So in my last adventure, I was freaking out about selecting a photographer. Most of the places we can afford seem to be the “big boxes” of photography, meaning that they may be cheap, but at the cost of being impersonal, unpredictable, and experts and nickel-and-diming people.
As I mentioned in my last post, the photographer is the one vendor I most value–besides the value I place on the pictures that he or she would take, I also know that I need to get along well with the person who is going to be glued to my side the whole day.
Over winter break, I discovered that the one photographer we could afford was suddenly booked, and I saw no other options in sight. There was some major panicking. Jon, the man with the unrealistic budget, had not been an active participant in selection the process because, according to him, “anyone can take a picture!” It was at this point that I—very firmly—told him he needed to be involved.
In typical Jon fashion, he declared “Fine. Let’s get this shit done today” and proceeded to spend about 4 hours on the Internet shooting me links for anyone and everyone he could find who was within our price range. Most of them were immediate rejections from me, for reasons ranging from “their website sucks” to “I don’t like their pictures” to “they seem too corporate,” but one—and only one—made the cut.
Her website was promising, with playful colors and an extensive online portfolio. The photos were fun, bright, and sharper than most any I’d seen. The promise of an included “e-session” was also a bonus, along with two-photographer coverage. We might, it seemed, have our place.
I gave the studio a call one night to ask a few questions, and I ended up talking with the photographer for over an hour. The studio is just one person who has a few backups when necessary. This is a plus for me, as a single photographer seems to typically be more dedicated to the quality of their work than someone working for a big studio.
The phone call was as much a fun conversation as it was a business call. She chatted with me about all kinds of things, including centerpiece ideas, color combinations, and the like. She even said that she is planning to have an event for all the 2011/2012 brides to have a “meeting of the creative minds” and share ideas. I of course have no way to determine whether that will actually happen, but it is an awesome idea, and I think it’s really cool that she would spend her own time and money to put together something like that. I’m lucky in that I have three friends who were married recently or who are in the process of planning their weddings now, but it would still be cool to meet more people who are in the process!
I also jived really well with her general style and philosophy. For example, she not only includes an engagement session as part of the package, but she sees it as a vital part of the process. It’s an opportunity for her to get to know us as people and to experiment with what kind of pictures work for us and whether there are certain photo styles, poses, etc. that we don’t like. She also does save-the-date designs and somehow knew that I was a bit of an offbeat bride after guessing after about a half hour of talking that I probably hadn’t looked into many reception halls.
I also love that there’d be two photographers and that she always seems to work with the same person, so they’ve got a good system and are used to each others’ styles. She’s also got 15 years of experience and is, she claims, a master at lighting, which is something we could really use. Even some of the little things she does on her website tell me something I like about her and her company: she’s got bright colors on there, a ton of different photos, a big variety of photography styles, fun names for each of the photography packages, neat blog posts, video slideshows, and more.
So all in all, she’s pretty awesome. I went from having no possible photographer—or so it seemed—to having one that seems like exactly what I’d want if I designed it myself. So, barring any terrible reviews or anything from another bride, we may have our photographer!