Below is a mini guide which I have prepared for you, which will answer some of the common questions I get from potential clients. It is not an exhaustive list but may answer a question that you may have not considered.
I have been taking photos professionally in one sense or another for just under 20 years, using both film and digital cameras. Whilst shooting weddings, I take the upmost care to remain in the background whenever possible, capturing natural moments and stories rather than simply sticking a lens under a guest’s nose. I have found that this creates more natural shots, capturing the laughter, tears and the nerves (sometimes).My photos will invoke lovely memories of the day every time you look back through them.
Here are some frequently asked wedding photography questions which you should ask (all your potential photographers!) and my own set of answers. I’m sorry if it is a bit long winded, but there are often many questions.
• What cameras do you use, do you use flash?
I use Nikon full frame digital cameras. I have both mirrorless (which is great for completely silent shooting during the cermony) and traditional DSLR’s. Without boring you too much with the science, a full frame camera has better light gathering capabilities. When coupled with my professional standard lenses, I am able to shoot in very low light situations typically found in churches without having to resort to flash photography. This also assists in me being able to capture the natural style of photography described above. I do carry flash guns with me, but I generally avoid using them wherever possible. I carry two Nikon cameras with me on the day. One will have a long lens (Nikon 70-200mm f2.8) and the other will have a short lens fitted (Nikon 24-70mm f2.8). This allows me the flexibility to capture intimate moments or group activities without having to fumble around in a bag changing stuff over and potentially missing the action.
• Would you describe your style as traditional, or reportage, or anything else, and are you able to shoot our wedding in the style that we want?
Aside from the mandatory posed group shots, I generally tend to shoot a reportage style of image, if you have a specific style in mind, please feel free to mention it and I shall accommodate you wherever possible.
• Do you take photos in black&white, colour, or both?
All my images are taken in colour on the day. Whilst going through the editing process, some images lend themselves more to colour, some to monochrome. I will edit and convert images according to my experience and then they will be sent to you for approval. Please remember though, if you see a colour image and you would like it in black and white or vice versa, I will be more than happy to accommodate such requests.
• How do you edit our photos?
I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to edit my imagery. These are industry standard. As a rule of thumb, I am happy to remove spots, blemishes, bruises or anything that would not generally still be visible after two weeks. I will not edit or distort your images to make you look like something you are not. I shoot RAW images as opposed to JPEG. These are high definition files which are not processed in camera so do not be alarmed if you sneak a peak at the camera and the colours look a little flat. It’s a bit like looking through the oven door at an unbaked cake. Unless there is a specific request, the final images will be a true reflection of those captured on the day.
• Would you be able to accommodate any ideas we may have in mind?
Within the time and venue parameters which are beyond of my control, I am more than happy to discuss this. The key to this is to advise me well in advance which will allow me to engineer what may be needed. If it is something ad-hoc on the day please mention it and I will do my best.
• Is the album included in the price?
My preferred method of delivery is on a USB stick or a digital download, which ever you prefer. I do have printing options available should you have a requirement after the event. There is no time limit or immediate rush to decide on whether you would like an album at the time of booking.
• What is provided as part of the service? How many pictures will be taken and how many will we get to choose for our album?
During a typical wedding, I can take between 1500 and 2000 images. Of these, not all will be edited. There will be many where people have their eyes closed, looking the wrong way, a child picking its nose or something similar. There is no set number of final images, but on average, there normally ends up about around 400 which are all then edited and included on your USB.
• Do you charge a flat fee or work by the hour?
My fee is a set fee, agreed in advance for the level of coverage you have specified. There are no hidden extras.
• Can we keep the negatives and if not, is there an option to buy them?
Many wedding photographers do not include negatives or similar in their packages. This is a legacy from the old film days. The reason for this is that they can generate more revenue on sales through reprints. I do not subscribe to this practice. Whilst I will retain the master copies of all imagery, you are free to reprint and distribute your photos from your USB as you see fit. Please be aware though that many high street shops which offer a printing service will not be able to recreate the colours accurately. I am more than happy to offer printing advice or printing solutions at very competitive prices.
• Do you know the venue, and if not are you prepared to travel there before the wedding to familiarise yourself with it?
I do not always know the venue. However, I always make a research trip prior to your big day. I will speak to the manager or person who is looking after your arrangements. I will ask them to walk me through your arrival route from the car park to the reception room. This allows me to take notes and pictures, noting the position of the sun, vantage points for where I can capture your arrival and so on. I meter the light readings of all the rooms you will be in so that on the day I know exactly which lens to use, what camera settings and where to position myself. I will measure the white balance and colour balance of the rooms, which produces more consistent looking images. This also removes any guesswork and ensures I don’t miss any of the action. I will study the routes between the ceremony and the reception, and I will physically drive the route making notes of the timing.
• Will you be photographing the wedding yourself or sending an assistant?
I shall be photographing the wedding myself. There is an option for me to bring an assistant (2nd photographer) should you require one. Please note that whilst there is an additional cost in having a 2nd photographer, they do provide a very valuable service covering angles etc that may not be possible otherwise when working alone. I have an associate who I have worked with for 15 years. We work well together and have a very similar shooting style.
• How soon after the wedding will proofs be available?
This will be agreed between us at the time of booking. I always endeavour to send a handful of taster images within 24-48 hours. First edit is normally within a week, and the final batch is within 4 weeks. This is subject to my workload at the time around your wedding. If you have a specific need then please let me know. You will be the first people to see my images. I do not share the images with social media or third parties without your express permission, and only then, once you have seen them first.
• How much is the deposit and when is it due? When is the balance due?
A 40% booking fee is payable within 7 days of your booking. The remainder of the balance is due within 30 days of the booking. Please see below for the cancellation/postponement conditions.
• Do you have public liability insurance and indemnity? (All good photographers should be insured)
Yes, I have public liability insurance and indemnity to the value of £2,000,000.
• What happens if you are unwell and unable to make it on the day — do you know a photographer with the same style who could step in if necessary?
Yes, I have never missed or cancelled a single one of my photography appointments. Should there be some major disaster then I have access to a group of experienced wedding photographers who shoot in a similar style to me.
• Can my guests take their own pictures?
Of course, all I would ask is that during our short formal section they would kindly wait until I have finished my shots. I usually politely mention this to the guests prior to setting up the group photos.
• What is the cancellation/postponement policy?
By booking me to photograph your wedding, you are respectfully asked to pay 40% of the agreed fee within 7 days of the date of your booking. This is not a deposit, this is a booking fee. By paying this fee I will refrain from taking any other work during the day of your wedding. This fee is non refundable. Until the booking fee is paid, I reserve the right to accept other commissions for that date at my discretion. The remaining 60% must be paid within 30 days of your booking. If for some reason the wedding is cancelled, I will refund 60% of the agreed fee provided the cancellation is more than a month before the planned date. Any cancellations within a month of the wedding day will be considered on an individual basis. Any postponements will be treated as the original booking unless I have a — prearranged commitment on the revised date.
• What spare kit do you take — what happens if your camera breaks on the day?
I have a full back up kit available to me should something happen to my camera. I carry two cameras with me at all times on the day, and I have spares to cover every eventuality. My cameras have dual memory card slots and I bring a portable hard drive on location with me to create backups on site as the day progresses.
• Will my wedding be the only one you are shooting on that particular day?
Yes, I only shoot one wedding per day.
• Do you charge overtime fees?
I will shoot up until the time we have agreed in advance. Weddings do have a tendency to drift a little with the timings so I am not completely rigid when it comes to a little slippage. I am generally enjoying myself that I too lose track of the time towards the end of the day. However, If I feel that delays are becoming excessive, I reserve the right to charge an additional hourly rate should it get to that point.
I hope this goes some way to explaining my methodology. If you have any further questions at all please ask I shall do my upmost to answer them quickly.
Best wishes, Jason