vendor spotlight: caroline z dickson

Name: Caroline Z Dickson
Business Name: Caroline Z Photography
Industry Category: Wedding and Portrait Photography

What common mistakes do you see couples making?
Choosing a photographer or any vendor based on price not experience or quality of work

What's the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?
Pick your date and venue, then you should pick your photographer before you spend the money on other things; after all pictures are the only thing that is left after the wedding; flowers die, food gets eaten, wedding gown sits in the closet; pictures are there to remind you of this important day and the people that helped you celebrate it, and of course nothing represents the emotions like pictures!

What don't couples know about your business category that they need to know?
There are tons of "photographers" out there; nowadays everybody with a camera is a photographer; what is important to know if the photographer you are hiring knows how to photograph your wedding in any given situation: bright sun, dark, rain, small spaces, etc. A good photographer is prepared and knows what to do no matter the situation. Couples need to know if they photographer has experience and gear that let them produce best results.

What questions should couples be asking that they don't know to ask?
Couples should ask about experience and sample of work. I am being ask about the gear I use, and unless they are into photography themselves, they do not know what I am talking about. Besides, gear is not the most important thing, Yes, good quality gear is a great took that helps the photographer to create magic, BUT you have to know how to use the gear you have. So ask your photographer about experience, see their work, ask for references.

What's your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?
I cannot stress is hard enough: when you plan your wedding and you care about quality of your pictures, hire a photographer first before you spend your budget on food, flowers, dresses, etc. Otherwise, you will have to hire someone cheap who most likely lacks experience and proper equipment. Nowadays couples put more emphasis on presentation like they are trying to impress their guests with the look of the ball room or decorations on the tables. Yes, it is important, but will it all matter in ten or twenty years? What will you want to remember from that day? The look on your guests faces when you try to calculate how much you spent on flowers? Or maybe you would like to remember your father walking you down the isle, or your grandfather dancing with your for the last time, or your mother crying when seeing you in your gown for the first time? And how are you going to remember all that without a photograph?

What's the most unusual wedding you've ever done?
The most unusual wedding.... Well, there was this one wedding that was a total mess. The couple decided to spread all day across three different venues that were quite far away from each other. Needless to say, it did not work at all. I drove almost 2 hrs to the first venue to to a "first look" and the couple never came. I remember that day because everybody was so stressed and frustrated. So here is another piece of advice: no matter how well you plan your day, it hardly ever goes as planned. So keep it simple. You want to enjoy it, be happy, stress free, think of your marriage. Keep it simple.

What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?
I think it was the wedding I did on Ocracoke Island a couple of years ago. It was a very small and simple wedding, but oh so sweet and awesome! The couple was fun to work with. They gave me a lot of time for pictures with them (two hours!) because it was the most important thing to them. So we drove around the island and took most amazing pictures with the lighthouse, sunset on the beach, at the marina at night. It was so much fun and so stress free!