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Yesterday we chatted to Caroline from Mihaja photography on getting to know your wedding photographer. Today we follow up with Caroline’s perspectives about the shift towards digital photography and digital albums, and close with Caroline’s suggestions for finding that perfect wedding photographer for your event.

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On technology

Given that we at LWH are heavily reliant on email and other technological delights, we can’t help but wonder how the shift towards all things digital has affected Caroline’s work. Today’s couples, after all, love to be able to share their event on Facebook or FlickR, or want to be able to display or store their photos in a way that allows for ease of accessibility and flexibility to boot. Caroline assures us that despite her initial reservations she’s quite the fan of digital albums and their affordances.

“It’s been nothing but a positive for me,” she says. “Admittedly, I was scared for a long time to switch to digital albums, not only because of the man hours involved in the designing and so forth, but because of the costs involved–these of course have to be passed on to my clients.” But the benefits of the switch have far outweighed the negatives. “The results are nothing short of amazing, and I know that my clients ohh and ahhh over them for a long time.” She acknowledges that her prices increased somewhat as a result, but believes wholeheartedly that the end result is well worth the investment. “I could never go back to offering boring old basic albums that just collect dust! The digital albums I offer are heirlooms that can be shown on to future generations.”

Of course, the possibilities brought about by technology don’t just end at digital albums. Does Caroline have a perspective on digital retouching at all? “There is always a market for digital retouching in the wedding photography industry,” she acknowledges. “Brides want to look their best and if that means they want a bump on their nose removed, or a pimple on their chin to be removed, then who am I to say no to them?” But while minor tweaks are fine, Caroline believes that a quality photographer will be able to photograph their subjects in such a way that for the most part these touch-ups can be avoided. “I try to shoot my brides in as flattering a position as possible so they don’t feel they need to be retouched,” she says. Her love of soft and vintage tones also helps produce a flattering end result: “I’m not a fan of over-saturated or over-exposed images.”

On keeping it fresh

Given that weddings often follow a similar course or timeline, wedding photographers must experience a sense of professional deja vu from time to time. How does Caroline ensure that her photography remains fresh and lively rather than falling into cliché? Caroline emphasises the importance of getting to know her clients beforehand. “It’s essential to shoot for my clients and to shoot to suit their personalities,” she says. “I shot a wedding last year where the couple didn’t want anything at all clichéd. The bride didn’t want the standard bridal party shot of her and her girls standing in a line smiling at the camera, for example. So instead we got them to dress up in their funky PJs and jump on a bed together. I always try to think outside the square and find something that is original and for the client rather than a trend.”

Caroline also looks towards the work of other highly regarded professionals for guidance and inspiration. “The amazing [Brisbane-based wedding photographer] Jonas Peterson is a massive inspiration of mine. His rawness and the very emotion he captures is nothing short of amazing. Every single wedding he posts has me wanting more,” she says. “His images make me feel like I’m actually there.” When it comes to the business side of things, Caroline looks towards Jasmine Star, a US-based wedding photographer. “Watching the videos she posts and reading her blog gets me so motivated. Her energy is so inspiring.” Always driven to further her craft, Caroline is constantly researching and developing her skills: while most of us read high fashion magazines for the clothes, Caroline uses them for inspiration for posing techniques.

On choosing a photographer

Caroline’s passion and drive are no doubt part of the reason behind her success as a photographer. But what else should a couple look for when choosing the right photographer to shoot their wedding? Given that the wedding photography can be one of the more substantial wedding expenses, it’s no surprise that couples want to get things right the first time around. Caroline assures us, though, that a great photographer is absolutely worth the expense. “Price shouldn’t be a factor in selecting your wedding photographer,” she says. “Although, in saying that, the most expensive doesn’t always equal the best.”

A couple’s research should also extend beyond simply browsing a photographer’s website. “All photographers put their best images on their website, so of course what you see there will always be the best of their work.” Caroline instead exhorts couples to meet with a potential photographer in person and take the time to ask as many questions as possible. “Each couple should take the time to meet their candidates face to face and look through their albums in person. They should also take a list of questions with them. Don’t be shy to ask them what gear they use or whether they have two photographers shooting on the day or just the one?”

Contracts are essential, as is discussing the finer points of the agreement. “The contract should cover issues such as what exactly is included in the photographer’s package, and what happens if the photographer is sick or injured on the day. It’s also essential to find out who exactly it is that you’re actually booking on the day.” Caroline has heard far too often cases of a company sending one photographer to meet with the couple to organise all of the preliminaries, but then sending an entirely different photographer to shoot the wedding itself. “Your wedding photographer will be there with you the whole day and usually the whole night, and you need to know them as well as they know you.”

On love and marriage

Speaking of getting to know people, we can’t let Caroline go without asking her whether she has any words of wisdom she’d like to share with us about love and marriage. “I haven’t been married all that long myself so I’m not sure I am overly qualified to answer this!” she says. “But I do know that you should always make time for one another, respect one another and always listen to one other–no matter whether you think you’re right or wrong. Life is busy, and when kids come along it gets even busier, but you should always set aside that time where you can just be the two of you again, even if it’s only for an hour once a week. Time together just the two of you is so important.”

Her sentiments about the wedding day itself are similar: ”A wedding should be about you two and you two only!”

This is part two of our two-part interview with Caroline. Click here to read part 1 of this feature.

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Contact Caroline

For more of Caroline’s work, be sure to stop by the Mihaja Photography website!

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