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Choose Your Style Get your hands on as many wedding pictures as you possibly can. Look online, in bridal magazines or on mantles and desktops -- wherever wedding pictures may be. Sneak a peek at your best friend's album (something tells us you won't have to twist her arm). The point is, familiarize yourself with all the photo styles out there: formal portraits, candid photojournalism, black-and-white, color and sepia prints. Try to identify the styles that intrigue you, and that you'd like to see in your own wedding album. You'll want your photographer to excel in the style you love best. I’ve shot a fair few weddings and been up until the early hours editing the results with Photoshop. Stylish and artistic wedding photography is not as difficult as it seems IF you pay attention to details and do it with your heart! Weddings are, quite possibly, the biggest day in the life of the happy couple (I absolutely loved mine!). And being asked to photograph someone's wedding is both a great honour, and possibly a curse! The bride and groom will naturally want some good photographs of their special day. Both for their own memories, and also so they have something to bore their friends and relatives with afterwards! The photographer’s job is therefore quite important. You can’t ask for a re-run if you miss a special shot . . . “sorry, I missed that. Could you take the rings off and do it again” . . . is not a phrase anyone wants to hear at their wedding! To the inexperienced photographer, the first wedding is that single most daunting event that stands as Mt. Everest in one’s profession. It is a feat that could define success or failure for the rest of one’s career. Much preparation is required. Much focus is essential. Much passion is critical. Every detail of the day is important. The clothes. The favors. The people. Tensions are high. Schedules are tight. Emotions are charged. A wedding shoot is not the time to test one’s people skills or experiment with portraits. It is a day that an experienced photographer must practice everything he or she has ever known. However, each wedding photographer has had a “first time”. On this day, the photographer discovers the key to thriving in the world of wedding photography: An ability to take the unpredictable in stride and thrive amidst challenges. As a wedding photographer, my job involves more than capturing the events of the wedding day. I strive to do so in the style that signifies the bridal couple. Are they traditionalists? Are they contemporary? Do they want color or black and white? If they aren’t sure what they like, I take the time to go through a wedding magazine with them to find clips that match their style. Once I know what they are expecting stylistically, I'll try and shoot to capture just that! Wedding photography in Peoria is very conservative in comparison to the bigger cities like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles. Not saying this is good or bad, just different. People in Central Illinois do tend to be more even keeled and grounded compared to most of the populace. I've lived a bit on the East Coast and I can relate to life here vs. life in the East Coast. I would even go out on a limb and say that the value system of people in small towns in the midwest like Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield and the rest of central Illinois is better than people from bigger cities. Most small towns in the US are this way though, not just the Central Illinois area. My hypothesis for this is - this is just my opinion - people here have more time to spend with their family. A wedding photographer in Peoria or Bloomington would be working with the families of both the bride and the groom, not just the bride and groom. Every wedding that I photograph, I end up forming good friendships not only with the couple, but also with some of their family members. Bloomington and Peoria wedding photographers actually do very well in the senior pictures and family portrait market also. There is a wedding photographer in Washington who is very renowned. As far as the high school senior pictures in Peoria goes, there is a very good photographer in Morton who even offers workshops to other photographers from outside this area. I'm not aware of any pure photojournalistic style photographers in the Peoria area, but I'm sure every photographer has some amount of a photojournalistic approach to the weddings he or she covers. Another friend of mine is a wedding photographer in East Peoria. His attention to detail is awesome and his bridal portraits are just so lovely. I have a full studio with multiple backdrops. With every wedding I shoot, I love doing an engagement session. This lets me know the couple very well and helps them as well as me to understand each other. This also helps tremendously at the time of the wedding since we are not strangers to each other. I have not shot any weddings in Pekin yet. There are a lot of wedding photographers in Pekin and Pekin sure has some lovely settings that could be used for wonderful wedding portraits! Choosing a wedding photographer that is right for you: Think of it in two sections: Performance during the wedding & after the wedding. In other words, you want personality and professionalism (day of) and great photographs (after). Hopefully you get the best of both worlds and here are some tips to making a good choice. Excuse the dust as this section builds up. Please call me if you have any questions or suggestions at 323.605.4224 Day of: Meet your wedding photographer and get to know him/her You are stuck with us for the whole day, so it helps if there is a "vibe." I had one bride let her mother choose a photographer that barely spoke english and could not communicate effectively (though he was producing amazing photographs, which is of course the latter half). Make sure they work well with others The photographer often has to direct the flow of the day, which can be a serious issue if there is not cooperation with the other vendors. The DJ should be telling the photographer when events happen at the reception (unless there is a coordinator). The videographer should work with the photographer to ensure that both get their footage/photos. This is something that you also have to require of other vendors, since I've heard of the nicest photographers in the world still arguing with other stubborn vendors. After: Make sure your photographer produces consistent results. Honestly, the worst photographer will have at least one "keeper" after 1,000 photos. A good wedding photographer will have a large percentage of keepers. Don't forget that you usually have to pay more for such a photographer, but it doesn't hurt to check by asking to see an entire wedding instead of highlights from many different weddings. When money is an issue, choose better photos over extra post (like more prints, albums, etc.) With a limited budget, choose a better photographer over better products. If you get good photos (and the negatives), you can always spend more money on an album five years later after you become a company executive. If you get bad photos and an album now, you might regret that decision as your income increases (Trust me, this is taken from personal experience).