Planning a wedding can be so much fun. The dresses, the shoes, the flowers, the cakes, the photographers, the videographers, the jewelry, the tuxes, and so many more important details can completely consume you. Wedding magazines are super helpful, but also a little misleading. I am guilty of reading wedding magazines myself, and although they have great intentions, I think they sometimes give brides a false sense of what to expect from wedding photography.
Magazines are filled with beautiful images from real weddings, but many of them also have page after page of extraordinary images from styled shoots. What they don’t tell you is, those images from styled shoots have hours to set up and capture the perfect vibe. There are no interruptions, no timelines, no guests to entertain, and no restrictions on the photographer or bride and groom. When you’re planning your wedding day timeline, be sure to talk with your photographer about photographs that are important to you, discuss options such as a first look and photographs after the ceremony during cocktail hour. Remember it takes time to get those gorgeous couples photographs in an isolated location, so be realistic about what your timeline and venue can offer. I always offer my couples the option of doing a ‘day after’ session. This is something to think about if your timeline is too tight and you are afraid you won’t have time to get the images you dream of.
Many magazines have tips on how to haggle with your photographer to get a better price, how to have your friends and family capture your day with their phones in lieu of hiring a professional, and how to compare photographers to get the best price. This has been covered, but I will say… don’t. Just don’t. Hire a professional. It’s worth every penny. I tell you from personal experience. Go with the person that makes you feel comfortable and has a style you love, but don’t go broke trying to do so. Budget appropriately for a photographer. Do some research before setting your budget in stone so you know where to properly allocate your funds. Lastly, remember you’re working with a person running a business. People have feelings, businesses have policies. That’s all.
Getting to know your photographer:
I once read a magazine that gave a list of questions to ask your potential photographer, but then suggested if the photographer hesitates to answer a questions or begins to ask you questions to steer clear. I’m all about asking your photographer questions. You can view my list of 10 questions you should be asking your wedding vendors here. But, the truth is, it’s an interview process both ways. When I talk to a potential client of any genre, especially a bride, I want to make sure they are familiar with my style, my business practices, and that we are a good match for each other. The worst possible outcome would be a dissatisfied client because of a forced business relationship. If you are asking a photographer to emulate another artist, chances are you aren’t a good fit for each other, but because of inspiration boards and apps like Pinterest photographers have to ask questions to gauge whether brides are truly asking a photographer to work with a different style, or if they have found images that they love that they would like somehow incorporated into their wedding day by the photographer they love. There is a big difference. On the same token, photographers, please be kind to your brides and explain that requesting a shot inspired by another photograph can be done, but will not result in an exact replica rather than get upset that they asked you to copy another look.
And finally the good stuff:
What to expect – Wedding Photography with HWP
When you inquire with Heather Wood Photography, you’ll usually be greeted with an email filled with exclamation marks and genuine excitement. I am an absolute sucker for a good love story, and I love helping people plan their perfect wedding day. It’s a win-win for me, and I get so excited to help you find everything you’re looking for to make your day perfect. I will always ask to chat over the phone or over coffee. Always. It’s my rule-of-thumb.
When we schedule a time to sit and chat, I will start by asking about you! I want to know how you met, how he/she proposed, and your style for your wedding day. We will talk about things you love and things you don’t love so much. I’ll also ask about you ideal wedding photography experience. Once we’ve talked about all of the exciting things, I start to talk more about the boring side, but alas the reason we are meeting in the first place. Business. I start to talk business. I discuss how I will be involved during your planning process, how I work along side your vendors, how we work together (with your coordinator if you have one) to plan your wedding day timeline, we discuss what other vendors you have already reserved and how I can help you find vendors to fit your style, and finally we discuss the booking process including general pricing, a review of the contract and how to reserve your wedding day. If you are ready to book that day, great! But, if not, I understand these decisions take some time and discussion.
If we meet in person, before we meet, I will have sent you a questionnaire with a few questions about you and your fiancé, your desires for your wedding collection, and questions about your style. I will also have samples at the meeting for you to view and feel. This helps us both be better prepared for what to expect when meeting each other for the first time and allows us to move forward with booking at the meeting should you desire to do so.
If we chat over the phone, I will often send the questionnaire after we talk. Many times I only speak with one party over the phone during the first chat so I want to make sure they are not too overwhelmed. After our first phone conversation, I will move forward with the questionnaire and set up a time to review the contract with both involved parties if you choose to move forward with booking.
After you’ve decided that you’d like to be spoiled by Heather Wood Photography, I’ll collect your contract and retainer and send you a welcome packet with some super awesome goodies (including a wedding magazine) 😉
Throughout your wedding planning process, we will stay in touch and I will email you about once a month just to check in. As it gets closer to your wedding day, I’ll start asking about your timeline, your requested photographs, and important details, so these are all things to think about ahead of time.
About a month before your wedding, I will ask to finalize your timeline so I can reach out to your vendors. I do this as a courtesy to you and to them. I let them know where I will be during each part of the day should they need me to photograph the cake or the flowers before they put them away. It also lets them know where you will be should they need to find you for a makeup touch up or to get your approval on a last minute detail.
After your wedding, you can expect your images to be ready for your in-person reveal within 6 weeks. At your reveal, we will start discussing your album selection and you will leave with your digital images in hand with access to a digital gallery as well.
I hope this helps you know what to expect from your wedding photography experience!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions: email@example.com