What to expect from your photographer before the wedding day
You're engaged. (Congrats, by the way.) You're making a million decisions about your wedding, and among them is hiring a wedding photographer. Most likely, you've never hired one before.
Here's how the process works with Christensen Photography. Many of these steps will apply to any photographer you choose to work with.
This is part 1 in a three-part series on what to expect from your wedding photographer.
Part 2 is What to expect from your photographer on the wedding day.
Making an inquiry
Usually a couple will contact me via Email or the Contact form on this website. I like to follow up any inquiry with a phone chat with the bride or groom just to introduce myself and find out a little about you. I can only shoot a limited number of weddings a year, so I'm not going to try to sell you on anything. I'm more interested in who you are and possibly what type of photography you like. I saw "possibly" because often brides and grooms don't know what they like for sure.
I will explain a little about my photography style and how it may differ from others. Our conversation may also help you to identify the type of photography you prefer. And I give you a general idea of my pricing.
I'll then follow with a more detailed pricing list and at least one full wedding gallery so you can see my shooting style throughout an entire wedding.
Getting to know you
If it sounds like we will be a good match, I'll usually send you a link to an online questionnaire that gives me the basic information about your wedding and photography needs. I like to meet both of you in person. If we live too far apart, we can have a FaceTime or Skype chat. We can get to know each other, and I can go over each part of the wedding day so I am sure to get all of the images that are most important to you.
I will also send you a sample contract so you can see what one looks like.
After I have a good idea of your ceremony and reception times and locations, I will work on a custom timeline for your photography. Here's why you need this: there are three times during the day where the action has to stop in order for the photography to happen. These are 1) at the end of the getting ready, 2) the wedding party and bride and groom portraits and 3) the family formals. If this time is not factored into your day, these photos don't happen or they happen under rushed and stressed circumstances.
We really like to avoid rushed and stressed circumstances.
The timeline also lets me know where exactly I need to be at different points during the day.
The contract and payment
After the timeline is basically settled, I will send you your own contract.
I generally do thirds for payment - one-third down at booking, one-third two weeks before and one-third can be day of, although we can work out other arrangements as needed. I accept Zelle, cold hard cash, check, PayPal bank transfer, and PayPal credit card payment. There is a 2.9% fee for PayPal and credit card payment. I no longer use the Cash app due to a scary lack of customer support.
I like to communicate a lot. I read somewhere that clients only become disappointed when their expectations are not met. My goal is to know your expectations and to help you know what to expect.
I want you to be absolutely thrilled with your wedding photos, and the only way for that to happen is for me to know what thrills you.
We don't have to be best buds, but I do want us to become friends. I'm going to be hanging out with your during some high stress moments. The better we get to know each other ahead of time, the more I can be a source of calm (although I'm told my strength is more in the realm of comic relief).