Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wedding Photography Vermont Style : Northeast Kingdom Wedding

The Northeast Kingdom, for the uninitiated, is a large swath of Vermont that is largely rural area bordered to the West by mountains and to the East by the Connecticut River. You wouldn't think that it would have made the National Geographic list of best places for Geo-tourism in America...but it isn't really surprising to anyone who has been here. What is more surprising is that more people don't know about this fantastic place. It is a land of dichotomy. Home to the acclaimed Kingdom Trails...one of the best mountain biking trails in the world. You about can't swing a stick without hitting a talented chef or musician yet you probably won't end up here unless you plan to. It isn't like you will happen to come across the Kingdom on your way somewhere else so do make the time and come. You will be happy you did. It is often called the "Vermonter's Vermont" and you should stay a while and experience this for yourself.

Here are some of my favorite wedding spots...some of them have amazing people to run them and others don't have any one at all (strictly do-it-yourself). With catering going mobile and tent rental businesses that won't say "you want it where?" A great many weddings happen in gorgeous locations despite there not being any venue to speak of...take this wedding:

Shot at Lake Whilloughby. Whilloughby is called the jewel in the crown of the Northeast Kingdom. There is an inn (Willow Vale) but this couple decided to have their wedding at the park and their formals at North Beach. The reception was in a rental cabin with a tent outside. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful venue than this.

Jay is another fantastic option. Romantic Gondola rides to the top of the mountain are a must. With views all the way to Burlington on one side and Lake Memphremagog on the other your wedding photos will be unforgettable.

The Inn at Mt. View Farm is about as "Vermonty" as you can get. Located on Darling Hill in Lyndonville, the most beautiful road in the area...lined with mature maples it winds a ridge with views to the North of Whilloughby Gap.  Get married in the gardens or in the meadow that over-looks Whilloughby Gap. The Inn has accommodations for the entire wedding party to make for a stress free day.  It is the perfect blend of rustic and modern-comfort.

What do apples have to do with choosing a photographer?

You work so hard to put together the perfect wedding.  So many details fall or are wrestled into place.  All those people coming together...each one invited for a reason.  And then there's the cost...don't get me started on the cost!  It's expensive!  And I know we photographers don't help.  We charge a lot for our services and sometimes I wonder about the person on the other end of the deal because they don't seem to know why.  They feel that they need to hire a photographer, it's on their "to do" list but they have no idea which one they want or why this one costs x number of dollars and that one costs x number of dollars squared.

I created a guide so you can ask the right questions and compare apples to apples as far as features go.  You can get that right here  But what about quality?  Many photographers are working out their pricing schedule and scratching their heads too.  They work VERY hard, make no mistake.  A wedding is a pressure cooking meat grinder of a photography job.  You are on your feet for 8 hours shooting, thinking, reacting and trying to be on your toes to capture everything.  Then you have more than a thousand images to edit, perfect and cull the duds out of.  So it takes time and care...and know how.  That's the reason for the pricey price tag.  But how do you recognize experience and quality?

If you hire someone because they cost less and all the pictures are terrible you might as well have just thrown that money away...or purchased an expensive camera and hand it over to a bride's maids boyfriend to use or go the "I'm just going to put disposable cameras on every table and hope something good comes of it" route.  So here's some stuff to look for.

Over processed images or lots of black and white This is usually done because they got a great pictures but they didn't expose it properly or they couldn't get the color balance right.  Throw on a black and white filter or grunge filter and viola...great picture saved.  This is something we all do to save pictures worth saving but there shouldn't be a lot of "ooops" moments in your portfolio.

As I say in Apples to Apples, ask to see a full wedding gallery We all have them, hopefully more than just a couple.  Remember that experience I was talking about?  This is where you can see it.  If I've been shooting for 20 years and I have five weddings to show you, I'm probably not an experienced wedding photographer and should be priced accordingly.  You pay for that experience but you get what you pay for.  Nobody comes back 50 or even 20 times to something they fail miserably at and believe me, if what I've heard from Brides over the years is even partly true there are some doosie failures out there.

Are you seeing THAT photographers work?  Some places have a stable of photographers working...if you aren't seeing that particular photographer's work you won't have any idea what calibre work you can expect from them. Don't go down that path.

Leave me a note if this helped you!  And good luck in your search for that perfect photographer...may your wedding day be perfect and may you have the images to prove it!