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Wedding Photography - what would you do differently?


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#16 Tigridia

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:41 PM

I got married in 2006, so eons ago smile.gif

Our photographer was making a name for herself when we picked her and her prices were starting to shoot up. I think we paid $1500 for about 4 hours coverage? The same thing now is about $8k I think but she was worth it. We deliberately picked short coverage as our formal photos were before the ceremony. Then we did the ceremony and group shots in the gardens where we got married and then a few more photos with just us and then the first hour and a bit of the reception (the reception was next to the ceremony venue). We knew we could get the photos we wanted in a short space of time so didn't bother booking her for longer. With our reception it was a cocktail style so we did the speeches and cake cutting in the first hour and a bit so there was no mock up of any of that. Our photographer was also happy to stay until the cake was cut even though we were running a bit late.

When we booked her she was shooting both film and digital. My DH wanted film as he was into film photography. She now only does digital but at the time we did have a choice. Honestly I kind of wish we had of gone digital. We had access to a high quality film scanner and I scanned all our negs so we have digital copies but it took a lot of time.

In our price we got 4x6 proofs of all the photos that were considered acceptable by the photographer (this was 300 odd) most were colour but she also shot a few rolls of B&W. We also got all the negs.

There were other packages available with albums etc in them and prints. Because we had the negs we printed our own enlargements. We did ask the photographer what printers she liked and used a well respected printer and didn't go to the local kodak. We have several prints around our house and on our walls. We also gave out quite a few as presents. In the last year or so I've had some of my favourite shots put onto canvas, but again we did this ourselves.

We elected not to do an album. At the time the photographer was doing the big mounted albums and I knew I wouldn't ever look at it. I intended to do a coffee table book myself. I did one for each set of parents for xmas presents the year we got married and they came up beautifully. However, after that I was sick of looking at the photos (especially after all the scanning) so didn't do our album. Literally today, after 7 years, I've finished our album and am going to send it off to get printed shortly.

What I liked: That she was very flexible with coverage times, locations and was an excellent photographer. I loved the 4x6 proofs as we actually display many of them and have given some away and have others in a display box. I loved getting all the negs. This was non-negotiable for us when choosing a photographer.

What I'd do differently now: go digital (pretty much a given these days), probably have some photos in low res or watermarked to put on social media or give to rellies to put on social media rather than them printing out all their crappy ones from their cameras. Maybe get the coffee table book done as part of the package as I have struggled to get around to it smile.gif I know the photographer now does coffee table style books as her standard and has about 3 other photograpahers working for her so they have multiple shooters at each wedding, to get all the shots. She missed a few shots as it's hard to catch everything on your own but she still did an amazing job. I'd also get some coverage of us getting ready before the wedding. We decided not to do this but in hindsight I wish I had allocated half an hour to that and paid a bit extra. It was our choice to do it that way though.

As an aside, I do a bit of photography (I'm still amateur and mostly shoot for friends and family) and I prefer to give out watermarked copies of photos unless it's a shoot that has been specifically arranged and/or paid for. I get asked by friends and family to shoot things like birthday parties etc a lot and I don't expect them to pay for them but I put effort into the photos and get a bit shitty when I give them high res photos and they put them all over facebook and don't credit me at all. If it's an arranged shoot (even if I'm doing it for free, since most of them are) I don't mind and I'm happy to give them the photos I'm happy with for them to do with what they will. I also prefer to print enlargements for them (I only charge the cost of the enlargement at this stage) or recommend a decent printer and resize the photos myself so the prints come out looking how they should.

My point is that I don't expect professional photographers to give high res or non-watermarked images to clients unless that has been paid for as part of the package. I think these days everyone puts everything on FB/Twitter/instagram/blogs so the photographer should get credit for the photos or at least $$$ for their work and time.

I also agree with previous posters that a few images turned around quickly (within a couple of days) for posting on blogs and FB is a good idea business wise. It takes time to process a whole wedding and and do albums but 10 or 20 shots turned around quickly is a fantastic marketing tool, keeps the couple happy and stops guests from bombarding social media with crappy photos they took on their camera phones smile.gif

I know some clients like flexibility with regards to the photographer printing their photos or them doing it themselves (we certainly did) so maybe suggest to your sister she offers some reasonably priced print packages so clients are more likely to use her to print, while she still makes some profit..... or at least charges for the digital files and ensures the clients understand that if they use a reputable printer (she can point them in the right direction) the prints will look much better.

Hope some of that helps.
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#17 HelsBels

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:44 PM

QUOTE(Porthos @ Apr 23 2013, 12:38 PM) View Post


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.

I think this would be a shame. I love the fact that we can go back and ALL of the pictures when we want to rather than just the select few that made it into the album. Also we've found that a few years down the track different pictures now have significance for us so being able to go back and get prints or whatever of those has been great. When DH's nan died 16months ago, for example, the picture that was used for everything throughout the funeral was a lovely candid one from our professional wedding shots. Had we not had the negatives on disc we wouldn't have been able to do this. It also means that if anything ever happens to either of our albums we have the ability to get them re-done.

I understand why photographers may be less willing to do it these days but perhaps it could be something only offered to couples who have already spent a certain amount with her or anyone that gets a full on album done by her or something? That way people can't just buy her time and the negatives and then go get all their printing/canvases/photo books from B!gW etc. Just an idea.

QUOTE
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

Oh I'd love to see these!

For the comments about lack of time to pick/getting fed up of seeing your own photos again and again (I got much the same way after I'd finished the photobook). The DVD we got set to music was something she did all by herself and I think that actually made it more special. She picked her favourite pictures as well as the music and whilst we knew we would be getting it we had no idea what it would be like until it arrived. I ended up almost more excited by it than the big album because I knew exactly what that was going to look like having been part of the selection and design process. It was wonderful watching the day in motion like that and it often brings tears to my eyes when we watch it. I don't know exactly how long it is but it's set to 3 reasonable length songs so somewhere around 12-15mins I guess and includes probably 2/3 of the pics she took.

QUOTE(Tigridia @ Apr 23 2013, 02:41 PM) View Post

I also agree with previous posters that a few images turned around quickly (within a couple of days) for posting on blogs and FB is a good idea business wise. It takes time to process a whole wedding and and do albums but 10 or 20 shots turned around quickly is a fantastic marketing tool, keeps the couple happy and stops guests from bombarding social media with crappy photos they took on their camera phones smile.gif

I agree. We had to wait over 3mths before we saw ANY of the professional pics for our day dry.gif She offered a thank you card service that we had planned to take her up on but it was so long before we got to even see our pics that we ended up giving up on her and making our own thank you cards. In all it took just under 12mths for us to get our album ohmy.gif and this was entirely down to her as we made sure we made decisions quickly and got everything back to her ASAP. It was far too long. She was a wonderful photographer but she obviously had more work than she could reasonably handle at that point. It was sad, we were so thrilled with the pictures she took but by the time the album eventually arrived we were well and truly over it.
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#18 aChocLover

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:55 PM

Firstly, let me say, I LOVE our wedding photographer. He has done all our family portraits since. He now resides/works in Tasmania so the last set of family portraits, we went there. DH & I are even considering flying him to an offshore holiday destination in the next year or two to get more family portraits done.

Secondly, my wedding was an absolute debacle - mainly family politics but we were also highly strung and exhausted as DD2 had just come out of hospital (the day before!). So, between the family screaming matches that was the night before and the actual wedding day preparations (getting ready etc), he managed to capture some moments of me smiling. For this, I'm eternally grateful and it was his photos that changed my view/feelings on how my wedding actually was (note the blow out in cost wacko.gif ).

We picked a $3500 package - we spent $8000 (lots of separate prints for family, 20+more pages in album)

Included (from memory!) -
. engagement session/shoot (which we didn't use; not sure if any pics were included in that deal)
. 5 hrs coverage, 2 photographers including getting ready (ETA: also included DH on the golf course!), ceremony, photo shoot, fake cake cutting and arrival at reception.
. proof album (which was already sanitised to the best of the photos taken)
. 20-page acrylic cover album (in hindsight, it's probably not the best investment wink.gif )
. artistry and touchups as required/requested
. large canvas print or framed pic (our choice)
. slideshow to music on DVD wub.gif (hands down beat my videographer's work!)

If I could 'design' my own package or have my time again, I would hope for

. online gallery where friends/family could login and browse and pay for any prints they wanted!
. slideshow to music on DVD
. framed photos/canvas prints
. option to buy digital images/copyright of select photos
. an album (whilst the benefit of hindsight says that this is probably not the best use of money, I am realistic in saying I probably couldn't a quality one together, even if I had the digital prints). I would however look carefully at photographers having a restricted number of pages.

#19 Porthos

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:56 PM

Tig, thank you SO much for this detailed response, it's wonderful!!!

QUOTE(Tigridia @ Apr 23 2013, 04:41 PM) View Post

There were other packages available with albums etc in them and prints. Because we had the negs we printed our own enlargements. We did ask the photographer what printers she liked and used a well respected printer and didn't go to the local kodak.

Literally today, after 7 years, I've finished our album and am going to send it off to get printed shortly.

As an aside, I do a bit of photography (I'm still amateur and mostly shoot for friends and family) and I prefer to give out watermarked copies of photos unless it's a shoot that has been specifically arranged and/or paid for. I get asked by friends and family to shoot things like birthday parties etc a lot and I don't expect them to pay for them but I put effort into the photos and get a bit shitty when I give them high res photos and they put them all over facebook and don't credit me at all. If it's an arranged shoot (even if I'm doing it for free, since most of them are) I don't mind and I'm happy to give them the photos I'm happy with for them to do with what they will. I also prefer to print enlargements for them (I only charge the cost of the enlargement at this stage) or recommend a decent printer and resize the photos myself so the prints come out looking how they should.

My point is that I don't expect professional photographers to give high res or non-watermarked images to clients unless that has been paid for as part of the package. I think these days everyone puts everything on FB/Twitter/instagram/blogs so the photographer should get credit for the photos or at least $$$ for their work and time.

I also agree with previous posters that a few images turned around quickly (within a couple of days) for posting on blogs and FB is a good idea business wise. It takes time to process a whole wedding and and do albums but 10 or 20 shots turned around quickly is a fantastic marketing tool, keeps the couple happy and stops guests from bombarding social media with crappy photos they took on their camera phones smile.gif


Firstly, you were smart AND very well behaved ( tongue.gif ) to go to a proper printer as recommended by your photographer. If all couples would do this, I am sure more photographers would release their negs wink.gif

Secondly, huge congrats on finishing your album!! Yay! biggrin.gif

Thirdly, I love your photos. I have checked out your blog numerous times and I think you do a fabulous job. Friends and family who are getting your services for free are getting themselves a fantastic deal. No wonder you are shitty when you work gets plastered all over FB with no recognition / acknowledgement mad.gif I remember taking pics at a friend's wedding and posting them on FB - before I could say 'boo', she'd ripped the whole album to her page and used the photos for her thank yous ( ohmy.gif ) without even a 'thanks for taking these' headed my way. I was furious! Especially because the work was in no way fit for thank you cards...she should have bloody well waited for her pro pics (my sister took them and they were brilliant and crapped all over mine).

Finally, I second you that getting 20 images (or so) as quickly as possible is a brilliant marketing tool. I know a girl who was married on Dec 1st last year and she posted 20 pro pics to her FB page on Dec 4th...amazing!!

Again, thank you for the detailed feedback, it's fantastic smile.gif


Hels - you make some interesting points re: having the negs. I'll be sure to pass that info on to my sister.
It also sounds like the DVD 'show reel' was a big hit for you (and for me...I would have LOVED something like that!!). My sister currently charges for these show reels but this may change as she re-organises her packages and pricing. I'll have to clue her into the fact that brides LOVE them wink.gif
You waited an utterly ridiculous amount of time for your pictures mad.gif I would have been furious. AND your photographer lost business because you didn't end up using her prints for your thank you cards. Kat definitely realises the importance of a fast turn around...and I am sure comments like yours will cement that for her. Thanks for stopping back into this thread for some follow up smile.gif

PS I am going to PM you re: the birth pics wink.gif

#20 Daybreak

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 09:07 PM

QUOTE(Porthos @ Apr 23 2013, 02:38 PM) View Post

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.

Yes! I'm so glad we had a photographer for our first dance - probably the best photo of the whole day is from that (Hon. Brother who had done the music somehow lost our first dance song, groomsman downloaded it onto his iPhone. 1 verse in he got a text which stopped the whole song for several seconds. We froze then burst out laughing which is what the photo is of. It later turned out the SMS was a booty call!)
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#21 Porthos

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:09 PM

Thanks for the constructive advice ACL smile.gif Your photographer must be amazing to have garnered such amazing repeat business from you. So glad the photographer's work made you see your wedding day in a different light - she was worth the investment then wink.gif Thanks for reponding in such detail.

Daybreak - that is a cracker story!!! biggrin.gif A booty call stopped your first dance music - hilarious!

#22 Tigridia

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE(Porthos @ Apr 23 2013, 07:56 PM) View Post

Tig, thank you SO much for this detailed response, it's wonderful!!!
Firstly, you were smart AND very well behaved ( tongue.gif ) to go to a proper printer as recommended by your photographer. If all couples would do this, I am sure more photographers would release their negs wink.gif

Secondly, huge congrats on finishing your album!! Yay! biggrin.gif

Thirdly, I love your photos. I have checked out your blog numerous times and I think you do a fabulous job. Friends and family who are getting your services for free are getting themselves a fantastic deal. No wonder you are shitty when you work gets plastered all over FB with no recognition / acknowledgement mad.gif I remember taking pics at a friend's wedding and posting them on FB - before I could say 'boo', she'd ripped the whole album to her page and used the photos for her thank yous ( ohmy.gif ) without even a 'thanks for taking these' headed my way. I was furious! Especially because the work was in no way fit for thank you cards...she should have bloody well waited for her pro pics (my sister took them and they were brilliant and crapped all over mine).

Finally, I second you that getting 20 images (or so) as quickly as possible is a brilliant marketing tool. I know a girl who was married on Dec 1st last year and she posted 20 pro pics to her FB page on Dec 4th...amazing!!




Because Hubby was heavily into photography before we got married we were very well behaved when it came to prints etc. I don't think most people are though, which is why it makes sense for photographers to do prints themselves (plus it generates more $$) but there is always a trade off between giving your clients what they want and keep total control for yourself.

The quick turnaround of a handful of images is a very wise idea. People get over weddings pretty quick and it just makes sense to have something available for at least social media while everyone is in a 'wedding bubble'.

Thanks for the kind words on my photos. While I am not planning on turning pro any time soon, as I do it for fun, not money I do always try to do a good job and improve my technique. A few of our friends are very well behaved. They ask us to do shoots for them in lieu of presents for birthdays/xmas etc, and they always come back and get me to resize photos or print for them/make canvases etc. The end result is photos that look lovely and they have on their walls and other people comment favourably on. At the other end of the spectrum are the friends who totally take advantage by assuming that since I"ll be at their kids birthday party with my child I would love to photograph the event for them and run around like a headless chook not enjoying myself. Only to not even get a thankyou and have all the photos put on FB with no acknowledgment that I even took them and half of them downsized or altered in some way........ makes me all stabby. I've had the same thing happen with weddings, where friends have asked me to second shoot (even though I was a guest) and then not even a thankyou afterwards and they have passed my photos off as the pro-ones.

While I love taking photos my new rule is that if I'm a guest at something I'm a guest and I might only take my dodgy point and shoot camera so I don't get roped in to being defacto photographer!

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#23 Porthos

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:46 AM

My sister pretty much always gets roped into taking pics even when she's not the professional photographer that's been hired. Taking along a simple point and shoot is good way to get out of it!!

#24 jessiegirl

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 05:32 PM

To be very honest I wouldn't change anything with my suppliers (Brides of Melbourne - LOVE, Dreamlife Photos - LOVE, Red earth Flowers - LOVE LOVE I think you get the idea)
HOWEVER the one thing I would change is taking everyone else's opinions on board. Trying to make everyone happy (bridesmaids, mine & grroms mother etc) drove me nuts and nearly made me call the whole thing off. Sounds silly in hidsight but that's about it.




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