Connection in a budget world | Portland Wedding Photographer

Budget Budget Budget… but what about connection?

In today’s world, we are all money conscience. We all have a budget we are aiming to stick within, whether it be due to unforeseen circumstances or merely for the purpose of being fiscally responsible. You could be living month to month, or have a surplus of money, but chances are, you look at price tags before making purchases or investments. Let’s face it, today’s world is different. Between technology, unemployment, healthcare, and just normal life, we are in a season of watching where our money is spent, and we each put a value on the importance of the item/service that our money is spent on.

Personally, I am on a budget. I run my own businesses and my month to month income is never the same; some months are bleak while others are swelling with funds. I have to take into account all the up’s and downs of owning my own business, unexpected expenses, being a single mother of two children under the age of seven, and everything else that life throws at me. AND IT IS TOUGH. I struggle like everyone else with where I should focus my financial plan, all the while putting out “financial fires” that always seem to arise at the worst time, while still trying to meet the goal of living a comfortable life where there ARE things/experiences/items I CAN splurge on. I am a firm believer in budgeting for your household. Being fiscally responsible is huge, and making tough choices to wait on the newest, latest, and greatest thing on the market is often times much easier said than done. This whole idea of a “budget” is always evolving, and being adjusted as new things arise in life, expected and unexpected.

But there are certain things that for myself, I have set a standard for that I am not willing to change, even if they are out of my budget. See, I believe in the power of human interaction and connection. Because like so many of us, how many more are out there who are struggling with money? Would you be more comfortable knowing where your money is actually going? For me, I find that answer in connection and relationships with others; whether they are running a cash register at the grocery store, or I am speaking to my doctor. Personal connection helps us to decide on those difficult money decisions.

I cannot tell you how often I am emailed a similar inquiry from a bride looking for information about my wedding photography services… it usually goes something like this….

Hi Kellene,

I need a photographer for 5 hours, I just want the disk of images, and I need it all for “such and such” price. Thanks, “The Bride”

Now we have all written an email like this, or inquired like this in our lives. We have conditioned ourselves that money is the defining factor in how we live our lives, and for the most part, that may be true. BUT what I didn’t hear from this soon-to-be bride is what she REALLY wants. What good is a deal on something you don’t want? And beyond that, when did price make wedding photography decent or excellent?

After seeing a Facebook post similar to this style in an online wedding group, I decided to write this blog post, because IT MATTERS. Your wedding matters. Moreover, CAPTURING your wedding matters. And truly, the only way to find an artist who can capture who YOU and your fiance are, is to have a connection with your photographer. Everyone has a “friend” who has a camera who dabbles in photography – that’s awesome, truly it is an amazing hobby. But this is YOUR wedding day…getting married to your “one and only.”

So often we fall into the trap of numbers on a spreadsheet without ever taking into account the reality that this incredible day you are planning is only one day… and when it is over, that is it. Will you look back on your wedding images that are mediocre and say with a genuine smile “man, we sure did get a sweet deal on these images?”  OR, will you gaze upon run-of-the-mill pictures from your once in a lifetime day and wish you could go back in time and choose a photographer based on the connection you had with them?

Connections and relationships with photographers are integral to amazing wedding images. Anyone can show up with a camera and snap images, and they will. They will absolutely take whatever amount of money you offer, show up, and click away. But can I share something? Snapping 2000 images does not create good photography. What creates amazing photographic results is when the photographer and client form a relationship where the photographer understands who you are, your desires for finished products, and most important, is able to actually capture the connection you have with your soon to be wife/husband, family, and friends. Capturing chemistry, capturing the true essence of a couple… that comes from knowing and understanding the couple. It doesn’t come from a vague reply in a craigslist ad based on a dollar amount, what type of camera they use, or how many pictures they take.

Now I know what you are thinking, “but I have to stay within budget”. I agree! I wholeheartedly agree with you, and applaud your conviction, because I am right there with you on this subject of budget. But I have a challenge for you as you search for your photographerdon’t start with price, don’t start with budget, or who Susie used through a friend who didn’t do an amazing job capturing, but she got this one image that is cute.


Inquire with details about your wedding. Ask the photographer questions, about WHO THEY ARE. Share your wildest dreams about your wedding day and what is most important to you to be captured. Share that you want to capture exactly how your heart feels at that moment you say “I do”, or how your heart swells when he gazes at you from across the room. Those are the questions you should be asking… because a disk of photography that doesn’t capture any REAL moments is just a disk of crap, and frankly, your money that you have worked so hard to earn and spend responsibly shouldn’t be wasted on mediocrity, no matter what your budget is.

As a wedding photographer, I have no set prices.

And do you know why? Because EVERY SINGLE CLIENT is a unique person who is seeking something specific for them. I choose NOT to create a “cookie-cutter” design of pricing, because frankly, in the world I live in, there are more than three types of people that I meet. I’m human like you, and like you, I am looking for connection with whoever I work with. I don’t want to produce a good result, I want to create an outstanding result. Creating results that blow people away are only achieved by knowing who you are capturing and WHY. Styles of photography matter, personality of the photographer matters, and being able to relate to your photographer, and the ability for your photographer to understand who you are as a couple REALLY matters. If you find a photographer who relates to you on these levels, then move forward to discussing budget, because at the end of the day when you look back on your wedding images, I can promise you that you will never regret finding the photographer that truly sees YOU as unique person, and not a “package price”.

Art is an amazing thing, because despite popular notions, you can find good and bad photography at ANY price point. So why not take the chance and ask some real questions? Photography is the evidence that we have lived. Photographs have been passed down for generations, linking our modern world to those of a past that we can only truly experience on an emotional level when their true emotions have been captured. We all have a story, and we all want to remember it, document it, cherish it, and share it. When your great-grandchildren look back on your wedding pictures do you want them to gaze upon an image that captures the true essence of your relationship or an image of two people in wedding garb? Both are wedding images, but one actually captures a moment in time. Images that stir the soul and transport me into the subjects heart and mind is the reason why I am a photographer.

My challenge to you is this….

Believe in your story. Believe in your unique, amazing love. Believe that capturing your story is so much more than a number on a spreadsheet.

I challenge you to be honest and real with whoever your seek out to photograph your wedding. Ask the questions you really want to ask, and share what really matters to you with them, not just your budget. My goal for every bride and groom is to look back on their wedding images and feel every emotion they had in those moments as if it were yesterday. Don’t settle for less than that.

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{all images captured by ©Bella Lucia Photography from 2007-2013}

For more information about our wedding photography experience, email me at


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