I recently was asked by a bride the following questions. I thought it would be great information to share with you!
1. What does a typical wedding day look like when you are shooting?
Communication before the wedding is everything. I help set up time lines and make suggestions. Knowing what a couple’s priorities are for their wedding, timelines, and venues. I am flexible and always willing to adapt come the wedding day.
Here is a generalization of my approach:
Beginning: Arrive early, take a walk around the venue for new inspirations I may have missed before. Unload and double check equipment. Find the bride, introduce to bridesmaids and family discuss the start times. Find the groom and discuss the start times, introduce to the groomsmen/family. Photograph getting ready details, hugs, oohs and aahs for about 30-60 minutes. First look location set up and allow it to happen unobtrusively. Go into wedding party portraits, discussing ahead of the wedding how/where this is done. Family portraits are right before the ceremony. Again, we discuss before the wedding day how/where this is done. 30 minutes prior to the ceremony we hide you away from guests, get a drink, bathroom and breathe. This time allows me to freshen batteries and get the ceremony plan down.
Ceremony: Discretely capture emotion, details and ceremony ambiance. I no way do I want guests to see me as a distraction or take away from the ceremony.
The rest of the evening is fairly candid unless you decide to do all the family and wedding party portraits after the ceremony.
Sunset. This time is beautiful for light and much different than earlier in the day. I ask for at least 10 minutes with the couple to do creative portraits around the venue. This is a nice quiet time to slow down the night now that the stress of the ceremony is over and the party has started.
Dance: Depending on what is important to the couple I will usually photograph about 30 minutes after the first dance. Sometimes couples want the bouquet and garter toss photographed. I will then work with the DJ to coordinate the time.
2. Do you have backup equipment?
Yes, backups for my back ups. I actually dropped a lens this Saturday at a wedding. (Clumsy human I am!) I just grabbed a back up from my bag. But this is also why I shoot with 2 cameras through out the wedding.
3. How do you back up the images onsite?
Yes, I actually have the images backed up 3 times before I even leave the wedding. My camera writes to two separate cards at the same time as I photograph. Plus, I download as I fill a card to a portable hard drive I carry with me at all times. Once I am home I back up to my in-house network and then to an off-site cloud storage.
4. Do you have back up photographers if you were sick?
I am a member of Twin Cities Professional Photographers, Minnesota Professional Photographers and Professional Photographers of America. With each one of these memberships, I have a network of photographers at a local, state and national level that I am able to reach out to at a moments notice. I have photographed sick before. My clients don’t know nor has my images been less quality. I have also photographed weddings over extended family Christmases and even my grandma’s funeral. I make a commitment to a couple to be part of their wedding day regardless what other circumstances may happen.
5. Are the digital files full resolution?
All digital files are full resolution, unwatermarked and you receive full printing rights. These are also all corrected to ensure you have the highest quality final images.
6. How long before proofs are ready after the wedding?
Because of all the excitement a wedding day has, I always provide a sneak peak gallery with 20 images of the wedding. The final gallery is posted with in 4 weeks of the wedding. Want them sooner? For a rush charge of $400 I can do a one week delivery on your entire gallery.
7. Do you require a deposit/ how much?
Yes, the retainer fee is $700 and is required to reserve your date along with a contract. Retainers and contracts are important to protect clients and vendors.
8. How much time for pre/post pictures if we did/didn’t do the first look?
There are a lot of factors this depends on the length of time needed. (Size of the wedding party, are there kids in the wedding party, are parents remarried, is extended family included in the family portraits, is the ceremony and reception in two locations, how many portrait locations…) Generally, I ask for 45 minutes with the wedding party, 45 minutes with the family and 30 minutes with the couple. Where ever this time is allocated wether before or after the ceremony.
9. Do you prefer couples do a first look?
I let my couples make this decision. I always provide my honest my opinion but I am in the service to provide my clients with beautiful photos of their wedding not to control what is important to them at their wedding. Here are a few things to consider in doing a first look or not.
Your hair and makeup are the freshest at the beginning of the day, prior to 200 hugs from guests and emotion and tears of the ceremony.
A lot of weddings are 6 hours long from after the ceremony. Do you want to spend time doing photos away from your friends and family that came far and near to spend time with you?
Having a first look can be private or with your family and wedding party witnessing. Even after a first look, the anticipation of the ceremony and walking down the aisle with a couple hundred eyes turned toward you also brings an overwhelming emotion.
The times it works best to not see each other prior to the ceremony would be a ceremony scheduled earlier in the afternoon or you have two different locations for the ceremony and reception with scheduled time for photos elsewhere. In the last scenario, I would recommend providing transportation for your wedding party so people are not getting lost or making detours to the photo locations.
10. Do you prefer to shoot candidly / or have a shot list?
There is a time for both. I work off a shot list with family and wedding party names. I work hard to get to know most everyone’s name in the wedding party and family. This allows to move through portraits more quickly and provides a way better experience for families. I am able to get more genuine expressions compared to just looking at a stranger with a camera. Candids are how I capture all the key moments through out the day. For example, you walking down the aisle, your dad giving you away, the ring exchange, the programs, the flowers, shoes, grand march, toasts, dancing ….. basically all the parts and pieces that make the day come together.