After shooting weddings for the last 5+ years, the one thing I know for certain is that no two weddings are alike.
This means that the grand portion of wedding planning and correspondence with couples involves questions about how their wedding day will be laid out and how everything will come together in terms of photography. This guide is made to help couples gain some general knowledge about the wedding industry and what you can expect in the course of planning your wedding, in relation to photography .
In addition to some general knowledge, I will shed some light on the details of what you can expect from me personally and what I would expect from you, if you do in fact decide that I am the photographer for you.
I encourage you to share this guide with other people you know, who might find it beneficial in the wedding planning process. I am dedicated to improving the wedding photography industry as a whole and that starts with knowledge.
choosing a photographer you trust
We live in a time with unprecedented access to photography, and in turn innumerable options for choosing a wedding photographer. It is important that you choose the photographer that is right for you. I always encourage couples I work with to look into other photographers in case they might find someone who they prefer over me. No photographer is right for every couple. Shopping around, you will find the right personality and price point that works for you. There have been instances where couples met with me and decided that I wasn't the best fit for them and that is perfectly ok. I may not have been able to meet a price point or my images didn't fit their style or personality, and that is perfectly alright. This ensures that the couple hasn't sacrificed their vision for their day and that the photographer has maintained professional and artistic integrity in working with couples who they can provide the best work for.
Keep in mind that with a full wedding project, you may be working with your photographer for over a year from the engagement session to the wedding day. The relationship you build with your photographer over that time comes full circle when the photographer has the freedom and insight to capture the emotional moments that transpire. If you or your guests feel uncomfortable around your photographer they [you} will be less likely to show their true selves in moments that have potential for amazing photos.
The wedding photography industry is vast and varied in what you can expect to receive in terms of time shooting images and the number of images you will receive for any of the shoots included in your wedding package. You could inquire with a handful of photographers and receive completely different answers for each one. No matter how well planned out your wedding is, weddings are live and fluid events. There is no way to foresee a number of situations that could arise on the day. For this reason, it can only be expected that there are some things that are out of your control. For example, If the hair & makeup take longer than the time you budgeted for, realize that adjustments will have to be made for the allotted time that photos would have been taking place. I'll touch more on the topic of scheduling in another paragraph.
The important thing here is to understand that there is a vast variety of common practices from one photographer to the next. What one photographer may consider standard practice, another photographer may have no consideration for. This guide will at least give you a starting point to make your decisions.
A question I always receive during the inquiry process is in relation to second shooters. A second shooter is a second hired photographer who works under the supervision of the lead photographer. Some wedding photographers automatically include a second shooter in the cost of their packages. As you can see from my price options, second shooters can be hired in addition to your base package. My reasoning here is to keep costs down for couples who may not have a need for a second shooter because of the size of their event or if the extra cost is just flat out not in the budget. With that being said, I always recommend having a second shooter if it can be afforded. Second shooters provide secondary coverage of the day and provide primary coverage in the event that the two wedding parties are in separate locations. This can be very crucial in the scheduling of the events of the day. If a second shooter is not hired and the couple expects a single photographer to provide full coverage, time will have to be allotted for the photographer to be at all locations separately instead of simultaneous coverage which is possible with 2 photographers.
In other words a single photographer can't be in two places at the same time. I work closely with a few photographers from around the US, who are available to second shoot your wedding. These photographers are held to the highest standard of professionalism and act in accordance with your signed wedding contract.
when will we get our photos?
Wedding industry standards suggest that wedding packages should be delivered around 6 weeks from the time of the event. The time for completion of your project depends on the time of year of your wedding. During peak wedding season in Texas from April through June & September though October it can be expected to receive your full wedding project in 6-8 weeks. At slower times of the year, wedding projects can be delivered in as few as 4-6 weeks. Engagement and bridal sessions are typically delivered no later than 2 weeks from the time of the sessions.
I typically get some image previews on the journal, Facebook and Instagram within a few days for the couples to share with friends and family, while the day is still fresh in everyones mind.
How many photos do we get?
The number of photos you receive from the shoots included in your package vary depending on the style and extent of sessions.
Bridal and engagement shoots typically render from 50-60 images.
Weddings average 400-500 delivered images depending on the length of the wedding day and if a second shooter was hired. Typically, weddings with second shooters render more images than those where a second photographer isn't hired. During an 8-10 hour wedding day I take between 2,000 and 2,500 images. That number jumps to +3,000 with a second shooter. With more images to choose from when editing, the quantity of 'keeper' images is statistically higher and therefore your wedding would include more delivered images.
Every single photo that is delivered to you is fully edited. No image leaves my computer that hasn't been cropped, edited, color graded and exposed properly. Images are delivered on USB flash drives.
what time should...
If you're here, chances are you've started planning your wedding. The photographer and videographer are the common denominators of all of the hired vendors that you will be working with through the wedding planning process. On wedding day all other vendors come and go at different at times once their job is complete. The photographer, on the other hand, is there for it all.
Deciding on a beginning time for your photographer to arrive can be done by knowing the official time that you will be leaving the event. This can be calculated by working backwards from the time that you have the venue rented. For example, if the venue requires the event to conclude at 10 and you've hired your photographer for an 8 hour day, it would suggest that your photographer would start at 2. However, this varies depending on when other vendors like hair and makeup can be scheduled, or the time that you are allowed to arrive at the venue. I always account for up to 2 extra hours of shooting beyond what is booked at no additional charge. If you booked an 8 hr day and you need me there at 12 instead of 2, I'm there no questions asked. I've committed to your day and that's the only place I need to be.
The #1 factor that most brides don't account for is the time that it will take to do hair and makeup. I don't know what it is, but someone somewhere came up with the idea that the bridal party needs to be done getting ready in just enough time to do group photos then start the ceremony. This can lead to stress and delayed ceremony, when hair and makeup take longer than expected.
Should we do a first look?
Once again, there is no wrong or right answer to this. You should do what you feel is right for you on your wedding day regardless of any logistical benefits that a first look provides. I do endorse having a first look on your wedding day for 2 reasons. By doing a first look, the time after the reception spent taking photos is greatly reduced. After a first look, the two wedding parties can take full wedding party photos and the couple can go ahead and spend the needed time with the photographer for couples portraits. This is a benefit for evening weddings where there won't be much light left after the ceremony to take couples portraits. Couples portraits are a top priority on wedding day and shouldn't be put on the back burner if time is running short. This also means that you get to the reception more quickly and get to start celebrating with your friends and family. While I am a fan of the romanticism of waiting to see each other as the bride is walking down the aisle, I can assure you that no emotion or intimacy is lost by doing a first look.
In fact, a first look is often times more intimate than what is displayed by a bride and groom seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony. In a private space, you and your soon-to-be husband or wife can share as much time as you need gawking at each other and how beautiful you look in that dress or suite. Typically, first looks provide a privacy and intimacy for seeing each other on the first day that just can't be had with 75-300 people staring at you.
With a first look, there is a sense of calmness that follows, as some of the pressure and anxiety of the day have been washed away, and you are several steps closer to saying "I do."
On the other hand, if seeing your husband or wife the first time on your wedding day walking down the aisle has always been a dream of yours, then I say, "Go for it!"
This is a very important aspect of the day. While these images generally go unseen by the public, because they aren't included in blogs, they are very special to the family of the bride and groom. I suggest that you have a list of everyone you want a formal family photo with following the ceremony. When I first started photography, this was the one area I knew could use the most improvement. Without a list of who should be included in the family photos, the photographer has no way of organizing the family groups. The list should be broken down into groups and include specific names. An unorganized family photo session can quickly become stressful for everyone involved. It is the photographer's job to assert direction over this portion of the day and get you to the reception in a timely manner. Family members need to be aware that they are being included in a family photo. If people start heading to the reception immediately following the ceremony, it can take a long time to track everyone back down for the photos. The list is also helpful to the photographer in reference to family groups during the editing process.
Should I hire a videographer ?
The simple answer is, "Yes." A great videographer on your wedding day is just as important and valuable as your photographer. However, I am not a videographer, so I won't even begin to explain a videographer's perspective on wedding day planning. My reason for including this section about videography is because it directly affects the photography on your wedding day.
Understand that videographers have the same goal that the photographer has, and that is to tell the story of your love and wedding day through video rather than photographs. I have worked with many videographers over the years, and there have only been a few who understand the concept of sharing the shot. In the wedding film and photography industry there is an ongoing struggle between videographers and photographers to capture a moment that 2 people can't get at the same time. This often leaves one of the two feeling frustrated. For the photographer the frustration often comes when the videographer ends up in an otherwise perfect image because they were unaware or unapologetic about being in the frame.
That being said, I have worked with videographers who understand the relationship with photographers on wedding day and this makes for quality products from both parties.
Be certain that your videographer and photographer have communicated prior to the wedding day, and that they have a mutual understanding of the professional creative relationship
NOTE: the two videographers in the image to the right are some of the best videographers I've ever had the opportunity to work with and the image was taken as an illustration. I asked them to stand there while I took it :)
Either a great portion or small fraction of the delivered images for your wedding project could come from the reception. If your reception and number of guests are very lively then there is a certainty that you will receive more images than a that of a wedding with a reception that is low-key; perhaps with very little dancing or engaging between guests. Not that one is better than the other, like I said at the beginning, every couple has a different vision for their day.
Making sure that the DJ and photographer have communicated prior to the reception will ensure that the photographer is aware of the schedule of planned festivities throughout the evening. Reception festivities vary greatly, so the photographer should be clued in about any special events, games, speeches, dances and grand exit.
Do you travel or shoot destination weddings?
YES! I love to travel. If you are having a destination wedding, we can work out a specific plan to make photographing your destination wedding possible! Special considerations are made for travel expenses.
DO YOU REQUIRE A DEPOSIT? CONTRACT?
No and Yes. Contracts are required to protect both parties in a business agreement. I do not require a security deposit because of the way my wedding photography contract is set up. A wedding contract is required to be signed at the time of booking before your date can be secured. I get away with not requiring a deposit on your booking because of a clause in the contract. The clause states that rather than make a % deposit upon signing that a 1/3 of booking price cancelation fee is due if you decide to cancel your signed contract. This protects me, but also keeps you from having to pay anything up front. If you've started booking any other vendors you know that this doesn't happen very often, but I've found that it is very helpful to couples.
I am so glad that you have enjoyed what you've seen here. If you would like to take the next step in making the very important decision in booking your wedding photographer, you can visit the contact page and send me an email from there. I look forward to working with you!