What to expect from your wedding photography experience

February 4, 2019
pelican inn couple getting married

Being a wedding photographer is truly THE BEST job on the planet. I get to artistically document the most beautiful, joy-filled and emotional day of your life.

It’s important that you grow to trust your photographer and share a creative vision.

  • Your photographer is the one who’ll hand you a tissue, pick the twigs out of your dress and tell you when you have lipstick on your teeth!
  • Your photographer will be near you for 8 hours on your wedding day.
  • Your photographer is the one you’ll exchange the most emails with!
  • Your photographer will interact with your guests and all the people closest to you.
  • Your photographer is making art at your wedding. If we are relaxed, happy and comfortable and given freedom to work creatively, we will take better pictures!
  • Your photographer is the one vendor you’ll still be in communication with after the wedding. Gallery delivery, print sales, album design… And many would love to photograph your life’s next milestones.
  • Photography is relational. Your wedding photos are 100% about you but the work we make reflects our relationship with you. There is an intimacy to the portraits that can’t be manufactured.


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What should I be looking for in a wedding photographer?


Everyone’s a little different in what they’re seeking, and what compromises they’re willing to make because in an ideal world we’d all have Jose Villa photograph our wedding and be done with it.

So this is a general guide.

There are many variables but some key considerations are:

Price Price can give you clues as to quality and experience level of the photographer. The average price for a wedding photographer in San Francisco is just over $3,900 (2017 figures). But even knowing that, it isn’t all clear-cut. Make sure you find out exactly what’s included.

Consistency Consistency is a big part of what you pay for. It means the photographer has refined their artistic voice and honed their creative vision. Without consistency in both picture-taking and editing, there is no guarantee what they’ll produce on your wedding day.

Quality Quality speaks for itself. Anyone can see that some photographers’ portfolios have demonstrable technical ability, sharp images, well-timed moments, beautiful composition, skilled understanding of light and overall cohesion as a curated body of work.

Experience How many couples do you see in the portfolio. Do you see a dated or a fresh, timeless style? A less experienced photographer may charge less to build their portfolio vs. a more experienced one who is in demand.

Professionalism There are some great semi-pro togs out there with low rates because they don’t depend on it as their sole income source. Just be careful though, as they may not have the same insurances, licenses and liability protection as business owners should the worst happen.

Speed Are they prompt responding to your inquiry and crucially your follow-up emails? Really successful and busy photographers are out of the office traveling & shooting a ton. But keeping you waiting days on end is a bad sign that they may be hard to reach when you need them.

Passion Photographers are usually super excited about sharing their work and getting out there! Nobody wants a photographer that’s just going through the motions on your wedding day, bored out of their mind because they’re sooooo over it!

Attention to detail This may not matter to some people – each to their own! To me I like it when a company I’m going to do business with has a user-friendly frequently updated website, engaging content on social media and a cohesive, accessible brand that really speaks to me.

You reach out…


So now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dig a little deeper into what the photography experience involves!

You make a shortlist of photographers that are in your budget and whose personality seems like a great fit. Can you imagine grabbing coffee with this person?

Reach out and begin a conversation. You’ll probably see more detailed pricing menus and some more information.

I’m looking to gain a deeper understanding of what you’re looking for with your wedding photography. I also want to learn a little more about what you are about as a couple.

It’s about making sure that what I offer and what you expect are aligned.

So this is the part where I get to know you as individuals and as a couple. And then moving on to specific questions about images you like, showing you some full wedding galleries and learning what is important to you.

It’s about making sure that what I offer and what you expect are aligned.


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The meeting


One thing that’s of paramount importance to me is to meet couples before we sign on the dotted line. I’ve learned through years of being in business that nothing beats a face-to-face meeting if at all possible. There is no substitute for good ol’ human connection!

Failing that, we can jump on a video call or a phone call. The intention is for you to get comfortable, relaxed, and open up a bit about yourselves. We don’t even have to talk a ton about your actual wedding as you may not know too much yet – I’m more interested in learning about YOU!

You’ll be able to ask me your questions and I’ll give you a rundown of what’s involved.


After the meeting


The meeting is not high-pressure. If you’re interested, you will let me know in your own time if you feel good about going ahead. Please be aware that dates are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Letting me know if you don’t want to go ahead is hugely helpful as I can free up that date for other couples and I won’t keep pestering you!

Maybe you have more questions or just want to give it a little time before making a decision. That’s totally fine. You might also want to take a peek at my contract which I’m happy to provide for you. I also have a dedicated FAQ one-pager for my contract so you can get the summarized version.

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Locking it in


To lock it in, I will need two things. 1) your signed contract and 2) your reservation fee. The contract is signed 100% online. It must be signed by both marrying parties, regardless of who is paying the bill. The contract link will go out to you both separately.

After I receive the signed contract I’ll invoice you for your 50% reservation fee. This is payable by a variety of means including credit / debit card, PayPal and is most often done online.

Planning the wedding photography


Now the booking process is done, we have plenty of time to collaborate together and build your customized photo timeline for the day, making sure there is plenty of time for what you value. This will be a gradual process as plans for the day take shape over time. I’m happy to give my customized recommendations for other vendors that might be a good fit for your wedding. We will have a final timeline run-through about a week or two before your wedding.


What’s included!


For more about what’s included in your wedding photography purchase, please go to my working together page. To give you a brief overview, you’ll get at least 50 – 75 edited images per hour of photography and a beautiful online gallery to view them in (as well as purchase prints, share, download and more), with print release for personal usage. You’ll get me to help you plan your day and give you input and information should you require. And you’ll know you’re in safe hands.

So what is my style?


For more about me, please head to my about page! In a nutshell I create fun photography for joyful intimate weddings.

My essential intent is to create meaningful, candid, joy-filled imagery that celebrates union. My  values are representing underrepresented couples. storytelling with authenticity & integrity, and expressing the joy of life.

My approach to image-making is both bold and tender, modern and timeless, edgy and romantic, muted and colorful, intimate and expansive. I tell stories through images. Human stories with all their imperfections, quirks, fleeting emotions, beauty, rawness and realness are what I’m most interested in.

My passion is intimate weddings. Currently I’m taking bookings for weddings of fewer than approx. 50 people all over California, the States and the world. Reach out via my contact page to receive my informative guide.


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