Picking a Wedding Photographer & DJ

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his may not be what you want to hear, but it must be said. Picking a wedding photographer and DJ is often where couples make their biggest mistake.

This is compounded by two things. First, picking poorly here is particularly costly. While the sting of most bad vendors likely fades with time, photography is forever. And a bad DJ, particularly the sort that thinks their an MC when they aren't, well that sting can last forever.

Second, the barriers to entry for these providers is so low that the professions attract a lot of beginners and should-never-have-beens. Since everyone has a smart phone on them at all times, we all think that we're photographers and DJs.

Before we recommend how to go about picking your wedding photographer or DJ, let us tell you how not to do it. If you have a "friend" or family member who is gifting you the service, or giving you a discounted or even full rate, it doesn't matter. Don't do it. Merely knowing someone doesn't reflect upon the quality of their work. Would you have selected them if you didn't know them? And discounted wedding photos that no one but you will look at or a discounted wedding DJ that sends everyone off the dance floor is not a good deal. And if the friend or family member is gifting the service, they really should be attending the wedding and not working it.

Also, don't select your wedding photographer or DJ based solely on cost. The many new wedding photographers and DJs I mentioned above get into the business by.....heavily discounting their rates. They shouldn't go to school on you. We do our very best to prevent this from happening with our approved vendor policy.

How to Pick a Wedding Photographer

We have seen photographs from every wedding at our venues for the past 10-years. If hours of performing an activity makes one an expert, we daresay that we are one when it comes to wedding photography appreciation. We know every style, backdrop, formula and lineup. Want to see highlights from your colleague's wedding at Clementine Hall in 2019? We can produce those.

Apart from the photography itself, photographers can sometime be, shall I say prima donnas. They're artists. Like musicians. So some can be hard to work with when it comes to a timely and thoughtful presentation of photos to both you and your other vendors.

Start by looking at our large list of approved photographers. The list links directly to each photographer's website, where you may view their work. Photographers tend to have a style and you should find one that suits yours.

Of course once you find one you like, cost and availability will be a factor. We recommend that you select a photographer immediately after booking our venues. Like a venue, a photographer is either book or available on any given date, and peak season dates fill quickly for the best photographers.

A photographer should also be very familiar with the venue so they have a plan in advance where they wish to shoot and when (as light moves through the space). The photographers on our list have been to our venues many times.

How to Pick a Wedding DJ

We have also seen many years worth of DJs at Ruby and Clementine. We call the vast majority of DJs a "push play DJ", because that's all they do.

Unlike photographers who may send us a disappointing batch of wedding photos that no one apart from the couple and the venue experience, a bad DJ is disappointment to everyone at the reception. The sound may not be good since many DJs know little about sound engineering. They may like to hear the sound of their own voice too much and therefore talk a lot. They may bring offending dance floor lighting. And of course they may play bad music. There are so many ways to go wrong.

I remember our first event at Clementine and a British DJ, "DJ Tom", kept telling us he was hearing a "clipping sound". Over and over. Try to imagine the "clipping sound" said repeatedly in a British accent. Not pleasant. Well, he couldn't manage plugging his rig into a real concert quality system. Out of that experience we made all DJs perform a sound check and lock down the system. No fiddling after the sound check, DJ Tom.

Unfortunately,  determining the quality of a DJ is not as easy as looking at photos. So this is where the value of our approved DJs has so much value. Vinyl is also a good way to go and several of our DJs can go that route.