Thursday, December 29, 2011

How we found our wedding photographer in a pizza shop

I never attempted to write about our photographer before.  I think I digest thousands of photos each evening, as I flip through the posts from my favorite blogs.  With my feet in two blogging worlds, wedding and design, I'm keeping track of hundreds of feeds with my blog reader.  I love photography. Photography is so important to me that I felt like a post about it deserved a lot of my time.  Having taken a few days off around the holidays, I now feel as though I can write about this aspect of our wedding.


You'd think that someone who loves photography would have launched an exhaustive search of portfolios, interviewed a dozen photographers, and created an elaborate assessment tool before picking a vendor.  I like to say that I made up my mind in a pizza parlor...but it's not entirely true.

In the winter of 2010, some people Marc knows opened a pizza shop in Charlottesville.  When we visited for the first time, I was struck by their choice to make the interior very modern since most pizza places attempt an old world look.  The shop had a wall covered in steel panels that immediately occurred to me as something cool to photograph or to use as a backdrop for a photo shoot.  The next time we visited, a photographer showed up with a couple and started doing a maternity shoot against that wall.  I remember thinking that if that photographer also saw something appealing in that steel wall, I had to see more of her work.


Did an image from a maternity session sell me on a photographer?  Not really.  However, it led me to start watching her blog and the blogs of other local photographers to get a sense of the different styles out there. I quickly realized that Charlottesville has an amazing community of photographers.  Marc knew a few personally and we would later get to know a few more through friends.  The options were fantastic, but that's not always a good thing if you appreciate different styles.  I started to fear that it could take us months to find a photographer for our wedding.

I found myself going back to the blog of the photographer I saw at the pizza shop again and again.  Her name is Elisa Bricker.  Elisa and her husband, Edward, run Elisa B Photography.




Recognize the location of this video? / Video by Josh Gooden of Josh Gooden Cinematography

Elisa and I met at a coffee shop during the busy season in my industry, which means I was probably a bit chatty after working in solitude for too many days in a row.  We had a fun conversation about blogs and shoes and flowers and other things that I don't remember right now.  I remember thinking that I wouldn't mind having Elisa by my side on the most important day of my life.  I liked that she worked with her husband, so a second shooter wouldn't by a mystery.   I also liked that she was tech savvy and involved in social media.


 About a week after our coffee shop meeting, we signed a contact and gave Elisa a deposit.  We could have drawn the process out for weeks or months, but I decided to trust my instinct and resist the urge to mount an elaborate search.  I'm so happy with our decision.

Did anyone else simply trust their instinct when it came to one of their wedding vendors in lieu of doing a thorough search of all the options?
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5 comments:

  1. I was so entertained as I watch this video. Your photo compilation is truly amazing because of the effects and props you used.

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  2. I like your beautiful pre-nuptial photos because it reminds me of my own wedding held at the Long Island wedding halls. You guys look so perfect to each other. 

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  3. I had a few photographers that I had casually looked at when looking for a photographer. Then I saw one picture on wedding bee from Punam Bean, and that was it. I searched her site, found her, made contact and basically was on the books before I was even engaged (I knew it was coming so I was planning ahead). All from one picture.

    I did the same thing with the McLellan's when I needed engagement photos. One photo, and I was booked. In like twenty minutes after seeing the picture.

    People thought I was crazy, because they weren't local, and I hadn't even met them until when it was time to shoot. But I trusted my gut, they delivered above and beyond my expectations and I formed great friendships with some amazingly talented people.

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  4. I did trust my instinct!  I didn't really look at that many options.  In fact, I think I only seriously interviewed two photographers.  Price was a big factor for us, so when we saw the package prices our photographer offers, and went through enough photos to know she does great work, we had our minds made up.  The other factor was that the person has to love dogs since we're having Buddy in the wedding.  Our photog came over to our place to show us album options, and fell in love with Buddy.  We saw how she interacted with him and knew for sure that we needed to hire her!

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  5. I definitely felt that way about a lot of vendors :) We have so much talent in Central Va, you really can't go wrong with anyone you choose. But yes-- for a lot of people (photographer, caterer, musicians), it was all about feel and connection!

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