Photography experts Darrin & Gina Ballman will join our Wedding Venue Owners Working Vacation New Orleans Cocktails & Connections Meet & Greet as guest speakers sharing incredible insight on over 30 years capturing New Orleans weddings and romance!
New Orleans Photographers, Darrin & Gina Ballman: Guest Blogger & Featured Speaker at the Venue Owners Working Vacation New Orleans, Darrin Ballman shares insight on what it’s like to be a photographer in New Orleans and Cincinnati and the value of venue – vendor relationships. You can easily tell which venue owners have great relationships with their photographers by the stunning, high impact images you see on the venue website and social media. These relationships are so valuable. In the wedding industry it’s not enough to be a great photographer, you must also understand the beauty, art, romance and timing of a wedding. A bad photographer can make your venue look like a mess, a great photographer highlights the best aspects of your venue. I visit over 100 wedding industry websites a week. It amazes me how often a venue will only have a few images showcasing their business and sometimes they are so bad it’s a wonder they book any weddings. When you have a great relationship with a photographer, you have a valuable resource that will help you connect with your desired audience and book more events! FACTS!
Darrin & Gina Ballman will be one of our featured guest speakers at the Wedding Venue Owners Working Vacation in New Orleans. This is an incredible opportunity to find out more about the value of developing strong relationships with photographers. Click this link to RSVP for the Venue, Vendor Meet & Greet New Orleans.
“I was first interested in photography more than 30 years ago…and had my first paid gig in 1989. It was a large wedding with 300 guests and a bridal
party of nearly 20. I did it for $200 and a piece of cake. Through the course of photographing over 1000 weddings in these past 30+ years from coast to coast, I learned my specialty is finding something in “active environments”. It doesn’t matter what it is, a wedding or event, a restaurant, a vineyard in Europe, music. Really anywhere there is people and something happening. It could be one person…or thousands. Some will call it documentary in style, maybe even photojournalism at times. I like to call it photographic terroir. A specific sense of time and place that comes through the images, often times released through an improvisational approach. In today’s visually rich world, images need to have staying power and stand out.”
“I think in today’s wedding photography world it’s easy to lose sight of the uniqueness of each and every wedding. Too often we see photographers
taking a cookie cutter approach to the day – or worse yet, turning the day into a production that steals the couple away from enjoying the time with
their friends and family to the fullest.”
“After so many years of being focused on my own Crosslight wedding photography, in 2016 I also joined my wife Gina’s Sweet Olive Weddings as we not only grew our business in Cincinnati, but also made New Orleans (her home previously) a new market focus for us as we look to make it our
home base again in the near future.”
CrosslightPhotography.com and SweetOliveNewOrleans.com
What inspires you most about working as a photographer in New Orleans?
“The energy and creativity that is there in the city and the people blurs together in such a unique way. It’s far beyond just a “scenic” place, it’s a
creative vibe and a lifestyle in the people that is completely palpable in a way that is very unique. While there are other places that have very much
the same thing (such as my years living in Los Angeles), New Orleans has a very deep sense of community and ties throughout it that is never really
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Can you share some of your favorite New Orleans locations to take photos?
“While the French Quarter of course comes to mind initially for many people visiting, there are so many areas throughout the city and far beyond
as well. The iconic, in the city green spaces of City Park and Audobon park – with the old live Oaks the city is known for are perfect stops outside of
the quarter. Neighborhoods such as the Marigny/Bywater, Garden District, music and action on Frenchmen Street, sunsets on the Mississippi or the
warehouse feel in the CBD (Central Business District). There is such a variety of architecture and you can quickly fall in love with creatively styled decor inside the buildings, or outside in the beautiful courtyard spaces. Outside of New Orleans, you can be out among the bayous very quickly, and southern Louisiana as a whole has nature preserve space and parks throughout the state that offer a completely different world altogether.”
Can you share some of your fav NO wedding traditions – and how do you shoot those properly or you can share some of the challenged of shooting these well….I can’t imagine its easy to shoot the 2nd Line or to capture New Orleans history, charm and culture.
“The south does a few things differently, whether it’s a separate bridal session before the wedding or the cake pulls tradition (where the bride places ribboned charms inside the cake for each of her bridesmaids, and each bridesmaid pulls a charm that “tells her future” such as a ring = soon to be engaged or a four leaf clover = always lucky, etc…), but the real show stopper is of course a New Orleans “second line”. With a brass band leading the way for the couple and guests as they parade down streets and neighborhoods, by definition, the general public is welcome to join in as they dance their way along the route. As a photographer, a second line has the energy and movement that for me personally, I tend to thrive on. Unexpected moments and a constantly changing scene on each street not only makes it interesting – but also challenging. Especially when you are trying to run from the back of the line to the front, or photograph while walking backwards, hopefully avoiding trash cans, cars and on-lookers. The results can really be worth it though.”
Venue to Vendor connection, what should venue know about the value of a great photographer relationship.
“Venues are the gateway for couples as they begin their wedding plans. The venue sets the tone and style. It’s usually the first vendor that is booked.
A good photographer not only can provide images worth sharing – but when carefully chosen, it can enhance or even set the tone and atmosphere
for the venue. Since often times the photographer is also sharing images or blogging about a particular wedding and venue, having a great relationship with good photographers is very important. After all, ideally you want your couples hiring photographers and other vendors that share your
commitment to the standard and feel you want for your venue. Especially in today’s social media and SEO driven marketing, more than any other
vendor – the images that a photographer chooses will show up in a variety of areas as couples begin their venue search. Having relationships with
photographers who are on the same page as you can help move both of you forward. Unfortunately not all photographers are good about reaching out and sharing images. At a minimum, I would encourage venues to reach out before the wedding, take the initiative, ask about their image sharing policy, etc…Even if you may already have a treasure trove of great images from dozens of events each year, constantly updating and refining the images you show to the public is a must.”
Please share some info on working in Cincinnati and New Orleans – some of the unique beauty of both or how this dual market aspect contributes to your expertise…
“I have always loved to explore and photograph in different cities – trying to find what makes their style and atmosphere unique. While every city
has something that makes it stand out, for me, New Orleans and Cincinnati are two of the most diverse. New Orleans with the history, architecture
and the culture, but Cincinnati is amazing too. The Cincinnati area mixes the Ohio rural with the northern Kentucky horse farms, as well as the cities
and so many small, cool towns and the Ohio River. With the hills we have (Cincinnati is the second hilliest city in the U.S. after San Francisco), there
are many river views with excellent parks and greenery…but we also have history, such as the nation’s largest contiguous collection of nineteenth
century Italianate architecture in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Over so many years, I have photographed in a wide variety of cities from coast to
coast, but New Orleans and Cincinnati have both become my favorites.”
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