Wedding 101: Choosing a Photographer

Since my last post was completely devoid of pictures [and substance], I’ll start off with a photo of the GIANT CREATURE that has taken up shop on our porch, and the obligatory oh-hey-its-a-cute-puppy-photo:

This guy is bigger than a quarter. Ugh.

Puppy love.

Choosing A Photographer:

Every time we choose a wedding vendor, I always have a moment of panic [buyer’s remorse?]. What if we made a mistake? What if we should have gone with someone else? What if we forgot to ask something? With so many vendors to choose from because of Charlottesville’s “destination wedding” status, it’s hard to pick up on the nuances in style, price, and commitment between them.

I didn’t feel this way after we chose our photographer. I think Shaun and I both felt really at peace with our decision, like we had made the perfect choice. Then, I got the most beautiful card in the mail with a home-made flower headband and a note about how excited she was to share our day – and I really knew we had made the perfect choice.

It’s true what “they” say: the cake and buffet disappear, the flowers die, and I doubt there’s ever a reason to wear a floor-length white gown again. But one thing you get to keep [aside from your spouse] is the photographs. I have friends who always whip out their albums when we get together. They are such special things.

We are lucky to have our A.P.F., who narrowed the endless list of Central Virginia photographers down to a manageable few. From there, we spent a lot of time perusing websites and crunching numbers.* We sat down and met with the  “final two,” and knew immediately who we wanted!

We chose Tahni of Joyeuse Photography for many reasons, one of which was how comfortable we were chatting with her about Mad Men and other random topics. The fact that we had similar interests meant to us that she would be able to capture our vision for the day. She has a unique style, utilizing natural light and beautiful colors with a vintage-y twist. Tahni is also confident in that style, and doesn’t make apologies. We are so excited she agreed to photograph our wedding, and we’re even more excited that we will hopefully get to have dinner with her and her husband sometime before then!

Check out Tahni’s most recent Charlottesville wedding here, and check out her feature in A Pocketful of Dreams here. Those three photos are one of the cutest sets I’ve ever seen.

Pro-Tip #1: Stick with your budget [I feel like I say this all the time, but it’s true]. There are some photographers that charge outrageous prices for work that is average for your region. We were blessed to have Kelly, who was able to put a photographer’s eye to the websites and tell us what was too expensive and what work wasn’t quality [if you’re interested in learning which area photographers are “expensive even by New York standards,” I’d be happy to chat via e-mail].

Pro-Tip #2: Be conscious of your venue, and be sure your photographer is able to work in it. The Jefferson Theater is a place with dark walls, dim lighting and zero natural light. We had to make sure the photographer was comfortable with those working conditions. They shouldn’t be afraid to tell you if an area isn’t their expertise or they’ve never done a shoot under similar conditions, and you shouldn’t be afraid to consider that.

* We’re opting-out of a videographer. We thought it was a needless expense, and that photos suffice, but many people think otherwise. It’s a personal decision! Just be honest and ask yourself if you’re really going to watch a $3,000 movie enough times to make it a worthwhile purchase.


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Categories: C-Ville, Wedding


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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5 Comments on “Wedding 101: Choosing a Photographer”

  1. Tania
    September 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I would say it depends on what is going to happen that day. Some things can’t be captured in a picture. There are some parts of my wedding that I would have liked to have on video, like the bridal party’s entrance to the reception or my husband serenading me!
    If I were you, I might consider having a good friend with a handycam or something to capture the day, or maybe just parts of it. I would agree you’ll never watch hours of footage.. but maybe certain moments. We have friends who I know would have done that for free (or at least on the cheap!) so it may be worth looking into.

    • September 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

      Yeah, we’re still toying around with that idea! Good point, too.

  2. September 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    awwww you guys!!! this just made my day. additionally, i believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 🙂 (!)


  1. Our Wedding 101 | Ryes and 'Shine - September 19, 2011

    […] Selected our Photographer. […]

  2. That “Food Drunk” Feeling | Ryes and 'Shine - January 13, 2012

    […] then, we talked about Lost and The Wire. We had the same feeling that we had with Tahni, our photographer – we were comfortable talking about random things [with her it was Mad Men], and we knew our […]

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