Hidden Gem Photographers in New Mexico

Yes, it’s true — we just said earlier this week that the fickle weather of spring had given way to steady sunshine and…..then it rained. So it goes in this beautiful, mercurial desert state! While we might not be able to rely on the weather for consistency, we can at least know that whatever rain comes to New Mexico won’t last very long. Plus, because temperamental weather is often on the horizon, local creatives have learned how to work with and around it, especially our wedding photographers.

We all know that rain on your wedding day is good luck — what with the symbolism of cleansing, renewal, and fertility and all — but what about the wind? Or the blazing New Mexican sun that occasionally becomes a bright and shining nuisance? Despite how perfectly you may plan your wedding, there are always a few uncontrollable weather variables. So, if you can’t control the weather, you’ll need a team of wedding professionals who aren’t afraid of a little Mother Nature.

Which is why we’ve put together a list of our 5 favorite hidden gem photographers. With years of experience in rain and shine, these local wedding photographers have been put to the test and come out on the other side with gorgeous visual art, a fine-tuned understanding of lighting, and a considerable dedication to their craft. So, if you maybe want someone you can count on to capture your wedding day — take a peak below.

1. Beth Waldron Photography

We’re starting out strong here with the creative known as Beth Waldron Photography. Like an amazingly talented fly on the wall, Beth photographed our Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer just a few weeks ago, and totally captured the essence, fun, and special moments of the event. (Not to mention, the photos were beautiful despite coming from a dimly-lit ballroom.) With an expressive edge that comes through in each shot, her wedding photography should be properly classified as works of art.

 

2. Jared Kellogg Photography

I feel life has a soul and there is nothing more beautiful than capturing it in a smile or in the twinkle in some one’s eye.

We couldn’t have described the creative driving force behind Jared Kellogg‘s photographic art any better than he does himself! With a unique blend of digital and film photography in his portfolio, Jared has come to understand the medium on a personal and artistic level, which shines through in his business. His clean and even approach to each couple makes his work feel comforting and familiar, with a kind of timelessness to last through each and every anniversary.

 

3. Chandelier Studio

It’s hard not to love Shannon, the creative powerhouse behind Chandelier Studio, from the first moment you meet her. All of her photographic work — weddings and boudoir — comes from a deeply artistic, deeply collaborative place, and it shows. The focus of her lens and creative practices is on making sure the women and couples in front of the camera feel beautiful, and know they’re beautiful. It’s no small wonder then, that each shot comes out looking comfortable, crisp, and perfectly balanced.

 

4. Rick Saul Photography

Rick Saul approaches each engaged couple in New Mexico with a keen awareness of the fact that his photos will long outlive the ceremony, reception, and even the honeymoon. It’s this knowledge that motivates his work, and ensures his talents are used to encapsulate all the most important moments of the day, whether they are precious and heartfelt, or silly and fun. His photographs are, essentially, his way of cementing your story in time forever, so that they may remind you of your unique love for decades to come.

 

5. Shutter Force Photography

To finish just as a strong as we started, we’re wrapping up here with Shutter Force Photography. Although we just did a special feature on the husband-and-wife photographer duo, it’s worth reiterating that their fun and loving approach to photography is totally unparalleled. Meagan and James, as they’re also called by, cultivate real, genuine relationships with their couples. It’s with this connection that they are able to express the inexpressible emotions, details, and depth of each love story within their photography.

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What Local Engaged Couples Have to Say About Planning a Wedding in New Mexico

So, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most people in New Mexico know Perfect Wedding Guide for our wedding shows. Which makes sense, considering how many hundreds of engaged couples and local wedding professionals come together to make shows like the Diamond Dash, Bride’s Night Out, and the Wedding Gallery possible. We’re not really complaining, promise, but we actually have a lot of love and appreciation from some of our smaller events, like the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer!

The 2019 edition of the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer flew past us just this last week. (Of course months of planning, collaborating, and designing goes by in a dizzying but beautiful flash!) All we want to talk about is all the amazing nuggets of knowledge we learned, but wait…

What even is the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer?!

Great question, reader! This particular event was conceptualized to fill the gap between local engaged couples and the wedding professionals who serve them. (Sound familiar?) Essentially, the Bridal Board + Vendor Mixer is oriented like a research or focus group. We invite around 10 engaged or recently married couples from the local community to come share their insights, triumphs, complaints, compliments, woes, worries, and wonders about the wedding planning process in New Mexico. 

Then, with bellies full of a complementary, gourmet dinner, the wedding professionals from all over New Mexico take note, adjust their practices, ask questions, and, hopefully, grow! It’s one of the few opportunities you have in any business-client relationship to truly hear and communicate with one another. It’s how we’re able to keep the eclectic New Mexico wedding market moving and evolving in the right direction.

Ready to learn what the engaged couples who have come before you have to say about the wedding planning process in New Mexico? Let’s jump in with our 3 main takeaways.

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1. Inclusivity is Key.

Another word for inclusivity here could be clarity. When we asked the couples, “What is the most important quality you are looking for when hiring a wedding professional?” the conclusion was the same across the board. Couples look for those who exude kindness and personality, and vendors who actually listen to their vision without imposing their own ideas on the couple. 

When we asked the couples what the vendors they choose did to earn their business, what we heard reaffirmed these values. They appreciated (and went on to book) the professionals who didn’t exclusively brag about themselves, whose websites were clear and communicative, and whose work accurately represented the couples they want to work with.

For example, if a wedding professional exclusively promotes straight couples on their website and social media channels, the chances of reaching LGBTQ couples are pretty much nil.

To sum: be clear, be kind, be inclusive, and listen well.

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2. Stick to Email, Folks.

Yes, the digital world is ever changing, and it’s so tempting to make texting your main form of communication. (You can do it from bed, from the gym, from the couch with Netflix playing in front of you, so we totally get it.)

But, because lots of couples create a specific email address for wedding planning, keeping all communications in one place is best. There’s higher visibility of conversations in email as well, so accountability comes much easier.

Also, hate is a strong word, but our couples felt strongly about this: they hate phone calls. Like, really and truly. Most couples are at work during a business’s hours of operations, or they’re at home with their partners and families.

Remember: stick to email.

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3. Yes, Social Media is Still Important.

Your website should still be the home of your business, but social media is where the vast majority of couples look for wedding inspiration. The two top contenders, which you might be able to guess already, are Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram is a great platform to utilize, according to the local couples, because it’s easy to return to feed posts for references — though they love seeing stories, especially of behind-the-scenes previews for styled shoots and weddings. Pinterest is beneficial for businesses as well because it’s so visually-oriented. Then, there’s always the concept of pinfinity, too!

(Pinfinity = the fact your pins continue to be recirculated by pinners long after you post them, whereas Instagram posts are usually only seen within the first 48 hours of posting.)

Here’s your excuse to log on, friends, and show the world what you’re working with.

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A very special thank you to all the incredible local businesses who made this awesome, collaborative event possible: Embassy Suites, for generously hosting us and feeding all our guests a marvelous meal; De Novo Pastoral Services for being our informed and entertaining emcee; Beth Waldron Photography for capturing all the fun above; Estella Floral Design for our darling centerpieces; Funky Olive Designs for our pretty little invitations; Cello for Weddings for serenading all our guests with delightful live cello music; and Black Swan Events, for transforming the ballroom into a conducive, inspiring space.

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Why Your Photographer Thinks You Should Hire a Wedding Planner {Guest Post!}

A very special thank you to Beth Waldron Photography, a New Mexico photographer based in Corrales, for sharing her wedding expertise with us + allowing us to pass it on to our local engaged couples in this guest post!

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4 Reasons to Hire a Planner — from a Photographer’s Perspective

Planning your wedding can be really fun. It can also be a source of stress in what should otherwise be a joyful time. If you have room in your budget for a wedding planner, then here are four reasons to hire one, from a photographer’s perspective. 

1.

Your decor – This might be the first thing you think of when you hear “wedding planner.” A well dressed person running around with material swatches and flower arrangements.

They do so much more than this, but the gorgeous decor part is definitely true.

When you want your wedding decorations to be on point and everything to look amazing, hiring a planner is a great way to do that. They’ll get to know you and take everything you hope and dream about your wedding and make magic with your ideas to turn them into reality. It’s what they do. Especially if you have a vision of a wedding that is uniquely you. They work tirelessly behind the scenes and at all hours…building and crafting and designing and ironing. They create magic.

Truthfully, all weddings can be photographed beautifully. But if you read wedding magazines and blogs and you love how beautiful and styled everything is in the articles, and want your wedding to be like that … that wedding styling is generally the genius of a wedding planner. They make everything, including photographers, look good.

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2.

Your timeline – Your wedding day needs a timeline. And your wedding planning needs a timeline too. The reasons for this could fill another blog post. There are a lot of details to get done for your day to happen and run smoothly. Wedding planners know when things have to happen in order to get everything done in time for your wedding day. When do you need to have all of your ideas finalized so everything can be ordered or made in time? When do you need to order everything? When do you start making decor items you can’t buy somewhere? Anyone can be organized, so while the organization is great, it’s the experience and knowledge of a planner that makes them worth the expense.
A planner will help you build a realistic timeline for your wedding day. How much time do you need for getting ready? How much time will your wedding party need? Will you really have enough time to get from location A to location B? What will your guests do while you’re taking portraits with the photographer? Who will decide when to do toasts and cake cutting?

It’s true that your vendors can help you with your timeline. Your photographer can suggest you pad certain areas with more time and estimate how much time you’ll need for portraits. Your DJ can suggest when to have your toasts and when to cut the cake. Your hair and makeup team can estimate how long it will take to get everyone ready. But a wedding planner will have a vision for the day, pull all of the pieces together, and keep everyone to it as well as they can, while also handling any crisis that comes their way.

If you contract a wedding planner for day of services, then they’ll be there setting things up and keeping things running all day and you get to relax and be present. And then they clean up, which is awesome. Some wedding planners have a day of only service as well.

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3.

Your budget – Your planner will keep you on budget. A good planner evaluates what details  are most meaningful to you in your ideas. They’ll see where you can spend and where you should think about being more thrifty. And they keep you on track in your contracts and payments with vendors.

Your planner will have the hard discussions with you and manage your expectations. If your dreams don’t align with your budget, then your planner can help you find areas to spend less for more or where things can be made instead of purchased.

Wedding planners keep everything in one place. There’s a list of vendors working on the wedding with a timeline for when they get payment for their services.

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4.

Your vendors – Planners can recommend vendors to work with, which is a great thing. But even when you choose your own vendors, a planner keeps them informed about everything. Who’s doing what? Where do they go? When are they supposed to be there? What’s happening when? Who to talk to about what details? Are they delivering what they promised? Are they where they’re supposed to be? They might feel like they herd cats.

A planner is also a single point of contact for all of your vendors, and they defuse any situations that may arise, vendor and personal. And for any of you thinking, “It’s a wedding, what situations could there be?” Oh, it happens. It could be anything from “the bus arrived late to get the bride from the cabin where she’s getting ready with her bridesmaids and the bride will be at least 45 minutes late to the ceremony” (yes…this one is real) to a disagreement between vendors or an overly rowdy guest/family member.

As a vendor, it’s very helpful to have a point of contact for the entire wedding. Planners keep you informed and send you information you don’t even know you need until you need it. Amazing. If you want this level of detail, definitely hire a wedding planner and let your friends and family relax with you on your wedding day while someone else takes care of everything.

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If you’ve ever had the thought, “Do I really need a wedding planner? What do they do anyway?” or wished that someone who isn’t a wedding planner give you some real talk for why you should spend your money on a wedding planner, there it is. A good wedding planner is going to make sure your wedding is gorgeous and everything goes smoothly for you and your wedding vendors. Worth every penny.

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