(NewsUSA) - With everything that goes into your wedding day, those once-in-a-lifetime moments will go by in a blur, which is why hiring a professional wedding photographer is a must. After all, the last thing you should be worrying about is whether your photographer will be able to capture your big day.
The key? Prepare yourself so that you can accurately evaluate the "right" photographer for you.
"The best photographer will take the time to build a rapport with you and use his or her experience and creativity to capture the mood, personality, ambiance and even the geography of your wedding," says PPA (Professional Photographers of America) photographer Berit Bizjak. "The finest wedding photography is more than a series of still pictures. It's physical poetry -- it tells the story of the day and portrays the essence of both people and place."
To this end, PPA, the largest international nonprofit association created by professional photographers, has taken the guesswork out of the process by offering six tips to help you plan your wedding photos like a pro:
1. Book far in advance. The best photographers get booked quickly -- sometimes as much as a year in advance -- so don't wait until the last minute to book your photographer.
2. Show them the money. Now is not the time to skimp on your photo budget. Call around and get a price range for services, and remember: after the cake is long gone, and the dress is stored away, your wedding photos will be the only things left to share and enjoy for years to come, so don't cut too many corners on your photography budget -- you'll end up regretting it.
3. Make sure your photographer is a real pro. Only hire someone who has liability insurance, experience taking the style of photos you want, backup equipment and a plan for when things go south. Ideally, he or she is a PPA photographer. PPA photographers do more than just snap pictures. They have the technical expertise and artistry to make you look your best and bring your vision to life. They also abide by a strict code of ethics that makes a real difference. Watch this (video) to see real married couples share their stories.
4. Request to see a full gallery of real weddings. Look at full wedding coverage (not just a small selection of each wedding's best moments) to see a photographer's true style and get a sense of how he or she might tell your "story." Do you prefer more artistic or traditional poses? Would you rather have a photojournalist approach or a mix of all styles?
5.Work with your photographer to create a detailed shot list. PPA wedding photographers can also help you create that shot list, as they know what key moments tell a wedding story and can prepare for those. But talk about your must-haves, and walk through the entire program with your photographer ahead of time. Share your expectations ahead of time to ensure that he or she captures the key shots, while remaining attentive and available to catch the best candid moments.
6. Plan your post-wedding photo strategyâ€˘ ahead of time! Almost as soon as the festivities are over, you'll be eager to look at the photos so you can relive your big day over and over again. Ask your photographer for teasers or a "sneak peek" and a timeline for when the rest of the pictures will be available. Will they give you an online gallery for family and friends to choose the images they want? Again, knowing these things ahead of time will make things easy on the back end, sparing you any heartache.
Get more tips like these, and prepare for the best wedding photos
Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Hunter Lewis, 3.4 seconds, $1,946; 2. Jason Lahr, 4.3, $1,692; 3. (tie) Stan Branco and Brad Loesch, 4.4, $1,311 each; 5. (tie) Brandon Volker, Mitchell Gardner and Kyle Irwin, 4.5, $677 each; 8. Dean Gorsuch, 4.9, $169.
Team roping: First round: 1. Jake Cooper/Tyler McKnight, 5.9 seconds, $1,924; 2. David Key/Martin Lucero, 6.2, $1,673; 3. Chase Thompson/Richard Durham, 6.3, $1,422; 4. (tie) Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz and Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 6.4, $920 each; 7. Dustin Davis/Will Woodfin, 6.6, $418; 8. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 6.7, $167.
Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Sterling Smith, 7.2 seconds, $1,989; 2. Jake Pratt, 7.6, $1,730; 3. Michael Otero, 8.0, $1,470; 4. Cory Solomon, 8.1, $1,211; 5. Blair Burk, 8.2, $951; 6. Marty Yates, 8.3, $692; 7. Tyler Prcin, 8.5, $432; 8. Randall Carlisle, 8.6, $173.
(NewsUSA) - Many homeowners love carpeting. Its look and comfort, in addition to its insulating qualities, make it an essential home-decorating element. The fear, however, can be the stains left behind, such as the red wine that accidentally slipped from someone's hand one holiday party or a pet that didn't quite make it outside.
In the event mishaps like these occur, it pays to have carpeting that is made from material that you know is worry-free and easy-to-clean. Mohawk Flooring, for example, offers just such a product.
"SmartStrand Forever Clean is the toughest, easiest to clean carpet on the planet," says David Duncan, Mohawk Flooring's senior vice president of marketing. "It really is the perfect carpet for families with kids and pets. Using the most advanced fiber innovation, it offers the highest level of beauty, comfort and performance available so you can live life worry-free."
Amazingly, SmartStrand is the first new fiber to be introduced in over 50 years, and is the only carpet that boasts durability and permanent, built-in stain resistance. As a result, it should be unsurprising that it is the highest-rated carpet for consumer satisfaction, cleanability and durability.
The difference, according to Duncan, is that it's the first carpet to combine built-in stain protection with a nanotechnology spill shield.
"Made out of triexta, a greener, more eco-friendly fiber, this fiber is the easiest to clean because it repels and prevents spills from absorbing into the carpet," says Duncan. "Thus, it cannot become a stain."
Mohawk says it has tried to minimize its usage of natural resources, which in turn has enabled the company to reduce its energy consumption of its carpets while creating a fiber that is long-lasting, and resistant to the toughest stains. Top that off with a carpet that can be easily cleaned with water and mild detergent -- no harsh chemicals or cleaners needed -- and you have a much more environmentally friendly flooring option.
For all the parents and pet lovers out there, know this: It's just a matter of time before gravity forces an unwanted mess onto one of your floors. And when it happens, you'll surely rest easier knowing that it'll be easy to clean.
For more information, visit mohawkflooring.com/foreverclean.
Steer roping results
Third round: 1. Ralph Williams, 13.9 seconds, $1,840; 2. Jess Tierney, 15.6, $1,523; 3. Tyrel Taton, 17.4, $1,206; 4. Leo Campbell, 17.5, $888; 5. Marty Jones, 18.2, $571; 6. Slick Ellis, 18.8, $317.
Fourth round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 11.7 seconds, $1,840; 2. Brad Starks, 14.4, $1,523; 3. Will Gasperson, 15.7, $1,206; 4. Chris Glover, 16.6, $888; 5. Fred Brown, 16.8, $571; 6. (tie) Trey Wallace and Chance Kelton, 16.9, $159 each.
Average leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 90.3 seconds on four head; 2. JoJo LeMond, 93.2; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 110.2; 4. Brodie Poppino, 52.7 on three head; 5. Scott Snedecor, 54.5; 6. Chance Kelton, 57.4.