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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Making Memories That Last Forever

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Ryan Bensheimer, president and owner of Ideal Impressions Photography of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Ryan started shooting weddings when he was 16 years old, attended the Art Institute of Chicago and has photographed 29 countries and all 50 states. Ideal Impressions regularly travels to many locations in the US and is happy to travel worldwide offering engagement sessions anywhere the bride and groom are willing to travel.

What are some of the differences between taking photos of weddings and of other events?
I take my photography very seriously all the time and try to completely focus in all types of events and situations. I really enjoy every situation and weddings are probably my favorite, It is great to be such an important part of the greatest day of a couples life! I think it is essential that the couple LOVE their photographer. They will spend more time with him than anyone else that day. Getting a photographer that isn’t professional, can’t seem relaxed, or doesn’t fit the venue can end up being a crucial mistake!

Describe some of your favorite backgrounds for wedding shots.
I love anything different! I have captured castles, the Milwaukee art museum, beaches, and much more! Here are some of my local favorites…

What are one or two of the more unusual shots you've been asked to take?
Most couples don’t ask for much and expect us to think up things, so here are some creative ideas:

If a bride and groom came to you and they had limited funds, what kind of choices would you suggest to them?

This happens all the time! Usually we tell people to get the BEST photographer you can and deal with the prints etc… later. So with our company we offer top photographers to shoot your wedding and give you a dvd with images that you can do whatever you want with starting at $1000. Ordinarily if a photographer stated they would shoot a wedding for $1000 I would be concerned. (Why wouldn’t they charge more when there are so many weddings out there?!) but in our case we shoot nearly 150 weddings a year and can shoot 4 weddings in one day which makes options like this possible with exceptional photographers!
When money isn't an object (or not much of one), what is the most likely (or the best) scenario for preserving the bride and groom's memories of the day?

Our top package offers a destination engagement shoot anywhere in the world… want to go to Cancun, Paris, Bora Bora, or Times Square? It starts the couples planning process off with a bang and delivers exceptional images to fuel your wedding’s advertising and marketing plan.

On the “day of” we recommend integrating still and video photography and showing a slideshow to your guests that includes footage from their entire life as well as images that were just shot that day! We display projectors, screens, flat panel lcd’s and whatever else we can find to show off the wedding party all over the venue. Wherever people may be during the wedding day they are surrounded by the story. It is sooooo much fun!

We are fast! We are known for our immediate digital results. Many photographers and DJs these days are showing family slideshows. However, a distinctive that we offer is same day wedding shots blended naturally into the family slideshow. We edit about 100 images from the day and put together a highly professional slideshow, completed with panning and zooming effects set to the couple’s favorite music at the reception. The effect is astounding. It is the highlight of the day for the couple and the guests. People are blown away seeing images that were sometimes just minutes before displayed in an entertaining video right before their eyes. Each guest is given a card that directs them to our website where they can download the wedding images free of charge. Most albums are finished and delivered within a month of the wedding. We also offer complete next day service for destination weddings that includes complete DVD authoring and finished albums that can be brought home and displayed at a home-side reception!

We suggest getting a photo DVD that beautifully safeguards the wedding video and a slideshow of the favorite images. The DVD not only contains moving video animation but also full resolution still images. We are the only company I know of that offers such a GREAT DVD option!

And finally the album, Flush mount digital albums are the rage along with coffee table press printed books and leather wrapped albums. We also like to offer the latest in traditionally mounted albums. We have over 2500 album options to choose from and recommend that the bride and groom really find something that they love and feel fits their unique styles and personality.

What do you consider to be your greatest asset as a photographer?

Our company enjoys capturing emotion and true-to-life moments. We feel successful when, at the end of the day, our photography “tells the story” of the wedding and of the relationship of the couple. Our favorite photographs are made in unexpected moments that vividly express the passion of the greatest day of your lives. We work with each couple to find exactly what approach best expresses the bride and groom’s style and deliver results that leave them feeling like the services our company offered “completed” their romance and wedding day story.

Ideal Impressions uses a blend of photojournalistic and traditional photography. These days people throw around the term photojournalistic but we believe the end result is better with some direction. Most couples are more than happy to be prompted to look their best. We specialize in coaching our clients to look as natural as possible and capture the person’s best image and true emotion of the day.

Any dream locations for taking photos for the future (as in, if the wealthiest and most influential person in the world called you up and told you that he had chosen you as the perfect photographer to immortalize his wedding day and was willing to fly you and the wedding party to as many locations that day as you wanted, where would you choose and what would you do to make the day special)?

Well, I have shot in 29 countries and all 50 states so there is very little that I haven’t seen… but since I am an adventurer at heart, the best would be a wedding at the base camp of Everest!

What is the most difficult task for a couple hiring a wedding photographer?

It is tempting to hire a low cost photographer locally. Often these photographers have not been properly trained and don’t have a lot of wedding experience. Consider the value of hiring top of the line photographers who will meet with you ahead of time, plan your day and produce results that will provide a life time of captured memories for you and generations to come. Surprisingly, our services are very reasonable and start as low as $1500 plus expenses.

Any humorous moments that have occurred during the weddings you have photographed?

We have seen it all! Most of the stories I don’t want to put in writing though! Unfortunately the funniest things we have seen were also the worst and I don’t want this article to go down hill!
If you could photograph your own wedding (and location was no impediment), what would you choose to do?

Locally I suggest the Riviera Ballroom, The Milwaukee Art Museum, Geneva National, or the Pier in Milwaukee, or the Pfister, they give the finest destinations in the world a run for the money!

For destinations around the world I would recommend:

California – The mighty state of California is home to some of the most picturesque beaches, hills, cliffs and mountains. So whether you want to have a jazzy wedding in LA or a quiet beach wedding at Pismo Beach, you have a wide variety to choose from. California is a perfect wedding destination as it is both romantic and adventurous.

Hawaii –Hawaii is always a great place to get married in. Whether you choose the beaches of Hawaii or one of the innumerable gardens, a wedding in Hawaii will leave you wanting for more!

Mauritius – The island country of Mauritius in the India Ocean is one of the most picturesque destinations in the world. Mauritius has long been a favorite tourist spot and now it has also gained popularity as a wedding destination. The never ending beaches, the perfect weather and the friendly atmosphere will add an extra dash of romance to your wedding to make it extra memorable.

Europe – Wedding and romance are synonymous and so is romance and France. If there is a die-hard romantic in you who wants the wedding to be special beyond words, then Europe is the wedding destination for you.

What is the best advice you can give to couples contemplating how to record their wedding day?

Invest in the imagery. The flowers will wither, the food will be eaten, the dress fade, and friends grow further apart… but the images will capture your day and live in your hearts forever!

Ryan, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and expertise with us. You can find more information on Ryan and his team at Ideal Impressions Photography (the Meet Us section of the website is fascinating, there's plenty of information and lots of just flat out gorgeous photos).

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Blogger Linda Goodnight said...

Wow, this is impressive stuff and a site to bookmark.

May 6, 2008 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger Simone Elkeles said...

I am very impressed with the photographs and the scenery shots. And I love Lake Geneva!

May 6, 2008 at 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Lindsay Longford said...

Wonderful ideas for dealing with an expensive and important element of a wedding. The pix are GORGEOUS!

May 6, 2008 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Marilyn Brant said...

Stunning photographs! I enjoyed the variety of shots :).

May 6, 2008 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Beautiful photographs.

May 6, 2008 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Tracey Devlyn said...

Well, Myrna, your blood and sweat paid off - the photos look lovely on the page!

I love your blog. Take care!

May 6, 2008 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Julie Hilton Steele said...

My son and daughterinlaw got a wonderful photographer who was so creative with her shots that we didn't realize until almost last that she hadn't taken the traditional parents of the bride and groom on each side of the couple. Fortunately, we realized because we have a wall full of those shots going back generations!

But the candid shots she took were the most fabulous memories of a happy day.

Peace, julie

May 6, 2008 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I wish we'd gotten a photographer when we were married many years ago. Your photos are amazing and gorgeous.

May 6, 2008 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do have a few nice wedding pictures, but the only one my husband, Joe, smiled in was when we cut the cake! And he had his eyes closed, drat!

May 6, 2008 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Great post! Thank you Ryan for taking the time to answer all the questions. And you're pictures our so lovely! I'd already checked out your website with the link we have here and was so impressed. You guys really do a fantastic job.

May 6, 2008 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Sarita Leone said...

Wow, the photos are gorgeous! Great interview, too.

May 7, 2008 at 5:42 AM  

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