Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to choose a photographer from accross the country

The thought of finding a photographer from across the country without being able to meet in person seemed very daunting. Especially because when you Google, Southern California Wedding photographers, you get a million pages...

I searched on weddingwire, projectwedding, and some others... After reading reviews and looking at websites I started a list of photographers whose work caught my eye.

Then I had the brilliant idea to Google search "Padua Hills Theater wedding photographers" which brought me to photographers who had actually worked at our venue. It was great to see the weddings they photographed at our venue. Some photographers found great locations for photos that really captured the beauty of the venue. Others really missed the mark and we immediately taken off the list. It was so helpful to compare photographers work by looking at their pictures taken at one specific location.

I then put together a list of the photographers I liked and sent them all a friendly inquiry. If they emailed me back within a day, they were already a favorite. If they told me their price up front they were also moved to the top of the list. I got a little annoyed with places that would respond and ask me to call them to get an estimate. If they did that they were off the list. I had no time to call them up and chat with them on the phone. Photographers also got removed from the list if they were too expensive. If their cheapest package was out of our budget range we had to remove them. After getting quotes I made a list of my favorites and showed their photo's to Mr. Castle without telling him their prices. Fortunately, he liked the same studio I liked and the price was in our budget.

I thought before we booked them we should at least speak on the phone. We spoke with Erin from the studio, they are a husband and wife team, and she was so easy to talk to and very friendly. One of the issues that came up in our search was that a lot of packages included engagement pictures. Other photographers said that even if you didn't want the engagement session, they would not subtract the cost out of the package. One photographer said, you can substitute something else like a boudoir session or a trash the dress shoot. Both of which I'm not interested in getting and I didn't want to pay for an engagement session when we might not have an opportunity in California to take one. Plus we already had a photographer take some engagement pictures in NYC so I didn't feel the need to get more taken in California.When I told Erin we had already taken engagement pictures in NY she said, "We like doing the engagement sessions with you because it gives us a chance to get to know you and work together before the big day. But if you don't want it or don't have time we'll just subtract it out of your final payment. And you can decide on that whenever you want." With that I was sold. Maybe we will do another engagement session with them, but it's nice to know if we don't want to we don't have to pay for it. It's also nice that their pictures are amazing! They just happened to be one of our venues preferred vendors AND their office is located on site at our venue. Since they shoot weddings there all the time we know they'll know the prime spots to capture our day.

I already posted some of their pictures in this post. But here are a few more!

I know I've already mentioned it, but our venue is so pretty at night!
 All Images and Photography by  Palos Studio

I can't tell you how relieved I was when we picked our photographers. When we were starting the process of finding them, the sheer volume of search results made it seem like a nearly impossible task! But by narrowing our search, and honing in on a great vendor with close ties to our venue, the internet turned from foe to friend, and allowed us to view the portfolio of our prospective paparazzo without having to make the 2500 mile journey to their office!

Did you feel relived when you picked your photographer?

1 comment:

  1. Congrats. I think your method was perfect. Going with a vendor who's comfortable with your venue is always a plus and Erin sounds like she'll be easy to work with on your wedding day!!

    We picked a photography company recommended by several people, including our venue. I still don't know who our actually photographer is yet, which makes me a little nervous but I'm sure they will be great!


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