Where are you based?
I started my business in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2005. I have worked in the Wilmington and Raleigh areas for 10 years and photographed all over the state. I am originally from California and worked the first 5 years of my career in the Sacramento area.
What is your photographic style?
My style comes from my design background, and I like to think of each image as an individual painting or work of art. I also photograph from a romantic point of view, and I always have a storyline in my mind as I'm working. I photograph with a mix of photojournalism, where I stand back and watch for key moments to unfold along with styling photographs with an eye for detail, while helping you to look your best in each image. I do not want my photos to look cheesy, stiff or staged. I think it is best for you to be yourself, and then I will let you know if something needs to be tweaked in order to make the photo look great. I do offer guidance and support as we are taking photos, so you don’t have to feel like you have to come up with poses on your own. I have studied how to take photos of people for 15 years, so I can offer a lot of help and have lots of tricks up my sleeve. Another difference is the post-production work that I do. I've had 20 years of Photoshop experience and I am able to apply my oil painting skills to create beautiful retouching that doesn't look fake or overdone. I also eliminate things like exit signs, electrical outlets or extra people in the background on the beach, etc. to make each image as perfect as possible before the bride and groom see their images
Do you travel for weddings?
Yes, I love to travel and am always super excited to photograph new locations. I recently traveled to Maui for an incredible wedding. Anyone want to go to Europe?
Are there any travel fees?
Travel fees do apply to destination weddings where transportation and hotel costs need to be covered for my assistant and I. Any weddings in the surrounding Wilmington and Raleigh areas do not usually have travel fees. This varies on the length of stay, distance to travel and amount of photography coverage.
What is your retainer fee and payment process?
To be officially booked for your wedding date, I require a signed contract and a $1000 retainer fee. The process is easy now because the contract and credit card payments can be all completed online. I also accept checks. The balance of the package is due 30 days before the wedding.
Are you the actual photographer that will be shooting my wedding?
Yes, I am always the lead photographer. All images are edited, color corrected and photoshopped by me as well. I always want the quality of my photos to stay consistent and to reflect my style and aesthetic.
I love your photos and want to see more! Can I see full weddings?
Yes, there is a lot more to see on my blog at bellaroseblog.com. I can also send you links to view online galleries and slideshows, often with photos featuring your location or venue.
What equipment do you use?
I use professional Nikon digital SLR cameras, and a range of Nikon professional-grade lenses. I bring additional lighting for the reception that consists of flashes on tripods.
What happens if your equipment fails?
I never go anywhere without 3 cameras. I have back up equipment of everything just in case. I always bring tons of batteries and memory cards. I never want to be unprepared because a wedding only happens once!
RAW or JPEG?
I always shoot in RAW. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, RAW files are the largest file format size that a digital camera can take. I prefer to have the most digital information possible when I go back to edit your photos. When photographers shoot in JPEG file format, often times just to save hard drive space, the files are already compressed in the camera and any adjustments to the photos are adding further compressed non-original information to the file. JPEG photos end up looking muddy, dull and grainy. I want the best clarity, best color and best depth of contrast possible. My RAW photos will be converted to the JPEG format for you, after all of the editing is complete.
MAC or PC?
Definitely mac :)
What happens if you get sick on the wedding day?
In this field, you have to have a pretty hard-core commitment to working even if you are sick. That being said, if there were circumstances where there was absolutely no way for me to attend your wedding, either my assistant photographer could step up to be your main photographer and I would bring in an additional second photographer, or I would make every effort to find another replacement for your wedding. In the unlikely event that neither of these circumstances is acceptable, I will refund all of your money, including the deposit.
What happens if you are not familiar with my ceremony or reception site?
I love shooting at new locations! If I am unable to visit the location ahead of time, I always arrive early to scout out the sites and find the best photos locations. Most of my work depends on finding the best light, so that plays a huge factor in where I choose to shoot and this changes throughout the day, so this usually works best if it is spontaneous.
Will you be photographing any other events on my wedding day?
No, your wedding day is exclusively your day. I typically just relax, get ready, double check to make sure I have everything I will need and start driving your way.
What happens if you are running late?
Wedding days are completely devoted to my clients, so I do everything in my power to make sure this never happens. I always plan for a large buffer of time to make sure I am early to each wedding. We set an official start time, but I am usually there way earlier than that so I can get a good start on the day.
What do you wear to the wedding?
I wear all black and encourage my assistants to do the same. I want to be formal enough fit in with the wedding guests, while still being able to do the physical part of my job.
Can I submit a shot list?
As your wedding approaches, I will send you a very detailed wedding day questionnaire to fill out and then we will either meet or talk on the phone to go over all of the details. I want as much information as you can offer. The more I know, the smoother things go and I don’t want to stop the flow of the day by asking you questions that we should already know in advance. I recommend writing a list of specific family shots that you would like.
I have a Pinterest Board; can I send it to you?Sure, I would love to see what inspires you. I do like to know some things you do like and get a feel for your style instead of wasting time on things you ultimately aren’t crazy about. I want to customize each wedding to each bride, so the more input the better! Keep in mind that your wedding is going to be different from any other wedding, so I also need to have the creative license to photograph impromptu moments and find those incredible images that we can capture together.
How much time should I plan on for photos between the ceremony and reception?
I would definitely plan on about an hour. Group shots can take up a lot of your time. Plan on 5-6 minutes per arrangement, more for those with 10-50 people. If you have a large family and a large bridal party, things are definitely going to take longer. When you are working on a shot list, try to think of your very most important ‘must have’ group photos, write down a list of names detailing who is to be in each photo and we will stick to the list. I have seen over and over again, the family and bridal party photos take up all of the time and the bride and groom only get a few minutes before the wedding coordinator is rushing them into the reception. It is important to know which photos you want the most and make a plan. Sometimes after the dinner gets going, we can bring the bride and groom out for a couple more photos just by themselves for some sunset shots. That is always nice and they get to have a few moments together without a big crowd watching them.
When planning our wedding day time-line, what is the best time of day for photos of the bride and groom?
It is best to plan around sunset. You can Google when the sun will set on your specific date. For example, if the sun sets at 7:30pm, I would schedule the ceremony for 6-6:30pm. Then family photos from 6:30-7pm, then bridal party and bride and groom until 7:30pm.
My priority is photos of the bride and groom, what do you suggest?
I have some couples that plan to do a ‘first look’, so that they can take photos before the ceremony and have more time overall for photos throughout the day. If you are more traditional and do not want to see each other, I recommend planning a post wedding shoot. This is a shoot where you get dressed up again in your wedding dress and suit, get your hair and makeup done and a bouquet made. We spend several hours taking really incredible photos in a variety of locations with perfect light and timing. Photos that you would never have time for on a wedding day. You can plan it for the very next day after your wedding, so your flowers are still fresh or whenever you feel ready. I can tell you that the couples who have done a post shoot are always incredibly happy that they did it and were able to enjoy their wedding day more because they knew that they could focus more on spending time with family and friends.
I’m new to this whole wedding planning thing! Can you offer tips and give me vendor suggestions?
Yes, I actually wish my brides would ask me for more help along the way! If you think about it, the photographer is the one vendor that is with you for the entire wedding day. So after 15 years of weddings, I can definitely fill you in on what works and those things that don’t work so well. I also work closely with all of the other vendors and have a list of my favorites that I can pass along to you.
How many photographs will be taken on our wedding day?
There is no limit to the amount of photos that my assistant and I take on your wedding day. The number is usually several thousand. I will go through the images and select the best ones for editing and present you with a collection of photos that tell the story of your day. I try to keep them all unique without a lot of duplicates. The approximate numbers included with the packages are just a minimum amount of photos. Some weddings require more final images than others. I don’t limit the number of photos in the final collection, the client with end up with the right amount that fits their wedding.
Can guests take photos at our wedding?
Yes, of course! During family photos, I ask that they stay off to the side. I am working really quickly and moving around a lot, so I don’t want to back up or trip over anyone. Another factor may be that the people in the family shots don't know which camera to look at, so I get a lot of wandering eyes. If you want to insure that all of your group shots look great, I would discourage a lot of extra paparazzi. A lot of couples are requesting an 'Unplugged Wedding' now. This is basically a wedding where it is asked for the guests to refrain from taking pictures during the ceremony. When everyone is so focused on taking photos, they aren’t really concentrating on the specialness of the moment. Sometimes, they do get in the way of your professional photos. I’ve have guests stand up on the pews of a church to get a shot of the bride walking down the aisle, blocking my second shooter’s view. People step out into the aisle to get the first kiss shot or are up taking photos, walking all around the ceremony, so sometimes I feel like I am competing for the shot. It’s your call, but you are paying me to take professional photos and it’s nice to let your guests just be guests for the ceremony.
How do you approach the wedding day?
I like to be unobtrusive and capture a lot of moments happening around me as much as possible. When it comes time for group photos, I will help organize the people into pleasing arrangements and make sure everyone is looking their best. I like to stay positive and upbeat throughout the day and bring a good energy to the day.
How intrusive will lighting, equipment or assistants be?
My assistants try to stay in the background as much as possible and are mostly tuned into my directions and requests. I want the bride and groom, bridal party and families to take center stage, so my staff is just part of the support team that helps me get things done quickly and efficiently.
How long does it take to receive my final images?
I aim for 60 days after the wedding day, but it can take up to 90 days in an especially busy season. I know that everyone wants their photos as fast as possible, and I work like crazy to finish them as quickly as I can. My main objective is to give each wedding the time it deserves to make the photos the best that they can be. These photos will be in your life for a long time, so I want to make sure they are all equally awesome and amazing.
Once I receive the USB disc, what do I do with them?
BACK THEM UP! That is my number one request. I suggest backing them up on multiple external hard drives and on a cloud service as well. It’s a good idea to keep one of those drives in a fire safe box. After that, have fun! I will direct you to a couple of online photo labs that offer excellent quality and products.
Will my images have a watermark on them?
I will provide two sets of your photos on your USB drive. One will be web size and those will have my logo on the bottom right corner. Those files are for Facebook. The other set is for printing and those do not have a watermark.
How can my family and friends order photos after the wedding?
All of your photos will be displayed online on a website called Shoot Proof. You can share the link to your website with your family and friends. There is the option to purchase professional quality prints on there and when they make an order it will be shipped directly to them. You will receive the disc and can make your own personal prints.
Can you photograph my rehearsal dinner?
Sure, based on my availability. The rate is $750 for 3 hours of coverage with approximately 150+ images on a disc. Please contact me for more information.
We aren't sure if we want engagement photos, what are the advantages of taking them?
It’s a great idea for a variety of reasons. If you have never taken professional photos before or together, it’s nice to have some experience before your wedding. The session is very relaxed and we take our time going to a variety of locations and doing a lot of different poses. We are also able to get to know each other a little better. You will get to know what it’s like to take photos together without the pressure of the wedding. I will get to see the ways you interact together, the best ways to photograph you, and ultimately be able to take better photos of you on your wedding day. You will also feel more comfortable with me taking photos of you all day long on your wedding day. Plus, you will get really beautiful images to display at your wedding, use for ‘save the date’ cards, newspaper announcements and guest books. Many of my clients’ display more of their engagement photos in their home than their wedding photos because they are less formal, we have more time to take them and the setting is so relaxed.
What else do you do besides take photos all of the time?My cat has taken to jumping up on my desk and literally standing on my keyboard in an attempt to get attention, so she would say, “All she does is sit at the computer!” That is very true! In order to process the 150,000+ photos I take each year, I do sit at the computer for the majority of my time when I am not taking photos. In order to counteract some of that, I try to work out most days by doing Pilates, yoga, Zumba or cardio at the gym. This job is very physical, so staying is shape is a big priority. I am an artsy person for sure, so I love plays, the ballet, going to art museums and great restaurants. I am inspired by traveling and love to go to New York or other big cities when I get the chance. I love a good movie or just hanging out with friends as well.
I really LOVE my photos! What is the best way to express my happiness and share my experience with other brides?
My goal is always to have the happiest brides ever, so I work very hard to make sure your experience with Bella Rose Photography is awesome. My business thrives on reviews, recommendations, Facebook ‘likes’ and personal referrals. Every year I try to win the Couple’s Choice Award from Wedding Wire, so that is the best place for a written review! Ask me for a link and I will make sure you know what to do. Thank you in advance! xoxo Lisa