Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Photographer Debate

Like I said, Momma3000 suggested that while we were home for break, Groom3000 and I should start booking some vendors. Because we’re moving to Seattle this summer, we’re planning ahead for the wedding so most things are settled before our big, exciting and probably stressful move. Groom3000 and I both believe photos of our wedding are high priority—it’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life, right? Little did I know that the photographer would be the biggest bone of contentions yet and take wayyyyy more time to choose than the venue!

Here are the players and their opinions on the matter:

Groom3000 wants “artsy” and “weird” photos. If you ask him what he means by that, he’ll tell you (as he’s told others on several occasions): “Like a picture of your wedding dress handing from a tree.” Huh? I know what you’re thinking—why would I hang my expensive, flawlessly white dress from a tree? What my wonderful fiancé is trying to say is he wants photos in the “photojournalistic” style. For the sake of this blog, photojournalistic means candid, un-posed moments captured on “film.” Unfortunately, this “artsy” style often means paying some major moola.

Mom and Dad 3000 want to stay within budget. Back in 1980 when my parents got married, posed pictures were the bread and butter of wedding photography. They’re traditional. Momma3000 just wants a few posed photos of Bride and Groom on the mantle—and she and Daddy-O don’t want to break the bank for them. If this means forsaking a little “artsy” and “weird,” then so be it.

Bride3000 wants her picture taken on her wedding day, damnit. Whether I’m standing and smiling next to Groom3000 with different combinations of family and friends, or hanging upside down from a tree, I want to have my picture taken by a professional photographer on my most beautiful day. Is that too much to ask?

So what happened? After meeting a popular local wedding photographer, Shaun, at the open house at Venue 1 (see previous post), we found he also did a lot of work at the venue we chose. Honestly, his shooting price can’t be beat—less than $2K for seven hours of photography. Mom and Dad 3000 said the price was right. Looking through his albums on display at both venues, Groom3000 wasn’t convinced. Most of the photos in these albums were “traditional” (can you feel Groom3000 cringe?). The photographers Groom3000 really liked would force us to pay an extra $1400-$1800 (as in less money for the honeymoon). 

Accck! How could I keep all parties happy with a decision when they had very different priorities?

There was yelling. There was crying. And finally we decided to meet with Shaun. The VERY rural drive (and kinda stinky since the farmers had just laid down fresh manure in the fields), was well worth it and is probably the best planning decision we’ve made yet. Not only did Groom3000 get to see all of the gorgeous candid photos Shaun’s taken that aren’t in the albums, we also discovered we felt very comfortable talking to him. This is incredibly important because the photographer is the person who follows you around for your entire wedding day. If you don’t like him/her, how are you going to feel when they’re constantly in your face?

The moral of the story: DO YOUR RESEARCH. I’m a journalist. Journalists don’t just get the real story from Web sites and word-of-mouth. No way! A good journalist always, always gets out of the newsroom to speak directly to the source to get the facts and learn the real story, even if it means smelling a little manure along the way.  

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