13 Questions About Wedding Photography.
1. What are the advantages of hiring a professional wedding photographer as opposed to having a friend or family member take the pictures?
Good professional photographers have mastered the techniques and logistics of weddings and are better able to focus on you and your event. Experienced photographers will work with you, understand your vision of the event, and then capture your most precious memories and not get caught up in the celebration and lose shots or be caught without backup equipment and lose entire segments of your wedding.
Pros anticipate and capture the most expressive split second at the right time. They also know how and when to crop the picture to focus on an important detail, keeping everything else out. It is a pro skill to preserve all the details in the picture and keep all the important objects in sharp focus.
Moreover, a pro knows how to make your event look awesome regardless of your wedding budget.
2. What is a proof and what are the advantages of the different types of proofing?
A proof is a low-resolution digital image or a small-size print that provides a client with an idea of what their pictures look like after they are extracted from a memory card. Usually photographers do not retouch all the pictures they shot at an event. Instead, they print or create a low-resolution version of all “open eyes and in-focus” photographs for a customer to view and select a handful of very best pictures for further post production and bigger prints.
3. What are the pros and cons of hiring two wedding photographers to take pictures at a wedding, as compared to only having one photographer taking pictures?
The pros of hiring two wedding photographers instead of one are the ability to receive all “must take” shots along with a bunch of amazing photojournalistic images that capture those precious and fleeting moments. One photographer is usually responsible for taking all the important pictures.
A second photographer is on the lookout for the great emotional shots that usually take place outside of the lens scope of the main photographer. Second photographer will also be able to backup the main photographer if something unpredictable happens.
Also, with two photographers you will get two distinct styles of photography that complement each other.
The only disadvantage in hiring two wedding photographers is a higher price of the wedding photography package due to the extra cost of production and post-production.
4. What types of wedding packages do photographers typically offer?
A typical wedding package includes 8 hours of photo coverage by one or two professional photographers, a few hundred printed proofs, a password-protected online gallery for sharing wedding digital pictures. Sometimes wedding packages also include enlargements such as 11×14” or 16×20”, wedding albums for the bride and groom and two sets of parents.
5. What is the customary deposit to put down, to reserve a photographer for a date? When is the balance typically due?
A customary deposit for a photography package is at least 10% of the entire package price. Some photographers prefer a 50% deposit. There are some wedding photographers who want a 100% of payment delivered upon contract signing.
6. Why is there such a large price range among different wedding photographers?
There are a few reasons why there is such a large price range among different wedding photographers. As it is known, to become a wedding photographer one is not required to have a special degree or pass any specialty tests.
This fact gives aspiring photographers an opportunity to try themselves out for free or a very low price.
A large price range among different wedding photographers can be a result of different positioning strategies for selected full-time wedding photographers. The cheapest segment of wedding photographers consists mostly of amateur or low-skilled photographers who are just starting out and are trying to break into the market.
7. At what point in the wedding planning process should a couple book a wedding photographer?
I would recommend to start looking for the right wedding photographer as soon as a couple decided on the date of their wedding. Great photographers accept bookings years in advance so in order to get the best chance in receiving the best value, book your wedding photographer right after you found that great match of vision, skills, personality, and price that suits your requirements.
8. What should a couple look for in a wedding photographer?
A couple should look for the right combination of personal and professional qualities that will assure smooth flow of their wedding day and great pictures after their big day is over. First, try to understand a photographer’s personality — is he passionate about weddings? Are you comfortable discussing your vision and requests with the photographer? Does he listen to you when you talk? Do you like his portfolio and has he shown you a few weddings from the beginning to the end and not just a collection of a few best pictures that he took over the years? How many years has he been in the wedding photography business as a full-time professional photographers? Has he won any awards? Does he have more than five testimonials?
Can he share contact information of some of his former clients with you so that you have an opportunity to communicate with people who experienced your photographer in action? Does your prospect photographer give you hi-resolution pictures and reproduction rights on them? Will your pictures get any post production and if yes, what kind? What are the delivery terms for digital files, printed proofs, and albums? Does your wedding photographer have a reliable backup plan in case it rains or snows on your wedding day?
9. What should a couple beware of with certain wedding photographers?
A couple should make sure that they saw a few weddings that the photographer shot from the beginning to the end, preferably as a main photographer. A lot of wedding photographers start out as second shooters for well-established studios and, aspiring to book their own jobs, they post the second-shooter pictures in their portfolio. Even if those pictures are great, you as a client cannot be sure that the photographer has what it takes to withhold the pressure of being the first or, especially, the only photographer at the wedding.
One other thing to be on the lookout for is whether the photographer is willing to give you reproduction rights after the job is done. Withholding of reprinting rights is the main source of hidden additional costs for the clients. For example, a photographer can offer you a very low price for his photography services and after the wedding he can inform you that the only way for you to get your pictures is to pay $6.99 for each 4×6 print. A professional photographer takes between 1000 and 3000 images per wedding!
One more thing to consider, have you been in your photographer’s office or studio or do you at least know your photographer’s physical address? Does your photographer have a studio to take pictures at in case it is going to rain or snow on your wedding day?
A few customers of mine told me that before meeting with me they had a few appointments with wedding photographers in hotel lobbies. I could not help but asked what would have happened if one of those photographers had taken a generous deposit and simply disappeared afterward?
10. What equipment should a wedding photographer have?
A professional wedding photographer must have at least two Nikon or Canon SLR cameras with a few different lenses. He also has to have at least two on-camera professional speed lights and a few of off-camera big photographic lights with portable photographic umbrellas.
11. Do prices typically vary for off-season or weekday weddings?
Prices for professional wedding photography do typically vary for both, off-season and weekday weddings. Having a winter wedding on a weekday can save up to 30% of a regular photography package. If you would like your package to include albums, the discount will probably be much smaller because the cost of album production is fixed and baked into the photography package price.
12. Is it possible to get black and white photographs as well as color photographs, or do couples typically have to decide between one or the other?
It is fairly easy to convert a color photograph into a black and white one so the couple does not have to worry about making this decision in advance as long as they agreed on color photography.
13. Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings? Is this common?
A lot of people confuse transfer and reproduction rights for photographs with copyright. The copyright is granted to any photographer at the time a picture is created. Copyright does not need to be claimed, documented, or registered by an author, it is his by default.
If you want to reproduce the images that your wedding photographer took for you, all you need is a reproduction release put together in writing and signed by your wedding photographer. For more information on copyright, visit www.copyright.gov. It is common, however, for a wedding photographer to retain the original hi-resolution files to be able to maximize their profits by making additional money on prints. Retaining the hi-resolution photographs is very common in the United States except for some urban highly populated cities such as New York or Los Angeles — the fierce competition among wedding photographers forces a lot of professionals to give up the reproduction rights to make their photography packages more competitive.
© Tatiana Valerie