We've been doing weddings now for over 20 years, and we got our start in Wedding Video, right here in Decatur, Illinois. Pretty soon we were doing wedding videos in all of Central Illinois, including Springfield, Champaign, Bloomington - even travelling to Chicago and St. Louis at times. We were doing as many as 30 weddings a year.
Today we focus primarily on the Decatur area - our hometown.
Even after 20+ years we still see the need for wedding video - maybe even more so than before. Life just seems to go so fast and before you know it you have older loved ones pass away. It's great to have those photos of them at the wedding, but it's even greater to be able to hear their voice, and see them go from a straight face to a smile. That is where video comes in. Video does what photos can't. They ACTUALLY bring back the memories instead of you "wondering" what grandpa sounded like, you can hear him. Instead of wondering what your father was doing before he told that joke and he had that big smile, you can actually HEAR his joke!
Pictures are great, but DO NOT underestimate the power of video. We saw the need 20 years ago, and we still see the need today.
The busy wedding season is over. Just a few weddings left before our family seeks to wind down, focus on our family more and enjoy the holidays.
As our business grows, we meet more and more people, and we venture more into areas that we didn't know we would be in years ago. Senior photos, maternity photos, and dance recitals were not on our radar when we started.
In 2001 we were focused on weddings, and today we are still primarily known as wedding photographers and videographers. And you know what? We are okay with that! There is an excitement about a wedding day that you just can't duplicate. In the beginning - our first few weddings, we were nervous - stressed out beyond belief. Would we get the right shots? Will they like the end result? Will we miss something important? Will our equipment function flawlessly?
Today we have over 200 weddings under our belts, and although the nerves are long gone, we do still feel stress at times. But it's only because we want so much to do the best job possible. When you shoot a wedding you ARE under pressure. Under the pressure of expectations, both from the client and from ourselves. Expectations of the parents and the siblings. You're also under the pressure of time - keeping things on schedule - adapting and overcoming things that are not planned - acts of God (bad weather, other vendors not being on time, etc...)
This is where we always shine though. We keep our focus on the couple. They are our direction, and even when things out of their control can seem to scare them or get them nervous, we are there to calm them down, assure them that things will be okay, and that we are there for them. This is one thing we couldn't do 15 years ago. We are sure glad that we can today. :)
Jim & Stephanie Wilkerson
We've been doing wedding photography for years. So naturally, we come to each wedding with plenty of ideas for poses and creative shots. However, that's not to say that we have "all" the ideas. Sometimes a family member will have a spur of the moment idea that is just perfect. Do we turn it down? Heck no!
This day is about one thing only: the wedding couple. It's about making them happy. It's not about our egos or about our ideas.
On the flip side though, sometimes having too many people give us tips and suggestions can be a negative thing too. This will often slow us down and put everything behind schedule. And the last thing we want to do is take off on so many tangents that we neglect to get the main shots that the couple wanted to begin with.
This is just one of the "many" things a wedding photographer has to juggle throughout a wedding day. It's not for the faint of heart! So before you book a "newbie," think about this as just the "tip of the iceberg" as to the reasons you should always hire a professional with experience!
When you think of all the things you could spend money on for your wedding, don't skimp on the important things. Prioritizing your list is very important.
The cake is delicious, that's for sure. But it only lasts a few moments. The limo is fun, I know, but once you get out, it drives away.
If needed, cut some things, or at least spend less on them, so that you can afford to make sure you have your photography and video covered. Because after all, your photos and video - your memories - are so precious. Don't sacrifice the most important things!
Today we had the opportunity to shoot some professional interview videos for the corporate offices of Sherwin Williams. We interviewed a couple of local painters with Illini Paint Company.
I will be quick to admit - I HATE painting. The only painting I like to do is with a mouse and a computer screen. I guess I also enjoy oil painting, but that's about it. I cannot stand painting rooms, walls, trim, etc...
It was neat to see the passion these two professionals have for their profession, and I'll admit, I didn't think ANYONE enjoyed this stuff. But they do. Their emotions come alive just when they talk about it.
That's kind of the way we are about photo and video. We LOVE to capture moments. We LOVE to capture emotion. We LOVE to see a great finished product and a happy customer. Yes, we enjoy the paycheck, but to be honest, we get more enjoyment out of happy customers. There's just nothing else like it.
Have you ever been to a wedding and saw one of those cool photo booths?
Unfortunately we do not provide that service, but we can recommend a great company who does and they are located right in Charleston, Illinois!
Here is a link to their services if you are interested: http://www.empvideo.com/photobooth.html
Over the years we have come a cross a few wedding vendors who over-book. Who knows the reason - well, we know the reason (money), but sometimes it may be an oversight.
However, there are some out there who over-book on purpose, and hire other people to do the work. If that is okay with you, great. This happens a lot with DJ's, but we've seen it happen with photographers as well. We always remember one wedding in particular. The bride and groom got to the reception to find out that their DJ had hired a couple of high school kids to do the work. These kids were nice, but they didn't know what they were doing. They didn't have the song-list that the bride and groom had picked out. It was a mess and the bride and groom were not very happy.
So when you book your photographer or videographer, or DJ, or whatever - make sure they tell you WHO will actually be doing the work. That way you won't be blindsided on your wedding day!
Jim & Stephanie Wilkerson
Take a look through the 10 wedding photos below and decide which is your favorite, then vote in the survey below. One lucky voter will win a FREE headshot portrait by Wilkerson Studios! The couple that gets the most votes will win a FREE 8x10 from Wilkerson Studios!
This poll will be up until February 1, 2015. Good Luck!
If you're getting married in 2015, we know you're excited. You're looking forward to finishing the wedding planning, seeing your family and friends come together, and finally tying the knot with the one you love.
But in the end, are photos really worth it? We put so much value in them - spend thousands of dollars on them, hang them on the wall, and then look at them from time to time. Is that worth it? Sure it is. It's your family you're talking about, right? They're worth every penny.
But what about the actual relationship? In the hundreds of weddings we have shot over the years, we are sad to say that some of them have ended in divorce. Not 50% like the stats say - actually much less. To our knowledge only about 4 or 5 couples have parted ways, and although that sounds good in comparison to worldly statistics, it's never a good thing. It breaks our hearts.
But it also breaks God's heart. God takes our commitment in marriage seriously. He knows that it's not an easy endeavor. In fact, the Apostle Paul advises us to stay single unless we see that we cannot control ourselves. (1 Corinthians 7)
Hollywood likes to paint a warm and fuzzy picture of marriage, but the fact is, marriage is a lot of work. Through the ups and downs, both people have to sacrifice and learn to become more and more unselfish. That's not an easy thing to do. But it's worth it. Then again, anything really great in life takes effort and hard work.
So are the photos worth it? Yes. But worth much, much more than the pictures, the video, the cake and the party, the RELATIONSHIP trumps them all. Without the relationship, everything else means nothing.
So we encourage and challenge all of you married couples out there, and soon to be brides and grooms, to put forth your greatest effort in 2015, to love each other, to sacrifice for each other, to put ourselves last, and be ready to be there when the other one falls or stumbles. In the end, it's the relationships that last forever. Not the photos.
Jim & Stephanie
We came across this article the other day that WAND TV shared. It's a great read for any bride who is in the planning stages of her wedding.
Check it out!