13 Questions About Wedding Photography.


1. What are the advantages of hiring a professional wedding photographer as opposed to having a friend or family member take the pictures?

Good professional photographers have mastered the techniques and logistics of weddings and are better able to focus on you and your event. Experienced photographers will work with you, understand your vision of the event, and then capture your most precious memories and not get caught up in the celebration and lose shots or be caught without backup equipment and lose entire segments of your wedding.
Pros anticipate and capture the most expressive split second at the right time. They also know how and when to crop the picture to focus on an important detail, keeping everything else out.

It is a pro skill to preserve all the details in the picture and keep all the important objects in sharp focus. Moreover, a pro knows how to make your event look awesome regardless of your wedding budget. (Read more about the benefits of professional wedding photography in this article)


2. What is a proof and what are the advantages of the different types of proofing?

A proof is a low-resolution digital image or a small-size print. A lot of photographers do not retouch all the pictures they shot at an event. Instead, they print or create a low-resolution version of all “open eyes and in-focus” photographs for a customer to view and select a handful of very best pictures for further post production and bigger prints.

Here at Artvesta Studio we make sure that all proofs look great. All proofs undergo a three-stage post-production process before being presented to a client.


3. What are the pros and cons of hiring two wedding photographers to take pictures at a wedding, as compared to only having one photographer taking pictures?

The pros of hiring two wedding photographers instead of one are the ability to receive all “must take” shots along with a bunch of amazing photo journalistic images that capture those precious and fleeting moments.

A second photographer is on the lookout for the great emotional shots that usually take place outside of the lens scope of the main photographer. Second photographer will also be able to backup the main photographer if something unpredictable happens.

Also, with two photographers you will get two distinct styles of photography that complement each other.
The only disadvantage in hiring two wedding photographers is a higher price of the wedding photography package due to the extra cost of production and post-production.


4. What types of wedding packages do photographers typically offer?

A typical wedding package includes 8 hours of photo coverage by one or two professional photographers, a few hundred printed proofs, a password-protected online gallery for sharing wedding digital pictures. Sometimes wedding packages also include enlargements such as 11×14” or 16×20”, wedding albums for the bride and groom and two sets of parents.

Artvesta Studio’s standard wedding photography package includes 10 hours of coverage, digital and printed proofs, and an 10×10” Artvesta Photo book. We also offer a number of å-la-carte items, such as additional photo albums, photo canvases, prints, pre-wedding and post-wedding photo shoots, additional or reduced hours of coverage, etc. as customization options.


5. What is the customary deposit to put down, to reserve a photographer for a date?  When is the balance typically due?

A customary deposit for a photography package is at least 10% of the entire package price. Some photographers prefer a 50% deposit. There are some wedding photographers who want a 100% of payment delivered upon contract signing. At Artvesta Studio we require a 30% deposit to hold a date.


6. Why is there such a large price range among different wedding photographers?

There are a few reasons why there is such a large price range among different wedding photographers. As it is known, to become a wedding photographer one is not required to have a special degree or pass any specialty tests. This fact gives  aspiring photographers an opportunity to try themselves out for free or a very low price.

The cheapest segment of wedding photographers consists mostly of amateur or low-skilled photographers (who have shot fewer than 20 weddings as a main or only photographer) who are just starting out and are trying to break into the market. I shot my very first wedding for $400 in 2003.


7. At what point in the wedding planning process should a couple book a wedding photographer?

I would recommend to start looking for the right wedding photographer as soon as a couple picks the date of their wedding. Great photographers accept bookings years in advance so in order to get the best chance in receiving the best value, book your wedding photographer right after you found that great match of vision, skills, personality, and price that suits your requirements.


8. What should a couple look for in a wedding photographer?

A couple should look for the right combination of personal and professional qualities that will assure smooth flow of their wedding day and great pictures after their big day is over. First, try to understand a photographer’s personality and figure out why he became a wedding photographer.

For example, I became a wedding photographer because I love capturing emotions and I love coming up with fresh photo concepts and ideas and implementing them into life. I feel incredible when I succeed at creating the exact shot that I had in mind; it also feels amazing when a couple loves the final product. I spent years learning and practicing before offering my talent commercially.


9. What should a couple beware of with certain wedding photographers?

A couple should make sure that they saw a few weddings that the photographer shot from the beginning to the end, preferably as a main photographer. A lot of wedding photographers start out as second shooters for well-established studios and, aspiring to book their own jobs, they post the second-shooter pictures in their portfolio. Even if those pictures are great, you as a client cannot be sure that the photographer has what it takes to withhold the pressure of being the first or, especially, the only photographer at the wedding.

One other thing to be on the lookout for is whether the photographer is willing to give you reproduction rights after the job is done. Withholding of reprinting rights is the main source of hidden additional costs in the industry. For instance, a photographer can offer you a very low price for his photography services and after the wedding he can inform you that the only way for you to get your pictures is to pay $6.99 for each 4×6 print. A professional photographer takes between 1000 and 3000 images per wedding!

One more thing to consider, have you been in your photographer’s office or studio or do you at least know how to find your wedding photographer in case he disappears with your pictures?


10. What equipment should a wedding photographer have?

A professional wedding photographer must have at least two Nikon or Canon SLR cameras with a few different lenses. He also has to have at least two on-camera professional speed lights and a few of off-camera big photographic lights with portable photographic umbrellas.


11. Do prices typically vary for off-season or weekday weddings?

Prices for professional wedding photography do typically vary for both, off-season and weekday weddings. Having a winter wedding on a weekday can save up to 20% of a regular photography package. If you would like your package to include albums, the discount will probably be much smaller because the cost of album production is fixed and baked into the photography package price.


12. Is it possible to get black and white photographs as well as color photographs, or do couples typically have to decide between one or the other?

It is fairly easy to convert a color photograph into a black and white one so the couple does not have to worry about making this decision in advance as long as they agreed on color photography.


13. Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings?  Is this common?

A lot of people confuse transfer and reproduction rights for photographs with copyright. The copyright is granted to any photographer at the time a picture is created. Copyright does not need to be claimed, documented, or registered by an author, it is his by default.

If you want to reproduce the images that your wedding photographer took for you, all you need is a reproduction release put together in writing and signed by your wedding photographer. For more information on copyright, visit www.copyright.gov. It is common, however, for a wedding photographer to retain the original hi-resolution files to be able to maximize their profits by making additional money on prints. Retaining the hi-resolution photographs is very common in the United States except for some urban highly populated  cities such as New York or Los Angeles — the fierce competition among wedding photographers forces a lot of professionals to give up the reproduction rights to make their photography packages more competitive.


Still have questions? Please feel free to ask me by commenting below or email me at artvestastudio@gmail.com

© Tatiana Valerie, an award-winning wedding photographer based in New York City

About Tatiana

Tatiana Valerie, founder of Artvesta Studio, is an internationally published, award-winning photographer specializing in event photography. A Ukrainian native, she immigrated to the United States in 2002 and started her photography business in New York City. Tatiana’s work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, New York Weddings magazines, Style Me Pretty, and The New York Times. One of Tatiana’s biggest passions is travel photography.
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  1. Newcastle Photographer

    Hi there, I am a photographer based in the UK. A few months ago I was doing some research and came across your website. Ever since I have been popping back every few weeks to check out your latest work. I think your photos are brilliant :)



  2. Hello, nice post it was. I love the post so much; you provide most useful points about hiring a wedding photographer. I agree with your word that hiring two photographers is better; one can capture more moments of the beautiful day of their life.

  3. Well written article and very nice photos! I’m definitely in agreement that backup equipment is a must. But for the past year and a half, I’ve used Fuji mirrorless and sold the Canon gear. This is where I got tired of the Canikon politics (as they remain wonderful tools, I will never knock either) I just wanted to explore different options. Some peers have said I was crazy because of limitations they’ve heard about. But like any equipment, you have to know it. Some even effectively shoot weddings with manual focus Leicas. I’m a documentary style wedding photographer, so the smaller size helps my approach. That doesn’t mean this tool is the one for every photographer, but it’s right for me, just to add a point to the Canon / Nikon standard :)

    The two photographer factor, I’ve never worked with a second personally. There are great 2 shooter teams, but it’s not an automatic point of value. Some teams have varying experience levels and every photographer has different styles. Because I have a different and specific style, I am selling me, not a second. Also because I don’t do large quantities of posed formals. Being stealth and non intrusive is important to the experience I offer. In my case, a second shooter isn’t a thought. I think the most important advice to give to an engaged couple searching for a wedding photographer is to pay special attention to their shooting style and consider the fit for their event…and to assume every photographer works differently, the sky isn’t always flat or round. :)

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