? Why not take time with each other alone during the day to take in everything that has, is and will happen? Little things that these two did to spend time together just exemplified their love for each other, and their desire to take time for themselves as a newlywed couple. Everything from a special first look before the ceremony to exchange gifts, to riding in the limo alone from First Presbyterian Church of Orlando to the reception at the Country Club of Orlando, and having a table for two set up in a private room away from all the guests to enjoy their first meal together as a married couple. These two made the time for each other, and for that I think they will always look back on their wedding day and say they loved every minute of it together! Another well planned and well executed wedding by Wonderful Weddings, unique yet gorgeous floral arrangements by Czes Heard and jamming tunes late into the evening by The Neons. A huge thank you to the incredible wedding team and vendors that made this day ever so special for Sarah & Miles!

Destination Wedding Photographer ~ Cape Cod Beauty

Check out Rebecca and Marshall’s wedding that John and I flew up to photograph in Massachusetts the weekend of June 4th!  It was such a beautiful wedding and location and we were so thrilled to be there to capture it all.  Rebecca’s dad and mine have been best friends since they were kids, and I have known Rebecca my whole life.  So needless to say when we were asked to photograph the wedding we were thrilled!  We started the day in the very quaint and private community of Nonquitt near South Dartmouth.  It was everything you envision Cape Cod to be… beach homes, beautiful scenery, rocky coastline and the whole 9.  The weather was perfect, a balmy 70 degrees which was just awesome for us and a nice break from our Florida weather!  An intimate, thoughtful and emotional ceremony was performed at The Congregational Church of South Dartmouth which is a charming and historic church that started roots in the area in 1807.  The reception at the Country Club of New Bedford in North Dartmouth was an elegant venue for a party and Brendan Lafferty of B-Sharp Entertainment had everybody dancing and having a great time! It was a fun weekend and we enjoyed every minute!  Thanks to Rebecca and Marshall for having us, and for all the memories that are to come!  :)

Orlando Wedding Photographer ~ Cute, Quiet, and In Love!

So we finally got to meet up with Matt and Erin for their engagement session in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. A drink, a few hors d’oeuvres , and a nice long chat at 310 Park South was a perfect prelude. We set out on a pleasant stroll through the rose gardens and took a few photos over at the Winter Park Farmers Market building before heading over to Kraft Azalea Gardens for a golden sunset. Spending time with our couples is such a special time for us. We get to know who we are working with and what makes them tick. The little things we learn helps us do an even better job when it comes capturing who they are and what they want on their special day. We can not wait for their upcoming wedding and reception at the Historic Dubsdread Ballroom in Orlando.

Orlando Wedding Photographer ~ A Gentleman and A Lady!

While down from Washington DC, Miles & Sarah met us in Winter Park for a relaxing stroll down Park Avenue and a delightful engagement shoot.  Both stated how nervous they were at the beginning, but within a few minutes, these two had no problem “connecting” and falling into the role of perfect models. Let me tell you, Miles is certainly the gentleman and Sarah is the sweetest of ladies. I had to laugh though when Miles busted out with his “I wore my best socks f0r this shoot” quote. I think they went perfectly well with Sarah’s choice of clothing! Walking, chatting, and photographing these two made Cristy and I all the more excited to photograph their upcoming wedding at First Presbyterian Church Orlando and reception at the Country Club of Orlando. We can’t wait to be a part of their big day and look forward to celebrating with all of their friends and family!

Orlando Commercial Photographer ~ Out and About Eats……Mexican done Gringos Locos style!

So I thought it would be fun to showcase some of the restaurants and eateries Cristy and I enjoy frequenting. Both of us love good food and once a quality place is “discovered”, we will eat there often and recommend it even more. Since so many of these fine eating establishments are small, local places of dining, they were coined “hole in the wall” spots. I will often ask Cristy, “which hole in the wall do you want to go to tonight”?  Both Cristy and I are committed to helping out  local small businesses, including restaurants, as much as possible. We hope that you will stop in and try one of these excellent restaurants, and if you do and like it, please leave a note here on the blog so everyone can see other reviews as well! If you know of a “hole in the wall” that Cristy and I should try, and blog about, please let us know as well.

This week I was craving tacos, not just any taco, but quality tacos like the ones I remember buying back home in California growing up. Those super fresh taqeuria tacos that melt in your mouth and make you want more and more. So while I was in downtown Orlando the other day, I stopped in at one of our favorite Mexican food hole in the wall called GRINGOS LOCOS, located at 20 East Washington Street in between Orange and South Magnolia Avenues. My order, a few “Street Tacos”, formerly known as Loco Tacos, and a Coke in a bottle to wash it all down. These tacos boast tasty marinated chicken, white onions, cilantro, a lime to squeeze on top, all wrapped up in a couple of warm grilled corn tortillas. Add a little hot sauce to the pile and you have pure heaven. While I was there, I got to witness the preparation of a “Drunk Gringo” in a taco bowl. This feast of a meal includes everything in the bowl, yes that right, everything. All meats, or proteins as they call it, and all sides. I bet if this thing was wrapped in a flour tortilla, it would be the monster of all burritos! A cool eating establishment, with an upbeat energetic crew on hand to prepare and serve you a delicious Mexican meal, all right in the heart of downtown!

A huge thanks to Jay, a former groom who’s wedding we shot in Key West, Florida, for meeting me down at his restaurant, allowing me to take some pictures of the place, and stepping in front of the camera for a few as well!

You can also find Gringos Locos on Facebook HERE.

So if you are looking for tasty, fresh, affordable Mexican food, even if its late night, this place is open until 3:00 am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights/mornings, venture into downtown Orlando and try Gringos Locos, A Mexican Affair. Enjoy!!!

Orlando Wedding Photographer ~ Brandi’s Country Bridal

So sometimes Cristy and I need to shoot just to let those creative juices flow. To produce an image that comes into our minds, but one that often times, we do not have the time to create when we are on a wedding day schedule. Cristy has been wanting to do this country bridal themed shoot for a while now, so she rounded up an incredible crew and we headed out to some different locations right here in Oviedo, Florida. As you can see, a beautiful outcome was the result! We were so very fortunate to have some incredible talent and minds helping contribute and document this shoot.

Please enjoy the video below put together by the talented Jeffrey Stoner as well as a slide show of our images from the day.

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the players that made this shoot possible!

Jeffrey Stoner – Video with Cameo…..did you see my mug in there? – http://www.stonervideo.com/
Brandi Snyder -Model – Facebook Fan Page
Melanie Pace – Stylist – http://www.melaniepace.com/
Luisa V-Hair -Hair & Make-Up – Facebook Fan Page
Lee Forrest – Floral Bouquet – http://www.leeforrestdesign.com/
The Collection – Dresses – http://www.thecollectionbridal.com/
- Dresses designers include Monique Lhuillier, Nicole Miller and Vera Wang