Destination Wedding in Santa Barbara~How to select & choose your Photographer

Today Junebug Weddings published Melissa & Jon’s wedding on What Junebug Loves real weddings.

It can be a challenge choosing your event professionals via internet and phone calls. I recently asked one of my couples how they made their choice of Santa Barbara wedding photographer. Here is the insightful answer, and “Thank you” from Melissa and Jon.

It’s a bit long, but I believe it may give you confidence in choosing me to photograph your wedding.

“I’ve been gathering a few thoughts in an email since you sent me the photos, which I’ve copied below.  Regarding choosing a photographer from a distance, it’s very confusing!  I knew and know nothing about photography and the options seem limitless so it is completely overwhelming.  I also didn’t have any friends in the area or anyone I trusted (other than my wedding planners, Colette and Kaitlin who thankfully recommended you) so I spoke to probably 10 photographers over the phone.  It was tough not being able to meet with people but you took the time to write me a long email in response to a bunch of questions I’d sent you, you also had a long phone conversation with me, which helped ease my mind and gave me the impression that you would be someone I would also enjoy working with and would make us both feel at ease (since, confirmed!).  It was also clear from that initial conversation that you were very thoughtful and knowledgeable.  I also had a long conversation about photographers with Colette and she opened my eyes to the fact that I wanted someone experienced (who wouldn’t miss important shots as certain other photographers had for her brides in the past), who would shoot both beautiful portraits and candids and would know how to capture all the details of the day and present the most beautiful facet of everyone and everything.  We then worked through the portfolio of another photographer I’d been considering and she pointed out strange angles, washed out lighting, photos where there were trash cans or luggage carts in the background, photos were the position of the bride gave her “arm fat” or other flaws.  Then we looked through your photos and they had none of the same issues.”
“One thing I did know was important to me was responsiveness and service.  Obviously planning from afar, you rely on email and phone so those factors become even more important. The online reviews I read gushed about your professionalism and service.  Specific instances that I read: we got our engagement photos immediately and in time to get a guest book printed, not to mention your help with this technologically challenged client, getting my photos within a month after the wedding (other photogs said up to 6 months), flexibility with and customization of photo packages, taking us to multiple different locations around town to shoot our engagement photos. To name a few.
One other thing that struck me during one of my planning trips to SB was that every other vendor I met with asked who my photographer was and when I told them the response 100% of the time was “Oh my gosh I LOVE Melissa and she is absolutely the best.  You are working with the best!”  So it was confirmed over and over again by people who are “in the know”.
This is getting lengthy so in sum, the qualities that made my photos and my day so wonderful were experience, personality, professionalism and of course amazing talent.   I hope this is helpful.”
Below is the thank you Melissa & Jon sent me. I’m humbled and grateful to be able to share with my readers.
Wow, I am speechless.  These photos are beyond stunning.  You’ve captured our day, all the happiness and emotion and Jon’s amazing smile (among other things) so perfectly.  My favorite part of that day was seeing our families so happy and radiant and seeing our moms look and feel so gorgeous, which I’ve just relived through these photos.  The faces more than anything made me laugh and cry happy tears (apparently I laugh a lot with my mouth open- who knew? My mom holding back tears, my dad smiling quizzically at my dress (and the picture where he is peaking around the corner before we walk down the aisle), my brothers’ speech, some very emotional hugs with the people we love most in the world, our guests’ beaming faces.
How did you come up with some of the ideas!?  I love the picture looking through Elizabeth’s camera into the bridal room, the portraits of us where our images are reflected in the pool water, the light shining through my veil so that it just seems to float over me.  What fabulous creativity and artistry!  I also love how some of the photos are awash in light and others are saturated with the rich fall colors and the bright greens and pinks of the villa garden- you didn’t miss one detail or one beautiful background (and there were many!).  It’s so fun to get to relive the memories and also to see moments that I missed either because I was elsewhere at the time or I was too busy to really notice.  It’s like seeing a whole new dimension of the day, and that is priceless.
Thank you again.  There just aren’t words to express how much these images mean to us.  What a wonderful talent you have.  Thank you for sharing it with us.
Melissa & Jon”

To see my post on this wedding, click here.