Frequently Asked Questions
Things to Ask About Wedding Photography
Provided to you by Fantasy Images

Choosing a wedding photographer can be a tricky task. What questions should you ask? What are some of the key concerns that you need to consider? Read the questions and answers presented below to better prepare yourself to become a savvy bride. You need to get the best value and quality of services your wedding dollar can buy. So go ahead and review this page. We hope you find it useful.

1. Is unlimited time for both the ceremony and the reception, with no extra hourly charges, really important?
Most photographers and videographers provide packages that include a specific amount of time, commonly 3-5 hours. It is important for you to understand the time limitations and charges for additional hours of coverage, as often times these charges can be significant. The reason why it is preferable for you to deal with those who provide unlimited time is twofold. First, it is usually desirable to know your exact costs before your wedding day, thus making it easier to adequately budget and prevent unplanned expenses. Second, when time limitations do apply, there is a tendency for the photographer to rush the various reception events in order to meet their time constraints, therefore upsetting the natural flow of your special day. Time constraints usually cause missed photo opportunities, a rushed reception and pushy photographers.

2. Does the photographer put your wedding photos on the web for friends and relatives to view at their convenience?
Make sure your photographer provides internet accessibility to your wedding images. This allows friends and relatives, from near or far, the opportunity to view the images of your special day. This should be provided to you at no charge!

3. Does the photographer use custom printed enlargements instead of proofs in your finished album?
We once had a perspective bride inform us that a photographer she met with told her the album she selected would consist of over 160 pictures. What the photographer did not tell her was that he was putting only proofs (4x5s and 5x5s) in the album without making a single custom cropped or finished enlargement, either 4x5, 5x7s, 8x10s or 10x10s. Custom photographs are color balanced, dust spotted, protective lacquer sprayed and cropped for best composition. When you are discussing albums, be certain you ask the photographer what size photographs the album will consist of and if the photographs are cropped and lacquer sprayed. A finished album should contain specially selected and finished photographs of varying sizes and not proofs. In addition, be sure to ask the photographer if his packages include all the album prints. Often times the album prints could cost over $1,000 if not included.

4. Who will be photographing your wedding and whose samples have you seen?
Often times a bride-to-be meets with a photographer or videographer and gets to view his work and final products. The concern is that many photographers book multiple weddings for any given day. Hence, the person you meet with may not be the person showing up at your wedding. Additionally, if this is the case, then whose work did you view when you met with the photographer? The importance of the photographer's personality cannot be overstated as well. It is imperative that you feel comfortable with the particular individual and if you can easily communicate with him or her. Remember, you will be spending more time during your actual wedding day with the photographer than you will with any other vendor!

5. What kind of equipment does the photographer use and does it really make a difference?
Yes!!! It has always been recognized that one of the signs of a true professional wedding photographer is the equipment that he or she uses. Medium format equipment has always been the recognized "standard" of professional wedding photographers. Simply put, the larger the negative, the better the resulting images. Photographers using such equipment have made a commitment to their craft and to their brides! Frankly, 35mm equipment, is not recognized as the "professional wedding format."

Additionally, digital capture is now a reality. Professional level digital equipment (costing the photographer thousands of dollars) is capable of outstanding images. Digital is now the new standard for wedding photographers. Click here for a chart explaining the different formats. Don't be left behind. You are hiring a professional, so expect professional equipment! After all, aren't you worth it?

6. Does the photographer have complete backup equipment to cover mechanical emergencies?
Just like any truly professional wedding photographer will insist upon the highest quality medium format or digital equipment, he or she should also be equally responsible by having multiple levels of backup equipment. Your wedding day is a one time occurrence and there is no excuse for not capturing all those special moments due to some unforeseen equipment failure. Ask the photographer what backup equipment is available! Such equipment should be medium format and/or digital as well and should include backup lighting, metering, etc.

7. Will the Photographer go to various locations with no additional travel charges?
Although there are a few photographers who will provide unlimited coverage of both the ceremony and reception, ask if that person will charge extra for travel. Some might charge mileage or simple flat fees to drive between the ceremony and reception sites, if different. We believe that such charges should not be imposed and that any reasonable and customary travel time needs to be "part of doing business." Remember, ask to avoid surprises!

8. Does the photographer keep your negatives on file so you can always order in the future? Should I ask to get the negatives?
You might be surprised by how many photographers hold negatives or digital files for only about one or two years. After a predetermined time period, they will purge their files to free up some space. We don't feel that negative or digital file availability should be limited. Find out about the retention policy so you can avoid any misunderstandings.

Some photographers might offer to give you the negatives. Be very wary of such an offer. Most photographers do and should take pride in the quality of their work. If you have the negatives and have prints made at a local camera shop, the image quality would be sub par. This would be a reflection on that photographer's work. If a photographer doesn't care enough about his own reputation, then you should look elsewhere. In addition, if a photographer is willing to give you the negatives, it is very likely that they would be 35mm. With professional medium format negatives you would have difficulty making and correctly cropping enlargements. Only true professional labs can handle them properly.

9. Does the photographer offer packages or "ala carte" pricing?
Budgeting and value for your wedding dollar is of prime importance, as it should be. Different photographers have different pricing philosophies, but most offer either package pricing or "ala carte" pricing. "Ala carte" pricing is that you buy only what photos you want to be put into your album. Remember that "ala carte" photographers charge you upfront for the coverage they provide as a separate component. When the event photography is complete, and you are in the album design phase the costs then become open ended. Once your album is complete on an "ala carte" basis you will have likely spent much more and received much less value than you would have had chosen a photographer who offers package pricing. In general, package pricing offers the best value. Packages should provide the bride with a complete, all inclusive, offering allowing her to budget accurately and providing her with a clear understanding as to what she will be getting.

10. What kind of payment plan does the photographer require?
Since photographers put aside specific dates to photograph a bride's wedding, it is only fair for them to get payment prior to the actual wedding date. The question then becomes how much of a deposit should be tendered and should the full costs be paid before the wedding date? All photographers require that full payment be made on or before the wedding day. Ask the photographers you see what are their payment requirements. You would be best served by a schedule of 3 payments, the first at the time of signing a contract, the second about one month prior to the actual wedding date and the third payment due on or before the wedding day. This arrangement gives the photographer the commitment he or she needs and gives the bride three easy to make installments.

11. Does the photographer also offer video services and specially priced combination packages?
If you would like to consider videographic services as well as photographic coverage, you would be best served by dealing with someone who offers both. With such a provider, there is a smooth and seamless spirit of cooperation and coordination during your special day. You should expect beneficial pricing when these services are combined. Like everything else, ask to see samples and be comfortable with your choices.

12. Is it really important for the photographer to have trade association membership?
Although trade association membership is not a must, it does indicate yet another level of commitment by the photographer to his craft. By attending seminars and various other classes, the photographer keeps up with the latest methods, technology and new ways of doing things.


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