Tag Archives: wedding photography

jill in action

Finding your wedding photographer – Making your choice

The time has come to make a choice, and if you’re anything like me, it wasn’t an easy one. In part 6 of our “Finding your wedding photographer” series, we will explore the process of making the final choice.

It took me longer to pick my photographer than it took me to pick my dress. I tried to take my budget, my must-haves, and all the other tips we’ve talked about in the series, but as always, it is easier said than done. My photographer, like my dress, was love at first sight, but I wanted to see what else was out there.

ThuVan - At The Park- (69)

So I followed the rules, and played the field. I met with other photographers but to be honest, I was comparing them back to that first one. Jillian Bolender of Focused Photography in Cambridge, Ontario, was excited about my wedding; she shared my vision and willing to work within my budget.


Jillian Bolender
Focused Photography

Meet Jill
Jill called me after a bridal show where I had spoken briefly with one of her associates. She pursued me. This got my attention. She offered to take me out for coffee to meet her. We had a great conversation and I peppered her with questions.

I asked Jill what she would recommend asking a photographer you are meeting for the first time and here is what she suggested. The most important points to ask about is the experience, equipment, and attitude of the photographer. She also suggested you ask about their training and what insurance they offer.

“This is a big one,” Jill told Visual Photo Guide. “Most people don’t even think about insurance… for your photos.  What if something horrible happened and all of your wedding photos were gone?” Focused Photography’s coverage guarantees your money back and also protects your photographs; ensuring that no matter what happens, you will have beautiful pictures. “Not that you would ever want to do this, but we would be able to re-stage your wedding day.”

My fiancé and I were looking for candid, unique, and personal pictures of us and close family. We didn’t want the cliché standard poses and no line ups. Jill got that and I felt like she was excited about it. I got the feeling that Jill shared my vision – I am sure I can trust her to capture our vision of what we want.

DSC_9464-2Jill said that the connection with your photographer is paramount. “Without this personal connection, the couple will in all likelihood be less than satisfied with the experience itself and the finished product. Having a photographer that takes the time to get to know each couple’s personalities and interests makes all the difference.”

It was this connection that sold me on hiring Jill to capture the memories of our wedding day.  My fiancé knew it the moment I told him about her, and each time I came home with another photographer suggestion he said, “Why don’t you go with Jill, you know you love her?”

DSC_7422 bw w flowers col-2What makes a photographer take pictures
Jill and I have been in contact throughout this process, I wondered what made her stick it out with me through changing wedding dates and indecisive moments. What makes a photographer take pictures?

“My motivation comes from many things; one is seeing and hearing how happy my clients are after they receive their photos, it is very rewarding!” Jill told Visual Photo Guide. “Another is the creative juices that flow when meeting with a new couple and hearing of their hobbies and interests and how I am going to incorporate that into their photos to make them unique.” Jill’s goal is not only to make her clients happy but to create lasting relationships.

I believe Jill when she says, “Photography is my true passion, and I feel absolutely blessed to be able to do what I love and have fun while doing it!” I am sure I’ve made the right choice.

Thank you to Focused Photography for the use of all these images.


wedding photographer article 5

Finding your wedding photographer – Does friendship and photography mix?

This is part 5 in our “Finding your wedding photographer” series

One of the ways many couples work a photographer into their wedding budget is to ask a friend to take the pictures. My fiancé and I are on a budget and we considered having a friend or family member take our pictures. However, Visual Photo Guide would advise against this for a number of reasons which we’ll look at in the fifth part of this seven part series.

Amateur isn’t professional
Unless your friend is a professional photographer with the training , skills and equipment to go with it, your pictures will not turn out the same as they would if they had been taken by a professional. Photographers don’t just point and click. They know the angles, composition, lighting, and how to you should hold your head so you don’t get a double chin.

imposter photographer

Professionals have high quality equipment and assistants who keep them on schedule. When you hire them, you aren’t just hiring someone to take pictures but also their camera and lenses. These make a huge difference in the quality of your pictures. And not just the camera, but also their processing equipment. The quality of the paper and the processing equipment professionals use make a huge difference in the quality of the print. The colors are truer, the details are crisper, and the prints will last longer.

You’re photographer isn’t a guest
If your friend is serving as your photographer, they won’t be able to enjoy your wedding. Instead of being able to celebrate your wedding with you your friend will be working that day. While your other guests are watching you take your vows, your friend-photographer will be trying to capture the moment on film. While your guests are enjoying your cocktail hour, your friend-photographer will be off on a photoshoot with you and your wedding party. Your friend-photographer will watch very special moment through the lens of the camera, keeping them from sharing in it with you.

Your friend-photographer can’t sit with his date if he’s taking pictures. If your friend-photographer has kids, then either he’ll need to find a babysitter or have someone at the wedding watch them while he’s taking your pictures, which means their enjoyment is limited as well.. If you ask a friend to be your photographer then they are no longer a guest at your wedding.

Friends don’t boss friends
While most of us would think of the possibility that a bridezilla moment could damage a friendship, most good friendships can survive stressful situations. However, your pictures may not survive a lack of bossing from your friend-photographer. A good photographer tells you where and how to stand, how to hold your head, and will not not let you move until they have a good picture. A friend-photographer may not be able to take control on your wedding day out of loyalty.

If you pick your friend-photographer
These are the reasons my fiancé and I have decided to invest in a professional photographer that isn’t related to us. If the choice of choosing a friend to take your photographer is based on budgetary issues, check our article on how to have the pictures you want on a budget. If you choose to go with a friend-photographer despite Visual Photo Guide’s warnings, treat the agreement as though it were a professional you were hiring. Make sure you share the same vision and that your friend-photographer is clear on what you want. To ensure you don’t miss out on anything, do your research the same way you would if you had hired a stranger.

Part Six: Finding your wedding photographer – Making your choice

[Image credit: Matt Ryallmogmismo]


Finding your wedding photographer – The PhotoBooth

This is part 4 in our “Finding your wedding photographer” series

The newest fad in wedding photography is the PhotoBooth. It’s a great way to entertain your guests while ensuring you get a picture of each and every one of them. Consider the PhotoBooth as an amusing activity for cocktail hour while you’re off having your professional photos taken or as an alternative to the traditional guestbook. These photos also make great additions to thank you notes.

While at a bridal show, my mom and I got to try out one of these PhotoBooths and take the pictures home. It was great fun and it led me to dig deeper into this new fad, let me share what I found in the fourth part of this seven part series.

Why are they so popular
Visual Photo Guide spoke with two recent brides to find out what they think of the new PhotoBooth trend. Jen got married September 2011 and even though she had a small wedding of only 50 guests, she chose to hire a PhotoBooth for her special day.

“We loved having a PhotoBooth at our wedding and I think our guests really enjoyed it, too,” said Jenn. “We picked [Photobooth Vancouver] because we had tried them out at a couple of other events and we liked how they came out.”

“We got to pick what background we wanted and we designed the logo that went at the bottom of the pictures. It can be pricey so we only had ours going for 2 hrs but that was more than enough time for everyone to use it that wanted to. Afterwards they sent us a high res disk with all the pictures on it.”

Jen and Heather in the PhotoBooth at Jen's weddingphoto by Photobooth Vancouver

Jen and Heather in the PhotoBooth at Jen’s wedding
photo by Photobooth Vancouver

The choice to pass
Heather was a guest at Jenn’s wedding (pictured above), and also a bride later in the autumn of 2011. “We had a lot of fun at our friends’ weddings who had the photobooth however we decided in the end that it wasn’t an expense we wanted,” Heather told  Visual Photo Guide. “We didn’t want to do something everyone else did. And in the end we were happy with our choice because the PhotoBooth became the focus of the bride and groom. They spent most of their time there… They had to be in everyone’s pictures and didn’t spend time on the dance floor or being as social.”
Even though Heather decided against the PhotoBooth, she enjoyed the feature at other weddings and saw the positives of including it in their special days. “Everyone had fun and a picture with the bride and groom.”

What you get
My local photo booth rental starts between $300 and $700 for the basic packages. This includes booth setup and takedown, 2 hours of service, unlimited PhotoBooth usage, personalize designs, Message, or Logos on every photo strip, and an experienced and friendly on-site attendant. In some cases it also includes a scrapbook, USB or DVD of the photos, an online password protected photo gallery, as well as complimentary prop kit rental with things like hats, crazy glasses, chains, scarfs, et cetera.

These aren’t always like the PhotoBoothes in the mall. Often times, your photographer will set up a backdrop and a camera onsite. In this case there is a lot more legroom and the pictures are much better quality. Your photographer might offer a PhotoBooth or have contacts in the area. Ask her if she can suggest a package that will suit your budget and needs.

Part Five:  finding your wedding photographer – does friendship and photography mix

[Image credit: Photobooth Vancouver with permission from “Jen” and “Heather” ]


Finding your wedding photographer – Creative ways to make the budget work

This is part 3 in our “Finding your wedding photographer” series

You’ve got the date. You’ve got the ring. You’ve met with a number of photographers and you’ve discovered that it costs a lot of money to hire a photographer. At least this is what happened to us.

My research has shown that the base price of photographer in off season is $1, 300, but most photographers’ base packages start in the range between $1, 800 and $3, 800. If that works with your budget, then great. However, if you can’t allot that kind of money for your pictures, don’t fret. You can still have great pictures on a budget. In the third installment of  this series, we will give you some hints on how to achieve it.

Be upfront
The best thing to do it to talk to your photographer and let them know your budget. While at a wedding show this weekend, I met with several photographers who had tables there. I let them know that my budget was tight and, although some wished me well but offered no discount, many of them were happy to help me find a way to make their service work within it.


Cut out the extras
A lot of packages include elements that not every bride and groom need. Can you do without engagement photos or photos of you getting ready? Can you get your pictures done in three hours instead of five? Can you cut down on using the photographer’s time by having all the pictures taken near by and in one location? Sometimes having your wedding on a day other than Saturday or out of season will help cut down the cost as well. Once you’ve considered what you need, ask your photographer if they will reduce their fee. As I’ve said,some photographers won’t, however a good photographer will work with you to provide you a custom package that suits your needs and your budget.

Get creative
If the reduced fee is still outside your budget, consider looking elsewhere for your photographer. Check if there is a photo club in your area, sometimes they are connected with universities and community centers. A quick search on Facebook, Flickr, or in Google will help you discover local photo clubs in your area. Check out their pictures, and if you like what you see contact the group organizers. Members are often talented and have good equipment but because this is a hobby, they don’t charge professional prices. Be sure to spell out your needs, including what you’re looking for in a photographer, your wedding date, and budget.

The organizers can give you names and contacts of members who are interested. Be sure to meet with them in the same way you would a professional photographer. You still want your photographer to share your vision for your pictures.

Have the photographer you want
We may be biased, but we think that the most important choice you can make for your wedding (other than who you marry) is the photographer you hire. Your budget shouldn’t stand between you and beautiful pictures. Make sure you leave enough room in your budget to have the perfect photographer – do without the ice sculpture or the fifth tier on your wedding cake and make your photo budget stretch. You will not be sorry you did.

Part Four:  Finding your wedding photographer – The PhotoBooth

[Image credits: thelifeisaphotokevin dooley]

wedding photographer article 2

Finding your perfect wedding photographer – Playing the field: dating photographers

The most important thing you can do when picking a photographer is meeting with as many as you can, taking a look at their portfolio, and asking them what they can do for you. Your photographer should match your style and preferences. The only way to do this is to meet with several photographers and ask them questions.

In the first part of this series we talked about how to meet photographers, now in this second installment, let’s talk about what to do once you’ve acquired a few phone numbers.

What’s that got to do with dating?
When I first told this theory to my fiancé, he couldn’t understand what dating had to do with finding a photographer. The same rules apply to finding your soul-mate as to finding your wedding photographer.  Go out of coffee (often the photographer will treat), meet them at your venue and talk about shots, or go to their studio; whatever works best for you. The important thing is to meet with them and finding out if they match what you need.

Ask a lot of questions
Explain what makes your wedding special and the unique obstacles whether they be time restraints or an unphotogenic member of the bridal party. The men in my family don’t smile and my fiancé fits right in with them. My one photographer I spoke to said this wouldn’t be an issue. She said she could still take beautiful pictures and that she is use to dealing all sorts of bashfulness.

Be sure to ask her ideas for unique posed photos which will compliment your theme or your personality. My fiancé and I are fond of odd angles and less traditional shots.  One photographer I spoke to took the time to walk around my venue with me, looking interesting backdrops for our pictures.

Finally, ask the photographer what she can do for you and why you should choose her. The answers to this question were the most useful in my notes. Photographers told me through their answers where their passions and priorities lay. One photographer informed me that my pictures would be insured with her company;  guaranteeing a re-shoot should anything be lost.


Look at pictures
While you’re looking at their portfolio talk about what you like and what you don’t like. Don’t worry about being polite, if you think that a picture would be better in black and white, say so. Mention if you like detail shots or not. The more your photographer knows you the better your pictures will turn out.

Never commit on a first date
I loved the first photographer I met with, but I resisted the urge to sign papers then and there even before speaking with my fiancé. I still may go with her services, but I’m glad I have taken the time to think.

Photographers understand that you’ll what to check out their competition. Meet with several photographers. Compare not only prices and packages, but also personalities. It is important to find a photographer that fits into your budget but also shares your vision.

You also want someone who returns your emails; who knows your name, and who not only wants your business but your pictures to be exactly what you want them to be. When you find this photographer, don’t let her get away.

You’ll just know
A good photographer can adjust to your style, but it’s best if their style suits you. Just as you knew that your fiancé was the right person for you, you will know your photographer. Something will click, but it is still best to ask a lot of questions and find out as much as you can about your photographer.

Part 3 – Finding your wedding photographer Creative ways to make the budget work

 [Image credits: wickendenvonderauvisuals]


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