Miscellaneous Tips & Suggestions

Some helpful hints to make your life go smoothly.

Tessmer of Fairfax Sweeps Recent Awards:

Tessmer of Fairfax wins Best of Show

At the recent competition for professional photographers in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia Master Photographer Joseph (Joe) Tessmer won best of show, two prints tied for first place and his 4th print won a 2nd place ribbon.

Tessmer of Fairfax Named Best Social Event/Wedding Photographer

The Virginia Professional Photographers Association honors Tessmer of Fairfax

It has often been said that Tessmer of Fairfax has lots of laurels they just don't rest on them. To prove the point the Virginia Professional Photographers Association has awarded JoeTessmer one of the highest awards a photographer can receive. Best social event photographer. Social events include weddings, anniversaries, parties and funerals.

Artistic and Financial Success in the Photographic Profession:

May 16, 2011, sponsored by the Professional Photographers of America

It's the little things that make the difference. Producing and marketing outstanding photography can depend on hundreds of small decisions that have a large effect on your overall success. The selection and use of equipment, making the best use of your website and social networking sites…all contribute to your success. Join Cyndy and Joe, two Best of Show winners, for their useful insights into these details. To register go to http://www.ppa.com/education-events/sm/states/sm_state_va.php

Helpful hints and ideas for your wedding

Consider using dried or silk flowers. Properly stored, these will be just as lovely on your twenty-fifth anniversary as on your wedding day. Also they may be used for photographs taken weeks before or after your wedding day.

Consult with your photographer on the time and location for the delivery of your flowers. A split delivery may be required.

Inform your photographer of any ill feelings between members of the wedding party, family members, or guests.

Inform your photographer of any medical problems or potential problems affecting any member of the wedding party or immediate family.

Remember -- Anything that can go wrong just might go wrong. BE PREPARED. Don't let anything upset you or ruin your wedding. Almost any problem can be worked around.

Use your photographers' wealth of knowledge and experience to make your wedding go smoothly and to solve any potential problems before they can become real problems.

Do not make any scheduling changes without consulting your photographer.

All men who rent formal clothing for the day should pick up their formal ware on THURSDAY (not Friday). The company will say Friday, but the tuxedos are always delivered on Thursday. Insist that EVERYONE try on every item before leaving the store. You can solve any problems on Friday.

Work out a time schedule for the "formal events" of the wedding and reception.

Brides and bridesmaids should break in their shoes by wearing them (on carpet) as much as possible in the weeks before the wedding. Ballerina slippers can be a comfortable alternative.

Get your hairdresser to style your hair to fit the headpiece and veil. The headpiece is held on by a comb and hairpins. Some modification of the headpiece or hair style may be necessary for the headpiece to be secure.

Do NOT let your hairdresser talk you into a new (possibly radical) hair style just before your wedding. Experience suggests that you may not be happy with the result. If you are contemplating a style change we suggest that you make the initial change several months before the ceremony. That way, you can make any necessary changes well before the wedding.

If small children are to be photographed, we recommend that a single individual, a parent or grandparent often works well, stand close to the photographer and give the instructions to the child. During the child's photographic session, no one but the selected individual should speak to the child.

Plan to have appropriate rain gear available if needed.

Get to bed early the night before, fatigue tightens the muscles around the mouth and eyes.

Bring a FIRST AID KIT to the wedding. It should include: needles, thread to match all colors of clothing in the wedding party, tissues, hairpins, pins, safety pins, complete makeup kit, combs, brushes, hair spray, etc. You should bring anything you could possibly need.

Eat a good breakfast AND lunch on the day of the ceremony. We cannot over emphasize the importance of this point. You will feel SO MUCH BETTER during the ceremony and reception if you have eaten properly before.

Allow EXTRA time for everything. At least one-half hour EXTRA between locations, etc. During the day of the wedding everything will take longer than you expect. Plan ahead - you don't want to rush. Give yourself some extra time and have a more relaxed day.

Make sure that family members and friends know when their group photographs are to be taken.

We strongly recommend that you and your fiance turn and face each other for the vows and ring exchange parts of the ceremony. First, you can look directly into each other's eyes. Second, your family and friends can see your faces (in profile) instead of the backs of your heads. Thirdly, the photographs we take of the ceremony will also show your faces. In keeping with the solemnity and religious nature of the wedding ceremony, you can direct the photographers to take all photographs between the processional and the recessional by AVAILABLE LIGHT ONLY, i.e., no flash photographs.

Should detail close up photographs of the ceremony be needed, they can be made with a medium format lens of at least 250 mm. A focal length lens of less than 250 mm will not do the job. If close up photographs are desired, they may be "created" before or after the ceremony.

Many brides and bride's maids tend to hold their flowers at waist level. Unfortunately this is the absolute worst possible position -- it destroys (hides) your figure and causes you elbows to stick out. Also, it seems to add twenty pounds to your weight. Hold the flowers comfortably BELOW the waist. The only time the flowers should be held above the waist is when being photographed for a head and shoulder's portrait.

For all formal photographs, the groom and all the men should have their arms at their sides and their hands in a light fist. Men should not stand with their hands clasped in front (fig-leaf position) or behind, or with their hands in their pockets.

When photographing family members and couples during a Portrait Series, consider having the flowers removed temporally. By removing the flowers you turn what would otherwise be a "wedding picture" into a "formal" portrait. When was the last time that your parents and grandparents had their portrait taken?

Ask your caterer to put ONLY the cake, knife, and toast glasses on the cake table. Your photographer will not hesitate to remove any foreign objects (plates, silverware, napkins, etc.) to provide room for flowers and to provide you with the best possible photographs. Also, the cake table is often placed "out of the way." It may therefore be necessary to move the cake and table to a more central location for the formal ceremonies. The caterer should be aware of this possibility.

Prepare the wedding announcement forms well in advance. It is much easier to get all of the information down accurately when you are relaxed. Most of our brides seem to prefer to use a pose created for the display portrait to get the announcement into the papers immediately following the wedding. However, any pose from the wedding coverage or love story may used.

If you are having a fairly simple reception, we suggest that you have the official toasts and cut the cake very shortly after the reception starts. If you wait till near the end of the reception a third to a half your guests will have already left. With a buffet or dinner, we suggest that you have the toasts and cut the cake before eating. You may then serve the cake as desert at the proper time. Cutting the cake and having toasts early will permit, elderly people and young children who attend the reception, the discretion to leave at a time that is suited to their physical condition without missing the high lights of the reception.

To ensure that all of your guests sign your guest book or guest photograph have someone stationed at the entrance of the church to have your guests sign the book/photograph as they enter, then have someone carry the book/photograph around the reception to every table to get the signatures of anyone who was missed. This can be a wonderful job for a special child.

It is traditional to throw rice as the bride and groom leave the church or reception to wish them prosperity and fertility. However, rice is harmful to birds. As alternatives you might consider dried or fresh flower petals, confetti, streamers, bird seed, bubbles, or balloons. Be sure to check any local regulations.

Photochromic, "photogray," glasses, which darken as the sun gets brighter, should not be worn. They give the impression of black eyes, which may not be possible to correct.

Some perfumes and colognes attract insects, if you plan extensive photographs out doors, consider applying the perfumes or colognes after you have completed your outdoor photography.

Do not spray perfumes or colognes while wearing special clothing. Perfumes and colognes contain alcohol that can permanently damage clothing.

Allow sufficient time in your schedule for a receiving line if you plan to have one. If you plan a receiving line at the church it may use a large part of the time you planned for photographs after the wedding. The table below provides a reasonable guide to the time required for a receiving line:

  • Number of Guests   Time Required
    50 - 60   15 Minutes
    100 - 125   30 Minutes
    175 - 200   45 Minutes
    250 - 300   60 Minutes +

Many couples are having their invitations printed with a date of "The Second Saturday in June 2000" rather than "June 10, 2000". With this selection of a wedding date, their wedding anniversary, like Easter, will always be on a weekend.

To get some "fun" photographs of your wedding reception place a disposable camera with flash at each table. Write a note to the guests seated at the table and ask them to use the camera to capture some spontaneous moments. Direct the guests to a receptacle for the used cameras. The quality of the photographs may not be professional, but the memories can be priceless.

Burglars often check newspapers for events such as weddings, graduations and funerals to find out when a house may be vacant. If you announce your future wedding in the press it may be wise to have someone stay in the house during the ceremony and reception. You may also wish to take precautions for the time you are away on your honeymoon.

If you stop payment on a check, note that with many banks and credit unions, the stop payment order is only good for six months. After the six-month period the check becomes good again until the check becomes a year old. To prevent an unscrupulous vendor from cashing your check, renew your stop payment order.

Obtaining a wedding license in Fairfax county can be difficult. To eliminate as much frustration as possible, arrive before the license bureau opens at 8:00 a.m. The license is good for sixty (60) days so go several weeks before the wedding if you can.

If you have a friend make a video tape of your wedding, break off the tab on the back of the cassette when you take delivery of the video tape. This will prevent taping a football game over your wedding memories.

Be aware that some hotels and other reception sites may charge your guests for parking. If you do not want your guests to pay parking fees while attending your wedding or reception be sure to make appropriate arrangements.

It is important to know what you want in the way of photography and to clearly convey that information to both your photographer(s) and videographer(s). This also applies to all professional services provided.

When planning outdoor wedding photographs, in the Washington area, you must make contingency plans for bad weather. The Botanic Gardens, located just west of the Capitol on Independence Avenue, is fully enclosed and has lots of green plants. In order to use the Botanic Gardens for wedding photographs, you should obtain written permission from the Capitol police.

If you have a single photographer or multiple photographers with a single car, consider going on a short tour of the area in route from the wedding to the reception. This additional time will permit the photographer(s) the opportunity to photograph the bride and groom as they leave the church, pack up his/her equipment and arrive at the reception prior to the bride and groom so that the arrival of the bride and groom at the reception can be photographed.

Unsolicited phone calls can be very annoying.We suggest that you register all of your phone numbers land and cell with the federal do-not-call web registry, www.donotcall.gov/. There is a federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you receive numerous phone calls from individuals trying to sell you something ask them to send you their "Do not call policy". Inform them that your numbers are part of the do not call registry and that they are not to call you again. If you receive additional calls, you can take them to court and receive a judgement of $500.00 for each call received, after you have notified them not to call you.