13 Questions About Wedding Photography

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1. Should I hire a professional wedding photographer or relative/friend?

While you may feel comfortable with a relative or friend to capture your big day, a professional photographer possesses the technical mastery of shooting, logistics and time constraints. Experienced photographers will work with you, understand the vision of your event, and then capture your most precious memories without getting swept up in the celebration, lose entire segments of your wedding or forget backup equipment. If a relative or friend shoots your wedding, he or she is more likely to get caught up in the celebration and miss important shots.

Professional photographers anticipate and capture the most expressive split second at the exact time. They know how and when to crop the picture to highlight an important detail and keep all the other elements in the background. Professional photographers can also preserve all the details in a picture and keep all the important objects in sharp focus. Most importantly, experienced photographers can make your event look magnificent regardless of your wedding budget.

Wedding at The Venetian NJ

2. What is a proof?


A proof is a low-resolution digital image or small-sized print. Photographers do not retouch all the pictures from their event shoots. Instead, they print or create a low-resolution version of all “open eyes and in-focus” photographs for a customer to view and then select a handful of the best pictures for further post-production and larger prints.

Artvesta Studio is committed to ensuring the highest quality of proofs. 

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3. Should I hire two wedding photographers or a solo photographer?

The decision of hiring two wedding photographers depends solely on your budget and photography needs. 
While the first photographer’s primary responsibility is to take all standard or classic wedding shots, the second photographer focuses on snapping additional action shots and different-angled images that capture those precious and fleeting moments.

The second photographer looks for authentic emotional shots that usually take place outside of the lens scope of the main photographer. He or she can also support the main photographer if something unpredictable happens.

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

Long Island City Promenade Wedding Shoot

4. How can I determine the best wedding photography package?


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

We offer 4-hour, 8-hour, and 10-hour wedding photography packages that include digital proofs and an 8×8” or 10×10” Artvesta Photo book. We also offer a number of a la carte items such as additional photo albums, photo canvases, prints, pre-wedding and post-wedding photo shoots, additional or reduced hours of coverage, and customization options.

Robert at MAD Groom and Groom Same Sex Wedding

5. What is the average retainer to secure a photographer for my big day? When is the remaining balance due?


A customary retainer for a photography package is at least 10% of the entire package price. While some wedding photographers prefer a 50% retainer, other photographers request 100% of payment delivered upon contract signing. At Artvesta Studio, we require a 30% retainer to reserve a date.

Wedding Ring on a Book Heart Shadow

6. How come the price ranges drastically among various wedding photographers?

Since a wedding photographer does not need a specific degree or to pass any specialty tests to shoot events, some aspiring photographers can offer their services for free or very low prices. These photographers have probably shot fewer than 20 weddings as a main or only photographer. I shot my very first wedding for $400 in 2003.

Sea Island GA Wedding

7. When should I book a wedding photographer?

Start scouting for the right wedding photographer as soon as you secure your wedding date. Since experienced photographers accept bookings years in advance, it’s in your best interest to book your wedding photographer once you find the best combination of vision, skills, personality, and price that meets your requirements.

Wedding In Montauk NY

8. What qualities must a wedding photographer possess?

As you interview multiple wedding photographers, look for the right combination of personal and professional qualities that will assure a smooth flow of your wedding day and captivating photos. Make sure you understand a photographer’s personality and figure out why he or she became a wedding photographer.

For example, I became a wedding photographer because I love capturing emotions and enjoy brainstorming creative photo concepts and ideas and bringing them to life. Nothing is more rewarding than creating the exact shot that I had in mind and the satisfaction of the couples with the finished product. I spent years honing my craft before offering my talent commercially.

Punta Cana Dominican Republic Wedding

9. What should I be aware of when scouting wedding photographers?


Make sure to view several weddings that potential photographers have shot from the beginning to the end. Many wedding photographers start out as second shooters for well-established studios and often include second-shooter pictures in their portfolio when booking their own jobs. Even if those pictures are impressive, you cannot be sure that the photographer can withhold the pressure of being the first or, especially, the only photographer at the wedding.

Another helpful tip when scouting a wedding photographer is whether he or she is willing to give you reproduction rights after the job is completed. The 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 or her photography services, and after the wedding, he or she can inform you that the only way for you to receive your pictures is to pay $6.99 for each 4×6” print. Keep in mind that a professional photographer takes between 1,000 and 3,000 images per wedding.

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10. What equipment should a wedding photographer carry?

Since wedding photography is a rapidly-changing industry, new technologies and equipment are being constantly introduced to professional photographers which makes it difficult to give exact specifications of the equipment required for a quality photo shoot. However, some standards remain unchanged such as having at least two professional-grade photo cameras, a set of various lenses and speedlights, as well as off-camera photographic lights, reflectors, stands, portable batteries, and photographic umbrellas. In my professional kit, I usually carry three Nikon photo cameras, five lenses, five speedlights and one video light, at least two photo stands, a tripod, three sets of wireless speedlight triggers, 2-4 light stands, a stepladder, and a set of creative props.

Hornblower + W Hoboken Wedding

11. Are photography prices less expensive for off-season and weekday weddings?


The prices for professional wedding photography vary for off-season and weekday weddings. You can potentially save up to 20% on a regular photography package with a winter wedding on a weekday. If you want to include albums in your package, the discount will probably be much smaller because the cost of album production is fixed and included in the photography package price.

Wedding Shoes Shot The Metropolitan Building

12. Can I order both black and white and color photos?

Since it is fairly easy to convert a color photograph into a black and white one, do not worry about making this decision in advance as long as you agreed on color photography.

Midtown Loft and terrace bride

  1. Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings?  

Transfer and reproduction rights can easily be confused with a copyright. The copyright is granted to any photographer at the time a picture is created. It does not need to be claimed, documented, or registered by an author.

If you want to reproduce the images from your wedding photographer, make sure a reproduction release is included in your contract. For more information on copyrights, visit www.copyright.gov. It is common for wedding photographers 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 cities such as New York or Los Angeles. The fierce competition among wedding photographers forces many professionals to surrender their reproduction rights to make their photography packages more competitive.

Carlton Hotel groom and groomsmen

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

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3 Comments

  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 :)

    Regards

    Andrew

  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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