This is time to talk about my very first budget splurge for our wedding — our photographer.
I found our photographer through a recommendation from another photographer. I was hoping to spend about $2,500 on photography and I wanted to book one ASAP. I know some advice to stay within a budget is to find a student or have a family friend take the photos. However, being a newspaper editor who has worked with professional photographers for years, that was simply not going to cut it. After the vows have been recited and the last confetti is cleaned up, all we have to remember our wedding is our photographs. To me, they had to be spectacular.
I want photos beyond the standard family portraits or the bride with bridesmaid no. 1, and the bride with bridesmaid no. 2 and so on. And I don't want 50 photos of my husband and I walking away. That seems to be a trend and I don't need 50 photos of our butts… I'm truly hoping for photography that captures the emotions and fun of the day and journalism-style photography fits the bill perfectly.
I checked out the website of recommended photographer Ali Walker in Walla Walla. I was in awe of her online portfolio and photo blog and I knew she was “the one.” I quickly contacted her and booked her and a couple of months later she was taking our engagement photos. This was so much fun. Ali was full of ideas and because she lives near us, she knew of all of the great spots that would make for beautiful photos. I would absolutely recommend having a photographer who knows your area for this reason. Plus, if the roads are icy or snowy, she won't have far to travel to the wedding. When you're a winter bride, making sure all of your vendors can get to the wedding in ice and snow is a pretty crucial aspect in hiring them.
Having Ali take our engagement photos totally puts my mind at ease. I know that she is friendly and fun and can coax a great smile out of my shy fiance. Plus, the photos were beautiful. She sent us about 300 from our shoot and it was so hard to pick “the keepers.”
She was a little over my budget with her standard pricing. But she was happy to accommodate our needs and work with our budget and we ended up coming in at $2,850 plus tax. Some may gawk at the price but it is HARD work to photograph a wedding. It's hours on their feet, trying to get the right shots and making sure not to miss the important moments. It's difficult to get subjects to cooperate and to know what angles and what lighting to shoot with. I've taken photos for my newspaper and after an hour I'm exhausted. We're going to have Ali from 2 p.m. until about 10 p.m. and I know she will earn every penny. Plus, the work isn't over after the wedding. She has hours ahead of her to select and edit all of the photos. WOW.
For me as a bride, I am happy to be so confident that photography is one thing I won't have to worry about. We'll be able to laugh, play and be ourselves on our big day and that means the world to me.
Check out our engagement photos below and you'll know why I'm so confident!