Justin Bieber’s Tour Photographer Is Doing It Right

Justin Bieber, by Mike Lerner

Justin Bieber, by Mike Lerner

Check out Mike Lerner’s portfolio website; he’s Justin Bieber’s tour photographer and has shot many other pop and rock artists backstage. Notice how his website lays out all the goods for you very quickly.

I’m a really big believer in maxing out the number of portfolio images you show on your wedding website pages. It just makes sense because web visitors want to evaluate you instantly. They have no interest in a grand (aka slow) presentation, especially up front. Continue reading

Your Captions are a Weapon – Use Them

Illustration courtesy of Motto via Flickr

The New York Times says it should do a better job of using captions under its photos:

“Every day Times editors conduct dozens of weddings, uniting words and images, in print and online. / As in any marriage, the two parties should not just speak to each other, but seem as though they belong together. / “Let us start with the advice of The Times’s stylebook: A caption should normally explain what readers cannot see for themselves in the picture and should omit the obvious.

This is yet another reminder that your pictures frequently need written context for maximum effect. They are usually not worth a thousand words.

I talk about the way I use captions to book more weddings in Wedding Mind Tricks. The basic gist is:

  • You need to communicate your style to prospective couples online as quickly as possible. We are long past the days when a photographer could sit on her office couch with an engaged couple and explain each portfolio image while they’re looking at it (a la the great Joe Buissink).
  • Captions allow you to narrate a richer, more original story about your work. Couples can’t figure out the depth of your shooting approach just by scanning your images. They need your help.
  • Explaining yourself in a block of text is a sad waste of time. Web viewers just aren’t willing to suspend the downward pace of their eyes to read entire paragraphs. Especially when they’re still deciding whether they even like your pictures. People are far more likely to read captions.

Captions are one of the reasons every couple who hires me has a complete understanding of my shooting style before I ever speak. (See hundreds of captions at work on my site.)

You have to turn on your brain to write a meaningful caption. Just try your best. Even New York Times editors struggle to get them right all the time. It’s not easy but it’s absolutely worth it.

The Sound of Rain Makes Me Feel Better


Right now I’m listening to a lot of recorded rain sounds in my office. I find it incredibly relaxing. It quiets the ambient noise of yapping pets and rumbling delivery trucks in my neighborhood. (Is it bad that I think school buses = two birds with one stone?) In my ideal world I’d live far enough into the countryside that I’d hear neither.

My favorite site is Rainy Mood. A lot of people also like the customizable rain on Simply Noise. Both are available as mobile apps for playing a soft thunderstorm while you sleep.

When You’re Not Sure What To Say

Let’s say you want your wedding website to be a compelling, enthralling conversation with prospective couples. (That’s the kind of website that books business.) But your problem is you don’t know what to say. Don’t know what text to write, what video to post, what pictures to show. And you definitely don’t know how to be original and stay true to yourself as an artist along the way.
Here’s an easy way to get started. Tell your stories.
If you’ve been shooting weddings for even a year you have a ton of stories to tell. Every wedding photographer has the power to regale her friends with tales of all the crazy, unexpected, hilarious, and touching things she’s seen on wedding days. People love to hear this stuff.

Never forget that wedding photography is a rather adventurous pursuit compared to a typical desk job. You have a front row seat and a backstage pass to one of the greatest forms of improvised human theater: a wedding day. No cast of characters, no stage, and no cocktail of emotions is ever quite the same. Your job and your life are inherently interesting. Use this advantage!

You can captivate a prospect online with the same stories you’d tell your friends in person. Each time you show a picture with a short informative caption you’re simply telling a story.

When you’re not sure what to ‘say’ online…

  1. Go through your full catalog of pictures and pick the ones with the best stories attached. Not the most creative compositions or the most technical lighting, the best stories.
  2. Use captions to give your viewer enough background and insight. Remember, they’re good stories to you because you know the context. You know details about the characters that aren’t visible in the photographs. Online viewers don’t have any of this knowledge so you have to provide it.

Something magical happens when you tell your favorite wedding stories online. Suddenly you’re telling people what you find important and significant. You’re expressing your sensibilities as a one-of-a-kind human. You’re sharing your view of the world.

You’re using photographs to express something about you.

That’s what great artists do.

My Guide to RAW Outsourcing, Part 2

I’ve already told you what I think about choosing a RAW processing company to handle your digital post-production.

Now it’s time to get some inside information – straight from lab owners themselves.

I asked the heads of five prominent labs everything from which size they think is best to a big thing no one in our industry talks about – companies that send your images to India for processing.

I’ve been using labs for years, but some of these answers still surprised me.

Be advised, this is not a brief post. I made the decision to keep their answers a bit long because I think you can handle it. If you’re looking for a perfect RAW lab partner you want all the inside information you can get.

Enter the experts.

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