Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photojournalistic? Candid? Formal? What?

So, when I was home last weekend, we discussed the photographer. I've realized this is one thing that I do feel a bit princessy about. Because so many people who mean so much to us are coming from far and wide to wish us well and celebrate with us, I want some beautiful images of the day. I won't be able to take it all in and I want to remember every moment forever. I also want some nice portraits of MJ & I together, since that will really mark the beginning of our lives together. That being said, photographers are expensive! Much more so than we expected. My dad had originally budgeted $2k for photography, since the one person we'd talked to at that point charged that much. But none of the ones I've looked at start at less than $3k and that's for the most minimum package. We need at least 10 hours of coverage, so we definitely need more than the minimum. My dad and my mom also don't agree on whether we need professional coverage for the mehndi and sangeet in the days before or our family/friends pics are enough.

On top of the hours of coverage, I'm convinced we need at least two photographers on site. I don't think one will be enough to capture everything that will be going on, especially during the bharat and reception.

Then I want to make sure we get all the digital images. I found out some photographers say they give you the images, but they're just proofs. I want the high resolution files that I can print in any size. My thought process is that I can make an album or canvas myself, even get them printed in India for cheap. My brother can do it on his Mac. Why pay thousands of dollars to a photographer to get an album printed? ...But I do want them to digitally correct the photos. Most do this, but it's something to ask. They only go through and remove blemishes and Photoshop a small percentage or none at all, but they usually will color correct, white balance, and density correct all.

To make matters more complicated, I wanted to do an engagement shoot and MJ and I really want to do it in NYC. We love NY and DC doesn't hold the same special meaning to us. So we also wanted to find someone who would give us an engagement shoot for free (or cheap) and would travel to New York for cheap to do it. Ideally, they would've shot here before, but let's not get carried away...

Probably the most important thing is style. I like an artistic, photojournalistic style, but MJ and my mom noted that someone these photographers were too "in your face," in that the images were so zoomed in you couldn't get the feel of the whole day. You couldn't see anyone other than the bride and groom in any pics. You had no idea how many people were there, were they laughing or crying, was anyone around when the bride was getting ready, etc. So we need a good balance.

And they need to have shot Indian weddings before. This experience will be invaluable, as it could be overwhelming if it was their first time. We also want them to be able to capture the moments that are meaningful in our tradition, which may not be obvious unless you've been there before.

So I went on a hunt for the perfect photographer. I've looked at hundreds of sites, gotten recommendations from friends, co-workers, blogs, other photographers, etc. I've mostly emailed and talked on the phone, but we finally met some in person this weekend. It's basically all we did this weekend. My family met with 5 and MJ & I are meeting 1 in NYC tonight. We're now thinking we may want to get an album in addition to the digital images.

It's amazing how much of a difference meeting in person makes. One that I wasn't that interested in before the meeting is probably our favorite right now. They were very professional, friendly, had great quality images & albums, have photographed many Indian weddings, and have photographed at Rose Hill Manor many times. They're also very cost effective for the wedding day. However, they're very pricey for the 2 days prior and, I suspect, for the engagement shoot.

I'm also really glad my whole family went to each of the appointments. Everyone had different perspectives on each of the photographers, which helps us all to make a decision. My dad pointed out that the photographer I thought would be my favorite didn't show the same creativity in his Indian shoots as his non-Indian. So, even though he had an amazing style, we wouldn't necessarily get that in our images.

The hunt is still on, but it's consumed me the past few weeks. We're probably not getting a videographer, so the photography is going to be key in remembering the event. We've also been discussing getting a digital slideshow and maybe even a photo booth! Fingers crossed we find the perfect one soon! (I want to get engagement pics done before my mom and I go to India!)

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