Monday, July 23, 2012

Say Cheese! Part 2

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-We have a reasonable photography budget that may be considered small to some professional photographers
-We don't want most of what is in your average "package"
-We took to an unconventional method for hiring a photographer

When we last left off, we were trying to hire a photography student to shoot our wedding.  The head of the photography program at University of Montevallo (where MOH is studying art) gave us the name of a former student of hers who graduated recently, along with his university email address.  We sent him an email, and...he never responded.  So we tried contacting the professor again to ask for a new suggestion, but as the school year had ended, she didn't respond either.

So what's a bride to do?!

...procrastinate, that's what.

Truth be told, a ton of other things piled up on my plate and for over a month, I let the issue of a photographer slip a little on my priority list.    Of course, even as I plan and blog and make things for this wedding, I'm still reading other wedding blogs.  And one day, one of them was promoting a website called Thumbtack:

image via Thumbtack
It's kind of like a Craigslist for "service pros", as the website calls them.  You fill out this form stating what kind of professional you're looking to hire, where you are, and other relevant details, and then they post your request, and within 24 hours, you have people sending you quotes and descriptions of what they can offer.

What the hell, I figured- might as well give this a shot.

I selected "photographer" and filled out the information with a detailed description of what we were looking for- and what we were NOT looking for.  A handful of local photographers submitted quotes, most of which were obviously new businesses offering low rates to help build their portfolios (as would be the case with a student).  A few well-established businesses responded as well, a couple of which had a nice big well-established price tag- and interestingly enough, their responses did not address what I'd written, but, rather, were a list of packages copied-and-pasted from their websites.

I immediately ignored the quotes that were out of our budget, and opened up the websites of the rest.

I gotta say, readers, you get what you pay for.  Some of these places were offering super cheap packages, well under our price range, and a quick click through the galleries of previous weddings they'd shot revealed why.  I hate to sound snobbish, but we're going for a more "photojournalism" style (like everyone who blogs about their wedding)- not a "high school prom photos" style.  And who still does cheesy Photoshop tricks like giving everything a 70's haze or pasting one image on top of another?

I had ruled out nearly every single offer on the list without even needing to show any of them to Mr. Geek.

But then I saw One Photo Gallery in Atlanta.

Charming Whitney had me at the photos on her blog, before I even fully read the offer!

photo by One Photo Gallery // image via Wedding Wire
Her offer includes EVERYTHING we're asking for (plus some prints, even though we don't need them...but hey, I'll take it!), comes in (slightly) UNDER our budget, AND includes a second shooter!  Wow!  We don't necessarily need a second shooter, but there are DEFINITELY benefits to having one, and it's included in a price that's within our budget!  Eeek!

I asked if there would be any travel fees or additional fees for the second shooter, and she explained that since Atlanta is only ~2 hours from Alex City and the wedding is in the daytime, they won't be needing a hotel room and therefore won't charge travel fees.  And all she asks by way of additional fee is that we provide a meal for both her and the second shooter.  We will definitely make sure to pick up breakfast for them when we feed the bridesmaids as the getting ready begins, both photographers can chow down on as much finger-food goodness they can scarf at the reception, and with the handwritten thank you note we give them afterwards (because we're Southern like that), we'll be including a restaurant gift card so they can grab dinner on the way back to Hotlanta.  Boom!

Mr. Geek was on board before I even finished reading Whitney's offer- and then I showed him the website and he got even more excited!

We have signed the contract and put down the deposit- now we just need to schedule a face-to-face meeting when we're back in that neck of the woods in early September to talk a little about the logistics of the big day.  I'm hoping we can get her to meet us at SpringHouse the day we do our food tasting so she can take a look around and we can talk about some specific shots, but we have yet to hash out the details.

We're so excited to have a photographer!  While we won't be working with a student, as we'd hoped, we're definitely getting a great deal from a talented artist- and most importantly, we're getting exactly what we want.  Doesn't get better than that!

Did you use an unconventional method to find your photographer?  Did you have to compromise your vision to get a price that worked for your budget, or were you willing to go over-budget to get the best of the best?

Much love,
The Geeks

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