Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm Getting Hitched : The Photographer of my Dreams!

Hands down, without a doubt, photography is and always has been one of my top priorities. I want totally kick butt photos (that don't cost an arm and 2 legs) to remember the day that I married the love of my life. What the heck do I mean by "kick butt photos"? Let me give you my own personal definition:

  • I want images that are fun, creative, unique, outside the box...photos that I can hang on my walls forever and never get sick of looking at.
  • Photos that aren't like anybody else's.
  • I want candid photos that so accurately capture the raw emotion of the day that vivid memories will be evoked in an instant. Candid photos that bring back the the exact words exchanged between us during our first dance...or the taste of the cake that was shoved into my face.
  • What I don't want are traditional, super posed and potentially slightly awkward prom photos. They just don't really tickle my fancy.
*DISCLAIMER: Please remember this is my definition. Photography is an extremely personal thing and by no means do I think that photographers or people who prefer this style have bad taste. If you are into more traditional photos, more power to you!*

With that said, I cannot express enough how excited I am to have found Bellingham based Aubrey Joy Photography. For months I had been researching photographers...not only for myself, but for friends and our blog. Needless to say, I came across all kinds of different styles and prices...I found some I loved, some I hated, many I couldn't afford, and plenty whose work made it obvious why it was so cheap. The biggest problem I ran into was finding a photographer that I loved in a price range we could afford. But I am sure this will be a reoccurring problem throughout the planning process as we are working on a limited budget. Through Facebook stalking a recently married high school friend, I came across a photographer I really loved. After looking through my friends photos, and then every photo on Aubrey's website at least twice, I was officially hooked! I had found many potential photographers, but nothing sparked my interest and excitement quite like her. She clearly demonstrated her versatility, the top-level photography package was very reasonably priced in comparison to many Seattle based photographers, and I knew she had the creative knack I was looking for. Within the week of Clint proposing you better believe that I was sending out an email to Aubrey! We met the following weekend and it was evident that this was going to be a great match. Now we have an amazing photographer who fits all the "kick butt photo" criteria and I cannot wait to start the process!

Here are some tips I have for brides-to-be in search of the perfect photographer:

  • Research, research, research! The more photographers you see, the more you will gain an idea of the different types of photography available, what you love and hate, and how much you will probably have to spend.
  • There are standard websites (The Knot, Wedding Wire, etc.) and local magazines that have great suggestions but you should also get creative. Check out CraigsList and Facebook...don't be afraid to ask someone who did their photography. I even utilized Google Maps! Search your address, and then click the "Search Nearby" link. Type in something like "photography" or "wedding" and see what pops up. Drag the map around to expose new vendors. This is a great way to search venues too!
  • Don't limit yourself to photographers who are only 15 miles within your location. Many photographers are willing to travel...Just make sure to ask how much this may cost you! Plus, finding someone outside of a metropolitan area could tremendously bring down the price.
  • Remember, high prices don't necessarily mean high quality. Shop around, I can guarantee you that it is possible to find a great photographer within your budget. Believe it or not, there are fabulous photographers out there for less than $3000... you just have to find them! You may even want to consider using an aspiring photographer, chances are they will be much cheaper since they are trying to build their portfolio. If you decide that an aspiring photographer would be better as just a supplement to your main one, make sure that both parties are aware and have a plan!
  • Make sure to meet your photographer before deciding because having a good relationship with your photographer is SO important. If you are not comfortable with your photographer, not only will it show in the photos but you won't be able to be honest about what you like or don't like. Also make sure to really utilize your engagement session to decide on your favorite aspects of the photos so that you can ask your photographer to do something similar on your wedding day.

Some key questions to ask:

  • How many hours do you get on your wedding day?
  • Is an additional session (engagement, rehearsal dinner, etc) included?
  • Do you get rights to the photos? If no, how much will it cost you to get prints?
  • Will you get all the photos that are taken? Or do they limit how many they give you?
  • If you received a DVD, will the photos on it be of the highest quality?
  • Will you get edited photos?
  • How much are additional hours?
Good luck in your search! And check back soon for a feature on Aubrey Joy! :)


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