Thursday, September 26, 2013

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

I'm gonna start out by saying- I am completely In Love with our wedding photographer.

But how do you find a photographer that will make you completely comfortable and who will take the best pictures of you in the style you want?

I only talked to one photographer. Once I found Megan Vaughn's site I was dead set on having her photograph our wedding. But how and why?

  • I started out by price shopping.... I know, I know- horrible, horrible, very bad, shame on me.
  • BUT I started out price shopping and knowing that photography was one of the big things I was definitely willing to splurge on. (especially after seeing the 'budget' photographer's pictures from my cousin's wedding).
  • Step 1- decide what style of photography you like, Important note- decide what style you like that will also best reflect you and your fiancee and will best capture the style of your wedding.
        • Megan's got this natural, vintage-y feel to a lot of her pictures, which is perfect for us since we're country kids with more of a traditional outlook on life.
  • Step 2- Read Reviews!! These will give you the best idea of what it will be like to work with this person, and how the experience went for others. Important note- Specifically look for and read any bad reviews (you're gonna have to go searching around the web to find these obviously)- you want and need to know what issues people may have had with this person before hiring them; then you can decide if the reviewers expectations were too high, if the negatives were something that wouldn't bother you, or if the negatives are something important to you and that you should go in another direction.
        • I couldn't find a single bad thing about our photographer anywhere on the web!
  • Step 3- Read their 'About Me' section! Here is where you can start to see if your personalities will mesh!
        • I Loved our photographer's about me. She did a wonderful job of capturing her personality and the dedication she has to her art. She talks about how she loves becoming friends with her couples, how she'll refer to your parents as mom & pop and how shell do whatever it takes to make it your perfect day and get your perfect pictures. Plus she despises onions too just like me! (super important when deciding on a photographer obviously) lol.
  • Step 4- Get opinions from those closest to you- your fiancee, your mother, your maid of honor, whomever you want- but especially your fiancee- you want him to be comfortable with the style and the personality of this person as well. 
        • M was non-committal, he liked her pictures, but I think he was nervous about the whole standing around having lots of pictures of him taken thing so until he experienced it he wouldn't be comfortable with anyone. Plus pictures aren't really that important to him.
  • Step 5- MEET THEM!! 
        • Megan was in Texas after we started emailing, so instead of meeting in person, we set up a Skype date! After she apologized for the deer heads on the wall, we talked wedding details, and I think she was more excited about the wedding than I was by the end of the conversation. But I was super excited and more sure than ever that she was the perfect photographer for us!
Then of course comes the ever important first shoot! Our wedding package included engagement pictures and everything I had read said it was a great way to get to know your photographer and to get comfortable with the way they work.
Megan brought her husband along with the trip, which was great- he spent the afternoon lugging around my purse and the victoria's secret bag that I used to hold my outfit change along with Megan's camera bag. He was a great sport about it and even posed for a couple pictures with 'his bags' which was amazing. He also got a great instagram shot of Megan working.

By the end of the day we were all chatting about food, animals, family- like friends. It was a fantastic experience. AND! M was just as excited about having her photograph our wedding as I had been from the beginning! The very next day she posted a sneak peak online for us and we had the link to our gallery less than a week later!! Here are a couple of my favorites! (So hard to choose favorites- she got so many cute pictures).

I'm so happy I came across her photography site and cant wait to see the amazing job I know she is going to do with our wedding photos!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stressful Monday

I work at the Naval Research Lab in SE Washington DC. We are just a quick couple miles from the Navy yard via I295 (The Anacostia Freeway) or via the Potomac river.

Everytime someone asks me where I work the conversations goes something like:
Person- So where do you work?
Me- I work at the Naval Research Lab.
Person- Oh- at the Navy Yard right? Ive been there once.
Me- No, we're Navy too, but we have our own installation on the south side of Bolling AFB by WASA, where Navy Yard is North and across the river.
Person- But it's like on the same base right?
Me- Sure, Whatever *rolls eyes and walks away*

6 hours of lock-down yesterday. We're quite lucky it was only 6 I think, there was an awful lot of discussion going around about what would happen if we had to spend the night here. Were also quite lucky were a few miles away, we were in relatively low/no danger.

I had just gotten breakfast and had stopped to talk to PAL in my old department when we got the email news about a shooting at the Navy Yard. It was 9:30 when we they called for a complete restriction of all movement on/off or around the base. (a full hour after it started- Long enough that someone could have gotten to our base from there easily before the lock-down started). So I was stuck across base from my desk- but luckily had my phone to notify people I was there and safe. Around lunch I finally made the call and ran back to my desk through the completely empty base (If I ever wanted to leave I had to be there to get my keys and my truck!).

It was a stressful day to be sure. I had a couple things that had to get done yesterday will the cells I grow for experiments, which is nerve racking because you have to sit at a biological safety hood which faces against the back wall with your back towards the door- which has a big window in it as well. I definitely kept looking behind me everytime I heard a noise, and had planned my hiding place and escape route from the lab if it turned out to be needed. When the Captain addressed the lab and said they were making exit plans hopefully starting around 2-3pm. We got the email at 2:51 that the gate was open for egress only, and alot of people practically ran to their cars (I maintained a very quick walk lol). It was a relief, a long day was finally at an end, and plus I could finally get something to eat- minimizing being outside and especially near the gates/fences on base meant I couldnt get any food. (lucky I had actually eaten breakfast).

The last time something like this impacted me it was alot more emotional, but I was actually alot more distant from the events. April 16th 2007, is a date that will always be forefront in my mind. It will always evoke tears. On that day my alma mater, Virginia Tech lost 32 bright and innocent students to a shooter. They were on lockdown for a much longer period, but I wasnt there. I was safe in Fredericksburg VA. over 4 hours away from the place that had become my other home.
I got a sense on what those students went through being on lockdown and not knowing what was going on and if they were in danger yesterday. But other than an extremely poor night of sleep I havent felt that affected. Maybe its because I dont know any of those people like I did with the shooting at Tech, maybe because DC is not a close knit community because there are so many people in so many different stages of their lives. Maybe its because instances like this are unfortunately quite commonplace these days. And Maybe most of all, maybe its because everyone I know was safely away from the events unfolding, even if I myself was in any sort of danger no matter how minimal, everyone I love was safe, and I could deal with being in a small bit of danger, because I had already been through worse by having the barrels of two guns against my head- as long as I knew everyone else in my life was safe.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those whose loved ones were not safe, for those who died, those who lost someone, and those who spent their days cowered beneath a desk, not knowing if they were safe.