(Ruiz Wedding One Of My Favs Circa 2006)
Ladies Who Are Destined to Wear the Dress,
This is your year, this is your moment, this is a time of stressful choices combined with the forces of gravity pulling & twisting your soul into a pretzel. This is the year you get married. Though I can't offer any family counseling nor can I be the secret service agent who shields you from the verbal bullets of friends & family when it seems that their opinion matters more than your own. What I can offer you is a backstage pass into 6 years of shooting weddings in the Treasure Valley more specifically, some of the questions I have been asked over the years along with my own observations. I hope that this gives you something you find valuable from someone other than a person trying to sell you something at a time when you least want it. As transparent as this may come off, to me it is the only way to say it to you and provide any real value because anything less, means this persistent typing is useless.
Here are some of the questions that have remained embedded in my memory along with the answers as best as I can give them. Keep in mind that what you are about to read is written to hopefully give you some insight into wedding photography so as to help you relate to the other side of the equation. Also noteworthy is that this list should only apply to photographers who have been shooting professionally and not a newbie (They are still learning all of this themselves).Enjoy Part 1 of the Series
1. "Why are some photographers so expensive while others are not?"
Answer: This is a loaded question but what I can tell you is that some photographers offer a much deeper line of products than others. This is neither good nor bad but what you should know is that many of the albums, books, canvass prints, etc. are very spendy for the photographer and to remain viable, count on said items getting marked up. Also, some photographers spend thousands on new gear which if used right, can make your pictures even better! That being said, the equipment isn't free so it has to be made up somewhere. For example, a Nikon 24mm f1.4 lens goes for $2100 and that is just one lens! Factor in insurance, taxes, dues and I haven't even discussed the hours worked on both your wedding day and post processing. Lastly, photographers are very numerous in numbers but, not all are created equal and for the ones that are good at every aspect of the game, they will be highly pursued and the market WILL BEAR IT I assure you.
2. "Do you ever come across clients that you have trouble clicking with"?
Answer: Absolutely! After all, we are human first & foremost thus there are times (Though Very Isolated) where photographers are not able to blend into the entire wedding process with the client(s). When you lack synergy, it makes getting the very best difficult to put it mildly. That it is why it is very important to have those conversations, meet for coffee, shoot those engagements (if possible), and so forth. It is in that bonding period you discover what makes your photographer click while he/she is discovering who you really are in the fastest manner possible. Trust me when I say that a good photographer is also good at reading between the lines when it comes to every exchange he/she has with the subject(s).
3. "How come it takes weeks to deliver pictures and other products"?
Answer: During the height of the summer, wedding service providers are at their peak and the suppliers who provide photographers with books, albums, etc. are equally swamped. Like traffic on Causeway Blvd. (New Orleans) when there is a serious demand for something, the cycle will invariably slow down. I typically deliver NLT 6 weeks from the wedding date but if it takes longer, it could very well be because your photographer is using a much more elaborate or complicated form of album design than others. Also know that for some of us, we go through and edit EVERY image to ensure you look your best as well as the scene around you. Leaving duck crap in an image only goes to show laziness on the part of a photographer.
4. "If we are running late, can you still get everything we expect for the money we have paid?"
Answer: Time is a very unforgiving concept and all the money in the world cannot bring it back. If you are running super late it changes things and requires a bit of luck and efficiency to keep things on course. When this happens, the time originally planned has now become a shell of it's former self (literally). However, it does happen and it should be something that is discussed during your initial consultation and or documented in the contract you sign. Some photographers will charge you additional time and who can blame them, who works for free? But it can also be said that in the spirit of customer service there should be some leeway to be offered by the photographer IMO. If you miss more than 1/3 of the scheduled time be ready to make a choice that involves a bit of sacrifice. 1. Allocate time during the reception to finish the pics or 2. Forgo that aspect of your pictures altogether. 3. Pay your photographer for another hour of shooting post-wedding and yes, that means you have to get dressed back up. No photographer wants you to miss any of the pictures you expected but in the absence of a time machine, you are the boss and have to decide though the photog should help you weigh the pro's and cons.
5. "Will a shot list be ok"?
Answer: This is one of those things that while understandable has been known to send a few photographers to the ER with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The reason is simple, the outcome of your wedding pictures is much better left in the hands of a photographers instinct to what looks flattering and worthwhile vs. what isn't. That is what made you hire them right? Fact is, if for some reason a photographer isn't able to get everything on the list they will worry, they will sweat, their work will be affected from that point forward or perhaps before thus, you are not getting what you truly deserve. Hire the photographer for more than being a task master. Hire them for their instinctive abilities and chemistry with you. I once had a bride ask me to shoot pictures of people eating and if you haven't seen pictures of people eating consider yourself lucky. They are simply not something the people on the other end of the lens are EVER happy about regardless of how good the photographer is.
Stay Tuned For Part 2
Sequels For All My Friends,