Invest in your life! - Why top quality photography is beyond the price you pay.
I have just returned from a memorial service. A memorial of one of my clients. When I arrived, I presented a box filled with prints for this person's spouse and family to have. I was informed that while they had the flash drive that contained their final images, they had yet to print even one. I was so happy that I was able to give this client images that I created for them. When I returned from the memorial service, I wrote this post below. It makes me realize how important my job truly is. Life is short. Pictures last a lifetime. Invest in your images. I can now say from experience that what I do for a living is priceless. Make sure you LOVE whomever you hire because when you look at your photos, you will not only think about the images and the day, but WHO was there to share it with you, especially the photographer that captured them. Make sure you feel close enough with your photographer that no matter what you can cry with them, laugh with them and be who you are with them. Make sure your photographer protects you from all things that may stress you out during your wedding or event. I always tell my couples, "YOU are my priority. Let's make a safe word so I know when you need to be rescued. I am paid to be the crazy bossy one so you don't have to." I was a TV producer for 8 years before I seriously changed over into photography. I got paid really good money to be a controlling take charge person. I'm great at it! ;-)
I know how important it is for so many couples to have the perfect venue, the perfect flowers, the perfect favors the perfect everything. But when you are looking at your photos 20 years from now with your children and grandchildren you won't think, "Wow, I'm so glad we invested a small fortune on those custom made favors, THAT NO ONE STILL HAS." You will think, "God I love my wedding photos. I feel like it was just yesterday. And that photographer really took control of everything so we didn't have to worry and he/she got everything we needed and things we didn't think we needed. And he/she was so fun to work with and just made the day flow, etc etc." I cannot tell you how many times someone has come up to me during a wedding while I am working and said, "We really hated our wedding photographer" or "I hate my wedding photos". It breaks my heart to hear this. Because every time that person looks at their photos, THAT is what they think of? Not, what an amazing day we had? Total bummer.
I could go on and on about why top choice wedding photographers are pricey. I could tell you about how much gear costs, insurance, edit time, expenses, back up gear, 2nd shooters, training.....BLAH BLAH BLAH. SNORE, BORING.....
Because you see, as a client, that really means nothing to you, and why the hell should you give a crap about all that stuff? All you should really be concerned with is what I mentioned above. (and that they know what they're doing as well as loving their work of course. And yes, do make sure they have back up gear, insurance and the photos they are showing you are ACTUALLY their photos. Yup, people steal photography all time from other photographers. But that's another post for another time) I always tell my couples, "Hey, can imagine you me at the birth of your baby? How about at the funeral of a loved one, or even just having a fun dinner together?" If the answer is yes, THEN I'M YOUR GIRL! Because besides those things I just listed, your wedding day is going to be one of the most vulnerable days of your lives. And if it's not me, I'm sure you will find someone that fits that mold for you! There is someone for everyone out there, whether it's the love of your life, or your wedding photographer. :-) Not everyone likes me, and I'm sooooo OK with that. (believe me, I have had plenty of therapy to know not everyone is going to like me) People come and go, but your images are FOREVER! Make sure that if you are receiving the final images on a disk or flash drive that you PRINT THOSE PHOTOS OUT! Don't wait until it's too late either. And PLLEEEASSSSEEEE don't go to a drug store or Walmart to print them. They will just screw it all up for you. Your photographer has top notch gear in order to provide you with great images. Ask them to recommend a good lab. They should, since you invested in the high resolution images.
I always tell my clients, "I work with what you give me. If you give me every ounce of you, then I will do the same, not only in your images, but of myself as well." I only do 15 weddings per year. Why? A few reasons. First, I want to make sure that I'm available physically and emotionally for my clients. It's very easy to get burnt out of anything you do too much of. Everyone's burn out level is different, of course, but for me I know my limits. Which brings me to reason number two. I have two small children who need me. I also have an amazing husband that should be getting some action on a regular basis. They matter too. And guess what? Most of my clients know my kids and husband. Because if my clients are going to allow me into their lives, why shouldn't I allow them into mine once in a while? There is pretty much nothing I won't tell my clients about myself. I know for some photographers that's a huge no no. And I get that. Now, granted I won't just blab out personal stuff. But if a couple is going through something or simply wants to know what it's like to be married and with the same person for 18 years, I'm gonna tell them. If they want dibs on what my childhood was like growing up in Philly, I'm going to give them all the details. They can and have asked me a lot of personal stuff, and I'm always happy to let them in. And the more I let them into my life, the more they let me into theirs. And then you know what happens? Not only do I get amazing photos at amazing weddings of amazing people, but I am now embedded into that couple's history. FOR-FRIGGIN'-EVER! AND FOREVER IS A LONG ASS TIME.
That is why, when planning your wedding think about the photos. And while I'm mostly a serviced based photographer, and don't push product on my clients, seriously consider getting an album! I do offer them. They aren't cheap. So consider registering for it if you don't have the $. Your family and friends will chip in. Because technology will change. Facebook may not be here in 10 years and then what? Who knows, that flash drive may not be the latest and greatest way to store images in 15 years. I mean, they are already phasing out DVD drives in computers. But an album lasts a lifetime. And on a side note. Try and squeak out the money for video. I know it's a stretch for most, but believe me, when you are having a "woah, I hate my husband/wife" moment, and trust me you will have those days. You can play that video and remember that you really do like AND love each other.
Want to know a secret about me? My husband and I didn't have the money for a wedding photographer! We had some friends do it and while the images are OK, I still don't have a serious wedding album and the friend who shot video of our wedding with his little high tech camera gave us 90 minutes of his damn thumb! So learn from my mistakes please. I regret that we didn't do what I am preaching about now.
I have laughed and cried with my clients. It's something I am proud of. It's why my couples trust me. Because I trust them.
I am dedicating this post to Jackson and Kaithlyn Crocker and to my beloved Nadia. They know why.