Before we decided on the wedding details, I knew that I wanted to prioritize the photos! Now that all the festivities are done, we still have those memories captured to look back on – one of the happiest days of my life! Confession: In my younger years, I used to stalk this Wedding Photographer/Blogger Duo for what I thought were the dreamiest and most dynamic photos before turning into a cynical Anti-Bride. Alas, they are in Texas! Plus after reading their reviews online, I noticed they were very good at curating what photos end up on the blog. It was not consistent with the quality they delivered to all clients! Are you ready for the longest review and probably more details than you will ever need? I’ll be noting all the things I would have done differently, perhaps this will help you with your experience.
We decided to choose Kristin Griffin Photography (KGP) after my unexpected fortuity at the Chestnut Hill Bridal Show. I received an e-mail from the mall’s Marketing Administrator informing me I had won the Photography Package raffle back in October 2015! (Yes this is even longer than we’ve coordinated with Raffael’s!) Thanks to my squad for entering me into everything using my wedding e-mail to spare me from the spam. However, if you’re starting out with no leads it’s overwhelming to have hundreds of photographers and having to compare packages. Many photographers won’t list their investment prices online so you have to contact them directly to find out. I found a helpful article on SnapKnot about what factors to consider when choosing your photographer. I admit, my husband and I are by no means photogenic or athletic. (Confession: I make him re-take photos numerous times to his chagrin for events haha. He also never likes how his smile looks in most photos.)
The Engagement Session
Prize package ($540 value) included:
- On-location session
- Professional retouching
- Full rights to the images on a USB drive
- Online gallery / Video slideshow
- 8 x 10″  and 5 x 7″  prints
Perfect, we could use the complimentary engagement photo session to test the waters to see if this could work! She gave us the option to schedule the engagement session right away, when she had availability so we could show them off for the Engagement Party. Instead we decided to wait until Spring 2016 so our Save the Dates could be in the same season. She gave some recommendations for scenic locations and originally we chose Elm Banks in Wellesley exactly 1 year prior to the wedding date. We had to reschedule for 3 weeks later in May and chose Larz Anderson Park in Brookline instead. Since it’s smaller than the Arnold Arboretum and less ground to cover in heels, not to mention they have a lovely Antique Car Museum! (We were unsure of the hours for Elm Banks and I think they charge an admission fee while the others were free before sunset.) I asked her several questions about what to bring and wear and we decided on 2 shirts to alternate between for Dana and a flower crown for myself. I made my own sign with our wedding date with chalk markers and pennant squares from Target.
The engagement photos went smoothly and Kristin put us at ease for our first time officially meeting. She had a set meeting spot and planned for us to walk around the park so that we would not need retrace steps. I didn’t share any of my feedback about the photos at the time but in retrospect it might have been beneficial to share that we would have appreciated less photo retouching on some close-ups as it could have saved some time for the wedding photos post processing. I’m not sure if other photographers openly solicit feedback if they anticipate that they will also sign a contract for wedding photography with the same couple, but sharing examples of poses and framing of photos from engagement session could be mutually beneficial.
There were a few photos where the pose was perfect, but the wind was blowing so the sign was crooked or there were stray hairs on my face. If only I had moved it!
Fast forward to our wedding day, I’ll elaborate more in the rating categories. We debated between a second shooter and videographer. We were taking dance lessons and writing our own vows, so we decided to add the videographer option from her A La Cart menu, whom she sub-contracted. (I will review the videographer next week!)
The Classic Wedding & Videographer Add-on
- Up to six hours of Wedding Day Coverage
- Mini Engagement Session
- Professional Retouching
- Password Protected Gallery
- USB drive and full rights to images
- Video Slideshow with music
- 8 x 10″  and 5 x 7″  prints
Quality of Service
Kristin has an extensive background in photography, and teaching it as well. She was a delight to work throughout our stressful wedding planning! We could tell she has a wealth of experience, as she was extremely organized and prepared! She has comprehensive online info sheet forms for clients to fill out so she can collect the wedding party info, vendor info and most importantly day of shots including possibilities for ice sculptures. (I’d love to attend a wedding with Ice Sculptures!) She mentioned that she was familiar with Raffael’s and did not need to visit, however I was slightly disappointed that most photos during the ceremony featured only the front of my husband’s face and the back of my head. I hoped for more clear and close up shots of both of our faces. It’s definitely much more challenging shooting moving targets than portraits, which turned out beautifully. She also captured the most key details of our minimal reception venue minus the Congratulations Sign as we didn’t have many decorations at all (escort cards, napkins, venue panorama, cake, champagne glasses).
During the “Getting Ready” session the not all of the Bridal Party had arrived, so she utilized the time to take quick portrait shots of Dana looking very distinguished. The “first look” photos she took in one of the connecting rooms at the venue also turned out to be one of my favorite shots as well. In the Bridal Suite she creatively hung the dress on a mirror and even had scissors on hand for us to borrow to cut the tag off of some new garments! She efficiently directed family and wedding party members to pose accordingly for all of the portrait shots during the cocktail hour. When the rain started trickling then turned into a downpour, we shuffled under the entrance to continue shots with the getaway car. (In retrospect I wish we had gotten a photo in the car itself since they left earlier. Oh well!) The quality of the photos she shared was consistent with the ones she featured on her blog posts. We also appreciate that the online proofs did not have the large unsightly watermarks that many photographer use.
We sent Kristin many questions before and after officially signing the contract; she always responded very promptly. Even when she was working at an event she would let me know to expect a delay. She was also easily accessible through text as she reached out to us immediately on the day of the original Engagement photo session to let us know we needed to post-pone. Her answers were also very eloquent and comprehensive. We had specific questions ranging from info about the videographer before meeting her, wedding photo timeline vendor meals. Most impressive of all ONLY 5 DAYS AFTER THE WEDDING she e-mailed us and told us our Wedding Photos were ready!!! I couldn’t resist taking a peek that Friday afternoon. I haven’t heard of ANYONE else receiving their photos back this fast from their photographer(s).
Kristin is a true professional through and through. After each time we met with Kristin she always included a thoughtful handwritten note and maybe something special in the mail! When we rescheduled the Engagement session she immediately apologized, followed up with a thank you note and sent us some extra bath/body gifts and with cute extras. Also, I was impressed that she was very invested in helping coordinate communications with Erin the videographer (EcA Productions) after the wedding to ensure that we got all of the agreed upon deliverables listed on the contract. We definitely appreciated extras that she included such as the thoughtful note and a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for coffee on her leading up to the big day! She also invited us to her studio in person to pick up the prints that came with our package and surprised us with another gift of a 3D View Master with 8 photos she picked out to scroll through. She offered us coffee, tea or champagne along with delicious cake pops to enjoy while scrolling through our photos. We viewed all of the beautiful sample albums she had on display, and unfortunately they are currently out of our price range. She jotted down notes for our favorite shots and shared immediately after the meeting. Hopefully we can revisit in the future for an album. She also ordered an entire new container of additional Photo Gallery cards so to give to our guests at no additional cost to view the entire wedding album in case I missed uploading a photo they wanted to see.
My value assessment is based on if we did not have the lucky prize package that Kristin graciously applied to the total balance. Wedding Photography ranges greatly between photographers so it’s difficult to compare one to another without knowing specifically what each person offers for the packages. We were happy that she sub-contracted a good Videographer for us. However, it’s tough to swallow when the Wedding Photo & Video would have been almost 27% of our total wedding costs (not including honeymoon) even with all of the nice extras she added. As I mentioned earlier, I was expecting more photos for certain moments, and needed to follow up to get alternate versions for ones that she had deemed sub-par. I was also surprised that she did not preemptively edit a portion of the mirror during the “Getty Ready” where the video camera snuck in the corner. It’s understandable that she would not want to share any unfinished work, however it would have been nice to choose the portions of shots from the listing to prioritize for more photos OR have a part in determining ones that would be post processed as it’s a time consuming task. I felt bad asking her to re-process the photos afterward. It might be silly, but I just couldn’t help but feel like might have been hidden gems left on the cutting room floor since our ideas of great shots may differ. Anyway part of hiring a photographer is trusting their professional judgement.
Kristin allowed us to choose our location for the Engagement session, however we ultimately chose a different location due to uncertainty with timing. She also allowed us pay a deposit of $500 then split up the remainder of the first half of the wedding contract payments monthly rather than lump sum upon contract signing. It’s definitely a plus that she allowed us to use credit card for payments! 2 weeks prior to the wedding, we had a call with her to determine the exact timeline for her and Erin. The only aspect that was a slight bummer was finding out that she had already selected all of her picks for “best” photos to share with us. In total we originally received 497 photos for 6 hours of shooting. After comparing to some other friends and forums this was a standard number post processing. Similar to the other I asked Kristin and she also responded that those were the ones she felt were best and the other ones were not up to her standards. After mentioning specific questions (changing song for photo slideshow, missing moments, overly retouched faces, colored version of black & white photos and removing the edge of the camera), she promptly responded with about 30 additional photos in the Zenfolio online proof. She courteously sent us 2 USBs one with the original batch that she sent immediately and second with updated! We received everything waiting for us when we returned from the honeymoon! (Seriously speedy turnaround!)
Again there’s hundreds if not thousands of photographers in the area, but you want to make sure you find the right one for you! Kristin is a great choice and extremely reliable, to ensure at least one portion of your wedding day is not stressful.