Although no simple list can answer all of your questions about wedding photography, I hope that this one gets you pointed in the right direction. We all are products of our own experience and ask and answer questions from our unique perspectives. I’d love to hear your questions…be sure to let me know in the comments anything you’re curious about that hasn’t been mentioned in this list. If you haven’t already, be sure to visit my wedding photography portfolio to become familiar with my style. To read what past clients say about their experience be sure to read my page of bridal photographer reviews.
1. How far in advance of my wedding day should I book a photographer?
Booking your wedding photographer within a six month window of your wedding date is a great stress reducer. Any less and you risk being unable to hire your first choice. This also allows plenty of time to schedule and shoot an engagement session. Shorter time frames often restrict you to one season and living in a city like Dallas, often that means being limited to one of the hot months. More time also allows you to ask questions of your photographer and get to know him and her over time. Also, being able to follow your photographer’s wedding blog between booking and your wedding day can be a lot of fun.
2. I have no idea where to start. How do I look for a wedding photographer?
Assuming you are starting from scratch on the world wide web, start leaning on google. Search for photographers in your area and that have blogged weddings at your venue or with your planner, DJ or other vendor. Make a bookmarks folder in your web browser and narrow your list to about 15-20 wedding photographers. From there I’m sure you’ll have a favorite or two. Make a “top five” sub list and send out inquiries to check on availability. If you’ve started early enough, you may not have to go any further. Set up meetings and from there it’s just mostly a matter of personality and making the wedding budget work.
3. What kind of wedding photography equipment do you use?
I use the very latest Nikon Digital SLR’s and lenses. With the most advanced sensor technology available, creative options in even the most challenging light are always a click away. At every wedding I utilize a full assortment of lenses and speed lights to appropriately capture the full range of emotions and moments. Backup equipment is always on hand in the unlikely event of a camera malfunction. Flash memory cards (your images) are always stored in a tethered card wallet in my front pocket. Although moving and beautiful images can be created with consumer equipment, a professional wedding photographer should use camera gear designed for heavy and professional usage.
4. I’m not sure we should bother with an engagement session, what do you think?
Engagement sessions are important for a number of reasons. Of course there are the great pictures, documenting the very exciting time in your life leading up to your wedding. Beyond that there is the development of trust in the relationship you have with your wedding photographer. I am a firm believer that life is a complicated web of relationships and I work hard to build strong ones. Having gotten to know and work with your wedding photographer BEFORE your wedding day goes a long way to ensuring that you are relaxed in front of the camera on the big day. The engagement session is a wonderful preparation for the experience of being on the business end of pro camera equipment for an extended amount of time. You don’t want to be wondering if you “look funny” in this shot.
5. What steps do you take to safeguard our wedding images?
As I mentioned earlier, full flash memory cards are always in my physical possession until I arrive back in front of my computer after your wedding. Before I hit the sack for the night, I always make a first back up of all of the images onto a separate hard drive. The following day, DVD copies are made and stored on site in a fire proof safe as well as in my local bank’s safety deposit box. By the end of the week, I have on multiple onsite, offsite and online backups of your wedding photographs. Hard drives do and will fail, it just takes time. I don’t take chances with your wedding day memories.
6. Do you have an second photographer with you when you work?
I shoot solo almost all of the time. If there is an especially large guest list (great than 250 or so) then I like to have a second pair of eyes. I prefer to shoot independently. I am hired for my personal vision and style and prefer to keep it uniform. When you hire Holland Photo Studio for your wedding photography, you get Phil Holland. Many studios offer a “second shooter” either included or with an additional fee. Many times this second shooter is just a bag dragger and doesn’t have a professional portfolio. The second shooter becomes more of a “marketing wedge” and doesn’t contribute much artistically. Shooting solo allows me to be less obtrusive, provide more consistent work and lower my package costs.
7. Do you have different pricing for smaller weddings?
I do offer smaller packages for Friday and Sunday wedding photography. Also, if your wedding date is in the near future and your date is available I may be able to offer you reduced coverage depending on availability. Be sure to contact me about your wedding photography and we can talk all about it.
8. Our church is very dark, do you need to come visit beforehand?
I get questions about challenging lighting at almost every client consultation. In my opinion, another way to say “professional wedding photographer” is to say “horrible light specialist.” I can assure you that I wouldn’t even dream of offering my services as a wedding photographer if I wasn’t comfortable improvising in even the most difficult lighting. With the combination of my experience and the amazing sensors in my Nikon cameras, I say bring on the dark!
9. Will you be personally photographing my wedding?
Absolutely, when you choose Holland Photo Studio you get Phil Holland as your wedding photographer.
10. What is your payment policy?
A $1000 retainer and signed contract is required at the time of booking. This obligates me completely as your wedding photographer for your wedding date. The final balance is due in two remaining payments 60 and 15 days prior to your wedding day.
11. Do you offer any type of military discount for wedding photography?
I am a United States Air Force veteran and humbly offer discounts for active duty military members and law enforcement personnel. Contact me for the latest specials.
12. I have a friend or relative that has a pretty good camera. Why should I hire a wedding photographer?
With the accessibility of great consumer digital cameras, photography has never been more popular. Although the person you know may be a talented individual I would never recommend trusting your wedding photography to someone without extensive “on the job” experience. The flexibility, on the spot technical knowledge and creativity required for great wedding photography cannot be overstated. A talented photographer will no doubt be able to capture a few nice moments or details but unfortunately lack of experience and skill lead to many missed opportunities. It is so common to hear of regret in not investing in a capable wedding photographer. I’d be honored if my work and personality lead you to me. If not, just make sure that you do choose someone in whom you have complete trust. Your decision will be seen for decades to come.
13. Do you offer digital files with your wedding photography?
The simple answer is yes, this is 2010 and I do offer digital archives of your images on DVD. They are included with all wedding photography collections. You may wonder why a photographer would even hesitate to include digital files in this digital age. The reason I personally have struggled with this choice is that I am a photographer and it’s my hope that all of my clients will end up with beautiful framed prints, canvases or leather wedding albums. I do not view a JPG on a DVD as a final creative or historical product. I hope that many many years from now, perhaps even after I and my clients are gone that photographs taken by me will be discovered, viewed and “felt” by grand and great grandchildren of my clients. Yes, you will get a DVD of digital files but I hope you will end up with much more.
14. Great, you include digital files…what about albums, prints etc?
I have a very user friendly online shopping cart for ordering fine art “finished” prints. Anyone that has done any shopping online will easily find their way around. From here you may purchased finished prints in sizes from 4×6 to 24×36. Canvas gallery wraps, coffee table books for guests and thank you cards are also available. Finished prints are processed for the finest quality including skin retouching, stray hair removal and perfect skin tones. If you design a wedding collection including one of my custom leather “flush mount” albums these are designed with your input and are not available in the online cart. Parents may purchases duplicate or smaller flush mount albums directly from the studio.
15. Why should we trust you to photograph our priceless wedding memories?
This is a question only you will be able to answer. There is a progression of trust however that I do hope will occur. On my website there is a large gallery of my wedding photography. If the images there resonate with you then we should talk. I want to tell you about the history of photography in my family…how it started with my grandfather’s passion for photography that began before 1920. It was a passion that became a business that supported a country photographer and his family well into the 1960’s. My father’s passing in a strange way drew me back to photography. I now honor him and my family’s history with the seriousness I treat yours. I also want to listen. I want to hear about you, your family, your story. After all that, maybe the answer will be easy.
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