My name is Marianne Bley. I am a wedding, newborn & branding photography specialist. My home studio is located on Chadwick Beach Island in Lavallette, Ocean County New Jersey 08735.
I am passionate about capturing life's milestones, both big and small, for couples and growing families and assisting them in preserving their images by creating stunning wall displays and tabletop heirloom products to grace their living spaces with the ones they hold most dear to their hearts for generations to come.
Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer In 5 Easy Steps | Best Rustic NJ Wedding Photographer
Since the beginning of this year, I have been marketing my wedding photography business more than ever before. I have been trying to find the best ways to reach my ideal potential clients and educate them on who I am and why they should choose to hire me to photograph their wedding day over thousands of other photographers in the tri-state area. I started my soul searching and decided to write a post about it so brides all over the globe can see my point of view, as a professional in a sea of many.
I was married in the fall of 2013 and although I know that most brides do find finding a wedding photographer a challenge, I did not give it much thought when I was in those shoes. In 2012, my fiancé and I lost our home in Superstorm Sandy (3 weeks after our engagement began). We decided to continue planning the wedding before we worried about our future living situation. Luckily, we both come from supportive families that took us in and took care of our needs when times were tough. So, we planned most of our wedding from the guest bedroom of my future mother-in-laws home in Northern New Jersey.
We sat on our separate laptops for hours upon hours looking for the perfect venue and vendors. I did not put much thought into who we were going to hire for our wedding photography because 1.) I was overwhelmed with all of the other decisions that I knew little about and 2.) I already knew so many great photographers located in New Jersey that I felt I could rely on from being in this business for a few years so I contacted one of my many favorite mentors and Mike and I met up with her for a consolation. She didn’t need to sell me anything at all, I honestly just wanted my fiancé’s approval because after all, he would be working with her too and I wanted him to appreciate her personality and the final product as much as I would. Anyway, the rest is history but it got me thinking about how I approach a consultation…
I can talk for hours on end with someone about NOTHING! In the past, a consultation with me could last over 2 hours. I have tried over the years to make them as short and sweet as possible but it is hard to do when you are a social person and this is a very personable business. Your wedding photographer is a vital part of your planning and your wedding day. The person that you choose should be well educated in the field, have several years of professional experience and know how to properly create a successful timeline with you well before the wedding day. I stress this because it is so important to have the correct amount of time for each facet of your day because 9 times out of 10, something runs behind and if the photographer can not creatively make the best use of the time, things start to fall apart. The wedding photographer that you choose should be very hands-on and assist you in sculpting the vision of your wedding day.
Here is my list of the most important steps to finding you ideal wedding photographer:
1) ASK FAMILY, FRIENDS AND OTHER VENDORS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS: I would start your search for the perfect wedding photographer by asking for recommendations from your closest friends and family who have held similar events within the last year or so. Things do change over time so the more current the recommendation, the better as businesses do close and photographers, just like everyone else, do move across the country sometimes. Ask how their overall experience was with this photographer, did they get along well or was their service just so-so? Additionally, ask other vendors that you might have already booked (like your venue). They work with multiple photographers every weekend and just might know of a few off the top of their heads that stood out to them because of the way that photographer carried themselves at an event or something special that they did for the couple the night of the wedding. Just like them, I have a special page on my website where I list my favorite vendors to work with here. Finally, I would go to the web and search keywords that are important to you and your wedding esthetic like: rustic, modern, vintage, etc…wedding photographer in…(add your state, county, town, zip, etc…)
2) LOVE THEIR STYLE/AESTHETIC: When browsing though the first 10-15 pages of Google, pay attention to each photographer’s style and aesthetic. It is important to have your wedding day captured by a wedding photographer who shares your same artistic vision. Is their style cohesive with the vision you have of your wedding day? Are you looking for a wedding photographer who has a candid, documentary style or perhaps a photographer with more of an editorial look? Contact the photographers whose images and style you are drawn to the most. Photojournalist wedding photographers usually take a stand back and watch the day unfold. Their photos might be less artistic or magazine worthy, but they are genuine moments. An editorial or contemporary wedding photographer is often looking to pose the bride and groom to achieve artistic images that would be magazine worthy and look beautiful as art in your home. When looking for an editorial or contemporary wedding photographer it is important that they also know how to make the couple look like themselves. My style blends both photojournalist and editorial styles together. I spend different times of the day focusing on more genuine emotions and other facets on posing the couple for those more dramatic portraits that you will want to hang in your home as a statement piece.
I am writing this in the order in which I think you should get familiar with these photographers because you decision should not be based solely on price. If it is, you are asking for trouble. There are thousands upon thousands of new photographers out there every few months in every part of the world.
Wedding Photography is actually a trending career choice right now, which means there are SO many uneducated “business owners” without proper equipment, proper back up equipment, proper workflow and proper insurance and you will most likely be bringing them to small claims court for botching your once-in-a-lifetime memories. (Please don’t do that!) I know it sounds over dramatic but these stories are real! There are industry standards depending on where you live and you can find out what an average cost should be for a solid, experienced photographer. The reason the average might seem high is because of the amount of expensive: equipment, proper workflow and proper insurance costs are for us as professionals need to spend to even be in business. It is a very expensive business to run. Most of us do it because we are in love with it, not because of the dollar amount that we make because all in all, it is a moderate salary after the costs of running a business are accounted for. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a budget that you would like to stay within but it is important to be well educated and to understand why the costs are what they are for the service that you are expecting to receive. If someone is offering to photograph your wedding at a much lower price that others in your area, run. You can easily search online for the average cost of wedding photography in your area and you will get a good idea of what those around you are spending on their photography. Whatever that number is, I would expect to may slightly more than that for an extraordinary experience.
In my area, the average is :
3) LOVE THEIR PERSONALITY: Whether you choose to meet the photographers in person or via a Skype call, it is really important that you and your fiancé get to know the photographer you will be working with. Being comfortable with and around your photographer is key to getting beautiful, natural looking wedding day images. When you can let your guard down in front of your photographer, is when the REAL moments happen. Not to mention that you will typically spend most of your wedding day with your photographer so make sure it’s someone you’d like to spend that time with! I believe so strongly in having relationship with your photographer, that I include a complimentary engagement session into all of my predesigned wedding collections because I want you to have a prior experience with me and my camera before your wedding day.
4) LOVE THEIR PRODUCT OFFERINGS: What will you do with all the beautiful images from your wedding? Whether you are planning on displaying them on the walls of your home or purchasing an album to tell the story of your day from beginning to end, make sure that you like the line of products that your photographer sells. I use all natural materials and try to keep all of my products in line with my brand, unique and natural. I want all of the products that you show your friends and family to be well-crafted, beautiful works of art that showcase your unique personalities and wedding day style. The products should be a gorgeous representation of your united relationship.
5) EVALUATE THEIR VALUE: Professional wedding photography is truly an investment. Out of all of the things that you buy for your wedding day, photography is often times the singular purchase that you will be able to enjoy for centuries to come. A lot of brides get sticker shock when they start asking about a photographer’s pricing but know that most times their pricing is in line with the service they offer. A professional wedding photographer puts a lot of time into building a solid relationship with you before, during and after your wedding. They are there to make sure everything is captured beautifully, get the images you have been dreaming of and making sure it all happens with the least amount of stress possible. After the wedding day they spend time editing the images to make sure they look amazing and helping you design beautiful pieces of art for your home. A professional photographer is so much more than just a person that shows up for 8 hours on your wedding day.
I hope these tips are useful to you in narrowing down your options for a wedding photographer. Just remember that there are a lot of us out there, with different styles and price points. But I urge you to look past the numbers and make sure you are hiring a photographer that fits the style you are looking for and that you have a connection with. Happy Planning!
Want to see if I am your perfect wedding photographer? Contact me today to schedule your complimentary consultation or subscribe to my newsletter above by entering your email address to stay in touch and hear about exciting portrait specials that I run throughout the year.
Imagery By Marianne is a boutique portrait photography studio dedicated to providing couples with an incredible experience as you embark on the most exciting journey of you life! Weddings last only a day, but the memories live on for generations. That is why I feel it is so important to find a photographer who can deliver a stunning portfolio of moments and emotion captured in time which reflect your individual personalities and how those manifest in your relationship. I tailor all of my products and services to bring out the essence of your love for each other. My photographic style is rustic, romantic and photojournalistic. My promise to you is to provide incredible photographs with informed style, products with integrity that are built to last a lifetime and an experience as fun and exciting as it is stress-free.
Imagery By Marianne | Ocean County New Jersey Wedding Photographer | Brick Point Pleasant NJ Wedding Photographer | wedding photographer nj
Marianne Bley is a wedding, newborn & first year photography specialist that is passionate about capturing life's milestones, both big and small, for couples and growing families and assisting them in preserving their images by creating stunning wall displays and tabletop heirloom products to grace their living spaces with the ones they hold most dear to their hearts for generations to come.
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