NYC-area Wedding Photographers
May 16, 2006 4:46 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a great wedding photographer for my wedding on Long Island next June!

We're getting married in June of 2007 in Bayville, NY, a small town on the North Shore of Long Island about an hour from New York. We've looked at a few wedding photographers in the area, but they are all crazily expensive ($6,000+). More problematically, they only give us maybe a hundred prints in the end--out of thousands of photos--and are generally into a super-cheesy, glamour-shot aesthetic. Lots of pictures of the bride staring off into the distance, showing off her garters, making out with the groom on the beach, etc. etc. A lot of them have arcane pre-digital rules (no access to the digital files, for example, until one year after the wedding). None of them are appealing so far.

Ideally, we'd like to pay less for someone to shoot a lot of great, candid photos, and then give them to us in digital form (on a DVD, say). We're computer savvy and could take charge of making our own photo albums and prints. The main thing is that we'd like a good, fun, flexible photographer who can shoot digitally and give us access to the photographs. Any suggestions, endorsements, personal experiences? Thanks!
posted by josh to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
 
We used Stephen Taylor Photography because we wanted kind of "a day in the life" photos as opposed to cheesy staged shoots. We ended up getting something like 300 candid prints, plus a few rolls of black and whites. (We did this almost 11 years ago, so I'm sure there are digital options now.) We found them really easy to work with, and they did exactly what we wanted. We never even noticed they were there, taking pictures (in fact, my freaked out mother-in-law nearly had a panic attack mid-ceremony because she thought the photographer wasn't there). Checking out their website now, I can see there are a few of the standard staring-into-the-middle-distance fuzzy shots, but for the most part their philosophy is photo-journalism and documentary, not glamour shots and staged photo ops. (Also, they're located in NJ, but I know they do events throughout NJ & NY.)

Good luck and congrats!
posted by mothershock at 5:06 AM on May 16, 2006


I would think a NYC-based photographer would be willing to travel to Bayville. The New York Magazine listings are always a good start for wedding-related stuff. I think the key words you want to look for, other than the digital-related stuff, are "documentary" or "photojournalistic" if you don't want a lot of cheesy posed shots.

Our photographer offered what seemed to be a good combination: She shot on film (but will give us prints of everything, plus digital scans of 100 shots we select—more for a reasonable incremental fee), while her assistant shot on digital the whole time, and we'll get all those digital files. We haven't actually received the photos yet (the wedding was recently), so I'm not going to give a specific recommendation, but that struck me as a nice compromise between old-school and digital. If you want a price comparison, it was $3600 for unlimited time and film (including a choice of an "engagement shoot" prior to the wedding or shooting the rehearsal dinner for a couple of hours).
posted by staggernation at 5:09 AM on May 16, 2006


I've got to recommend Chris Marksbury. He shot digital and gave us CDs with the files after the wedding. He does great work.

Tell him AJ Schuster sent you.
posted by schustafa at 6:18 AM on May 16, 2006


I highly recommend Melissa Cliver, who was delightful throughout the whole process. Of all the photographers we spoke with, she made us feel the most comfortable. Remember that this person is going to be around you all day. Make sure he or she is not only a great photographer, but also is someone you like!

She shot about 20 rolls of film (color and B&W), and we received 4x6 proofs of ~700 pictures, plus all the negatives and a scan of every shot...a month after the wedding.

If you contact her, tell her Hilary and Brian sent you.
posted by hsoltz at 6:50 AM on May 16, 2006


I don't know any photographers personally, but this recent link on the blue was pretty striking. Maybe one of these photographers is in your area?
posted by schroedinger at 7:12 AM on May 16, 2006


When we were searching for wedding photographers, finding someone with progressive views on digital photography was really important to us. Two that we were impressed with were Stomsvik Photography and ASI Photography.

We didn't end up using either because we're in Philadelphia, however both were willing to travel even that far for a small travel fee. Both were friendly and professional in email and phone conversations, and most importantly, accomodating to our insistence on certain things: access to full-resolution originals, no package deals with albums and other crap we don't need, minimal editing, no kitschy novelty blur filters, etc. (Fiancé and I are amateur photgraphers and, like you, do our own editing/printing.)

Oh, and I seem to remember that their pricing was pretty reasonable.
posted by miagaille at 7:19 AM on May 16, 2006


I would recommend Raquel Reis. Her style is very artsy, she charges less than you require, and when she did our wedding (in Manhattan, but you'll see she also does LI) we ended up with over a thousand 4x6 prints.

I found that with wedding photographers you pretty much have two options. 1) a semi-professional who lacks style but will give you the negatives and DVD-ROM. 2) awesome pictures from a professional who will give you a ton of prints--and then you scan/digitize those prints for your own use. Good luck.
posted by mattbucher at 7:50 AM on May 16, 2006


This organization says "Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) is a professional organization composed of photojournalists and wedding photographers from around the world. What sets our members apart in the industry is their candid, documentary approach – a distinctly artistic vision toward wedding photography."

Because my ex- does wedding photos, here's a link to my advice on the subject. I'd recommend him, but he doesn't have a web page for you to see pictures. Dufus.
posted by theora55 at 8:11 AM on May 16, 2006


Joe Elario (and his son) did our wedding. We were very impressed with his work -- photojournalistic without being pompous and also posed photos that weren't garbage. He was great to work with during the wedding. I'm still working out how to get digital versions of [some | many | all ] of the photos. He shoots on digital and also with film.

He's based in Albany, but certainly travels. I'd guess his fees will be lower than NYC-based photographers, but then you'll be paying for his travel expenses... bet it's still cheaper than NYC / LI prices.
posted by zpousman at 8:37 AM on May 16, 2006


Although not local to the NY area, I can recommend David Burke Photography (dbphotodesign.com). It might be a good fit otherwise--no cheesy staged photos, shot digitally and you can get digital copies without any silly rules. Since he's not in the NY area, you won't pay NY prices--even with some travel expenses added, it still might be a bargain. He offers destination weddings at a reasonable cost.
posted by sexymofo at 10:55 AM on May 16, 2006


Michael Spotts. Brilliant pictures, definitely not super-cheesy, gives you a DVD of images along with 3 copies of the digital negatives for your use, and is way, way less than $6,000. Also not local to NY, but even with travel costs, I think he'd be a very smart bargain. Good luck, and congrats!
posted by viachicago at 1:39 PM on May 16, 2006


I was very happy with Nelson Hancock a few years ago. I don't know if he's shooting digital now, but even with film, he was very reasonable about ownership of everything, and we got all of the negatives as soon as they were developed.

He has a great eye (background in cultural anthropology), and he's very unobtrusive.

We recommended him to a friend, and they were also pleased.
posted by Caviar at 5:16 PM on May 16, 2006


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