Monday, December 13, 2010

it's not her, it's us

One of the things people have been saying to me about this whole wedding-planning thing is, Only nine months to go? Girl, you'd better lock down a photographer before all the best ones are taken! We took this seriously, because if there's one thing that we're not skimping on, it's the photography.

Last year I went with my mom to her coworker's baby shower. It was at this very expansive, luxurious home in a swanky neighborhood. And it was lovely. During the party, a sweet-looking woman came in with a big gift bag and a camera, and suddenly she was in tears. As she dabbed at her eyes, she kept saying, "It's just so beautiful to have come full circle! I shot their wedding, and now here I am to see that they're having a baby!" It was so emotional. I couldn't help but think, Wow, this photographer is really invested.

So when we started looking for photographers, I immediately thought of that woman. I asked my mom to get her info, took one look at her stuff and really identified with her style and eye for composing shots. Jon looked at her Web site and completely agreed. It was awesome that we were both so definitively on board. She was not booked for our date, so we set up a meeting with her last Saturday, just as the snowstorm was starting to come down.

She invited us to her condo in the city (on a weird side note, it was the same building I had to gone to see with Ri when she was looking to buy). It was similar in size to our old place, and cozy too. She offered us some pastries from the Greek bakery I used to go to in the city all the time--and one of them was my favorite, apricot, which you don't see every day. I was noting these small *signs* as we talked.

We were there for a little more than two hours. She explained that it's not just us deciding on whether we want to book her, but she has turned clients down because she'll "spend a lot of time staring at our faces," so she has to get a good vibe from us, too. Later on, Jon and I admitted we spent most of the meeting wondering if she was going to want to work with us or not. She showed us how much attention to detail she gives and how she personally edits every single shot herself. Then she showed us the albums and we especially liked the way one of them was done. We were sold, but tried to play it cool.

For the question-and-answer portion of the evening, she explained that she does do a lot of Indian weddings, but for this past year there was a majority of destination weddings. Of course, Jon commented on her fancy computer and she said she gets the fastest there is out there because her time is money and why wait for all those high-res images to upload when you can upgrade? We agreed wholeheartedly.

I did attempt to pitch a barter-for-upgrade idea, but as soon as it came out of my mouth, I realized that this particular method only works when both parties are familiar with the quality of the other's work. She politely declined. And then we started talking about the money. Jon and I really wanted this woman to work with us. But we are on a budget. She mentioned that some couples just sign up for the lowest package to secure the date and upgrade later. YES. And upgrade I'm sure we would.

She hugged us both and said she'd love to work with us. We headed out into the storm with a box containing the rest of the apricot pastry and the security that we'd found the photographer we'd always wanted. On the first try! And trying to figure out how we could come up with more money to upgrade to a nicer package.

We discussed it and emailed her around 7 p.m. the next day. As soon as I hit "send," Jon and I actually high-fived. We got one of our big goals accomplished!

But when I opened my email this morning, I had a message from the photographer.

It was really great meeting you both.  I'm afraid I have some bad news.  I had a proposal that was sent over 3 weeks ago for another couple for your wedding date.  I didn't think they were going to book because I haven't heard from them.  Oh course since I haven't heard from them and since the proposal was never signed, I still continued to meet with you both.  Just this afternoon they signed their proposal.  If I can help you both with finding another photographer, please, let me know and I'll be more than happy to send a few your way.  It was really nice meeting you both and good luck with the rest of your wedding planning.  

At the end of the day--and it really doesn't matter why--we're not getting this photographer. Maybe she actually didn't want to look at our faces for weeks after the wedding but wanted to let us down easy. Maybe the other people signed up for the bigger package right off the bat and it simply came down to the guaranteed amount of money. I can't blame her for that. It's just business. But when business is about one of the most important days of your life, it's hard not to take personally.


Teej said...

Oh, what a disappointment. Sigh. We recently worked with a great photographer here for the baby's photos. I really loved her shots and her eye, and she was SO much more affordable than every other photographer we looked at. (She's youngish.) Happy to send her info if you want to check her out.

CG said...

She does seem like an honest person, but nevertheless
it was a huge disappointment for you both! I hope you find an excellent photographer.

cc said...

How unprofessional. When she realized there would be a possible conflict, she should have double checked with the other couple before meeting you. Once you said yes and sent her confirmation, that was an agreement. Maybe the other couple did cough up more money. I guess it's more important to score fancy computer equipment than ensure you have a good reputation and solid work ethic.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about this. I hope someone even better comes along!

Anonymous said...

since it is 'business' after all - here is another reminder for us to act a bit more like the 'evil corporation' and make sure everyone we deal with are dispencible and replacable.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oh Cadiz, how disappointing. But you know how, when you want something really really badly and you think that's the ONLY thing for you and when you don't get it you feel so down, then suddenly, something better turns up then you wonder, why did I feel so bad about the other thing? I bet that will happen for you.

I don't think there was any 'maybe' or it was you. The other couple beat you to it.

Jon said...

We were both pretty disappointed. But is it unreasonable of me to want a person in the photographer's position to inform us that there is another couple inquiring about that date?

Guyana-Gyal said...

No, it's not unreasonable at all. It's the straight thing for the person in the photographer's position to tell you that someone else is after that date.

So now you know, Cadiz, it wasn't you or Jon.

Madelyn said...

That totally sucks. But I think what Guyana-Gal said about not getting what you want, but then getting something better in the end, is probably true.

Oooor, all your wedding photos will suck. JK

Lia said...

Oh, Cadiz, I'm so sorry. I also feel that the photographer is really important. The wedding is one day; pictures are forever. It wasn't nice of her to get your hopes up and not let you know that you were only second in line. Understandable, but not nice.

I hope you'll find a photographer you like. I'm sure your wedding will be wonderful regardless.

velocibadgergirl said...

Boo, what a bummer! My only big regret about my wedding is that we didn't hire a photographer. We couldn't afford it, but to this day I wish we'd used a credit card and hired someone. I'd rather have a little bit more debt and some better photos. I hope you find someone else that you like even better!