Elaine was recommended to me by one of my friend's friend, who hired her to be her wedding photographer the year before my wedding.
My husband and I met with her about 11 months before our wedding and knew immediately that she was "the one"....
Elaine was more than willing to work with our budget constraints and allowed us to take a cheaper package and add on one extra hour instead of taking the next package up, which added more "extras" that we didn't need or want, in addition to just time.
Part of signing a wedding contract with her means that you get a free engagement session. To order the prints was fairly expensive, but if you're just picking 3-4 pictures to use for save-the-dates, parents' gifts, etc., it's not that bad. She does all of her own printing, so it makes sense that the prices are more inflated than say, at Walmart.
About 4 months prior to the wedding, Elaine sent out a questionnaire in order to finalize things about the bride and groom's wishes for their wedding day. This was so she wouldn't need to hunt us down on the day-of to ask questions, such as: who we want in photos, if there are certain people who do not get along, who our vendors are, what time she should arrive to the venue, does the couple want a "first look", etc.
On the day of the wedding, Elaine showed up early to the venue (no extra charge) and hung out with my bridesmaids', close two friends, and me in the bridal suite. She took photos there, moved us outside and then moved on to the guys, all the while, respecting my wishes to not see my husband until the ceremony. She was also very respectful and supportive, as my mother and I were not on speaking terms on the day of the wedding. I was pretty noticeably upset, but Elaine really related to my situation and made me feel totally at ease.
The pre-ceremony bridesmaid photos were amazing! Elaine did not pose us into "cardboard" poses. She actually walked around with my "wedding photo" Pinterest board pulled up on her phone so she could make sure she got the shots that I wanted. She also followed behind us girls and took many candids. Finally, we came up with a lot of her own poses, and she not once corrected us or said no because her suggestions were better. It was so nice to have someone easy-going like Elaine, especially on a wedding day, which is full of a lot of stressors.
The ceremony photos came out beautifully. No other description necessary :)
After the ceremony, we took whole bridal party photos and family photos and again, she was amazing! She even suggested that my husband's good friend (who was not in the bridal party), run and grab beers for everyone so we could hang out while taking pictures and have a great time.
The reception photos were fabulous.
Price was amazing!
Elaine even stayed an hour past the time in her contract because she wanted to take some "better" pictures. We were never charged for these.
On top of the package price, we opted out of the album she provided in order to get the USB with rights to all the photos. Elaine took off the price of the album from the USB drive. We got all of these photos back within 10 weeks of the wedding. We also got online album access 8 weeks after our wedding.
Elaine Gates exceeded every expectation that my husband or I had for a wedding photographer. We cannot wait until our next major event so we can utilize her services again!