You’re about to be booking your wedding photographer and you don’t know where to begin! The importance of this decision could fall anywhere on your list of wedding priorities from most to least important. For me when I think of my future wedding it’s SMACK on top; the most important element (aside, of course, from the man I will be married too)! There are a million photographers out there now of days. People who are dying to break into the industry, and also amazing professionals who have been doing it for years. So where do you begin and what do you need to know?
There is a lot that goes into wedding photography, and there’s hundreds of lists out there on questions to ask. I don’t think it needs to be so complicated. I think it comes down to good vibes, being able to trust in their service, and mutual expectations. Often times in photography you are getting what you pay for. A good professional photographer can be a big investment, but there are those out there (I think of myself as one) who are affordable and worth every penny! Getting a good idea of what you’re going to experience before, during, and after your wedding is the most important information you can get! Therefore here are 6 frequently asked questions I’ve received and LOVE, because it gives you a clear idea on the things that matter. (Also included is my opinion and stance on each of these matters!)
6 Questions You Should Ask Before Booking your Wedding Photographer
1) What can I expect from you as my photographer on my wedding day? I often hear horror stories about crazy photographers who were too demanding, who took too long with taking formal photos, or even the other side of the coin where the bride and groom never even saw them on their wedding day. This is a matter of preference on each bride and grooms behalf. I am attentive on a wedding day, but also removed when it’s needed.
For me it comes down to these 3 words: happy, clear, and thoughtful. You can expect me to be happy on a wedding day, first and foremost it is your wedding day (not a photoshoot), and I do everything I can to help maintain that joy and excitement on your special day. I am also very clear in my direction and in following through with the the timeline and decisions we’ve made together before the wedding day. There are a lot of people who have opinions on what should be done, but a clear plan a head of time helps me protect what’s most important to my couples and get all those pictures you want, need, and will love! Thoughtfulness comes from the deep caring I feel for my getting my couples those must have moments. This can mean a lot of different things on the day, but mostly it’s just that I am there watching your back and helping in any way I can.
2) Who is your 2nd photographer? Great question. I work with a number of professional wedding photographers who are my 2nd photographers, who shoot with the same caliber equipment that I shoot on, and whose styles are similar to mine. I think this is incredibly important and something I’m really passionate about.If you’re paying for a 2nd photographer they should be someone who is a professional and who is dependable to get the same quality of photos you expect from your primary shooter. As an insider in the industry I know that this doesn’t always happen. Always ask your photographer their stance on this, and make sure they’re upfront on if they’re bringing an ‘assistant’ and ‘2nd shooter’ or a ‘trainee/novice’. You gotta know what you’re getting (and often times you’re getting what you pay for).
3) How much time do we have to spend taking photos on our wedding day? Another great question. I always find it funny because people seem expect 4 hours or 15 minutes. Always remember, the more time we have to take photos, the more photos you get! However, there is such a thing as TOO long, and I never like to push my couples anywhere near this point on their wedding day. If we can carve out a total of 60-90 minutes total (and I always suggest breaking it up into before and after ceremony) then we can pretty much knock out all the important groupings and get some amazing photos of the bride and groom alone. 60-90 minutes might seem long, or short, but really it’s just a good amount of time. I always like to check in with my brides and grooms and make sure you feel good about everything we’re doing and keep it as fast-paced and fun as possible.
4) What is your approach to ‘posing’ and taking our photos? Some photographers like really staged photos, others don’t like to pose at all and just hope you two are really naturally adorable (which you probably are). I’m the first to tell you that I’m not a photojournalistic photographer. I can capture amazing candid moments, and love standing in the background just waiting for those unplanned moments, but I also believe in a much more complete range of photos from a wedding.
Personally, I come from a theatre background in directing and I’ve shot enough weddings to know that some of the best most beautiful romantic moments didn’t just ‘happen’, they were posed. Posed isn’t bad if you look natural. I always take my cues from the couple and what feels best for them (often we learn this in an engagement session). Next, I am looking to take a wide variety of photographs and that means getting you to change up what you’re doing, but in a natural and fun way. It comes down to natural posing that makes you look your absolute best. As a photographer I am constantly looking for those little adjustments that take your photo to the next level. This is the difference between an amateur and professional level photographer. I don’t know that I would invest much into a photographer who wouldn’t know how to pose you.
5) Do we really need an engagement session? No. They are not absolutely necessary, BUT they are incredibly valuable. The opportunity to do a dry run with your photographer is great for both parties, but probably even more so for your photographer. Photography is an art, and the camera isn’t the only medium- the subject is too. When I have a chance to work with a couple on an engagement session I begin to take a million mental notes. I learn what makes each of them laugh, what they are looking for from each other, what kind of things bring out THAT smile. I learn how they fit together, and which poses they look and seem the most comfortable in. Also, I build trust with them by abandoning poses that make them look at me funny, and teaching the ways of things like dips and lifts. All of this translates into a better and more personalized experience on the wedding day.
Of course if you decide not to do an engagement session, it just means we start at the first level of working together. This isn’t bad at all, it’s just means we’re still figuring each other out a bit.
6) What can I expect to end up with after the wedding, and how long will it take to receive the photos? This is another great question! Will you get 20 edited images and the option to buy the rest? Will you get 1,500 unedited photos burned onto a disc? Will it be 1, 2, 6 months, or a year before you see a wedding photo? You have to know what your final product with be. As Felicia Marti Photography I always give my couples a completely edited product that includes all the good images from the day. Typically this ends up being between 500-800 photos depending on how long I were there, and if there was a 2nd photographer that photographed as well. All the photos are delivered on a USB drive, and arrive as a personal gift from me to you! I want you to be as excited as I am about the wedding pictures, and because of that, I like to get them finished as quickly as possible, but still give myself time to create a polished product. It also takes me about 3-4 weeks to get you the entire wedding collection, but I always deliver a sneak peek full of 10-20 photos to you within the week from your wedding day! It’s exciting to have beautiful wedding photographs, and I think it helps solidify that amazing happy memory for all those who were involved!
I hope this list makes you feel a little more prepared than you did before. I’m not out there to book every single couple I meet. I want to work with couples who need and want what I bring to the table, and I think that makes the best combination. I love each and every couple I work with and feel truly blest to have such an amazing job where I get to capture one of the most special days in a couples life together! It’s my hope that each couple out there finds the exact right wedding photographer for them.