Monday, December 13, 2010

Snap...You're On Candid Camera!

At your own wedding, even. While the camera may not technically be hidden, you may not know you've been captured until the party's over. Read on.

One of the many reasons we chose to have our wedding in Detroit, is the fact that it is undeniably, completely, hugely, and blissfully cheaper to do so. New York is one of the more expensive places to wed (though there are great deals to be had, don't get me wrong) and so, armed with our assistants, wedding planner, technical coordinator, wedding coach, wedding party, and creative director (that would be: Jake & I, me, Jake, me, Jake & I, and Jake & I), we headed to The Motor City--where we have family ties--to make it happen. I haven't doubted our choice once.

Every part of our wedding has been reasonably priced, and we have met more friendly, understanding, and genuinely accommodating vendors than expected. The kind of people that congratulate you enthusiastically before you can stop them. Due to the lower costs, we were able to splurge on some parts of the wedding. Like the photographer.

As I have mentioned, both Jake and I are avid photographers, and we are therefore picky about pictures, particularly our own. There are certain types of photos we like, and certain types that we despise. Initially we were going to find someone from Craigslist to shoot our wedding. Especially in these tough times, there are many photographers willing to shoot your wedding at a severe discount or bare-bones cost, in an effort to expand their portfolio and hopefully sell more images. Jake and I are easily able to spot a talented photographer when we see one, based not only on style but also his/her approach, experience, equipment, and the overall quality and post-processing of the images. So we felt pretty confident we could weed out any posers and find a qualified person to do the job.

We never even got to the point of advertising on Craigslist, because we found a fabulous photographer, with a stellar porfolio, a confident attitude and the skill set to back it all up. He was willing to work with our small budget and give us a deal. We cut out all the superfluous stuff we either didn't need or could do ourselves (albums, prints, thumb drives with all the photos) and the price was unbeatable. He completely won us over when we asked him, "What, if anything, should we provide for you regarding which shots we want?" and his response was, "How about you focus on getting married and having fun, and let me worry about the shots?" Had this come from someone with whom we were not already impressed, or a questionable photographer, it might have seemed like a cop-out. But this guy knows his stuff, and was basically letting us know that he was comfortable running the show and we should let him do what we were paying him to do. As a good photographer, he knew that the more relaxed we were and the more fun we had at our wedding, the better his shots. There was so much more about him that we liked, but that's for a later post.

Our second option was to have friends shoot the wedding. We have a handful of friends who are also photographers, and we could have happily trusted them to capture both the important moments and subtle nuances of our wedding. But we hesitated only in that we really wanted our guests to be guests, 100% relaxed and at ease. I know many people delegate tasks to friends and family and there's nothing wrong with that. But we tried to keep it to a minimum. Our photographer friends actually truly enjoy making pictures though, and we would likely have gone with this option if we hadn't found our Super Photographer Guy. Besides, we know all too well that the job of shooting our wedding and being a guest would be a lot of pressure on our friends. Sometimes the most stressful jobs are the ones that don't pay.

Last, but not least, enter the candid camera! I thought it was a cool idea to pass along: a company that offers a kiosk that guests slip their camera memory cards into and--bingo--the happy newlyweds just found their photographer(s) for the wedding! Of course, you will have to rely on the skill (or lack thereof) of the guest's camera-snapping abilities, but if you are on a tight budget, this may be a great option. The cost of renting the contraption = about $450 for the week--meaning you can use it for all the wedding events or any other outings that take place before or after your wedding. Not bad. Interesting idea.

Here's an excerpt from the full article

Rush Hambleton’s idea to start Canditto came just after his wedding in 2005. “My wife and I left the wedding on a restored Vespa motor scooter, sailing off into darkness,” he says. “The photographer missed the shot.” Thankfully, a friend happened to snap a picture, and sent a print a few weeks later. For Mr. Hambleton, a graduate student at Babson’s F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business, the experience led him to wonder how many significant photographs are taken by camera-toting guests — and how many brides and grooms never see them.
His invention is a computer-based kiosk for events like wedding receptions. As guests leave, they are invited to insert their cameras’ memory cards into the device. The kiosk stores the photos on a thumb drive that the bride and groom can take home. The kiosk, the size of a small cabinet, has been to 11 weddings so far as well as summer camps. 
Check it out here. It is going to be available all across the U.S. starting June 1, 2009. Shipping and return shipping is included. (Update: the link is currently not working. If it is not restored, I bet you could find a similar service in your area. If not, it's good to dream!)

When I had mentioned this to Jake, he said, "Why not just have a computer at the reception so people could download their photos directly on it?" Hmmmm. I kind of wish we had done that, since despite our best efforts, some of our wedding guests never got our photos to us. One guest in particular (who shall remain nameless) went to the trouble of video taping our entire first dance together. And yet never gave us a copy even though she received well over 5 emails and two phone calls begging her to do so. Go figure. 

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