Archive for November, 2014

November 5th, 2014

About Wedding & Engagement Photography


Before my clients even meet with me for a consultation they always ask questions.  Choosing a venue and a photographer should be on a bride’s top list of things to do so I take inquiries very seriously.  I went through my client inquiries last week and compiled the top ten most frequently asked questions.  I thought compiling them into this entry would answer a lot of questions for many future brides.

1.  Do I get all the images?

No, couples get all the edited images in high resolution JPEGs.  I do not give out RAWs or all the images because it is my job to sort out the best images and edit them for my clients.  I always believe quality over quantity and pass that on to all my clients.

2.  How many images do I get? 

It depends on how long your wedding is and how many photographers are at your wedding.  Generally, an 8 hour day of photographing would produce 600-800 edited photographs.

3.  Describe your photography style.

My photographic style stems from my love for photo journalism.  I believe a great wedding photographer should be able to tell a story in a compelling and creative way that captures emotion in a unique way.

4.  Is this your full-time job?

Yes, this is my passion.  I believe if you are passionate about something in life, it does not feel like a job.  I am in the business of capturing all the joys and emotion of a special day.  It does not get better than that.

5.  Do you have a second photographer?

Yes, I work with an apprentice photographer and a couple of second photographers (as needed) that can be commissioned at a wedding.  I typically shoot a wedding of up to 200 people by myself.  I suggest and rely on second photographers as an option to capture additional angles and moments.  The expectation for myself is to always capture everything as if I am shooting by myself.  I have shot a 350-person wedding by myself before.

6.  What kind of camera do you use?

I use the Canon line of cameras and lenses.  I have multiple camera bodies (Canon 5D Mk 3, 5D Mk 2, 6D) and numerous lenses as well.  I just use Canon because I enjoy and got used to the controls but, primarily I have made a heavy investment in prime lenses that I love.

On a bright and sunny day, I sometimes bring my infrared camera to produce an out of this world photograph.  It is always a pleasure to see the reaction of couples when they see these shots.

7.  Do you travel?

Yes, in fact I love to travel.  25% of my wedding inquires are outside the DC/MD/VA area.  I enjoy exploring new environments and scouting new photo ops.

8.  Can we get the RAW files?

Sorry, I do not make an exception for this.  I believe any true artist does not reveal their drafts (i.e. music notes, sketches, rough ideas).  A more practical reason is that I usually select down 50-75% of my shots from the wedding day and provide you the best edited ones.  It is my job to select the best photographs of a series; such as a bride walking down the aisle.  She may have her eyes closed in a few of them, those do not get selected.  I know my clients enjoy the finished product of meticulously edited and selected photographs rather than a dump of 3,000 RAW files.

9.  Do you back up the files?

As soon as I get home from a session I back up all of your precious files and back them up again on another location.  I do not clear the memory cards until I start processing and selecting your photographs.  My clients lose their photographs from time to time.  Whether its from a move or they simply lost it, I provide a back up service where I keep client files archived for up to three years.

10.  What is your favorite part of a wedding?

Every wedding is unique in nature which is what I love.  My favorite part of a wedding is when I can become part of  the emotion and create my unique perspective of the events occurring.  Overall the ceremony is generally my favorite part because of what it represents.

11.  Do you reserve engagement/wedding dates?

Nothing is official until a contract is signed to secure dates.   Wedding dates are not reserved without a deposit and contract.

12.  How long do I wait for our photographs?

For engagement sessions you will receive them within 2-3 weeks.  Weddings are up to 8-10 weeks.



I hope these compiled frequently asked questions and my answers are helpful in your decision making process.

November 5th, 2014

social media impacts on photography


When I started out in wedding photography, I remember word of mouth was my primary source of referrals.  I recently saw a major shift in many of the the weddings I photographed.  I have seen many trends; however, the following have been the biggest:

1) More and more camera phones and tablets…yes, I cringe every time I see someone holding an iPad at a ceremony.  However, I can always count on seeing one every few or so weddings.  This means more and more people are posting to social media outlets as things happen.

2) Couples using hashtags for family and friends to use to compile a metadata used across Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets that use hashtags.  I have begun tagging a lot of my clients photographs with their respective hashtags and have had many guests view my portfolio that way.  Just a random fact: the word hashtag has recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014.  That’s a big deal!

3) Clients are finding me through Facebook tags, Google Image searches, and Wedding networks over the past year.  More than 70% of my inquiries in 2014 are from social media outlets compared to 100% from word of mouth, direct email/phone call, and website in 2013.

These are all trends that heavily impact how I conduct business moving forward into 2015.  The way I market and socialize will be different as compared to how I did it in 2013 and even parts of this year.  I am happy to say that with the launch of the new website we are heading in the right direction in terms of how we have rebranded and refreshed Hieu Pham Photography.  I am delighted of the things to come in 2015!