What Every Bride-to-Be Wants to Know!

Common Questions Include…

Can we meet with you before we commit to choosing you as our photographer?

What happens next?  How do we hire you?

Why do I have to sign a contract?

What are print rights?

Why is the engagement session so important?

Where should we go for our engagement photos?

What do we wear for an engagement session?

Have you shot at my venue before?

Do you also provide video coverage?

What sort of editing or “touching up” do you provide?

Why does it take so long to process?  Aren’t you just using digital?!

How many hours does each package include?

Can I hire you for just 1-2 hours at a reduced rate?

How do I know when to include a second photographer in my package?

What will you need from us?

My wedding is not in Tallahassee – Do you charge differently for out-of-town weddings?

Why is your deposit non-refundable?

Why is wedding photography so expensive?

How do I choose a photographer, and why are some so much cheaper?

Answers

Can we meet with you before we commit to choosing you as our photographer?

Absolutely!  I welcome the chance to get to know you, your fiancée, and any other family members who wish to attend.  I can provide samples of my work and we can talk through any questions you may have for me.  You’re welcome to schedule a meeting at my home, or I can meet you at a Starbucks, or any other convenient location.

 

What happens next?  How do we hire you?

Once you’ve decided to hire me, I will do two things – You’ll first receive an email directing you to a client survey.  In that survey, you’ll be asked a series of questions that relate to your wedding day plans, and you as a couple.  If you’re still hashing out your plans, that’s okay!  You can return to the survey later and it will remember your selections from before.  Secondly, I’ll send an email with my wedding contract.  After you review and sign that contract, a deposit will be due to secure your wedding day on my calendar.  Most folks typically give me their signed contract and deposit at our engagement session, or you can always mail that to me as well.

 

Why do I have to sign a contract?

It seems so adult and official, right?!  I know…But contracts have their place.  It not only protects me, but it protects you as well.  For example, when I sign each contract, I promise to find my clients and alternative photographer if I suddenly break my back and can’t hobble around well enough to take your photos, although I just might try and my wife would kill me!  A contract provides peace-of-mind and security for both parties, as well as a clear understanding of what services you’ll be receiving for your well-earned money.

 

What are print rights?

Each DVD I provide my clients comes with print rights included.  What you see in your online gallery is what you’ll receive on your DVD.  They are full resolution JPEG images.  Print rights give the right to print, essentially.  This means you can use the photos on that DVD to order prints anywhere you like, up to size 8×10.  I cap it at 8×10 because typically anything larger will be going on your walls, and I want my client’s to see some of my affordable and beautiful wall print options first (mounted canvas, metal prints, thin wraps, etc…).

 

Why is the engagement session so important?

I love getting to know my clients, and I’m so fortunate to be able to say that many of my clients ultimately become some of my very best friends.  Especially for folks who have a little shyness around the camera, I need to have that time with you to break the barriers and help you feel more comfortable with me and my camera.  We’ll both walk away from the engagement session feeling confident that all will go smoothly on your big day.  And if you just so happen to come over for a few beers in the weeks following your wedding, then maybe I’ll put my camera down for a bit!

 

Where should we go for our engagement photos?

Typically, each couple has a place that means something special to them – It could be the restaurant where you first met, or your favorite park to visit on the weekends with your dogs.  What speaks to you the most and who you are as a couple?  That’s where we’ll go!  And if you don’t usually go anywhere without your dog, then they should be with us too!

 

What do we wear for an engagement session?

I say dress to impress – But wear something you’ll be comfortable in.  If tight fitting clothes make you feel uncomfortable, don’t wear them.  If you know you don’t look good in purple, don’t wear it.  Choose a wardrobe that is flattering and compliments your figure.  Try to avoid clothes with loud patterns or large logos/messages.  A little bit of color against neutral greys, blues and blacks can go a long way to make an image pop.  So accessorize with a splash of color!  Also consider the color wheel.  Yellow and blue go together, just like red and green go together.  That doesn’t mean you need both colors, but you can incorporate shades of either one and have some great results.  Avoid any loungewear or shirts with holes – Some of my favorite shirts have holes in them, but it’s not very flattering.

 

Have you shot at my venue before?

If it’s in the Tallahassee region, then most likely the answer will be yes.  However, I regularly shoot at new venues when photographing weddings outside of the Tallahassee region.  If I’m not familiar with your venue, I typically will have enough time to get a lay of the land prior to the ceremony.  Regardless, I will deliver an exceptional product.

 

Do you also provide video coverage?

Sorry – Not at this time.

 

What sort of editing or “touching up” do you provide?

Each client is unique, but I treat each wedding generally the same during post-processing.  After I’ve made a selection of final images, I make any minor color/exposure corrections using Adobe Lightroom.  I mark images that will require touching-up in Photoshop separately, and handle those files individually.  Touch-ups typically include removal of acne, blemishes, softening of skin, some slimming, and removal of any incidental distractions in the background.  I do not apply these touch-ups to every image delivered, but rather on those that I determine require the extra attention (all prints, close-ups, posed shots, etc…).

 

Why does it take so long to process?  Aren’t you just using digital?!

The days of photographing 30 rolls of film and spending hours developing and crafting prints are still alive, but they’re not “the norm.”  And so some folks often wonder why you can’t simply dump the photos from your card to your computer and post them online the next day.  With that being said, I do typically select 10-20 images and post a preview within 1-2 days after your event.  However, most photographers tend to be very picky about their own work, and I’m no exception to that rule.  I want to deliver a final product that will live up to my expectations and the test of time.  I shoot on average about 2,500-5,000 images at each wedding I photograph.  Depending upon the size and length of each wedding, I deliver anywhere from 250-800 (or more), so the culling and editing process of those final images can be tedious and time-consuming.  The extra images I ultimately decide not to use are typically a buffer I provide myself for catching everyone’s eyes open, smiling, and happy.

 

How many hours does each package include?

When you hire me as your wedding photographer, I commit to providing you full access to my services for the entire day, regardless of which package you select.  I want you to feel confident in knowing that I’ll be there for you, and will not leave after a set number of hours have passed.

 

Can I hire you for just 1-2 hours at a reduced rate?

I cannot commit to cover a wedding for less than my base fee (package one).  This is a common question, so I’ll elaborate a little here on my answer.

While you may initially anticipate your photography needs to be minimal, there are certain key elements of my job as a photographer that I would be neglecting if I only stayed to photograph certain key moments.  This would be a great disservice to you and to my profession.  I believe that any job worth doing, is worth doing right.  I have a great deal of experience with the timing of wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as all the activities that lead up to those moments.  Considering that 90% of my job is to be creative, find or create beautiful/flattering light, and capture candid moments, I need the hours leading up to a wedding to craft those moments for my clients.

In addition, there are the hours spent behind the scenes, charging gear and editing photos that are not as variable in time that also must be accounted for in my fee structure.

 

How do I know when to include a second photographer in my package?

After reviewing your initial survey, I may discuss this option with you based on my perception of how the day will unfold.  Generally speaking though, my advice would be to consider these two factors: (1) wedding size, and (2) distance.

Wedding Size:  If you have a guest list exceeding 300 guests, or if your ceremony/reception venues are of a significant enough size that traveling between two or more buildings requires a vehicle, you may want to consider this option.

Distance:  If the bride and groom will be getting ready on opposite sides of town at the same time, and arriving at the ceremony location within minutes of each other, it would be a good idea in this situation to request a second photographer for half a day.  That way, we can get equal coverage of both the bride and the groom getting ready.  Otherwise, if covering the wedding on my own, I will focus my attention on the bride.

 

What will you need from us?

  • A day-of schedule of events (to include locations and estimated times).
  • A day-of point of contact, other than the bride/groom.
  • The time your reception décor will be set and photo-ready.

 

My wedding is not in Tallahassee – Do you charge differently for out-of-town weddings?

Nope!  I don’t believe it makes any sense for me to charge you more to take photos in one location as opposed to another. I cost the same in any state or country, and I’ve had the great privilege to be able to follow my clients to some beautiful locations throughout our great state, as well as outside of Florida.  I enjoy traveling to new locations and eagerly accept the chance to follow you on your journey!

The only additional expense involved with an out-of-town wedding is any associated travel expenses.  That usually includes airfare, mileage, tolls, rental car, lodging, and other similar expenses.  I will typically provide a quote and request those expenses to be paid for when you submit your deposit, unless other arrangements are made in advance.

 

Why is your deposit non-refundable?

Due to the early scheduling that’s involved with most clients, if your wedding is unfortunately canceled or postponed, I will most likely not be able to book another wedding to cover my expenses already incurred.

 

Why is wedding photography so expensive?

I understand that your money is hard-earned, and committing to an expense of over $1,000 for a single day may seem rather extreme.   I believe in being honest and upfront, and am happy to explain the process involved in my pricing structure.

Operating any business requires certain expenses – Some that are upfront investments, and some that are paid over the course of the year.  Most expenses are planned, but occasionally I do have an immediate need for something that requires an unplanned expense.  Generally speaking though, I know about how much I’ll spend each year.  I also know about how many weddings I can handle each year.  It then comes down to dividing my expenses by my estimated number of weddings, and then determining what my time is worth.

My expenses typically include:

  • Purchase of Professional Camera Equipment (New lenses and camera bodies as needed)
  • Maintenance of Gear (CPS cleaning and repairs)
  • Website Hosting (Server space that hosts my website)
  • Online Photo Gallery (SmugMug Pro membership)
  • Professional Memberships (Staying in-touch with my peers and new trends)
  • Education (Attending conferences and competing in salon)
  • Sales & Use Tax (7.5% built into every package price goes to the State)
  • Credit Card Processing Fees (2.75% is paid to Square for processing payments)
  • Cell Phone Service (Don’t know where I’d be without my iPhone!)
  • Mortgage and Utilities (About 15% of my home is used as my office)
  • Gas (Remember when you could fill up for $15?)
  • Supplies (Envelopes, stamps, DVDs, business cards, etc…)

 

How do I choose a photographer, and why are some so much cheaper?

First of all, let me say that how much a photographer charges has no relationship to their ability to take photos.  Some folks charge an arm and leg and take mediocre photos.  Other folks may shoot your wedding for free and produce beautiful images.  The proof is in the pudding!

Photographers who undercharge are likely cutting corners, or do not offer an acceptable level of value or service to their clients, as should be afforded to you on such a once-in-a-lifetime occasion as your wedding day.  Ultimately, your decision may be to choose the cheaper photographer, but here are some questions you may want to consider asking yourself (or them):

  • Are they experienced?

If they value their time as a professional photographer and your time as a paying client with certain expectations, they will require certain expertise to get the job done right.  Having been around the block more than once will guide them towards prices that are more in-line with their competitors.

  • Does their portfolio reflect their true ability?

Some people feel it’s okay to steal work from other hard-working photographers to showcase what they think they’re capable of producing, and passing it off as their own work.  Others may load their portfolios with images from a single wedding or may only have a handful of shots that are truly worthy of display.  Ask to view a full wedding gallery of a recent client for a true look at what they can deliver.

  • Are they collecting and paying State taxes?

Because they are providing a service with an end-product, they are legally required by State law to collect and pay taxes.  This not only provides income to the State, but also sends a signal to the client that this is a legitimate business.

  • Are they adequately equipped?

Camera equipment can break at random, just like any other electronic device.  Making sure they have backup gear can make all the difference in the event something goes wrong.

  • Does all their work look the same?

Photographers enjoy the chance to challenge him/herself and producing work that looks “canned” or predictable can be a sign that either they’ve lost their drive or they do not have adequate time to devote to their client’s needs.

  • Are their prints/products they offer made at Wal-Mart/CVS/Walgreens?

I by no means am holding my noise up here to buying prints at Wal-Mart…However, an heirloom quality, timeless, and family treasured mounted wall print or photo album will not withhold the test of time if it’s cheaply mass-produced.