How to prepare images for blog posts SEO

How to prepare images for blog posts?

How to prepare images for blog posts? What is the best image size for your blog? Are you inadvertently slowing down your blog’s load time? I’ve heard the questions being asked on different FB Groups so I thought I’d try to explain a little of what I know. Who knows, maybe you’re in the same boat and have some of the same questions, and these little tips might come in handy for your SEO because we will try to get A/A score in GTMetrix


Don't use Sixt Car Hire - Destination Wedding Photographer Life

Being a destination wedding photographer is super exciting. I always look forward to travelling, organise everything etc. One of the bullet points is a car hire. I'm a valued customer of Hertz with over 80 rentals in past 3 years. I earned a president circle status in Hertz, so I can rent much cheaper and better cars. At this point, I won't write about planning a trip for destination wedding photographers but about my bad experience with SIXT car hire in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG).

Car Hire

That was my first rental with SIXT. I really wanted to give them a try just because many times when I walked through car rental parking I've seen some really cool and funky cars they have. So it happened. I booked a car via SIXT website. Pretty straightforward. Because it was my first time I purchased extra insurance, fuel tank and €0 excess. Then I called SIXT to confirm the reservation and ask about the deposit they pre-authorise on the card. The deposit can be tricky part same like the UK debit cards. For a destination wedding in Paris, I booked Smart Fortwo. Cool small car, just because parking in Paris can be very tricky (last week I've been there for an engagement shoot and I hired BMW 5... we were struggling to park on the street). So this time SMART was the best choice. Now read why you should avoid SIXT.

CDG airport is not for amateurs

My troubles started as soon as I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport. Guys, CDG Terminal 3 is a total crap. No rental companies there. All companies are located on terminal 1 and 2. I don't blame them for that, there is really nothing to do on terminal 3... probably that's why a nearly broken AirBerlin is flying there. First of all... 10 minutes walk to the train station from terminal 3, then pick a train to terminal 2 and another 10 minutes walk (all the way with all bags). That was a warmup before SIXT surprise experience and my test rental. Anyway, I made my way to car rental "village". All companies there, all pretty busy. But in SIXT only one client. Woohoo, a smile on my face and first thought - good choice, well done Tom, you nailed it...

SIXT salesman

After 20 minutes I got bored. I've seen people on Avis, Hertz, Europcar and other companies being served smoothly but I was still waiting to get to the counter. Another 20 minutes and boom, I've been asked to the counter by the clerk. All was pre-booked and paid, so I thought it will be similar to Hertz, sign the contract and grab a key. Nope, not in Sixt. After the warm welcome, I discovered that SIXT trained this clerk to be a salesman rather than service person to help me and print the contract. The guy started with some awesome upgrade deal for me only saying it's nearly end of the day and some sweet cars left in the car park, so it's a go only for me. At this point, I explained that I am interested only in small (tiny) cars to make my life easier with parking in Paris. The clerk smiled and said, "my friend..." (OMG, immediately I've imagined all these people on the beach in the Dominican Republic trying to sell you a cheap totem, massage or another funky quad trip). Then he actually started... computer said BMW X4. Well, that's not even close to the small car for Paris - I laughed. Second try from SIXT salesman Mercedes C-Class 350 with deposit only €2000 + €320 on top what I've paid already... Well, then another offer, some BMW limousine. Clearly, he didn't understand my needs, so I stopped that game and asked for the car I booked and paid for because all his offers were crazy expensive and totally no luck with my requirements for a small car. This cold sale took nearly 20 minutes. SIXT clerk was awesome and he tried so hard... but I've seen those tricks in past.

Read your contract

That step took another 15 minutes for SIXT. I pre-booked car, paid upfront... so should be easy or even ready waiting for me to sign... No happy days. Sixt salesman after not selling me ridiculous upgrade made a contract with some extra add-ons... of course, I didn't ask for them. So in total, he prepared 3 contract versions... Finally, I signed the correct one. Of course, I asked him to mark the most important parts of that contract - well done me.

don't hire a car from sixt in paris

That should be the end of my experience, right? Actually no, there are more surprises from Sixt. Soon you will discover how SIXT devastated my dreams about their cars...

Where is my car?

After I signed a contract, I've been told: "Sir, please step back over there and I will let you know when your car will be ready". Surprise surprise! What actually just happened? For my "excuse me?!?!?!?!?!" Mr super-sixt-salesman informed me that the car is not ready yet. It's on the way, so it should take 5-10 minutes. I couldn't believe that. OK, a perfect occasion for a cigarette to calm down. Quick one, 8-10 minutes. I came back and boom, no car, no updates. Another 30 minutes of waiting... I was so close to telling my all thoughts to SIXT clerk but I couldn't find any nice and polite words... so I've decided to go to SIXT car park and talk to someone else. They have some shed on their car parks. Not surprised, when the guy from the shed saw me he started from "I am so sorry...". So what? Good beginning? Yeah, good try, but the car is still on the way. I've started a tiny complain words and boom, the car arrived. Finally. No damage report, no other paperwork, just "here is your key and you can drive now. See you on Sunday." And you know what, I was super excited that I don't need to talk to SIXT guys anymore.

Avoid SIXT car hire

Jumped into the red Smart Fortwo Cabriolet. First thing, nice big touch screen... ugh! not working touch screen. Can't change the radio station, can't set satnav... Why would I use satnav in Paris... yeah. Second thing, it's a cabrio! Wahoo, but why I can't open rooftop? Why the car stinks inside and why the windscreen and door pockets are so filthy? A quick chat with SIXT guy and all explained. The problem was solved in the best way I ever saw... quote of the year in car hire industry: "Yes, I see it's not working. I will make a note on the system about damaged elements so you won't be charged for that". Speechless, especially that there were no other Smart Fortwo available. The rest is good. I had a nice trip, radio and satnav touchscreen started working after few minutes.

What now?

Here is my thought. This one-off experience ruined my dreams about all those super cool cars on the SIXT car hire parking. Maybe they are cool, maybe they look stunning, nice colours, some alloys etc. However, the way of hiring a car in SIXT and chance of getting a fully working car is a bit too complicated and too risky to me. I like straightforward solutions, like in Hertz or Avis. OK, it happens to me once, last weekend.. maybe it's not the rule in SIXT. I will probably try SIXT one more time on the unimportant trip. But for now, I can't imagine adding extra stress to my destination wedding photography trips. It's always a challenge to travel, so I prefer to avoid any bad experiences like this one in SIXT. Renting a car from SIXT took me nearly 3 hours. In the worst scenario, it's 2 hours too much.

Well, that's my weekend experience from Paris and SIXT car rental... I hope you haven't seen anything like that in your car hire experience. If you got something better, go ahead, share your story in a comment below. Today's SIXT rate is 1/5.


Wedding Photography Workshop in Ireland

Wedding Photography Workshop in Ireland

Together with Tomasz Kornas and Wojtek Chrapek I held a wedding photography workshop in Ireland. For some wedding photographers in Ireland that was their first ever photography workshop they attended. But because this is a WeddingWorkshop.co, we had participants from other countries like Greece, UK, Luxemburg, USA...

This workshop is an amazing experience and adventure, people come to us from everywhere. They come to learn but it's not just a wedding photography workshop. People come to this workshop with different expectation but not even one person leave disappointed. The feedback we receiving leave us speechless everytime. We are proud as Wedding Workshop speakers, people who stand behind this brand. And thanks to you we are pumped to do more!

People came to Ireland edition with an open mind and very excited to learn photography and meet new friends, but they get much more than that. They learn not only how to be a better photographer or business owner, they learn how to be a better person, they learn how to find their personal voice, they just simply learn how to live and work better. Love life, that's the key. Work life balance. Gosh, it's so hard to express that in words... Take a moment and watch the video slideshow below;

https://vimeo.com/211390577

The three day workshop was packed with a ton of info. Everything from the business side to the actual photography. Every speaker had a different knowledge to share. Speakers were also great about answering every question that came their way, no matter how secretive they can be about certain methods of their.

We also had awesome three social evenings where we shared our knowledge in informal way, chatting, eating some good food and having fun playing games, listening to the music. Trust me guys, it would take hours to talk about everything we had during this Wedding Photography Workshop.

So at this point here, I'd like to invite you all to 3rd edition of Wedding Photography Workshop. It will take a place in October 2017. I won't reveal more now. Please visit WeddingWorkshop.co, join the newsletter and we will keep you updated.

Also, massive thanks to all participants! You are awesome! The last two important people to mention... Paula O'Hara and Rob Dight. Guys, many many thanks for joining the Wedding Photography Workshop and share your knowledge, point of view and experience. Two amazing speakers. Like a cherry on the top of cake. Thank you x

Let's do it again!

All stunning images shot by Wojtek Chrapek


How to be a Second Shooter at a Wedding - Tom Robak

How to be a Second Shooter at a Wedding

Recently I worked as a second shooter for the first time and I wanted to share what it was like - and what you can do as a second shooter to be as useful as possible to the main photographer. The second photographer works for a different purpose, but mainly to get a feel of what wedding photography entails. Being a second shooter really helps you to learn the ropes, and to make you feel comfortable when being the primary photographer for weddings.

Wedding Second Shooter

Personally as a Wedding Photographer in London I love having a second shooter at my weddings, there are many benefits of having a 2nd photographer at your wedding:

A second photographer allows the primary photographer to perform at their highest possible level. When I know I have a reliable second shooter covering the additional details discussed before the wedding, I can do what I do best: create beautiful art from the moments of the day. The 2nd shooter helps keep me on track, assists and supports me.

A second shooter brings a different perspective. The second photographer cannot physically stand in the same place as the lead shooter, so I am going to get two different perspectives (at the very least). More often, second shooters endeavour to bring different artistic ideas and interpretations, and to capture moments that might otherwise go unnoticed.

A second shooter allows me to capture more special moments.  Any given wedding day is brimming with special moments and memories.  A 2nd skilled photographer allows me to capture more of those for my couples.

A second shooter makes planning my day more effective, requiring fewer total hours of coverage. Before the ceremony, the lead photographer would need additional time for shooting all the details; following the ceremony they would need additional time to do both the portraits and all the details.  This additional time would stretch wedding planning, unnecessarily prolonging the day. With a second shooter, I can create a simple, effective wedding schedule with no unnecessary delays.

It's a huge benefit not only for the first photographer but for the one who is assisting/shooting. Many photographers only work alone because they don't like the idea of sharing 'their ways' with anyone else, and they do have a point there.

Communicate

There are a lot of specifics to work out, and many photographers handle their second shooters in various manners, so you want to be as prepared as possible. That's why before the wedding day, you need talk to the lead photographer:

What are you allowed (and not allowed) to do with your images after the wedding, can you use them in your portfolio, do you need to mention the lead photographer when you post the images, do you need to state that you were the second shooter, how long should you wait before posting the images, will the 1st shooter credit you when he/she blogs about the wedding, when and how you will get paid, when and how you should deliver the images to him/her... etc

Be a team player

This is a golden rule. When you’re the second shooter you are representing the photographer you’re working for, you are never representing yourself or your own personal business. What this means is that your number one priority throughout the day is to represent the main photographer and his/her brand. This definitely means putting away your pride and grabbing images that aren’t always the most exciting.

Don't promote yourself

When you’re second shooting it’s a great time to see how someone else works. It can be annoying if the 2nd shooter starts questioning your lighting technique/suggesting alternate shots. Equally, the clients will have likely hired the primary photographer for their specific style, so unless requested by the primary, it’s usually best not to try to set up shots, pose the couple, interfere with the job.

You are proudly representing the primary photographer who has likely worked hard to book the wedding/build relationships with the clients and other vendors. Don’t bring or pass out your own business cards. Don’t encourage the couple to friend you on Facebook. Don’t put together a sample album for the venue. Most importantly, be polite to the couple, their families and other guests. So please remember, this isn't the best place to advertise your own photography.

Take care of the leading photographer

During the wedding day the primary photographer will be shouldering a lot of responsibilities to make sure the day goes as perfect as possible, so if they don't have an assistant, help them out in any way that you can to make their day easier. Bring them water during the hottest parts of the day and make sure they get served food at the reception. Hand them lenses when they need a quick lens swap and carry their bag when they’re working with the couple. This is the most impressive thing you can do for another photographer, and will be highly noticed and recognized. You are there to serve them and their business, and that is the mentality you should always carry with you.

Keep Your Distance

Don’t hover too close to the photographer. Part of your job as the second shooter is to capture candid moments, and different shooting angles than the main photographer. You need to do your best to photograph everything they do, but with a different spin on it, so that if the photographer does accidentally miss a key shot, your photo will save the day! Always be conscious of where the other photographer is standing while they’re shooting, along with what angles they’re grabbing and even what lens they’re using. You never want to duplicate shots – you’re there to provide a creative variety of images, not to duplicate the primary photographer’s images. Also, be sure to capture the detail shots – flowers, centerpieces, programs, etc.

Don’t over shoot

When shooting, resist the temptation to hold down the shutter button and over-shoot the event. Remember that the leading photographer has to process your images along with their own, so the last thing they need is to go through 3,000 of your images to pick out the best ones. Instead, just be thoughtful with the shots you’re taking as you take them. Remember, you can afford to wait for the perfect moment as a second shooter – the primary photographer will always be grabbing the safe, go-to shot, so don’t take 20 frames when only 3 to 4 are needed.

Sync your cameras with the primary

Date and time on your camera needs to be synchronised with the leading photographer, do not forget about it. Also, it will be awesome if you agree what white balance will be the best, the higher ISO, the lowest shutter speed or aperture.

Have Fun

This is a time for you to explore your craft creatively and try shots and angles that you wouldn’t normally attempt. This means you have a chance to get some incredible images that will push you further creatively AND make the primary photographer look like a superhero.

Smile

Believe it or not, guests look at the photographers when you’re least expecting it! It may feel like they aren’t aware of you, but subconsciously they are seeing you. You’ve heard it a thousand times, but really, be sure to smile. Nobody is going to want a frowning, seemingly frazzled photographer taking their photo. Just relax, stay focused, and have fun!

BE SELFLESS!

If you do a great job for one primary photographer, not only will they hire you again, but they will refer you to other photographers that need reliable, excellent assistants. So I hope my tips on how to be a super second shooter will help you a lot.

When you're hired as a second shooter it's not about you, not about your portfolio, not about your likes and dislikes and not about your brand. You are a gun for hire - you have work to do, you're not there to spend most of the day on your phone or chat up bridesmaids. You should be motivated to give your 110% creativity yet remain in the background and enjoy the lack of major pressure of getting the key shots.

Being a second shooter is a very valuable experience, if proper arrangements are made it can help you to create a portfolio and gain an array of skills, otherwise - if you're already experienced - it's a good source of extra money that is hard to earn in the photography industry.

If you have questions, comments, or want to add something to this article about being a second shooter, please leave a comment below!

Photo Credits:

Voyteck Wedding Photographer

Tom Robak Photography

Many thanks to fabulous Aga Tomaszek for helping me to write this article