There are a many factors to consider when choosing a wedding photographer for your important day! Here are some questions you will want to ask anyone who is a candidate for your wedding day photography.
When should we book a wedding photographer?
It depends! What month will you be getting married? (Is your date during a busy wedding season or holiday season?) A good rule of thumb is booking 12 months in advance, especially if you’d like a particular photographer to cover your day. Planning ahead is a good way to ensure that your first choice photographer is available on your date, and you might also want to check with your photographer before deciding on a date and/or venue. (If you’re set on one in particular.)
How do we choose a wedding photographer?
Several elements will help you decide on whom you choose for your wedding photography. First, you must love the style of his/her work and who is best able to tell the story in the way that you want. Second, you also need to connect and have rapport with your photographer, because he/she will be spending many hours with this person (you will be with your photographer more than anyone else on your wedding day). If you feel relaxed around your photographer, your images will reflect your ease and have your important moments shine through!
In choosing a wedding photographer, it’s also important to evaluate professionalism. Sure, it’s easy to save money by letting Uncle Bob take your pictures, but you could very easily end up with only a handful worth keeping! A professional has experience, the proper equipment, and knows how to create high quality photography very consistently in all different lighting conditions. It’s the best investment of your wedding day budget when you hire a professional because you will have amazing moments from your wedding day that will be with you forever. Ask about insurance, liability, backup, and equipment when interviewing photography candidates.
Why do prices vary between wedding photographers?
There are many variables that photographers use to set their prices. Length of experience and quality of additional products, like albums and canvases are the two main items. A photographer who has been shooting for years and has built a reputation will command a higher price than someone who is building his/her portfolio and looks at your wedding not as income, but experience. As a client, it’s easy to calculate the rate only based on time spent at your wedding day, but it’s important remember that your wedding requires hours ahead of the event and many hours after the event processing, editing, and designing albums and products. Another factor in a photographer’s price is their professional investment. Equipment, taxes, insurance, and fair market value are all elements in separating the pros from the “fauxs”. As you think about what you’ll have 1, 5, 10 and 25 years after your wedding, the photographs, products and digital images will be among very few tangible items that remain. Consider investing in what will offer your longest and largest return on your investment.
What about an engagement session?
An engagement session is included in most photographer’s packages, because it provides two significant benefits to the couple and the photographer! The single most important benefit is that the couple gets to work with the photographer in a fun, relaxed setting and becomes comfortable with the cameras. They’re big, black, and can be rather intimidating. However, engagement sessions are meant for you and your sweetie to have a lot of fun while getting used to being photographed. This makes your wedding day so much more relaxed because you’ve already worked with your photographer and the camera is no longer so huge! Also, an engagement photos are a great way for your photographer to do a dry run about how to photograph you so that you look your best! Everyone wins!
When should I schedule my engagement/bridal session?
It is best to schedule an engagement session about 3-6 months before your wedding. This will ensure that you receive any prints, albums and Save the Date cards in plenty of time.
What is a Guest Table book?
A guest table book is a great way to display your engagement session AND use it as a formal wedding guest book. Guests can sign and write wishes in the pages, where lots of space has been left. It’s like a yearbook and a guestbook in one, and you’ll always have it to look back on!
Will the wedding photographer call us if someone else requests a date we have not yet booked?
Unfortunately, no. With most photographers, unless you have signed a contract and paid the retainer, the date will not be held for you. I am not interested in high pressure sales and will not engage in hanging your date over your head. The best strategy is to book when you’ve made a decision! This is insurance for both you and the photographer—you know your photographer is booked and contracted to cover your wedding, and the photographer has a guaranteed income for that date. The dates fill up whoever books them first. That seems to be the fairest strategy for everyone, but it means that you need to jump when you’re ready!
When is my remaining balance due?
A payment schedule will be located on your wedding agreement, and you will get email reminders about your invoices from In Harmony Studios.
Do you charge to travel?
Any wedding within an hour of the studio location in Windsor will incur no travel fees. This includes Thornton, Boulder, Estes Park, Loveland, Greeley and Fort Collins. Outside that area, a travel fee of $50 for an additional 50 miles will be added to your total investment. Several mountain resorts will have a travel fee.
What if we cancel our wedding?
First and foremost, communicate with all of your vendors as soon as you have finalized this decision. Your photographer will most likely have a section about postponing and cancelling in his/her contract, and would expect that you honor the terms of the agreement. In most cases, any retainer paid by you to book the date will be not refunded. Depending on how close the date is, all monies will not be refunded. However, it’s best to check your agreement and discuss the situation with your photographer—sometimes they might offer to refund partial payments if the date can be rebooked.
What if our photographer is ill on the day?
Discuss this scenario with your photographer, but there is likely a section about this in your agreement. Most photographers have their circle of colleagues and will get your wedding covered in the event of sickness.
Formal photographs—how much time?
This depends on what you want and the size of your groups for the formals—it can be from a few minutes to hours. As a guide, each formal picture will take about 3 minutes. This allows for people getting lost or drifting to the bar. Talk about the formal groups that you require and the pictures that you’d like alone. (In many cases, when photography time runs over, the couple suffers the most because they are shorted in getting enough photos of just them!) There are many different strategies to avoid this and your photographer will be able to give advice and help organize this beforehand so that it runs smoothly on your day.
What is a First Look?
A first look, although a relatively new wedding tradition, is an opportunity for the couple to see each other privately before the ceremony begins. There is a lot of pressure on that iconic moment of the groom seeing the bride walking down the aisle and the groom reacting in front of all their guests. Removing the added stress of that event by creating a special, private event separate doesn’t diminish the emotions or reactions. In many ways, the couple are able to react naturally instead of “acting” one way or another in front of the crowd. The couple have a few minutes alone to talk and relax, and the photographers tastefully capture these intimate moments. Other secondary benefits include being able to take some formal photographs before the ceremony and not forcing your guests to wait while you take formal photos. But the most significant benefit is being able to see each other privately and calm down before it’s “go time!” Many couples are choosing to add this tradition to their schedule and it makes a positive addition to the wedding day.
Can our friends take pictures at the wedding?
Absolutely! It’s an exciting time for your friends and family, and they will most likely want to record their experience as well. However, you are paying the photographer to get the photographs you want, and it’s challenging for a photographer to work around grandpa blocking the aisle during the procession, many ipads and phones held above the crowd, or other family members distracting people while taking formals so they aren’t looking at the professional camera. However, I communicate with the guests about when they have opportunities to take pictures and when “I’m in charge!” Exclusive photographer details are also usually outlined in the agreement.
When should I expect to receive my photos?
A blog post usually goes up within a week of the wedding, and wedding images will be available in a viewing session approximately 4-6 weeks after your wedding. Keep in mind all images are finely retouched, not proofs, which always takes longer. However, we feel that a polished, perfect image is always worth the wait! Additional products take additional time, please ask In Harmony Studios if you have specific concerns.
How many images do I get?
Typically, In Harmony Studios will have 200-400 fully-edited images. Fully-edited means that each photograph was edited for white balance, exposure, and polished. The number will vary depending on how long the event was photographed and whether two photographers were used.
Why is there an expiration timeline on purchasing prints?
The online gallery is available for two weeks after first publishing, with a fee for republication after that time. However, wedding files remain on hard drives in archives for 12 months before they are moved to off-site storage.
Why is there a deadline for creating the album?
This is so the photographer can organize his/her schedule and give each and every customer the top level of service they require. Without a deadline, some couples can take months to choose albums and designs. Prices can increase and the availability of the albums can change. Check your contract for any deadlines set by your photographer. Typically it’s 2 weeks after your images have been released, after you have a chance to decide what you like.
Do we design our wedding album?
Different photographers will have different methods used to design your album. In Harmony Studios will build your album based on answers from a questionnaire you fill out (formal or trendy?) and the signature images chosen. If you’d like to add images to a series for your album or include proof images, typically they can be added at no charge. After we design your album with your guidelines, you have an opportunity to proof it and make up to 10 changes at no cost.
I would like an album for my parents. How does that work?
The parent album is a popular choice and can either be a smaller copy of the main wedding album or one specifically designed just for them. There are several options available.