Good morning internet!!
I am so super excited about the new series that I have coming up for you. This blog has always been one part me/personal stuff, one part business/photography stuff, and one part silliness. This new series will add another part – blog posts written by guests who want to share their story, or some information with you. I love having other people collaborate on things, a new perspective is ALWAYS a good thing. New ideas, fresh thoughts, and sometimes just someone encouraging you and telling you that even though you’re having an “I Suck” kind of day, that you really don’t suck. Know what I mean? SO. Seriously, I am so thrilled to have this post today. Whew. Deep breaths Brooke. Ha!
First, a little about how I know this beautiful woman. I am part of a group on Facebook called Pursuit 31. This fantastic group of women are all photographers, who love Jesus. I guess that’s really the simplest way to put it, but there is so much more to it. There are so many women from different walks of life, and I am privileged to be a member of this group of amazing photographers! And this, my friends, is how I met Edith. Well, I say met – but we haven’t actually met in person. Just online. And from what I have seen of her, and learned from her, she is beautiful, inside and out. And a pretty darn good photographer, right?
Edith Taylor is the owner and photographer at Simply Kissed Photography. Her business Facebook page can be found here. She posted her story on her blog and I read it, and it really touched my heart. I hear these things ALL the time – my friend is going to photography my wedding as her gift to us – or something along those lines, and it really pains me if that friend isn’t a professional wedding photographer. I know I know… I say it a lot right? And I’m fortunate enough to have amazing photos of my wedding. In part because I have heard these stories and didn’t want to be another one, and in part because I had a lovely groom who humored me when I told him that’s something we can’t skimp on. Edith has another story though. She is now a former bride that has very few photos of her special day. And can I just say that her suggestion under Reason #2 is flippin’ BRILLIANT, I love that idea! BUT, I’m talking too much. Edith has spent a lot of time writing a beautiful post to share her story, so without further adieu, I am SO happy to introduce, Mrs. Edith Taylor.
I am a very short, overly energetic yet kinda awkward small town girl from Oregon. I carry an overwhelming joy in my heart brought forth by God’s grace, blessings & the love of my husband. I saw my husband for the first time since high school a few years ago, falling hard & fast. This resulted in a small town girl, marrying the boy who used to live next door. We live in a small farmhouse with the greatest neighbors who are huge fans of our 4 year old lab named Moose. These would be our landlord’s beef cattle.
Although I carry the title of photographer, I use that word very delicately as I am aware that I am constantly growing in this art which requires much dedication, time & appreciation. Wedding photographers not only spend all day photographing, but many spend 40+ hours editing, blogging, emailing, organizing, packaging, ordering, ect, ect ect.
Just for one wedding!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in your wedding photos. Unfortunately, even as a “photographer” this is not a lesson I learned soon enough. I had to learn the hard way. I had to learn the way I wish others never had to. Confession time: I did not invest in my wedding photography & got what I paid for. I photographed weddings & STILL didn’t invest in my wedding photos. You ever hear that saying “you get what you pay for?” It applies very heavily to wedding photography. We paid $200 for our photos.
I was a budget bride. I was cutting corners at every turn trying to keep as many costs down as possible. I knew a girl who had a really nice camera. She was always taking great photos of her & her friends. I did ask to see some of her wedding photos & thought the small handful I saw looked fine. So $200 it was.
On my wedding day I went into total bride mode. I didn’t pay attention to anything photography related. Think about it this way, if a photographer gets so wrapped up in her wedding day she doesn’t notice they’re being posed in front of windows then it’s much easier for a bride who doesn’t understand lighting & posing to not notice either. About 8 weeks later I got a text from my husband that said “We got the disc. We’ll look at them when you get home.” No excitement. No exclamation points. No response about what he thought of them. After racing home because I was so excited, I popped in the CD, sat down next to my groom, hit play…and cried. And cried. And cried.
Although I didn’t grasp (until now) the concept of investing in wedding photos, I knew how to technically analyze photos. My images were dark, grainy, some were green tinted, you could see peoples reflections in the windows all our formal photos were in front of, most of our reception photos were so blurry you couldn’t make out who some of them were, I had 5 photos total of my husband & I, zero photos with my friend who spent $1200 to fly from across the country. Writing this post made me go back & realize we don’t even have a photo with my husband’s grandfather who recently passed away.
Yes the photos can be retaken, but it’s still not our wedding day. We will never get my husband’s grandfather back. My friends & family will never again all be in one place. We will never again have our first dance as man and wife. We had our wedding & the photos are what they are.
Now let me be clear. Every reason not to invest in professional photos I have heard & I even used when justifying our decision. I was a budget bride remember so I feel you. I really do. I know that photography is a huge investment, but gambling that a non-professional will do a quality job is a pretty high risk. There are a number of reasons why I’ve heard people choose not to invest into a professional wedding photographer. These are some of the most common reasons.
I just can’t afford to spend ($1500 – $2000+) on just some pictures of my wedding. It’s not in our budget & I need to save for our (decorations, dress, venue, food, ect).
You can have the nicest dress. The coolest venue. The best tasting food. The most creative centerpieces. The most to die for cake. The craziest dance moves. The cutest grandpa that there ever was. But if your photos are too dark, to blurry to see Grandpas cute face, the creativity is non-existent & you can’t print any bigger than a 5×7 then none of those amazing things will be remembered as you saw them. You’ll miss out on capturing how special those things really were.
After being left with the photos I have, I would easily pay that amount in a heartbeat to have had our photos professionally done. Let me rephrase that. I would have easily paid that much to have a professional make sure that even just the photos of my husband & I, my husband’s grandfather & our family were property photographed. Yes it seems like a lot up front but often photographers will allow you to make payments as long as you’re paid up before the wedding. Drink less coffee, go to dinner less & spend less to make sure that you invest in the most important day of your life. It is worth every single cent.
I have a friend who has a great camera and takes nice photos. Plus they offered to do this for us as a gift. It’ll save us some money & they really really want to do this.
Is your friend with a really nice camera a professional wedding photographer with lots of nice weddings to show for it? Now I understand sometimes the answer is yes. If they are a legitimate professional & want to gift this to you then that’s a whole other story. The thing is do you want someone practicing wedding photography on your wedding day? Do they know about backlighting, low lighting, posing, moving subjects, timelines? Not to mention a solid solid grasp on all of their manual settings for all the situations that can and will occur. I can & have photographed weddings at 12pm in direct sunlight, in 10×10 rooms, exits in almost pitch black and a slew of things that many people with nice cameras wouldn’t know how to cope with. Not to mention at every wedding I am hearding people, keeping kids in their tuxes, constantly keeping the day going by the schedule I provide my clients and making sure the day goes off without a hitch. I can run a wedding with my eyes closed because I have the experience. You don’t want to gamble that your friend will figure this stuff out during your ceremony or even the first dance.
Plus weddings are work. The photographer (friend or pro) should be working the entire event. If you choose to hire a friend, they will not be able to sit, relax, enjoy the food or dance with you. I know friends & family could photograph your wedding, but don’t you want them to enjoy it with you instead of working for 12 hours?
If your friend wants to gift you something, have them send a donation to your wedding photographer for the photos. I always allow friends & family to gift the wedding couple a portion of their investment. This is a fantastic compromise if they are dead set on gifting you photography. You’re gifted a lower personal investment & your friends still get to help you out! Plus they get to grab that tissue during the ceremony & spend the evening shakin’ it on the dance floor with you.
(back to the friend with the nice camera. I get this a LOT & was a user of it)
My friend takes really nice photos! They look just fine & I’m sure they’ll do great. It’s not like they’d offer to do it if they didn’t think they could.
Define “really nice photos”. Honestly. Go to my favorite wedding photo site weddinggawker.com and browse around. Don’t you want the photo of you two perfectly lit while standing in front of a sunset? Or the exact moment when a tear rolled down your mom’s face? Or even the soft sweet kiss he gave you in the middle of the dance floor when no one was looking? These are moments photographers are trained to get. We see them from a mile away. The results are not just those moments, but those moments stopped in time & produced to you in an art form. Before you say your friend takes nice wedding photos, go browse around & see what that $2000 investment will get you. As a bride I SOO wanted that. I didn’t pay for it & so I didn’t get it.
Investing in professional wedding photography is so much more than just pushing a button. It is capturing the 800 split second moments that are beautifully orchestrated into your wedding day. You want photos that will make your grandchildren go “wow Grandma, you were so beautiful”. Photos that will make you laugh out loud remembering your “crazy awesome dance skills”. The photo that makes your eyes tear up & your heart swell at the sight of your love gently kissing you during a moment alone, while uttering the phrase “my wife” for the first time. Invest in photos that will make you smile 50 years down the road & fall in love all over again. These are moments worth investing in.
Happy wedding planning!
I feel so blessed to have the photos that I have from my wedding day. I also had the opportunity to shoot a wedding last year, and the bride’s grandmother was able to make her wedding. She passed away about six months later – and those photos, of her with the whole family, are SO valuable to that family! I realize that everything in wedding planning comes down to money – and believe me, BELIEVE me I know it’s expensive. How much are those family memories worth? How much would they be worth if, God forbid, something happened and that was all you had left?
Just a few thoughts for your weekend. I know a lot of you have recently been proposed to (YAY! How exciting!) so think about these things. Think about your priorities, and what is important to you. If you have any questions in your wedding planning, please contact me – I would love to help!