Friday, October 10, 2008

A Photographer, Alice Has

Last evening Chris and I met with Ms. Jennifer Chase in Rosslyn, and we have, I can report, most certainly found our photographer. Five eight, dirty blond, extroverted, Jennifer purchased tea and coffee for us at the Starbucks on 17th St., making us feel right at home, welcomed, as if the city were her office.

She impressed us immediately with her passion for photography, her selection at elite workshops by renowned photographers, her business savvy, her dedication to Chris and me, and, most of all, her consideration of our comfort level on our wedding day. What struck me is her desire to know us, to understand us as a couple, as her mission, she said, was to render our relationship in a frame with authenticity and a voice, for the photos to speak.

She had a number of wonderful suggestions for the wedding day, and for the engagement shots:
  • Candid shots of bride and groom before the wedding. In her experience, the groom is so aware of all eyes watching his reaction when the bride comes down the aisle, that this expression is all too often exaggerated or forced, and that she has found groom and bride shots before the ceremony to loosen both up, to help them be more in the "now" as they exchange their vows. This way, too, there would be more light to use rather than racing against the clock at 6 after the ceremony. Chris and I are open to this idea.
  • Sparklers as a send-off at the end of reception. This was Somer's lovely idea, too, and one I had initially loved. The idea is to have guests make a pathway of sparklers outside the Carriage House at the end of the evening, and for Chris and I to make our way down the aisle, to the parking lot, and off to our bed and breakfast. Sparklers against a night sky, Jennifer said, make amazing shots.
  • 75% candids and loosely arranged shots, 25% portraiture photography. The portraiture would take place immediately following the ceremony, consisting of bride's and groom's family, the wedding party, and bride and groom themselves. After this session, the bride and groom would have a series of loosely arranged shots in the gardens, leading up until the reception.
  • Designate a "herder" of people for these portrait shots. Jen recommended someone who was willing to be quite active in gathering folks for their portrait shots. Portrait shots themselves are quick and easy to shoot. It's the gathering of people for the shots that takes time and wastes good light! Perhaps Somer might helps us?
  • Second photographer to shoot candids of guests at cocktail hour and coming into the ceremony garden.
  • Jen to photograph bride getting ready, second photographer to photograph groom.
  • No shots of guests sitting at reception tables. I couldn't agree with this more. Jen's experience shows that pictures of guests eating or sitting behind a white canvas of a table cloth do not make particularly engaging photos.
  • 1 hour at Oatlands for engagement session, 1 hour at a used book store in downtown Leesburg. The goal of engagement shots, Jen explained, is to capture the couple. With our literary-themed wedding, she has wonderful ideas for locations and shots. Jen said that, upon definitely going with her, she would call Oatlands and get an idea of the peak foliage colors, as these would make beautiful photos.
  • 50% off on any album we choose.
  • DVD archive of all digital photos highly suggested. From this, we will forever be able to view and print wedding photos, which is an excellent idea, as the pictures will only be stored for 6 months on Jen's server.
In short, we are sold on Ms. Chase. The price breakdown would work like this:

  • $3,000: Eight hours of photography, proof book, 6-month online album and printing.
  • $500: Second photographer
  • $500: DVD archive of all photos taken.
  • Total: $4,000 (within budget)
  • $250 (after 50% discount): Printed coffee table album of 60 large prints.
  • $400: Engagement session and DVD of all photos taken for printing and use on the wedding website I'm in the process of designing.
  • Total: $650
Jen will be sending us over a contract sometime this week to review, and to return with a 50% security payment of $2,000--half the cost of the main package items.

We love her! Mom, let me know your thoughts on this. I will forward you the contract when I get it!

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