Friday, February 27, 2009

QMH Photo club

The Quigley Memorial Hospital's Photography Club now has a flickr page! I am the artist in residence at the Chelsea Soldier's Home in Chelsea, MA. My photo club members are Veterans living at the Quigley Memorial hospital. We recently received a grant from the Chelsea cultural council to help fund our club and create an artist in residence program. Our current project is to document our lives through photography. We joined flickr to to share those pictures with all of you! I am helping the club to go digital. You can help us too. We are looking for donations to make our club better. Here are some of the items we could still use:

• Digital Cameras (older models are just fine with us)
• Photography Magazines (any publication, any issues)
• Rechargeable batteries for our cameras
• A computer and/or hard drive to store our pictures
• Picture Frames so we can display our work

Phil loves this camera!
See how much Phil likes this new camera? Thanks to Jim & Jason @ the PRC!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wedding Tip #5 - Using color as a theme

Natalie asked: "Now here is my question for you, and I think you might be able to relate. How do I incorporate my favorite color (PURPLE!!) into my wedding without it becoming obnoxious or annoying people?"

Natalie, of course I understand - I LOVE pink! The key is to use accents of your favorite color so that the room as an nice air of purple but it doesn't seem overwhelming. A good starting point is to choose another color to mix with purple. Using more than one color that compliments your favorite will keep one color from overwhelming your decor. For my wedding I wanted to use pink (because pink is awesome) and Anthony wanted to use orange (Go Syracuse) and now it's a hot color combination! What trend setters we are ;)

To help you see color combinations I'd started adding to my flickr a wedding-planning image bank. (Please bear with me - this sorting and uploading is taking longer than I thought it would!)

If you see images you like there, in a google image search, or in magazines, you can start pulling them together to make inspiration boards (see my last post).

This is how my colors came together:

Invitations: (these set the tone for your wedding) Mine were orange on the outside with a pink bow. They folded open to reveal pink inside and the invitation was printed on white paper with pink and orange lettering. There was a pocket for more hotel & reception information below in the pocket.

Cake: We chose a simple white cake with a white lace pattern of frosting. Then we had the florist add the same petals and roses that we were using in the rest of the decorations. This way we knew our cake would match perfectly and we saved some money on the fondant decorations. Don't get me wrong, if you can afford a beautiful "ace of cakes" style cake go for it - I just decided to simplify here.


Ladies: My wonderful bridesmaids wore dresses that were made of an iridescent fabric. They were mostly orange but as the light caught the dresses it had accents of hot pink. Their bouquets were pink and orange roses. My dress was not quite ivory, not quite blush pink. But a good color for a pale girl like myself! I carried different shades of pink roses and my bouquet was wrapped in extra fabric trimmed from my dress when it was altered.


Gentlemen: The groomsmen wore back suits with ivory shirts. The only color was in their boutonnieres - they had pink and orange small roses. Anthony wore a black tux with ivory shirt, vest and tie so he stood out. He also had a pale pink rose.


Ceremony: In the church we had simple vases of pink and orange roses (same as the bridesmaids bouquets) and a wreath of roses around our grandparent's remembrance candle. We also did small groupings of roses and ribbon on the ends of the aisles. The only other color was the pink and orange (fake) rose petals that lined the aisle. The church doors had wreaths on the outside and we moved these, along with the flowers on the pews to use again at the reception.



Reception: Let's see... we re-used the pew decorations and put them between each of the large windows. We also used the wreaths on the doors of the ladies room stalls. (I thought the bathroom was a bit sub-par and this helped a lot) We chose all white linens (table cloths, napkins, & chair covers). The chairs had alternating pink and orange sashes. The centerpieces were wreaths of pink and orange roses with Eiffel tower style vases filled with orange colored water and bittersweet in the centers. But what I think really made the ambiance in the room was the lighting my awesome DJ, Erich Kruger, helped me add! (see the cake photo above to see the effect). We had lights with pink and orange gels aimed at the ceiling so that the room would literally glow pink and orange. It looked GREAT in person, but unfortunately with some of the photos with flash (like below) the effect is lost. As a photographer I know lighting is VERY important - talk to your reception hall coordinator and ask to see the room at the time of day of your event and with the lights dimmed to their usual wedding levels!

A note on color & reception and ceremony locations. It is best to choose colors that will work well with the decor that is already in the room: Painted walls, carpets, chairs if you're not covering them, ect. Both my church and hall had a bluish teal, but luckily that looked out with pink and orange. If your chosen colors clash with decor at your facilities you may want to consider choosing another accent color of covering some of the existing color at the hall.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wedding Tip #4 - Bride's magazines & Inspiration Boards

In the early stages of wedding planning you should buy yourself a bridal magazine. It is a bride's right of passage, and to reveal my inner Bostonian, it's 'wicked fun' to look though all of the photos and get ideas for your own wedding. Dudes - did you know there IS a groom's magazine? It's called Today's Groom. (Yes, I know there are many, many, more magazines marketed for women but I wanted to share this one with you!)

(click image to view larger)

You can also search the internet for photos that represent your vision and ideas. I suggest using cut outs from magazines or digital collage to create wedding inspiration boards like the one I've posed here. Kathryn, at snippet & ink, does this very well! Check out her beautiful boards on her blog! (Lot's of B's - that was a mouthful!)

Please note how Kathryn credits where she get her photographs! Many photographers, myself included, are happy to let you use photographs for your inspiration we just want credit! How do you know if you're allowed to use a photographer's images? See how they've licensed their work!

My wedding images on Flickr are licensed as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons. What does that mean? You can use them with these terms:

-Attribution means - please give me credit

- NonCommercial means - for your personal use but not used to sell things ... unless you pay me :)

- NoDerivs means - you cannot turn my photos into something new, aka photoshop, cropping etc (But if you ask I'll probably say yes, I just want to know HOW my photo babies are used)
For more information on this, please visit the Creative Commons website.

Please do take a look at my Flickr wedding gallery for your wedding ideas. I am still uploading inspiration images so if you're looking for a specific color combination or theme let me know and I'll search my archives for you! :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wedding Tip #3 - Venue Rental Packages


You've called/emailed/visited some potential reception locations and received some kind of "welcome package" in reply. Here is an example of the pricing section from a Portland, ME venue (not the location pictured above) with some of my own notes.

Our Elegant Five Hour Receptions Include
~Open Bar with Call Brand Liquors~
(if you can afford to you should treat your guests to an open bar. They've put in a lot of effort and money to come to your special day)
~Champagne Toast for All Guests~
~House Wine (Red & White) Served with Dinner~
~Chair Covers (In Black, White or Ivory) & Sashes (In a Beautiful Array of Colors)~
(These cost from $3-$5 per chair)
~Personalized Menu Cards at Each Pace Setting~
(A high end look for tables while allowing guests to check for food allergies)

~Professional Wedding Consultant~
~Complimentary Centerpieces (Mirror with Hurricane Globe)~
(You can always add/substitute flowers if it is with-in your budget)
***Personalized Menu Tasting for Bride, Groom and Four Additional Guests***

Additional Amenities
~Complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres for the bridal party upon arrival~
(You often miss the cocktail hour because you are doing photos)
~White glove service during cocktail hour~
~An exquisite gourmet plated dinner created by our Executive Chef~ (Plated dinners then to look for formal than buffets)
~Complimentary cake cutting service~
(some locations charge extra to cut your cake)

~Complimentary reservation cards for your invitations~
~Complimentary room rental for your Rehearsal Dinner or Bridal Brunch~
~Discounted overnight accommodations for your guests of 10 or more rooms~
~Complimentary overnight accommodations for the Bride and Groom on the wedding night~

Total cost for this venue: $90.00 per person (Grande Ballroom Food & Beverage Minimum is $10,000.00)

The average American wedding cost is $22,000 with 48% of the budget going to the reception. So with an average budget of 22k a couple would have $10,560 to spend on the reception including: Reception Site, Food, Drinks, Rentals, Cake, Favors. This package covers all but the cake and favors. By spending this location's minimum of $10,000 (110 people) a couple could have approximately $560 left to spend on their cake, favors and/or additional guests.

See a budget planning worksheet here
(Photography is budgeted at 12% - or $2,640 with a 22k budget) In many cases this won't be enough for full day photography coverage. However some photographers, myself included, could work out an hourly coverage plan to fit this budget.

The problem is that all venues do not price with the same structure or include the same things. This means they can be difficult to compare. How do you sort though all of this information? I suggest making a basic chart for comparison. Your chart should include the following columns: Location, Room Rental Fee, Dinner price, tables & linens, chair covers, cocktail hour apps, Open bar, Bridal suite, Center pieces, cake cutting fee, and any other options you would like! (For example, you might be looking for a reception location that also offers space for your ceremony.)

Once you have your chart you can check included items or write in additional costs and more easily compare venues. I made my chart in excel, if you you like it just email me and I'll happily send it to you.

I believe you want a venue to include enough options so you don't have to search for all the extras (food/drink vendors, tables, silverware, etc) - but leave enough options outside the packages so that you can make your day unique! For example, most couples choose to book their own photographer, band/DJ, and cake rather than take and "all inclusive" reception package.

Happy Planning!

Happy Birthday to me!


I spent yesterday, my birthday, in Maine with Anthony and my parents ... and it was like I drove to winter! It's still cold here in Salem, but most of our snow has melted. In Maine my parents got about a foot and a half of snow overnight! While it might be a pain to shovel, snow is beautiful!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wedding Tip #2 - White or Ivory?


I was asked: "Random question... I think you had an ivory dress. Did the guys wear a
white tux shirt or ivory? I am afraid the ivory looks a little dirty but I want to make sure the white and ivory don't clash."

My answer: Have the guys wear ivory too! Otherwise in group photos your dress will look off. Don't worry about the ivory looking dirty... when it's the lightest color in the photo it will look great! For our wedding Anthony and his guys wore ivory :) I think it looked great but here are some photos so you can judge for yourself.


An update since I was just asked this questions again. ;)

So the answer is yes, if you're wearing ivory, have him wear an ivory shirt! Anthony wore ivory and it was perfect & didn't look dirty at all. Your photographer will balance to ivory if you're all wearing it and it will look great. If you can I suggest bringing a fabric sample from your dress when you go to look at tux shirts so you can try and match. When in doubt go with a lighter ivory but stay far away from bright white!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire & Operation Smile

Operation Smile is sending this video in light of Slumdog Millionaire being nominated for best picture. If you haven't seen the movie, you should, it's amazing. However it is quite overwhelming to see children living in such poverty in India.

This video takes place in Bolpur, which is one of the poorest regions of India. It is actual footage of real Operation Smile patients. I spent three weeks in Bolpur in this very hospital doing photography with the Operation Smile team. I know the difference this surgery makes in a child's life, I've seen the tears of happiness and received thankful hugs from patients and their families.

I was emailed this link and asked to pass it on in light of all the attention the movie is receiving. Operation Smile is a very worthwhile charity - please give if you can!

You can view some of my own photographs from an Operation Smile mission by clicking the photography below.


Wedding Tip #1 - I'm engaged, now what?

In an effort to do more blogging I've decided to post a series of wedding tips. Most of these tips come from conversations I've had with brides-to-be while answering their questions. If you have a wedding or photography question - YES YOU blog reader - please ask! I'm happy to help in any way I can. To ask comment here or email me at:


"Katie, I just got engaged, what should I do first?"

1) Celebrate! Yay - you just got engaged!

2) HIRE ME! Just kidding ;) Everyone's priorities are different. If you have your heart set on a particular wedding venue, photographer, or other vendor call them first to see their availability! If you're still deciding what you want to do proceed to step #3.

3) Discuss a preliminary budget, guest list, and time of year you'd like to get married (Don't forget to check for graduation and friend/family wedding dates)

** BREATHE, enjoy being newly engaged! Tell your fiance you love him/her! **

4) Choose the date. (This usually means booking a venue, but if you choose a date before booking a venue you will want to start looking for a location right away.) With a wedding date chosen you can start to plan the other details. I don't mean plan everything right away ... choose a date and then devise a 'plan' for what you'd like to do next.

5) About that 'plan' if you feel lost (or just want help) consider a wedding planner! Did I hire a planner? No, but I did hire a "day of coordinator" and I think you MUST have someone to follow through on your wedding plans for you. What's the difference?

• Wedding Planner: She helps you with all of your wedding plans! From selecting vendors to making sure things go off without a hitch - she will help you start to finish. Many planners also do the job of a day of coordinator.

• Day of Coordinator: You plan your wedding and then get her up to speed. She will help you with organizing the final details and make sure you haven't forgotten anyway. However, mostly the job is all about seeing that your plans come together as you expected. If there are any minor wedding-day issues she will handle them, ignorance is bliss!

It's a wedding planner's JOB to know about all things weddings and all of the best vendors. Hiring one will certainly make life easier for you! Yes, this will cost a bit more but saves you stress and piece of mind. Often times planners know of bargains or can get discounts you never would have found on your own.

If you don't hire a planner be honest with yourself and what you can and can not do. You do not want to be calling the reception hall, wedding band, limo driver, pastry chef, and the florist to make sure they'll all where they're supposed to be! While a professional is always best make sure to at least ask someone, a close friend or family member, to help you with pulling together the final details. What about calling the photographer - wondering why I didn't mention that? Well since you'll have hired me - wink wink - I'll be with you taking some 'getting ready' pictures that morning and you won't need to worry about where I am! :)

Happy Planning!

I've fallen back in love with my blog

This week I was inspired to spruce up my blog so I could use it at an effective marketing tool for my wedding photography. I cleaned up the design, added more links and started a new system of adding photos. I tagged old posts and I realized that my blog is much more than a marketing tool. It's a mini self-history. There are many reasons a blog can be effective for marketing. Updating photos faster than I can on my website is a big part of that. However, letting my clients, and future clients, know a bit about me is also important.

Today I re-discovered my first post (also tagged "life). I had just started graduate school and having a blog was highly encouraged. I still still stuck in a recent college grad frame of mind and trying to figure things out. By no means to I mean to say I've got it all figured out now but I look at the last two and a half years and all of the changes they have happened in my life.

• I spent a life changing month in India volunteering with operation smile
• I lost 2 grandparents & a grandfather in-law and felt deep personal loss for the first time
• Anthony & I got married
• We purchased our first home
• I balanced graduate school, planning a wedding, condo-buying, and my photography business
•I started and finished my masters of fine arts. I am now 26 (ok days away from 27) and have a terminal degree in my field...

I got what I asked for when I started initiating all these changes! I've grown!
(and my blog will continue to grow and change with me)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thanks for voting!

It seems #4 is the clear winner! Anna offered to tweak it a bit for me (thank you thank you!) and you'll soon be seeing the final version. In the meantime I have uploaded an album to show what one full wedding looks like. Check it out! :)

Picture 01A

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Logo Test - what do you think?

How should the "Katie Ring Images" look on photos I put on social networking sites?



After more comments I have removed choices 2 & 3. I took away 2 because no one really liked it, and 3 is gone because while it was popular I know it's going to get cropped out and re-posted. (# is the look that's shown in my previous post). I am thrilled when my clients share my work with friends and family but I want my name to stay attached for web use as a form of advertising! For those worried about distracting from the image, don't worry the photographs on my own website will remain logo-free. This is just for images used on social networking sites.

Thanks to everyone who has voted so far!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Congratulations Abby & Chris!

This weekend my friends Chris and Abby got engaged. Chris asked Abby to marry her while we were all visiting Syracuse for the SU vs. Georgetown basketball game. Not only was I thrilled for them but I was also relieved to not have to worry about ruining the surprise anymore! Yes, I knew he was going to ask and I couldn't wait for Abby say yes! And since I knew Chris's top secret plan I just happened to have my camera with me. (ok, ok I always have a camera) So, we took some engagement portraits at Syracuse. Since this photo session was somewhat spontaneous and not over planned I had the freedom to just wander around campus and shoot where ever inspiration struck. Have I mentioned how much I just love taking pictures? :)
As Chris said, we had to stop by Faegans to get a shot at the scene of the crime!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heidi & Zee

I've got the next wedding story board done sooner than I thought - this is fun!


Heidi and Zee have a very unique style and this showed in all of the details they choose for their wedding. While not every bride and groom would choose a "day of the dead" themed cake it suited them perfectly. They blended their funky style with a beautiful venue, Moraine Farm (, and the results were stunning!

New Wedding Inspiration Boards

I just designed a sample of a wedding inspiration board. Last night at the Boston PUG (pictage users group) meeting Anne Ruthmann (PUG leader and photographer extraordinaire) told us how she blogs about her clients. I thought this was a great idea and created my first blog image collection from my own pink and orange wedding. This is the color theme that is also the inspiration for my new website and blog! :) Look for more wedding story boards coming soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Facebook Advertistments

I've got my fingers crossed that advertising on Facebook will bring me some new fun clients!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Donate your old digital camera!

I am an artist in residence at the Chelsea Soldier's home and Quigley Memorial Hospital. Our camera club as received a grant to acquire cameras and put on an art show of our work. We are looking for donated and low cost digital cameras. Today I had the brilliant idea to use the power of Facebook to score some digital cameras. On Facebook join the group "DIGITAL CAMERAS FOR VETS" and help spread the word!

I started volunteering with the photo club when Anthony's grandfather was a resident there. He has since passed away but I've continued working with the camera club. In January we received a grant from the Chelsea, MA cultural council and more funds from within the soldier's home. We are using this money to create an artist in residence program and pay me a small stipend for
my time. It's also going to purchasing used digital cameras (and to pay shipping on donated ones). Finally the grant money will allow us to frame some of their work and hold a gallery show! We did a little show with our previous work, but this time we'll be able to frame more work and even send out an invitation.

You can help by donating your digital camera (and deduct it from next years taxes) Or sell us your old camera! Digital cameras that are in working order, include chargers or take AA/AAA batteries are needed! I need cameras that do not use outdated memory cards or include some memory. Pay will be a max of $30, depend on the condition, and will be given to you via pay pal. (email to discuss all sales or donations) You can also TALK IT UP! Ask more people to join the Facebook group! Ask your friends and family if they have unused digital cameras.

I had planned to do some adjunct or part-time teaching when I finished my MFA. My work with the Soldier's home is a great start on this! I'll continue to add to my teaching resume and see where that leads. I'm also going to keep shooting weddings, portraits, art projects and
commercial work. In this economy having many projects and sources of income is essential! I'm excited to try many different projects - as along as they all relate to photography/art. That is what I love!