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Photog Faux Pas

August 30, 2012 - Liz Skoczylas
The fiance, N, and I recently put to rest what has, so far, been the biggest fight of our wedding planning process: Picking a photographer.

Finding a photographer is impossible. I have certain criteria that a photographer must fit....

First, these are my wedding photos, so I want photography to be our photographer's full time job. I don't want photography to be something that someone does on the side for fun. I need a serious photographer.

Second, our photographer can't be someone just starting out or someone just out of college. I want someone that has been in the biz for a while and knows what they're doing. A new photographer might have awesome ideas for my wedding photos, but the fact is, if you haven't been doing this for a while, I don't want you.

Third, I want someone with a good reputation. This should be obvious. I don't want a photographer that has, say, a reputation for taking smut pictures. I don't want someone that doesn't give you a sample of your wedding photos for seven months. I want someone that will be amazing and has references to back them up.

Fourth, I want a photographer with a website. This proves to be impossible for most photographers in this area. Facebook is not a legitimate business website, folks. If you want this to be your job, spring for a web address.

Fifth, I want a photographer that I'm not going to want to kill on the day of my wedding. I'm probably already going to be a little more wired than normal that day, so I need people around me that I can jive with. A positive aura and all that jazz. Ya know?

Honestly, I'm not too picky!

So, obviously, I have a lot of requirements for a photographer, and needless to say people just weren't fitting into these categories. I felt like I was getting nasty tones in emails. People didn't have websites. And, to be honest, I was pretty set on one photographer already. But, my parents and N wanted me to shop around a little.

This turned into some not-so-nice disagreements. Or, all-out-brawls, depending on who you ask.

I cried. I whined. I complained that I wasn't getting any help or input in picking out a photographer. Both my parents and N told me multiple times that we wouldn't get a photographer at all. I responded that it was fine, I didn't want photos anyway. There were tears. There were tantrums. There were threats of break-ups. It was all quite dramatic. Then, we buckled down and set up appointments with three photographers, agreeing to keep in mind the one I had my heart set on.

The first photographer was a local, and recommended by a co-worker. But, photography wasn't her full-time job. I wasn't a huge fan of her photos (she ranked N's second choice, though). And, if my Nancy Drew skills are correct, she hasn't been doing photography for very long.

The second and third photographers were out of Erie, and we met with them back-to-back. Photographer number two was recommended by my mother and a close family friend. She has an actual website. Photography is her full-time job. She's been in the biz for a while. Her reputation is fantastic. And, within minutes of me contacting her through her website, she sent me a fantastic email. I fell in love with her.

Talking with her, I felt like we clicked right away. She took notes while we were describing our wedding. She got really excited about the locations we were talking about having pictures taken. And... her wedding packages were named after Alice in Wonderland.

Alice was my childhood imaginary friend. I made my mom rewind that tape probably a bajillion times a day. It was all I watched as a child (and, watching it now as an adult, that probably explains a lot about my personality...). Anyway, it was a sign.

As we were talking, we mentioned that our reception would be adult-only, because N and I "aren't really kid people." Like... we'd probably like our own when we have them, but we probably won't like yours. Yes, some kids are adorable and well-behaved. Most aren't.

Right after meeting photographer number two, we zipped off to meet photographer number three, recommended by several married friends. And... she had her son with her, who appeared to be maybe five years old. As we were walking up to meet her, N was already saying, "I don't like her."

Photographer number three explained that her husband was working and she didn't have anyone else to watch her son. Which is understandable. Things come up, people are unavailable, and when you have kids, you are responsible for them. I get that.

But, in my opinion, if I am going to talk to you about investing thousands of dollars in your services, it is unprofessional to have a child with you. I would have preferred if she canceled our meeting and rescheduled it for a time when she knew her son would be cared for by someone that's not her. Instead, her son interrupted our discussion every 20 seconds.

Before everyone goes off and calls me a jerk for this kid-thing, you should know this wasn't the only deal-breaker for us with this photographer. She didn't offer a wedding album, which is something that we feel is kinda key for a photographer to do. She didn't like the time frame that we have set up for our wedding, and told us she wouldn't photograph all of it.

Plus, she assured me that she could air-brush the pictures to make me prettier and so my double chin doesn't show.

Excuse me lady, I am already pretty fantastic-looking. And, I know how to pose so my double chin doesn't show. Jerk.

Anyway, as soon as we left that meeting, N said, "Well, that was a no." I couldn't agree more.

When we got home from Erie, N and I sat down with my parents and compared photographer number two with the photographer I had my heart set on. Honestly, their photo quality was very similar. They were both creative. Their packages were similar, and varied by only about $400. (It's easy to say 'only $400' when it's not your own money you are spending. I appreciate my parents SO MUCH for this!)

Photographer two came with a second photographer, though. And, I mean, her packages were Alice in Wonderland. After about an hour of discussion and going through the two (very well done) websites, we decided to go with the girl from Erie.

It's nice to know that the biggest blow-up of the wedding so far has been so easily resolved. I have high hopes for the rest of this planning process.



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