(Closed) Anyone have any experience with Bella Pictures?

posted 11 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
30 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2008

Thats funny. They are who I hired for our photographer! I haven’t really done anything with them yet. I’ve only put down a deposit and signed a contract. But so far everyone is really nice and friendly.

They were a little higher than what I was thinking for my photography budget. But the pictures/quality are so beautiful. Everything was so bright and pretty. And really comparing them to other companies (some of the highest ones i saw were $8,000 and $16,000), they aren’t that bad. Even the cheaper ones I saw were around $3,000 for say less hours or a certain number of photos taken, or whatever. And personally, I could definitely tell the photo quality difference in the other really cheap company packages.

So to me, these were really wonderful quality pictures for a good price. And I justified to myself that really if i’m going to splurge on something, it should be photography because flowers die, cake gets eaten, this is what you have for years to come.

So, I filled out that form for date availability and someone called me I think, and we set up an appointment for someone to call and do an online presentation. So I did that, and basically they sort of match you up like an online dating service. She said you fill out some survey type things so they can find out exactly which photography style you want and matches you up with the right photographer. I’m getting married in Kansas City, so we’re probably in the same photographer pool.

After looking at TONS of other companies packages and stuff I decided that I definitely wanted to have high-res digital negatives so I can get more printed whenever I wanted. I was planning on getting the lowest package because it was actually below my planned budget and yet still 8 hours which was what I was looking for. But she kind of convinced me (and after my mother’s "go-for-it") to go with the Dolce package because it comes with this really neat album.

I was originally thinking I could just take the negatives and get an album made somewhere cheaper. But really, I don’t know where to begin to find who does that. And after looking at theirs and other companies al-a-carte options for albums and stuff. Albums are freaking expensive! In our contract they broke it down and this album we got is $900! Other ones i’ve seen are $400-500. I had no idea. 

They also have specials each month, so for my month, I get 2 free smaller parent albums that are identical to the one I make. So I thought that was a good deal too. FYI, I just looked at their website to write this too and it looks like the prices have already gone up. I got the Dolce package for $2400, now it is $2,550. So if you want them I’d say decide quick.

So, so far I’m really excited about them, but like I said I haven’t really done anything yet. I entered my name in that sweepstakes too. So far I haven’t heard anything. 🙂

 

 

Post # 5
Member
30 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2008

I was really suprised the deposit to hold the date was only $50! She also said that was fully refundable if I decided to go with someone else. Then according to my email 25% ($587) is due about a month after I put the deposit down, then 2 months later another 25%, then 2 months later another 25%, then about a month before my wedding date the last 25% is due. And you can pay it online.

Post # 7
Member
260 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

My firend was going to go with bella, and talking to other photographers, just be careful.  Bella hires a ton of photographers.  So their portfolio is the best of all their combined photos.  I would ask who would be your specific photographer, and see if you like that that person’s portfolio.  

 

I think it sould be cheaper to just get a good photographer whose work you’re familiar with and that you know you like.  Plus sometimes individual photographers are more negotiable.   Usually good package for a photographer for a full day is around $2500 including albums, CD, etc.  If want to go for a bargin, you can probably find one off flickr, there’s a lot of talented wedding photographers starting out and would provide lower rates.  http://flickr.com/groups/weddingphoto/

Post # 8
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

I just wanted to add a note for future brides looking for photographers. Bella wedding photographers is really not the best way to go. They advertise Nationally, so have alot of exposure, but you would be able to get a much better deal form the SAME photographer if you did some research. Bella charges customer thousands, and then pays photographers a small portion of that. Many of the photographers that work for them have thier own photography businesses and offer wedding photography for a mcuh cheaper price than what bella would charge you for the same photographer.   I know this because I am a photographer, and have looked into shooting weddings for bella, but have decided against it, as it really is unfair for brides.

Post # 9
Member
226 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I looked at Bella, and along the same lines of cyshas – who is going to be your photographer.  I dismissed Bella because my photographer would not be assigned to me until 2 months before the wedding.  I’m sure they’re wonderful photographers, but me being a control freak I wanted to know exactly who would I be working with and see his/her work before I signed the dotted line.

Post # 10
Member
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

this is probably a *really* stupid reason to dismiss them, but i’m wary of anyone who advertises on facebook…

Post # 11
Member
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Yikes. I recently signed a contract to use Bella Pictures for my Chicago wedding, and these mixed reviewed are somewhat alarming.

But, I have had a really good experience with them so far. I feel like our somewhat nontraditional take on photography will be expressed in the photos because we were given the opportunity to discuss exactly what we want.

We are also not buying the album. My fiance (a graphic designer, which is why this decision could be made) and I both thought that a crazy amount of money was being asked to include an album. We can design and purchase a book ourselves by just purchasing the digital negatives from Bella. This way, we get a quality photographer with less overall package price.

Post # 12
Member
22 posts
Newbee

From a photographer’s standpoint – you will get a mixed reaction of about 50/50 on whether Bella is good or not.  I know a few people who have tried it (as photographers) and here is what I have gathered.

They do hire a ton of photographers, many of which have their own businesses and use Bella to fill in open dates.  Often you will never meet your photographer until your wedding day and they won’t know about you or your date until a few weeks before. If you do engagement pictures, it will also likely be with a different photographer.  Many photographers feel that meeting their clients ahead of time and doing an engagement shoot is essential to getting great results.  The photographers they hire are required to shoot a number of weddings as a second shooter and are coached based on their results after each one. A select number are allowed to advance to being primary photographers. 

Being in Chicago, you could get lucky and have one of the founders shooting your wedding – Bob Davis (Eva Longoria’s photographer), he shoots 10 Bella weddings a year.  

I think chances are you will get a very competent and likely even a very good photographer for your day.  The big thing is whether you feel you need to have a relationship with your photographer ahead of time.   If you do, there are many, many photographers in the Chicago area that should fit the bill for you.  There have to be, because there are several up here in Milwaukee, which is a much smaller market.  For me, I would go private – the photographer spends your whole day with you, you want to know that person and know you will enjoy their contributions for your wedding day. 

 

Post # 13
Member
271 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I used their cheaper sister company studio blue and i was tremendously disappointed.  Don’t do it.

 

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