Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Say Cheese!

You may recall that we had Mr. Geek's friend Emile shoot our engagement photos- I've only mentioned how amazing they are about a million times.

photo courtesy the AMAZING Emile Frey
So clearly choosing a photographer for the wedding day was easy, right?


As I said, Emile is Mr. Geek's friend.  They survived engineering school together- a friendship like that runs deep.  Their bond cannot be broken.  To paraphrase the immortal words of Lady Gaga, they have a Rad Bromance.  (They even LOOK like brothers!)

Emile and Mr. Geek learning to SCUBA // {Mr. Geek's personal photo}
We can't hire Emile for our big day!  We want to invite him to the party!  And he is so important to Mr. Geek that he'll be standing up with him as a groomsman- so his only duties that day should be to show up, look nice, dance with a bridesmaid or two, and enjoy the food and booze!

Soooo a photographer.  Hmm.

We budgeted what we feel is a reasonable amount for photography- and what feels like a lot of money, to me, anyway- but it is admittedly below the national average for wedding photography.  However, we're not interested in the usual photography package.  In fact, our list of what we DON'T want is longer than the list of what we DO want:

We DON'T Want:
-a pre-wedding shoot (we've already done the e-shoot and I don't have time for a bridal session)
-an album (I'd rather assemble my own, less expensively, from a photobook site)
-prints (ever heard of Wal-Mart photo?)
-we don't necessarily need all-day shooting- as in, the photographer doesn't have to stay until the end of the reception

We DO Want:
-pre-ceremony shots, ceremony coverage, and then a limited amount of post-ceremony "formals"
-a cd of digital images
-A PRINT RELEASE so we can print as many copies of we want into albums or large prints (and so I can put them on the blog, of course!)

Most professional photographers have a list of packages, and while they say they can "customize" one for you, what they really mean is you can re-arrange the features of one of their pre-set packages- you can do an engagement shoot instead of a bridal shoot in the "Diamond" package or you can have 4 5x7 prints instead of 2 8x10's in the "Romantic" package.  Add to that our seemingly modest photography budget...we really didn't feel like professional photography was in the cards.

Enter: college students!

A great tip I picked up from a wedding blog- probably Budget Savvy Bride- is to scout out local art schools for photography students starting up their own businesses.  In exchange for professional experience, portfolio filler, and, well, cash, a student is more likely to accept lower prices than a professional.

Remember how I said my sister is an artist?  She goes to this tiny school, University of Montevallo. 

Go Falcons! // {personal photo}
The school is very close to Alex City, so, naturally, I started sniffing around their website!  I found the professor who runs the photography department and shot her an email with some details about our big day and what we were looking for in a photographer.  I asked if she had any students that would fit the bill, and crossed my fingers.

Well, she got back to us...with exactly one candidate.  A candidate who had apparently graduated a couple of years ago, and the only email address she gave us was his school email.  Nonetheless, I shot off an email with the details and our offer, then moved on to the other items on our never-ending to-do list.

And then it was May, the school year was over, and he had still not replied.  I tried emailing the professor again for other suggestions, but apparently she doesn't check her Montevallo email address, either.

What's a bride to do?!

You'll have to tune in next time to find out!

How did you find your photographer?  Did you have any "friendors"?  Would you ever consider hiring a student?

Much love,
The Geeks

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