Thursday, December 16, 2010

Picture Perfect

I don't think I've talked about photography on here thus far. This is not for lack of interest. In fact, it is because I care too much. I find photography to be the third most stressful part of planning a wedding (after the godforsaken guest list and finding a venue) because it is the third most important aspect of the wedding for me (after the venue and my dress), but we have a relatively small budget for it.

I have very expensive tastes in photography. The first photographer I fell in love with was Jerry Yoon.  The man is a photographic genius.  Anyone who can make Wurster Hall (the ugliest building on the UC Berkeley campus, also ironically the architecture building) an awesome backdrop for wedding pictures is a god in my book.

 Seriously, genius.

And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so because this photographer charges around $4,000 for wedding coverage.

For my measly $1,500 budget (at the absolute max), that was not going to fly.

I've been through all sorts of ideas about wedding photography.  First, when I had pretty much no budget, I was going to hire one of my photographer friends to cover the wedding while doing the "put disposable cameras on every table" thing.  I still think that would have been fun, and I do have some talented photographer friends, the best of which is Lauren Wuornos (who unfortunately lives in Chicago).

Lauren indulged my love of being in front of the camera.

However, I quickly realized that I wanted someone with more experience to do personal photos of me and Daniel as well as the group shots.  And then with the help of a friend came to see that I really needed a professional to do the ceremony too because even a very talented novice doesn't know what moments to be ready for.  So a new plan emerged:  hire a professional for 2 -3 hours to do personal/group photos and the ceremony and have a friend cover the reception and whatever else we wanted pictures of.

Then suddenly, when we were planning on a Catalina wedding, that wasn't going to be possible.  If we wanted a professional, it would have to be for the entire day.  So we were going to have to find the best cheap photographer we could and hope for the best.  Fortunately, that plan didn't last long enough for me to do any research.

Now that we're planning on Guayma's, we've got more of a budget, so I'm sort of looking into variations of these options.  Mostly, I'm looking to have someone good but not terribly expensive give us 6 hours of coverage (I've found several good photographers who offer this package at our rate) though I'm still trying to talk some very talented photographers into giving us 3 - 4 hours of coverage at a rate we can afford (cross your fingers for Jerry).  If we did the latter option, I'd probably still ask a friend to cover the reception.  So pretty much, we're back at square 1, but with a real budget.

You may have noticed I used the word "I" an even greater number of times than usual in this post.  This is because Daniel's only photography request and interest is that we hire someone capable of getting good group photos.  Thus, I am pretty much playing this one solo.

Here are my major contenders so far:

If he lived in the Bay Area instead of Orange County, I probably would have booked him already (darn travel expenses!), all because of the above photo.  Great photographer who just hasn't been in the business long enough to be terribly expensive.

Who is awesome but apparently does not want her photos shared.  This is the only high-priced photographer who has been willing to work with my budget.  4 hours of coverage for just over our budget.  We shall see if that works out.

Super nice person who I got on with very well, not quite the style I'm looking for, but the most reasonably priced of these.

Advice on how to find photographers?  Or do you know a Bay Area photographer willing to work on the cheap?


  1. Emma found a great, cheap photographer on Craigslist!

    I WISH we had had a real photographer. Casey did a great job and got some good shots, but she also didn't know what moments would be important, and because she was also a friend/guest, she was busy having fun and didn't get everything we wanted. Can you believe we only got ONE photo of just the two of us at our wedding?! And it's a little dark, too.

    About disposable cameras: My mom had these, I've been to other weddings with these, and my experience is that they don't go over well. Everyone's got their own digital camera these days, and trying to juggle the two doesn't usually work out. I think they're an unnecessary expense. And no one ever uses up the entire camera, so you're left using up the film before you can develop. I think the best thing is to 1) give everyone a notecard with a website to upload photos, or 2) bring a laptop or some sort of card reader and ask everyone to upload their photos before they leave the wedding.

  2. If you like my wedding photos, talk to Sarah Shreves. She flew up to Berkeley for Allison's wedding in October (actually, I think Allison paid to fly her up, but that can be a part of negotiating price and stuff) - but yeah, she'd most likely be willing and able to travel up there. (Hey, maybe she and I could even road trip.) I think she typically charges 2,000, but maybe she'd go less since you won't have an e-shoot and stuff.

  3. I recommend a video. Nicole's gramma took a video of the ceremony and the important parts of the reception, so we've watched it for our anniversaries. It's really nice to watch it again after a year. We've even watched it with friends (girls) who were interested. Have a friend or family member take care of it; it doesn't have to be professionally done.


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