Amanda Wilson's Photography Blog

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Why Should You Hire A Professional Photographer To Take Your Wedding Photos? February 13, 2012

For me, it is boiled down to one single word: Forks.

Yep, you heard right; Forks. Why forks you may ask? Nope, it’s not a reference to the town just north of me that was featured in the movie Twilight. It’s a reference of the ONLY interesting photo in my entire wedding album.

Exciting, huh? Yeah, didn’t think so.

I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but I did not hire a professional for my wedding back in 1998. We asked a “friend with a nice camera” to take the photos. First off, I was only 18 and my husband was not much older at age 20. I just figured everything would be out of our price range so we didn’t even list it as a priority. I had even mentored under a photographer at this point but I never even asked him what he would charge me because I just figured it would be too much and I certainly didn’t expect him to just donate his services. Heck, I rented my wedding dress because I thought dresses would be thousands of dollars. It all seems so silly now! Ahhh, such were the days before the wide-spread use of the interwebs for every day information!

So I am taking advantage of the internet for YOUR benefit, so YOU don’t make the same mistake that myself and many others have made.

I have countless inquiries per year for weddings and sometimes I will run into these couples that had decided not to hire me, but have the infamous ‘friend with a nice camera’ take their photos and they express their regret. The most common reason for engaged couples not hiring a photographer is money. It can be expensive to hire a photographer. But it can also be something that can be easily and relatively painlessly planned for.

We as photographers understand the economy– heck we live day-to-day in it too, but want to help you achieve the goal of exceptional photos for your wedding! Speaking specifically for our own studio, we do have some large packages but we also offer smaller packages that are broken down by the events that you want photographed on your big day. In any case, we try our very best to make the memories of your day totally within reach for you by offering different payment methods and also payment plans.

I’d like to share some tips with you, regardless of which photographer you choose:

1. One of the first things you need to do after setting your date is start calling and interviewing photographers. Photographers fill up FAST!! It is wise to start calling around well in advance of your wedding date.

2. Check to see that the photographers you are looking into are licensed in your state. There are a MYRIAD of people calling themselves photographers on the internet and you don’t need a business license to have a website. If they are not licensed for business and they take your money, they are committing fraud. There is no accountability and you run the risk of never seeing your investment again. In Washington State, click this link to find whether or not your photographer has a business license. (Go search us! We’re there!)

3. Ask if your photographer has insurance to cover any mishaps that could happen. It is important to know that if they do not have a business license, they cannot get business insurance. We hold inland marine, liability, and indemnity insurance.

4. Ask to see an entire wedding. This is important because often you see only snippets of weddings in a portfolio. If you can see an entire wedding from start to finish, you get a better idea of how they run a show!

5. Ask them how long they have been photographing professionally. While a university level education is not necessarily indicative of a quality, professional photographer, it is important to know how long they have been shooting professionally. I, personally, have been shooting professionally since 1999 and have been in the industry since 1994.

At the end of your day, besides the vows you made to one another, you have your rings and your photos to look back on. All the money that was spent on catering, flowers, dresses, tuxes, decorations, and venues… it’s all gone in a day. If a photographer is where you want to scrimp and save, you may well end up with some forks.

If you are on the fence about hiring a wedding photographer, give us a call! More than likely, we have a way to fit the very best photography into your special day! 360-560-0064


David & April~ Battle Ground, WA Wedding Photographer February 11, 2012

Hello everyone!! I just had to swing by and tell you about an INCREDIBLE wedding we had the privilege to photograph. Real quickly, I want to thank Jenn Davenport of Jenn Davenport Photography for being my co-shooter and second set of eyes! I couldn’t have done it without her!

This is the second wedding I have had the honor of photographing for this family so it was like seeing old friends again when we arrived! Our venue was the absolutely beautiful Meadow Glade Seventh Day Adventist Church in Battle Ground, WA.  We could not have asked for a more gorgeous day to have a wedding. Not only was it beautiful outside, it was actually a bit warm! Unheard of for February in Washington! David and April had their “First Look” in Lewisville Park, across town. April told me that she always thought it would be a great place to have a wedding and we were so thankful that the weather was so cooperative so they could have their first moments in such a special place.

Instead of a unity candle or sand, this precious couple did one of the most beautiful and creative things; they tied a Three Stranded Cord. The Bible states in Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” What a testament to their commitment to God and one another! I have to admit, it made me tear up!! After the ceremony, the festivities continued with funny stories, songs, a slide show, and an absolutely delicious meal that was catered by Nicolette’s Catering. This wedding was an incredible blessing to all who were involved and I am so thankful we got to be a part of it too!  I hope you enjoy these photos as much as Jenn and I enjoyed taking them! Cheers!! Oh, and don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook! Like what you see and want to book? Give us a call at 360-560-0064 or shoot us an email at!







































A little about lighting — Part 1 January 17, 2012

     So I did a quick survey today over on the Facebook Page about what types of lighting you, my lovely readers, tend to use and it seems like there is a good mix of everything being used out there. I thought first we’d tackle the folks that tend to use their popup flashes first and then move on to other types of lighting. So subject will have more than one installment.
Most consumer-level cameras now-days come equipped with some sort of flash, be it a popup flash or one that is just built into the front. These can be really helpful when you are taking quick photos, however, the light is often very harsh. Most often, the reason is because the flash is a bare bulb of light that seemingly electrifies your subject’s visage and blows their face up. You know the look:
    As you can see, this isn’t really the most flattering look. It not only blasts your subject, but the light usually is so bright that it produces some really harsh shadows and red eye. Well, I’m here to give you a little tip.
    The popup flash, in my opinion and experience is not an ideal light source, but if it’s all you have– there is hope! There is a great little invention by  Gary Fong, called “The Puffer.” It’s a weird looking little thing that sits in the hot shoe on your camera like this:

     When your flash pops up, it will be situated behind the puffer. When it fires, the puffer just sits there looking like it’s doing nothing but in actuallity, it grabs that harsh light and diffuses the light and produces much softer light and more even light. Diffusion works much like a lamp shade. Go take one off a light and you’ll see what I mean :DHere’s a couple of snapshots I took for myself a few years ago:

Both images are taken at f/4.2 @ 1/60 ISO 200

     As you can see, there is quite a difference! It softens up the shadows and gives a more soft light all around. It is definitely worth the investment!

     You say: “But Amanda, I don’t have a camera that will work with that thing, but I don’t want to blast my friends’ faces!” Not to worry! There’s something for you too! There is a little jobber out there called the Delta 3 Point and Shoot Diffuser.

     This will do pretty much the same thing but it just fits around your little lens and you’re in business! Both of the diffusers are available at

You say, “But AMANDA, this economy is really bad and I can’t afford those things, but I’m still thinking of my friends and how much I don’t want to blow their faces up!”

     I’m glad you’re thinking of not only how to wisely spend your money, but also your friends. You’re such a nice person! Now, go into the bathroom and tear off one sheet of toilet paper. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that this is attainable for just about anyone…….because, really, if you are worrying about your photos over how you’re going to wipe your butt, then you’ve got a bigger problem than I’m going to tackle today.
     Take that sheet of toilet paper and tear to just a little bigger than your flash head. Add a small piece of tape and loosely tape it over the top of the flash. If you tape it tightly, you run the risk of lighting that stuff on fire if you are shooting like a crazy pants.
     And there you have it! The Poor Man’s diffuser! This will also work for a point and shoot. Also, you can add more to achieve more diffusion if one doesn’t quite cut it. Go have fun!! And post your before and after photos for us over on the Facebook Page! (Click “Like” to the right of this article)
     Stay Tuned for our next episode in this exciting saga: …. yeah, I don’t have a catchy title yet— but it will be about lighting and it will be awesome!

Emily ~ Kelso High School Senior January 15, 2012

Woo, look at this– TWO blogs in a week! I’m on fire! You know you love it! So– today, we have Miss absolutely beautiful Emily. I’ve known Emily for several years and had the immense pleasure of photographing her sister, Cassandra last year. We originally were going to start our session in Kalama, WA, but it was SO nasty outside, we decided to pop into the studio. While we were there, we saw the sun come out– so we decided to take advantage of the break in the sky. Instead of going to Kalama, we headed up to Castle Rock, WA to a little boardwalk on Silver Lake. We were only there a few minutes when a beautiful dusting of snow began to fall from heaven 😀 It was an extremely rare occasion not only to have it snow while we were in a session, but it was also rare that the sun was still shining bright. We took advantage of it all until we got pretty soaked by the snow. We decided to finish up our session at a later date, but I had to share some great photos with you. Emily is also the first High School Senior I have had in-studio since I opened it in December, so this was a real treat. We had a blast!! I can’t wait till our next session!! Like what you see? Click “Like” on our Facebook link over to the right of this page! That way you’ll stay up to date on our new photos and most of all, our SPECIALS! Right now, we have a special that is valid until 11:59pm tomorrow! That’s right 1/15/2012! You will save $100 on your senior session if you book NOW! Give us a call at 360-560-0064 or send us an email at right away to secure your time slot with us!


Cari & Dylan ~ Centralia, WA Wedding Photographer January 11, 2012

Hey there!! Remember how I said one of my new years resolutions was going to be to blog more! Well here I am, blogging away for you, my lovely readers!! Cari and Dylan’s wedding was just lovely! My wonderful and talented co-shooter Jenn Davenport and I trekked up to the beautiful St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Centralia, WA. It was such a beautiful day! SUPER COLD but crisp and clear outside– perfect for a few outside photos of the happy couple! Cari and Dylan were one of the least stressed out bridal couples I’ve seen in quite a long time and they sure looked like they had a great time! Enjoy the previews and don’t forget to “Like” us on facebook! If you’d like information or would like to book, please call 360-560-0064 or email us at Cheers!


NEW YEAR, NEW SPECIALS!! January 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — poweredbytheson @ 10:47 pm


New Year everyone!! I know I’ve been HORRIBLY behind in blogging, however, it’s a new year and one of my resolutions is to blog more often!! Not only will I have specials and session previews for you, I will also be posting more tips on how to brush up on your photography. We had such a great response from you, I definitely want to keep it up!

First up in our New Year Deals, we have our Early Bird Senior Session!


Our Senior Sessions fill up fast, so be sure to get in on these savings right away! I hope your year is full of great blessings and happiness! Don’t forget to “like” us on facebook!


Holiday Humor Photo Contest! ~ Longview, WA Photographer October 25, 2011

*Session will be at a single location and must be in the Longview-Kelso, WA area. Not responsible for travel fees. Any and all photos taken will be the sole property of Amanda Wilson Portraiture and can be used for promotional and advertising purposes without further permission and/or compensation to the winner.