Searching for photographer for wedding in June 2013 in LA, CA region
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DaveInLA
Registered: Nov 14, 2012
Total Posts: 3
Country: United States

Hi guys, my fiancee and I are looking for a photographer for our engagement and wedding on the evening of 6/22/13. It will be held at the Trump National gold course in Rancho Palos Verdes. We've met a couple potentials, but we're still undecided on exactly what to look for. Please let me explain, and hopefully you can help.

The firstphotographer we met is a young (25-27ish year old) independent photographer. No mention of her training. Her work seemed good enough (I don't have a great eye for what to look for in photography), and she seemed full of energy. Her photos seem to be more of the "fun, in the moment" type of stuff, less of the formal suit-and-tie shots. But overall, they seemed balanced. My concern with her is her age and likely lack of a lot of experience. Her packages came in a variety of prices, but the one are interested in is a shade under $4K. It seems to be pretty comprehensive and includes an engagement shoots, parent albums, and a 16 x 20" (or larger) canvas.

The second we met has been around longer. He has a large 6000 ft studio and seems to have great credentials (Master Photographer from PP of A). He's also got 3 associate photographers working for him. But of course, he's expensive and his service seems less personal. We didn't meet him; we met one of his reps to go over his work. To make things more complicated, he doesn't have convenient packages. Rather, everything is itemized and "a la carte" (there's a price per photo, etc.) That's good and bad. Good because we can choose exactly what we want and skip the things we don't, and bad because the prices can get out of control. For the equivalent to the first photographer, we'd probably be looking at >$5K. My other concern is that these guys might be too "old school" and formal for us. My fiancee and I both think the ideal situation would be to have the first photographer for the engagement shoot, and the second photographer for the wedding event itself.

What do you guys think about the different photographers? They almost seem like they're on the complete opposite sides of the spectrum (first being a young freelancer of sorts, the second being older and more experienced, and less personal). Do you have thoughts on age/experience, styles, and price? I've done a Google search about "average price" for wedding/engagement photography, and most seem to say about $3K. Would we be paying too much for $4-5K for a complete package? Thanks!



ricardovaste
Registered: Jan 25, 2010
Total Posts: 3760
Country: United Kingdom

Certainly a difficult task if you're not really sure what you're after, but looking into some can certainly help, and hopefully you'll get some decent advise / recommendations over here. I think for those who don't know what to look for in photography, qualifications and experience may be what they look for instead, which I can completely understand. What I'd say is that if you prefer the first photographer, ask for testimonials and contact details of those people do you can actually speak to them. 25-27 isn't that young if you ask me, If the work is good and the service is personal, it should be good for you. You might be noticing age just in comparison to the other photog, or perhaps because they've given you some sort of impression based on how they present their business, but it could well just be because you're not entirely sure how to compare th photography itself, or what you're after.

Best of luck.



HubbardJA
Registered: Jan 02, 2008
Total Posts: 921
Country: United States

I would not make a decision based on age or anything from the PPA. I'd choose the photographer who you feel most comfortable with and connect the most with their beliefs (i.e. how they will cover your wedding) and photo work. After all, you're going to be spending a lot of time together.

-Jayson



sherijohnson
Registered: Jan 23, 2009
Total Posts: 3613
Country: United States

I think you are on the right track Dave. Key things to consider in choosing a photographer for your wedding.

1. You love their photography
2. You can afford to hire them.
3. You like the photographer's personality and how they work.
4. You feel confident that the photographer will capture your day in the way you want your wedding day story told.
5. They meet all of your other criteria (experience, training, back up equipment, insurance, etc.)

I think the average price you found is probably normal or possibly even on the low side for your location. I would recommend you do your engagement session with the same photographer you want to hire for your wedding, if you are unsure about hiring them for your wedding, the engagement session would be a great way to see if you are a good fit for the big day.



bthatton
Registered: Jan 08, 2009
Total Posts: 1146
Country: United States

HubbardJA wrote:
I would not make a decision based on age or anything from the PPA. I'd choose the photographer who you feel most comfortable with and connect the most with their beliefs (i.e. how they will cover your wedding) and photo work. After all, you're going to be spending a lot of time together.

-Jayson


+20



Tony Hoffer
Registered: Mar 14, 2008
Total Posts: 8842
Country: United States

It's sounds like neither of them are quite the perfect fit yet.... There are tons of amazing photographers in LA... If you ask for some recommendations here you might find someone who really rocks your world.



Jamesbjenkins
Registered: Mar 23, 2012
Total Posts: 835
Country: United States

I wouldn't put any stock in the PPA. Any hack with $300 can join and slap the PPA logo on everything they do.

And as far as your choice, I think most of us here would agree that chemistry and a shared vision with your photographer is at least as important as price. It sounds like you have some flexibility on budget, so I'd be focusing on the personality and portfolio of your photographer more than their price.

And btw, age is almost completely irrelevant. I know several photogs that are more than a few years younger than I, with less experience, and their images are quite good.

Good luck!



RichardLavigne
Registered: Jan 13, 2007
Total Posts: 5353
Country: United States

I would agree with pretty much everything that's been said so far...



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5892
Country: United States

Jamesbjenkins wrote:
I wouldn't put any stock in the PPA. Any hack with $300 can join and slap the PPA logo on everything they do.

And as far as your choice, I think most of us here would agree that chemistry and a shared vision with your photographer is at least as important as price. It sounds like you have some flexibility on budget, so I'd be focusing on the personality and portfolio of your photographer more than their price.

And btw, age is almost completely irrelevant. I know several photogs that are more than a few years younger than I, with less experience, and their images are quite good.

Good luck!


True, but not any hack can earn a Master of Photography from PPA.



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9916
Country: United States

Let me suggest to you this website:

http://kurtiskronk.com



DaveInLA
Registered: Nov 14, 2012
Total Posts: 3
Country: United States

jcolman wrote:

True, but not any hack can earn a Master of Photography from PPA.


Is the "Master Photographer" from PPA a prestigious degree? The rep I talked to seemed to think so.



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9916
Country: United States

Dave, my recommendation would be to completely forget about 'qualifications' and go with someone whose work you identify with and whose personality meshes well with yours and your fiance's. It's also important that you're happy with their end product(s), whatever they may be. That's all that matters.

You need to see full weddings and you need to see finished products. Whether they've been doing it a few years or 20+ years makes no difference to whether you should choose them or not. No amount of schooling or certifications or awards make someone the right photographer for you.



Robin Usagani
Registered: Oct 26, 2010
Total Posts: 2850
Country: United States

Just ask to see a full set from 1 or 2 weddings. Make your decision based on that.



friscoron
Registered: Oct 07, 2009
Total Posts: 5286
Country: United States


Someone in her mid-20s is not too young. She can still be quite experienced, but the important thing is if her style speaks to you, if you connect with her personality, and then whether she's in your budget or not.

As for the Master Photographer credential, there are plenty of photographers who are just as good as someone with that credential from the PPA, but they just don't take the time to get the credential. They're too busy, or it doesn't really matter to them. Chances are, it's going to be one of his associates shooting your wedding anyway. And that might happen without you ever meeting him and seeing if you connect with him or not.

If you like the girl, don't let her age get in your way. But if you didn't really connect with her, keep looking. It's an important day for you, and your photographer will be spending more time with you that day than almost anyone.



jcolman
Registered: Feb 21, 2008
Total Posts: 5892
Country: United States

DaveInLA wrote:
jcolman wrote:

True, but not any hack can earn a Master of Photography from PPA.


Is the "Master Photographer" from PPA a prestigious degree? The rep I talked to seemed to think so.


It's an accreditation by the PPA. One has to demonstrate a complete knowledge of a number of photographic processes. That person is then judged by other Masters who decide if they are worthy of the title. At least that's my understanding of how it works.

I went to school for my photography degree so I never bothered to submit to the PPA's Master program, but I am a PPA member just for the benefits.



Robin Usagani
Registered: Oct 26, 2010
Total Posts: 2850
Country: United States

They should have Master Photographer TV show... like Master Chef!



zalmyb
Registered: Apr 29, 2010
Total Posts: 1613
Country: United States

I agree with the sentiment that credentials mean next to nothing. (Mainly because I don't have any )

You need to know that you will A. Like the style of your photographer and B. that he can produce good results under a variety of circumstances (which is where experience comes in).

I'd ask the first for some referrals, or ask to see a few full weddings (portfolios can be deceiving).

If you want referrals, here is a good place to ask, but if you're already happy with what photographer #1 will produce, I'd just go with her.



nswelton
Registered: Jan 17, 2006
Total Posts: 260
Country: N/A

I would be so turned off by the second photographer. Who cares what his rep says about his credentials. You didn't even meet the guy! He could turn out to be a total d-bag and you'll have to hang out with him all day. And second of all, credentials mean almost nothing. If they were awards given out by a blinded jury of peers, that might mean something.

If you liked the first photographers' style and personality, ask to see a couple of complete client galleries. If what you see is consistent with what you were presented upon the first meeting, go with her. Age can mean anything. Inexperienced? How do you know she hasn't been shooting since she was 17? Remember that stuffy old men sometimes take photos that look like they were taken by stuffy old men.



DaveInLA
Registered: Nov 14, 2012
Total Posts: 3
Country: United States

Hi again guys, thanks for your recommendations!

We've met a few people and I think we've made our choice. However, there are a few logistics we're not sure of. We expect ~150 guests. The guy we like has an affiliate, and he's left it to us as to whether we want a second photographer or not. We've seen the work of both, and we're happy with all of it. I can imagine wanting a second photographer during the hours leading up to the actual ceremony (to take shots of each the bride and groom getting ready, etc.), but I don't thinka second photographer will add much at the actual ceremony or reception, right?



sherijohnson
Registered: Jan 23, 2009
Total Posts: 3613
Country: United States

2nd photographer will also be a wise choice especially during the ceremony



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