Every bride and groom, wants to get the best possible photos on their special day, which has taken months, sometimes even years of planning.

Asking a few simple questions before you book, can help you find your perfect photographer.

It’s also advisable to meet you with your top 3, or 4, shortlisted photographers, to get a feel for them and if you actually get on with them, as you’ll more than likely, be spending your entire wedding day with them and if you’re at ease, you’ll enjoy yourself more, and they will also get better shots. Win, win.

Mark Douglas of Image 31 Photography lists of some questions which he gets asked regularly…

1. Will the photos be retouched/edited? Is that done before I see the proofs?

Some photographers will edit a fixed number of images and not let you see any more, some may edit all of them, some will edit none until you have chosen the ones you want from the untouched ones.

After getting home from shooting a wedding, there are usually around 600 to 1000 images, sometimes more. Following the wedding, I’ll go through them all and choose about 60-80 favourites, then edit those shots. You will receive those photos and most of the originals on a disc. The original photos will be resized to 6″ x 4″ and the edited images will be resized to 8″ x 6″.

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2. What exactly is included in your packages?

There are hundreds of different package types, which all include something different, whether it’s album sizes, prints, canvas, hours of work, etc. It’s best to know exactly what is included in your chosen package.

Image 31 have 4 main packages, (soon to be 5), ranging in price and when you ask for the pricelist, each are clearly priced and listed as to what is in each one.

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3. How many hours of coverage do we get? What is the charge for overtime?

If over-time is going to cost you an arm-and-a-leg, you want to know upfront and plan your day accordingly. Some photographers have a set number of hours they will work, then the over-time starts. Quite a few photographers also leave after the cake cutting and miss the first dance, unless you want them to stay, which may be an extra charge. Make sure you know exactly how long you get with your photographer before you book.

When you book with Image 31, you get the photography for the whole day, no hidden or extra charges for the time. I start when you want on the morning of the wedding getting preparation photos and don’t go home until after the first dance and the party is in full swing. Some of my favourite shots are of everyone dancing on the dancefloor.

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4. Will you be my actual photographer, or will it be one of your associates?

Some Photographers will send one of their trusted emplyees to shoot the wedding for them if they have other bookings. Just because you book with Peters Pretty Photography, doesn’t mean Peter won’t send someone to shoot the wedding in his place. Just make sure you are aware of this and ask to meet the actual person who will be working at your wedding and to see samples of their work.

I shoot all the weddings myself, so the sample photos/albums you have seen are my own work. I will sometimes bring a 2nd photographer if needed.

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5. How long after the wedding do we get to see the photos?

EVERYONE, yes everyone, wants to see their photos as soon as possible. So whether you say, “there’s no rush on our photos”, we know that you still want to see them yesterday. Some photographers take on so much work, that sometimes it can be a few months before you see any images.

With Image 31, you get to see your photos on the evening of your wedding, well, some of them anyway. As the wedding progresses, I will be taking notes of select images. When all the guest are sitting down to their meals in the afternoon/evening, I will be editing a few shots. These shots will then be put on a laptop slideshow and set up on a table for an hour or so, for everyone to see before I leave later in the evening. After the wedding, you can expect to see your finished and fully edited images (60 to 100 depending on the package), within only 2 weeks. I only take on 2 weddings per week, at the very most, so the turn-around time is pretty quick. You will then get your disc shortly after this.

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A few other questions that are always good to ask are . . .

  • Have you worked at my venue before? I have shot at wedding as far away as Spain, and I may have worked at your venue in the past.
  • Do you bring your own portable lighting? Yes I do. Sunset and night shots can really stand out in a beautiful album.
  • What will you wear? I normally wear smart/casual, but I can suit-up if you would prefer.
  • Who owns the copyright to the photos? The photographer will always own the copyright to his images, but they normally have no problems with you sharing and showing them off.
  • Will you follow a shot list? Or do you prefer to have free reign to work how you want? I ask every bride and groom to make a, short, list of images they want, usually regarding the family and friends photos. This makes it easier to call out names from a list and helps the day move along with do delays.
  • Should I feed my photographer? Like everyone else, photographers also work best on a well filled belly. The weddings I have worked at so far have all given me dinner, just like a guest, though I will eat seperately from the wedding guests and be working on your evening wedding slideshow while eating. If you are not supplying your photographer with a meal, let them know before the day, as you don’t want them passing out with hunger later in the day.
  • How far can you travel to photograph my wedding? Anywhere in the world… I have done weddings in the beautiful Sevillé, in Spain, the coast of Cornwall in an old fort and next year have others in England too. In 2016, Image 31 photography will be broadening its advertising to include countries all over the world. Specialist prices will be drawn up to cater for destination weddings, and they are still very competitve prices to local photographers of that area.
  • Why is wedding photography so expensive? Wedding photography seems like easy money, work for one day and charge a fortune… Wrong!!! A fulltime, professional photographer will work on your images for days, and it’s not uncommon to work a 60+ hour week. At the weddings booked in, there is well over £10,000 worth of equipement. There are also insurance, petrol, taxes, software, repair, your albums to include in the costs. When you break it all down, many photographers make less than the minimum wage in their opening years.

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