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So I’m thinking photographers are pretty straight forward as to what they do for weddings, thus resulting in a similar price right? WRONG! I got price ranges from €850 to €2000. What makes these prices so different? The biggest reason I came up with was ego. Which in my opinion if you can back it up fair play to ya, but I’m still not hiring you. I looked at a few websites and actually talked to these people about their pricing and what they do and don’t do. Some charge extra for shots of me getting ready, others charge more for collage type pictures, and one just said if I paid any less than he charged I’d get crappy pictures that wont stand the test of time. Test of time? I don’t need these pictures to last 3000 years. Just about 40 or so will do. And considering I have pictures from 40 years ago and they look good as new, I’m going to say current technology will ensure this will happen again. Not to mention all photographers put all of your pictures on a CD or DVD as well. 

 “Ever heard the term Bridezilla?”  

Make sure that whatever photographer you chose you really like them. This person is going to be following you around all day and capturing moments of the best day of your life. Meet this person over coffee beforehand and get some rapport going to get a feel for what this person is like. If they creep you out or rub you the wrong way don’t hire them. They will just aggravate you on a day that is already hectic enough.

 One photographer told me he would get the essential 24 shots out of the way then relax and take as many as I want after that. What are the ’24 essential shots’ you ask? Well they are of course the church shots like exchanging rings, candle lighting, and us entering and leaving as well as the pictures of us at the reception entering the hall, cutting the cake, and the bridal party dancing. So once he gets those shots ‘out of the way’ he can relax and take the frilly pictures like me getting ready, candid family and friends shots before and during the wedding services etc. Well that’s great right? Nope, because the last time I checked I don’t own a time machine allowing you to go back and take all those fun pictures that I so desperately want. I could feel this person’s anxiety over the phone so I could just imagine what I would be like if I hired them. Ever heard the term Bridezilla?  

“Well let’s just say if he had been standing in front of me he wouldn’t have been vertical very long.” 

At the peak of my frustration having spoken with Mr. Ego, Mr. 24 Essential Shots, and Mr. Quality Photos That Will Stand the Test of Time, I thought I would let the last one know how I felt about him trying to charge me €2000 for 40 pictures in a €300 Italian leather album. I first commended him on being a sole trader, as I am one myself. Then I tore into him for quite literally ripping people off and preying on the fact that a wedding will only happen once. And to ‘make it special’ by basically forfeiting a down payment on a house to pay for everything was sickening to say the least.

I also informed him that I wanted to have kids someday as well and having a wedding at this cost pretty much cancels that out. His comical retort to that was reminding me of tax breaks for having children. Yea, very funny asshole.  Then this person courageously suggested I should just go away and get married. To which I replied, “I’m an American living in Ireland. I DID GO AWAY TO GET MARRIED!”   He corrected me saying he meant fly to Italy and elope. Well let’s just say if he had been standing in front of me he wouldn’t have been vertical very long. I calmed myself and said, ”Let me get this straight. Because you are ripping people off and I can’t afford you I should ‘go away’ and get married away from my family and friends? Am I reading you right?” The phone call ended rather abruptly after that one. I then came to realize that apparently Satan’s day job is photography.  

Finally a photographer that gets it… 

The photographer I did choose to go with, Roberto Grilli, is fabulous. He’s reasonably priced (1000 euros) and after meeting over coffee we really got to chat about everything I want. He’s more than happy to accommodate me and even suggested we go to the church so he could get an idea of what shots he could take. When we arrived he went into the church and walked all around checking angles and lighting. He showed us where he would want to stand and even told us to ask the priest if it was ok that he went behind the altar to take pictures. Apparently some priests have a problem with this so make sure this isn’t a problem for you. It could narrow down what church to book if that’s an issue.

He then went outside and walked the church grounds. It was amazing watching him because you could see he was getting inspired. And when someone I barely knew got excited about my day it confirmed my gut feeling about hiring him. We talked about how different it would look in the summer with the trees in bloom and hoping the garden would be tended to. Then he also gave us the idea that we should ask around, being new to the area, to see if there were any places close by that were exceptionally beautiful to take outdoor photos. Knowing the weather in Ireland is fickle and it could rain at any moment, he suggested finding a spot for indoor photos as well. All things we hadn’t even though of ourselves. We chatted a bit longer in the pouring rain and really built a relationship with our new photographer. His non-refundable deposit was 200 euros, a fifth of the total cost, which we thought was reasonable as well. 

For those who have absolutely little to no ‘wedding capital’ Eirepreneur blogger, James Corbett, suggested this website for free wedding photographers. They take loads of pictures throughout the day and upload them on their website for free. Then you go to your own private gallery via a link and choose which photos you want printed. They charge you per print as opposed to the day. Just be aware that it might cost more than some packages other photographers have set up already so price shop a lot. If you aren’t concerned with having loads of pictures printed then this would most likely be the cheaper way to go. Plus you can print them whenever you have the money. One thing they point out on their blogsite is they don’t take the traditional pictures that everyone wants. They capture the ‘feeling’ of the day. Meaning all candid shots they think are cool. It’s a new way of looking at your wedding day or a supplement to another more traditional photographer. If you chose to go this route please post a comment. 

An alternative to getting a traditional wedding album made is to make a book out of it! There is an excellent website for those of you who want an alternative to a standard wedding album. What a great idea! Thanks to Elly Parker for commenting on the blog and giving us her pearls of wisdom. For a preview of her’s check out the link in the comments section of this post.

 “…don’t get intimidated by the “Mr.’s” 

So bottom line when looking for a photographer on a budget, look for the 3 P’s: Price, Personality, Pictures.

1. Call around and get all the prices.

2. The least expensive ones you should meet with to get a feel for their personality.

3. Out of that you can narrow it down by looking at their pictures and make your final decision. It may take some time but it’s well worth the wait.

There really are people out there who do good work at a decent price. So don’t get intimidated by the “Mr.’s 

Thanks again to everyone for the great advice they’ve given me on planning the big day.

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