The process of planning a wedding is both exciting and time consuming. You’ve done your research and narrowed down your list of vendors, but how do you know which photographer is right for you?
To help you in this process, I’ve listed answers to the most commonly asked questions I’ve received from brides and grooms. I encourage you to read them, and to ask these same questions of other photographers you are considering, so that you can ultimately choose the photographer that’s the best fit for you and your wedding.
Are We a Good Match? – The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself
1. Does Rebecca’s style of photography fit your personality & aesthetic?
Clients have described my style as fun, natural, candid, artistic, and thoughtful. I don’t care for highly technical shots, overly staged scenes, fake smiles or overly Photoshop-ed images. Clients who hire me are fun, young (at heart), in LOVE, and appreciate good photography that shows personality and emotion.
2. Do I feel a connection with Rebecca?
Are our personalities a good match? I like to have fun with my clients and am light-hearted, kind, and friendly. I’m fairly casual with my clients and treat them like old friends. At the end of a meeting, I prefer to give hugs instead of handshakes. I ask questions because I genuinely want to get to know you. I love hearing stories about how you met and fell in love. I remember small details about you that you didn’t think I even noticed. I like sending you a card on special occasions. I treasure the connection and trust my clients place in me. Often times, my clients become my friends.
3. Is Rebecca’s fee within your budget?
Because no two events or clients are the same, we believe in creating customized commissions. When you contact us, we’ll spend the time to get know you, your needs, and your budget first, so that we may suggest a collection that ensures you receive everything you need, without breaking the bank. Collections can be customized to most any budget, and payment plans are available.
The Basics – Questions to Ask a Photographer
How far in advance do I need to book?
Generally, clients book 6-9 months in advance. If you are holding your wedding on a holiday (Memorial Day, Labor Day, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s), it is recommended that you book with even more advanced notice.
How long have you been in business?
I photographed my first wedding at the tender age of 10, as an assistant to my father, who was also a wedding photographer. After graduating college, I photographed my first wedding in 2000, and have been photographing happy couples ever since.
What is your experience photographing weddings?
I have photographed weddings with as few as 2 to over 200 people. I’m experienced in photographing ceremonies of many different faiths (Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox, Buddhist, Hindu, non-Denominational, Same-Sex, etc). I’ve also covered ceremonies that ranged in style from conservative military to circus performers, and just about everything in between.
How would you describe your photography style?
My style is an infusion of many different approaches, including photo-journalistic, fine art, fashion, portraiture and traditional. Just as the mood of the wedding day is constantly changing, my style of photography changes to suit the environment. In most cases, I try to photograph in a hands-off manner. However, I do offer guidance (when appropriate) to make couples feel at ease in order to illicit the best images.
How would you describe your working style?
I have a very calm and casual approach to photographing. I know when to sit back and capture private moments, and I’m also just as at ease with interacting with family and guests. In either case, I think people look best when they are most comfortable, so it’s important for me to make people feel at ease. Whenever possible, I try to avoid interfering in a scene. My preference is to let things unfold naturally and capture those authentic moments.
What do you think distinguishes your work from that of other photographers?
I often hear my clients remark how natural and happy they look in their images. I work incredibly hard to establish a trusting relationship with all my clients. This relationship allows my clients to relax in my presence and be themselves. When this is achieved, my images look incredibly natural, even if the couple has been given some guidance. Additionally, I prefer a more natural look (i.e. not overly Photoshop-ed) that is clean and timeless. I think that people are naturally beautiful when happy and surrounded by love. When you can capture authentic moments, little post production is needed!
Do you have a portfolio I can review? Are all of the images yours, and is the work recent?
My recent work may be found on my website under “What’s New”. The vast majority of images have been shot by myself, with the exception of a handful of images by my 2nd shooter. These additional images are included to illustrate the depth and breadth of imagery you can expect by hiring me as your wedding photographer.
What type of equipment do you use?
I use all professional grade Canon equipment, both film and digital. I have multiple bodies and lenses and always carry back up gear. For details on my gear, check out my “What’s in my Camera Bag” page.
Are you shooting in digital, film, or both?
I started as a film shooter, and transitioned to digital in 2006. I still shoot film upon request.
Do you shoot in color and black & white? Both?
When shooting digital, I photograph in color and am able to transfer images into B&W or sepia in post-production. When I shoot film, I photograph using both color and B&W film.
Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?
Yes. Knowing which people and details hold particular importance to you is incredibly helpful to ensure that we cover your day in the best possible way. While circumstances may prevent us from capturing every shot on your list, we make every possible effort to capture those on your list.
May I have a list of references?
Absolutely. In addition to my many reviews on my website, Google Places and Angie’s List, I’m happy to put you in contact with past couples who’d be happy to talk to you candidly about their experience working with me.
The Wedding Day – What to Expect?
Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding? Will you have any assistants with you on that day?
I take your wedding incredibly seriously, and as such, I am the photographer who will photograph your big day. I do bring an assistant shooter with me on most events, in order to lend further depth to your wedding imagery.
Do you have backup equipment? What happens if you are unable to shoot my wedding for some reason?
As a professional photographer, I do bring back up equipment to all of my events. Only a serious illness or other emergency would prevent me from photographing your wedding. In such a rare case, I do have a network of other professional photographers that I can call upon to document your special day.
If my wedding site is out of your area, do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?
There is no travel surcharge for weddings located within the San Francisco Bay Area (radius of 60 miles of San Francisco). For events farther afield, a travel surcharge will be applied, and may cover expenses such as airfare, car rental, hotel, airport transfer, etc.
Are you photographing other events on the same day as mine?
Absolutely not. Each wedding is so very special, that I only book one wedding per day. And, when possible, only one wedding per weekend. This allows me to be well rested and completely focused on you.
How will you (and your assistant) be dressed?
Our dress is business casual. Typically, this means, a nice blouse and dark trousers for ladies and a dress shirt and dark dress pants for men. Generally, we keep away from skirts and heels, because these garments limit our mobility, which is critical to us documenting your event. In cases of beach weddings in hot climates, or very formal evening affairs, we adjust our attire to fit in line with the style of the event.
Is it okay if other people take photos while you’re taking photos?
Guests are encouraged to take photos during the cocktail hour and reception, as long as it does not hinder the photographic efforts of the hired professional photographer. We highly encourage our clients, and their guests, to stow their electronic devices during the ceremony, so that they may be present and fully enjoy this special part of the day. During formals and portraits of the bride & groom, we require that we are the only individuals allowed to photograph, so that we may move quickly and efficiently through the various shots and expedite the couple and their guests on to the cocktail hour or reception. We will, however, provide an opportunity for guests to capture these photos when time allows.
Have you ever worked at my wedding site before? If not, do you plan to check it out in advance?
I have worked in many venues in the past, so it’s very likely I’ve photographed in yours. However, if I have not, I always do a site visit in advance to familiarize myself with the location so that I can know the best spots for photos, as well as any special lighting issues or other restrictions.
If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge?
If your need for photography coverage goes past the scheduled time per your contract, I will bring this to your attention at the event. If you choose to have us stay past our original departure time, an additional fee of $500 per hour will be incurred. Payment is required on site, at the time of the extension, and may be paid by credit card.
We’re Married…..Now What? – Packages, Proofs and Prints
What packages do you offer? Can I customize a package based on my needs?
We believe each couple is unique, and as such, don’t subscribe to a “one size fits all” approach. We meet with each client individually and discuss your needs and budget. Once we have gathered the details of your day, we present a customized photography commission for your wedding….providing you with everything you want and need, and nothing you don’t.
Do you offer engagement sessions?
Yes. Engagement sessions are encouraged for all wedding clients. These sessions are better known as ‘get-to-know-you’ sessions because it allows you to get comfortable around me and my camera. It also allows me to see how you interact as a couple and how best to photograph you. This session builds trust, confidence and connection. On the wedding day, this translates into us being very comfortable around each other, allowing me access to capture the most prized moments of your wedding day with ease.
What type of albums do you offer?
My studio offers a digitally-designed, flush mount albums. Each luxurious album is made with only the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, and are custom made just for you. Album designs are kept simple, clean and classic with very few embellishments, and never made using a template, so that your album may be a timeless heirloom for generations to come.
Do you provide retouching, color adjustment or other corrective services?
All delivered images receive a basic level of post-processing which corrects for things such as white balance, color, contrast, saturation, and sharpness. Additional retouching such as removing braces or glare from eyeglasses, thinning people, swapping heads, opening closed eyes, etc is available for an additional fee.
How long after the wedding will I get the proofs?
Generally, several teaser images will be delivered to you within 72 hours of the wedding for you to share on Social Media. A full online, password-protected gallery of images will be posted online within 4-6 weeks of the wedding. As part of our commitment to the environment and reducing paper waste, we do not offer printed proof books at this time.
How long after I order my photos/album will I get them?
Once your final album design is approved, it generally takes 6-8 weeks for delivery of the album.
Will you give me the negatives/digital images, and is there a fee for that?
Digital negatives are just like film negatives, in that they are a copy of the original image as it appears straight out of the camera (i.e., no adjustments, retouching, etc). As such, we do not provide these “raw” files to clients. Rather, your favorite images are provided as adjusted, watermarked, low-resolution files for you to share online with family and friends. In addition, images that are chosen for wedding albums are provided as enhanced, high-resolution files on DVD or USB flash drive. Digital files may also be purchased a la carte.
Can I use the negatives to reprint and share with my friends?
Clients are provided with a personal usage release on digital images. This means, you may use/print/view/share the images for personal use only. Images may not be sold, published on blogs, magazines, contests, greeting cards, etc, or altered in any way without the written permission of the photographer. For your convenience, your favorite images are provided as Facebook-ready files for you to share online with family and friends.
The Fine Print – Contracts and Policies
How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plan?
In order to reserve a date, a deposit of 50% and a signed contract is required. Unfortunately, we can not hold dates without a deposit/contract. Payment plans are considered on a case by case basis. Please inquire for more details.
What is your refund/cancellation policy?
In the event of a canceled or rescheduled wedding/event, we require notification in writing, with receipt confirmed by the photographer. Cancellations are required at least 90 days in advance for weddings. Cancellations made with such notice may be credited for another date, not to exceed six months from date of cancellation. Cancellations made with less notice are subject to crediting and re-scheduling at the Photographer’s availability and discretion. Clients with cancellations who choose not to re-schedule with the Studio will forfeit any and all retainers made.
Do you have liability insurance?
Yes, I carry liability insurance through Hill and Usher.