Choosing a wedding photographer is a critical piece of your wedding preparations and will be the single most important and prevalent memory once the craziness fades away and you carry forward with your lives together. It is also very expensive, so you want value for money. When you don't live in the same country, relying soley on customer reviews and the vendors website makes the decision a daunting task; one many will stress about alot. I know I was.
If you do a google search of wedding photographer in Jamaica, you will likely have 7-10 vendors pop up that look like they do decent work. Some have a more small business look and others very professional, utilizing the latest photography styles. When I did this 1 year ago, I created an excel spreadsheet listing the various vendors, their cost, the packages and overall look or quality. To be honest there were about 4 that stood out and the price and the services provided were extremely similar. So how did I make my choice and how could this affect you? Well I can provide a glowing review of our choice and hopefully you can use this to inform your choice!!!!
My husband and I were married on the cliffs on Negril at a private villa. For this we chose Dean Clarke Photgraphy to do the wedding and a Trash the Dress Session. Oh My, Wow, Amazing, BEST CHOICE WE MADE!!!! Well besides marrying the love of my life.
Dean called me in Canada mere hours after I submitted for a quote on his website. We spoke for an hour to discuss what we were looking for, expectations, the types of photos, when, different options for portraits, the itinerary, the guests, fun facts about the couple, the type of dress.....you name it. We then corresponded via email as necessary to make the final arrangements. I sent him examples of photos that I would like to have, and he took this and turned our wedding into a story that even I couldn't believe! I remember looking at the pictures for the first time and saying to my husband....was this really what our wedding looked like? It was magical.
I am completely impressed with the professionalism of Dean and his staff. He worked for nearly 12 hours straight as he captured us getting ready, the details, the ceremony, the portraits and the reception. I couldn't believe how hard he was working to capture all of those moments and I never had to mention a single word to him, he just did what he knew needed to be done. All those things we talked about months before he made them happen. Amazingly it never felt overwhelming or contrived and he wasn't in your face or in the way. He captured the moments of our wedding with a passion and eye for detail that resulted in amazing photos and fabulous memories. Even better, we now own the photos and I can do with them what I wish!
Here are a few things I did that were helpful and I would recommend.
1. I created a bank of photos that I really liked, whether for the style, the content (picture of shoes with I do, certain poses etc) and he used this to make sure that is what he focused on.
2. We paid for the extra photograher. Having 2 photographers helped alot to ensure that the spontaneous and candid shots were captured. It also allowed more of the guests and the bridal party to be captured before the big moment. It may cost a couple hundred extra but the second photographer managed to capture different angles and images that made a huge difference.
3. We booked EARLY! You need to book yoru photographer no less than 6 months out for the medium to high season. Good photographers are busy.
Don't let choosing a photographer be a stressful decision as you plan your destination wedding. I would recommend again and again, Dean Clarke Photography.