If you do not see your question answered here, Please email me! Thank you!
Your Wedding Photography Package is priced at $X,XXX. How do you come up with a number like this? I used to have a way more detailed answer for this, but I don't think people actually read it. Maybe it was boring. So let me try this format... Hahaha
Photographer A $400-$500
Photographer B $400-$500
So... Yes, there are two photographers that do this for a living. We average about 45 weddings per year. If you do the math, you can see what both of us would make shooting weddings per year. :)
And yes, the operating cost are kind of a lot. Insuring $60,000 worth of equipment cost money. That same equipment didn't grow on a tree. Well at least not in my backyard. I must have used the wrong seeds! I had to go to B&H photo for them. Phones, web hosting, email hosting, internet, advertising, software, programs, Adobe services, online hosting, online back up, computer upgrades for the 300,000 pictures we take a year in RAW, customers flash drives (hey, when you buy like 100 of them every year, Best Buy doesn't even give you a discount! But I do get points...), shipping all those flash drives (Even though it fits in a standard envelope, USPS still charges like $4! Whats up with that?!), business cards, brochures, promotional items, gas, batteries, lens cloths and cleaning materials, mice, dry cleaning, daycare, pizza, props that get destroyed in some photobooths, bridal expos, parking meters, are you still reading this? Bridge fares, ferries, state park fare, rain covers for lenses, chocolate covered pretzels for those long road trip weddings late at night.
Fun fact moment! For 2017, we will be purchasing the 5D MKIV's. We will buy 6 of them. Probably for $3,500 a piece (After tax, grips, focus screens, additional batteries etc.) That is around $20,000 just for camera bodies. Two photographers with two cameras a piece, plus a back-up and one for the optional third photographer weddings.
Services I do not charge for!
1. Free Engagement Photos (Including travel, shooting time & editing)
2. Customer service/ sales manager! :) (Including all the emailing, phone calls that go into signing contracts, scheduling engagement photos, questions etc. for past, present & future customers) Can you believe lawyers charge for this? If you are a lawyer reading this, high five for taking the time and looking at a moderately priced photographer!
Between emailing, phone calls, planning, engagement photos & editing I put almost 6-8 hours before your wedding day :)
If I still seem unreasonable, please let me know how I can be more reasonable. I try to work with everybody out there. And, if you are still reading, thanks! There are a few more FAQ that are below this one!
Do you give discounts if we do not need everything in your wedding package?
I do not give discounts on free items such as the free Engagement Photos. When doing weddings, I dedicate the whole day to my clients. For weddings we are usually available from 12pm-10pm, If you do not need as much coverage, my wedding photography package still gives this to you as a option. I always photograph major events such as weddings with two photographers. Having two photographers is my secure backup. You never know when a man-made product can fail. With two photographers, the coverage never stops!
Do you offer discounts for off-season or non-Saturday wedding events?
My short answer is no. Please let me explain. I will not take advantage of people getting married in the summer on a Saturday. I keep my rates at what they are for everyone. I do not discriminate because of the time of year or the time of day. I do not charge thousands of dollars like some photographers do, just to give a discount on an "off-day". If I were to knock off $400 from my main wedding photography package, that would mean we would be working for around an $8 an hour rate. That would be cool if I were working at Mcdonalds or bagging groceries. But I'd like to think we are a little cooler since we get to hold $5,000 cameras all day long. :) Would you hire the bagger at your local grocery store to shoot your wedding? I would. Just so I could use his photos to show on my website. Hiring someone with shooting over 400 weddings experience has to be different than a cheap guy with one. Or none.
If you are the type of person that thinks they are getting more by talking to some dude, who has a single photographer operation, that charges $3,000 normally, but offers you his same services of "off-season" or "weekday" wedding rate of $2,000, then go for it. I don't take advantage of people in the first place, so it's hard to give back more than I receive, but occasionally I do give back more. Just for funsies. Anyways, I know it's hard to pass up such great deals that some photographers give. A $1,000 off is awesome. Just be careful. If they are the type to take advantage of Saturday-in-the-summer people, make sure you get the same service for $2,000. I am sure they want to cut corners because they "are not making as much".
Now, if you are getting married in the middle of the week, only have a few guests coming and only need me for a couple of hours, sure, we can give a great deal for that! Sometimes small intimate weddings only call for one photographer shooting about 400 photos. We can work out deals for those that fall into this situation!
What is your photography style?
I would say my photographs are traditional. I do not edit with a bunch of fancy colors or effects. I absolutely dislike the whole black & white with a splash of color. I do not edit my pictures so they look "Instagram'd". It may look cool now, but what about in 20 years? What are your kids going to think when they see your wedding pictures? Are they going to say "this looks cool!" or are they going to say "what is instagram?". Only time will tell. I know some photographers call themselves "Modern", I call my style "Timeless". Undersaturated colors, over exposed highlights or really dark/black shadows may look cool now, but from what I have seen over time is, less editing of colors and effects will not make a photo look as dated.
Now as far as my shooting style goes, I do both traditional and photo-journalistic approach. For weddings, most need or want those posed shots that every relative wants in a frame on their wall. During the ceremony and reception, it is all journalistic. I rarely ever ask someone to "pose" for a shot during the reception and I never ask during the ceremony! I document how everything unfolds. I always do the traditional wedding party and family posed shots as well. You need to have those! Otherwise parents might get mad :)
Do you have any references or reviews I can read?
I do not put reviews on my website. Why? Because they can be faked! How many times have you seen reviews on a website and knew without a doubt, that it was indeed a real review? You don't. You can't prove it. So, thank you to the wonderful world of facebook, I ask people to look over at my facebook page and see what real people have to say about me. I have even started a status there asking for anyone who would like to talk to someone about a job reference. The potential client saw what I did on the facebook page and was delighted. Just let me know if you want to talk to some people, I will go over there and shake some up for you. :)
Do you price match other photographers?
We sure can! We will match a quote for comparable services from established local photographers. As long as they have the equipment that we carry (Basically, not a photographer from Craigslist that shoot with a 7D or any other crop sensor camera without professional photography insurance) or a photographer that only works a couple of hours to make it seem like a low rate. We have to compare apples with apples. Find some of those $4,000 or $6,000 photographers that I can price match. Our kids have been wanting to go to Disney World!
What is your dress attire for weddings?
I always wear dress pants with a dress shirt. I used to wear ties all the time, but it would always get in the way when shooting. If you would like, I can wear a tie. I do not wear a jacket for mobility reasons. If you do not like pink dress shirts, please let me know! I can wear purple then.
Do you require food at the reception? Seating?
We do not "require" food, but it is appreciated! After the 2015 season, we do realize how much of an inconvenience it is trying to accommodate for photographers, DJ's and videographers. We also understand that some venue's do not really care for vendors being in the same room as the guest during dinner.
What do you do if you cannot perform at our wedding?
This would be unfortunate. If I get sick or hurt and can not do your photography, then my wife, who is the second photographer already, will photograph. I will also try to get one of my third photographers to come with her. As of right now, we have my wife Amy, Kate, Arleen & myself as photographers. I also do have a couple of "Interns" that work along side of us every year. I am fairly confident that if something happens to one of us, we would still be able to cover your event.
If something were to happen to both of us, such as we died on the way to your event in a car crash, there is not much we can or could do. That would be classified as a tragedy, and our surviving family members will contact you and send back your deposit. Sorry in advance if that ever did happen! Please don't sue our 4 and 9 year olds!
Can you give a refund after you have been booked?
Short answer would be no, but we have worked with people before. We have had a couple of times where pregnancy was an issue and the client changed their wedding date. The clients gave me enough heads up notice and I was able to re-book their old wedding date! Problem solved! But, if the wedding gets cancelled days or weeks before the wedding day, I might not be able to re-book. Once you book a date, I put it on my website that I am booked. I have no idea how many people I turn away throughout time because the website says their date is not available. This is why I do not have a refund policy in place.
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
We use professional Canon equipment. As of 2017, we have 6 full frame Canon DSLR's, 12 Prime Canon L series lenses, 2 Canon L series zoom lenses, 6 Canon speedlite flashes and a variety of other accessories!
A small list of the camera gear we have dedicated to wedding and portrait photography:
1. Canon 5D MKIV - (6 Cameras, with grips)
2. Canon 14mm 2.8 L
3. Canon 35mm 1.4 L (2 lenses)
4. Canon 50mm 1.2 L (2 lenses)
5. Canon 85mm 1.2 L (2 lenses)
6. Canon 100mm Macro 2.8 L (2 lenses)
7. Canon 200mm 2.8 L (2 lenses)
8. Canon 70-200mm IS 2.8 L
9. Canon 24-70mm 2.8L
10. Canon 600EXII flashes
Have fun googling! :)
Have you ever had any equipment fail on you during a wedding event?
Yes, yes I have. Even though I use top of the line, professional Canon equipment, you still have to look at them as tools. Last year we took over 300,000 pictures. With that much use, things do go bad. It is just hard to tell when it will. I have a flash go bad twice. Once was at the end of the ceremony while they were walking back down the aisle! Good thing I have two photographers at these kind of events! (Wink, wink) I had a lens that wouldn't focus and a camera break as well. That is why we have so much equipment. It is kind of hard to redo a wedding if your only camera breaks! And our "backups" are the same level of quality as our main cameras. So the pictures will look the same!
Have you ever had any memory card or computer problems that would effect the client's pictures?
I do not want to jinx myself, but no, I have never had any problems with either. I take precautions when handling files. First of all, I do NOT do any transfer of files out in the field. I do this in a controlled environment! Could you imagine if someone were transferring files to a lap top and a kid running around at a reception knocked it over? Or someone bumped the the table and it fell off? Or someone spilled a drink? I do not take any chances. I transfer files at home where I know some guy drinking won't spill anything on me. Once files are copied to my main computer, they are copied to a back up I take with me most everywhere. The files once edited, are copied and stored off-site for safe storage.
I always make people aware though that anything man-made is not completely fail safe. I could shoot with a memory card, get home, go to put it in my computer and nothing happens. I have heard horror stories just from people at receptions that have lost memory cards due to failure. So nothing is guaranteed in life. this is another reason why having two photographers covers me. If a memory card fails, we still have the other cameras! Plus, we have 24 memory cards we can use through out a weekend. We do not put all our pictures we take on one or two cards. That would be a lot of images lost if one fails with half the pictures on it!
Do you offer videography services?
I do not, and I do not ever plan too. Although I kind of wished I did when I first started in the industry. I could be making some bank! But not as much as a DJ.
Have you ever had equipment stolen or damaged from a wedding?
While I have had some close calls at weddings, I have never had any damage done. I have however had something stolen. Most weddings we have done are always made up of close friends and family and I would of never thought anything like this could of happened. But, in the end, someone did walk away from a reception with one of my flashes that I keep in my bag for a backup. The cost for me to replace on flash is over $500. Pretty good chunk of change when you only charge $1,600 for a wedding. I am fully insured and the deductible is $250. But it is not fun when you have a wedding to do the next day or weekend.
Do you offer prints in your package?
I do not offer prints in any of my wedding photography packages anymore. By popular demand, I started giving the images on disc's. In today's world, so many more people benefit having the images on a disc. You can print, email, post, facebook, etc. the ones you want! I do work with a printing service to help our clients with their printing needs. They can be ordered through your online gallery after the wedding. I do not even do this service to make money! When you go to other photographers websites and they offer a 8x10 for $30, that is because they have it at about 1,000% mark up to make tons of money. I keep my settings at just above cost at like $3 or $4. So when you see photographers offer you a $300 print credit, actually it is about $30 in cost of the photographer because of mark up. Try it. Go to zenfolio or some equivalent site, start a free account and see how much money they make on mark up. :)
Do you include a release with the photos?
Every photo session I do, comes with a personal use release to the photos. This is needed if you went to the store to print pictures. Most print shops can tell that a professional camera was used to make the picture and usually ask to see a release from the photographer. Although none of my images have a watermark on them, they still have my camera data in the properties of a image. Most pro's can see them.
Now this is a general release. There are some things you can NOT do with my photos. You can't bribe, extort or sell the pictures. Go ahead and laugh. I have actually seen this go on with my photos. No bribing grandma to babysit for pictures of your wedding! :)
How do you reserve a date for a wedding?
To reserve a date for wedding photography, I need $500 down and a signed contract. I do this due to the fact that there are only so many Saturdays in the calendar year, so time is limited! The rest is due on the day of the wedding. If you do not think you can make a down payment right away, please contact me! I have and will work with people to do a payment plan.
I work on a first come, first serve basis! If you are interested in our services, but are not ready to sign a contract or deposit, I do not hold dates. If you are waiting to meet with me months down the road when you can make it to our neck of the woods, and someone else comes along wanting to reserve us, I am sorry. I only hold a date for two weeks after a contract is sent out. If I do not hear from you, I will just assume you did not want our services. I do not bug people or pressure anyone. :)
What does "All day" mean for weddings?
It typically means 12pm to 10pm. I have found after taking around 300 dancing/reception photos, that most of my customers have been well documented. My times are like this because of our schedule. I may have three engagement sessions to do the next morning. Or I might have a wedding the day before. On average, it may seem like it is only 8 hours of shooting time, but with travel time, it is more like a 10+ hour day.
How long does it take to receive my pictures?
Typically for wedding pictures, it takes 1-2 months. This estimate is based on 1,000-1,600 pictures taken. That varies depending on the time of year and work flow. During the summer months, it really is much, much closer to the 1-2 Months time frame. The main reason is due to the high volume of summer weddings. Weddings that we have more time shooting, may have more photos than average, and therefor, more time to edit. If we take 2,000 photos, we can cut it down to 1,000 to make scheduled mark of 1 month.
Every wedding is different. There are variables that effect the amount of time for turn around. Some weddings are 4 hours, some are 10 hours. More time equals more pictures usually. More pictures, the more time to go through. With that, we have to put extra time into editing and organizing. Sometimes things come up like power outages, getting sick, kids getting sick or even a death in the family. Most people have jobs that if they have to take time off, someone else picks up where they left off and cover for them. In our profession, we really don't have that. Some people will get this, some wont. Unfortunately, I had a computer problem in the summer of 2017. This caused me to get backed up. This event was an eye opener, and have taken steps for the future to have two PCs for editing ready to go in case one breaks or malfunctions. The PC's we use run over $3,000 to build, but now we shouldn't have this problem again.
Do you have a studio?
I work out of my home. 99% of what I do is outside, on-location. It just isn't feasible for me to invest into a studio right now. I have portable studio equipment that I can take on-location. I do have professional Bowens studio strobe flashes and soft boxes. Since most of my business is on-location, I cannot offer you a hundred different backgrounds like Wal-Mart can. Well what Wal-Mart used to offer. Out of business now.
When do you usually start taking pictures on our wedding day?
Well, that is up to you. We prefer to start at noon or later in most cases. This is because we never know what we are doing the day before your event. If you would like 200 pictures of your hair getting curled, pinned up and putting make-up on, then maybe shoot for a early time. If you rather have 300-400 pictures of your closest friends and family having a good time at the reception, choose a later start time. You just have to think what is more fun to have later down the road. 20, 30 or 40 years from now, do you want to remember your friends and family dancing and having fun, or do you want to look back at the process of how your hair and make up were done? Do you want both? You can add-on additional hour/s of coverage! :)
If you have read everything this far, thank you! This means I wont have to come here, copy it, go back to a email, paste it, then send. Just joking. I edit it just a little so it looks like I just didn't copy/paste! I hope I remember to anyways. Only a couple more FAQ's to go! Yay!
Who is your second photographer?
Generally Amy, Arleen or Kate is my second photographer. She has been doing this with me for 5 years now. That's a lot of finding chocolate cover pretzels for road trips shes had to put up with.
What is your favorite video game?
Toss up between The Legend Of Zelda, Mario Kart & Mortal Kombat series. Oh, and Tetris.
Do you have any awards or belong to any organizations?
I do not belong to any photo organizations. Why? Because they will allow anybody that pays their dues (often hundreds of dollars a year) to be part of their club. There is just not any real benefits to me or our customers if we joined a club. Awards? No, not really. I do not submit my work for others to rate. I aim to make my clients happy and that is it. I do not look for outside approval because it's not really my thing. I know there is a local photographer that keeps telling his clients he is the "second best photographer in Michigan". How do you rank who is second best? How do you tell what style of photography is best? A photographer from National Geographic is just as good as a sports photographer, but they are completely different styles and subjects. Photography is too subjective and lies in the eye of the beholder. Every photographer is unique in their own way, and to judge or be judged is not my style.