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The winners of the 3rd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest

It is our pleasure to announce the winners of our 3rd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest!  This year, it seems as though the theme of the entries was about long distance relationships!  Nearly every one of our entrants has endured months if not years of long-distance dating leading up to their marriages and it was encouraging and exciting to read all of their stories.  This was a tough call for us as we worked through the process in the wee hours of last night! So without further ado, please welcome the winners, Mindy Sue and Justin!

Mindy Sue and Justin's wedding is in September and we are extremely excited to get to meet them in person soon!  Their story grabbed us from the beginning as they shared about long distance dating and misadventures in communication that nearly ended it all.  Mindy Sue described their wedding to be small, somewhat causal, comfortable, and focused on their faith which has brought them together.  We thought that sounded like a wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening in September!  Congratulations, you two!  We'll be in touch soon to start working out the details.  And many thanks to everyone else who entered.  We truly appreciate you sharing your stories with us!  We wish there was a way for us to photograph all of the weddings!!

Have a great Sunday everyone!

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Announcing the 3rd Annual $29 wedding photography contest!!

Happy birthday to me!!  That's right, I am venturing further into the world of my thirties today and that means it is time for another contest!  I am so excited to announce the beginning of our 3rd annual $29 wedding photography contest!  In case you're new to the blog or forgot what it's all about, here's the deal.  I decided on my 30th birthday that I wanted to celebrate in a special way.  When Sarah and I got married ten years ago, a good family friend volunteered to photograph our wedding for free!  That was such a huge help because we were getting married right out of college and the wedding budget certainly was not elaborate.  Our parents threw us a great party, but wedding photography was just not a part of the budget.  Little did we know that ten years later, we'd have a wedding photography business of our own! So in that spirit, the $29 Wedding Photography Contest was born.  This is my yearly opportunity to celebrate my recurring 29th birthday while at the same time giving back to some wonderful people.  One couple out there somewhere will be chosen by our expert panel of judges (read Peter and Sarah with our kids used as tie-breakers) to have us photograph their wedding for only $29.  There are no strings attached, no fine print, no nothing.  You pay us $29, we photograph your wedding just like we would any of our other fabulous clients!  It's our way of giving back and helping keep the world a happy place to be.

Of course, as with any contest, there are a few rules we ask everyone to abide by!  There aren't many, but here's the rundown:

1)  Couples entering the contest should have a true financial need in regards to wedding planning.  We won't ask to inspect your tax records and you don't have to share all the details, but please be honest with us and yourselves!  Our hope is that only people who truly have a need will enter, not couples with an able budget looking to save some money to be able to fly first class on their way to the 5-star resort honeymoon!  If you've already contacted us about photographing your wedding, you probably don't fall into this category - sorry!

2)  Obviously, we have to be available on your wedding date!  In order to enter, you really should have a date set in place.  We can't agree to shoot your wedding if we don't know when your wedding will be.  Your wedding must happen before 8/1/2012.  If your wedding falls in the off-season or on a Friday or Sunday, you might also receive 2 gold stars!

3)  Couples entering the contest must be getting married within a one-hour drive from Charlottesville.

4)  Couples entering the contest must be willing to have their images and story shared here on the blog - obviously, we will be respectful of your privacy, but we know our readers love to see wedding photos and hear a good story!

5)  The winning couple will receive up to 8 hours of wedding photography coverage with no expectation to buy anything else.

6)  Contest rules are subject to change at any time without prior notice.

Here's how to enter!

Send an email to peter@psdavis.com by midnight on August 20 telling us why you should win the contest!  That's it, really.  But, I must say Kyle and Paul's video from last year set the bar pretty high!  But don't worry if you're not technologically savvy!  Just get creative and get your submission in.  Tell us why you're so in love and what your wedding will be like!  That's about it.  Please let us know if you have any questions and get the word out!

As a little inspiration, click here to see  Kyle and Paul's winning video from last year!!

And since every blog post is better with a picture, here is one of our little guy Zach learning to walk on the streets of Montmartre in Paris!

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Let the contest begin - Anna and Matt's Photo Booth

This is a first around here and we couldn't be more excited!  I just posted to our facebook page all of the images from the photo booth we set up at Anna and Matt's wedding!  Wendy did a phenomenal job getting everyone into this and she captured some priceless moments!  The best part of the photo booth is that these super-exciting images replace the boring and worn-out, posed table shots that used to make up a portion of the reception photos! We've been doing the photo booth for a long time now, but this is our first contest!  Here's how it works.  Head over to our facebook page and vote for your favorite photo booth image.  You can vote by either pressing "like" or leaving a comment.  The photo from the album with the most likes and comments on October 31 wins!  Happy Halloween!  And what does the winner get, you ask?  Everyone pictured in the winning photo will receive a print of the winning image as well as a surprise gift that will be better than our leftover Halloween candy.  So be sure to tag anyone you know in the photos so everyone can get in on the voting!  You don't have to have a facebook account to view all the images (although, what are you waiting for?), but you will need to "like" our page to vote!

Click here to start voting and enjoy a quick sneak peek at a few of our favorites!

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The Winner of the 2nd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest!

As promised, today we are announcing the winners of our 2nd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest! Just like last year, this has been so fun to read the entries and interact with those who participated.  Even though we extended the deadline past my actual birthday, I have to say that this contest has added a whole extra level of joy and excitement to my birthday and I can't wait to see what next year brings.   Thank you so much to all who participated and to all those who spread the word to family members and friends! But you're not reading this to get all warm and fuzzy about my joyful times, you want to know who won!!!  But before I announce the winners, I have to say that this year is turning out to be so much better than last year because I have found several other photographers who are willing to photograph the weddings of the runners up!  That's right, we might have four couples benefit from this contest, not just one!  I'm busy working out the details on that, so if you entered and didn't win, keep your eyes on your inbox because I might be in touch over the next day or two letting you know if you might be eligible to receive $29 wedding photography from another photographer!

So without further ado, I introduce to you Paul and Kyle!  It was tough to pick the winner as I knew it would be, but in the end our expert judges (read Sarah and me), felt that these two were a perfect fit!

For the first time ever in the illustrious history of this contest, we received entries from sisters who are both getting married in the same year!  Yikes!  Kyle and her sister Haley are both getting married in 2011 and they both entered fantastic videos!  They also both submitted letters of "reference" from family members and friends which I thought was a clever idea.  It was tough choosing between these two, but in the end Kyle and Paul's entry won our hearts!

In particular, there were three or four things that steered me towards them.  (1) Paul is a very good friend of John whose wedding we photographed last New Year's Eve.  John is one of the nicest guys I have ever met, so if he's good friends with Paul - Paul must be a good guy too.  When I saw this video I knew I recognized Paul because I have a strange way of remembering the faces of people I've photographed.  It turns out that Paul was a groomsman in John and Jill's wedding and I dug this picture out to prove it!  Here is a photograph of Paul and Kyle enjoying our photo booth at that wedding!

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(2) Kyle was the first person to contact me about the contest last week.  (3)  Their letters from family and friends paint a picture of a fantastic relationship that began in high school and survived a long distance separation during college.  They have gained the respect, admiration, and support of their family and friends which is so very helpful in beginning a new life together as husband and wife!  (4) The video they created is amazingly funny and creative!  They used stop motion photography to create a unique look, which I thought was a nice touch.  Last but not least, they used a Rusted Root song which used to be one of my favorite bands that I haven't heard in years!  Take a few minutes and check this out - I believe it when they told me that they put in 50+ hours on this video!

For some reason, I had some issues embedding the video in this post, but if you click on the image below, you can witness their creativity for yourself!

My guess is that if they put this kind of creative work into a video to win a photography package for their wedding that the rest of their wedding will be top notch and filled with fun and laughter!  For now I'm off to celebrate with some left-over cake.  Congratulations Kyle and Paul!  We can't wait to get this ball rolling - it's going to be fun!  We'll be in touch soon.

PS - It would appear as though the reality of entering my early thirties has arrived.  We will be owners of our first mini van in three days.  Yikes!

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2nd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest!

**PLEASE NOTE THE EXTENDED DEADLINE BELOW!!**

In 2009, I turned 30 years old.  I have to say I handled the change fairly well and year 30 has been exciting and rewarding.  Now, in a week, I turn 31.  That's not quite as exciting because now I will officially be in my thirties.  We are also getting a mini van in a few weeks.  Honestly, that has been the hardest pill to swallow!  I never thought I'd ever be driving around town in a van.  But I guess that goes with life with 3 wonderful kids!

In order to continue feeling my youthful self, I have decided to conduct the Keep-Peter-Feeling-29-Years-Old-Forever $29 Wedding Photography Contest.  Or we can just call it the 2nd Annual $29 Wedding Photography Contest.

That's right, for the second year in a row, we are offering one lucky couple a $29 wedding package.  It's really our little way of giving back.  When we got married 9+ years ago, we didn't have any money for a photographer.  We obviously valued good photography, but we didn't have the means to pay anyone.  Thankfully, we had a talented friend who offered to shoot our wedding for us and without his generosity, I doubt we would have been able to have a photographer at all!  This contest is also my way of ensuring that I have a great birthday.  Last year, I had a blast announcing the winner in the morning and reading the emails of the winners their family members throughout the day!  It was the best.  With the deadline extension this year, I won't be announcing on my birthday, but I imagine I'll get a bunch of entries on the 11th which will make my birthday just as fun - we're just extending the celebration!

So in that same spirit, here are the contest rules:

The Basics:

-Send me an email at peter@psdavis.com and tell us why you think you should win this contest by midnight on August 12 (a 48-hour extension).  Video entries just might receive bonus points!  Last year's winning video was dynamite!  But don't worry, if you don't have video skills, just get creative.  Some entrants last year created websites or had family members write in.   We love a good story, so tell us yours!  You can nominate yourself, a friend, or a family member.

-Our panel of expert judges will review the entries, and I’ll post the winner on the blog on the day after my birthday, August 13 (not the 11th as previously posted).

Who we’re looking for:

-The winner must be a super-in-love couple who can’t afford a big, fancy wedding – sorry no rich people looking for a freebie!  Please be honest!

-Your wedding must be within a 1.5 hour drive of Charlottesville, VA on a date that we haven’t already booked.  You must have your date already confirmed and please be sure to include your date in your entry.

-The winner must be willing to have their pictures and story posted here on the blog.

What the winner will receive:

-Up to 8 hours of coverage on your wedding day for only $29!

-Online proofing of images for you, family, friends, and wedding guests

-No obligation to buy anything else

This should be fun and we can’t wait to read (or see and hear via video) your stories!  Be sure to pass this on to family and friends and feel free to nominate someone who you think is deserving today!  Have fun!  And by the way, bribery with birthday gifts will not help you win, but in case you were wondering I do enjoy coffee, chocolate, imported beer, and any kind of Nikon camera gear.  :)

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Showit Best of 2009 award!

I am so excited right now!  I mentioned a few weeks ago that our website we designed using Showit's free version was up for 2009 Showit Free site of the year.  After what seemed like an eternity of waiting for the results, I got an email this afternoon announcing that we won 1st Place in Showit's Best of 2009 Free at Last category!!!

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We're so honored to be recognized in this way and we are incredibly grateful to those of you who voted for our site!  What an encouraging way to jump start our Spring (assuming that the snow will eventually melt and that Spring is indeed on the way) and we're looking forward to keeping the momentum going for a great 2010!

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three cool things...

There have been some exciting things going on around here!  It's been crazy trying to keep up with it all, but it sure has been fun.  Here they are in no particular order:

1)  I alluded to this in a previous post, but Meghan and John's Halloween wedding is going to be featured in the fall issue of Virginia Bride Magazine!  We can hardly wait!

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2)  Every now and then I get an email from another photographer who has stumbled across my website and has a question or two.  I've done the same with other photographers as well.  I'm always amazed at how open and helpful the photography community has become, so I always try to help where I can.  An odd thing happened recently, though, that caught my attention.  I got a phone call and several emails all within two days.  Usually, they're much more spread out than that and I was trying to figure out what was going on.

In order to explain, I have to back up a few steps.  Last Fall, we made a switch in our online proofing companies.  We felt as if our old company was moving a little too slowly in developing new features so we searched for a new company.  We finally decided upon Zenfolio because they offer so many amazing proofing features for our clients like slideshows, sharing images on facebook and twitter, as well as the ability to leave comments on pictures.  Their customer support is amazing and they're partnered up with the lab that we love to use!  You can check out our new proofing site here.

After a few months of using Zenfolio, I was so excited about our switch that I sent them a glowing review through their website.  Well, it turns out that they loved my review so much that they decided to publish it on their website along with a link to our proofing site!  In addition to that, they are publishing the review along with our site on their promotional materials used in trade shows.  They handed out a ton at PPA's Imaging USA a few weeks ago and they're putting their brochure in all of the 10,000 welcome packets being handed out at WPPI in Vegas next month!  They're also using it somehow in their booth on the tradeshow floor.

If you start seeing more F.A.Q posts about photography on here, you'll know why.  With my quote on their brochure, do you think I can now say that I've had some of my writing published?

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3)  A few months ago, I started thinking about switching up our portfolio website.  I've been considering making the switch to Showit - flash websites for photographers for quite sometime as they've become all the rave in the past few years.  However, the site we have now is kind of like our aging Honda Civic.  It's reliable, it's paid for, it still looks good and it still does the job very well!  So I opted not to build a new site.  But then, David Jay announced the new Free Showit Sites where you can get a completely free flash website!  I just had to give it a shot.  If you're in need of a site and you're just starting out, this is certainly a good way to go.  After I built our free site, however, I decided to stick with our current site since the free site more limiting.

I kept that free site up because I kinda liked it and at the turn of the New Year, I received an email announcing a contest for the best ShowitFree site.  I through our hat in the ring but quickly forgot about it...until today!  I happened to see a note on Facebook announcing that the finalist for the contest were online and that voting for the winner was open!  And guess whose site was listed as a finalist?  Yep, our site is one of the 9 finalists!  Hooray!  We can't believe that we're listed up there and we would love to win, of course!  So if you're a facebooker and would love to help out, click here to vote for psdavis!  Thanks!  We'll let you know how it goes.

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