The Business Of Booking
I have provided a little more information on booking your wedding photography as it can be a daunting task. When you first set out looking for a photographer the endless choice can be overwhelming. If you have friends or family who got married in recent years it’s helpful to ask them about their wedding photography experience as a personal recommendation can be very helpful and reassuring.
One of the first things to do is to work out the proportion of your total wedding budget you wish to allocate to photography. There are all kinds of budgets and all kinds of weddings, goodness knows spending mega bucks doesn’t guarantee a beautiful wedding, however your wedding is a momentous day in your life and one you will never get to repeat. If you approach your wedding photography looking for a bargain, chances are you will end up feeling at very least disappointed with the end result. A good wedding photographer will invest their earnings back in to the business, use the very best equipment, continually develop their skills and update their knowledge, have insurance, and will offer you an experience that you will want to recommend to your friends! Arranging to meet a photographer with fees beyond your budget hoping to ‘beat’ them down not only wastes their time, it wastes yours too, so be realistic.
Of course the style of a photographer’s work is so important and you will find that the more you view the more you’ll know what you like as well as what you don’t. My style is contemporary, bright and colourful, but as I am a reportage photographer I like to mix things up a bit, so I will capture black and white candid shots as well as lots of vibrant, emotive ‘one off’ shots, and I am always seeking to capture images that when put together tell the story of your day. At the end of the day titles like ‘Journalistic’ and ‘Reportage’ are just that, titles, and what I like to hear from couples is that they simply ‘love my style’. I am passionate about wedding photography and working with enthusiastic couples really fires me up and makes my job so rewarding.
So you like the images you see on my main site and blog, the next stage is to make contact with me. I like you to fill out my contact form with some basic information about yourself as well as details about the date of the wedding, the venue, and anything else you would like me to know. I will always reply to enquiries within 24 hours and if I am available for your date will then send you my Pdf wedding brochure. If you like what you see, and my fees are suited to your budget, the next stage is for us to have a chat. It may not be possible for us to meet in person at this stage, particularly if you are booking from overseas or just geographically some distance, in which case we can chat over the phone or even Skype. However if we can meet we should. During 2013 I will primarily be inviting couples to meet me at my home in Camberley Surrey where I will be able to share my portfolio including complete weddings and album samples. If distance is a problem I’m happy to arrange a meeting at a mutually convenient location.
If you decide that I am the right photographer for you and can tick all your photography requirements, I will require a signed contract as well as a 50% non refundable deposit. I never expect couples to make an ‘on the spot’ decision and will give you time to read through your contract and ask any questions you may have. It is very important however to know that I operate a first come first served system, without a signed contract and a deposit I am not booked. This all seems a little harsh but you will find that all wedding photographers work this way to avoid any unfairness.
So It’s All Booked
Yay! Brilliant. I view the booking process as just the start of our journey and genuinely love getting to know couples.
As soon as I am officially booked I like to get you thinking about your complimentary engagement shoot. You may already know when you want it to be; for example you may like it straight away to mark your engagement so that you can share the images with friends and family as soon as possible. However, perhaps you want your shoot to be in the Spring or Summer, if you’ve booked me in Winter, or perhaps in the Autumn or Winter if you are planning a Spring or Summer wedding. I love tailoring shoots to couples individual stories, so you will need to think of somewhere special for your shoot. Perhaps somewhere you like to walk together, a country spot, a city location, a beach you both love.
Unless I have covered a venue before, I will make a visit before the wedding day itself. I like to introduce myself to staff, have a good look around, and check out the best locations for beautiful photographs. This is included in all wedding packages.
Throughout the time from booking to wedding day, I am always available should there be anything you wish to discuss, either by email or phone.
Around 6 weeks before your wedding I will contact you with a questionnaire. I like to know the exact running times of the day, who all the major ‘players’ are, any special considerations(such as divorced parents and new partners names), as well as any special photography requests. I am very happy to take group photographs and understand they are important, especially to parents, however I know you will love the candid spontaneous images of your friends and family even more, so I advise we keep any list of group shots to a minimum, say 5, and allow up to 5 minutes per shot. Once I have all this important information I can help to make your day run smoothly and get all the images you want without your having to give it a second thought.
At this time I will also send you a reminder regarding your final balance so that it’s all sorted and out the way and we can focus on the wedding day itself.
The Big Day Arrives
This has taken months to plan and you are all of a flutter of excitement, maybe even some last minute nerves, the best day of your life is about to unfold and as my own dad said to me on my wedding day ‘the fulfillment of all your hopes and dreams’. I’ve been a bride and I understand all this. I will arrive, probably give you a hug, take a moment to pause and take in ‘the dress’, and then I will quietly get on with photographing all the details and unobtrusively capturing your preparations.
When you arrive at the wedding venue I will already be there and have photographed your groom and his party, and while you are saying your vows, though you may not notice me, I will be there capturing you both once again. Oh and I don’t use flash photography during wedding ceremonies so we won’t need to worry about ruffling any official feathers!
The day from there will unfold according to the timeline we have discussed although I am flexible and always ready for the unexpected. According to the time of day and the light, we may go straight away to take some beautiful images of just the two of you, or we may take some group shots and candid guests shots before whisking you both off for your ‘couples’ shots. I don’t like to keep a couple away from their guests for long, but these shots will form an important part of your collection and the time away gives you a chance to be alone for a while and take a moment to yourselves…. well of course apart from the fact that I’m there with my camera!
I will be very close by throughout the day and into the evening, apart from taking a break whilst you and your guests eat. I shoot right up to the first dance, and usually for 10 minutes afterwards to capture all the fun. I would expect a first dance to take place before 9.30pm, but apart from that you know that I will be there from whatever time I am required to photograph your preparations through to your first dance and you need not watch the clock.
After The Wedding
Within 24 hours of your wedding I will send you a couple of favourite ‘preview’ images from your day just to keep you going as I know how excited couples are to see their images. I will also post these on my blog so that friends and family can also view them.
Editing your wedding in entirety can take between 2 and 4 weeks depending on the time of year and how busy my schedule is, but you will be sent an invite to view your images in an online password protected gallery and shortly afterwards a selection of images from your day will be posted on my blog so that you can share them with everyone. With your permission, I will also post a selection of images in an album on the Juliet McKee Photography Facebook page and you are welcome to ‘tag’ your family and friends. Shortly after this you will receive a memory flash drive of your wedding images.
If you have already purchased a wedding album you can begin selecting your favourite images, if you have yet to decide, we can get together to discuss the various album types I offer. Choosing the images for your album can take some time, it’s not easy narrowing down your choice. I am here to guide you through the process and will send you proof images so that you can see what the pages will look like. Depending on the time of year, my work load, and the type of album you have purchased, albums can take 6 – 10 weeks from design to delivery.
Time To Say Goodbye
Having been fortunate enough to be involved in a couples life at such a wonderful time it often feels sad to be moving on. Lucky for me then that thanks to Facebook and Twitter my couples often keep in touch. Choosing a wedding photographer is a big deal and one I never take for granted. I am very grateful to my couples and love to receive feedback a selection of which you can read here.
Well thank you for reading this very ‘wordy’ post, for those of you interested I hope you have found it beneficial and look forward to hearing from you soon.