Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finding a Photographer: Part 3

Around the same time we met with Jer I got an email from Janie at Imagination Photography. Remember how much I loved her work?
Well, it turns out Janie loved Jus & me as much as we loved her. She was really excited about our wedding, she loved the idea of the second line and wanted to help showcase our hometown. Her email offered to meet with us again in order to help come up with a plan to help us afford her service.
I emailed her back immediately. I was going to make this work. I spent the time between the email and the meeting dreaming up ways we could barter to cut costs.
I went into the meeting as prepared as possible: we could trade gift certificates to my parents restaurant for photography; I could cater an open house for potential brides; and she could do our engagement shoot any way she wanted to just in case there was something she really wanted to add to her portfolio.
When we got to Imagination Photography's office Janie informed us that her second shooter had quit so her husband, John, was working with her again. John has done some work for my grandpa and uncle and we immediately liked him.
The four of us sat down and within fifteen minutes we had agreed to a price that is $1,400 less than what she normally charges. We will be paying $1,500 for an engagement shoot and unlimited time with two shooters and one runner on the wedding day. Janie will edit all photos and we will receive discs with the edited images plus we will have an online album.
But that's it, we cut all of the albums, proof books, and photos. As part of our contract agreement Janie said that she will offer all photos and albums at cost following the wedding.
We ended up sitting and chatting for the next hour and a half and Jus & I left feeling excited. We know that Janie and John will be able to capture all of the moments on our day and are glad that we're able to use local artists to shoot our local wedding.

Moral of the story? Be willing to get creative with your vendors. Think about bartering, ask for a custom package, be open and friendly. You never know what could happen.

And just cause I love you (and our photographer!) so much, here are some more lovelies...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Finding a Photographer: Part 2

As I continued my photography search, there were often times I felt that it was impossible to find reasonably priced photographers. I felt stuck, I couldn't find a photographer that we could afford that offered the quality I wanted. Sometimes, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, I would pout and say that if I couldn't have the photographer I wanted then why should we even bother.
But I trudged on, I had heard good things about finding reasonably priced photographers on craigslist so I turned there first.
Unfortunately, most of the photographers I found weren't very professional looking but I did stumble upon Nico Studios.

Here's some of their work:

While the price was right and some photos were cool Nico Studios just wasn't what I was looking for.
So back to the drawing board I went, perhaps to the most obvious solution. Jeremy VanAndel went to high school with Jus & me. During our senior year Jer (as he was known way back then) and I sat on the newspaper together, and he had even asked me to our senior year prom. Since college Jer has been shooting weddings for reasonable prices.

I know you want some love so here you go:

Jus & I set up a meeting with Jer to go over prices. As it turns out the high school connection came in handy. Jer never officially said how low he would drop his prices but Jus and I got the impression that he was willing to cut us a pretty good deal.
Jus and I agreed that we could see the progression of Jer's work. His improvement was apparent, however there were still some elements I was uneasy with. Jer prefers to shoot in black and white and I knew there would be too many colorful elements in our wedding to loose such a big part. Also, I really wanted the a second shooter and while Jer could find one he usually flies solo.

Were we ready to sacrifice some things in order to have a photographer that we could afford? Did you face any troubles in finding your photographer?

First 4 photos Via, Last 3 photos Via

Shameless Plug

Not entirely wedding related but I wanted to make sure you check out my giveaway on Love & Happiness. I'll be sharing a tutorial on these lovelies later on, but you can win one now!

Finding a Photographer: Part 1

After getting some quotes back from photographers I realized we needed to start looking closer to home. Unfortunately most of the photographers around our home town are not what I was looking for.
Luckily, my aunt turned us on to Imagination Photography, after browsing through their online albums I was ecstatic. Here was a talented photographer right in my hometown. I emailed them immediately and received a response saying that they weren't accepting any more weddings for 2010.
I was broken hearted, I just knew this would be our photographer, so I wrote them an email including a little name dropping and a little begging (I know, shameless), and it worked! Jus & I met with Janie from Imagination Photography and we clicked.

I know you're anxious to see some lovelies, so here goes:

Jus & I (okay, I) were so excited. Janie got our vision, she was excited for our second line and knew why we were trying to incorporate our hometown as much as possible.
I was super excited to report back to my parents, I knew they'd be happy with the reasonable prices, I was just sure they'd give me the A-OK.
Turns out, my wedding blog obsession had influenced my idea of "reasonable." After getting quotes of $5,000-$12,000 I thought $3,000 was a drop in the bucket, especially when it included a second shooter. My parents, who are footing most of the bill, did not see this as reasonable.
While my parents appreciate good photography they were blown away by the prices, and when it came down to it photography fell pretty low on the list of wedding needs.
So I wrote Janie an email letting her know that we wouldn't be able to afford her services and started the photography search once again.

All photos Via

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Picture This

One element of our wedding I was super excited to plan was our photographer.
Well before Jus & I were engaged I was addicted to wedding blogs. At present I have over 30 wedding photographer's blogs bookmarked.
There are so many talented photographers that shoot gorgeous weddings. Want some proof?

The always wonderful Max Wanger:

The lovely Nichols:

Bobbi & Mike who look about as fun as their pictures look awesome:

The AH-MAZE-ING Tec Petaja:
And my numero uno all time favorite Simply Bloom Photography:

Unfortunately our budget doesn't include a primo photographer plus travel fees so the search continues.
Who's your dream photographer?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Point A to Point B

One of the reasons we were so excited to have our ceremony at The Chouse was it's proximity to our reception venue.
Our reception venue is literally two blocks from our ceremony venue, so in an effort to carry on the party and be green we're having a walking parade ala a New Orleans' Second Line.
Second lines started in the 19th century when African American jazz bands started participating in funeral processions, the bands would proceed down the street followed by the family and close friends (known as the first line) who were followed by others known as the second line. Currently the band still leads the way followed by the bride and groom (first line) and the wedding guests (second line).
I'm not gonna lie, Jus & I are kind of excited to surprise the heck out of all of our guests. I'm pretty sure* that none of our guests have participated in a second line and I have a feeling this is really going to get the party started.

I'm so excited! Just look at how much fun we'll have.

So let's add parasol to the list of necessary wedding items and get ready to dance our way down the street.

*I'm probably really about 99% sure considering our wedding guests are almost all East Coasters & Midwesterners


As soon as we figured out where we would be holding our reception we started thinking about where to have the ceremony. Since neither Jus not I really go to church we decided that was out. We tried to think of somewhere close to our reception venue that would hold a lot of people.
We weren't having much luck until I remembered about our friends L & J's house.

L & J are our family's good friends and a couple of years back they bought an old Baptist church that had been transformed to a local theater company's theater and transformed it to their house (they call it The Chouse, which is how I'll refer to it from now on).
Can you spot Jus?

Their living room is now where the sanctuary was. They've transformed the space to a cozy, family home. The Chouse is used for some community events but they've never had a wedding there. Luckily for us they were extremely excited to have our ceremony there.

As soon as we decided to have the ceremony at the Chouse we called J up and went to check the space out. Once we were there we knew it would be the place where we got married.

We'll arrange chairs facing this stained glass window and Jus & I will stand in front of the window to say our vows.
(I promise this isn't selective color, I had to lighten up the picture so much so you could see anything but the stained glass window!)

What's even cooler is that our friend (and Chouse owner) L is going to do the officiating.
So that was that, we had a ceremony venue, a reception venue and an officiant.

Once you started planning did everything start falling into place?