A Collection of Frequently Asked Wedding Photography Questions And Answers
Over the past 15 years I’ve had the privilege of photographing weddings throughout California including Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. I’ve photographed many destination weddings in Sweden and the sun drenched beaches of the Mexican Riviera. Photographing over 550+ weddings I’ve met amazing couples along the way and am honored to say the many have become my friends. Photographing weddings is a passion of mine and there are certain questions regarding my wedding photography business that repeat themselves year after year. So, I thought I’d compile A Collection of Frequently Asked Wedding Photography Questions And Answers to help brides and grooms in the process of choosing a wedding photographer that best suits them.
Do you offer engagement sessions?
Yes. I offer two levels of engagement sessions. Something quick and easy anywhere in the Orange County area. And a more involved engagement session for clients who desire a more in depth type of coverage. I love travel and will go just about anywhere on the planet. Travel rates will apply outside of the Southern California Area.
Do you work with a second photographer?
Yes, sometimes. Depending on your coverage and the size of your wedding I may recommend having one of my second photographers photograph with me.
Do you work with an assistant?
Yes. I photograph every wedding with an assistant. My assistant does not photograph. She or He only tends to my gear and is there to assist me.
Can you help us look great? We feel awkward in front of the camera.
Yes, of course. Many brides and grooms feel the same way as you. I have a simple and fun way to photograph you in natural situations on your wedding day that will put you at ease instantly and you’ll look great, I promise.
We want to take pictures at our hotel and on the beach on our wedding day, do we need a permit?
This is a great question. I always recommend asking each venue if you’ll need permission or a permit to photograph on the property. Also make sure you write down the names, titles and dates of people you spoke with and what their answers are. Almost all beaches in Orange County now require permits (obtained from the city or state depending on who owns the beach). Beach permits range from $150 and up per day and are one-time-one-use only for one specific day. If you are not having your wedding at a the hotel where you are staying make sure to ask if you can have family photographs of photographs of just the two of you taken at the venue. Often the answer is no, or Yes for a fee. So be sure to ask. All permits must be obtained by the client.
We don’t like posed pictures and want all our pictures taken candid. Can you do that?
Yes. I excel in unscripted documentary wedding photography and have photographed weddings with very little of no interaction at all, with grace and poise, allowing you to enjoy your wedding and your guests. Simply capturing moments that really matter to you. The unfolding of your day, the tears, the joy and laughter shared by family and friends. And my bride and groom felt that, “Half the time, we had no idea he was there.”
Can some of our photographs be delivered in black and white?
Please let me know your desire for black and white coverage before your wedding. Together we’ll figure out a percentage of black and white versus color images that you are comfortable with. All images delivered in black and white are only available in black and white.
How long before our photographs and albums are delivered?
Wedding Premier: For clients that live locally your invited to my studio within three weeks subsequent to your wedding to view a selection of your wedding images on our 52″ Sony screen. If you live out of the area, our wedding images will be available to view online three weeks subsequent to your wedding day.
The Album Design Process: If a wedding album is included in your package, or are planning to purchase a wedding album, I feel its part of my responsibility to pre-design your wedding album for you. During your Wedding Premier at the studio or simultaneously with the release of your images online I will share your album pre-design with you. Album predesign speeds up the process of getting your album to you quicker in a few ways: a) You won’t need to sit down in front of a computer and cull through hundreds of images and agree on each image to go into your album. b) I’ll have done 99% of the work for you. You already have enough going on in your lives. My predesign is less stressful. c) Your hands within 8 weeks after your final approval.
Can We Make Changes to the Album Pre-Design? Of course. We can set an appointment for you to come back and finalize the design. Often clients only make a few changes or add extra pages to their albums.
What if we don’t like the Album Pre-Design? The choice is always yours to make. I’d say that 95% of our clients love their pre-design. If you are not in love with it, you are can choose to scrap the entire design and choose all your own images. Once your album is designed for you, you’ll be allow three rounds of changes with each round of changes taking two weeks to implement. After your final album draft is approved it will be sent to our book binding company for printing and binding. This process is much lengthier and on average I’ve see this take anywhere from 6 months to a year due to our clients schedules.
Do we receive a proof book or paper proofs?
Proof books and paper proofs are available for a fee. You fee will depend on how many wedding images is in your complete folio of images. Proof books and paper proofs are printed in entirety. Another words images can not be deleted from your overall folio of images.
How many pictures will we get?
Several factors determine the amount of images you will receive: The type of coverage, the length of coverage, how many guests are attending and how many photographers are covering your wedding. On average you can expect 600+ images, but numbers vary from coverage to coverage.
Can we have the raw files?
Raw files are not available for viewing or purchase. Think of this as the raw footage from a major motion picture. Or the raw food stuffs that a chef uses to prepare a gourmet meal. Its all about the final product that is delivered not the ingredients that were used.
Do we get a disc of images?
Yes. You will get a complete all your edited high resolution digital images for you to enjoy and print to your hearts content when the files are released to you. You’ll also be presented with a personal image license so you will easily be able to make copies. And I’ll provide you with resource of where to obtain the best possible prints. I retain the copyright and the right to use the images for promotional purposes, print competition and use on my websites. If privacy is an important to you please mention it to me and I’ll make sure your event stays private.
Are all our images retouched?
Retouching is an over used and often incorrectly used term. All your images are edited. I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my wedding images. Editing entails controlling the exposure (lightness and darkness), the clarity and color fidelity of each and every image by hand. Its a very time consuming process. 99% of my images need no retouching at all because I’ve taught myself how to use the best light possible, wether its natural light or manufactured light like a strobe.
Retouching is taking an image into a software manipulation program such as Adobe Photoshop and fixing the image: Smoothing skin, making a body or body part thinner, removing bags from under the eyes, whitening the teeth or removing or adding someone or something to an image. It is possible to sit and retouch 600+ images but not at all practical. I recommend retouching on final prints, especially as they get larger over an 8×10 size, as imperfections are easily seen as the image increases in size. If an image is captured correctly little to not retouching needs to be done. All album pages are selectively retouched as needed.
What will my album look like when it is completed?
Album pages are magazine style. Meaning they are printed right onto the page like a fancy coffee table book you’d see in a fine book store. I aim to keep your deign timeless and classic with a simple clean design. Every album is archival and heirloom quality that can be passed down from generation to generation. Upgrade options are plentiful with a wide array of leathers and fabric finishes.
I’m often Asked How I’d Describe my Style
How would you describe your photographic style?
My style is described as: Part photojournalism [shoot first ask questions later] , mixed with gorgeous family portraits, relaxed and natural bride & groom portraits and a bit of a detail freak when it comes to covering all the little details. My color natural but a bit punchy with gorgeous black and white images.
Do you take posed family images?
Posed family portraits are a very important time of the day for me. I like to say lightly posed. I want everyone to look their best, but not stiff. I do give direction but also make sure everyone is super comfortable. I’m very sensitive to reading body language and facial expression and can tell if someone is not comfortable. These are important moments when everyone gets dressed up and man times travels from a distance to be with family and loved ones. Its important to me that I capture your family at their best.
Can we give you a “shot list”?
My suggestion is to enumerate a family shot list and share it with me. Once I see the list I can tell you with great accuracy how long your family photographs will take. Often the family photo list gets too long with every member of the extended family to photograph. A super long list like this will result in less opportunities for the type of documentary coverage that I’m known for and the inability to capture authentic moments. Other than your family list I prefer you don’t give me a shot list and here is why: If I’m working form a list my eye is not to the camera. Instead I’m constantly checking a list. Its counterproductive to the type of coverage that your are hiring me for and what you see in my portfolio. For some reason check lists have perpetuated from a day when photographing weddings was less intuitive.
The 411 – Business & Details
Can you hold a date for me?
I’m sorry but I am not able to hold a date for you or pencil you in. To be fair to everyone, I can’t hold a date or pencil you in without a retainer and a signed contract. All bookings are taken on a first come first serve basis.
When ~ How should we book you as our wedding photographer?
Your should book me as soon as you are sure that I’m the right wedding photographer for you. Bookings are by contract and retainer.
What is your payment schedule?
Upon booking and signing your contract a retainer fee of $1500 is due. The remaining balance is due four weeks prior to your wedding date.
If I cancel my wedding is my retainer or other fees that I’ve paid refundable?
All retainers and all fees paid prior to your weddings are non-refundable. Please understand that when you book your wedding with me I am holding your date exclusively for you and turn down all other commissions for that date.
Do you have insurance?
Yes. Of course. As a licensed business owner its important to me to be fully insured. We are insured by a triple A rated company and have a $2 million dollar liability insurance policy. We’ve never had to use it but it gives us both peace of mind.
Do you bring back up equipment to our wedding?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is….As a professional photographer with over fifteen years experience photographing weddings near and far, I believe in being overly prepared to photograph weddings. So, I arrive with 2-3 cameras and a lots of lenses, and plenty of lighting gear. I actually have back up gear for my back up gear.
How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been in the business of photographing weddings since 2001 and have photographed over five hundred weddings.
What kind of clothing will you be wearing to our wedding?
I always dress appropriate for the occasion. Typical attire is dress slacks, dress shoes, button down dress shirt, cool tie and sharp looking fitted vest. My assistants and second photographers are always appropriately dressed for the occasion.
If we want you to stay longer on our wedding day will you be able too?
I only photograph one wedding a day, so you get my full attention. If you need me to stay later I am always available. For coverage beyond your contracted time, there is an overtime charge which starts only with your permission. You’ll be billed via your credit card on file or when you return from you honeymoon.
Some of our family and friends love taking pictures. Can they take pictures too?
Of course. Other people photographing doesn’t bother me at all. I do have a few requests. For family photographs I appreciate others photographing from a distance and not mobbing the scene or shooting over my shoulder. This way you and your family won’t be distracted and all eyes will be on me while I’m photographing you. During your romantics, just the two of you, I don’t allow family and friends to “tag along,” because it would be distracting for you and for me.
Do we need to feed you at our reception?
Its not necessary to seat us with your guests. Many venues have a vendor room for meals. Keep in mind that my team and I are working non-stop for extended periods of time, often not having a set breakfast or lunch time. To keep up our energy, not get grumpy and stay energized and happy we need sustenance to nourish our body and minds. A hot meal is appreciated. I prefer to be fed at the beginning of your meal period not at the end. During you meal period you and your guests will be eating and not at your most photogenic. When your done with your meal my team and I will be done too and will be ready to resume coverage.
Do you offer discounts for off season and weekday or Sunday weddings?
Occasionally discounts are available but it depends on the date and the time of year. Please contact me directly to discuss your budgetary concerns.
Can I assist you at a wedding?
When I first started in the business I always wanted to do this and sorted through many no’s till I got a yes. I’m sorry I do not allow people to assist me that I haven’t worked with before. I know this is a double edged sword. My suggestion is to not give up and keep asking till someone says yes.
Can I be a second photographer at one of your weddings?
My second photographers are professional photographer friends that I’ve know for many, many years that are highly respected by their peers. We’ve worked together and shot for each other often over the years. For this reason I don’t allow other people to photograph with me at weddings.
What kind of camera gear do you use?
I use the Olympus OMD EM-1 and EM-5 cameras. My lenses are the 12-40 2.8 Pro, 75mm 1.8, 45mm 1.8. For 15 years I used Canon photography gear exclusively. Then two years ago I switched to Olympus. Olympus offers an amazing lightweight, versatile system with razor sharp lenses and accurate, blazing fast, auto focus. IMHO it out-performs my Canon gear in sharpness and focusability.
What kind of lighting equipment do you use?
Profoto AcuteB 600R , NEEWER TT850 Speedlite flash heads, lots of modifiers including; 40″ to 7′ umbrellas, softboxes and Profhoto Beauty Dish and 25 degree, honey comb, grid.
Do you ever teach or give workshops?
I’ve given workshops at WPPI, PPC and for Pictage. As of now I don’t have any plans to give workshops per say. However I do offer 1-on-1 mentoring. If you are interested in 1-on-1 mentoring please contact me via email.
Who built your website?
Prophoto Blogs. Great sites and fantastic customer service. I’ve been using them for over eight years now.
Marc works closely with couples to create wedding images that are beautiful, meaningful and full of life. His wedding photography is published in over a dozen books. Marc photographs weddings throughout Southern California including Orange County, from Newport Beach to San Clemente, Los Angeles and San Diego. Having photographed destination weddings in San Francisco, Sweden and the sun drenched beaches of Mexico, Marc is very comfortable traveling to photograph your event. You can contact Marc by phone 800.943.0414, or email.