Wedding Photography FAQs

Booking your wedding photographer can be a confusing process, so we asked three photographers to answer some wedding photography FAQS

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Choosing a wedding photographer involves lots of careful negotiation and tricky decisions — and once you’ve found the ideal photographer for the day, there are more calls to make. Will they expect a meal at the reception? Should you ask them to adhere to your dress code? The etiquette questions keep on coming.

To help you navigate the minefield of wedding photography etiquette we’ve asked three top photographers to answer your questions.

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Chic Photo

Q. How far in advance should I book my photographer?

Rob Pack at Rob Pack Photography: “Most people book a venue first and then other suppliers. I have been booked as far in advance as two years and — at the other extreme — with five weeks’ notice. It’s normally around the year mark. I’ve known couples arrange their wedding date around the availability of their photographer, but most photographers will not hold a date without a deposit and signed contract.”

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Rob Pack Photography

Q. Should I sign a contract with my photographer?

Jacqui Paterson at Chic Photo: “A contract has all the details about what you’re getting in your photography package so there are no nasty surprises. Contracts should contain contact information and act as a receipt for your deposit. I hear horror stories of photographers who disappear before the wedding or decide that they can’t do the wedding. A contract makes it all official.”

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Chic Photo

Q. Do all photographers have a portfolio?

Rebecca Tovey at Wedding Photography to Love: “All good photographers should... how else would you know what you’re getting? The portfolio is a photographer’s selling point, their way of communicating. Even if a photographer has been recommended, if you don’t like the portfolio on first glance this isn’t the photographer for you. Also ask to see at least one or two full real weddings to get a true sense of the photographer’s work, in different locations and lighting conditions. Styled shoots don’t count as they don’t come with the restrictions of a real wedding.”

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Wedding Photography to Love

Q. When do you prefer to have “the money conversation”?

Rob: “It’s best to be totally transparent from the outset. All my prices are made clear on my website, there are no hidden charges or last-minute surprises. This allows couples to budget effectively. It also avoids what the Americans like to call “sticker shock” when the price is finally discussed. Your photographer is a business, so don’t feel embarrassed to discuss costs and exactly what is included. As the customer you need to be happy with the package you’re buying — and there are photographers to suit most budgets.”

Q. When would you expect to be paid for your wedding photography services?

Jacqui: “A deposit lets us know you’re serious and then we can book your wedding day in our diaries. I ask couples to pay the balance two weeks before the wedding but I’m flexible — if they want to pay on the day, or just after the wedding, that’s OK.”

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Chic Photo

Q. What if a potential client decides not to use your services?

Rebecca: “I don’t like to pester people, so if I haven’t heard from a potential client, I follow up via email. I’m not offended if they go with someone else; it’s important to be the right fit for each other. Feedback is always helpful — and it’s nice to let a photographer know either way, particularly if they are reserving a date for you, so they don’t turn away work.”

Q. Why do photographers ask to see the venue in advance?

Rob: “If I haven’t shot at a venue before I make an appointment for a recce to get a feel for the place, plan where the best photos are to be had and make wet weather contingencies. I chat with staff so I’m aware of any restrictions. This preparation and foresight means the day runs smoothly.”

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Rob Pack Photography

Q. Should photographers get told what to wear on a wedding day?

Jacqui: “No one has ever asked me what I’m wearing to their wedding — brides and grooms just expect you to dress to the occasion. If it was my wedding, I would want all the staff looking smart and professional.”

Q. Do photographers expect to eat with the wedding guests?

Rebecca: “I prefer not to — I want to eat as quickly as I can, have a quick look through my photos so far, then back to work. When I do eat, I find a spot out of the way, maybe at the bar or in my car. If you’re providing your photographer with food, ask for their dietary requirements or it can be awkward. I’m a veggie and hate being a burden. Not many photographers will say no to a slice of cake at the end of the day!” If your photographer does require a meal on the day, ensure that your venue is aware of this in advance — you may need to pay an additional fee on your catering bill for the extra plate.

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Wedding Photography to Love

Q. Do photographers always bring an assistant to weddings?

Rob: “Given my style of photography I always work with an assistant. This enables me to use more elaborate lighting set-ups quickly, provide coverage of the day from different angles and marshall guests for group shots. My couples know this is how I operate. Many photographers work alone — I prefer an assistant and this is included in my price.”

Q. Do you prefer to meet the bridal party beforehand?

Jacqui: “I always meet the bride and groom in advance but it’s not always possible to meet all the bridesmaids, groomsmen, mums and dads too. I get everyone’s names beforehand and in the morning, at the bride’s house, I introduce myself.”

Q. Can brides and grooms ask to see the photographer’s digital shots on the day?

Rebecca: “Every shot on the camera is not eventually delivered: some will be deleted and some may have additional editing. Remember that what’s on the back of the camera is not the final product. Trust your photographer and you’ll get a nice surprise when the final photos arrive. If you’re super-nervous about how you will look, do a pre-wedding or engagement shoot with your photographer.”

Wedding Photography Etiquette

Image credit: Wedding Photography to Love

Q. Do you mind wedding guests taking photos at the same time as you?

Rob: “I have no problem with guests taking photos — they want to capture their own memories. But paparazzi wedding guests can have a negative impact, particularly during the ceremony if they step into the aisle and film with iPads (blocking the view of the photographer and guests). Taking shots over the photographer’s shoulder during group shops can also cause confusion and make the subjects look in different directions.”

Q. Is it normal for a photographer to stay in touch with a couple after the wedding?

Rebecca: “I love to stay in touch and encourage my couples to follow me on social media. A rewarding part of the job is going on to photograph their babies or even christenings and birthday parties. I dream of eventually photographing the wedding of children whose parents wedding I also photographed!”

Extra Photography Tips

Be clear on what’s included in your overall wedding photography package such as discs, albums, copyright to the images etc.

If you’d like to see an example of how your photographer works, why not book an engagement shoot to get a feel for their style.

Discuss the style of wedding photography offered. If you’re not keen on black and white or you prefer a photo journalistic style of wedding photography, establish this with your wedding photographer from the beginning.

Chat about timings — will your contract include all day photography from getting ready to the last dance? Be clear about what is included timing wise.



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