I'm happy to report that we have booked our photographer! Our budget for a photographer is quite paltry and we knew they would have to be under $1000. We interviewed and researched dozens of photographers, but they were either too expensive or just not the right style we were looking for.
I love photography and the things that stand out to me are color, lighting, composition, texture and angles. I want someone with a true concept of photojournalism and art. Every photographer we came across claimed they did photojournalism work, but as someone with a journalism background, I know what photojournalism looks like. Having a group of people stand in front of a camera while frozen in a pose is not photojournalism. I love looking at the unique ways photographers can tell a story and relive a moment through their camerawork. We found a photographer at our last expo who was offering the main things we wanted--unlimited hours and all copies of unedited raw images--for $900. But I just wasn't excited about his work: boring front-on angles and stiff poses. No personality, no spontaneity, no fun.
Then I remembered someone I had worked with before -- a photographer whose work I thought captured the kind of photos I was looking for. He is relatively new to the wedding photography world and was able to offer me an affordable rate for all the things we wanted-- unlimited hours, 2 photographers, copies of raw images and 20 edited photos. And because he knew me, we were able to negotiate the price down. I can't really say exactly how much we agreed on (it was mostly a friend discount and I can't say if he'll do it for anyone else at that price) but I will say it was well within our range (actually much better than I expected).
So how was I able to find a quality photographer below $1000? Well, networking and connections was definitely key. But the main thing was the art of haggling. When our photographer first quoted a price it was still a tad over our budget. Then, at the risk of total rejection, we told him what we could afford. I was afraid to look at his reaction when we named the price, but he was willing to work with us. That's when he reworked the package down to a very affordable price, taking out the items that weren't our priority (videography, coffee table book, etc) and reached the price we could afford. Not only did we score a photographer in our budget range, but someone whose work is very quality. YAY!!!!
So I'll quit yapping and introduce our photographer - Don Le