• Lisa Otto Photography | Weddings, Seniors and Pets
  • Lisa Otto Photography | Weddings, Seniors and Pets
  • Lisa Otto Photography | Weddings, Seniors and Pets
  • http://blog.lisaottophotography.com
Yep...that's me!

Welcome to the blog!!

I’m Lisa…lover of Slurpees and photographer of couples in love, high school seniors and pets!

Grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a beer (?) and take a look around!  I can’t wait to work with you!

You can also find me over on Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

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How I decided not to follow the rockstars and give my clients what they want | Palm Harbor & Tampa Wedding Photographer

July 28th, 2014

For five years now I’ve been shooting weddings.  I’ve had collections set up and that was it.  That was what you got to choose from. I mean, it’s the “industry standard”, right? Wrong! In my opinion, there really shouldn’t be an “industry standard”.  The industry doesn’t run your business, you do!  But for five years, [...]

 

For five years now I’ve been shooting weddings.  I’ve had collections set up and that was it.  That was what you got to choose from.

I mean, it’s the “industry standard”, right?

Wrong!

In my opinion, there really shouldn’t be an “industry standard”.  The industry doesn’t run your business, you do!  But for five years, I thought that I had to run my business by these standards.  I’d hear “if the couples want you bad enough, they’ll change their budget” or “if the couple want to book you, they’ll do what it takes to make sure they get you”.  This was embedded in my head for years.

Last week it hit me like a ton of bricks (well, also while I was on a “let’s have a wine Google hangout” with Julie, Carrie and Jenna but I don’t drink wine and it was 3 in the afternoon…on a Wednesday so really it was just a hangout).  Why am I following industry standards instead of giving my clients what they want?  Because “they” told me to do it, that’s why.

Well if anyone knows me, I have sort of a hard time following everyone else so why was this so hard for me to part with?  I know why.  Because I was afraid of what people would say.  I was afraid that the “industry” would look at me as “that photographer“.  Usually I’m that photographer but for other reasons I won’t blog about ;)

 

Lisa Otto Photography - Tampa wedding photographer

 

So that is why I came up with a totally new pricing structure for my wedding collections.

The first thing about them?  There are no collections.  WHAT you say?!  Yep.  I’ve moved away from having the “you have to get this amount of coverage” type structure.  While I want every single couple to have their wedding day documented perfectly, I also understand that not every single wedding is the same so why should all of my collections be the same?

I’ve decided that effective immediately, all my wedding coverage will come in the lovely bundle of hourly coverage.  You get to choose your coverage.  You get to choose exactly what you want on your wedding day.  You get to choose what you want.

WHAT?!?!

I know!  Kind of crazy cool all in the same.

 

lisa otto photography - st petersburg wedding photographer

 

Now why did I do this?  Like I said, I want my couples to be able to get exactly what they want.  If you’re having an intimate destination wedding down here on one of our gorgeous beached, then why would you need or want a full 8 hour coverage?  Why shouldn’t you be able to get exactly what you want?

But on the other hand, if you want a full 8 hours of wedding day coverage, you can do that!  This is what is amazing about having everything a la carte’ is so that you can choose exactly what you want for your wedding day.

So with that said….have you booked your wedding photographer yet?  There are still a few fall/winter dates available for 2014 (and you get 10% off remaining 2014 dates too!) and actively booking 2015 so don’t miss out!

 

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Head over to the website to see more gorgeous weddings!
http://www.lisaottophotography.com

Don’t forget to like the Facebook page so you don’t miss out on anything!
http://www.facebook.com/lisaottophotography

Are you on instagram or twitter? So am I and you can take a sneak peak into my daily life
http://www.instagram.com/lisaottophoto
http://www.twitter.com/lisaottophoto 

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Please note that the new hourly coverage is based on a minimum of 2 hours of coverage and does not apply to destination weddings.

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7 Wedding Hidden Wedding Costs Defined | Tampa Wedding Photographer

July 27th, 2014

Today there is an article on ABC Action News about 7 Wedding Costs You May Not See Coming.  As I sat there reading the article, all that could really go through my head was….what?!?!  How can there be hidden costs that vendors aren’t showing the client?  Then I remembered that a few days ago on [...]

 

Today there is an article on ABC Action News about 7 Wedding Costs You May Not See Coming.  As I sat there reading the article, all that could really go through my head was….what?!?!  How can there be hidden costs that vendors aren’t showing the client?  Then I remembered that a few days ago on Facebook, a planner that I’m friends with noted that there was a photographer that wanted to charge and additional amount because of a location change (mind you that the locations were less than a mile apart) and then an additional fee to edit their photos.  Ummm are you kidding me?!  Let’s just nickel and dime couples to death here.

There I go with the rambling again so let’s get back to the article at hand.  Let’s break these down a little so you can understand what you need to and so you don’t fall over when these things come up.

From the article:

1. Postage
It’s a good idea to weigh your invitation options before you decide which to use — postage can set you back more than $1 per person. Square letters also require a surcharge, regardless of weight. And don’t forget that you will also need postage for save-the-dates, RSVP cards and thank you notes.

This one I absolutely agree with!!  But on the other hand, you need to make sure that when you’re ordering your invitations, that you are taking this into account.  Between the invitation and the RSVP card (along with the envelope) there will be added weight so regular postage won’t cut it.

 

2. Sales Tax & Gratuities
When negotiating contracts with vendors, it’s important to include sales tax in the quoted cost so that final bills reflect what you expected to pay. With costs in bulk for the reception, food and bar costs, taxes can add up. Although tips are up to your discretion, realize that “service charges” may not cover the gratuity for the wedding staff. Read the fine print to see what that covers. With large payments, a general rule of thumb is that 10 percent is appropriate for tipping.

Sales tax?!?!  Any and I mean any reputable vendor will be charging sales tax.  Do you go to Target and expect not to pay sales tax?  This honestly shouldn’t be a hidden cost that you won’t expect to pay.  On a side note though:  Let me give you a little hint on sales tax with your photographer because I can’t speak for other vendors.  If you are not receiving a tangible item from your photographer (album, USB, physical DVD, etc., meaning something that goes in your hands) then by the state of Florida, we do not have to charge sales tax.  Another reason I love digital delivery.

Gratuity – while any vendor loves to get a tip, it’s not necessary.  Believe it or not, sometimes the words and thank you’s that you tell your vendors far outweigh the tip that we get.  Seeing my couples post and repost, using their photos as their cover images on Facebook or their profiles is far better then getting a tip at the end of the night.

3. Presents & Favors
It’s customary for family and friends in your wedding party to get presents for all they have done for you at this special time. You may want to consider giving a symbol of appreciation to bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers and even your parents. Chances are these people have shelled out an impressive amount of their own funds for the benefit of your big day. Favors are another often last-minute decision that can break the bank.

Consider useful, but affordable options such as a donation to charity in guests’ names.

Again, how is this a hidden cost?  Your girls (and guys) are standing up for you on your most important day.  While you don’t have to break the bank on gifts, just think smart.  Pinterest has TONS of ideas on wedding party gifts.  Simple, remember to keep it simple.  While buying your girls Tiffany bracelets would be amazing, if it’s not in the budget, don’t do it.

4. Delivery Fees
From your dress to tables, chairs, linen and bar, everything can be assembled to your venue of choice on your wedding day. But to get everything you want in the right place at the right time, you may have to pay a hefty delivery fee. Be aware that some vendors will charge extra for prompt removal of rented items.

You meet with tons of vendors before choosing the right on.  When you meet with these vendors, and ones that will charge a delivery fee are usually rental companies, florists, etc., they should disclose in your quote whether or not there is a delivery fee.  There should be nothing hidden about this.

5. Overtime Costs
Since most fees are set based on time and weddings often fall behind schedule or last longer than originally planned, it’s important to understand all your agreements before staying too far past the agreed end time. The venue, band, DJ, photographer and videographer will all be watching the clock.

This goes right along with #4.  When you meet with your vendors, find out what their hourly rate is if they stay longer than the contracted time.  This should be discussed at the time of your consult, not on the day of your wedding.  And watching the clock?  This makes me a little upset because the biggest thing that I try to communicate with my couples is the fact of their timeline and hourly coverage.  I don’t want to miss the cake cutting or the father/daughter dance so I make sure that when I meet with a couple, we walk through exactly what they want on their wedding day.

If I have to stay an extra 15 minutes because something came up and we’re running just a tad bit behind, then I’ll do it.  I’m definitely not sitting there keeping an eye on my watch (well my phone because I don’t wear a watch) so I can boot scoot out the door.

6. A Backup Plan
Whether it’s an outdoor wedding that needs an unexpected tent for a rogue thunderstorm or a late and hungover groom, be honest with your expectations. It’s a good idea to price your event including a contingency option so that these costs do not catch you off guard.

I stress this big time!  We live in Florida and you want to have an amazing outdoor wedding.  On that same note, we live in Florida.  Rain can happen at any and I mean any given moment.  If you are getting married at a venue that has an indoor option, again, when you meet with the coordinator of the venue, this should be presented to you at that time.  Not the day of the wedding when it’s pouring down rain.

So when you’re meeting with your venue, ask them was the back up plan is and what the costs are.  Again, shouldn’t be a hidden cost.

7. Post-Reception Parties
Though your planning may have ended after the reception venue shut down, realize that you may not want to turn in so early. After-parties are not always considered ahead of time, but can be expensive between alcohol and space for your closest guests. You may want to include an extra bar tab’s worth of budget in your plans if you (or your future spouse) like to stay up late.

Post reception parties?  Yeah, these are called “the bride couple gets changed and let’s head out on the town”.  No one is expecting you to front the bill if you guys are going bar hopping in St. Pete.  But in all honesty, maybe they should be buying your shots?  Something to think about.

While articles like these are great, I just always feel like they never dig deep enough for you to understand exactly what they are trying to say.  Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors how much something is going to be or if there’s an extra charge.

Remember…we (wedding vendors) are there to make your day perfect!  Without you guys getting married every day, then we wouldn’t have jobs that we love.  We wouldn’t be able to give our couples exactly what they want.  Ask for referrals, ask friends who they used.

It’s your wedding day, not ours.

 

Lisa Otto Photography - Tampa wedding photographer