Thursday, May 01, 2008

Finding My Photographer

This is going to be long so if you want you can just skip to the end ;)

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how much of a crush I have on photography blogs. I'm always finding new and amazing photographers and I try to share most of them with you. So some of you may be wondering who did I chose for my wedding?

Well, I had an advantage when it came to finding a photographer because I was basically booking about 18 months in advance so nobody was really booked yet. I started by going over EVERY photographer listed at the WPJA for the D.C., Virgina, Maryland area. I also looked at EVERY photographer that advertises on the knot.com for our area, and EVERY photographer mentioned in the Washingtonian, and every photographer listed in CityVoter. I also looked at every photographer I saw mentioned on my local knot.com board. It didn't matter what the price was...I looked at their website.

Did this take a long time? Yes, but I'm pretty decisive so it went quicker then it would for others. What was I looking for? Well, ideally someone in the $4,000 range, but I knew if I found someone I totally loved I'd pay more. I was looking for a photographer who could take really vibrant colored photos as well as black and white and most importantly I was looking for realism. I wanted a minimum number of posed shots and a maximum number of "as it happend" shots. Obviously some shots have to be staged but I didn't want my wedding to look like a fashion shoot or anything cheesy.

Because I was planning from overseas I can't stress enough how important a good website was to me. If you are a photographer INVEST in a good website. What's a good website? One that is easy to navigate (just b/c it's a fancy website doesn't mean it's easy to navigate!) and one that has many examples of a photographer's work and preferably entire albums for me to look through. I wasn't able to go to anyone's studio and look at their portfolio.

One of my main criteria for a photographer was that they could not have anywhere on their website the "veil over the groom's head" shot. Why? Cause for me it's the epitome of the staged bridal shot, it screams cheese, and it annoys me every time I see it. Now I know a lot of these photographers do this shot because the bride asks for it....which is fine, you can't really say "No", but photographers do get to chose what they put on their website. And if this type of shot was the best example of a photographers' work then s/he probably wasn't the photographer for me.

So after scouring the net I narrowed it down to about ten or so photographers that I was interested in. I then presented these photographers to Fiance to get his opinion and agreed to mark off anyone he didn't like. Fiance had weird reasons why he wanted some photographers off the list ("she takes too many photos from an angle") but I went ahead and marked them off.

Other photographers fell off the list for other reasons - one didn't book more then a year ahead of time (stupid rule), while another was moving and wasn't sure which state she'd be in (understandable).

So in the end it came down to two photographers. I won't mention the one I didn't pick but I will say that he's an excellent photographer, his work is well known in D.C., and I'm sure I would have loved my photos. His price, though, started at $4,400 and that's without even factoring in the travel fee to Charlottesville. Everyone tells you to sacrifice everything for good photos...pay whatever you have to! So I really felt like I shouldn't be bothered by the price...but it did bother me.

In the end I went with the second photographer I was considering. I went through all of the dozen or so albums on her website (she doesn't just feature 'the best of' on her site...her albums have 60-80 photos from a dozen different weddings). I read every knottie bio that featured her work, and I was also able to get some passwords from past brides and looked at their online albums. All her past brides gave rave reviews. After looking at all of her work I could honestly say that if any of their albums were my own then I would be very happy.

And the best part...$3,200 for a package that includes:

8 hours of coverage
DVD of all images with reproduction rights
Engagement Session
Password protected online viewing
Between 600-800 proofs

I had to add on $200 extra for travel fees to Charlottesville but that still made the grand total only $3,400 ....which was at least a $1,000 less then the other photographer I was considering. And $600 less then we originally thought we would have to pay. I actually SAVED money on one of my vendors!

So who is this wonder woman? She is North Carolina based photographer, Linda Wallace.

You may remember Linda's work from some great knottie bios including:

But just in case you don't I'm including some of my favorite photos from her website...brace yourself...there are a lot! And as always you can click each photo to enlarge.

All work below credited to Linda Wallace

^Enlarge this one to see the tear rolling down her cheek!



Blogger Veronica said...

Whoa Baby! She totally rocks! And you rock for doing all the leg work! It's totally worth it and for what she includes - she's a bargain! Bravo! Awesome choice!

Thursday, May 01, 2008 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful choice...although I had to laugh when you said you discounted any photographer who included a specific classically-cheesy photo on their website...but your FI's disqualification of a photog for overutilizing a viewpoint was 'weird' :P

Thursday, May 01, 2008 2:04:00 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

You know how sometimes you see posts like this that brides have done, raving about their photographer, and then you scroll down and realize that the photographer really isn't that great at all? This is quite possibly the furthest from that experience that you could possibly get. You are going to be getting so many fantastic photos for a terrific price. Doing your homework has really paid off!

Thursday, May 01, 2008 2:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No album? What are you going to do with your pictures? Are you going to try and do it yourself?
Bravo for non-traditional wedding shots. Hotness.

Friday, May 02, 2008 2:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Album will be extra...in general they range from $700-$1500 depending on what you get. I really haven't thought much about whether we will do the album ourself or do it professionaly through Linda but knowing me I almost always opt to pay someone to do something time consuming so I don't have to! That and I'm really not very artistic/creative enough to be able to put shots together in a cohesive way. I'm a horrible DIY bride.

Friday, May 02, 2008 4:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting married at the end of June and Linda is our photographer...I did a lot of research too, and we booked her March last year! My FI and I actually just met her last week to do an engagement session in DC, and she was awesome - great eye, nice sense of humor, and she made us both feel comfortable right away. I haven't seen the e-pics yet but based on the experience I don't think I will be disappointed. Good work for picking Linda, I think you'll be very happy with the results!

Sunday, May 11, 2008 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger sedona bride { destination wedding photographers } said...

what a small world... we know linda.. she's an amazing photographer with a fabulous eye! you're going to LOVE your wedding images! - katrina

Monday, June 02, 2008 12:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am actually in the Bridal Biz, but I was also a Bride..I have worked with numerous Photographers, and nothing can compare to Linda...

For the past 4 years I said If I ever get married Linda would be our photographer.. and it happend, and she was the first Vendor we booked.. We based our Wedding Date around her!

Linda is phenomenal.. Her craft, her eye for detail, her off-beat style of photography is amazing..

We just got our Wedding pictures back..and we were blown away.. Not only did she catch moments we didn't even know exsisted, almost ever picture was perfect.. We couldnt not even pose pictures so perfect.. Even our formal pictures didn't look so typical..

I would not recommend any one else..

Linda is the best..

Monday, July 21, 2008 9:33:00 AM  

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