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Top Ten Wedding Shoot Locations 2017

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This week we sat and talked a little about our favorite shoot locations of the 2017 wedding season! You can check out the video below!

 

We decided to count down our 10 favorite wedding shoot locations from this past season. This is the part of the wedding day where the wedding party and the videographers and photographers do the video and photo shoots. It’s one of the most  fun parts of the day!

So what do we look for in the best locations?

Probably the most important factor to locations for weddings is the couples comfort level. Usually they have ideas in mind, from research they’ve done or special places to them. It’s their day after all and places they love always turn out amazing! Other factors we looked for on our are lighting, parking, how busy it will be and weather adaptability.

With out further adieu!

Number 10: Albright Knox / Hoyt Lake / Delaware Park

This location is extremely popular and for good reason. Plenty of options when around Delaware park. Form the art gallery to the lake it offers a wide range of different looks and feel. Weather you want the beautiful stone columns of the gallery to the nature and wide open views of the lake. As a bonus these are all a one minute walk from each other. This is always a very reliable go to for amazing shots, but to the same account there are still some downsides. Because of its popularity there are often multiple wedding parties gathered here through out the season, so occasionally you have to wait for your turn at shooting. During the summer months the park is also pretty busy, with plenty of people around. Luckily the space is large enough where when people see cameras and the whole wedding party they stray away from interfering.

Number 9: Central Terminal

Central Terminal is one of Buffalo’s most amazing spots. With one of the most distinct looks it makes for some amazing shots. People love the Art Deco architecture as well as the amazing history that it represents. Being an indoor location it is perfect for the times of year that the weather isn’t always guaranteed to be nice for outdoor shoots. The only caveat to this is that it is by appointment only and is not always available, but this does mean you will get the entire place to yourself with no interruptions.

Number 8: Baseball Diamonds

We had the pleasure this year to go to baseball diamonds with a wedding party to film. This spot was very cool because we were able to completely utilize the space. We ad equipment to actually play ball and it created for some amazing moments. This is a great example of going a little outside the box to a location that isn’t a historic or known place, but one that is very important to the couple. When we get to do these sort of shots it makes for a lot of fun for the bride and groom as they usually have history with the spot and their comfortability comes across well on camera. These are often childhood places, spots where they met or even just a favorite date spot. Often the only tough part sometimes can be the unpredictability of shoot conditions. Where many of the other places on this list are done multiple times a year the videographers and photographers have plenty of experience with them. With the locations like this it allows your video/photographer to get out of the comfort zone and get really creative.

Number 7: Knox Farm State Park

Knox Farm is an unbelievably beautiful location in East Aurora, NY. The vibe here is very country, out doors, and nature oriented. With beautiful lines of trees, lots of fields, and the farm houses there are plenty of amazing spots here to get different looks with great backdrops. (there is also a full dog park, so bring the furry friends!) Being all the way in East Aurora, it is about 40 minutes form downtown Buffalo and lots of the venues so it’s not always good for a tight schedule or if you want to hit a few locations during the day. Arguably the best times for Knox farm visits is for the fall weddings. The colors are AMAZING and the views become even better with the leaves beginning to fall.

Number 6: Gallagher Pier / Beach

Located at the outer harbor of Buffalo, Gallagher Pier offers something special and unique. Combining a beach front pier with the old industry of Buffalo, old grain elevators over look the beach and can be used as awesome back drops along with the lake. Certainly the board walk and the pier itself make for excellent shots as well.  The location is great because in the hot summer months it offers the breeze coming off the water, which also makes for some great flowing dresses and veils for the shoot. (but be warned hair may be affected).

Number 5: Broderick park

This small but amazing park is downtown on the Niagara River directly on the boarder of the US and Canada. The back drop to the park is the Peace Bridge which makes for an awesome shoot opportunity and a grand and romantic feel. The park also offers paths with lines of trees and a stage with stone steps for all your shooting looks. The best part of the park is the Water Walk, which is a path on a break wall that goes right under the Peace Bridge! This allows to have amazing rock formations, the bridge and the river on both sides of you for amazing and romantic shots. This one is gaining and popularity and we hope to be back here a few more times next season!

Number 4: Ted’s Hot Dogs

Yes Teds. In Buffalo, we love our amazing and local food joints. We’re famous for some of the best food in the country and we are not afraid to live it. Our local eateries become staples of the community and the people. As a hub for this we’ve had couples that have met at these spots and they become very important places to them. Also through out the wedding day you may find yourself get a tad hungry, and where a lot of people have some catering in the limo stopping for a bite to eat at a amazing spot is always a fun option and it will hold you until the dinner which may seem forever away. You certainly don’t want to end up hangry.

Number 3: Cobblestone District

One of downtown Buffalo’s coolest districts. The Cobble Stone district gets it famous name from.. well… the cobblestone roads, who would’ve thought. Anyways this area is beautiful for very industrial looks, the stone, the brick work buildings and the colors offer amazing looks for any shot. It is just a small area consisting of only 4 streets so it is a quick one to hit for a few amazing shots. We love coming here it is always fun and we can’t get enough of the way it looks, and during the times we typically have the shoots it is usually pretty clear of people and cars.

Number 2: Theatre District

Ah the Theatre District, another of Buffalo’s most famous locations, possibly the most well known actually. Located on Main street downtown, the area is home to the famous Shea’s Theatre, among others in the area. That provides a great backdrop to it self and the sign is a staple of Buffalo. The surrounding area is also very “city” so you get a lot of the great architecture that buffalo is known for. The Metro rail also runs on Main street so people love using the crossing tracks and as a nice spot. Around the corner is an amazing gigantic mural on the side of the 710 Main Theatre which provides an explosion of color for a background for fun and different shots.

AND FINALLY

Number 1: Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Gardens of Buffalo were our favorite place this year! As a part of Delaware Park the Japanese Gardens sit behind the Buffalo History Museum. There is amazing trails, statues and stone works, trees, plants of all sorts and the lake. What more could you need! On a nice day you will never want to leave. Even into the fall months the location changes again with the different colors and falling of the leaves. Every time we come here we find a new way to use the space. It seems to never run out of angles and shots. Also a 3 minute walk up to the Museum gives us a lot of the shots with the stone pillars for a look similar (but better in my opinion) to the Art Gallery. There is also Abraham Lincoln so yeah. Now the location is not flawless there can be a few wedding parties here at the same time but it never really is an issue. There are so many spots that not everyone is trying to get the same shot like other spots and we share and all sort of rotate around so it makes for good fun!

That was our Top 10 Locations from this year! Have others you want to share? Comment Below!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and on Instagram @blackhorsevideography and @blackhorseweddings

Black Horse Digital Delivery

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For the 2018 Wedding Season Black Horse Videography is rolling out a brand new way to bring you your amazing wedding video! We are using a digital delivery method “mediazilla.com“. This is a cloud based platform that stores the content in a server for viewing from any computer.

What does this mean for you?

With our digital delivery, it’s now even quicker and easier to receive your final wedding package. In a world where streaming and digital media is the new standard we are moving to support this. If you still prefer physical media such as Blu-ray, worry not we have options available to accommodate!

Below is a brief tutorial explaining the delivery process:

You will receive an email with the link to your package

 

It’s as simple as clicking “GET NOW”

It will open up your Digital Wedding Experience in your web browser. (internet connection required)

This works and plays the same way as a DVD or a Blu-ray with a full menu to select from. In the top right corner of the screen there is a download button and a share button. This is so you can save it to your computer to view on other devices and offline. The share feature is good for sending to friends and family.

And it’s as easy as that!

You are all set to enjoy your new Digital Wedding Experience. Have More Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at anytime.

 

Developing film, worth knowing?

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Today I set out to experience the seemingly lost art that is Developing Film. 

I wanted to try my hand at developing my own film to see if it is worth knowing. Lucky enough for us we have John, who knows a thing or two about the developing and processing of film. Coming from a background in fine arts photography he was taking the roll of grand master in our activity.

Now this isn’t to say that “film is dead”, certainly there is still a fun and amazing place for shooting on film in the digital age and plenty of people do it, but developing and processing is on the down. There are still photo labs open in some areas but are still steadily declining, and convenience stores may do some, but quality and care is always an issue there, luckily you can always send in your roll to one of many online services, where it can be processed and returned. I thought however “bleh! We’ll do it ourselves this time, how hard can it be?”

Preparation

John took the reigns first preparing the chemicals. The Developer, Stop Bath, and Fixer.

One of the surprisingly important parts was ensuring the temperature of all the liquids and chemicals was at a steady 70 degrees for optimal development. This was a tedious process of stirring and and heating until the temperature was stable.

Once the chemicals were prepped, he rolled his film onto one of the stainless steel reels and into the canister all inside of a changing bag. My initial thoughts here were “wow surely that was a lot harder than he made it out to be” *spoiler alert* this would soon be proven.

 

Now to actually develop!

With the film secured into the canister the developer could now be administered. With the process now happening John had a timer set to 8 minutes (as dictated to him by a piece of paper), gently agitating the container every 30 seconds to ensure full coverage and few air bubbles.

With the developer done, he drains that and adds the stop bath. This is the chemical that, hence the name, stops the developer from over developing the negative. Much of the same process here, agitating and waiting. At this point I was getting restless and wanted to see the end product already.

The Fixer is the last thing to be run through the container which stabilizes the image and removes the rest of the leftovers.

 

 

 

 

The Result!

After what seemed like hours (actually about a 20 min process) we were finally able to see what had been shot. with everything looking good the film can be rinsed off and left to dry for eventual scanning. John’s roll of film had some nice looking shots that were processed quite clearly and should give good results.

Seeing that the process had worked so well here I was quite confident to go in with my roll and perfectly copy what John had done, with my zero experience in developing film.

 

The Rookie

Now it was my turn.

After getting set up with a test roll to put on a reel, I learned very quickly how tedious that process actually was and that was with being able to see. Once I “got the hang” of that I dove into the changing bag and…. well… failed miserably.

So we took a new approach, I did mine in one of our back offices in the pitch black where I at least had room to work. Somehow this worked! I had my roll of film on the reel, and into the canister!

On to developing!

Using the process that John did before, I went through each of the chemicals, growing more impatient to see my photos. As the finals seconds tic’d on the fixer, I drained what was left in the canister and was able to pull the reel out to check on the status of my film.

….and the results were

sub par.

So as you can see there isn’t much of anything going on on that roll of film…

This, I was assured, wasn’t do to the developing process but in the picture taking process… which was still me.

So what is happening with the roll here is that about half of the shots were severely underexposed and a decent chuck at the end had been exposed to too much light at some point. (probably when I opened the back of the camera to see why it wasn’t rewinding) But that is a story for another day.

 

Final Thoughts

So despite being a little bummed that my roll was null and void, the process of developing film was… interesting. I am not going to brag about how great it is, because I wasn’t feeling a lot of that, it was more of “is it done yet?” While I was tad fascinated with the process and I do think it is an important part of photography to at least learn a little about, I will say that it is worth trying at least once. BUT it certainly made me say…

I’m glad we have digital 

 

What are your thoughts on developing your own film? Fun? Tedious? Waste of time?

 

 

7 Tips for Hiring a Video Company

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When looking for a video company to create a video to promote your business, there are a few important tips to consider. Here we have seven pieces of advice to help you in your search.

1. Have a Strategy and a Clear Message

This is something we have touched on before, but branding and brand identity are the most important thing for a company to have. Before you spend money on advertising and especially on video production, it is important to know who you are as a company. What do you stand for? What is your mission? Before these questions are answered clearly, it isn’t worth spending money on creating a video. We need to know what your company wants to achieve and what your strategy is before we can create a video that promotes you. This is information that is critical for us or any video production company to understand before creating a video to promote you. Without a strong identity, any video you produce will not serve you well.

2. Define your Audience and Purpose

In the past, we have made some pretty amazing videos for clients of ours only to find that they have not marketed them well. No one sees the videos and they do not serve their intended purpose.

If you do not know your target demographic or audience you are trying to reach and don’t have a strategy on how to reach them, paying for a video is a waste of time and money. Before hiring a video production company it is essential that businesses have identified their target demographic and have developed a strategy on how to reach them the best. Posting a video on a Facebook page that has only 100 followers will not serve a business well. Knowing how to push content to reach the target demographic is extremely important and must be done prior to selecting a video production company. The information you provide to the video company will influence how they approach creating your video, writing the script and a variety of other factors.

3. Get Several Quotes

In this particular industry, prices vary greatly from one company to the next. This is due to many factors. Some companies have more staff and overhead than others and can produce higher quality or more technical videos. Other companies are lean and operate on a modest budget. Quality, price and reputation can all vary from one company to the next.

It is recommended that anyone interested in hiring a production company get several quotes and talk to as many companies as they can. Not only is price important, but quality must be considered as well. Get prices, but also compare quality of videos within each company’s portfolio. If you can find a company that has an affordable price and quality videos that match your style, you have found a good one.

4. Find Most Recent Projects

When looking for samples from companies, look for the most recent bed of work. If you are looking at videos several years old, it is not reflective of their current capabilities. Social Media is a good place to look for recent posts and you can always ask to see something more recent when contacting them. Each company grows in talent and skill as time passes. Make sure you are looking at recent work to get a better idea of a video production company’s abilities.

5. Know What the Company you are Hiring Can Do

Consider what you need from a video and also what the company you are considering can do. Do they need to outsource because they don’t have the talent, or do they have a full range of capabilities? A full service video production company can take your unpolished idea and turn it into a fully professional video. The more information you provide, the easier this task is, however here are some of the services a full service company can provide:

-Script Writing/Storyboarding

-Casting

-Voice Over

-Editing

-Filming

-Animation

-Lighting and Studio

-Audio

-Directing/Producing

-Licensing and Permits

These are some of the services a professional company can offer. Note that each of these services does cost money. The more that is required of the video production company to create your video, the more costly it becomes.

6. Meet in Person

We always recommend that potential clients meet with the production company in advance of beginning the project. Communication is key. Having a sit down with the people you are considering hiring for a job will give you a clear idea of their capabilities and offerings. They can show you samples specific to your project and brainstorm ideas. This is also a time when you can get professional feedback and input on the possibilities of your specific video. To make sure both you and the production company are on the same page, face-to-face communication is important.

7. You Get What You Pay For

Having a budget is an important part of creating a video. There is nothing wrong with having a small budget. If you only have $800 to spend on a video, you may need to find someone fresh out of college or someone who wants to build their portfolio. Be advised though, that professional companies command a higher price and it shows in the work. These companies have the knowledge, equipment and talent to make your video sizzle. If you would like a video to impress potential customers, know that the ones with the higher price tag will likely achieve that.

How to Write a Wedding Speech

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How to Write a Wedding Speech

If you have been asked to be the Best Man or Maid of Honor for someone’s wedding, it is most certainly an honor. In most circumstances it also requires you to deliver some type of speech or toast. You may be asking yourself “How do I write a Best Man speech?” or “How do I write a Maid of Honor speech?”. This is a common question. Believe it or not, the number one fear of most people is public speaking. Don’t worry though. In this blog post we will give you the best tips and pointers for and help show you how to write a wedding speech.

Tip #1: Begin with a Strong, Funny, or Thought Provoking Statement

The way you begin your speech is the most important. You only have one chance to make a good impression and keep people engaged. Make it count. DO NOT begin your speech with “For those of you who don’t know me…” That is the single most boring way you can begin a speech. There are far more creative ways to introduce yourself. The first thing that you say should be funny, or thought provoking and catch everyone’s attention. This could be a short anecdote, joke or something to ponder.

Tip #2: Have a Plan

Don’t go into the speech blind or think you are going to wing it. The best speeches have outlines or structure. Think about this as an essay. You should have an introduction, body and conclusion. Don’t forget your purpose, which is to honor the Bride and Groom. Everything you say should be heading in that direction.

The Best Speeches will make the audience laugh, make them cry, and make them think. If you can achieve that in your speech, you are in good shape. Plan to tell something whimsical or funny to begin, then move toward the sentimental. Know what you are going to say before stepping in front of the audience and have this mapped out ahead of time.

Tip #3: Keep it Short

Even the best speeches don’t drag on. People are hungry and are waiting for dinner to start. Don’t go on a tirade 15 minutes long. A good length is 4-6 minutes for a speech. Anything longer is going to push peoples’ patience.

Tip #4: Use Simple Language

Make sure your language is conversational. The best way to create a disconnect with your audience is by using language that feels un-natural or forced. Talk to the audience as if they are having a casual conversation with you. Avoid any jargon or inside jokes you might have with the Bride or Groom. No one else will understand your inside story or language that isn’t a part of their everyday life.

Make the audience hear what you hear, see what you see and feel what you feel. Draw upon your senses to put the audience in your shoes. Use descriptive language to transport them into your story.

Tip #5: Don’t Read

PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE! Don’t read your speech from a phone or paper. Have the main points that you’d like to talk about or the stories you want to tell already mapped out. Speeches read from paper or a phone are contrived and seem insincere. Spend plenty of time preparing your speech. Please do not wait until the day of the wedding to think about this and definitely don’t wing it. Not many people can pull that off and we have seen our fair share of train wrecks at wedding receptions. Practice your speech and be prepared before the wedding day.

Tip #6: Use Clean Humor

One of the best ways to make a connection with your audience is by using humor. Especially if the object of the joke is you, or if you are roasting the Bride or Groom.

Nothing is more off-putting or awkward than crude humor or crass language at a formal event. There are many sources for clean jokes you can insert into your speech if you don’t have any ideas of your own. If you want to win the audience over, make them laugh at an unexpected CLEAN joke about yourself or the Bride or Groom.

Tip #7: Leave a Lasting Impression

End your speech with something memorable. Let the audience know that it is time to honor the Bride and Groom, but leave them with a bit of wisdom or a story that puts the Bride and Groom in a shining light. Make the audience proud to be there and that they were invited to such a magnificent event. Leave them with a smile on their face. Thank them for the honor of being a part of the wedding and for including everyone there.

These are a few tips for writing a successful speech at a wedding. Hopefully we will see you at the next one and you will be able to bring the house down.