Frequently Unasked Questions about wedding photography.
Typically when I’m working with a couple who’s planning a wedding, they are pretty new at wedding planning and are having to become experts on weddings as they go along. (Does that sound about right to you?) Most of the time, you are hiring a professional photographer for the first time, and generally just doing lots of stuff for the first time. So you spend a lot of time reading wedding magazines and wedding blogs and they all tell you to ask wedding photographers the same , right? But what about everything you don’t know you should ask? That’s this page. These are the things I try to explain to people when we have wedding consultations, all the things you’re too overwhelmed to think about now, but will wonder later. And a couple of bonus fun questions too.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT UNPLUGGED WEDDINGS?
Q: How long have you been taking photos professionally, and how long have you been a professional wedding photographer?
Long answer: I learned film photography in college a really long time ago, and have been in love with photography ever since. In 2009, I became a professional portrait photographer. Shortly after that, I began assisting other experienced professional wedding photographers around Atlanta. In 2010, I photographed my first wedding as a professional working under my own name, although I’ve photographed many weddings over the years as favors for friends. Basically, I’ve been a professional working artist for 25 years, and a wedding photographer for about 13 years.
TL;DR, About 13 years, and I’ve photographed over 300 weddings as the primary photographer.
Q: WHY SHOULD I HIRE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER?
The most important thing to remember is that you’re not hiring a professional wedding photographer for only what they do when you can see them, you’re hiring them for the finished product. You’re hiring them because you want someone at your wedding with a camera (or four) who knows how to make a good photo no matter what happens, what time of day it is, whether it’s dark, or raining, or kittens are falling from the rafters (hey, that sounds like a really neat wedding!). You’re hiring a professional because you want kick ass photos and because you don’t want to have to worry about this one thing. And of course, that’s the kind of expertise that only comes from years of perfecting a craft.
Q: How many hours of coverage do I really need?
Q: What do you mean when you say the photos are professionally edited?
Photos don’t just come out of a camera ready to hang on your wall. Unless it’s a Polaroid. Truth is, a professional SLR camera actually takes a pretty boring photo. Shaking it like a Polaroid won’t help, either. The image is meant to be a blank slate so that the photographer can have complete artistic freedom. So I take your photos into my secret photography laboratory and I process them. I prefer a classic fine art film look to my wedding photos, so I keep the colors clean and the skin tones natural. If you have a blemish, my magic wand makes it disappear. If there’s a spot on your suit, I use a spot treatment to remove it. If there’s a random street sign in an otherwise perfect photo, I chop it out. There’s lots of little remodels that I do to make your images just right. It takes a village… of software programmers… to create a finished wedding photograph.
Q: Why do you take so many photos, but give us so few? Can we have all of them?
On a typical wedding day, I will take about 2000 photos, but the majority of those photos are taken in big bursts. Anytime I have a group of people in front of me, I will take 10-15 (ok, 50) photos every time. That’s because it’s really hard to get a photo of a group of people with everyone’s eyes open and their mouths closed. So, out of that burst of photos, you’ll get 2, because in all the other photos people are blinking or reciting epic poetry or whatever they’re doing that isn’t what they should have been doing. It’s kind of the same for pictures of people doing anything. Have you ever seen a series of photos of your Uncle Raymond dancing? It take a few dozen shots to get a good one because he doesn’t exactly have moves like Jagger. And since it takes a bunch of time to edit all those photos, only the good photos are pulled out and edited for you. In the end, you get a beautiful set of perfect photos showing everyone at their best, and you don’t have to weed through a bunch of crummy ones to find them. That’s why professional wedding photographers are so awesome.
Q: What does the copyright release allow me to do with my pictures?
Q: What do you do to make your business enviromentally friendly?
Everything I can! To begin with, my office is pretty green. Well, it’s actually (true story… we had the paint matched and everything), but it’s earth-friendly. I use Canon photographic equipment, Apple computers, and Western Digital Caviar Green hard drives. All my battery powered camera equipment uses rechargeable batteries, especially the ones designed to use AAs and AAAs. My home and office have all CFL & LED bulbs, and our household participates in a local recycling program for all home and office waste. I conduct most of my business electronically, so there’s almost no paper. We’ve even cut back on the number of paper airplanes we make, and we always use paper out of the trash for the few we still make. At home, we drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water, and have switched from paper napkins to cloth, and from paper towels to washable cotton terry towels for cleaning. And, not to be forgotten, since it’s just us and the dogs in the office, we often work in our pajamas (heh-heh… jealous?), which in turn reduces laundry water and energy consumption. We also make our own laundry detergent, glass cleaner, and a few other household cleaning supplies from common household ingredients that are more environmentally friendly, yet still darn effective. And finally, we use the library. A lot. You can read a whole nerdy blog post about our efforts to be a if you want to know more.
Q: Why does it take you so long to answer my email?
Being a one-person show means I have to totally rock the Google calendar around here. Most of the camera work is done on evenings and weekends, since that’s when you guys are free. My work day is kind of the reverse of your work schedule. When y’all are at work I’m in the studio, and when you’re off work I’m out taking super sweet pictures of you. And I don’t stop in the middle of a shoot to answer phone calls or emails, because it’s kind of tricky to hold a camera and a cell phone at the same time. So, if you email me on Wednesday afternoon while I’m out shooting an epic sunset engagement session, I’ll email you back promptly on Thursday morning. And if you send me an email on a Saturday when I’m at a riduculously amazing wedding taking an insane number of mind-blowing photos, I am absolutely going to email you back. On Tuesday, because Monday is my only day off.
Q: What mode of transportation do you use to travel back and forth between home and destination weddings, especially ones in other states or countries?
A: That depends. I have many friends along the east coast and around the country (you were wondering how I could travel so cheaply!), and sometimes I will be combining working trips with visiting my friends. So, sometimes I will drive my car and sometimes I will fly. If I fly, I will use an airplane.
Q: Do you find it harder to shoot weddings that require travel? What kind of logistical hurdles do you encounter in destination wedding photography?
I’m a professional photographer who doesn’t maintain a traditional studio, so everything I do requires complete mobility. I can carry an entire studio to a location and set it up and create amazing photos that no one would ever suspect might have been made in your kitchen. Traveling is what I do for every job, even the ones that are in Atlanta. So I don’t really encounter any serious logistical hurdles for destination wedding photography, other than having to take my shoes off at the airport if I fly. That’s pretty annoying. Yay PreCheck.
Q: What about travel fees and lodging? Is there a minimum package required for travel?
There are no travel fees for anyone who purchases eight hours or more of wedding photography coverage in the continental United States. Are you getting married anywhere in the Lower 48? Cool. I’m not gonna charge you any travel fees. This whole process should be pain-free for you. I want you to be able to quickly and easily understand the actual cost of your wedding photography so we can start talking about the fun stuff sooner.
Q: Do you work with an assistant?
Depending on the type and location of the wedding and the number of obstacles expected, I sometimes work with assistants (also known as voice activated light stands). It can be nice to have someone to carry all the heavy equipment, or have another pair of eyes on the wedding party to make sure no one is sleeping while we make the group photos. However, most of the time I’m just a lone wolf. With mad ninja skillz.
Q: Are you willing to accept a list of “must-have” photos?
Q: What should I do to keep my photos safe?
Q: What can I do with all my photos?
The best thing to do with them is to PRINT them and frame them and hang them on your wall. Or even better, since you’re going to have so many amazing photos that you’ll run out of wall space, you should make a wedding album. Or get one of those neato digital photo frames. But whatever you do, don’t just leave them on your hard drive all alone and never let them feel the sweet kiss of daylight. That’s just sad, and the files will degrade in just a few years.
Q: Why should I get a wedding album?
Q: What is a flush mount wedding album?
Only the coolest way to see your amazing photos. Ever. First your photos are silver halide printed on high quality archival photographic paper, just as if they were going to be framed. Then they are mounted on a thick archival substrate, which makes a luxuriously stiff page about 2mm thick. Kinda like a children’s board book, only exponentially more fashionable and gorgeous (and not at all appropriate for teething). Our albums can be leather bound, silk-covered, or have custom printed covers. And they are beautiful. We call them heirloom wedding albums because these hand made archival albums will truly last for generations. We know you want the grandkids to know just how bad-ass you were back in the day, and now we can give you the technology to do it.
Q: What is press printing?
Press printing is high-quality printing, but it is not printed on photographic paper. More like a coffee-table book or a high-end magazine. The pages are thicker than regular book pages, but still thin enough to be flexible. Sadly, unlike most other topics here, press printing really isn’t all that funny..