Sunday, April 15, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words...

I am by no means a "fancy photographer," but I love beautiful photos.  I'm a point-and-shoot girl, but I manage to turn out some pretty shots.  Sailing has made me even more ambitious with my photo-taking (oceans!  skies!  sunlight!), and we have some of my work blown up and printed on big canvases in our house.  I took this one a couple of summers ago on Long Island Sound:

Photo by Miss Cauldron - Long Island Sound, September 2010

Due to my love of photos, I was really excited to book a photographer who could capture all the moments at our wedding - it was one of the first things I started working on after we locked in a venue.  

I relied heavily on the internet when searching for photographers - Google search, wedding blogs, and wedding vendor reviews were my initial stops.  I quickly found one of the best things to do was to scroll through photos on Style Me Pretty: Texas and check out the photo credits for the ones I liked the most.  I knew I didn't want anything too trendy - some of the current vintage-y washes and heavily edited shots were just not for me.  At the same time, I didn't want anything too stiff and formal - natural, fun, relaxed, and pretty seemed to be the mood I was liking the best.  Capturing tangible emotion in the frame was really important to me, too.  And the detail shots had to be creative, not just flat. 

Photo by Sweet Caroline Photography

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by The Nichols

Photo by Jessica Barfield

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Two Pair Photography

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Urban Grey

Image from Style Me Pretty / Photo by Amelia Tarbet

I also noticed that I was really liking photos from husband-and-wife photo teams.  I'm not sure why, but several married-couple vendors hit my top ten list. 

For the photographers whose blogs and websites showed me what I liked, I reached out via email to find out more about their availability and costs.  After hearing back, I scheduled phone calls with the photographers who said they were available and within my budget, and I drafted a list of questions for each one.  I spent a week of evenings on the phone with six different photographers, and for ones that were definite possibilities, I asked them to send me a link to a full wedding proof site, so I could see alllll of the photos they took at an event, not just the super-special ones on their blogs.  Taking a look at full sets of photos really helped narrow things down!

I had a couple of possibilities after that week of phone interviews, but there was one thing nagging me - I just hadn't felt like I "clicked" with any of the photographers as well as I felt I should.  (Anyone else think hiring vendors from afar is like having a phone call before a blind date?!) 

Then one of the photographers on my list who actually wasn't available for our date, Jessica Barfield, sent me a very sweet note back recommending yet another husband-and-wife team, Sara and Rocky.  I took a look at their website and concluded that yes, they fit the bill.  

Photo by Sara and Rocky Photography

So, I sent them an email, and - bummer!  They weren't available on our date either.  But they also sent back a great and very personable email, and they recommended some friends of theirs, Lindsey and Beto...another husband-and-wife team who had a similar approach and style.  

Feeling somewhat optimistic about this chain letter of recommendations, I checked out Lindsey and Beto's website and blog, and they definitely passed the litmus test.  

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

Photos by Lindsey + Beto

I dashed off a note, and got a fun email back from Lindsey saying they were available, hooray!  When we did get on the phone to chat, she and I hit it off immediately.  Plus, she grew up about 20 minutes from where Mr. C grew up in Michigan.  Random!  At the end of our chat, I asked for links to a couple of their full proofing sites, and I loved 95% of their shots.  

Photo by Lindsey + Beto

It was clear to me that she and Beto were going to be our wedding photographers, and I booked them shortly afterward.  Yay!  One more (very important!) vendor checked off the list.

Was photography a big deal for you?  How did you find your photographer?  

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