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The Questions I’m Never Asked as a Wedding Photographer + Their Answers | Wedding Planning

May 5, 2021

I feel like there are so many posts that I see online from wedding blogs, breaking down all of the questions you should ask your wedding photographer. They often range from experiential questions to questions that don’t really make that much sense for an overall wedding photography experience. As a wedding photographer, I can typically tell when a couple pulls from these lists, and it makes me chuckle a little bit every time!
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Let me clarify: there is nothing wrong with asking questions from these lists! Oftentimes, these provide an incredible amount of insight and value for a couple when they are trying to make a decision on a wedding photographer. That said, oftentimes, these questions aren’t really covering everything a couple actually needs to know! These blogs can be a great starting point to spark ideas for questions that you may have but just because they say you should ask *these particular questions*, doesn’t mean that you should be limited to these questions alone! I wanted to share a blog post sharing everything that I WISH couples asked me before booking me for their wedding day! It got long, fast, but I’m sharing SO much good and honest information in this blog post.

What do I WISH inquiring couples would ask me before they book their wedding coverage with me? Well… let’s dive in! 

How do we book?

I’m so glad you asked! To book, I require a quick intake questionnaire that will allow me to collect some key information that I need to fill in your contract and invoice! I’ll send that over as soon as you feel ready for it. From there, I’ll send you a linked contract and invoice within 2 business days of receiving your questionnaire back. From there, a 25% non-refundable retainer and a contract signed by both people getting married is required. After that? WE’LL BE OFFICIAL!!! You’ll be welcomed to my exclusive couple Facebook group and will receive access to my online wedding guide!

To learn more about my wedding experiences, click here! 
To start your inquiry process, click here!

What is part of your onboarding and planning process?

This is SUCH an important part of the process! I want you to get everything out of your experience with me AND MORE! Because of that, I offer lots of planning assistance and tips and tricks for all of my CKP Couples! Like I mentioned above, you’ll be welcomed to the online CKP Couple community and will receive your online wedding guide right after we make things official! The CKP Community is a great place to connect with fellow and veteran CKP couples that are or have gone through the same experience you did! (Post-wedding, you are also more than welcome to use it to sell or repurpose decor!) Your online wedding guide is an incredible resource that will walk you through everything you need to know to plan an amazing wedding day experience that will result in all of the photos you’ve been dreaming about! It is one of my FAVORITE resources to send all of my couples!

Now, breaking this down even further, I start helping all of my couples plan their wedding day timelines about 5 months before their wedding day. This is SUCH an important part of the process— I want to share everything I know with my couples to help them get EVERYTHING they need to make the most of their wedding day. Two months out, I’ll share a major questionnaire that will allow me to collect everything I need to know for your wedding day! This will also give me all of the information I need to start helping you draft your family portrait list (Such an important part of your day!). Once everything is set in stone, we’ll have a quick chat about 2 weeks out (Typically on the phone) to confirm all of the details before your wedding day is here!

One more part of the process: your engagement session! We’ll schedule your engagement session about 2-3 months in advance. From there, I’ll send you a full online styling guide that will walk you through everything you need to know to select gorgeous engagement session outfits!

If you have any questions or needs throughout the process, my email inbox is always open! I always encourage couples to ask whatever questions they have! I want this process to be easy and for your mind to be at ease.

What is the biggest thing we can do to help you out?

I got asked this one time, and it warmed my heart! (And caught me off guard in the best way!) If you are wanting to help your photographer out, I can honestly say the BEST way to help them out is communication! Communication is honestly KEY when it comes to planning out a wedding day! Read your wedding guide, respond to emails promptly, take the questionnaire seriously… all of these things may take a little extra time, but they are all designed to help you maximize your wedding day!

What events are typically part of an 8-10 hour day?

As part of my timeline, you can typically work through the following on an 8-10 hour day:

  • Wedding details (Think gorgeous photos of rings, stationery, bouquets, dresses, heirlooms, etc.)
  • Getting ready photos of both sides of the wedding party
  • First look and couple’s portraits
  • Wedding party portraits including:
    • Full wedding party, individual sides of the party, each person getting married with individuals on their side of the wedding party
  • Immediate family portraits
  • Ceremony
  • Married portraits
  • Cocktail hour:
    • split between taking photos of guests + photos of untouched reception space
  • Reception including:
    • Entrances, dances, speeches and toasts, traditions, cake cutting, garter/bouquet toss, and open dancing (All events are optional!)
    • I typically eat dinner while guests begin eating dinner to avoid action shots of people eating!
  • Optional: sparkler photos/exit

What does your post-wedding workflow look like?

This is a question that I am almost never asked, and it is one I REALLY wish people would ask! I could show up and photograph any wedding day… we could have an absolutely stunning day, taking hundreds of amazing photos together, but if I don’t have a solid backup system on my back end and I lose images, what’s the point?! I’m incredibly proud of my backup system and would LOVE to share more information on what it looks like. This is a little boring, but it is SO important that you know how your images will be kept post-wedding. I’ll try not to get super techy!

  • What does your wedding backup process look like?
    • The backup process starts WHILE I shoot! I actually always shoot RAW images to two cards as I work… one that I consider a “working card” which will be cleared for the next thing I shoot and one that serves as a post-processing backup of RAW images that I’ll keep until a couple’s images are safely delivered!
    • Before I leave a wedding day, I make sure to remove all memory cards from my gear and place the cards on my person! (This may sound a little crazy, but I live in the city! If anything were to happen to my bags or my car, I would want to be confident I did everything I could to ensure your images were safe!)
    • When I get home, I immediately back all images up to a solid-state hard drive. From there, I start a backup to my NAS system! What’s a NAS system? Long story short, my NAS system is a super fancy drive system that I use to create TWO mirrored backups of anything I upload onto it.
    • As I edit, I keep all RAW images on the original SD card, solid-state hard drive, and NAS system (resulting in 4 backups! If one happens to fail, it is so important to me that I have multiple backups.)
    • Once I get an edited gallery returned to a couple, I backup the edited catalog and edited images on the NAS system. Edited images are also uploaded to my online gallery system (Where they will be archived for at least 2 years) and live on my computer for 2 years after a wedding day.
      • Images will be removed from the backup SD card and the solid-state hard drive
  • What process do they go through?
    • I shoot all weddings and engagement sessions in a RAW format, meaning that the photos need a little love before you are able to enjoy them as you are used to! After backing up your images (See above for the process!), I select the images that will be edited! These images will be uploaded into my editing platforms (A program from Adobe called Lightroom) where they will be edited into their final form. I do typically outsource wedding editing, meaning I securely send all wedding catalogs to a talented editor who will take care in editing a gallery for me off of a few image samples I provide! This gets you your images SO much faster than if I were doing 100% of the editing. Once I receive your gallery back, they are exported and uploaded directly to your final gallery!
  • How long are our images stored?
    • I guarantee that all RAW images will be stored 365 days after a wedding date. To be honest, I’m a little bit of a file packrat though, so, as long as the technology works perfectly, I’ll typically have them on hand longer than that. I store all final images from a wedding day on my computer and backup NAS drives for at least 2 years. A couple’s final gallery will be online for 6-months after their wedding day. After that, I “archive” galleries on my gallery provider’s system for 1 full year after the wedding gallery expires.
  • When will we see our images?
    • As soon as humanly possible! Let’s break it down further:
      • After a wedding day, I’ll typically share a sneak peek on social media within 48-hours! I’ll also do my best to make sure you get your hands on these photos so you can share and celebrate your marriage online with your family and friends!
      • The Tuesday or Wednesday after a wedding, you can expect to receive a blog post, recapping your entire wedding day from start to finish!
      • You can expect to receive your final wedding gallery within 4 weeks. It will be delivered as soon as it is done, meaning I don’t hold on to images for four weeks if I don’t have to.
  • When will they be handed over to us?
    • Your images will be handed over as soon as they are fully edited and ready. This is typically within 4 weeks. They will be emailed to you through an online gallery where you will have access to download high-resolution images or purchase prints. I include unlimited digital downloads with all of my packages. You are more than welcome to share your final gallery with family members, friends, wedding party members, and guests who are interested in celebrating you! They will have full access to download and print purchasing as well.
  • Does this process apply to our engagement session?
    • Pretty much the SAME process applies to your engagement session! The biggest difference is that I edit 100% of engagement session galleries, and engagement galleries are delivered before the blog post goes live! I aim to get all engagement session galleries back to my couples within 4 weeks.

Do you share RAW images?

I actually get this question a lot, so I wanted to break down my answer here: nope! I don’t share RAW images. RAW images are huge, uncompressed files, as seen by the camera’s sensor! They are often a little flat, and don’t reflect the style you are used to seeing within my work. Oftentimes, most computers won’t even be able to read or process RAW files without particular software. I want you to receive a finished product. My editing style is incredibly important to the overall product, so I only release final, edited JPEG images to everyone I work with. Rest assured, you will be able to download the high-resolution files, meaning they will print and preserve beautifully!

What should we do with our images after receiving our gallery?

You’ll be able to download all of your high-resolution images right from your gallery! After receiving your gallery, I recommend downloading all of your images. From there, back them up! Can you tell that that is a HUGE theme of this blog post? I recommend backing images up in three different places!

  • Once on your computer or regularly used device
  • Once on a cloud-based system like Google Drive
  • Once on a hard drive (Preferably a Solid-State drive! I love this one from Samsung! It is a little pricy but SO trusty!)

After everything is backed up, you should print and share the heck out of your images! Celebrate the married life by using your images! You’ll be able to print images directly through your gallery but will also receive a print release for personal use (meaning you have permission print your images wherever you want!). I highly recommend ordering a wedding album, creating your first family heirloom! I absolutely love walking my clients through this process, so know I’m here to help ya out!

Have a question that I didn’t answer here? Send me a note! Interested in learning more about my wedding photography experience? Click here!

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like:

3 WAYS TO SPEND YOUR COCKTAIL HOUR (THAT AREN’T TAKING PHOTOS)

YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION STYLE MINI GUIDE

UNPLUGGED WEDDING CEREMONIES: TIPS FROM A BRIDE

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