FAQ & Tips
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER?
There is no correct approach, it's a personal decision. Start with the photographer's images, and if you could see yourself in those shots, and if the budget works for you, get to know them a little bit and see if the personality is a match as well. The photographer will be with you for a lot of the wedding day, so, having someone you feel comfortable and confident around is important.
If you're wondering about my personality and how that factors in when I photograph....I'm playful, encouraging, excitable like a puppy, and my smile constantly breaks my face in two when I'm photographing. Clients often tell me how they were anxious about having their photo taken but were pleasantly surprised and actually had fun because of my personality and how I made the process low-key and enjoyable.
It's also very helpful to view full galleries/portfolios that a photographer has given to couples instead of just their favorite few shots on their website, you can find actual client galleries of mine here - peruse to your heart's content.
HOW MUCH PHOTOGRAPHY TIME IS NEEDED?
Here's a really generic quick breakdown:
Medium Coverage - 7-9 hrs. First look, dedicated photography*, ceremony, cocktail hour, and most of the reception. Average cost ~$4k
Long Coverage - 9-12 hrs. Getting ready, details/macros of what you're wearing, first look, dedicated photography*, cocktail hour, and most, or all, of the reception. Average cost ~$6k
Grand - 3 days of photography: rehearsal dinner/day before photos, whole wedding day from getting ready to cake cutting, and an epic couples shoot that is scheduled a different day than the wedding so you can get the most out of your wedding day and also have the best possible photos. Use that suit or dress again! ~$7k.
Short Coverage - 4-6 hrs. Ceremony, part of the reception, and/or some dedicated photography*. Average cost ~$3k (Not available for all Saturdays)
Elopement - 1-2 hrs. Just the ceremony and a few photos before and/or after. Starts at $950 for one hour. (Not available for Saturdays).
*WHAT IS DEDICATED PHOTOGRAPHY TIME?
Dedicated photography (aka formals, aka portraits; aka the time set aside to photograph photos of the couple, wedding party, and family).
Choose any or all of the options below. Typically this all happens nowadays before the ceremony so you are able to enjoy your guests and party.
If opting for all of the below, budget 2.5-3 hrs of time, more if multiple locations are involved. Not all that time is spent photographing, some is spent corralling distracted humans.
This is when you both see each other in your wedding outfits for the first time before the ceremony. Opt for the classic simultaneous-turn-around, a dramatic reveal with a blindfold, or a playful jump out from behind a tree - whatever floats your boat, just give me a heads up so I know how to shoot it!
If you're getting ready together (which makes for the most amazing and cute photos of you helping each other into your respective wedding outfits!), there's no need for a first look - go directly into Couple's Photos!
Usually these are the best, most epic photos of the day and I shoot you guys candidly, semi-posed, and a few posed thrown in for good measure. Included in this time could be individual shots of each of you as well (let me know if that's something you'd like). Budget anywhere from 15 mins (for just a few shots) to an hour+.
More time = more creativity and better photos! I can do a LOT in an hour and may end up taking the best photos of you that you'll ever have.
Wedding Party Photos:
• 15 mins for just a few simple, line-up and smile group shots
• 30-45 mins for an average amount of wedding party shots. This amount of time is needed regardless for wedding parties of 10+ people.
• 60 mins should be budgeted for a myriad of different formations of the group shots and if you would like individual portraits of all your wedding party members.
Reminder - The more people in the wedding party, the longer it takes to corral all the humans for even just one picture.
Choosing to do these before the ceremony will allow you to enjoy your own cocktail party and to see and interact with your guests more. Added bonus, your family isn't pulled away from cocktail hour either and they're happier about that too. The time needed for family photos varies greatly depending on how many people are involved total and how many groupings are desired; it's more about herding cats than pressing the shutter button.
This is a typical selection that needs 30 minutes budgeted:
• Partner 1 + their immediate family
• Partner 1 + their siblings
• Partner 1 + their parents
• Couple + Partner 1's immediate family
(repeat for Partner 2's family)
Some couples prefer to not do a formalized family portrait time - if that's you, cool, just let me know.
Buffer Time / Guests Arriving:
When determining your schedule for the day, make sure to block off the 30 mins before the ceremony to refresh yourselves and to be tucked out of view from arriving guests. This down time is also needed on the photographer's end as we'll be setting up our gear and positioning for the ceremony.
HOW DO I SHOOT / WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE PHOTOGRAPHED?
My goal is always to create artistic images, with you in them, that showcase your personality and emotion. I want to capture it ALL: wide shots to set the scene, medium shots to tell the story, and close-up shots to show emotion. And, if I have extra time, artistic shots that add flavor (macro shots of details, long shutter shots that show movement, etc).
When I'm photographing just the two of you for couple's photos, for the vast majority of that time, I'll have you interact and focus on each other. I'll give you some direction beforehand, but then I prefer to let the scene unfold naturally; I'll tell you things like:
• Walk across the lawn while making each other laugh
• Go sit on that bench over there, with an arm around each other and chat
• Pause here under this archway and "Have a moment" - this means interact with each other and do whatever comes naturally - whether that's embracing, kissing, joking around, laughing, dancing, slapping an ass cheek, or just smiling and looking into each other eyes.
Then I photograph these moments close up, mid range, and far away. Sometimes I'll make you walk/skip/frolic across that grassy knoll several times, it's all part of the process.
During a shoot, I always want it to be collaborative. Do you have ideas? I want to hear them! I adore the mixing and melding of our shared creativity; collectively we can fashion something really epic!
WHAT TO EXPECT POST SHOOT
For every hour that I’m photographing there is about 4 hrs of work that happens before and after a shoot. So, if photographing a wedding day for 8 hours….that translates to about 40 total hrs. If interested, I'll spec out my process and workflow below:
PRE: communicate with clients (email, phone, in person meet), field questions and provide answers/resources, develop timelines, smooth out all logistical details, and prep and pack gear for the event.
THE SHOOT and travel to and from
POST: upload all files, cull files and select images (this takes a surprisingly significant amount of time), first pass of global editing of final images in Adobe Lightroom, second pass of global and some localized editing of final images, exporting of all final, edited files, creation of gallery and upload of files to gallery, delivery of gallery to clients, receive feedback of images/gallery and make any additional changes (removal of images, localized edits, etc).
TWO PHOTOGRAPHERS VS ONE?
For most small to medium weddings, one photographer is just fine. But, also realize that there are limitations....I know this goes without saying, but, I can’t be two places at once.
Getting Ready at two different locations and you want both photographed? You need two photographers for that. First look? I can capture one person’s reaction, not both. Or, I can shoot the scene to capture both people’s profile. Processional where you’re both walking up the outside aisles at the same time? I’ve had a lot of queer couples decide to do this - I think it’s lovely and beautiful - however it’s a difficult moment to capture close ups of both people and wide shots of the scene (that would require being in 3 different places).
Pros: More total images. Photography in two different places at the same time (very helpful when shooting the ceremony, and also nice during cocktail hour - as someone can shoot the dinner reception details, while the other is shooting guests at cocktail hour). Occasionally two different angles (or a close up and a wide angle) of the same moment - great for ceremony and first dance.
Cons: Cost. And for smaller weddings it can be overwhelming to have two photographers snapping away, but, with weddings over 130 guests, it feels natural and expected from a guest perspective.
WHAT DO YOU NOT TAKE PHOTOS OF?
I shoot candidly and am always following the action and photographing throughout the entire day except during dinner. No one wants a photo of them stuffing some food into their mouths, so I'll tuck myself out of the way during this time. After the venue serves all the guests, this is also when they'll serve vendors a meal, so, I need at least 10 mins at the end of dinner time to scarf some food to refuel.
Also, let's not do any table photos. This unfortunately is a hold-over from the olden days of wedding photography. Table photos almost always look bad. Like real bad. Round tables prevent everyone from being in focus, half the group is sitting, plates of food and bottles are in the foreground, the centerpiece is blocking someone's face, and then Cousin Andrew photobombs the whole thing.
If you want casual or formal group photos of your guests that's cool, let me know and we can find a time and place to do those.
RANDOM TIPS FOR BEING PHOTOGRAPHED
1. I want you to be YOU! The more of your personality that shines through the photos, the better. So be excited, be romantic, be playful, be sarcastic....emote fully and tap into your personality. The photos will end up looking more natural and you'll have a better time in the process. And if you're feeling shy....be shy! Look into each other eyes and ignore me completely. That makes for the absolute best photos!
2. For a huge help before being photographed, practice in the mirror a bit and find some expressions and angles of your face that you like. Do a "scan" (start looking to your right, hold an expression for a few seconds, turn your head more towards the center, perhaps choosing to look up or down, now look directly face on, smiling, then try not smiling, now another turn further to the left, continuing on until you've spanned 180 degrees). Bonus points if you video your scan on your phone so you can see what angles/looks you like. Super bonus points if you have your partner watch you to help simulate the camera's "eye" on you. Laugh about it, have fun.
3. Recognize that there will be awkward moments and times - it's inevitable when having your picture taken. So, just roll with it, and let's enjoy it. Not every moment or shot is going to work or be perfect - that's the nature of photographing, and I think when people realize that they don't need to nail every shot, then the stress is lifted a bit. When I take self portraits, I'll shoot 100, and be excited about 3 of them. There will be awkward moments where you'll freeze up (when this happens I'll help you out and direct you), or down moments where you're waiting on me as I adjust settings. If you can embrace the awkwardness, then you'll be able to relax and let go of the desire to perfect every shot - that's when you'll not only get the best results, but you'll have a better time in the process too.
4. What do your do with your hands? (Everyone asks me this. Seriously, everyone.)
When with a partner or someone else:
• POINTS OF CONTACT!!! Have multiple parts of your body touching your partner's body: arm around their waist or shoulder, hand on their neck/cheek, lean your forehead into theirs, rest your head on their chest/shoulder, grab their lapel/collar/ass, do a slow dance with them, give them a spin or a dip. And when that dip almost fails miserably half way through, crack up laughing at yourselves and that will make for an amazing photo.
• Drape hands naturally by your sides/thighs - keep fingers loose (don't ball up into a fist)
• Slide a hand in your PANT pocket, thumb out.
• Slide a thumb in your pant pocket, hand out
• Cross your arms across your chest. Soften this with a smile. Or make this a powerful look without smiling
• Hand on a hip
• Hands on both hips
5. Try not to lean away from the camera - a lot of people do this unconsciously and it gives off the air of uncertainty and fear, along with occasionally creating a double chin. If with a partner, lean INTO them, or, if solo, take a small step forward with one foot and put your weight over your front foot TOWARDS the camera, which creates an air of confidence.
RANDOM TIPS FOR WEDDING PLANNING
1. The most important advice, more than anything else, is to be true to who you are. Don't do wedding things merely because it's expected or tradition - do them because it speaks to you. Weddings are far more personalized and unique nowadays, there are no more rules......you're free to craft whatever you want!
• Walk down the aisle with both parents - or walk down together as a couple
• Sneak away from your wedding day sometimes to just be by yourselves
• Not into being photographed? Don't do any posed photography at all (photojournalistic style) and only do candid coverage for the whole day. Or don't have a photographer at all and tell your guests it's an unplugged (no cell phones) ceremony/day
• Don't have a wedding party, or do, and mix up the genders
• You want to do your first dance on roller skates to your favorite death metal song - awesome!
• Have a poly wedding!
• Wear those favorite chuck or vans under your wedding dress
Granted, if someone else is footing the bill, there may be compromises that must be made, but, if you need any help in mitigating those compromises, especially if they are photography-related, I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE (it's what I'm here for). Let me shoulder the blame of not doing Mom's list of 50+ photos of extended family groupings.
2. Double travel times! Not only for potential traffic the day of, but, it is difficult and time consuming to corral and coordinate a group of people, even if it's just to get half a dozen people in a limo. Corralling human cats takes way longer than expected.
3. If there are specific or surprise moments you want captured (beyond obvious ceremony and reception highlights like vows, rings, first dance, etc), let me know. You want a photo of your grandmother pinning her broach on you that she wore on her wedding - tell me! You're going to sing a surprise song to your partner at the reception - DEF tell me! A photo of your parents seeing you in your wedding outfit for the first time - let me know!
4. Aisle reaction shots rarely turn out like what you see on pinterest. Most people find it hard to emote in front of hundreds of people - if that's you, and you feel more shy about that moment - opt for a private first look. Also, it's quite difficult to capture two faces, close up, at the same time, in two opposite directions, with one moving. Hence, I often shoot aisle shots more wide, showing the scope.
5. Wedding planners are worth their weight in gold - especially if you're DIYing a lot of your wedding. The coordinator will smooth out all the logistical details - some of which you probably won't even even know to do - and handle any last minute issues, which inevitably always crop up. Plus, instead of 20 people calling you and asking you questions on your wedding day, like "where to put the ice?", maybe only 5 people will.
6. Having a wedding/reception at a non-traditional spot like a national park? Stock the bare bones bathroom with a basket of goodies (nice soup, hand towels, floor mat, mouthwash, hair ties, tampons, lotion, candles, etc).
7. When your best people give a toast, have them stand NEAR you, adjacent, facing you and your partner, NOT across the room with a gulf of 50 feet between you.
8. If you're feeling shy or introverted about having your photo taken and if that part of the day sounds horrible, definitely let me know, and I'll build in little breaks for you guys and/or see how truncated we can make that time while still getting some images.
9. Some part of the day will be delayed. Always happens. Don't stress. You've got this!