Wedding photography FAQs
So you got engaged. Congratulations! Now the sprint is on to your wedding day with tons to do in the process. Wedding planning can be a chore! But if you’re smart, you’ll be looking to hire a great photographer to carefully and expertly document your perfect wedding day with memories to last a lifetime. Now you may have a zillion questions to ask each of the photographer candidates you’ve come across. Or, maybe you don’t have a clue. Either way, I’ll try to help you out. If you’re considering me (thanks!) I’m going to try and put your mind at ease with a list of wedding photography FAQs written up here. Genius, right?
HOW MUCH ARE YOUR PACKAGES?
Of course this has to be at the top of your list of questions. You’re on a budget and you are going to need to balance everything out. I totally get that. But before you go scanning the price sheet for the dollar signs, be careful to take in all the other considerations when making your selection. Don’t make it just about price. I think you’ll be disappointed in the end. Bad pictures aren’t worth the discount. They’re not worth anything! Working with a photographer you don’t connect with isn’t either. Consider too that this is a lifetime investment. These photos will live with you forever and they can’t be redone. So I ask that you continue reading through the rest of this list and be sure to read about the 10 things I do to get awesome wedding photos. If you are ready to invest in some amazing, wedding photographs that will last you a lifetime, please fill out my contact form. You will receive an auto-response email with more information as well as a downloadable PDF price sheet that includes discount-priced packages for real savings.
DO YOU PROVIDE DIGITAL IMAGES?
Yes! All of my wedding coverage times include edited, high-resolution digital images. They are cropped, color-balanced and perfectly toned on a color-calibrated monitor for optimum print quality and digital display. RAW images and outtakes are not available.
WHAT IS YOUR STYLE?
My main style of photography is photo-journalistic. I am a trained photojournalist with over 25 years of daily newspaper photography experience. My expertise is capturing telling moments as they happen. I happen to think this is the best way to cover a wedding. You will want to remember moments as it really happened and be able to reflect on your feelings from that special day. You will continue to experience those emotions from your images for years to come. There would also times during the day that we will have scheduled portraits and group shots. I am also skilled at posing and lighting these special pictures. Check out my portfolio or blog posts to see a few samples. To learn more about my shooting style see my blog on 10 things I do to get awesome wedding photos.
DO YOU HAVE A CONTRACT?
Yes, I have a basic service contract that each client must sign to book their date. There really shouldn’t be any surprises but I will go over a few items in this FAQ. If you want to read over a sample of my wedding contract, you can find one here.
DO YOU REQUIRE A DEPOSIT?
Yes, a $1,000 non-refundable retainer/deposit is required at the time of booking to secure your date. It is deducted from your total fee. The retainer is non-refundable as I will be blocking out your date on my calendar and prohibiting any other bookings from potential clients. If you do need to cancel that date, I will refund your deposit if I am able to book that date with another client. If you need to move your date to a day I still have open, you will not be charged an additional deposit.
WHEN IS THE BALANCE DUE?
The balance of your package price is due 30 days before your wedding date. Once you book, you will be able to view your contract, package and invoice information online. You can pay via credit card online as well.
DO YOU HAVE A SECOND-SHOOTER?
I do not use a second shooter – usually. I explain this in my blog post about how I shoot, but I basically feel that I can do just as much, if not more, by myself than I can with a second shooter. Sometimes a second-shooter is totally necessary – and I would make one available if so – but not usually.
DO I GET THE COPYRIGHT?
As a professional photographer, I reserve the copyright on all of my images. This is really just a legal definition. The images I create are my livelihood and they are what bring me new business. By turning over my copyright, I am removing my legal right to ever show them again – which obviously would be self-defeating. But don’t worry! Your contract with me would allow full licensing to use images you receive from me for any personal use at all. You are free to print up thousands of those images or post them on Facebook day after day. These are your pictures to do as you please, but legally, as the creator of these images, I am the official “owner” of them. You can also be rest assured that I will be responsible with the images I show and would never seek to cause harm or embarrass you.
DO YOU TRAVEL?
I do. I have gone as far as New York to photograph a wedding. Obviously, there would be additional charges for long trips but we would work together on those costs to make it work for all of us. Around the Fresno-Visalia area there are no additional charges. I also make many trips up to Yosemite free of travel costs. If I am needed for extended hours at locations at such a distance I may, however, require overnight accommodations.
HOW MANY HOURS SHOULD I HIRE YOU FOR?
It depends on what you are looking for in your wedding photography and what the logistics on your wedding day are. If you are only interested in wedding ceremony coverage and a portrait session – and the location of the wedding and reception are at the same venue, then you are likely fine to go with the minimum coverage of six hours. If you would like to include more reception time or some “getting ready” photos earlier in the day, you will need to consider adding more time. Additionally, if the getting ready location, the ceremony, or the reception are are in different locations, you will need to consider the travel time between each point.
Here’s an example of a typical eight-hour wedding timeline with the ceremony starting at 5pm:
2pm: I arrive as the bride is nearly done getting ready and I make a few getting ready photos at the house. At that time I may also get some group photos of all the bridesmaids with the bride.
3:45: Everyone travels to the church to prepare for the ceremony (in this example the church would be 5-10 minute drive). At the church I photograph the guys and maybe a few more shots of the girls. If the couple desires, I photograph their first look.
4:30pm: The early photography wraps up
5pm: The ceremony starts and ends at about 5:30pm.
5:30-5:50pm: Family formal photos are taken at the altar.
5:50-6pm: Formal wedding party photos are taken at the altar.
6:pm-6:20:Bride and groom portraits at the church.
6:20pm: Head to the reception venue (again, it would be close in this case). There I may do more bridal party photos and couple photos.
6:45pm: The bridal party to be introduced at the reception.
7pm-8:45: Dinner is served followed by toasts, first-dances, cake-cutting, bouquet/garter belt toss, money dance, etc.
8:45: Open dancing gets going.
10pm: At this time I would get my final portraits of the couple and call it a night.
That’s an eight-hour example. Additional travel time and other considerations would necessitate additional hours. It’s best we go over as many wedding details as we can at booking time to get it as close as we can. But you can always add more time later too.
DO YOU HAVE BACK-UP EQUIPMENT?
I do. For the gear heads out there I currently use two Canon 5D mark II’s with lenses ranging from a 24mm up to a 70-200mm and teleconverter. I tend to mostly use a 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.2. I have personal back-up gear as well as Nikon gear I use at The Fresno Bee in the event of an emergency. I’ve never been without working gear.
DO YOU HAVE INSURANCE?
I do. I have property and liability insurance to cover my business. I also have a current business license issued by the City of Clovis where my home-base business is located.
WHAT IF YOU GET SICK?
In 8 years I have yet to miss a business appointment because I was sick (knock on something). But I know that it does happen and in that case I do belong to a network of great photographers and we would work together do the best we can to fix the situation. If it became absolutely necessary, I would give you the option of having your fees refunded.
CAN YOU MAKE ME LOOK SKINNY?
Keep in mind that my work is photo-journalistic with limited retouching. In post-processing I adjust color-balance and contrast and I do some skin retouching but I am not a photographer who will digitally manipulate scenes – or bodies. However, I am pretty good and posing and I will do my best to shoot from the right angles make you look great and capture the true beauty that is in you.
HOW MANY WEDDING PHOTOS DO I GET?
That depends on time and number of events going on throughout the day. Be assured though that I don’t miss much and if something cool is happening, chances are I’ll get a shot of it. That said, I generally deliver about 400 or so finished images to my clients after an 8-hour wedding. Sometimes a little less, but often many more.
CAN I GIVE YOU A SHOT LIST?
You can, but if it’s a long list I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get everything on it. Most moments are no-brainers at weddings and I’ll be sure to photograph all the major events. But sometimes there’s a picture you want that I don’t know about. The best thing for you to do is discuss with me the images that you’ve really got to have. If you must have a shot of you and your second grade teacher, please let me know. I’ll be glad to get it!
HOW LONG BEFORE I SEE MY WEDDING PHOTOS?
Usually, it takes me about two to three weeks to edit through a wedding. Sometimes a little longer and sometimes less. But right around there is a good ball park time. Wedding albums take about one to two months. I design my own albums and will give you a draft that you can view online. If you’re happy with it, I’ll order it right away and have it to you in about a week. If you want to request changes, we’ll get those done and then go over it again before ordering.
Hopefully, those cleared up some of your concerns. If you like what you see, consider filling out the contact form with your wedding date and we’ll get together to talk about any other questions you might have. Thanks for reading!