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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cautionary Tale about Wedding Photography

It's not often that I get too personal on this blog and that's because it's not about me...it's about you! I write these posts, add beautiful images, contact talented vendors and work hard for all of my brides and grooms, in an effort to make your wedding planning a little bit easier. Because even if you choose not to hire me, I still want to help you! But today, I am going to write a little about me to help you.

wedding photography disaster

I spent 14 long months planning the perfect wedding on a small budget. I was still very young (20), living with my parents, while my soon-to-be hubby was working hard to pay off his student loans and working an extremely demanding job. Thankfully, my amazing parents offered to pay for our wedding.  I paid for small things here and there, but the overall expense was left on my parents.

In all the years I had spent reading magazines and bridal blogs, choosing the elements of my dream wedding, I knew it was an expensive event, yes, but I did not realize the real price tags of individual items until it was time to pay for them, and my parents were even more shocked than I was. This was the moment my real passion for planning weddings on a budget was born. I was determined to find an affordable option for everything. And choosing a photographer was where I began. After already booking one, I ran into an old family friend, who after congratulating me, reminded me she was a photographer. Knowing her and feeling comfortable with her, I went home, checked out her portfolio and prices and cancelled with the first photographer to book the family friend.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

A few months later, our engagement photos had turned out gorgous and communication was going smooth. On the day of the wedding, I felt that things went better than planned...until I thought back and realized a lot of the shots I had requested weren't taken. A few days later, I called my mom from our honeymoon, cried a little bit, but then reassured myself that I was overreacting and that my pictures would be beautiful!

Then, three months later and I get the photos in the mail. All that I can remember, after anxiously popping the CD into my computer, is tears streaming down my face. I cried a lot. And I cried for days. Instead of the typical thousands of images from a wedding, I received less than 800. Instead of flawlessly edited photos, I received blurry, dark, far away, awkward and duplicate shots. (These examples are the best of the bad, being that the awful ones are still on a CD in my office that I don't particularly want to look at.)



 

Even with two photographers, there is one photo of our first kiss and well, it sucks!


There is not a single photo of my husband and I at the altar. Not a single photo of my brother with my family and I. There are only a tiny handful of pictures that the hubs & I are even alone in...and most of them aren't very good. No photos of our first toast (except this staged one she asked to take as she was gathering her things and leaving the reception...)



I am still sad and I will always regret my decision and wish I had better photos to remember this day by. Thankfully, this photographer has sinced removed wedding photography from her list of services on her website so no other couples will have to go through what we did.

You can have the wedding photos you've always dreamed of or even better, if you make better decisions than I did. Here are some tips and things to look for in a photographer...

Don't book a photographer unless:
  • you see several full wedding albums they have done in the last few years
  • you read reviews online or ask for reviews or contact information from previous clients
  • their main (or one of their main) focus(es) is weddings/ engagements
  • they have a team or second photographer working with them
  • they are professional!
Things to look for:
  • good standing with the BBB
  • referrals from other local wedding vendors
  • they've been featured on wedding blogs/ websites
  • awards from prominent wedding businesses and sites
  • archives and portfolio listed on their website
  • good editing skills in their work 
  • check out their facebook page for recent activity
  • a reasonable rate (you get what you pay for!)
Please feel free to contact me for any assistance in finding the right vendors for your wedding. Comment below and tell me what other things you think could be added to this list of things to look for!
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