Wedding Photography Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Here is a fairly comprehensive set of questions I've been asked over the years and I hope it helps you with your choice of photographer.

 

Click on the questions to show and hide the answers.

 

Will you photograph our wedding personally?

Yes, absolutely! I photograph all weddings personally.


What packages and services do you offer?

I know how difficult it can be to choose a photographer, never mind trying to decide how you want your photos to look, before they have even been taken. I therefore keep things simple. If you like my photography, you can just secure my services for your big day and then decide on albums etc. after seeing your photos.
Because your images are supplied to you with licence to print, copy and share as you wish, you can easily go to anyone else to get a competitive quote for an album. I’m happy to quote after the wedding as well and my quote would need to be competitive.


How much do you charge?

My fee is £950 to cover your wedding from bridal preparations to the first dance. I will provide you with original high resolution jpeg images, with licence to print, copy and share as you wish. In addition to approximately 8-10 hours with you on the day, I will also spend a similar amount of time processing your images, adjusting brightness, contrast, colour, etc. Each image is adjusted individually to achieve the optimum. Please see the question below about RAW files.


If you think this is high, please read the rest of the questions. I recently edited around 50 images for a lady who had booked another photographer and he had provided her with a very poor set of images. She paid him £700 and it caused her and her husband a lot of upset and tears (her words). You can see two of their images HERE (near the bottom of the page).


I am also available for a photography coverage either shorter or longer than this and would be happy to provide a quote. I have been told, by more than one bride, that they expected my fee to be higher and would have booked me for double this. Seriously!

If you have a set package or album in mind, please give me details and I would be happy to quote. A images-on-disc package allows you the flexibility to make choices later.


How are my images supplied?

Your images are supplied as original, high resolution jpeg images, either on DVD or USB, without watermarks. These can be printed at high quality at large sizes, if you wish. You also have licence to print, copy and share as you wish and this is confirmed to you by email.


How do I confirm a booking?

I require a deposit of 25%, preferably by bank transfer. As soon as this is received, your booking is confirmed. I will then turn away other enquiries.


Do you accept provisional bookings?

No. Until a booking is confirmed with payment of a deposit, the booking does not exist and I am not booked. If a client “provisionally booked” me, there is no commitment on their part to confirm a booking. Meanwhile, another couple may wish to confirm a booking with payment of a deposit.


When and where will our pre-wedding shoot take place?

This will be scheduled at a time to suit you. It’s often arranged to take place a few months prior to the wedding, but the timing is up to you. It can be closer, or further away from the date of your wedding, if you wish. It shouldn't be left to the last minute, as sometimes these need to be rescheduled due to weather.
I live in Stevenage and normally shoot in Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage. If you live outside the area and wish to arrange this shoot in another area, we can discuss this, but there would be an additional cost, depending on distance.


Can you provide a second photographer?

Yes, I can supply a second photographer, if requested, at extra cost.
I normally work alone and am very comfortable doing so.


What time will you arrive?

We will discuss this and I will arrive to suit you. If I begin with bridal preparations, this is usually one to two hours prior to your ceremony. Of course, this depends on locations and your preferences.


How long will you stay at our wedding?

I usually attend from bridal preparations until first dance. However, coverage can start later and end earlier, if you wish, such as up to sitting down for your meal, or up to the speeches. If you want me to attend for a shorter time, that’s OK as well. Please ask me for a quote.


Do I have to pose for photos?

That’s up to you. They are your photos and they should be what you want. We will discuss your photography in detail nearer to the wedding and that’s an opportunity for you to tell me what you do and don’t want. Usually couples want a mixture; they want some posed shots, to take advantage of great settings and light, but they also want natural, candid shots, which I will take throughout the day.

That’s what most couples want, but it may not be what you want. If your preferences are for very few traditional shots, that’s fine with me. On the other hand if you want lots of them, that’s also fine.


Do you take traditional photos?

Yes, if you wish me to, as most couples do. We would discuss your photography and I’m there to take what you want me too, obviously using my experience and style. Most couples want some traditional family groups and shots of themselves in nice locations. One benefit of staged shots, is that the photographer is able to select the best locations, backgrounds and other elements and to make the best use of the light and its quality and direction. When taking candid shots, there is less control, so you can’t be particular about background etc.


How many photos can I expect to receive?

How long is a piece of string? My focus on the day is to provide you with the best set of images possible. I take an unlimited number of images on the day, but this in itself can vary from wedding to wedding, depending on several variables; weather, events as they unfold, time available and how much time the bride and groom are happy to give to photography (this varies), number of group shots requested and other requests from the couple.

I then edit these, removing duplicates, but I don’t delete any image that may have value to you. It’s impossible to say exactly how many images you will receive but as a general guide, if you’ve booked me to attend from preparations to first dance over two or three venues, you would usually receive around 400-700 images. This figure is not set and may be higher or lower, depending on the variables described above.


Can I have any black & white images?

Yes, of course. All images are taken in colour. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you can actually achieve higher quality black & white images from a colour original, than from a black & white original. Even if I was taking an image that I knew I wanted only in black and white, I would still take it originally in colour. This gives so many more options, through the use of Photoshop and image editing. I’m an experienced user of Photoshop, (one of the first in the UK and I teach courses in it), so have a huge amount of experience of doing this.


What if I want any images edited?

I have been using Photoshop to edit images since its launch on PC in 1992. I also teach Photoshop at the local college, so I can pretty much do anything with an image that you wish. Included in my service I will edit some images, (in addition to your original colour images), converting some to black & white and add shading and contrast for a more dramatic look. One image can be black and white with parts in colour.
I had clients recently who were seriously let down by their photographer and they commissioned me to edit their images. Editing included removing vacuum cleaners, people, drinking glasses and even the photographers own bag (yes, really!), from images. Inexplicably the photographer didn’t take any shots of the couple in front of their fabulous venue, so I also added the couple into images of their reception and added shadows for a realistic result. The couple were so happy with the results that they sent me a case of wine! You can see two of their images HERE (near the bottom of the page).


Are there travel costs?

Travel is included up to an hour’s drive time from Stevenage. Beyond that, there will be an additional mileage charge and I will be happy to quote you.


How far will you travel?

I’m happy to travel anywhere, worldwide. I have photographed weddings from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to the South Coast. For weddings that are further afield, flights, accommodation and car hire may be required and these would be charged at cost, or you can book them. There would also be an additional fee for the extra time involved and I will quote this on an individual basis. As a guide, for a wedding involving a flight and two nights accommodation, the extra fee would be £500, in addition to the cost of flights, accommodation and car hire.


What if it rains?

Fingers crossed it won’t, but you will appreciate that’s not something I can control.
Having photographed over 1,000 weddings over the past 37 years I’ve experienced most things, including many weddings on rainy days. I will use my experience to take your photos in the best available situation, be it inside the church or ceremony venue, or your reception.
Having said that, even in this country, there are relatively few days when it rains all day long. If I stay with you until first dance, there may be other times to take photos.

An inexperienced photographer may be able to take reasonable images on a beautiful day, with a couple who enjoy posing, at a great location, with lots of time available. However it’s quite different to produce high quality images on a wet, cold day with a bride running late, a groom who doesn’t want to be in the photos at a photographically challenged location and. (I know; I’ve photographed that wedding!).

Experience doesn’t mean a few weddings for mainly friends and family, but hundreds, in all places and all conditions.


How long before we see our photos?

Photos are often ready within days, but will be ready within two weeks of your wedding.


I usually spend an equivalent amount of time editing your images as I spent taking them on the day. Yes, really!

Most people don’t appreciate how much time is involved in dealing with your images after the day. (See the questions below, on RAW files). Each image is individually adjusted for exposure, brightness, contrast, tone and colour. The benefit to you is that you will receive better quality images (again, see the questions on RAW).
If you have a requirement where you need your images quickly, please ask and I can confirm on an individual basis.


I’m a keen/professional photographer / I photograph weddings myself / my father was a wedding photographer, does this bother you?

I’ve actually been asked this several times. For one bride it was her first question, because several other photographers had immediately rejected her when they heard that both her and her partner were both professional photographers.
I am fully confident in my skills and abilities as a wedding photographer, so it doesn’t bother me. I’ve photographed weddings of professional wedding photographers, commercial photographers and a brides father who was a wedding photographer. These clients were all very happy with their images.


I have a friend who is a keen photographer and they have offered to photography my wedding. Should I let them?

I’ve actually been asked this! I teach photography courses at North Herts College, in Stevenage and I’ve been asked several times by students about photographing their friend’s weddings. On four occasions I’ve offered to photograph the wedding for a reduced fee, because I wanted to support the students and I love photographing weddings. Three times out of the four, their images were very disappointing and in one case, their images were so bad that it would have been a disaster, if the student had taken the photos on their own. That student had the same professional level camera and lens that I was using.

 

When I learned to photograph weddings I was very fortunate to have excellent training, while working for a studio full-time. I had personal tuition from an excellent wedding (and portrait) photographer for two years. Most photographers today seem to think that having a decent camera is enough. Many don’t even possess a basic knowledge of photography and camera settings. As I write this in May 2017, one of my students has two weddings this summer that they are photographing. They don't yet understand how to use aperture, shutter speed and ISO (absolute photography basics).

Even if you are a decent photographer, photographing weddings is challenging. I've known many excellent commercial photographers who were hopeless at photographing weddings. Many refuse to do so, as they appreciate they don't have the skills.

Wedding photography involves dealing with people, working within time constraints, adapting to changing light conditions and sometimes working within challenging environments. To really do it well, in all situations, takes a lot of practice and experience. I’ve seen first-hand that many of today’s photographers simply don’t have this. Given a sunny day and fabulous locations, they should get an acceptable set of photos, but this is far from certain… and what if conditions or locations are more challenging?


What are RAW files? A short answer.

The short, non-technical answer is that Raw images, in the hands of a skilled user, produce better quality photos. Just one benefit is that photos can show more detail in the brightest and darkest areas of a photo, that may be lost in a jpeg e.g. a brides dress.


What are RAW files? A longer answer.

When a camera takes a photo as a jpeg, a variety of information (such as contrast, sharpness, colour saturation and colour tone), are processed in-camera and recorded to a memory card, producing your photo. This has the advantage of being quick and simple and doesn't require more work or knowledge. This is perfectly adequate for most users. Jpeg images are generally more suitable for non-experts, as they require less knowledge and work. However, there are limitations to jpegs, which is why all good photographers, and especially professionals, shoot Raw.

 

Raw images should be used by all professionals, to enable them to deliver the highest possible quality images to their clients. However, this does require knowledge and experience of processing Raw files. Ask your photographer if they shoot Raw. If not, I would recommend finding another photographer, as this indicates that they don't have all the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to provide high quality images in all situations.

 

A Raw file contains much more information in an image. The reason this is important is that it allows a higher quality image, with more detail retained in important areas. Would you like to be sure you will see the detail in your wedding dress, in a variety of lighting situations?

 

For example, in a jpeg image there are only 256 tones in any colour, from white to black. That might seem like a lot, until you learn that Raw images from my camera contain 16,384 tones. That's 64 times as much information in each colour - and there are 3 colours in each image (red, green and blue).

 

This is particularly important for weddings at all times of the year, but is especially important on a sunny days, when images will have a high contrast - containing very bright and very dark areas. (a brides dress in the sun), and also very dark areas (shadows caused the sun). Jpeg images can't record all this detail and important detail can be lost. In a brides dress, you would see parts of the dress appearing as pure white, with no visible detail. Raw images allow us to retain important detail in these areas.

 

This is just one benefit of Raw. There are far too many other benefits to list here. For more information, see Wikipedia article on Raw images. Scroll down and read the benefits. The drawbacks are all related to the photographer - about the extra time involved, which does not affect the client.

 

Any decent professional photographer would always photograph in RAW, because of the above benefits. But RAW does require some expertise in using software and also requires more time to process RAW files. Some inexperienced photographers may shoot in jpeg because they don't understand how to process a Raw file. Other photographers may shoot in jpeg because they don't want to spend the time adjusting Raw files.

 

Ask any potential photographer if they shoot in RAW. If they don’t, or worse, if they don’t fully understand the question, my strong advice would be, find another photographer.


Are you qualified, or a member of any reputable association?

For many years I was a qualified member of the MPA, Master Photographers Association. I am no longer a member, having disagreed with some of the internal politics and some of their policies. I gained their official qualification that, if I paid their membership fees, would allow me to add letters after my name. Because I don’t pay their annual subscription, they won't permit me to use the letters after my name that I earned. The important thing is that I achieved the standards required by this association.


I'm having a winter wedding, will a later ceremony time cause problems with the photography?

I’ve photographed winter weddings, including a wedding in February, with the ceremony at 5pm, so we didn't see a moment of daylight! The couple were delighted with their photos, but this isn’t ideal for most people. I would generally suggest that a couple think about the time if they want some photos in daylight. However, it’s not a problem if that’s what you want and I take many great photos at night.


Are all the photos on your website your own work, from real weddings?

Yes. Absolutely. Every single one. All photos are from real weddings and all clients paid my fee.

This is not a silly question. Some photographers use images they have shot while attending training courses or seminars, where professional models are often used and there is no time pressure on taking shots, unlike real weddings. Many of these shots are set up by excellent photographers and the attendees then just step in and take photos. I believe it is ethically wrong to then use these images to promote your own photography. You may have pressed the button, but in essence, it is not your image. It was the result of the skill and experience of someone else.

When meeting photographers, ask to view albums containing complete sets of photos from a single wedding. This will also give you a better idea of their quality and consistency.


We don’t want the standard coverage; will you do less (or more)?

Yes, of course. I will be happy to quote a bespoke service for all weddings. Please let me know your requirements, however large or small.


How do you approach a civil partnership or gay marriage?

It’s a wedding like any other to me! I’ve photographed several; all lovely couples.


Our Vicar is worried about the photographer disrupting the ceremony…

No matter how many times I’ve been to the same church, out of courtesy, I always introduce myself to the vicar and have a chat about what they allow. I reassure them that I respect the ceremony (which I do) and I won’t intrude. During the ceremony I don’t use flash. As well as not being a distraction, it also provides the best shots. The camera I use is fabulous in low light situations, plus processing RAW files (see another question), gives me an unfair advantage.

I don’t move around more than necessary and if doing so, also do so unobtrusively. I don’t want to impact on the ceremony.

If you are getting married in a church it is always worth having a conversation about the photography in advance, as I have come across vicars who have said no photography at all, without telling the couple beforehand. One vicar told me that if I tried to take a single photo, he would stop the ceremony and point at me. Needless to say I didn’t risk causing a distraction to the ceremony, so didn’t take any photos. Most vicars are much more reasonable than this.


We like your work but you have never shot at our venue before…

This isn’t a problem at all. It’s unusual in local areas, but when travelling to different parts of the country, it’s more likely. If so I will visit your venue before the wedding to look around. It can actually be an advantage to choose a photographer who hasn’t been to a venue, as they will see the venue with fresh eyes, giving you a set of unique wedding photos.


You’ve been to our venue but we don’t want our wedding photography to look the same as all the other weddings…

Many venues I have visited on multiple occasions, sometimes on consecutive days, but I appreciate that all my clients are unique. I don’t take photos by numbers, but will discuss your photography with you and work with what you tell me you like or don’t like.


Do you require a meal on the day?

Yes please. If I am with you from preparations until first dance, I may be with you for 8-10 hours. Even photographers need to eat. It’s a very long day for everyone and if you don’t want me to pass out before first dance, I will need something to eat. Anything hot and filling, but when you are eating it is good if we can eat too. I don’t take pictures while people are eating, as no-one looks good doing it, and you should be able to relax and enjoy your meal.


We’re not getting married for a few years but like your work, should we wait until nearer the time?

You can, and as long as you book a year ahead you would most likely be fine, but there is no guarantee.. If you've decided, then why wait?

I only ever shoot one wedding a day and when I am booked, that’s it. I always honour my original quote so you could also save money!


Do you retouch and edit the images?

Once I have edited the original images, removing the duplicates, bad faces and blinks etc., I then assess and adjust every image I give you.


Do you photograph anything else, in addition to weddings?

Yes!
For 30 years, at my studio, I have photographed;
weddings, portraits, families, children, pets, business portraits, PR shots, modelling portfolios, modelling Z-cards, actor and musician portfolios and head shots, Formula One, professional golf, Moto GP, landscapes, macro (very close-up) and product photography.

For the past 7 years I teach photography and Photoshop courses at North Herts College.


What cameras do you use?

Big ones! Canon 5D Mark 3. Canon L lenses (the top grade professional lenses), Canon flashguns. I also have studio lighting, to use when appropriate.


Do you take video as well?

No. Sorry. I concentrate on what I do best. I don’t even take video for fun. I’m always taking photos. I’m a photographer. It’s in my DNA.


A friend is doing some video. Is that OK with you?

Yes, of course. I've encountered this many times. What we are doing is complementary to each other. In my experience most friends keep fairly low key, so we don't get in each others way.


Do you work well with professional videographers?

Again, yes. We are all there to provide you with good photography and video. I always say hello and most are absolutely great and we get on fine. I have experienced a couple of situations that weren't ideal, but still just got on with things professionally. Most videograhers work in the "fly on the wall" style, so what we are doing doesn't clash at all. There was one who thought he was directing the next great blockbuster, with lots of set pieces and repetition. I've also met one pair, one of whom was taking stills photos and working like a competing photographer, which affected how I could work. I did have a quiet, word with them and we then worked very amicably.


Do you have backup equipment?

Yes. I take weddings very seriously. I have 4 cameras, several lenses and 3 flashguns with me at every wedding, plus other equipment. I also have tons of charged batteries to drive all this equipment, as well as a bucketful of top name branded memory cards.


What if you are ill?

Thankfully, I’m a very fit and healthy guy and am rarely ill. Of course, no one can guarantee they won’t be ill. However, should I be struck down, I know many good photographers and several of them would be available. I have occasionally covered for some of them. In 36 years, the only wedding I missed was the day after my mother died. My staff contacted the couple and explained the situation and they were still given the choice to have me attend. In the circumstances, they said they were happy to have a colleague.


 

If you’ve read everything down to here, thank you for your patience. I hope you've learned something that will better prepare you to find a good photographer.

 

I wish you the very best for your wedding.


If you have any additional questions, please email me and I will be pleased to answer your query (and possible add another question to this list).