So, You’re Looking for a #WeddingPhotographer ? | Part 1

Hamilton wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Let’s Stay Together

THE QUESTION OF DIVORCE WHEN CONSIDERING WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

That’s right, the D word! Presumably a topic that someone who photographs weddings ought to avoid but I have the stones for it! I am going right there!

I tell you, it does NOT happen often but every now and then someone; either male or female, during a consultation for a wedding photography package, will suggest that spending money on such an investment may be a waste given that there’s a possibility of divorce. Sure, it’s said sort of tongue-in-cheek but some measure of seriousness (along with pre-wedding jitters, cold feet or whatever you want to call it; “fear” might be a good description) is still detectable.

Just to quickly get it out of the way here, if you’re just engaged to be married and divorce is on your mind during your wedding planning don’t even bother booking a wedding photography consultation. If a photographer is pushing you into one, then have some backbone and don’t let him or her push you into it. It probably is an arrant waste of your time and money.

I suspect that people who actually do agree on prenuptial agreements have a better chance at overlooking the distrust that’s obviously associated, and making certain that their (insert the word “happy”) marriages endure. I only suspect this because I have yet to find a study from a credible source that indicates that the divorce rate among couples who sign prenups is significantly higher than of couples who don’t sign one (if you know of such reliable studies or have conducted any yourself, I dare invite you to share the results below in the comment section. That ought to be interesting.

Hamilton wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

It’s Got to be Real

Get Serious!

Anyway, as much as signing a wedding photography agreement is sort of a pre-marital contract it is one that you share with a photographer not your prospective better half. It is not the same as a real prenup, so if you have any concerns about divorce definitely do not seek out a photographer. Not even me. You have bigger issues to work out with each other first.

As you’re probably wondering, yes, some of the weddings that I have personally photographed have indeed ended in divorces. I report that knowing full-well that there are marriage pessimists who will read that as a sign that divorce is inevitable. It only is if you and your partner truly aren’t compatible, and one or neither of you are willing to permanently work equally at making your marriage last.

What do you contribute to your relationship? Do you bring genuine love, affection, encouragement, trust and loyalty to the table or do you think your hot bod and hot sex is all that should be required of you? Are you willing to keep privacy between you and the one you’re going to marry or will you share everything sacred with your parents, siblings, friends and people in the workplace? Are you willing to be a or the breadwinner or are you the sort to use your ability to finance a marriage as a means to surreptitiously dominate your partner and force him or her to lose all sense of independence and individuality? If your better half were to become disabled or extremely ill and incontinent would you help him or her clean up after themselves and maintain dignity through their struggle, or would you abandon ship?

Being in love is one of the imperfect but extremely important experiences of the human condition that we will be forever trying to get right.

Who are you marrying, and why?

Prior to your engagement, you spent time dating or courting each other. Did you make good use of that time? Was it serious and exclusive dating or the casual kind that you did with all of the guys or girls you already figured couldn’t be “the one?”

Personally, I’m so glad that dating is far behind me. I find it to be an awkward period at best. People try so hard – too hard, to show their best qualities in order to impress and have a good time all of the time. A lot of this is good but it still can interfere with the getting to know the reality of someone’s character. That can always cause lingering doubt if facades are seldom dropped. It’s important to use dating as a profound opportunity to communicate openly and honestly.

Can you accept the fact that your fiancé’s family will never approve of your pending marriage because you are of a different race, ethnicity, culture, subculture, nationality, political ideology that they can’t stand, a dwarf, physically disabled or aren’t wealthy? You consider yourself tolerant of all people but are you aware that the person you have agreed to wed has a particular hatred for certain cultures? Is that okay with you? Maybe that despised culture is a part of your bloodline. Can you accept the fact that your fiancé’s family will never approve of your pending marriage because you are both of the same sexual orientation or that at least one of you is transgendered? Are you sexually compatible? Your partner is good to you but do you know that he or she takes pleasure in abusing other people? Are you okay with that? Do you both want children or even more if you already have any from previous relationships? Are you of the same religion, and if not, what spiritual aspirations do you have for your kids? Do you believe in corporal punishment or would you be the hands-off and let the kids get, say and do whatever they want kind of parents? Perhaps your mindset is somewhere in between these modes.

For however long it takes for you to truly figure each other out, dating is the time that you should spend really getting to know whether or not you are compatible with someone. Two people considering the serious details together can help their relationship to mature or make them realize that they may never be ready to have their connection solemnized and recorded for posterity. The serious aspects of dating are important. It is not a time to be squandered.

Hamilton wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Walking Together

Strong Relationships Do Endure

Most of the weddings that I have shot have been of couples who are still married. One such pair booked a consultation with me and the groom, who had been married once before, behaved in a way that made me feel as though he wasn’t that interested in getting married again. It just seemed to me that he was going through the motions so as to not disappoint his bride who had never been previously married, and was eager to tie the knot with her man.

Despite the negative vibe, I still felt that they would still get hitched, and that their union would last. Sure enough, I got to photograph their wedding and as I post this they’ve remained married for the past nine years. I’m confident that their marriage will last at least another nine, if not forever.

I’ve also done restorations of severely damaged wedding photos that were taken by someone else in the 1940’s. I’m talking about people in their 80’s and 90’s who tied the knot during and shortly after WWII – now there’s a real conflict. Death will likely do them part. That has already come true for one of the couples whose pictures I’ve restored.

In case you are also wondering, my wife and I have been married only once; never to anyone else previously. After a lengthy courtship, we got married in 1999. We are still (insert the word “happily”) married today. In fact, were not just still married but are also still in love with each other. Why, because we talk to each other.

We argue, and then work out mutual and realistic solutions to our problems so that we can move on with fighting for each other instead of against each other. We support and stick up for each other. We trust each other. We are faithful to each other. We don’t try to dominate each other, and won’t stand for the manipulation or abuse of one another. We want each other. We love and even lust after each other!

We never got a prenup, either. I don’t mention prenups to slam them, they have their place but from the very beginning Kim and I agreed to only pursue what we can equally share with each other. Quite simply, we are meant to be with each other.

Hamilton wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Marilyn & Murray’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

Rely on Logical Reasons Instead of Excuses

Some use the excuse that because their parents got divorced when they were little they now have trust issues. Okay, perhaps. I can see that happening but even if so, I can’t empathize. Death parted my wife’s parents but mine were divorced by the time I was five, and I’ve always fully understood all of the reasons why. It hasn’t left me with such deeply seated trust issues surrounding marriage. I feel safe and highly valued with my wife. No other woman has ever made me feel this way, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It just has to make sense. If you are certain that your relationship with the person you’re supposed to get married to is like mine, then contact me. We’ll book a consultation.

Arboretum Virtualis | XIV — #EarthDay

Black and white tree forest landscape photography

Gravitropism

WordPress has given me with a good excuse to show off this maple root system just in time for Earth Day. A reminder to stay positive by staying grounded, and never be negative by reaching for the sky.

So, You’re Looking for a #WeddingPhotographer ? | Introduction

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The Grand Entrance

THE LOOK OF LOVE

I am a lucky guy . . .

Call me a late bloomer but I didn’t date until after I left home at 18-years old. I was raised by a single mother, and mum was an angry divorcee who forbade her children to date until we came of age and made something of ourselves.

The girls I eventually took out were very nice, beautiful inside and out, but not into me as much as I was into them. I’ve never been an angel but I’ve never been the bad boy they were looking for either. We simply weren’t each other’s types.

Being the loner that I have always been, I can honestly say that I’ve never really felt lonely, never rushed into finding love, and never played around but from as far back as my adolescence I certainly did pray to God that I would find someone truly compatible when it was my time.

I’ve always been well aware of how hard it is to find the right person to share life with, and I know I have my own peculiarities. That’s why I always knew that I needed a woman who would take me seriously, and needed me to do so in kind.

Meeting Kim is one of the greatest experiences of my life. She’s the only woman to accept me with all the quirks and fanciful ideas that I have, and is pleased to know that I accept her in exactly the same way. Out of all the men in the world, she chose me. Incredible! We courted for several years before getting married, and we tied the knot when it was right.

She once told me that she feels personally responsible for the amount and quality of happiness that people experience in life. She even meant complete strangers, and for all the years that I’ve known her she demonstrates exactly that compassion each and every day. That’s just one more important reason why I know that I have the best girl. She is so rare and noble in character.

Her love is so rare. I need her. She is worth every bit the wait that I endured. Sure, it’s cliché but we know our love is genuine just by looking into each other’s eyes and faces, and from the way we touch and finish each other’s sentences. From time-to-time, we wonder how we’ll be when we’ve grown old. We take on all the challenges of life that are thrown at us with a firm grasp of each other’s hands. Our life together is a profound adventure.

This strength of love; manifested in sentiments, behaviour and intimate moments, is what I look for when I do wedding photography. It’s as personal an experience for me as it is for the couple getting married. I aim to make each image proudly display the connection they have with each other, and that their families and friends have with them as they step into their future together. The look of their love captured in still photography.

Hamilton wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Laura & Sean

Wedding Photography Plans

Are you about to propose? Maybe you’re past that stage. Starting to think about the importance of great wedding photography, especially before it may get too close to the crunch? Excellent!

This is not exactly a new blog series. I produced a series years ago, of a similar theme that generated modest attention. This was a result of encountering quite a number of brides and grooms who have nervously come to me and others for wedding photography, and being contacted by other bloggers like Manang Bok’s House with most appreciated comments like this:

“I hope I have you as my wedding photographer! “courted” — that’s a nice word, something that people don’t use (or do) that much anymore. Suggestion: I would like to see more wedding pictures in your blog — the venue, the cake, the flowers, the flower girls — well you would know that girls are suckers when it comes to weddings! Sometimes they (we) take on our impatience to our poor-significant others. I personally know a groom who almost called the wedding off because the bride is becoming such a drama queen!”

She’s right that I don’t showcase or write about this aspect of my artistic repertoire enough. So, I’ve pulled this series from the fixed pages of the main MOF blog, revamped it; giving it more teeth and most of all more straightforwardness, and I’m running it in the regular stream of posts.

I thought that I’d attack the overall subject of wedding photography from a different approach this time. Sure, I’m still going to offer free advice but this time I’m going to deliver them by taking readers directly through my consultation process.

I think this is a logical way to go because most people really don’t care about the details of wedding photography until they see a personal need to have pictures taken (I’ve seen a few cases in which there was no wedding planning whatsoever).

I find that THE greatest concern of anyone coming to me for wedding photography is their fear of being ripped off.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer, this series is devoted to helping you make sure that you make clear, concise but informed decisions in order to get what you need. After all, the images of your wedding are an investment (just as any other art purchase stands to be). They are meant to capture some of the greatest moments of your life and last for the rest of your life.

Over the next several months, I’ll cover all of the points that I cover with clients; from cost to creativity, and give you the brass tacks on factoring photography into your wedding planning. I’m also going to hit on reasons, emotions and trends; all of the things that matter in wedding photography. These matters will be addressed in the following blog posts:

  • Introduction (here you’re are)
  • Part 1 The Question of Divorce When Considering Wedding Photography
  • Part 2 When to Search and Book?
  • Part 3 Average Pricing for a Professional Wedding Photographer
  • Part 4 All About Engagement Photography
  • Part 5 Pre-Wedding Event Planning and Coverage
  • Part 6 Consultation on Wedding Day Photography
  • Part 7 Final Wedding Photography Considerations
Hamilton wedding photographer search selection guide tutorial tips course

Tammy & Jeremy

My aim is to ensure that whether you come to me or go to someone else for photographing your nuptials, you will feel educated and confident. If not, I want to hear about it. Tell me what you want me to cover.

#ModesOfFlight | Taking Off Again

Modes of Flight, #ModesofFlight, Art, Photography, Illustration, Graphics, Art Marketing, Art Networking

In the Air

Long time no write!

Here’s just a little of what I’ve been up to since my last post. First, let me rewind.

In early 2010, Bell Canada advertised web hosting service packages. By February of that year, I had signed up with Bell Web Hosting for the Economy Plan which included 300 MB of web disk space, 10 GB monthly transfer, 24/7 technical support, 8 e-mailboxes with 1 GB storage and more. My website was launched with the domain http://www.modesofflight.com, as established in the Registration Confirmation e-mail of Tuesday February 23, 2010, 3:57 PM (I have retained this and many other related documents since then).

I was set up with a Bell sympatico.ca e-mail address but the Bell representative on the phone fully understood my need to maintain my branding efforts as an artist, and agreed that it was far more appropriate for me to use a business address that doesn’t end with sympatico.ca. He helped me to establish the business email account, that some of you know is connected to this blog, so that I could ignore the Sympatico address. In all of these years, I haven’t used the sympatico.ca address. It still exists, somewhere out there in the grand electronic universe but all e-mail in or out of Modes of Flight have been channeled through my official business e-mail address, and I’ve always used it with e-mail client software on my computer. I’m not interested in any less secure online e-mail programs like Hotmail, Yahoo, G-mail, etc. Yes, I do have some of those accounts for special circumstances but they are almost never accessed.

Everything had been working perfectly for years until I purchased a brand-new desktop computer with Windows 10 Pro OS in late May of 2016. At that time, I needed all of my web hosting and e-mail services migrated to the new computer. Between May and September (4 months), I wound up talking to countless Bell operators and technicians who outright failed to re-establish my e-mail, and connect me to Bell’s server so that I could manage the files for my website. Bear in mind that I was paying for these services that I didn’t have access to for all of those months.

The issues had to be escalated to a much higher ranking officer in Bell’s corporation before someone could be found to adequately complete the service migration. It was a tremendous inconvenience. I won’t bother going into those details. Seeing red, I nearly jumped from Bell to one of their competitors.

Unfortunately, throughout much of 2016 and especially during the latter half, my wife Kim and I saw multiple family deaths and others becoming quite ill. Even the pastor for one of the memorial services noted that 2016 had been a most unusually tough year for my wife’s family in this regards. Even now, although we are getting past much of it, these issues have been extremely distressing, and contending with them as they mounted became top priority. They even drew me away from my affairs in MOF for months. Kim’s father was the last death to have occurred a few days before Christmas. We were emotionally and socially drained.

Since the very start of 2017, I began to return to my MOF responsibilities, to find that I could neither send nor receive e-mail. I found out when I tried to log into my MOF Twitter account. My inactivity resulted in me being locked out, and I was notified with the following message that popped up on the screen . . .

“In order to protect your account from suspicious activity, we’ve sent a confirmation code to [ e-mail address ] Enter it below to sign in.

Confirmation code Confirmation code: [ . . . ]”

So, I opened my e-mail client and lo and behold, there was nothing sent from Twitter. I saw that the last e-mail received was November 9, 2016, and I knew that many others had tried to send me e-mail right up to the end of the year. Of course, I immediately contacted my service provider.

I was routed between Bell Tech Expert, Bell Web Hosting, Bell Internet Tech department, Bell Hosting Team, Bell DNS Team and Bell Tech Support none of whom could help me to get reestablished. That’s right; here I go again!

I mean, Bell Canada is a major national telecommunications and media corporation. They also have satellite offices in many other countries around the world. They’re highly resourceful. If NASA can launch and remotely control two exploration rovers on Mars, 54.6 million kilometers (33.9 million miles) away, then why can’t Bell get my e-mail up and running?

Eventually, I was told that I had been locked out of my e-mail due to it not being used for so long which makes no sense at all since I had not been notified in any way about this, and I had been paying for the service the whole time.

I unexpectedly also found out that my domain, and all of its files on Bell’s server did not exist. That’s right, my entire website had been removed from the Internet without anyone consulting me.

I was told that no one at Bell had any trace or record of my website, which is the equivalent of me paying monthly for services that never existed since 2010; which amounts to grand theft. I even have my old bills to prove it.

In fact, I was asked a few times by different people at Bell if I was actually paying them for these services. They honestly thought I was someone with psychological issues mistaking their massive conglomerate for another. There’s no way that their records or lack thereof could be wrong, right?

What does all of this have to do with my art? Well, it’s like this. Anybody who has a fine art career in the 21st century knows that one absolutely must establish an Internet following by having a website, blog and social media management platforms (SMMP’s). In this day and age if you approach a gallery for representation, a collector takes interest in your work or someone becomes interested in potentially collaborating with you on some project the very first thing they’re going to do is look you up on the Internet.

It was bad enough that I had lost people that I cared about last year, I had also lost the business foothold that I painstakingly gained since 2010. Bell helped to flush it all straight down the toilet while their services are supposed to help their customers advance.

I could barely contain my fury. I was again ever so close to jumping to a competitor. I again escalated my problem to a corporate officer, this time to one who is said to be quite close to Bell’s CEO. I’m calling her Wonder Woman.

It took a couple days of investigation but Wonder Woman was able to find out that someone arbitrarily wiped out my e-mail and domain as part of some effort to clean their servers or something. I probably wasn’t the only Bell customer to have faced this major inconvenience. Wonder Woman basically told people to smarten up and get me back online. After a few more days, it was done.

Thank you so much Wonder Woman, you know who you are (Kim and I want to send her flowers but Wonder Woman can’t accept them)!

Now I must begin reestablishing the gains of MOF I have lost. I have new art to create, new blog posts to write – some old ones even stand to be new again, I have to breathe more life into the Hammer Home Street Photography project blog, get caught up on e-mail, I have a lot of networking to do, SMMP’s to work with, exhibitions to plan and join, and a website to hopefully redesign before the end of 2017.

#Mercenartist 2017

new year’s resolution display banner modes of flight

MOF Boarding Pass 2017

For those who have followed my blogs and social media accounts, I seemed to have dropped out of existence approximately midway through 2016.  I was also on quite an art exhibition circuit but that too came to a screeching halt.  This is because my wife and I were emotionally overwhelmed.  Although we were able to travel a bit, and I was able to continue with certain projects, much of the year was spent with our lives and thoughts being painfully impacted by the deaths of a number of people.  Many others that we know and are acquainted with happened to have the same experience.  It really seems like 2016 had an unusually high rate of mortality all around the world.

In response to these trials, I’d like to say that the MOF resolution for 2017 is to create more art that celebrates life but I’d be kidding myself.  The art of MOF has always been about exploring and celebrating life; real life, fictional life, near, distant, familiar, unfamiliar, joyful and even saddening aspects of life.  So, I wouldn’t be breaking any new ground here.

Once again, I have a tonne of e-mail to get caught up on.  I won’t be able to get to all of them.  I’m afraid that I’ll have to delete most of them, and accept the loss where I stood to make considerable gain from some of them.  I just want to thank everyone; nevertheless, for sticking with MOF and wishing my wife and I the best all this time, and let everybody who follows MOF know that I’m still around.  I’m still creating, planning and hoping to use art to enrich your lives as well as my own.

The only real changes are that I aim to push my comfort zone in terms of artistic expression and marketing.  Maybe I’ll push others too with these modifications.

I had better get on with it because, after all, each of us only has one fleeting life to live.

Weekly Post Challenge: “Curve”

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada contemporary urban photography landscape

This Way & That Way

This is how I’ve taken to composing city skyline images in recent years. I used to shoot them by positioning my camera from a fair distance and at an average terrain elevation to try and capture virtually everything. Through my learning curve I had to face the reality that pretty much everybody shoots skylines this way. I began to take on a different approach.

I’m still open to doing things the usual way but so that such urban landscapes wouldn’t become too static, I decided to move closer and start shooting smaller sections of cities from various angles, including aerials.

Arboretum Virtualis | XIII

Black and white tree forest landscape photography

Windthrow

I’m always impressed by the power of nature, and trees often inspire me to think of things that really don’t matter to the average person especially when I’m out in the woods.

At any given point on the Earth’s surface the atmosphere, which is approximately 100 kilometers thick at sea level, exerts an incredible downward weight of 4,526,851,852,600,000 metric tonnes (4,990,000,000,000,000 tons). The tiniest blades of grass and the loftiest trees withstand this. Our own bodies withstand it most impressively.

That is, until a good strong lateral wind is able to knock a mighty tree down, uprooting its foundation and all.

Pardon the pun but that just blows my mind!

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