Family Photos

When we were in Langley visiting Shawn’s family at the beginning of July, we got a “professional” photographer to do some family photos for us. Don’t worry, grammar nerds, I didn’t use those quotation marks for emphasis. I used them because I didn’t feel that the whole experience was all that professional. Granted, the photographer is just starting out, but if I was just entering my chosen field, I would want to put extra love and time into everything I did so my business would flourish. Shawn and I didn’t really feel that our experience was very pro.

The lady who did the session, owner of Louroo Photography, did the newborn photos for our niece, so Shawn’s mom thought she would be a good choice, and as she’s just starting out, the session fee wasn’t sky high. She was able to be flexible with two littles along for the ride, so that was nice, but for me, that’s where the good impressions ended.

The whole thing felt extremely rushed; I don’t think we were out for much more than an hour, if that, to photograph six adults and two babies. The time distribution between the three couples was also a little skewed, with us getting the short end of the stick. This was especially noticeable when we got the pictures back; not a single shot of just the two of us made it through. Apparently, they just weren’t good enough.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m getting pictures done and the photographer says something like, “Got it!” I assume they got a usable shot. If they say they got it and I find out later that they’re not happy with anything they took, that’s not likely to make me happy. When my mother in law asked what happened, she did say there was one that she felt okay about sending on, but so far we’ve seen nothing. That’s also not encouraging.

I could just be extremely spoiled when it comes to photographers and their work. Our wedding photographer, Kelly Redinger, was absolutely amazing. For example:

472-Bethany-Shawn-3752

This is not even one of the best shots. It’s not even one of the retouched shots. It’s just one of the many fabulous things that happened with a little bit of direction and his finger on the trigger. That’s one of the things I loved about him. He took pictures until he was sure he got exactly what he was looking for, no matter how long it took, and he gave us all of them, even the ones where we were blinking or making a funny face. That way, we had so much choice it was insane.

Then, there was the newborn photographer that we used, Kristen J Photography. She had the same kind of philosophy: it takes as long as it takes, and I’ll take as many shots as I need to get the best ones. (I mean, why not? It’s digital. Taking more photos doesn’t cost you any more. Sure, editing them does, but only edit the best ones.) For example:

2E3A57151

 

She was so patient with all of us, and was amazing at making us feel comfortable. For our session being the first meeting, this was a great skill to have. Also, trusting someone with your brand new baby isn’t easy, but I had no problems putting Finn in her capable hands.

The actual pictures we got from our family photo session were lacklustre. She has the general idea, but she needs to take way more shots to make sure she gets something that’s really great. That’s the joy of digital. More pictures does not equal more money required on the part of the photographer, unless they choose to edit them all, like I stated above. She also need to work a little on composition, but that could be my lack of love for overly staged shots coming through.

So, without further ado, these are the photos I didn’t hate:

I edited this one myself to correct a gap at the bust of my dress that was showing off my white bra. Not flattering.

I edited this one myself to correct a gap at the bust of my dress that was showing off my white bra. Not flattering.

071014_4699

071014_4731

071014_4815

Edited

There were also some where the babies were on their tummies, but I guess Natalya ended up in focus and Finn was blurry. I don’t know how that happened or how she didn’t notice. Oh well. Adorable photo op wasted.

There are a few things I should probably make clear: I didn’t dislike these most of these photos because I didn’t get my hair and makeup done, or because they weren’t retouched. I had one photo with pro hair/makeup above, and one where I did everything myself, and neither of them were retouched. I just think this particular photographer has some work to do. Some of the shots were okay, like the ones posted above, but this is not someone I would consider going back to in the future without evidence of some serious improvement.

On The Wedding, Six Months Out

Well, Shawn and I have been married for just over six months. We just got our wedding album back from the worlds best photographer, Kelly Redinger, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Between the album itself and the beautiful box it came in, it weighs close to ten pounds, and it’s worth every ounce!

Seeing the photos in glorious size, on pearl finished paper, made me want to relive the day in my head as much as possible. All the other things in our life having been going at near warp speed, and it sometimes feels like we didn’t get a chance to properly absorb the day. We had several family gatherings the day after (that I did not want to attend; I was more keen to spend some quality alone time with my new husband), and we left the following day for our vacation. Couple that with my pregnancy woes starting before we were even off the cruise ship in our second week, and things have been very much a blur.

A lot of people, particularly those in the midst of planning their own weddings, have asked me what I would do differently. The list isn’t a long one, especially compared to some other, bridezilla types that I know, but here’s a round up anyway:

We did not have a DJ. Neither of us are particularly fond of DJs, and the music that they play, for the most part, does not mesh with our style. We also didn’t have the money in our budget for someone of real quality, so we opted to do all the music ourselves and just do an iPod playlist. I don’t great doing this in the least. It worked out wonderfully, people were dancing most of there night, and we got a good variety of songs going. What I regret is leaving the finalizing of said playlist so late in the game, and not having the time to put the songs in any type of order. We ended up just putting the iPod on shuffle and letting it do it’s thing. Yes, it worked out, but there were songs that we wanted to hear that never came on. It probably didn’t help that we had over eleven hours of music on the list, but we are not good at narrowing things down.

Next, our emcee. I love my sister in law to death, but she didn’t really seem in to the job. She pretty much read what I emailed her verbatim, and it sounded totally unprepared and unenthusiastic. I totally get it: she was five months pregnant at the time, had just moved in to a new house and her fiancĂ© didn’t end up making it to the wedding. Naturally, she was in a bit of a bad mood (I was unaware of this until my wedding planner told me about a conversation they had in which she admitted to being pregnant and bitchy.) If I would have known that she was going to be that unenthusiastic, I probably would have found someone else to do the job. Again, this isn’t anything against my sister in law, it’s just not what I was hoping for.

I definitely would have been more insistent that guests participate in the D20 kissing game we came up with instead of the traditional glass clinking nonsense. It would have gotten a lot more people involved in the festivities, and I don’t think that guests were aware that this was, in fact, the only way to either get us to kiss or have a chance to tell a story. I put a lot of work in to the action cards and in to making sure there was a little something for everyone, and it barely got used. It was kind of a bummer.

Probably the last thing would have been the photo booth. It was amazing fun, and the pictures and stop motion video we got out of it are priceless. I didn’t go in it enough, though. I would have made time to go in the booth more often and with more guests. It really is true that you get caught up in everything that’s going on, and you miss some great opportunities. I don’t have a single shot of me and our fabulous wedding planner, Jordan, either, and that is not cool.

Everything else went off as well as I could have hoped for. The venue, for both ceremony and reception, were perfect. Dinner was spectacular. I have honestly never had wedding fare that tasted that good. All of the vendors that we dealt with we’re amazing, starting with hair and make up in the morning and ending with the hot dog truck at night. I don’t regret getting a planner/coordinator in the slightest. It was a brilliant plan, and it made the day feel smooth like butter.

Obviously, there are things we would have added or elaborated on if the budget had a been unlimited, but we had a hell of a day with what we had. I proved all the skeptics wrong, and that as severely satisfying. There were some people, right up until the day of, who could not see how comic books, video games, cartoons and vintage would turn in to a cohesive event. Shawn and I knew our vision was a great one, but there will always be naysayers especially when it comes to a wedding. After all, for things like that, everyone knows better than you 😉

Since the big day, we’ve gotten some attention for our unique party. Off Beat Bride featured us on their main page, which was awesome for me because that site was a lifesaver during the planning process. The boutique where I got. MY gown actually called me one of their coolest brides ever. They do a lot of business, so that was also awesome.

When mum and I paid Jordan and Kelsey of Atmosphere Wedding planning a visit several days ago! they told us that our wedding was the most popular from the last year. I guess they judge these things by how many new clients bring in pictures from a particular wedding, and we are in the lead. I have such a hard time believing that, but why would they lie? The thought of people bringing pictures of my wedding in with elements that they want to steal circled is mind boggling, and it makes me a little giddy. There are also two photos from our wedding up in the new Atmosphere office: one of me leaning against a wall looking all purdy, and one of Shawn and I walking away from an airplane at the museum (it’s super spectacular and one of our favourites). that one is also featured in the main slide show on their new website, and a bunch of other ones are featured under the vintage tab of “Our Work”. I was so in love with our wedding, I just never imagined that so many others would be in love with it too.

I like the fact the brides and grooms see the picture of our Adventure Time cake and decide they want to do something more fun Than white with flowers. I love that people can see our venue for the amazing space that it is, and that they’re actually requesting to see it because of what we managed to do there. I also love that Jordan is recommending my make up artist to new brides now. Chelsea is so so good,and. Any new business that I helped throw her way is great.

We got another surprise in my Facebook feed this week in the form of one of our photos placing in a competition Kelly entered it in! The “wizard” photo from the ends of the night placed 15th over all in a competition (I’m not sure which one) that had a pure art category. How zazzy is that? Our shots were so fun, and they tuned out so we’ll, that im glad the accolades are rolling in.

Our wedding was pretty damn perfect. Not a lot of brides come away from the day saying that, and I am well pleased to be one of them. Not only did we get a perfect wedding, I got a damn fine husband out of the deal, too. I’m one lucky gal.

Professional Photography and Why It’s Worth It

We  decided early on in the wedding planning process that photography was on the top of our priorities list. I have seen bad wedding photography, and it was not something I wanted. What is the point in getting pro pictures taken if you look back on them and hate the images? We also knew that just because you were paying a lot, didn’t mean you were going to get good images. My sister-in-law, for her first wedding, paid a sizable amount for her wedding pictures, and she wasn’t happy with the results. That’s not something we wanted.

However, most of the web portfolios we looked at were not wowing us. The were over-processed. They weren’t processed enough. The were too posed, and nothing original was being done. I don’t even remember how many photographers we looked at online, but it started to seem like it was a hopeless cause. We were going to get stuck with inferior wedding photos because we just couldn’t find someone we liked.

That’s when I came across the website for Kelly Redinger. I liked what I saw from the first image, and the way he wrote about himself and his style of photography had me hooked. Shawn pretty much felt the same way, and I think we were both decided before we even went in to the meeting. After the meeting (a large portion of which was spent talking about books, and had nothing to do with photography or weddings at all), we knew we had found our guy, and we were excited to get started.

I’m not used to having someone follow me around and take pictures all day. I don’t think many people are, but when we went out for our engagement shoot, it didn’t take long for Kelly to have us feeling right at home in front of the camera. We got some great pictures, and I didn’t have any hesitation about what was to come for the wedding.

We were not disappointed. We just got the photos back today, and I’m blown away! Why did they turn our so well? Here are my thoughts:

  • Kelly’s style was what we were looking for, so we didn’t have to fight or push for what we wanted. He already knew what would work and he knew we would be open to anything.
  • He works with a second shooter, so we got all the shots we wanted without having to rush ourselves at any point.
  • Everything we wanted from a wedding package was already included when we talked to him. I hate negotiating, and I didn’t have to do it.
  • Our personalities mesh on a lot of levels. If you’re comfortable with your photographer outside of shooting, the pictures are going to be a million times better.
  • He knows how to edit. We got some stuff that is in black and white, regular colour and filtered, and none of it looks over done. It’s all perfect.
  • He didn’t think our offbeat wedding was out to lunch, at all. Having your vendors on your side is a huge win.

If photography is a priority for you, don’t compromise. We shifted other things in our budget to be able to get exactly what we wanted, and I don’t regret it a bit. Take a look at some of the amazing things he did for us:

081-Bethany-Shawn-4054 101-Bethany-Shawn-4141 103-Bethany-Shawn-3005 124-Bethany-Shawn-4183 140-Bethany-Shawn-0503 155-Bethany-Shawn-0601 249-Bethany-Shawn-0901 329-Bethany-Shawn-1062 331-Bethany-Shawn-1070 335-Bethany-Shawn-1094 346-Bethany-Shawn-3561 365-Bethany-Shawn-1230 371-Bethany-Shawn-1264 401-Bethany-Shawn-1433 419-Bethany-Shawn-1571 440-Bethany-Shawn-1629 465-Bethany-Shawn-3713 475-Bethany-Shawn-3764 477-Bethany-Shawn-3773 506-Bethany-Shawn-4833 563-Bethany-Shawn-2237 582-Bethany-Shawn-2344 590-Bethany-Shawn-2403