What does hiring a documentary wedding photographer mean? If you've spent any time looking for a wedding photographer you've seen a lot of words used to describe them.... traditional, photojournalistic, editorial, documentary... It can get confusing. I use the term documentary to describe how I photograph your day because my approach is really to document your day. I won't direct you, move you, tell you how to look at each other (except for the formal groupings). I try my best to stay out of the way. You don't need to smile at the camera if you happen to notice me making a picture of you - just go back to what you were doing. After awhile you'll tend to forget I'm there. You and your guests won't spend all day doing what I tell you; you'll enjoy the day as it happens. Your pictures (and this is the most important part for me) will look like your wedding pictures and no one else's.
Will you direct us during the day? My approach is to observe what is happening and make pictures of what I see. In general the only time of the day I will give direction is during any posed formal pictures you require. Otherwise I stay to the sidelines and watch what is happening around me for the right moment to make the picture.
How will we know you are a good fit for our wedding? If you've read through the first Q & A and found yourself nodding in agreement then that is a good start. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the details of your wedding and I will check my availability. If I'm available for your wedding let's meet! If we're too far away to meet before the wedding not to worry I work with many couples by email and/or phone.
What can I do to prepare my guests for the documentary approach to the wedding photography? The rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to mention to your friends and family that your photographer has a documentary approach to photographing weddings. Let them know that you're very interested in pictures that reflect how your wedding day flows rather than the staged and posed pictures. Let them know that they do not need to stop talking, dancing or otherwise interacting and pose at any point during the day. If they notice me making pictures ask them to just continue on with what they are doing. Assure them that after awhile they'll barely notice I'm there at all.
What is included in your packages? My packages are largely based on the amount of time you need my services. Included in each package are the high resolution files in both color and black & white and the print rights. Also included is a "sneak peek" of the photographer's favorite pictures on my blog and as a Facebook gallery.
How long should we hire you for if we would like to have pictures of the getting ready, ceremony, formals and reception? Everyone's schedule and timing will be so the time one means will vary. I'm always happy to advise and offer suggestions based on each client's specific needs.
What if it is time for you leave and we haven't cut the cake, had our first dance, or (fill in the blank) yet? I check in with the bride and groom about 15 minutes before I'm scheduled to leave. I do this in case there is anything else you would like coverage of before I leave. If you decide that you require my services longer my rate is $250.00 per hour payable at that time.
Should we see each other before the ceremony? There is a trend to encourage couples to see each other before the ceremony. My preference is to follow your wishes on this. Although a private meeting before the ceremony can be a beautiful moment to photograph in the end this is your day and you should decide when you want to see each other.
Since we are very interested in the documentary approach, what can we do to speed up the formal posed pictures so we can get back to our guests? Before the wedding make a list of the important group pictures and who will be in them. Limit the list to six to eight groupings.
Bride & Groom w/ full bridal party
Bride & Groom w/ bridesmaids
Bride & Groom w/ groomsmen
Bride & Groom w/ Bride's family
Bride & Groom w/ Bride's parents
Bride & Groom w/ Groom's family
Bride & Groom w/ Groom's parents
Plan about 30 minutes of my coverage time for about six to eight posed pictures. Provide the list to me at least two weeks prior to the wedding. Ask a friend or family member who know the people on the list and who will not be in the pictures to assist with rounding up the people needed the day of the wedding.
How many weddings do you take in a year? I generally book about 12 -15 weddings in a year. This allows me to stay at top form for each of the weddings I do book. But because of this policy it's best to check my availability as early as possible.