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Wedding Photography - what would you do differently?


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#1 Porthos

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:41 PM

Hi Guys,

This is further research for my sister's photography business. If you're keen to share your ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Basically, I'm wondering what you'd do differently photography wise if you were getting married again?

We got married eight years ago and purchased 5 hours of photography (no reception coverage), a proof album (itty bitty copies of each print mounted in a blank album) and a (completely useless) CD of low-res images (the images were SO low-res they had no purpose whatsoever...yup, we were conned!).

After the wedding, I placed a $700 order of prints which I then framed (for us) and gave as gifts (to relos and the bridal party).

If I was getting married today I'd probably stick with the five hours of coverage as it suited us and professional pics of the reception don't really interest me (maybe for the first dance?). My product order would look completely different though. I'd want:

* My proofs as digital files (that would be of a standard to share on-line) (watermarked copies would be fine).
* 4 - 6 images suitable for framing
* A photobook made up of the day (not a big, posh album, more coffee table book style, something that could sit out and get looked at often)
* A DVD of the images set to music - a 'cheat's wedding video in a way wink.gif

I wouldn't bother giving photos as gifts as, of all the photos I gave away, only my nan displays hers!! Total and utter waste of money.

What about you? What photo products from your wedding stood the test of time? What would you get again? What would you change?

#2 ClaireBear

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:09 PM

Our photographer was just starting out on his own. I think he had done maybe one season before doing us, possibly two, so we got a lot of stuff for our price.

We paid $3000 in Jan 2008 and got 10 hours coverage, although we didn't use it all. He (and his partner, and they've since opened a business together) went to DHs house at 2pm, to me at the hotel at 3pm, the ceremony venue at 3.30pm and then did photos with us from 4.30 ish to 6pm. He then covered the reception as far as the cake cutting and the first dance.

Also included was our album, which is big, thick and leather bound with great sized prints in it, and two discs (a colour and a black and white copy) of high res. We had a slide show viewing at his studio when we returned from our honeymoon, with champagne.

We also chose to purchase some enlargements of varying sizes that were offered at a discount if we purchased before a certain date

If we had our time over, I would do exactly the same. We hunted around for a while and a lot of the photographers were out of our price range - some were $8000 5 years ago (and this is in Tassie, you can't get mainland prices here). We looked for a good balance between value and experience and we really liked the fact he didn't do printed proofs.

Maybe she could look at some deals or incentives when she is first starting out, like ours offered?
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#3 HelsBels

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:20 PM

We paid $4300 roughly I think in total (also 2008). We decided we were prepared to pay a bit extra for a good photographer and a reasonable package because we weren't having the wedding videoed.

For that we got:
- 6 hours (anyhow we wanted but we chose getting ready shoots for both of us through to start of reception, staged cake cutting pics etc)
- Proof album
- DVD slideshow set to music wub.gif Love this!
- Proper album
- CD of the negatives

The negatives had to be bought separately from the packages unless you bought the top of the line super duper package which I think was around $7k or something. The package we bought included an album with a set number of pages (can't remember how many) but we were told that most people like to have more pages than that (found this a bit cheeky actually as it felt like a deliberate way to wangle more money out of us but there we go) there was a 10% discount for buying extra pages up front before the day.

What would I change?
For me the proof album was pointless. It wasn't something we requested it just came as a part of every package (I assume because the negatives didn't) but the pictures were so small that they were no good when it came to selecting pics for the album and trying to decide which out of the 3/4 almost identical photos was best rolleyes.gif Its not something we've ever gone back to either it just sits on the shelf taking up space. I would much prefer paying slightly less and just having an online gallery to look through for selection purposes if the negatives aren't to be included.

I also in retrospect probably wouldn't bother with a big professional album either. It was expensive and because of its bulk & weight we almost never get it out. I made a coffee table type photobook myself for the parents and there was a 3 for 2 offer on at the time so we ended up with one for ourselves as well. This comes out way more often and it has more pictures in it too. I definitely think this is something all photographers should offer alongside the big albums, an option to have extra copies at a discount (as all the work is basically done setting up the initial book) for people to give as gifts to significant people I think is also a nice thing to offer couples.

My photographer had along an assistant for the day. She had her own camera and a few of the un posed guest shots came from her photography but during the consult we had before the day it was discussed that she would set up somewhere for guests to go and get family shots etc done without the bride & groom whilst, we were off doing our couple shots, and we were going to send copies out with the thank yous. This never happened. I also tried to get her to make some sort of list of photos I definitely wanted to make sure were taken but she brushed me off saying it would all be worked out on the day. As a result I never got a professional shot of just me and my brother together which I would have liked. So I would say to your sister that it always pays to make thorough notes of the chats with clients and don't promise things that aren't delivered, it sticks in the mind no matter how good the rest of it was.

Time wise we were happy with the coverage we got and overall we were very happy with the pictures we ended up with.


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#4 Porthos

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:22 PM

Thank you ClaireBear and HelsBels for such detailed feedback - this is excellent!!


QUOTE(ClaireBear @ Apr 22 2013, 05:09 PM) View Post

We also chose to purchase some enlargements of varying sizes that were offered at a discount if we purchased before a certain date

If we had our time over, I would do exactly the same. We hunted around for a while and a lot of the photographers were out of our price range - some were $8000 5 years ago (and this is in Tassie, you can't get mainland prices here). We looked for a good balance between value and experience and we really liked the fact he didn't do printed proofs.

Maybe she could look at some deals or incentives when she is first starting out, like ours offered?


ClaireBear can I bombard you with some other questions? Feel free to ignore if you can't be bothered answering wink.gif

I like the idea of getting a discount if you order before a certain date. I wonder if it would make some people feel pressured to buy? Or did it just work as a lovely incentive for you?

Why were you anti printed proofs?

My sister isn't just starting out, she's been operating for coming up five years smile.gif She is actually just starting to put together packages and is reviewing her pricing / services / products. It's a big undertaking and something she really wants to get right so she's after as many opinions as possible. I thought here was a great place to scope out opinions on wedding photography!! biggrin.gif


QUOTE(HelsBels @ Apr 22 2013, 06:20 PM) View Post


- DVD slideshow set to music wub.gif Love this!

The negatives had to be bought separately from the packages unless you bought the top of the line super duper package which I think was around $7k or something. The package we bought included an album with a set number of pages (can't remember how many) but we were told that most people like to have more pages than that (found this a bit cheeky actually as it felt like a deliberate way to wangle more money out of us but there we go) there was a 10% discount for buying extra pages up front before the day.

My photographer had along an assistant for the day. She had her own camera and a few of the un posed guest shots came from her photography but during the consult we had before the day it was discussed that she would set up somewhere for guests to go and get family shots etc done without the bride & groom whilst, we were off doing our couple shots, and we were going to send copies out with the thank yous. This never happened. I also tried to get her to make some sort of list of photos I definitely wanted to make sure were taken but she brushed me off saying it would all be worked out on the day. As a result I never got a professional shot of just me and my brother together which I would have liked. So I would say to your sister that it always pays to make thorough notes of the chats with clients and don't promise things that aren't delivered, it sticks in the mind no matter how good the rest of it was.


Thanks for such a detailed response HelsBels smile.gif I have a brief DVD my cousin made me of the non-pro pics set to music and I love that....I would definitely have loved something similar for the pro pics!! I'm so glad you love yours.

Sorry you didn't get the shots you wanted from the assistant dry.gif That's annoying to be promised something that didn't eventuate. It's also frustrating (and, quite frankly, surprising) that your photographer wasn't interested in making note of any particular shots you wanted. It was something my wedding photographer actually wrote down...and, even though I wouldn't choose her again, I did respect that she did this and she got every shot we asked for.

Keep it coming ladies - what a ripper start!! Thank you! biggrin.gif


#5 ClaireBear

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:58 PM

Ask away!

I thought the discount was an incentive as we didn't have much extra money to toss about at that stage. I think from memory it was so the album prints and any enlargements were done in one order from the printer/developer he liked to work with.

I also didn't like the idea of printed proofs as my best friend who got married 7 weeks before me had a shoebox full and it seemed like such a waste! If it saves a few dollars not to, then why not? I think most people are happy with digital nowadays and it's more environmentally friendly not to print them all.

It must be great having a photographer in the family. Is she the one that did your birth shots? Did she do your wedding too?
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#6 Porthos

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:31 PM

QUOTE(ClaireBear @ Apr 22 2013, 07:58 PM) View Post

I also didn't like the idea of printed proofs as my best friend who got married 7 weeks before me had a shoebox full and it seemed like such a waste! If it saves a few dollars not to, then why not? I think most people are happy with digital nowadays and it's more environmentally friendly not to print them all.

It must be great having a photographer in the family. Is she the one that did your birth shots? Did she do your wedding too?


I actually agree with you about the proofs - it does seem a bit of a waste especially in the digital age. I like the idea of being more environmentally friendly too!! Digital proofs that you can share via social media would work so much better - more bang for your buck and, if they are watermarked, great advertising for the photographer. I am sure my sister would wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments smile.gif

It is freaking awesome having a professional photographer in the family biggrin.gif She was with us for all three of my births which was very special and the images are some of my most favourite ever wub.gif I have also scored three maternity shoots and a wonderful family shoot (when we were a family of four) as well as a shoot just for Cate when she was about 15 months old. Plus, every family functions we have the pics are amazing!! We're so spoilt!

We didn't use Kat as our wedding photographer, she was only 20 at the time and studying journalism. I knew she was good though so I had her 'ghost' the photographer on the day (with the photographer's consent of course) and my sister's pics turned out way better!! My favourite photo from our day is one my sister took. I should have known then she had great things ahead of her wink.gif

Thanks so much for all your feedback ClaireBear, you rock!

#7 Daybreak

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:11 PM

We got married 2 years ago.
The original photographer that we hired would have been $1650 inc GST, and he had a partner so we would have 2 photographers. Sadly, he moved to Singapore, and his partner was a complete dead loss (didn't respond to contact) so there went that.
We hired another photographer that we'd interviewed. She cost $850 inc GST. I think we got about 6 hours - she covered me getting ready through to us entering the reception and a fake cake cutting.
We also had an acquaintance. Andrew is supposed to photograph his wedding, but that was supposed to happen last year. It may happen this year. He covered the boys getting ready through to our first dance.
We got all our photos in high quality digital format from both photographers. The paid one came in a nice little folder with a single 4x6 print.

I would have preferred to have 2 photographers actually working together - I actually had to get Andrew to send unpaid to get candid shots during group shots. I would have liked to have been more specific about who I wanted photographer (paid photog lost the photos she took of my brother and I - swears she didn't really take them - and we missed some honorary family members. I also would have liked a shot of junior attendants with bridal party, and some different family groupings - things I either didn't think of at the time, or didn't feel able to organise)
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#8 bluenomi

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:07 AM

We got 2 albums of 4x6 prints of everything as well as everything in high res digital on disc. Our photographer could have aranged us an album but we never got around to it. He also prefers to give people digital images and not have to deal with the prints which worked out fine for us, it meant we could take time getting prints and wait for good deals!

I liked having the decent sized proofs, we showed them to most people instead of getting a fancy album made and all the relatives pick from those what they wanted and we burnt them a copy of the digital files. Everyone got their own prints at their convience.
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#9 Lanny

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:22 AM

I don't think I'd change anything about our photographer - everything was great!

I can't remember exactly how much our photographer cost (looking at the current prices the package we went with is now $3100. It includes 5 hours, 220 images, getting ready, ceremony, 2 other locations & reception.)

I had seen a lot of Luke's work on Facebook - many friends had used him for their weddings, as well as family shoots & I just loved the images & emotions he was able to capture. (Much like the images Kat has been able to capture!!) I just knew I wanted to go with him, regardless of cost.

As it turned out, he wasn't available on my day, but has another photographer working for him and she was the one who took our photos. I checked out some of the wedding albums she'd done & was equally impressed.

Angela did her research & checked out the church & park where we were getting the photos taken before hand, which set my mind at ease.

We had lots of fun on the day & you could see that in the photos.

Luke then did a quick edit of the "Top 40" images and uploaded them to Facebook within 48 hours which we LOVED! It was great to get a taste of what was to come so quickly. (Plus it's advertising for him - hey, it's how I found out about his business!!). These all had the business name on the image.

We then received all the images on disk with no watermark (we got the "Top 40" plus the 220 (although it ended up being more than this) in colour & also in black and white). I love that we have these images for life & can print what we want, when we want. (2 years on & we have only printed a couple of photos to put in frames, a few for gifts & 3 sets of our "top 100" to make albums for us and our parents.)




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#10 Porthos

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:50 AM

Thanks so much for the feedback Daybreak, bluenomi and Lanny. Daybreak, you've been helping me a lot with the photography feedback of late and I really appreciate it smile.gif bluenomi it's rare to find a photoghrapher who doesn't like doing the print side of it so you had quite the find there!! Lanny, that was very detailed info indeed, thanks for taking the time smile.gif I agree with you that putting wedding pics up on FB is great for both the photographer and the couple...it's exciting to get to see a taste of what's to come and it's always exciting to see your wedding through the photographer's eyes.

#11 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:20 PM

I wouldn't change anything about mine either!

We paid $2500 in 2008 which I know was massively cheap, I know he put his prices up a bit afterwards but as we were having a winter wedding he kept it at the cheaper price for us. That included the extra $500 for reception coverage (plus a meal for him).

We got:

- coverage of both DH and I getting ready. His assistant would have gone to DH had we not been all at the same hotel so he and the assistant did both.

-5hrs was the nominal time limit, plus the extra we paid for reception. If he hadn't been so cheap we might not have included the extra and done staged photos instead but I was really happy we went with extra time as my favourite shot is of the two of us leaving the reception at the end of the night.

- High Res digital files of all photos, untouched

- a retouched/edited photobook style photo album, designed entirely by him. We saw samples of other books when we met with him and I was more than happy to leave it entirely in his hands to design it, had all the major pics I'd want, several in B&W, about 30? pages 16x16in I think. It's soooo much better than a big album, I don't want to store it away because it's a perfect coffee table book.

- 2 small 8x8in parent albums, exact copies of our big album (I know this was an optional extra in his new package but they were ideal gifts!)

- He does a blog entry by the end of the weekend after each wedding so we could direct people to that straight away

- also included a 2-3min slideshow of edited images to music within a week of the wedding, online so we could give the link to guests. My yr 12 class at the time LOVED this smile.gif


after all this time we still haven't gotten any canvases done, partly because we are building and have been moving a lot and just never got around to it and now we're holding off until we decorate.

We have printed out photos for our bridal party and various rellos from the files we have, much more convenient than an album of proofs.

#12 Shellsibelle

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:19 PM

We got married five years ago and we got a CD of high res and low res images from which we chose images we'd liked printed. As soon as we got back from our honeymoon we were busy selling our house and moving and I never got the chance to really sit down and choose what photos to print or put in an album. Part of our package was also a bunch of photos set to music but I never got around to even doing that! sad.gif So basically we paid a heap of cash for the high res and low res pictures...merely because I was too lazy to set the time aside to choose pics for printing and albums! We ended up choosing two photos that we put to canvas and those are the only two photos from our whole wedding that we got printed ph34r.gif I love having the digital copies, though. I like to think my wedding photos in my FB albums are my wedding albums laugh.gif

If I was getting married now I would like the high res and low res images on disk so that I could do whatever I wanted with them - I would be willing to pay a lot for the privilege, especially with no watermark, so in essence buying the copyright. I understand a lot of photographers wouldn't want to do that, though. I think it's nice to offer the photos put to music as I'd love that, but also understand that these days it's easy for people to make that themselves.

It's certainly a tough and very competitive industry your sister is in, but I have seen her photos and she definitely has an eye for photography. There are too many people out there who have a fancy camera and are clever with photoshop, it's a real shame that they're clogging up the market place and talented people like your sister have to vie for business sleep.gif
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#13 Porthos

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:21 PM

Thanks Windsor smile.gif

I took my 5 minute wedding vid into show my Yr 12s (back in 2005) and they also loved it. It's funny how much actually! I loved showing it off to them blush.gif

You're another person who votes coffee book style over a big album, I'm keeping tabs and coffee table style photobook is winning out so far wink.gif

The blog entry your photographer did was great, you had the link up recently and I loved checking it out. Good it's still up there and active from a 2008 wedding too.

#14 Shellsibelle

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:28 PM

Oh and the package we got was for two photographers - one was with me and the girls taking photos of us getting ready; and the other was with my hubby and the boys. Then we had the two photographers at the church, the pre-reception location photoshoot, and we had them at the reception until just after our first dance. I loved having that as I didn't want to do a fake cutting of the cake photo and fake first dance photo. I loved having the photographers there to capture the fun of the reception, including the speeches - some of the photos are really, really special wub.gif It was brilliant having two photographers as well as they were able to capture a lot more than only one photographer could.

QUOTE(Porthos @ Apr 22 2013, 09:31 PM) View Post

It is freaking awesome having a professional photographer in the family biggrin.gif She was with us for all three of my births which was very special and the images are some of my most favourite ever wub.gif I have also scored three maternity shoots and a wonderful family shoot (when we were a family of four) as well as a shoot just for Cate when she was about 15 months old. Plus, every family functions we have the pics are amazing!! We're so spoilt!

My BIL is a photographer and I agree it is brilliant having one in the fam!

Oh and I LOVE your birth photos and wish I could see more if you weren't so modest about them! laugh.gif wink.gif
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#15 Porthos

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:38 PM

QUOTE(Shellsibelle @ Apr 23 2013, 02:19 PM) View Post

So basically we paid a heap of cash for the high res and low res pictures...merely because I was too lazy to set the time aside to choose pics for printing and albums! We ended up choosing two photos that we put to canvas and those are the only two photos from our whole wedding that we got printed ph34r.gif

If I was getting married now I would like the high res and low res images on disk so that I could do whatever I wanted with them - I would be willing to pay a lot for the privilege, especially with no watermark, so in essence buying the copyright. I understand a lot of photographers wouldn't want to do that, though. I think it's nice to offer the photos put to music as I'd love that, but also understand that these days it's easy for people to make that themselves.

It's certainly a tough and very competitive industry your sister is in, but I have seen her photos and she definitely has an eye for photography. There are too many people out there who have a fancy camera and are clever with photoshop, it's a real shame that they're clogging up the market place and talented people like your sister have to vie for business sleep.gif


Thanks for replying Shell (especially after I harrassed you on FB ph34r.gif laugh.gif )

Your experience 'missing out' because you didn't have the time to put together what you wanted is probably not uncommon. Kat (my sister for those playing along at home wink.gif ) would probably never leave that option to clients just because she'd hate them to miss out! Also, she loves putting together albums / DVD slideshows, really enjoys that creative process.

Lots of photographers won't give up their digital negatives and I completely understand why. Once you give up the negatives you lose control of the pictures. Kat has been offering digital negatives for purchase (you're right, at a higher price) but she'll probably phase this out I'd say.

It's okay that there are lots of people out there calling themselves photographers, that's the nature of the (digital) beast. There is always a market for quality though and those who want it, will find it wink.gif

QUOTE(Shellsibelle @ Apr 23 2013, 02:28 PM) View Post

Oh and the package we got was for two photographers - one was with me and the girls taking photos of us getting ready; and the other was with my hubby and the boys. Then we had the two photographers at the church, the pre-reception location photoshoot, and we had them at the reception until just after our first dance. I loved having that as I didn't want to do a fake cutting of the cake photo and fake first dance photo. I loved having the photographers there to capture the fun of the reception, including the speeches - some of the photos are really, really special wub.gif It was brilliant having two photographers as well as they were able to capture a lot more than only one photographer could.
My BIL is a photographer and I agree it is brilliant having one in the fam!

Oh and I LOVE your birth photos and wish I could see more if you weren't so modest about them! laugh.gif wink.gif



We posted at the same time!! laugh.gif

There are some beautiful moments to capture at a reception, that's for sure. I remember LJM used to have a pic from her reception in her sig and I adored that photo - so natural, such a moment to have caught forever.

Your BIL takes great photos too - I remember the pics from the twins first birthday party were fabulous. We're lucky, aren't we? smile.gif

I am so NOT modest about the birth pics, I will show them to anyone who wanders past!! laugh.gif But I don't put them all on FB because a lot of people out there find them off putting / confrontational / too much information. I might have to make you a custom album only you can see if you're that keen wink.gif They are truly amazing pics wub.gif




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