Monday, September 24, 2007

Just shoot us! Part 2

Earlier, I blogged about the photographers who didn't make the cut. Now, you must be wondering, "Meg, those photographers were awesome! Rob is sooo affordable, and I can't get over how amazing Steven's photographs are. Can your photographer actually be better than either of those?"

And the answer for us is YES!

Check out our photographer, Ken Blaze. Absolutely amazing. Not only did he agree the Saturday before Easter at my favorite locally owned coffeehouse, but when it was closed due to the inclement weather (yes, Cleveland does get blizzards at the end of April), he was gracious enough to direct us to the nearby and open massive Seattle-based coffeehouse chain.

Ken is a very organized, laid-back kind of guy, with whom we quickly developed a rapport. He is a photojournalist by training, and has not only covered the Cleveland Indians, Cavaliers and Browns, but has also covered the Special Olympics, President Bush and has done work for ESPN. Ken has recently left his job as a photojournalist for the Willoughby News Herald to shoot weddings and freelance full time- well, full enough to do that and also take care of his newborn son, Luca.

His philosophy seems to differ from every other photographer that I have come across. As a photojournalist, he is trained to tell stories through pictures. He will do the requisite posed pictures, but aims to do them as quickly and painlessly as possible. Ken shoots what he sees, and does not do a lot of the Photoshop special effects that many photographers do. If a detail is there, he shoots it. If not, he doesn't try and recreate it.

Ken's packages are (we feel) a bargain for what you get. While his rates have gone up a bit since we booked, I think that he is definitely worth considering. Packages start at $850 (for four hours), and go up to $5000 (unlimited hours, plus two albums). All of his packages include 4"x6" proofs of all images, plus a DVD of all the images, and the rights to make copies, as long as you don't sell them/use them in advertising. Most packages also include the making of a "story of the day", which is a set of 30-50 5"x7" photographs capturing what he feels is the story of the day.

We are not hiring a videographer, preferring instead to just go with the pictures Ken takes.

The photos below are from the wedding of April and Ron.

Aside from Ken being a great person to work with, we were really struck by the emotion that he captures on film. Other photographers make great magazine spreads, but with Ken, the photographs are so real, so filled with emotion, that you feel as though you are there. When we were going over various weddings he shot, he knew each couple, and would point out funny situations that happened, or details that were going on when the photo was taken. Like the black and white photo above of the couple kissing by the lake- it was completely unposed.

So there you have it- our photographer. When you were looking at photographers (and other vendors), how much of it was based on "clicking" with them, versus the quality of their work?

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