The Big Bad Photographer Search Continues (Groom With A View)

Photo: Denise Farwell and Stephen Phillips/Emilie, Inc. Photo: Denise Farwell and Stephen Phillips/Emilie, Inc.

(Continued from “Camera Shy“)

On the subway ride home I reminded Evin about Angela, a very good friend and a terrific photographer and the fact that she had taken (in recent memory) the only photograph of me I could stomach. Sure, I was still on the fence about hiring her too. Hiring a friend for such an important thing was a recipe for disaster. So we again agreed to meet other photographers.

Next up was contestant number two who was located in the Flower District. He owned the company with his wife, also a wedding photographer. His work was terrific, he had a great sense of humor, the price was right, and he offered us a photo booth, which Evin really wanted but I was on the fence about. When she asked me why I didn’t want one, I ticked off the names of friends of mine whose private parts would make an appearance in there after a three hour open bar. We told him we would let him know, shook hands, and left the office. In the time it took to ride down the elevator to ground floor, we both agreed he was the guy. So we rode back up, walked into the office, and hired him. We were both excited! Evin that we found a great photographer, and me that the search was over. The next day he emailed, apologizing that he gotten our date wrong and was already booked that day. This raised our eyebrows a bit. I felt a photographer ought to know his schedule before committing to a prospective client. Our friend Peter posited that he had tossed us aside for a better paying client. But we gave him another shot when he offered us a colleague who agreed to meet us near our apartment the following night.

Most of what he showed us was his work taking pictures of food. We saw very few people in his portfolio, just food. When we asked to see a wedding of his with people (!) he struggled to find one and the pictures were only meh. We asked him how many weddings he does a year he stumbled through, “ten, maybe less.” Then, when seeing our disappointment: “But I really want to do more.” Then I asked him if he was familiar with our wedding venue and he seemed confused, then I clarified where it was. “Maybe, I think I’ve been there…Um…I think so?” (Everyone knows of our place. How could he not?)

Later that night when we got home we found his CV on his website which included an internship where our wedding would be held! And he never mentioned this when we met him. Again we debated Angela and again we couldn’t decide what to do. The following day we debated what our feedback should be. Then, just to be honest, Evin wrote the guy and told him exactly what happened. And in one last desperate chance to save us, he offered us a discount and suggested we meet his wife and partner. We had no one left, we had exhausted everyone in our world, and so we agreed. Two days later, we received an email. It read: “my wife shattered her ACL, can we put the meeting off her a few weeks?” A wedding photographer really only has two requirements: One, that they own an camera and two that they need to be mobile. So we passed.

The hiring of a photographer, something we thought would be fairly easy, had turned into a giant pain in the neck. We really had no one left. So we set the search aside for a previously planned trip to Jamaica where I took lots of pictures of Evin, she took lots of pictures of me, and I snuck the camera back to our room and deleted all the ones of me that I hated, which was most of them. The big, bad wedding photographer search? That could wait until we got back to New York.

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  • Ella
    03/11/13 at 10:58

    We met with three different photographer choices (one was an online ‘skype’ meeting.) We hired one of the three choices we met with, and are really looking forward to their work. Our experience searching was quite different, but we definitely did encounter some challenges. Some people did not even response back to my initial e-mail inquiries. Not even to say “no thanks” (Why? Weird huh?)

    One of these was in the address on google maps for a studio turns out to be outdated, and this meant we ended up being about 1/2 an hour late for a meeting. To make matters worse, in this meeting we had just barely begun to feel relaxed and comfortable (because both my fiance and I are like you, Robert, and very self-conscious and anxious about photography)….when a second meeting showed up. I felt she ought not to have booked us so close to this other meeting, even if we had been on time it meant we had less than an hour for our session. We also felt this photographer was a bit too conventional and we were looking for an artistic approach/photo journalistic approach.

    We ended up hiring a team of two women, one of whom does the photo journalism thing the other of whom does artist shots. They are in Gaithersburg, Virginia but do travel. Feel free to contact them if you would have the budget to pay travel/hotel. They are wonderfully relaxing, professional, competent, and pleasant. Paired Images – but Joel and I refer to them as “The Jesses.” (They are both named Jess.)

  • Jo
    03/12/13 at 11:21

    @Ella, Newsflash! Photographers book appointments back to back because they’re busy. They shoot, edit, make albums, meet with clients like you etc, not to mention shooting other jobs. Had you been prompt for your interview, under an hour would have been plenty of time to surmise if that photographer was a good fit for you. By that time, you had already seen her website and had interactions via email and phone, so an appointment nowadays is just window dressing, to meet and make sure you’re on the right wavelength–and to see albums.

    Being insecure and uncomfortable is also on you, not on her. If you need more than an hour to warm up because you are, as you put it “self-conscious and anxious,” then that’s not the photographer’s issue, it’s yours.

    That the next couple was on time for their appointment and you were late because you didn’t confirm the address isn’t the photographer’s fault, either, it’s, guess what, ALSO your fault. Frankly, blaming them for booking an appointment “so close” to your time slot is ridiculous. The world doesn’t revolve around you. If you’re late to the dentist’s you have to sit and wait. However, by your logic that would be the dentist’s fault. The fact that you may or may not be “self-conscious and anxious” about your appointment does not make your lateness less egregious or impolite.

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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