How We Chose Our…Picture People!

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When it comes to the wedding, there is one set of vendors that we chose even more carefully than the rest: our photographer and videographer. Although all aspects of the day are “important” to us, we wanted to make sure that we chose the perfect people to capture our wedding for posterity. I’ve said this on the blog before, but when everything else is said and done, all you have left is the pictures and videos. That’s a big deal.

But even though good pictures are important to us, we didn’t have a monstrous budget to spend. And so the quest to find the perfect photographer began.

Photographer: Tricia DeWar

Source: Tricia DeWar Photography

You already know that Shaun and I got the chance to take our engagement pictures with a fabulous photographer from Chicago named Cristina G. Because we won the engagement shoot, we only had to pay for prints and we were so happy with the way the photos turned out. If we had had an unlimited budget for photography, our search might have ended there. Cristina was amazing and super fun to work with, even as we were running around in the snow and freezing our butts off. I can only imagine what sort of magic she’d work on a day in July! But as a photographer based in Chicago, her prices were just way more than what we could afford…and we’d have to pay for her to travel to our wedding in addition to her normal prices. So as much as we loved Cristina and our engagement photos, we couldn’t book her for our wedding.

We started researching Green Bay area photographers, and came up with very few promising leads. Almost everyone whose work we liked was way over our price point. We were less than impressed with those photographers that we could afford. Like we did with musicians, we started to look for “friendors.” But most of my friends who are also amateur photographers don’t have a lot of experience with posing people and almost no wedding experience – not exactly the best route for preserving the day for posterity, even if we did save a lot of money.

Another possibility arose from a friend of a friend, or more specifically, the wife of a friend from high school. Although I hadn’t spoken to this friend in quite some time, Facebook introduced me to his wife Grace Krogh’s photography. Since she was only out of school a few years, her wedding packages were really affordable…and her pictures were great! I contacted Grace, but there was just one small snag: she and her husband were moving to Portland. In about a month. So long, long before our July 2012 wedding. Back to the drawing board.

The final solution to our search for a photographer came from this very blog! In February, I asked for your help in finding local vendors, and a friend suggested Tricia DeWar. Around that time, a few family members also mentioned they had heard of her and that she did great work. I checked her out online and was blown away. Even better – she was within our price range! I immediately sent her an email, and a few days later I officially booked her as our wedding photographer. I was confident that we were getting a great deal for the price after looking at her portfolio. Since then, I’ve shown you a lot of her work on the blog and got to meet her in person when she took my brother’s high school senior portraits. I can now say with more confidence than ever that I can’t wait to work with her on our big day and that I know  we will have beautiful pictures to share with our family for years to come.

Videographer: Bob Forrest

Videography is something we did not budget for. At all. Around here, “videography” means getting someone to record your wedding ceremony (a-la the Royal Wedding ceremony coverage), and maybe a bit of the reception. There’s little (if any) editing done and usually the couple watches the DVD (or tape, as the case may be) once and puts it away. While it might be nice to have our ceremony in its entirety to re-watch at some later time…it’s not exactly something we needed. So we didn’t budget, nor search, for a videographer.

That is, until we were offered videography for free. One of Shaun’s family members is an experienced videographer, who has filmed many of his family weddings throughout the years. We were told that if we asked him to, Bob would gladly film our wedding ceremony for free. All we had to do was ask!

Now, we’re not expecting any editing or anything fancy, but it will be nice to have an uncut video of our ceremony. Since Bob is also an invited guest, he likely won’t be filming any of the cocktail hour or reception, but that’s completely fine with us. The ceremony is the most important part of the day, so we’re happy that that’s the part that will be recorded for us to rewatch later!

Have you ever struggled with finding the balance between quality and price? Especially in a wedding planning context?

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