Do you really need a butter dish?
When we first started our wedding photography business we got the idea to create a wedding photography registry. Many of our couples already have two toasters and had shared their struggles with the whole wedding registry process. Everyone felt awkward asking for money but they all liked the idea of getting help funding wedding elements.
We knew couples that registered for their honeymoon and it got us thinking about our own registry. We asked a few couples if a wedding photography registry would be helpful. Since the beginning of our business this has been one of our most popular features.
Why register for photography?
A wedding registry is an excellent way to get your wedding photography package paid for by your friends and family. You can add the elements you want to your big day and you can add on upgrades like a boudoir shoot or an album with a metal cover and additional pages. Simply put it offers more flexibility with your overall wedding budget.
And how exactly does it work?
With your invites and when people ask where you are registered you can provide them our contact information. Your guests can contact us and we will send them an invoice for their contribution towards your package. If they wish to remain confidential until the wedding we won’t let you know who has contributed. As gifts are added to your registry we notify you of your shrinking photography package balance.
Our couples love the option of a wedding photography registry.
We truly live in the most amazing of places. Being Seattle wedding photographers is a dream. And, as an added bonus, cloud cover is actually great for photos.
Not too long ago we started a Firstlight Photography Pinterest Washington Wedding Venue Board and are trying to capture all of the Washington wedding venues where we have photographed weddings. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we had a long way to go.
Our newest venue crush is Rein Fire Ranch in Ravensdale, WA. The owners hosted us for a recent bridal portrait shoot that has been in the works for several years. We initially shot Tiffany and Brandon’s Friday the 13th wedding years ago. They were our first Offbeat Bride couple.
Tiffany is the most amazing of sports so we approached her at the end of last year with a Trash the Dress proposal. Since she had already worn her dress for a cemetery shoot, a library dress up event, Halloween and we think she even said she vacuumed her house in it – she agreed it was time to kick it up a notch. She was of the mind to go big or go home so we knew we needed some fire power behind us. We plotted out the demise of her dress (and we should mention that she and Brandon are still going strong!) and set our plan in motion.
We invited JoAnn from Studio J Salon and Day Spa to do Tiffany’s hair and makeup. We wanted to do a final farewell to the dress so we captured some bridal shots of Tiffany. From there, it was back to hair and makeup for a much different look.
Tiffany has worked with Firstlight Photography for so many years now that photographing her is so incredibly easy. She has got it down. We all had so much fun as we wandered the grounds of Rein Fire Ranch. We even had a chance to spend time with some of the furry critters that call RFR home.
Here is a sneak peek at the second part of the session. We had a blast with this Trash the Dress session! Stay tuned for more!
Our friends at On the Go Bride are always putting out really informative content. As wedding photographers and owners of Firstlight Photography we recognize we might be biased, but we thought their recent post about finding the right wedding photographer was brilliant.
Sadly, this story doesn’t have a happy ending but the message is clear. You only have one shot at getting great wedding photos. Do your homework and make it count. Krisstin, owner of On the Go Bride (she is also an archaeologist which we find just way too cool), has laid out her dirty laundry in the form of some not so stellar photos of her wedding.
Blog Repost from On the Go Bride
This is an important topic not enough people touch upon. I’m sure you have heard stories. Do you have that one friend or relative who did not get the best service from their photographer? How about the person who spent a lot of money to end up with less than quality photos? Or worse, the friend that ended up with blurry photos or the photographer’s fingers showing in not one, but multiple photos. This happened to me. This happens to a lot of us. So how come more of us aren’t talking about it? Why aren’t we sharing our experiences to educate each other and help more couples on this topic? Well, that is exactly what I would like to do today. I want to share my experience and educate others on how to find a quality wedding photographer for their special day. Because when your day is over, the photos are what you will have left.
Let me start with my experience. Planning my wedding was my first introduction into the industry. I had no idea what to do or where to look. I was also an on-the-go bride who traveled a lot for work, so my “in town” time was limited. Logically my first stop was the wedding faire in town. Makes sense, right? One location, multiple vendors; I was sure to find everyone I was looking for or would ever need. Boy was I wrong. Here is a little secret I learned later. A lot of the great photographers don’t do wedding faires. Now that is not to say you can’t find amazing photographers at wedding faires. They are there. I’m just trying to encourage you to look outside the box as well. Don’t let the wedding faire become your be-all and end-all for local vendors.
I am not going to give the name of my photographer or all the details, just a few of the important ones. I did find my photographer at a wedding faire. The work displayed in their booth was gorgeous! I was drawn to the style. I liked the modern, fashion, magazine-ish flair. The style worked for me and my interest was piqued. I had heard all the warnings about having a family member take your wedding photos as well as going for the cheapest photographer. I had decided in the beginning I was willing to pay for quality. My wedding was in 2010 and I paid $3800 for a 6-hour package. By no means is that price at the highest end of the spectrum, but in my mind it was a fair amount to expect quality work. Without going into all the details of ignored emails, missed deadlines, and not producing everything that was paid for…I will just show you the end product. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So here is a great example of what I got. The photo on the top is from the professional photographer we paid for. The photo on the bottom is from my husband’s uncle who has a nice camera. Now I don’t have a photographer’s eye, but I can tell you which image I think is better of the two. I was pretty bummed when 95% of my “professionally edited” images seemed dull and missing all the color.
The photos I received looked nothing like the work I had seen. It looked nothing like what I thought I would be getting. I started to question if the work I had seen was really this photographer’s work? I also started to question what I had missed and where I went wrong? Through this experience and educating myself I discovered what I should have done and the questions I should have asked. That is what I want to share with all of you today. There are a couple important topics I would like to address and I am also including a wonderful questionnaire you can print out and take with you when you interview your potential photographer.
Your Photographer’s Work
There are a couple key issues that really go together. The first is verifying the work you are shown is actually that of the photographer. So how do you verify work? This one can be a bit tricky. There are a couple ways you can go about this. When looking at a photographer’s work, you want to pay attention to the style of all the photos. Do they all match? Do they all appear to be from the same person? One way to check is by asking to have the contact information for a few of the couples whose pictures you like. If it is the photographer’s real work then they should be able to give you contact information. This also doubles as great references. What better way to find out about your future photographer than to ask couples for their likes and dislikes of the service they received? Another way to verify the work is to ask your photographer to see the entire collection of photos from a specific wedding photo you like. If this is the photographer’s real work, then they should have all the images.
This also leads us into our second key issue. You want to make sure your photographer can produce quality photos in all different settings. Your wedding day usually spans many hours. When you look at albums or see photographer’s work at a wedding faire, you are usually seeing the single best image from multiple weddings. The truth is everyone gets lucky. Every once in a while everyone takes a good picture. By asking to view all the photos of a single wedding you are able to see the quality of photos that photographer can produce for an entire event. It will also show you if the photographer can shoot just as well outside as they can inside. If you have an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception, these are important things to look at and good questions to ask.
There is no better way to say it…life happens. The important part is how your photographer handles the unexpected. What does your photographer do if a family member dies the day before your wedding? What if they go into labor or are in an accident? This is an important question to ask, and one that did not dawn on me until it had already happened. My photographer did not show up in their best form on my wedding day. The months preceding, they became almost non-existent. To this day (almost 2 years later) we still have not received everything we paid for and I doubt we will. I learned shortly after my wedding day that the photographer was in the process of getting a divorce. One that dealt with young children and I’m sure assets. I imagine that is not an easy thing to go through. Taking the chance that I don’t sound too selfish here… We never get our wedding day back. And that is how I honestly feel about the situation. We paid for a service we did not receive. I think on some level if the photographer knows they can’t be on their A-game the day of your wedding they should have a backup plan. Perhaps a few photographers they can contact to fill in for them?
Trust Your Gut
The best thing you can do is trust your gut. I had a bad feeling about my photographer after the engagement session. (Side Note – this taught me the benefit of an engagement session is getting to know your photographer). When I voiced my concerns to my mother and suggested finding someone else, she talked me into staying with him. I can’t blame her; we had already put down a significant deposit. But sometimes moms do not know what is best. She wasn’t there for the engagement session and I was. I should have went with my gut feeling and I would have been much happier with the outcome. When you meet with your photographer, is it someone you can picture yourself hanging out with? Do they try to get to know you as a person or are they all about business? Do you feel confident that they will give you their best on their big day? I can’t stress this point enough…trust your gut.
Printable Photographer Questionnaire
This post includes some of the major lessons I learned about finding a wedding photographer during my wedding planning process. I wanted to share these with you and I hope they help others. I hope they help you to find your wedding photographer that you will be happy with, by making sure to ask the right questions. To go along with this post I want to provide a questionnaire I created to help you remember to ask some of these important questions. Just click on the pdf below, print it out, and take it with you to each photographer you interview. And remember…trust your gut!
NOTE: Firstlight Photography also recommends that you make sure your photographer shoots all photos in RAW format. This allows for the most flexibility during the editing process!
Be sure to visit On the Go Bride on Facebook.
Megin wanted to surprise Dan with the wedding dress so we hadn’t seen it either. She rocked her gorgeous vintage inspired wedding gown by Brides by Demetrios in Bellevue. Oh, and yes, she did leave him speechless!
This will be no shocker…the groom and his groomsmen were looking dapper in their tuxedos thanks to the Men’s Wearhouse.
What can we say? Reverend Ray Van Winkle truly is passionate about his work as a wedding officiant. Megin and Dan had said they had to pick him because he has been known incorporate Dr. Seuss into vows. We loved his work but when we saw his website we knew he was “good people” when he shared the story of how he dressed up as Elvis for a Halloween wedding.
When Dan and Megin sat down with us to conceptualize their wedding Dan was beaming about his ONE request – a cheese fountain as part of the wedding catering. Yes, it was pulled right off the screen from Talladega Nights. So, the kitsch factor was there but we never expected it to taste so fabulous. Jen’s Catering classed up the cheese fountain. Their food was amazing as well.
Pickering Barn is located in Issaquah and serves as a great backdrop for wedding photos. Its landscaping is lush and there are many trees on the property. It sports rustic chic details with all the modern amenities. Construction of the original hay barn dates back to 1896 and the dairy barn was built in 1906. Dan and Megin’s ceremony was held in the hay barn and the ceremony was in the adjacent dairy barn. The venue used to host cattle, but now it can accommodate upwards of 400!
Rented Elegance did a great job on the wedding flowers and the GINORMOUS hanging candelabra. Full twinkle power galore! The flowers and decorated candles that lined the aisle in the hay barn were gorgeous. Very vintage and super romantic. They also helped the family set up all of the table scapes.
Sound Sational Music provided the wedding music and owner Ken served as the MC for the evening. He announced the first dances, photo booth opening, bouquet and garter toss etc and he kept the party rockin’. Ken did a great job keeping the wedding festivities on schedule. As a photographer it is extremely helpful to have this level of organization.
There were lots and lots of wedding cakes at this wedding. The bride and groom’s main cake was done by Mike’s Amazing Cakes in Redmond. Not only was it beautiful but we snuck a taste as well. Two thumbs up. Each table had its own specialty flavor of wedding cake. We’re talking red velvet, raspberry, lemon, chocolate and the list continues. These individual cakes were baked by 3.14 Bakery in White Center. The bride and groom helped decorate the individual cake stands.
This was our most rockin’ wedding photobooth ever. Mitzi was busy for 2 hours snapping shots. Our photobooth experience has grown to include many props. The most popular seemed to be the pirate hook, silly hats and dollar sign shades. This was definitely a fun crew.
Each table included a decorated white paper bag to be filled by CANDY! The candy bar was hopping and had many great treats. The mini chocolate bars had been painstakingly wrapped with wedding color paper and adornments. Let us just say that the kids (and adults) were hopped up on sugar and loving that candy bar.
The wedding was fabulous and the vintage details were so fitting for the Issaquah wedding venue. Dan and Megin had been collecting mason jars almost since they got engaged. The candles that were placed in the jars as well as the fresh lavendar sprigs that decorated the tables really helped to tie everything together.
Congratulations Dan and Megin. May you live long and prosper!
Firstlight Photography does alot of wedding photography at the Bellevue LDS Temple.
The Bellevue Temple offers a tremendous backdrop for photos. Firstlight Photography knows the grounds well and has several favorite locations for wedding sessions. We can help you plan your wedding. Our LDS Wedding Packages start at $625.