Choosing a photographer was one of the most difficult decisions to make. We decided early on this would be our biggest expense. Dennis and I love to dabble in photography and while we’re nowhere near professional, we do know good professional work when we see it. What we had to determine was how much we were going to need to spend to get the skill set we wanted. I shared with Dennis that I didn’t want to spend $2k or $3 for photos I knew I wouldn’t be happy with; he agreed as I knew he would. We also wanted a photographer who offered packages that gave us the opportunity to post, print and share our photos at will. This is really important if you want to be able to post your images online or have a print made without having to ask your photographer for permission every time you wish to do so. If you are unsure, ASK. It costs more for this option but it is worth it in the end.
Photos are an investment. These photos are what you will have when the big day is over so keep that in mind when deciding how much you want to spend on a photographer. Go with someone who has a classic style and doesn’t do a lot of trendy filters. Think about old wedding photos. They look as great now as they did when they were taken. Fifteen years from now you will wish you had gone with a classic look. Do yourself a favor and look at as many photographer websites as you can (hint #1 – check out their blogs; they’re frequently less distracting than their fancy flash websites). I found in my search that there were dozens of wedding photographers in the $2500 -$3000 range. We also found that most of them either couldn’t get a true focus or they did a lot of enhancements to the images to make the photograph better. If a photographer can’t get a good shot straight out of the camera then you don’t want them photographing your wedding. The adjustments after the fact should be minimal.
When Dennis and I first discussed wedding photos, we initially weren’t very interested in having engagement photos. But the photographer and package we chose included an engagement photo session and we came to like the idea. We don’t have many good pictures of us together and here was a built in opportunity for professional ones. I’m glad we have them. Be sure to consider having them included in your photography package if it’s in your budget.
Following are a few photos from our engagement session. We were embarrassed at first (public place! eek!) but Daniel was superb. He really put us at ease quickly.
Our location of choice was our first meeting: Fido’s Coffee. It’s a special place to us. Many years ago it was a pet salon and my grandmother used to take her poodle there for her haircuts! It also happens to be the same coffee house where my best friend and her husband first met.
Prior to our first face to face meeting, we chatted online with great attempts to “out-dork” the other. We both collect children’s books and Dennis brought some of his favorites to our first date. Just as we were running out the door to go meet Daniel, I had Dennis grab a few books. I don’t typically care for props unless they further inform the moment and locale – it seemed only right to have them there.
Something I looked for in a photographer: ability to shoot candid photos. If they can take good candid photos, chances are they’re good at their craft. Of course, this is in addition to the OBVIOUS things they should already be able to do – image composition, exposure, being sure to achieve focus – you’d be surprised at the number who can not…
Since our wedding was going to be outside at an abandoned farmhouse, we thought it would be fun to also have some urban photos for contrast. Printers Alley is a popular spot for locals to take pics – we appreciate the history behind it.
One other thing to look for when perusing potential photographers: how good are they at capturing depth of field? Depth of field is a way to put the focus on the subject. See how sharp we are in contrast to the out of focus background? If that background had been in focus, the photo would be busy. This isn’t a hard skill to learn; I can do it. I’m sharing this because people who use the depth of field pay attention to the background in photos. This is very important. You don’t want cluttered images.
Our photographer of choice: Daniel Sutton. He is professional, talented and very comfortable to be around. And his wife is a doll. Well, he is too. 🙂