Southern Cotten Detail photo watermarked

Finding a photographer has been a surprising challenge.  Not in obtaining a name or googling vendors, but in the actual procurement of one.  I found that this is one of those things brides should book almost IMMEDIATELY!  Right after you choose your venue and date!  It will seem like all the good ‘ones’  are booked well in advance and are unavailable, but that is not the case.  You just have to be diligent in your search.

YOU the bride and groom have to do your research though.  Anyone can say that they are a photographer, but not everyone has the eye for detail, the artistic expertise and the confidence to take phenomenal pictures.  Make sure you have a contract and that you will be comfortable with them as a person.     And don’t just rely on the photos posted on their website – meet them in person, talk to them, get a feel for how they are going to interact with you on your wedding day, bridal shoot and engagement session.

And stand your ground.  If you have definite ideas about how, when and where you want your pictures taken, make it clear; don’t be railroaded into doing it ‘their’ way.  They are the artist and professional, so listen to their advice and suggestions, but choose a photographer who LISTENS to YOU too, someone who tries to incorporate your personality into their creative works.

For example, the first photographer we met wanted us to change the time of our wedding, which just didn’t sit well with me.  I stewed and worried about it, as only I can and I finally decided that despite loving their work and enjoying their personality – I was NOT going to change the time of my wedding.  The way I see it, it shouldn’t matter what time the wedding takes place.  They are the professionals.  We, the clients pay them a lot of money to document our day, so in my opinion it is incumbent upon them to ‘figure it out’.  Vendors, it is ok to suggest a change to an event, but to insist on it, it ludicrous and unless you get an enthusiastic agreement from your client – then I suggest to just drop it and find a work around. Also, if your client offers YOU a work around solution, you should seriously consider it OR come up with a work around yourself.

I met a great many photographers because for me (again) I wanted an emotional reaction to them.  I wanted to know that I could trust them completely with documenting my special day.  In addition to that, they are very costly – most that are worth anything start with packages at $2500.  (That’s a lot of money to entrust to just anybody!)  Thank god for me I had my fiancée and mother to help in the decision making process, although the fiancée would argue that he could care less because he hates taking pictures.

My mother and I both agreed that the worst experience we had was with a photographer who seemed quite lovely at first, but was very dictatorial about how she viewed how the wedding photo’s should go and I knew right on the spot that she would stress me out the day of my wedding, so we quickly nixed her.  The second worst experience came in the form of a photographer who met us at our pre-scheduled appointment out in the middle of nowhere, looking disheveled.  They kept trying to sell us their products (albums, flash drive etc . . .) and we just wanted to see their work.  Again, we nixed them quickly. The third worst experience came in the form of a phone call.  The photographer was themselves not available, but kept insisting that they work with another photographer and could still do my wedding.  I could tell he was a hustler and I have a personal dislike for natural car sales-type people.  I nixed him on the spot without meeting.

What ultimately helped me decide was again my ’emotional’ reaction.  I felt a kinship to the photographer I chose because we share a similar background in that both of our fathers are retired Army Officers and Aviators.  She was personable, but not pushy.  She gently kept the subject on track just as I imagine she will gently keep us on track the day of our wedding.  She didn’t insist on us having a private ‘First Look’ photo shoot in order to make her job easier – she suggested, but quickly understood that we don’t want to see each other until I come down the aisle.  End of story.  So she came up with a quick work around to accommodate all of the shots that we want and I instantly appreciated her spirit.

I can now cross this off my list of things to do and can breathe a sigh of relief at having found someone who will not only take amazing photographs, but who will respect our wishes.


Here is a list of others I have found here locally.  If you have experience with any of these, please share it with me here.

Sharon Weaks at Southern Cotton Photography has some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever come across.  She responds IMMEDIATELY to e-mail inquiries and that in my book is VERY important.  **This is the photographer that I am happy and excited to report we have chosen!**

The pictures at Shutter Fox Studios are simply breathtaking. The lighting, the subtleties, are all wonderful and the stories they tell are beautiful.

Another photographer whom I came across and just LOVED their style was KBZ Photography.  The subtle cheeky nuances of each photo were so funny and appealing to me that I had to reach out.  Keith (last name unknown) was radio announcer funny over the phone, very personable, but was unavailable for my wedding date.

I’ve met with Jen Dutello at JFD Photography & Design.  She is exuberant, funny and fun to meet with and her cost structure was right on par with her peers.  The only problem was (for me), she seemed to have ALOT going on in her life.

Here is a photographer that we didn’t get a chance to meet because he is smart enough to put a calendar with his availability on his website.  His pictures are phenomenal.  David Phillips Photography.

And last, but not least of my absolute favorites is Caught You On Camera!  This is another really great local photographer that really works hard to capture the most beautiful moments in our lives and capture it well.


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