You are over the moon excited as you have just gotten engaged, but now what? Where do you start planning, how do you pick vendors that best fit your style and vision for your wedding day? How do you pick vendors that fit into your budget? How do you know if they are reputable and are going to show up on your big day? These are all great questions and important questions! I know when I was a bride and was planning my wedding (pre Pinterest I might add), I fully relied on friends and family for recommendations for vendors, as well as the reviews of vendors I found online. But before I booked ANY vendor I wanted to meet with them just to make sure they 100% understood the vision I had for my day.
Now that I am a photographer I have met 100’s of brides and grooms and seen their excitement but also their wonder and nervousness about making sure they are booking their best fit vendors. Believe me I get it! Meet each vendor and go into each meeting prepared with a list of questions you have for them. Think of it more as an interview. You want to make sure you like the photographers work but also your personalities mesh well because you will see a lot more of your photographer then anyone else your wedding day!
1. How long have you been shooting weddings for, and how many do you shoot a year?
I have owned and operated Paisley Photography since 2009 and in this time I have shot just about a 100 weddings (my 100 wedding will be these year! YAY!). This means I have seen just about everything. From the terrible father of the groom speech about sasquatch (yes that actually happened), to the bride cutting her foot open during her helicopter elopement at the top of the mountain on a piece of slate and having to get some serious first aid done, to the thousands of emotional and sentimental moments throughout the day. Every day is unique and different, but that is what makes every wedding new and exciting to me. I also only book 10-15 weddings a year and never do back to back weddings in a weekend. I book this way so I am 100% on my game and present to capture all your details and moments throughout the day. I know for me, after a 10hr wedding day I am exhausted and need a day to recover before I jump back into shooting again.
2. How would you describe your wedding photography style?
My photography style is something that has grown and changed over the last 8 years. It has taken time to really get a feel for what I’m drawn to in a photo and shoot in a way that this look becomes possible. For me I would describe my style to be vibrant, playful and genuine. I love the darker, rich, natural look to photos so always try to make sure my whites are white, blacks are black and the colors are true, but rich looking. I also do pose all my clients during shoots but I also love to give you time to sink into the pose and relax a bit. This creates that more genuine and candid feel to my posing but also makes sure you look your best.
3. Can I give you a list of shots we would like?
I get this question a lot! My answer is yes and no. Yes, I would love a list and groupings of family for your family photography portion of the day. This way, I will have a list and it will makes it really simple and efficient for your family, but also ensure no one or no combination will get missed. On a wedding day family and guests don’t want to be taking photos forever they want to party and find the bar. Also if you have something really sentimental at your wedding like candelabras from the church your grandparents got married at and you want photos of them, let me know. Those are the things we don’t know and won’t know unless you tell us. What I don’t want is a list of 500 poses you have seen on Pinterest that you want. You have contacted me because you have seen my work and like my style. Let me do what I do best and capture your day creatively. I promise I won’t miss those important moments like your dad handing you off or your first kiss.
4. Do you offer engagement sessions?
YES!!!!! I love engagement sessions and think it is really important do book one with me. It gives us a chance to meet again before your wedding day, for you to get more comfortable in front of the camera (because lets be serious unless your a Victoria Secret model it’s not the most comfortable place to be), for me to see how you pose together and which poses are the best for you as a couple. It is also a great way to get some extra photos you can use for your invitations, guest book and slide show.
5. How long after my wedding will you see your photos?
When I was a bride I could not wait to see my wedding photos. Keep in mind this was pre Pinterest and pre a lot of social media, so I had to anxiously wait for three months before I got to see anything! That just about killed me! haha Because of this I like to show you at least one sneak peek of your wedding within 24hrs of your wedding only social media. This way you can share the photo with you loved ones that maybe couldn’t make it, and even change your profile picture to show off how stunning you looked! After that I try to have a sneak peek blog post done with more of your photos (about 50-75) in about two weeks. It takes me about two months total to have all your photos edited, uploaded to a client gallery or USB, your fine art album ordered and back and you entire wedding photography package done for you. The other thing I love to offer my clients is a same day slideshow at your reception. I quickly edit 15-20 photos during dinner and then show you these photos right then and there. I also keep the slide show going for the rest of the evening so all your guest can see what you have been up to all day.
6. Is it ok for Uncle Bob or Auntie Jeenie to take photos while you are?
I love this question! My answer is no, but here is my reason. During a wedding day there are so many small, quick and special moments that need to be documented. These can happen in an instant and if your auntie is in front of me or hovering right over my shoulder it doesn’t give me the opportunity to capture it fully. Lets be serious my camera is going to do a better job capturing it anyways then her iPad. It is also very distracting to the guests during the ceremony or when we are trying to do family photos and 10 other people are shooting at the same time. Not only does it slow the process down but everyone will then be looking 10 different directions. I know everyone wants a copy of the photos so I just tell them that the gallery will be online and you are more then welcome to download the photos you would like as long as the bride and groom are ok with it.
7. How far in advance do we need to book you?
ASAP! Since I do take only 10-15 weddings a year I do tend to book up quickly. If you have a date set and a venue booked it is best to then start looking for your photographer. I do tend to book a year and a half to two years in advance. This doesn’t mean if your eloping not to contact me it just means that if your planning a wedding during those popular summer months it is best to book sooner then later.
8. Should my event last longer then expected, will you stay and is there and extra charge?
Knowing up front the photographers policy on overages is super important. You don’t want to think that they are staying out of the kindness of their heart and then be surprised when your wedding photographer asks for an additional $1500 before they even start editing your wedding photos. Or even worse they leave and miss your father daughter dance. For me I am happy to stay until all the major events of your weddings day are over, however there is an additional hourly charge above and beyond your package hours. I will of course touch base with you and make sure you are aware of the time and then from that point you can decide what is best for you two and the coverage of your day.
9. What do you and you assistant wear on the wedding day?
On your wedding day it is important that we as photographers don’t distract from you or your moments. We really want to blend into the background and document your day as it unfolds. This also means we want to blend well into what your guests are wearing. If you are having a formal wedding we will be there in formal attire. If you hosting more of a casual wedding day we won’t show up in a ball gown and tux, we will wear something that fits your day. We always make sure we dress appropriately for your occasion.
10. Do you back up our photos? If so when?
YES!!!! This is a huge one for us! As wedding photographers I can’t think of anything more terrible then a full portion of your wedding disappearing or a card going corrupt and the images of you and your grandfather dancing are gone. For this reason we have lots of back up procedures in place. Our cameras have two card slots, so on a wedding day we have one smaller card which then backs up to the larger card. This way it helps prevent lost images as we already have them backed up the moment we take the shot. From there the moment we get home, the files go onto two separate hard drives and then onto my computer. Once the files are edited they are backup again to two hard drives, and a hard copy disk is also created and stored off site. Then the cards are not overwritten until your wedding has been edited and delivered. These photos can not be duplicated so we take our back up process very seriously.
I know I said 10 questions but I wanted to sneak one more in…
11. What do you want for dinner?
You might think this is a weird questions but I included this one because I think it’s important and all your vendors will appreciate this. Your photographer is there longer than anyone else on your wedding day! From the getting ready photos all the way untill the end of your father daughter dance, this can be 9-12 hours. I have photographed 10 hour weddings where we never got fed and yes, it makes it harder for the photographer to stay going creatively at 100%. We don’t get a time to just stop and have lunch for an hour, we are always on the go. Of course, we bring snacks, and eat them as fast as possible 🙂 but it’s still nice to take care of your photographer and they will thank you for it!!