Sunday, September 27, 2009

5 Things On A Sunday - Interesting Things Around The 'Net

Does it feel like Fall to you? I know it's that time of year when Starbucks kicks up it's menu with Pumplin Spice Lattes...makes me want to make muffins rich in chocolate and pumpkin, so this Sunday's post is a search for easy comfort food:

Easy Pumpkin Choclate Chip Muffins
My Favorite Butternut Squash Soup
Autumn Beef Stew
My Favorite Beer on a cool night - Guinness
...and what's crisp Fall weather (I know, next month) without a bowl of Chili?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spotting Good Wedding Photography - A Public Service Announcement About Budgets And Pricing

We now interrupt your normally scheduled programming for this public service announcement...

Soon-to-be-marrieds please take a moment to think about this...the number one challenge that I and every other wedding vendor I know has when they pick up the phone is that the nice person on the other end of the line has absolutely no clue (or won't say) about how much they are willing to spend for their photography (or flowers, or, or, or) and what they expect as a product. Like most wedding professionals, I have a keen desire to help you have a perfect day. Like many in our industry, I am happy to customize a package that will work for you, but, and it's a big but, you have to tell me what you want and give me an idea of what you are willing to spend to have what you want.

Here are a couple of examples of recent phone conversations...check out the difference in the outcome:

Photographer: Please let me ask you a few questions so that I can understand your needs. How many hours do you think you might need for your day? Bride: I don't know...just for the ceremony and one or two photos after. Photographer: How long is your ceremony? Bride: I don't know yet? Can you just give me a price? Ummm, that's alot more than we wanted to pay...Photographer: Do you have a budget in mind for your photography? Bride: no, we really don't know what we can spend yet but I know it isn't THAT much...I'll have to talk to my fiancé and get back to you...

Now, How about this:

Bride: Hi, I'm getting married and wanted to see about prices??? I'll be getting ready at my mom's house in Tempe, the ceremony will be at St. Mary's Church and the reception will be across town at Mountain Golf Club. Photographer: Congratulations! So let's see, We'll need about 30 minutes for your dressing photos and isn't it about a 15 minute drive to St. Mary's from there? Approximately an hour and a half for photos at the church and then 30 minutes to Mountain...I think we're looking at between 5 and 7 hours coverage, wouldn't you agree? Bride: Oh yes, that should be about right...I was thinking more toward the 7 hours and I'd really like a great album oh, and of course the disc...did I mention I need to keep it around $2500? Photographer: Oh thanks for letting me know...I can put that together for you, now on 7 hours it would be $3500, but I'm wondering, do you think we would be able to accomplish everything for you in 5 hours? Then I could bring it in for $2800...Bride: I really appreciate your flexibility! You know, I would like to talk further and see what we can do, when is the best time to come and meet you?

In the first case, the photographer (in this case, me) has her hands tied...all she can do is throw some numbers and ideas out and hope that something sticks. The bride hangs up frustrated and unfulfilled and the photographer is equally frustrated because she (yeah, you know, me) couldn't help that bride and in fact has now contributed to making her decision making process more frustrating. No Win Situation.

Now, in the second example, we have a win-win. The Bride came to the table prepared. She had such a great experience on the phone that she has now furthered her photographer search immensely and assuming it is a personality match probably go on to hire our friendly photographer (once again, me). She has saved time and aggravation for herself (and, of course, me) by being prepared and open to a little flexibility for herself and her photographer.

So, which would you rather be? Crying in your beer with your co-workers after a slew of frustrating phone calls and no closer to making your wedding day plans or drinking Mimosas with your girlfriends because planning your day has been so easy that you really can celebrate? Hmmm... a little more champagne in the O.J.?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

5 Things On A Sunday - Interesting Things Around The 'Net

Came across a few interesting things during the week for your surfing pleasure:

WeddingWire’s iPhone App Lets You Plan Your Wedding On The use that time between appointments efficiently.

Pooch Island I think I need drugs to truly understand this artist, but in the mean time I'll just indulge in poking around his fantasy island.

Shameless plugs for me and my friend ;-D Larry James shares tips on getting the most out of Bridal Fairs...I'll be participating in the Chandler Hilton's first ever wedding fair on October 18th...come by and say hello.

If you love me you'll bring me chocolate - Wei Chocolate

And just because I got you to go on Pooch Island, I'll leave you with this:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Scorpion Sting 3 Years Later

Today marks three years since the day I became a true Arizonan with my one and only scorpion sting. We live in true scorpion country...a swatch of Phoenix/North Scottsdale known as "Scorpion Alley" where there is a much higher percentage of the poisonous Bark Scorpion than many other parts of the area. Do we see scorpions? Every once in a while, yes. Do they get in the house? Well, yeah, that's where we usually see them if we're going to. Is it a big deal? Only if you get stung and make it one.

To celebrate this dubious anniversary, I thought I'd share a poem I wrote while clearing out the toxins from this e-ticket ride (yes, the wedding photographer writes bad poetry, too).

Hmm...does a scorpion bite?

If a scorpion could take a bite with his maw
Would his jaw hurt as much as a clip from his claw?
Would his bite on my leg make my head ring
As much as the toxin from his all mighty sting?

If a scorpion could take a bite with his maw
Would I have spent the whole night on the couch, enthralled
Exquisite pain in my toes, kissed on my lips
Toxins spread to my fingertips.

For the scorpion’s bite is all in his tail
Dagger of fire made my tongue wail.
A heavy syringe of power and lust
One more tiny warrior crushed dead in the dust.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Green Wedding Friday - Creative Custom Cardboxes

When planning her own wedding, Marni Gold was searching for a unique and secure way to store gifts and cards at her reception. Frustrated with the gaudy, tacky or just plain expensive options she was repeatedly coming across, she finally created her own custom cardbox that was simple, elegant, and understated while still corresponding with her theme. Out of this project, Creative Custom Cardboxes was born!

Starting at just $40, Creative Custom Cardboxes are as affordable as they are beautiful. Each customer can browse a wide variety of designs at before specifying the exact colors, number of tiers, and types of embellishments that will make her own cardbox one-of-a-kind. A true mother-daughter team, Marni and her mom work closely with their clients to bring their exact visions to life.

Marni uses recycled papier mache in her boxes and recycled/repurposed packaging for her shipping supplies as her contribution to the environment.

While there are few limits to how customers’ cardboxes can be decorated, Creative Custom Cardboxes has on hand a consistent stock of crystals, pearls, and variations of I DO and WE DO letters.

For more information, visit or email

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spotting Good Wedding Photography - Beauty In Motion

One of the most powerful techniques in photography is to capture motion in a still image. Blurring conveys movement, a feeling of time passing, romance, and in the right circumstances, a certain edginess that can enhance your story. Motion blur is different than an unfocused image. There is a sense of direction in a good motion blur image as opposed to just not having a point of focus. Below are prime examples of motion blur.

A good photographer will have a wide array of techniques like this mastered and available to use at your wedding if the situation fits. Much better to hire someone with a wide array of skills to offer you then simply accepting the basics.

Would you like to talk about your wedding day photography? Call 480.366.4476 or e-mail me at marcia (at) to set up a visit today.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

5 Things On A Sunday - Interesting Things Around The 'Net

What's better than a lazy Sunday...sleeping in a bit, a special breakfast...fresh coffee and the paper or surfing the 'net...

Here's my picks for 5 fun Sunday finds:

1. Want the skinny on your favorite prime-time shows? knows before almost anyone else...just don't tell anyone.

2. Canyon Glider...relax and fly, but don't let a downdraft throw you into a canyon wall.

3. Love to sing when nobody's home? Online free Karaoke can get you bumping and grinding.

4. Sunday is a great day to think "Green"...this a great place to start, Planet Green.

5. ...and what would a lazy Sunday be without Pee Wee Herman?!?!?!?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Weddings 101 - The Do's and Do Not’s of working successfully with your Wedding Vendors

In the busyness of planning a wedding it is sometimes easy to forget the business of doing it, too. Mrs. Hancock's Wedding Consulting and Planning Services has very graciously provided the following tips for making the best of your relationships with your vendors.

The Do's and Do Not’s of working successfully with your Wedding Vendors

Mrs. Hancock and Mrs. Bacon, Wedding Consulting Services

Many of us forget the genuinely appreciated niceties that show our genuine level of caring for others. All successful relationships, love or otherwise begin with kindness and respect. So let’s take this to the next step…

As a Bride and Groom we know you have a lot on your plates. Please realize, your vendors do, as well. All wedding vendors want to do the very best job we can for you; it's what we do and what we do depends on making you happy. If you're not happy, any referrals you may have been willing to send will not come our way and our livelihoods depend on your A+ rating.

Here are a few suggestions that will let your vendors know you respect their time and their expertise. Keeping these in mind will surely go a long way in cementing your relationship and will ensure you come across as kind and considerate, as well:

1). Always keep scheduled appointments, please. Emergencies are just that and one may pop up on either side at any time and we understand! When you schedule an appointment, be diligent about writing it down in your calendar, please. If your spouse-to-be needs to be in your meeting, put it on his calendar, too. A suggestion: send a text to him the morning of reminding him where he needs to be and at what time. As our time is very valuable, it may take us 40 minutes to get to you one-way and then we may need to be on the other side of town after our meeting with you. Or it may be that our calendar is booked steadily for a particular afternoon. When you cancel, are late or reschedule at the last minute it can cause us great professional harm.

2). Please always return phone calls promptly from your vendors (same day if possible). Our policy at Mrs. Hancock’s is from 7am to 12 midnight (unless it’s an emergency!).
Afford us as many contact numbers to reach you as you’d like.

3). When requested to provide information please be thorough and organized. Nothing is worse than making out seating cards and misspelling a guest’s name for example. Take your time with the details.

4). Always be on time for meetings! Punctuality is a sure sign of respect and good will.

5). Graciously accept you vendor’s input and suggestions. You’re always the final decision maker; but vendor’s are trained to think outside the box hopefully saving you time and money. No talented planner or coordinator will ever push their will on you.

6). Please budget for your down payments, due dates and final payments accordingly, always paying on time. Post dated checks handed off to your vendor will allow you ease, without having to mail or drop off a check to ensure it arrives when due.

7). Please respect your budget during planning. We can be miracle workers, but if you continue to add services or time, remember we may have to charge you additional fees.

8). Further, please don’t use the ‘I’ll call you on Tuesday or I’ll bring your deposit next week”. If you’re not interested in working with a vendor, that’s fine; we can take it! Not everyone will be a great fit and that’s what meetings and interviews are for. Please don’t string a possible vendor along.

9). Have a question? Ask, please! No question or issue is too small or too mundane for a professional coordinator. It is our job to inform and educate you.

10). Ask for references; always! A good vendor will be happy to provide you with strong references. Be on the look out for business who cannot provide references.

11). Communicate openly and honestly with your Vendors. Things will always come up or change; but we can’t assist you if we don’t truly understand your needs and/or concerns.

12). At a meeting consider paying for your Vendor’s coffee! Such a seemingly small gesture goes a long way toward letting your new employee/vendor know they’re appreciated.

Using these simple tips will keep your relationships running smoothly with your vendors and you’ll find, treating them with respect and kindness will go a long way to ensuring the planning process is as much fun as it can be!

Mrs. Hancock
Mrs. Hancock’s, Inc.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Being Blog-Kissed

I love know, when you feature a company or get featured yourself? Well, I just got kissed! Last week, I spent a couple of hours with Noelle Salinas of Fresh From The Kitchen, LLC as she peppered me with questions about my philosophies, photography and how they blended together to form the business I have today. Somehow from all my meanderings she managed to simmer up a wonderful article. The post broke just a few minutes ago and I am so thrilled to share it with you. Read it by clicking here ;-D

Monday, September 07, 2009

Spotting Good Wedding Photography - Rack Focus

Racking focus is that cinemagraphic technique where the camera starts with focus say, on a person in the background and that person becomes out of focus while a person in the foreground comes in focus. In wedding photography a similar technique is used often in the romantic portraits to offer additional drama in an image. I love this technique. Well done, it is the mark of a good photographer.

Utilizing different techniques adds variety and drama to your images. It is well worth finding a photographer that shows a bit of everything in their portfolio.

Would you like to talk about your wedding day photography? Call 480.366.4476 or e-mail me at marcia (at) to set up a visit today.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

5 Things On A Sunday - Interesting Things Around The 'Net

I admit it, I'm as bad as the next person about surfing the 'net - no, maybe I'm worse than some people. But, on the bright side, I like here are some fun picks for your pleasure:

1. The very first Droopy Dog Cartoon

2. Celebrity Gawking and Gossip at it's finest: PEREZ HILTON

3. Stunning Photography via National Geographic's Photo of the day.

4. Bubble Shooter, anyone?

5. ...and another old time favorite:

Friday, September 04, 2009

Green Wedding Friday - Sedona

Having a ceremony outdoors is a wonderful way to stay green. Yesterday I met my new friend Margaret Van Damme of Van Damme Weddings at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona where we are doing a wedding together next month. It is so beautiful there and the forest service will allow weddings on forest land so long as certain criteria is met to create as little impact as possible. Margaret regularly creates packages for her clients incorporating beautiful settings within the Coconino Forest.

Spending the day in Sedona gave the opportunity to try out the camera function on my new phone, so here are just a few images from the day:

Red Rock Crossing, 11am

Roots in the forest

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Little Something For You

This month's desktop image is sweet. Please feel free to download and enjoy.

Mmmmm!. Click on the image to download a copy of your own and freshen up your desktop!

Keep checking back for new images. Sometimes bridal, sometimes something different, but something always for you.