Jillian Kay photography

Now that the holidays are over we’re starting to pick up where we left off with the wedding planning. Among other things, this means finding and booking a photographer. We mostly used Craigslist for this, posting an ad with a rough description of what we want and asking for introductions and quotes. We got a number of responses, with prices all over the map. We disqualified anyone with spelling or grammatical errors in their e-mail, pruned by price, ruling out anyone too expensive or so cheap that they are obviously amateur, looked at lots of portfolios, and finally arrived at a short list of people we liked.

We ended up booking Jillian Kay after meeting over dinner at the Googleplex. She’s friendly and easy to talk to, her pictures are nice, and her day job is software engineering, which appealed to our geeky sides. She’s also not hung up on “traditional” wedding photography, which means we can avoid all the typical stuff like group portraits with every possible combination of family members, and all that nonsense. In addition to her portfolio site, she’s got a photoblog, which helped us to kind of get to know her a little before actually meeting her. (This all actually took place back in November and December, but we haven’t been thinking about the wedding much lately. Too much stuff going on.)

Another thing we liked about Jillian is that, unlike a lot of wedding photographers, she does not insist on controlling everything that’s done with the pictures. It seems that in the past wedding photographers did not include negatives with the photos, so that prints always had to be ordered from the photographer, which ensured them a revenue stream for years after the fact. Now that most everything has gone digital, these buggy whip manufacturers wedding photographers are finding it difficult to bleed their customers this way, so they’ve turned to only providing low quality JPGs that aren’t suitable for printing. Original full-resolution images are the new film negatives. Jillian doesn’t go in for this sort of thing though; we’ll receive high-resolution digital images on CD so we can let everyone print their own. She retains copyright on her photos, while I’d prefer a straight-forward work for hire situation where we own them afterward, but this isn’t a big deal as long as we’re free to print and otherwise reproduce them ourselves.

Jillian’s photography package comes with pre-wedding “engagement photos”, which is something I wasn’t aware that people did. It’s an informal shoot that we arrange some time before the wedding, I guess with the idea that we can send these out with invitations or something. I think the real purpose is to get to know the photographer a little more and make sure we’re comfortable with her so there’s no awkwardness at the wedding. Anyone who knows how I am about people taking my picture will understand why this is important. This session is totally open: we can pick where we want them taken, what we want to wear, and all that. I think a series taken at dive bars around the Mission is a great idea, but that’s still to be decided.