There is so much good content over at Burgh Brides, but if you only read one article, make it this one:
Victoria has written an absolutely excellent post on everything you should consider before you put together your vendor team, with some very valuable specific insight. Sometimes posts like this are really just common sense, but not this time. If you’re planning a wedding, I am pretty sure that if you read this article you’re going to find yourself saying, “wow – I never thought about that!” (Unless, maybe, you’re a professional event planner.) So, don’t delay…
This is so important! Sometimes I have a bride or groom email me a list of questions. I don’t mind email communication a bit – I actually love email and the built-in written documentation it provides. But, if you call me and ask me those same questions, not only will you get your answers, you’ll also get a feel for my personality and what it would be like to have me around all day on your wedding day.
I’ve been in the wedding industry for 10 years – I can tell you that there are so, so many different personalities out there. Some photographers loosen up their couples with fart jokes. (Definitely not my approach.) There are highly organized, efficient photographers, and very relaxed, mellow folks who don’t really care if you have a timeline or not. Some are chatty or boisterous, others are quiet and inconspicuous.
So, take the time to get to know your wedding vendors, especially the ones who will be spending time with you on your wedding day – photographer, videographer, planner, and hair and makeup artists. Give them a call or meet for a beverage and use your best judgment to determine if they’re a good fit for you.
There’s another great post on Burgh Brides, guest written by Leeann Marie, about editing styles among wedding photography. She describes three main styles: natural, moody, and light and airy.
From these three, I’d place myself in the “natural” category, which I would also describe as classic and timeless.
There are a lot of different types of wedding videography, too. There are sweeping, epic, cinematic films, and handheld films that look like music videos. My videos are based more on storytelling and emotion, with an emphasis on people, personality and moments.
Looking back on 10 years of experience, I see how having done this for so long makes me better at my work. It’s knowing that I have to keep an eye out for when the cookie table opens, so I can photograph it before it’s devoured. It’s keeping a pair of scissors in my bag, because about 85% of brides haven’t cut the tags off their wedding dress. It’s knowing to take a look at the mother of the bride during the father-daughter dance. At a Catholic ceremony, it’s watching the bride and groom when they kneel or sit or their vows, because they almost always look at their rings in amazement and have the best expressions. It’s knowing how to help couples that feel awkward on camera relax and look comfortable and happy. It’s knowing how to create good light in any situation. I could go on and on with this one…
Victoria made some great points on this one! Here’s another story. Last February, a couple contacted me, panicking about their March wedding. They had booked a videographer, but had just read a few negative reviews for the company that they had hired. (The reviews indicated that there were couples who received videos well beneath the quality displayed on this company’s website.)
The real concern to me was that immediately after the negative reviews were posted, there was then a sudden barrage of 5-star reviews all posted on the same day. You can only wonder who posted those reviews!
How the Expense Fits into Your Overall Budget
I have heaved many a sigh over this one. I’ve received quite a few emails over the years from couples with an elegant venue, a high quality photographer… and they send me a message like “our wedding is six weeks away and we’ve decided we really do want a video, but we have already spent our budget so what’s the cheapest video you have?”
I don’t take this personally. But really – if you have put a lot of work and money into planning a beautiful wedding, do you want a beautiful video or a cheap one? Years from now, how are you going to share your wedding day with your children? A well-crafted video will capture the heart and soul of your wedding day. I truly believe this is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during wedding planning!
Who You’ll Be Working With
This is a great point – it’s so important to know what to expect! I’m the primary photographer/videographer here, and while I often have other people working with me (especially if you choose to book both photography and video), I’ll always be the main point of contact before, during and after your wedding.
If They’ve Worked at Your Venue
Completely agree with Victoria – prior experience is helpful, but not necessary. There are some places I’ve been to so many times that I feel like one of the staff there. I know if I’m doing video at Phipps, I bring a wagon to haul my tripods and light stands, because it’s a long way to the event space. At the Heinz History Center, the venue I’ve been to more than any other (and it’s my favorite), I know that the Heinz exhibit is on 4, the yellow bridge is on 3 and the street scene is on 2.
On the other hand, I was just at The Renaissance for the first time in December, and it just took a minute of looking around the room to figure out where to put my lights for the best results.
I love Pittsburgh for many reasons. A big one is the amazing people that live here. That’s so evident in the superb wedding community here. And after 10 years working with so many different people, I’ve formed a lot of connections and have a lot of people I can reach out to in case of emergency. I’ve been on the receiving end of that call more than once, most recently last month when I got the call the night before that a sick friend needed help. We all understand what’s at stake and are happy to pitch in any way we can.
This is also a great reason to choose a photography package with a second photographer. That way you can be sure that someone that I know has your date reserved on their calendar, knows all of the details of your wedding day and can step in due to emergency.
Great points here too. I’m definitely not the cheapest photographer or videographer out there. No one with 10 years experience, a quality product and exceptional customer service is going to be!
I’m also not the most expensive, either. I have a theory that sometimes there is a belief that the highest price is the best overall. I’m doubtful that is always true. If you fall in love with a vendor that’s priced significantly higher than other quality professionals, I’d strongly encourage you to go back through Victoria’s list and check how they stack up. If you find you encounter thoughts/feedback like…
- “My friend loved her photos, but she also said s/he was rude to her bridesmaids/parents/friends….”
- “My sister loved her video, but they didn’t get it for 10 months “
- “My co-worker was happy with their work, but said they were really difficult to communicate with and didn’t call her back”
- “They did a good job but showed up late”
… then maybe you want to take an extra couple of days before you commit to spending $$$$$ for someone who doesn’t excel across the board.
It is a LOT to think about! I know that this is an overwhelming amount of information. I’d love to talk to you and answer your questions. Contact me and let’s find out what the best fit for you is!