For us, not having professional photography was not an option. This was for a few reasons, mostly because I've been to weddings and events with my family members and friends, and I either never see the pictures, or there aren't enough really good shots to make up for not having a pro. We'll potentially be asking a few friends with DSLRs to play second shooter during the cocktail hour, but I wanted there to be a person whose entire job it was to take pictures to be the one responsible for capturing the day. Yes, this probably isn't something that we need to spend thousands on, but since that's the going rate, that's what we'll be spending. I wish that comfortable shoes didn't cost more than $30, but they do, so I buy them. Some things are just a matter of market.
I always thought that I would value photography the most and that would be the financial priority. Photographs are the only thing that lasts after the wedding is over, and I really really love great photography. The thing I found interesting though, as I perused wedding blogs, other bloggers and I didn't have the same idea of great photography. Other blogger's idea of great photography included photographers that take hazy, vintage-looking photographs, with an almost sunwashed hue, or photos that involved blurry, out of focus shots. I like the out of focus shots, as art, but I also like the idea that in 50 years, I won't be looking at a hazy picture of my grandmother from the wedding and thinking, "gee, I wish I had a clear picture." Photography is both art, and a way to capture life, and I sometimes think the two don't meet. Truthfully, I don't think I will look at our wedding pictures and regret that they aren't art. Ultimately, photographs capture a moment in time, and the right picture, the right moment, will always make you feel like you felt the moment it was taken. I think I would regret not having those moments more than I would regret not having art.
I also started to learn more about photography generally, because I've spent three years in law school to chuck it all and become a starving artist...not really, but I do really want to learn to take better pictures. I took photography in high school and it interests me. So I sat down to think about what I really wanted in a photographer. This might seem kind of selfish, but I was pretty sure that Mark and I had the same general taste, and that my criteria was going to be pickier because I knew more about photography and what it could do. So I made a list, and I set out to find a photographer that could do all of that, within our measly photography budget.
I wanted pictures that captured emotions.
I wanted pictures that captured how much fun the party was.
I wanted pictures that captured how much we love our bridal party.
I wanted pictures that captured how much we love each other.
And so I started our hunt with these things in mind. (All of these photographs are from photographers I looked at during the process. In order, from top down, the first two are Prema Photographic, then Murial Silva, Paired Images, and Lara Swanson.)
What were your priorities? Do you want pictures or do you want art? Did you make photography a budget buster or a budget saver?