Picture Perfect



Now that the reception and ceremony sites have been booked, we had to start thinking about one of the other pieces of the puzzle a photographer. This is one of the things that brides don’t exactly dream about for their wedding. I mean, everyone knows that you say your “I Do’s”, kiss, dance, and eat, but when have you ever heard a woman whisper “This is the photographer I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little girl!” during a photography interview? Never? Didn’t think so.

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Back Up Back Up: Make certain when booking a photographer or videographer that he or she has a back-up team to cover for them in case of emergency. It's unusual, but if there is an emergency, he or she gets hurt or sick, or something catastrophic happens, you could be out a photographer and miss capturing these memories.]

Well, this was one of the things we had to deal with in the past week. I didn’t really expect to be swept off my feet my any photog in particular I actually was just hoping to find the cheapest one and book him or her as soon as possible. I know it sounds a little careless, but I was kinda hoping that SOME part of the planning process could be as clear-cut as that.

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Is It You? When hiring wedding professionals, ask if the person with you have your interview (or that you see, or listen to) will be who is actually be at your wedding.]

Ha! No way! Choosing a photographer was much more difficult than I thought it would be. First there was the task of figuring out which ones actually exist in this area which was quite a struggle until I figured out where to look.

In case you don’t know already, there are some great resources for brides in the Hudson Valley on the Internet. Now, I know I’m a bit of a ‘net nerd, but the Web really is one of the best ways to find information on things quickly. I actually did most of my photography research on HudsonValleyWeddings.com, which has thus far been one of the easiest resources for finding things I need locally. The other site I have been using a lot is TheKnot.com. I found three photographers from the sites, and contacted each in turn.

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Negatives Can Be Positive. Some photographers will sell you their negatives. If you plan to have duplicates made, any additional cost will be well worth it.]

The three I chose were Vivian Photography in Highland, Bella Photography (Westchester, I think) and Hudson Valley Photo in Fishkill. When I was looking over their sample pieces, it was pretty amazing how different the photo collections range from one company to another. Some photos were very traditional and clear-cut, while others seemed super artsy and unique. Looking from one to another, I realized that I DO have a preference when it comes to photos . . . guess I was going to be a little pickier than I had originally thought!

Bella seemed to have great prices and the photos were traditional and clean. The thing I liked about Bella is that you can go onto their Web page and actually see the package prices, which not too many other photographers do. That’s a move that I endorse! It says “Hey we have reasonable prices ad nothing to hide! We’re not going to rip you off!” And those are my favorite words to hear.

I LOVED Vivian’s style, from Vivian Photography. Her shots were taken thoughtfully and precisely, as if she had been planning the shots forever. You can just tell by looking at the photos that most of them were just spur-of-the-moment snapshots from an amazingly trained eye and creative mind. I actually went to visit her in her office, and just by looking around the office I could tell that I’d be impressed. Even the walls in the office seemed to purr “beautiful,” and the photos she showed us looked even better in person. Her prices were a little steep for me, though, and I had to drag myself away from the sparkling charisma of her expert shots and back into reality after I left. If I had enough money, I would have gone with her on the spot. I love her style!

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: No Surprises, Please: Make sure you know everything your wedding professionals intend to say and do. Last minute surprises in the officiant's speech or a photographer who "doesn't believe in" family shots can be very unpleasant. So, communicate, communicate, communicate!]

After fishing around for a while, my father mentioned that he had a friend, Paul, who did photography for a living. I actually remembered him from my high school junior prom, when the school had hired him to take everyone’s prom pictures. He runs a photography business out of Fishkill called Hudson Valley Photo Studio, and I figured I’d give him a try. When I saw his work, I was impressed he does both traditional and artistic shots, and all very professionally done. I loved the formal-yet-fun feel that his work embodied, and when we met with him Tim and I both agreed that our personalities meshed perfectly. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t get along with him, actually Paul was friendly and wisecracking, but accommodating and professional at the same time. As an added bonus, his prices were VERY reasonable and he threw us a great deal (since he’s friends with my dad and all.) Needless to say, we found our photographer.

[HudsonValleyWeddings.com Tip: Get Ready in advance with a spot for your family photos. Set up a backdrop somewhere out-of-the-way where it will be logistically easy to direct small groups of guests and get their photos taken during the reception.]

Ahh…one more piece of the wedding puzzle connected. It seems like there are still a million to go!
‘Till next time…
-Laura =)


The Blog For Hudson Valley Weddings

About This Blog

Liz Stein

Laura Calhoon
Dover, NY

A Hudson Valley native, Laura Calhoon grew up in Poughkeepsie and earned her Bachelor's degree at SUNY New Paltz in May of 2007. Laura, who has worked for both Hudson Valley magazine and the Taconic Press in Millbrook, is now teaching at a nursery school in Brewster. She is thrilled write Behind the Valley Veil -- mostly because it gives her an outlet for all that wedding talk! Her hobbies include reading, drawing, singing opera (minus the viking hat), writing fiction, and performing with her band "What's in this Juice?" -- and, of course, hanging out with her wonderful fiancee, Tim. She currently resides in Dover -- not all too far away from her husband-to-be.

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