Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Photography Chronicles

We did it! We finally have a wedding photographer! Our last big-ticket item can be officially scratched off our list. Photography was one of the things we were really worry about, budget-wise, since we knew it could get pricey. How did we go about our search? Well, it was a team effort.

First, I put together a list of absolute must-haves:

1. High-resolution digital files (or digital negatives) with copyrights released to us

Okay, so not much of a list. That was my absolute requirement. Price range? Well, we were hoping no more than $1,500. A wedding album? For me, it wasn't a deal breaker. The Mister really wants one and, after talking about it, we decided that this was something we could add on later.

Then, I looked for possible candidates. I decided to use The Knot to find photographers in our area, and came up with a lot of results. I combed through them, looking at countless portfolios and packages, and selected those that met my requirement and our price range.

I put everything together in a spreadsheet and sent it to the Mister. The Mister was to go through the list, check out portfolios, select his favorites, and make appointments. Let me say, he did a great job! He even uploaded his edited spreadsheet into Google Docs without any prompting from me. After all these months of me trying to force Google Docs on him for wedding planning, he finally did it all on his own. But I digress. Let's talk about our appointments, as we had quite an interesting experience.

Appointment with Photography Studio #1

Our first appointment was at 11am, and we found the place easily. We were a little apprehensive of this place because of the $999 price. However, we went in with an open mind and knew that our budget wouldn't allow for a lot of fancy or extra things anyways.

Our consultant was a sweetheart! She was an absolute delight to work with and we hit it off right away! We looked at samples of their photographers' work and it was amazing. The Mister knew what he wanted with photography and, although neither of us knew the terms, she was able to narrow it down to two photographers who would be a perfect fit for us.

The package that they had to offer was extremely attractive. Some of the highlights are: ten hours of coverage, unlimited locations, high-resolution files, portable backdrop for the reception, an in-studio engagement session, and a 20-page album.

They have about ten photographers and, instead of assigning a photographer for us, we selected a photographer based on his work. Our consultant brought us two albums, each album containing the sample work of a photographer. She gave us some time so we could look through both albums and see if we liked what we saw. Let me tell you, we LOVED what we saw! We picked a photographer and we were both really excited.

However, we were not ready to sign the contract. We had another appointment that afternoon and, for my peace of mind, I needed to see what else was out there. The Mister did not want to lose the photographer that we picked, in case we did sign with this studio, so our consultant sweetened the deal. If we filled out the contract {filled out, but not signed}, she would hold the photographer for us for a week. No strings attached, if we decided to go with someone else, there would be no charge. Nothing. So we did! And then, we left for lunch.

Appointment with Photography Studio #2

After lunch, we headed off to our second appointment. We were very excited about our first appointment, but we went into this second one with an open mind. I wanted to see what they had to offer and, if they were a better fit for us, then we would have gone with them.

We were waiting out in their lobby area, just browsing at a wedding magazine, when the consultant came out to greet us. A nice and friendly greeting. We followed her to her office and it just went downhill from there.

As many of you know, when you're planning a wedding, you have to interact with a lot of vendors. We have been interacting with our fair share of vendors, and every single one of them have always been a delight to work with, whether we chose their services or not. Until now...

I'm not sure what happened, I'm not sure what was going on, but I don't think she was thrilled of having us there. She wasn't really friendly, she barely smiled, and she talked to us with a bit of a condescending manner. She wasn't very helpful at all and, when we asked her questions, she would respond almost like we were kids.

I'm not even going to bother to describe what they had to offer as she barely made an effort to sell their services to us. We just wanted to get the hell out of there.

Impromptu Non-Appointment with Photography Studio #1

After our second appointment, we drove straight back to the first photography studio. We decided to go with them, and were hoping to close the deal that day. We met with our consultant again, and she was such a refreshing delight. Needless to say, we signed the contract and our chosen photographer is officially ours.

How did you find your photographer? Did you have a strategy? Did you have any bad experiences with a wedding vendor?


  1. I actually found my photographer online. I thought I was going to go with a family member but decide to look at other options. My fiancé and I actually just went to meet our photographer last night and as you said, we just hit it off too! I'm very excited about working with her.

    When looking for a photographer, I kept a lot of similar things in mind: price, digital negatives, and length of time available.

    For $1000, we got:
    *10 hours of photography coverage with two photographers
    *An engagement session
    *High-resolution unmarked digital negatives of both the engagement session and our wedding day (color & B&W)
    *A pre-wedding visit with our photographer to the ceremony/reception location
    *A private online gallery of our engagement session and wedding photographs for family and friends
    *$20 Album Credit

    After calling the photographer's references and meeting with her in person, I am extremely excited about our choice. I am amazed of all we are able to get with our limited budget in mind!

    Our chosen photographer is Amber Bond Photography

  2. That's great ihchicky! Who says awesome photography has to be extremely expensive? I'm glad you got such a great package!