Wedding Vendors I: The Photographer

Hello, sorry about the gap in posting last week. I was away skiing in France. It was great to be on my hols and have a break but it did mean I couldn’t post as there was no internet and I ran out of time during the week before we left…

{Image from Author’s personal collection}

I spent some time taking photographs though, hampered only by my lack of photography knowledge and the inadequate camera I was using. Which leads me onto this week’s post: our photographer.

Choosing our photographer was one of our earliest experiences of wedding vendors. We knew that we needed to book someone sooner rather than later as the wedding was only a year away, but where to start?

If we are being honest, photographs mean more to me than to My Boy. We therefore didn’t want to spend an unproportionate amount of our budget on photography, yet good photography costs money. So, we made a list of our specifications:

* Local. We wanted all of our budget to go on the photographs, not the photographers transport and hotel costs. A friend who is a photographer quoted us a price towards the top of our budget but once we added on her additional costs to get there (not unreasonable) she was unaffordable.

*Someone we got on with. When we met our photographer she put us straight at ease. She was friendly and funny and got on well with my parents as well as both of us. She was someone who could be around us all day, capturing natural photographs, and that seemed to us very important.

*Copyright. We wanted to have the copyright to print or e-mail or blog our photos to our hearts content. We didn’t want to have to pay for each print, or not be able to send a CD of the images to our family members to print out themselves. Some photographers I spoke to charged up to £20 per extra print and acted as if they would be doing us a favour by taking the photos.

*Flexibility. Whilst we are happy to leave our photographer to her own devices for most of the time, we also wanted someone who would listen to what we wanted and to work with us to achieve the shots which are important to us, not her. For example, for the majority of the day we are hoping our photographer will take reportgage style, natural, unposed shots. Yet outside the church we would like her to take some traditional portraits of the families and so on. Our photographer impressed us as she always acts as if we are the ones paying, which we are. From some of the other attitudes we encountered, you’d be surprised at who the photographer thought was the client.

*Price. We were unwilling to spend more than 1/15 of our budget on the photographer. While we actually ended up spending a little more than we had originally budgeted we are happy with the slight increase as we are getting everything that we wanted from our photographer (we hope!).

*Straight horizons. Sounds silly, but it drives me mad when I see photographs with the horizons slightly off-line. Fine, if the photo is definitely at an angle but if the subject is just slightly wonky, it’s not for me. Our photographer listened to this without looking at me like I was insane and then when I spoke to her a week later she mentioned that she had started noticing her horizons more when she was shooting. Silly though it is, it matters to me and I am the client, so I was very pleased she was taking me seriously, idiosyncracity or not.

So, I started searching for photographers on google and on wedding websites. Sadly in the UK there is no great list like the library here (although I am hoping UK brides will add theirs to the EAD library, which I intend to do) so it was really trial and error. We requested their catalogues and DVDs and watched each one, most relegated to the ‘no’ pile on grounds of not to our tastes, the occasional one as it was out of our budget. And then finally, we came to the one we ended up choosing. Her work was varied and interesting, she was local, she was friendly, she fitted the majority of our criteria and so we went to meet her.

And who is she? Her name is KT Thompson. She doesn’t have a blog so you can’t see much of her work, and to be honest, I don’t think her website shows enough of her wedding photography skills. When we visited her in her studio the photographs we viewed then walked the right line between informal but stylish and tasteful. She listened to our ideas, was willing to work to achieve what we wanted but also pointed out we were paying for her expertise so we should, to a large degree, “let her get on with it”. Perfect. She also showed us hundreds of different photographs, trying to find examples like the images we were describing. We paid the deposit there and then and left very happily.

Since then we have exchanged numerous e-mails and even received a Christmas card from her. She is organising a trip to the venue to explore potential ideas and is then going to discuss these with us. All of which you would expect from a photographer, in my opinion, but we are very pleased. She is also excited about my writing for EAD and seeing her photos in the wedding recaps and has been very supportive. KT also indicated she might be willing to contribute to one of the posts with me and explain some of the choices for her photos of our wedding, so something to look forward to reading!

kt photos
{Image by KT Thompson}