- The Difference is Real -

Work, thoughts and general nonsense from Northern Virginia's true wedding photojournalist


6 steps to finding the best photographer for your wedding

Related Categories: Event Photography, Photography, Wedding Photography, 2017 wedding

6 Steps to finding the best photographer for your wedding

You need to hire a wedding photographer. Now what? Where do you look? Who do you hire?

As many in my profession like to say, “The cake gets eaten, the dress gets worn and stored and the flowers die a week after the wedding, but the images stay around forever.” I like to add, “You are documenting your family history; the beginning of your lives together. These are the images you will show your children and grandchildren.” I truly believe that your wedding photos will be the most important and lasting testaments to the joy and love you feel on that day.

So, how do you get there from here?

Step 1: Figure out what you like. Do a Google search for “wedding photography” to see what type of photography you like. Do you want the images to be documentary based, portrait based, heavily toned or natural? Do you want to spend your day posing for portraits or letting the photographer work around you? There is no wrong answer.

Step 2: Target your search. All photographers are not created equal and it shows when you look at their work. Here are some things that you can do that will cut your list down fast:
•    Target your search to your local area or the area surrounding your ceremony/reception venue, ex.   “Northern Virginia wedding p
hotographer” or Arlington Virginia wedding photographer.”
•    Ask your venue for a pr
eferred vendors list. Photographers on these lists have shot events at the venue, so you can get a nice idea of their creativity at your specific venue. This works for florists, caterers and DJs, too.
•    Ask friends for re
•    Visit professional photography organizations  websites like Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA), Wedding Photography Association (WPPI), Artist Wedding Photojournalism (AG/WPJA) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

Step 3: Narrow the field. Check out the websites of the ones you like. Do you like their style? Is the quality of their work consistent? Do they fit within your budget?

Step 4: Check availability. Once you’ve narrowed your choices (say 3-5 photographers), contact them to see if they are available for your wedding date. Most photographers start to fill up their calendar anywhere from 6 -18 months out. The sooner you decide, the better chance you have of getting your first choice.

Step 5: Meet the top 3. This step is very important. Do not skip it. Set up an appointment to meet with each of the top three photographers. Consider it an interview. Is the photographer personable, punctual and presentable? Do they put you at ease or make you nervous? The difference between relaxed and stiff photos could hinge on your feelings about the person taking your pictures. Each photographer should show you samples of their work and talk about the process, what to expect from them and what they will need from you. And, don’t forget to check references. Call or email a few. See what they liked about the photographer, suggestions they may have, or things they would have done differently.

Step 6: Decide. If you follow steps 1-5, you will know which photographer clicks with you and your fiancé. Trust your gut, book the photographer and don’t look back.

Good luck!

In the meantime check out www.mccrehin.com and let me know what you think. Also, let me know what you think of this post. Are there other topics you’d like me to address?

Thanks for stopping by

Jud McCrehin Photography
Northern Virginia’s true wedding photojournalist

Future postings will include:
1.    Questions to ask a potential wedding photographer during your initial consultation.
2.    Wedding photography pricing, why it costs what it does.
3.    Should we do a first look?

4.    Should we do an engagement session?
5.    Should we buy an album or design one ourselves?
6.    What time should we have our wedding?
7.    My cousin is a photographer should I have him shoot the wedding?
8.    Church weddings how to work with photography restrictions
9.    Outdoor weddings how to deal with shadows.


Happy Holidays

Related Categories: Wedding Photography, 2016 wedding

Jud McCrehin Photography wins awards for wedding images shot in 2016

Related Categories: Photography, Wedding Photography, 2016 wedding, Photography awards

Jud McCrehin Photography won two awards from the Wedding Photojournalist Association's 2016 quarterly wedding photography contest. Both images were shot in Warrenton, Va.

Here is what they said about the images "The Wedding Photojournalist Association proudly recognizes the accomplishments and creative excellence of Jud. The following awards have been earned by Jud from the WPJA. These achievements come with great merit considering the high level of competition that a member faces in the contests.


Jud McCrehin Photography is now on Pinterest and Instagram

Related Categories: Event Photography, Photography, Photojournalism, Portrait Photography, Wedding Photography, Fun stuff, 2016 wedding

Jud McCrehin Photography LLC is now on Pinterest and Instagram. Click on the images below to see for yourself. Friend, follow, comment and like if you would be so kind.














My latest wedding photography contest entries

Related Categories: Event Photography, Photography, Wedding Photography, 2016 wedding

Here are my latest WPJA, Wedding Photojournalist Association quarterly contest entries. The entries were shot in Warrenton, Va. and at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Va this summer.

Importance of reviewing references before booking a photographer

Related Categories: Event Photography, Portrait Photography, Wedding Photography, Resources

The reason for this post is Jud McCrehin Photography just received a reference-based award from WeddingWire. I've received the same award in the past, but it reminded me how important it is to review references before you hire a photographer or anybody for that matter. The internet has made searching for references very easy, but I would also recommend talking to a couple references on the phone or even in person. Wedding photography is something that is not cut and dry and requires a good deal of research to make sure you hire the right person/company. Your relationship with your wedding photographer is one of the most important of the day. You can use an engagement sesson to get to know your photographer and see if you can work together. Your relationship from the engagement session should make the wedding day for both you and the photographer much easier.

All that being said here are some links to references for Jud McCrehin Photography. If you have any questions or if you would like contact information so you can talk or type directly to one of my past clients I would be happy to accommodate.

Jud McCrehin Photography     Google     WeddingWire     Wedding.com

*WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards® recipients represent the top five percent of wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism.



Amanda and Jacob's wedding at Fauquier Springs Country Club perfect couple, perfect day

Related Categories: Event Photography, Wedding Photography, 2015 wedding

It was an honor to photograph Amanda and Jacob's wedding at Fauquier Springs Country Club on May 30, 2015. The couple, venue and weather were fantastic, although I'm glad I had my hat to protect my grape from the sun. This was my third wedding at Fauquier Springs Country Club and each time I shoot there the images get better and better. The hilltop gazebo provides a beautiful place to say 'I do' and the bridges across the stream on the golf course make for some unique venue specific images. The green golf cart barn is one of my favorite places to shoot at the club, it is an odd choice but I like it. I hope you enjoy these preview images.

Katherine and Dana's wedding in Williamsburg, simply beautiful

Related Categories: Event Photography, Wedding Photography, 2015 wedding

I had the pleasure of shooting Katherine and Dana's wedding Saturday May 2, 2015. Wow, what a fun day, but my thighs are killing me. I guess I need to do more squats with all of my camera gear strapped to my waist to get ready for the wedding season. Katherine and Dana got married in Colonial Williamsburg on the campus of William & Mary at the Wren Chapel and their reception was held at the Williamsburg Inn. Both venues were fantanstic and are rich with history and beautiful architecture like no where else in the states. Here is a peak at the images I made of the event.

Dandelions close up

Related Categories: Photography

I bought some new gear so I figured I would go out in the back and play a little with it. I've never really played with macro photography much but it is really cool to see the beauty in nature, even from a weed I normally want to kill.

Favorite news images I've shot

Related Categories: Photography, Photojournalism, Resources, FAQ

I was searching through my hard drives yesterday for images that I've shot that show the differences in my photography and professional experience from most other wedding photographers and photographers in general out there. These are a few of my favorites from my work as a photographer at Army Times Publishing Company and USA TODAY. People ask me all the time if I get nervous about missing a moment during a wedding and my answer is always no. I've been shooting one-off situations on deadline for many years for news organizations all over the world. I don't know any different, every situation is important and deserves my respect and attention to capture it in a real and creative way. In photography you have limited time to capture the true essence of a situation and capture the moment, there are generally no do overs. I try my hardest to tell the truth in every image I produce. I can honestly say when I have a camera in my hand I'm trying 100% of the time, no half-stepping. I think that is the only thing in life I can say I do 100% all the time.

Anyway please take a gander at these images. I need to find a good film scanner so I can throw some older work up on the web. : )

What's up with the free photo booth?

Related Categories: Event Photography, Photography, Wedding Photography, Resources, Fun stuff, FAQ

What's up with the free photo booth?   

I provide a free photo booth that will be availabe for you and your guests to use during the reception. The photo booth is included with all wedding packages booked. The equipment I use to provide the photo booth travels well so it doesn't matter if I photograph a wedding in Northern Virginia or in Hawaii the photo booth comes along for the ride. I have backdrops that I use or you can use the wedding venue or room as a backdrop.

The photo booth is not an actual booth like you see in the lobby of a movie theater. I set up a camera on a tripod, with a light firing into an umbrella. I provide a remote so you and your guests can snap the shutter, taking your own photos throughout the night. This is a great way to ensure you get pictures of everyone at your party…kind of like a visual guest book. The images from the photo booth get more interesting and unusual as the night progresses.

The images are available to you and your guests via the online gallery.     

Here is a link to a gallery that shows images shot with my photo booth setup.


Should I hire an amateur or professional wedding photographer?

Related Categories: Event Photography, Photography, Photojournalism, Portrait Photography, Resources

Should I go with the free or inexpensive amateur to photograph my wedding, or hire a professional?

“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” - Red Adair

Let me tell you a story…

My brother- and sister-in-law are intelligent, frugal people. They planned and paid for their own wedding. Their attention to financial detail paid off for them in all ways, but one…their wedding photography.

My sister-in-law’s mother is a photo technician for a studio in their hometown. One of the studio’s employees was an enthusiastic amateur photographer, who offered to take their wedding photos for $200. That’s practically free, right? They had seen some of his work and thought it looked pretty good, so they booked him.

On the day of the wedding the photographer showed up with one camera, one lens and an on-camera flash. He shot for maybe two hours and delivered their images on a DVD about a week later. As my brother-in-law and his new wife began looking through the images, their hearts sank. Over half were too dark and made the wedding gown look grey. In others, the whites were blinding, faces were pale and harsh shadows littered the images because the photographer used direct flash.

In the end, they were able to use less than half of the photos, with several of the key moments of the day (think kiss, first dance, cake cutting, etc.) not usable at all. I gave them all the photos that I had taken as a spectator and a few others did the same, but even with those, key moments from the day were still gone. My brother-in-law and his wife were devastated, and an offer by the photographer to re-take the posed shots was useless, since those who had traveled to be there were already gone.

Things to consider when choosing between a friend/amateur and a professional:

  • Experience – A professional wedding photographer brings years of experience. We have had epic triumphs and spectacular fails. All of which are factored in to the way we prepare. An experienced wedding photographer will anticipate when a moment is about to unfold and know how to capture it.  A lot of thought goes into shooting a wedding and each wedding is different.
  • Cameras and lenses – Professional photographers spend thousands of dollars on professional grade cameras, lenses and lights. They bring multiple camera bodies, lenses and a lighting kit to use throughout the day. Should they want to enhance lighting, use a piece of specialty gear to capture a unique image, or quickly replace equipment that isn’t working properly; a professional photographer will always come with options.
  • How well do you know the amateur – Have they shot a wedding before? How many? Is this person punctual? You run the risk of alienating a friend or relative either by asking them to shoot, or worse, not liking what they produce. Shooting a wedding is time consuming and requires focus (no pun intended). It’s a lot to ask of someone. Will your shooter stay focused and capture the day? Chat it up with others during the ceremony and/or reception and miss key shots? Get bored and stop taking photos altogether?
  • Post wedding services – A non-wedding photographer will not be setup to provide all of the services that come with shooting weddings. Things like a web gallery, prints and albums. If they don’t provide an online gallery and just give you a disk of images, you will need a robust image editing program and the software to handle images.

Moral of this post: In wedding photography, there are generally no do overs. Everyone can take a good picture, but not everyone can take 1000+ consistently good pictures during one event.  A professional wedding photographer can guarantee that you will get the photos you need to fully capture the beauty and emotion of your wedding day.

Thanks for stopping by

Jud McCrehin Photography
Northern Virginia’s true wedding photojournalist

Future postings will include:
1.    Questions to ask a potential wedding photographer during your initial consultation.
2.    Wedding photography pricing, why it costs what it does.
3.    Should we do a first look?

4.    Should we do an engagement session?
5.    Should we buy an album or design one ourselves?
6.    What time should we have our wedding?
7.    Church weddings how to work with photography restrictions
8.    Outdoor weddings how to deal with shadows.




'Like' Jud McCrehin Photography on Facebook

Related Categories: Event Photography, Photography, Photojournalism, Portrait Photography, Resources

In my effort to get the word out about Jud McCrehin Photography in 2015 I've stepped up my Facebook game. I try to post and share cool stuff about Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland as it concerns wedding photography, weddings, events, photography and photojournalism. If you have the desire please click the "Like" button on my page and follow along.

Click on the image to view

The value of professional photojournalism

Related Categories: Photography, Photojournalism

This video about the value of professional photojournalists was done by the National Press Photographers Association and worth a watch.

Click on the image to view

Hello from Jud McCrehin Photography

Related Categories: Event Photography, Photography, Photojournalism, Portrait Photography, Wedding Photography

Hello, I finally pulled the trigger and paid a local web design company to design a new custom website and blog for my wedding and event photography business based out of Northern Virginia. It was important to me to use a local Warrenton, Va company to help my company stand apart from the rest. I was using a template site for the past 8 years and felt it was time to step up the quality of my web presence. Now that the site is mostly built, a few bugs here and there, all that is left to do is everything. I've got to populate this site and blog with captivating images and words to hopefully entice potential clients in the mid-Atlantic and beyond to contact me with their photographic needs. I'm open to anything but I want to focus on wedding and event photojournalism in Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland. I will also shoot destination weddings and events if requested.

This blog is interesting because I don't really have any idea what to post on a daily or weekly basis so I figured I would post items that deal with my company, photojournalism and photography with I'm sure a few odd postings from time to time that don't deal with photography or weddings.

Please check in from time to time and see how the site has changed and to see how I figure this blog thing out.

Thanks for looking at my website and blog. Let me know what you think.