Masthead header Tuesdays

Something a little new here a JBP. Every Tuesday, we’re going to share our favorite image from the past week. It could be from a wedding, from a personal activity or event, or even Jon’s favorite beer that he had over the weekend. Just a little something to break things up! Tuesday – Charles chillin’ in the backyard playing in the autumn leaves.

Camera Gear – Try Before You Buy With Rentals

A DSLR is a great camera for both professionals and enthusiasts alike. But shopping for camera bodies and lenses can be quite overwhelming, especially considering Nikon alone carries over 75 current lenses and 11 bodies. And with some of this gear costing the same as a used car, you definitely want to make sure that you make the right decision on your purchase.

One solution to this dilemma is to rent cameras and lenses before you drop the big bucks on purchase one. By renting, you can pay a small fee, as cheap as $15, to try out the gear for the weekend. For Kelsey and I, we rent gear whenever we have a specific need for a project. For example, a Nikon 600mm f/4 lens that you see at sports venues cost upwards of $10,000. But for a weekend, we can rent it for under $300. I’d say a 97% savings is pretty darn good!

Yes, this beast can be yours for the weekend for 3% of the retail value!

Some of you may also wonder, “What happens if I’m on vacation with the lens and/or camera, and it happens to fall down the Alps, crash into a tree, and bust into hundreds of little pieces?” My response would first be a cringing look on my face, followed by a reassuring statement letting you know that most rental companies offer insurance with your rental. While the details vary, the general idea is that you would pay a deductible, either a flat amount or a percentage of the cost of the item, and the rest is covered by under the policy. We ALWAYS opt for the insurance, because A)we use our gear a lot more often and in much crazier conditions than the average enthusiast, and B) that stuff is expensive!

There are several great rental companies, both local and online, but our absolute favorite is BorrowLenses. Their prices are among the lowest, and their customer service is top notch. Not only that, but you can plan out your rentals way in advance. Say you have a big vacation coming up 6 months from now, and you want to rent some cool lenses for it, you can simply put in a request for it, and it’ll show up on the date you specify!

BorrowLenses has just about every piece of gear you can imagine. Contact us if you have a question on what lenses would be best for specific scenarios.

Now you should have no excuse for not having awesome pictures on your next vacation!

lens rental

Save Money Planning Your Wedding

Weddings are expensive.  We understand that.  The average wedding in Indianapolis costs over $25,000. Want to know what else costs $25,000?

  • 1 – Nicely equipped 2013 Ford Escape
  • 4 – Nikon D4 DSLR camera bodies
  • 125 – iPhone 5’s
  • 27,034 – lbs of dog food (Charles’s contribution to the list)

With that, Kelsey, Charles, and I will show you how to cut costs from your wedding without taking away the fun.  It really is possible to have a wonderful and entertaining wedding day without thinking about how much dog food you could have purchased in place of your big day.  Click ahead to see how you can save money planning your wedding!

1. Reduce The Headcount

The best way to save money planning your wedding is to reduce the number of guests to feed and entertain. Reception costs often consume 50% or more of the entire budget (“lots of dog food, woof!” -Charles), and caterers often charge based on the number of guests you plan to serve.  Therefore, reducing the guest list from 200 to 150 or 150 to 100 can save you several thousand dollars.

Our best advice is to set a budget-based guest list number from the beginning and stick to it.  These parameters allow you to stay within your budget, and you will know from the beginning what you are up against.  Budget-based guest lists also ensure that your reception will be tons of fun, as your guest list will only include those that mean the absolute most to you and will be only your best friends and family.

For friends who don’t make the list, let them know you have a limited budget from the start and they will often be very understanding.

2. Pass On The Filet & Bring On The Sliders

The $15 difference between a $12 meal and a $27 meal may not seem like a lot, but when multiplied by 150 guests, you are looking at over $2,000 in additional costs.  In addition, most wedding guests do not care about having a fancy meal.  The ones who are at your celebration want to sit down, eat a bite to eat, mingle, and get the party started.  Opting for a buffet-style dinner can save a ton, and I guarantee not a soul will be offended if you choose chicken breasts over lobster tails.

3. Get Creative With Your Location

Choosing a wedding location is often one of the first decisions a couple makes in the wedding planning process, which means the first dollar often is spent against this portion of your budget.  You can save money planning your wedding from the start with a few tips.  First, consider combining your wedding ceremony and reception to save on several fronts.  By combining the ceremony and reception you can completely cut out transportation costs for you and your wedding party.  Many venues will also give you a hefty discount for booking the venue for the entire day, versus just booking for a few hours in the evening.

Farm Wedding

Choosing a family farm wedding can save money planning your wedding, and you’re free from any restrictions common with other venues.

As one of our couples from Summer 2012 chose to do, thinking outside the box for locations is another great way to save money planning your wedding. A park, farm, or a friend’s backyard can save you a chunk of money compared with many fancy wedding-specific venues and hotels who take advantage of the captive wedding market.

4. Booze Without The Bar Tab

Signature cocktails are a great conversation starter and can save a ton of money.

Open bars are great, but open bars are also extremely expensive.  Consider the idea of one special signature cocktail.  What is a signature cocktail?  It’s one fantastic way to only paying for the alcohol in that drink, beer or wine combination.  Not only does your signature cocktail this save you money, but it also allows you to be creative and name the chosen drink something memorable (e.g. – “The Miami Merger” from Brett and Lauren‘s wedding, who met at Miami University).  Alternatively, you can serve beer and wine alone and save even more money.  Finally, consider closing the bar during the dinner hour. There’s no need for people to be lining up for more beer when there is water and tea available at the table.

5. Enjoy The Roses Without The Thorns

You can also save more money than expected on flowers just by doing your homework ahead of time. First, as much as everyone loves calla lillies, ordering them for a fall wedding will really burn your budget. By choosing flowers that are in season, you have the opportunity to save money and flowers that are in season will also guarantee that your arrangements will look fresh.  We found a quick-glance chart here on Pinterest to easily select flowers are in-season for your wedding.

Also, many brides often consider using more greenery and less expensive signature flowers.  Tables can be decorated in succulents or greens and still look great!

6. Designer Clothing Without The Designer Price

Yes, the new 2013 Vera Wang dresses are going to be spectacular, but a 2011 or 2012 Vera dress on clearance is going to look just as good and will be a mere fraction of the cost against your budget.  Take into account clearance dresses, trunk sales, and other options to find great deals.

For bridesmaids, please don’t ever limit yourself to bridal stores.  Consider picking a theme color and/or style and letting your bridesmaids choose a dress of their own for the wedding.  If you choose to go this route, just make sure they run it by you first to make sure it meets your criteria.  Not only will this allow bridesmaids to pick a dress in their budget, but it also allows them to choose a dress that best fits their style and figure.

Varied Wedding Dresses

Not all bridesmaids dresses have to be the same style and color from a bridal store.

For the guys, look into purchasing a tuxedo for the wedding.  Although it may not always be the cheaper option, tuxes and suits are often priced very similarly whether you buy or rent.  You will often pay a little more up front, but on Monday morning when everyone is returning their tux, you get to keep it for the next fancy dinner or wedding on your calendar. Plus, the groom will be able to take the suit to a tailor before the big day, which will make him look much more dapper on his wedding day.  From our perspective, every guy knows how rented tuxes fit and they are never good.

7. Additional Ideas

There are many, many more ways to save money planning your wedding.  If you have any we didn’t mention above, please share it with us in the comments.  We would love to hear your ideas so we may pass them along to future brides!


Happy planning!
Jon, Kelsey & Charles

New Website

No need to worry! You are still at  I redesigned our website to better showcase our images, provide easier navigation, and keep our look new and fresh.

Over the next few days, you may see further changes as we make small adjustments to finalize all elements. In addition, we will be going through all blog posts and updating the images to make best use of the new layout.

We hope you like the new look.  We are excited to take this new design into 2013!

What happens when two models fall in love and get married? If you were at the wedding you may remember the maid of honor’s speech; however, to us as the wedding photographer you get stunning photos.  I attempted to narrow this blog post down to about 30 photos after starting with 100, but in the end, I just couldn’t do it.  If you are ever considering a romantic and classic wedding venue, Laurel Hall is one of the best. Thank you to Jordan and Clark for allowing Jon Brewer Photography to capture your romantic, love-filled, wedding day.  Kelsey and I wish you both the best as you begin this new chapter in your lives!

Much thanks to the day’s vendors:
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Laurel Hall
Coordinator: Kim King Smith Events
DJ & Entertainment: Grapevine  Productions
Floral: Kim King Smith Events
Catering & Dinner: Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering 

Images should be up shortly. Please click Order at the top to find the custom link for Clark and Jordan. View full post »

Jan - Beautiful pictures, Jon.

Jordan & Clark - Thank you so much! You and Kelsey are an awesome team, you are great to work with, and the photos turned out so beautiful. The night went so fast, but seeing pictures is like getting to relive it! Thank you times a million! <3

Michael Cord - Great pictures of a Great wedding!

Lori Weaver - Beautiful photos, a beautiful wedding of two beautiful people! Sweet memories! ;)

Beth Cord - Jon, I just want to say thank you! Words cannot express seeing the photos and reliving one of the many days of their beautiful lives together! Thanks for capturing that day as if I was there again!