Your first meeting with a wedding photographer: what to expect, and some questions to ask
Words & images by Amanda Karen Photography
I love meeting couples before they book, it’s exciting to hear about their plans, but it can also be a little nerve racking, a bit like going on a first date! This first meeting is about getting to know each other and finding out if you like each other, after all, your wedding photographer will be with you for a long time on your big day.
As well as hearing all about your wedding plans, this meeting is about you seeing gorgeous album samples and finding out how your photographer works. Any professional wedding photographer worth their salt will have insurance, back up equipment, provide you with a contract, and all those great business practices. So what should you ask during that first meeting? Claire asked me to give a little insight into those first meetings, and to share the questions we’ve been asked by couples just like you, as well as the answers we give.
Here are some of the questions couples have asked us during their first meeting:
Can we see a full wedding?
Of course you can, we have galleries from real weddings where our couples have agreed for us to show their wedding images to new couples. It’s really important for you to see weddings from start to finish from your photographer so you can get a feel for their full style throughout the day and not just the highlights that make it into an album.
How do I look good in my photos?
Just relax and enjoy your day, as a happy couple who aren’t stressed out and are having the time of their life equals a gorgeous couple. It’s our job to make sure that we find the flattering angles, the beautiful light and during the couple portraits, gently encourage you to just be yourself. Don’t worry about how to stand, what to do with your arms and the faces to pull, just do what comes naturally because it’s about capturing who you are and how you interact with each other, leave the rest to us!
How will you make us feel relaxed in front of the camera?
Well, it’ll start with your engagement shoot, as that’s great opportunity for you to see just how chilled out we are when it comes to getting the best images of you. We don’t go in for the forced poses, it’s more about placing you in the right light, with a gorgeous backdrop and then stepping back so that we’re not on top of you with the camera! Don’t get me wrong, if I have to act like a goon and tell some awful jokes to get you to laugh I will, but more often than not, we’re just taking a walk somewhere that is familiar to you and capturing it as we go. After that, you’ll be more relaxed on your wedding day because you’ll have had the opportunity to “practice” being in front of the camera.
How many images will we get?
For a full day wedding coverage we deliver 350+ individually edited images, the reason it’s a “350 plus” number is because for a full day we can guarantee at least that many but the final number will depend on how many guests, the amount of detail and styling in the wedding and how the day unfolds.
Should we do a first look?
I think these are an awesome idea and something that you should really consider (and something I wish I’d thought about when we got married). Firstly, if you don’t know what one is, it’s basically where you see each other before the ceremony, away from your guests, just the two of you. The reason I think it’s such an amazing idea is because it’s such a beautiful moment, the first time you see each other but most of the time it’s at the bottom of the aisle and in front of all your guests and so the moment is kind of rushed. Then after the ceremony, it’s a whirlwind and the only time you have just the two of you is in the car (if you’re having one) to the reception and during your couple shots. What if what you really want to do is on seeing each other is throw your arms round each other and squeal, some people wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that in front of all their guests, with a first look, it would be the two of you (and then me lurking in the distance capturing it without being intrusive).
Why do you have two of you shooting a wedding?
Ultimately it’s because we believe that in order to capture everything that happens during the wedding there needs to be two sets of eyes. Whilst I am with the bride getting ready, James is with the groom (we can’t forget about them!). Whilst I am photographing details and your couple portraits, you can guarantee that James will be capturing all the laughing and emotions of your guests. But more than that, because we are a husband and wife team, we remember what it is like on a wedding day and between us we can make sure you and your guests are relaxed and at ease in front of the camera.
We’re having a videographer too, how will you work with them?
Videographers are great members of your wedding team, it’s another way to look back on your day and relive those moments, so it’s really important that we work together on the day. If you’re having a videographer please let us know so that we can introduce ourselves before the day, as often it’s too rushed to do it on the day itself. We’ll then work together throughout the day to ensure that we are both able to capture the images we need to. It’s important though to let your priest, registrar or celebrant know that you are having a photographer and a videographer, particularly if there are restrictions on where we can stand during the ceremony, so we can make sure we are both able to get in position ready for when you walk down the aisle.
Why do all your collections have an album, we just want the files?
For us, albums are the best! Having something tangible in your hands that will last the lifetime of your wedding and beyond is amazing, and it’s why you’ve hired a photographer, because you want to be able to look back on your wedding day. Whilst digital images are great (and included in all bar one of our collections), what if you don’t load them onto the computer, the way technology is moving on, those who have their images on a CD may not be able to easily access them and USB drives may go the same way. It would be such a shame for your images to be stuck on a device and not beautifully presented, after all, your wedding images deserve the best!
How long do we have to wait til we get our photos?
We aim to have your edited images to you within 4 weeks of your wedding date, which will be via your own online gallery and your USB drive. From there we will schedule your album design consultation to talk through which images you would like in your album, the cover you like, etc after which I will design your album and send you an online proof for you to sign off before it is sent to the lovely team at Folio to handcraft your album. There is a 12 week turnaround then on the album for it to be made, sent to me to be lovingly packaged up ready to be delivered to you.
And finally, what happens next?
Well, after our “first date” meeting, we really hope you want to share your day with us and book, but we know that it’s quite a lot to take in… So firstly we give you a bit of breathing space to discuss anything you need to discuss, if you have any more questions we’re just at the end of the phone or email and then once you are ready to book (and we hope you are!) we will send you the contract to sign and the details for the booking fee (25% of the overall balance) to secure the date and confirm the booking. Once all the formalities are done, we’ll then send you your welcome pack and look forward to your engagement shoot and your big day!
There are so many other questions and I truly believe there are no silly questions, because for a lot of couples this is the first time booking a professional photographer and for even more of those couples it’s their first wedding. Whereas it’s very likely your wedding photographer has been to a lot of weddings! We can advise not only on the photography, but perhaps even on timings, what to expect and they’re quite likely to know some really amazing suppliers to create your wedding dream team.
We personally love to meet over coffee and a cheeky slice of cake (or skype if you’re further afield). So, embrace the opportunity, put those first date nerves to one side and really get to know your future photographer.
Contact & Bookings: Amanda Karen Photography