Frequently Asked Questions
Can I be photographed to look thinner, taller, prettier, or smarter?
Yes, yes, yes, and no! But again only good quality, highly skilled photographers will be able to do this.
I have certain features that usually donâ€™t photograph well. Can they be fixed in my wedding pictures?
We all tend to be a bit self-conscious about aspects of our appearance. If you are concerned you can discuss it with your photographer before the wedding so that they can suggest angles and poses that are the most flattering to you. Some things can be fixed in post-production, but major time-consuming adjustments may cost extra so it’s best to get you looking as good as possible on the day. Be careful to hire a photographer that offers this kind of service as many budget studios do not.
What about red-eye & glasses?
Red eye is caused by amateur flash technique and will not be an issue for a professional photographer. Glasses can present a few challenges to a wedding photographer such as unwanted glare which can effect the final image. However there are tricks that can use to minimize any problems and your photographer should be able to discuss these with you on the day. Wearing non-reflective lenses can be a great help.
Do we need to feed our photographer?
This depends on how long your photographer is with you at the wedding. If you are requiring full reception coverage then you will need to feed them. Usually your reception venue can provide a simple “crew meal” if you organize it with them.
How long will our photographer stay with us on the wedding day?
Photographers are usually happy to negotiate the specific coverage requirements for each client. A common approach is to start an hour or so before the wedding to get shots of the bride getting ready and stay until the beginning of the reception. However, most photographers would be willing to start first thing in the morning and stay all night if you pay them enough, or just come for a couple of hours!
What is the best time of day to take photographs?
That really depends on the weather. On a cloudy day it doesn’t really matter. On a sunny day the best time is the last hour before sunset. Regardless of what type of day, it is always important to be aware of the movements of the sun and the direction of the light. This is something your photographer should take into consideration and advise you about on the day. It is best to use locations where the light is most flattering rather than to have hard and fast ideas about particular locations.
But what if I hate posing for photos?
While many couples prefer to have their wedding captured candidly it is not necessarily the best way to shoot the whole day. Candid photos can be taken while you attention is on something else, during the ceremony, while interacting with guests etc. But there are other times during the day that you will need to be directed or posed for good results. A good photographer will be skilled in making people feel comfortable. They will be able to create an atmosphere, mood or feeling that allows them to pose you in a fluid and flattering way, in a way that will make your images look “candid.” This is why it's good to pay for an exceptional photographer. Purely candid photos, while they may be emotional, are not always the most flattering. We usually prefer looking at candid photos of others rather than ourselves!
What is photojournalism & why does every photographer claim to do this style?
Photojournalism is not new, but is currently a popular style for many brides, so some photographers advertise this service even if it is not their dominant style. It literally means documenting a wedding like a journalist without any posing in the traditional sense or otherwise interacting in any way. This way of shooting often creates more natural looking images that capture the true emotion of the day and the real personalities of the people involved. However, it does have some drawbacks. The results are completely dependent on the subject. If the moments are not happening the photographer can only capture mundane images. That is why even those who claim to be wedding photojournalist are not usually “purely” so. Sometimes a photographer needs to give subtle direction or interact with a couple to help create the seemingly “candid” moments. The best photographers are skilled in doing this in a way that their images look documentary in style even if they were somewhat posed or “directed”.
How much time should we set aside for photography?
This will vary from wedding to wedding. It is a good idea to discuss with your photographer what would be appropriate prior to locking in times with your church and/or reception venue. Things to keep in mind are the size of your bridal party, travel to locations and type of car being used (some vintage cars are extremely slow!) Remember, if anything makes you run late during the day the photo shoot is usually where time is taken to get back on track. So having some contingency time up your sleeve is a good idea.
What happens after I book?
You should receive written communication from the studio confirming your booking. If there are any aspects of the wedding that may effect the photography you should discuss them with your photographer who may have some helpful suggestions to make. The studio should contact you closer to the wedding day to discuss the final details such as timing, locations, ideas and any requests you have.
Should I sign a contract?
Absolutely! This is your assurance that the studio will honour it’s commitment to you. It also confirms in writing everything that is agreed upon by both parties so that there are no misunderstandings. If a photographer does not offer a written contract do not hire them.
Why do I have to pay up front?
It is normal practice for your photographer to ask for a deposit or retainer of anything up to 50% of the wedding fee and the rest of the money before the wedding. The reason for the retainer is to ensure that the photographer you have chosen will be exclusively available to you on your chosen day. Also your photographer starts working for you from the day you sign your contract, helping with planning & organising, location scouting etc. Wedding photography is a unique service and paying beforehand is the photographers insurance. The photographer has turned away many other weddings to do yours and if a couple separated before the wedding day the photographer would be left with a huge loss of income.
Is it cheaper to have an off-season or weekday weddings?
Yes, it can be. Vendors and photographers often offer discounts during times when they are not as busy.
Why is wedding photography so expensive?
Wedding photography today is expensive for many reasons, though relative to the price of your reception or even your gown it is very good value. Good professional photographers use the highest quality equipment, materials, labs and albums. The running costs and overheads of a high quality photography studio are significant. Professional quality cameras and lenses cost tens of thousands of dollars & need to be maintained and/or replaced regularly. There is also high powered computer equipment needed to process today’s high resolution images.
Wedding photography is a highly skilled job requiring years of training & experience. Your photographer will likely charge commensurate with how much they have invested in their craft and the level of their skills.
Your photos and wedding album will be an original work of art, involving time-intensive processes that require skill, talent and artistry. For example a typical wedding photojournalist may take thousands of photos at your wedding. They then spend hours, days or even weeks, editing, processing and retouching images, custom designing album layouts, preparing and manipulating photos for print etc. You may only see your photographer for 10-15 hrs before during and after the wedding but this is usually only a very small portion of the total time spent in creating your images and the final album. The total time spent may end up being in excess of 40-60 hrs.
How much should I budget?
This was probably your first question about wedding photography, right? It is hard to know what to budget as very few photographers advertise their prices. This is because every wedding is different and most photographers will customise packages to suit the client. Remember too, a quoted price is probably only a starting point for coverage and perhaps a basic album. There are lots of extras you may want after the wedding that end up adding to the cost. It is important thing to understand that like most things in life you get what you pay for. The different prices between photographers will be a reflection of their qualifications, experience, skill, and creative style. Of course quality of product and level of service will also be reflected in the price.
Here is a rough guide to what you can expect to pay:
$500-$1500 - friends, part-time/amateur/newer photographers with poor to average skills.
$2500-$6000+ full-time professional photographers, highly skilled and experienced professionals with more creative flair and luxury products.
Before you set your budget consider the following wise words: "It is unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you loose a little money, that is all. When you pay to little, you sometimes loose everything.... The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better." - John Ruskin, Artist & Philosopher
How far in advance do I need to book?
The earlier the better. It best to start looking as soon as you’ve set your date. During the peak seasons of Spring (Sep-Nov) and Autumn (Feb-Apr/May) good photographers are highly sought after and often heavily booked a year or more in advance. Make your decision and book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Why do I need to hire a professional when my friend has a great camera & has offered to shoot my wedding?
It’s not the camera that takes the photos it’s the photographer. Although a friend may be a very good amateur photographer, they will not have the experience, knowledge, training and back-up equipment that a professional has. Wedding photography requires a highly specialised set of skills that takes years to master.
A professional can produce consistent results regardless of the various challenges that weddings present. They know how to make the best use of light and can adapt quickly to the constantly changing circumstances.
A professional wedding photographer is used to handling the dramas that occur during the wedding day. They can cope with the pressures and demands of limited time, and they are adept at dealing with people in a calm manner. A professional will also provide an outsiders creative eye and storytelling ability in documenting the day. They know how to finish off your photos properly rather than just giving you snapshots from the camera. Most professional wedding photographers have invested hundreds of hours perfecting their craft.
Ask yourself, is it worth the risk hiring an amateur or cheap photographer?
There are so many photographers - how can I simplify finding the right one?
Choosing the right photographer comes down to two basic things:
First, and most obvious, is you must love their work. Look for a photographer who’s work moves you in some way, who’s style you like.
The second factor to consider is personality. You will spend a large part of the day with them so you will need to make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed with your chosen photographer. A good test is: "could I be friends with this person even if I weren’t hiring them as my photographer?”
You cannot pick a photographer from a price-list or brochure so make an appointment to see each of the photographers on your list. Spend an hour or so with them if possible. Then you can base your decision on:
• their style
• quality of the photos & albums
• qualifications of the photographer
All photographers are qualified aren’t they?
Unfortunately no! Anyone can set themselves up as a wedding photographer - no qualifications are needed to become a so-called “professional.” Your average wedding photographer probably actually has a “day job” during the week and does weddings on the weekend to earn some extra cash. There are however photographers who do posses qualifications and these are the ones you should consider. It is advisable to check any photographers professional status, particularly whether or not they are a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP). Suzephotography is a fully professional and accredited member of the AIPP.
So what do I need to know?
The photographer is a very important part of your wedding day. Because they work very closely with you they can have a huge impact on how well the day goes and how well it is recorded for posterity. The better photographers do more for you than just take photos. They will help with planning, timing, the fine details, calming nerves and many other things. Establishing a good, open and honest relationship with your photographer is critical.
It is important to understand a bit about the industry, it’s basic business practices and how things work before setting out to find your ideal photographer. We hope the following inside information will help you to make a wise choice.