Tag Archives: weddings

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.



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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