Hello and thank you for considering Zoe Larkin Photography as your wedding photographer for your Bay Area wedding! I love to get to know my couples and explain hopefully in person a little about what the process of working together involves. However, there is more info than you can possibly take in – and I prefer to keep our sessions more about you and less about me!
So, this is a quick take-away guide to give you the lowdown as to what you can expect when you choose Zoe Larkin Photography as your wedding photographer.
First off, know that wedding photography is truly THE BEST job! I get to artistically document the most beautiful, joy-filled day of my clients’ lives. I get to know you and what you value so I can create something custom and beautiful that fits your unique wedding.
More information about my services before you reach out: Bay Area Wedding photographer – Info, pricing, about & portfolio
What should I be looking for in a wedding photographer?
I have separate articles devoted to exactly this topic as it is a huge one. Check out my resources linked below.
To summarize, the main considerations are price: consistency, quality, level of experience, style, professionalism, speed, passion and attention to detail – to name but a few! If you like what you see with my work, reach out.
Step 1. Making contact
I recommend reaching out to your photographer when you’re essentially ready to book. That may mean making sure you can access funds that will be used to pay your photographer’s deposit or reservation fee. It’s best to do this beforehand, because once you’re talking to a photographer you will want to move fairly quickly because they are talking to other couples vying for the same date.
It’s first-come, first-served, so you want to be sure you can be the first to move forward.
Reach out and begin a conversation. You’ll see detailed pricing menus and more information about how to get the most out of the experience. I always 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, and what your vibe, style and values are as a couple. I’m always happy to give recommendations for other photographers. I can’t possibly be the best photographer for everyone, and that’s OK.
Step 2. Understanding pricing & services
I do not have any packages but favor an a la carte model. This means that couples choose what is important to them. Add on items as your budget and needs dictate, without the fuss of adding and removing items from a package. Wedding photography is rarely ‘one size fits all’; my clientele is extremely diverse.
Another major plus of this model is that you can add items on as the planning takes shape at the same rate we spoke about, rather than having to make all the major decisions when you’ve just got engaged. Chances are, you won’t actually know what you’ll need come wedding day – but don’t want to miss the ‘package deal’, so may pay over the odds.
My pricing is extremely clear but do let me know if you have any questions about pricing.
Step 3. We meet up or chat on the phone
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! These days, the meetings I offer are virtual ones, conducted via Google Meet.
The idea is for you to get comfortable and relaxed. We’ll chat and learn about each other. You may not have all the wedding specifics sorted yet beyond the venue and date, which is fine. It’s really about getting to know one another.
Importantly, the consultation is for the couple to get to know the photographer and for the photographer to impart important information and set expectations around how we’ll work together. Regardless of who’s paying the bill, the consultation is for the couple getting married and the photographer to connect.
You’ll be able to ask me your questions and I’ll give you a rundown of what’s involved with your wedding photography experience. Pssst, want to know the number one question I’m asked? Check out the article linked below!
Step 4. Check out your photography planning document
Sooner after we’ve had our meeting, I will draw up your own personalized photography planning document.
This simple, editable Google Doc will be the basis for everything I need to know about your wedding day. It’s also as much yours as it is mine, so feel free to tweak and adjust your personalized wedding timeline as you see fit. Just let me know by email if you make any major changes that could require my input.
It helps to ensure we’re on the same page before you even book. So, if you want a first look, extensive family formals, wedding party pictures, a long religious ceremony, cocktail hour, grand entrance family speeches, a 5-course dinner, cake-cutting, first dance, parent dances, bouquet toss, garter toss and a grand exit…. That is going to take a certain amount of time. Probably more than 10 hours. So it’d be your choice to cut some things out, not have it all photographed, or extend the coverage time for the photography : )
Part of my job is managing expectations and letting you know what’s reasonable – and what wedding-day events may take longer than you think. That’s why it’s so important for me to draw up this planning document for every couple I speak to, before you’ve spent a penny with me.
The planning document contains several fields where I’ll need to grab information from you. For example, confirmation of your legal names, your desired hours of photography, whether you would like various add-ons or not, the locations, dates, contact details… etc.
This is everything that I would need in order to draw up your contract and to get a complete understanding of the cost of your services and from this, create a payment schedule.
The document also has plenty of information and guidance for you – articles to check out, things to be aware of, based on what we talked about on the call.
Step 5. Mull it over and let me know!
Let me know when you’re ready to move forward (or if you do in a different direction, hey, no hard feelings but it’s also helpful if you let me know). Unfortunately, dates cannot be held without payment. Leave it too long, and someone else may have swooped in!
I advise couples not to delay if they wish to book their photographer. I’m often speaking to multiple couples for the same date – so whoever moves forward with the onboarding process first (signed contract then invoice paid), secures the date.
We are used to dealing with dates both at short notice (hello, COVID) and also 2 years out. There is no telling which random dates may be highly sought-after. I receive sometimes ten new client inquiries in a single day, so it becomes a logistical nightmare – not to mention bad business – to hold dates indefinitely for couples while turning away other potential clients.
I also have a dedicated FAQ one-pager of my long, legalese contract so you can get the summarized version. It’s still worth taking your time to go through, and I give you a week to review the contract before the first payment is due.
Want privacy for your wedding? This is something I ask about right when you first inquire with me – the contact form. If you are interested in privacy surrounding your wedding, you’ll be sent this article straight off the bat. This is so important, hence why I ask about it before we’ve even begun a conversation.
I never want it to feel like I’ve sprung this on you, so always try to be open and transparent, encouraging good communication.
Step 6. Sign your contract and then pay your invoice
To finalize your wedding photography arrangements I will need two things.
1) your signed contract and 2) your reservation fee of 50%.
The contract is signed online by BOTH parties getting married regardless of who is paying the bill. The contract link will go out to you both separately so I’ll need both of your email addresses for that. Make sure you are happy with the payment schedule & amounts before you sign your contract. The contract locks in the obligations of both parties and is considered binding only once signed and the invoice paid.
Within a couple of days of me receiving the signed contract I’ll invoice you for your 50% reservation fee. It’ll be sent to both of you via email. This is payable by credit / debit card, PayPal or e-check (bank transfer) and is done online through my payment portal.
I am happy to split the payment schedule into 4 equal instalments, if the wedding photography service prices are higher. Just let me me know before you sign the contract, because our arrangement will be formalized there.
Currently in 2021, I am asking for the remainder of the balance within just 1 week of the wedding day. This is so that, what with all the the uncertainty surrounding events in the year 2020, we can be as sure as possible that your wedding will be going ahead in case we ever get a repeat performance.
Step 7. We plan your wedding photography experience
Now the booking process is done, we have plenty of time to collaborate together and build your customized photo timeline for the day. For me, the key is to make sure there is enough time for what you value. This will be a gradual process as plans for the day take shape over time.
Remember how we said that you don’t need to make all the decisions for what you might need the minute you book me? This comes in handy here. Say if we thought 8 hours would work, but while building the timeline we find that actually a half-hour extra is probably a good idea?
No sweat, we can add that on and it’s the same price whether you book it at the outset, during the planning months or even on the day itself.
I’m happy to give my customized recommendations for other vendors that might be a good fit for your wedding. If you want to share budgets with me for your other vendors, as well as what style you’re seeking, that’s super helpful.
We will have a final timeline run-through about a week or two before your wedding (basically as soon as all the plans are set).
Whatever kind of wedding you’re planning, the trick is to understand how long things will realistically take. This will avoid a stressful, rushed wedding day. Find out more about how I plan timelines for weddings and why.
Step 7: Wedding day!
You know the drill. I’ll be by your side, taking photos of you and loved ones. Pretty simple really! For tips about the day itself, check out my articles linked below.
Step 8: Sneak previews
Also called sneak peeks – a gallery of images containing a small number of edited photos so you have something to share online soon after the wedding. Honestly, I used to deliver these as standard, but I soon realized due to the number of weddings I was shooting, it was unsustainable to continue to deliver these for free, given they take at least 1 hour to create (and I’m not sure if some couples even have time to check them out before the final gallery’s delivered), and I’m often rushing to get them done at stupid hours into the night.
If you choose to purchase the sneak peek gallery, it contains 20 photos delivered in high resolution as well as web-resolution, and is shareable and downloadable. The format is the same as your finished gallery will be, but with fewer options because you’ll want to make purchases and create favorites etc when you have the final images. These photos will be edited further overall for consistency when placed alongside other images from the same set, and a greater degree of finesse.
Please check your pricing guide for the current sneak peek rate. For more information about how I handle sneak peeks, check out the dedicated article linked below:
I also post an image or a carousel of images to Instagram within a day or two of your wedding. I’ll tag you if you consented to being tagged, and all the vendors. You can feel free to repost these using an Instagram repost app.
Step 9: Final delivery
You’ll receive at least 65 edited images per hour of photography and a beautiful online gallery to view them in, download and share. You’ll also have a print release for personal usage. No prints or albums are included in any of my photography packages, but are always included as extras that can be purchased after the wedding. I have full information on exactly what’s included in your wedding photography package in my pricing guide.
Final image delivery happens within the time specified on your contracts. Currently at the time I’m editing this article, my lead times are up to 6 weeks for all wedding & shoot types.
However, as weddings pick up (2021 and 2022 are expected to be extremely busy!), there is every chance this may increase to two months, so please check your contract for your own custom timeframe. If you’re not yet contracted, contact me for an up-to-date quote. I always endeavor to deliver well before the end of the time frame.
For more information about editing and delivery, check out these articles linked below.
Step 10: Add-on sales and ordering your wedding album
If you’re interested in buying a custom-made, professionally designed album, crafted by pro color labs that aren’t available to the general public, you can stop by to view album samples. I have full pricing and customization options that you can check out at any point in the process, just ask!
These albums are guaranteed to last 100 years when properly cared for. You’ll also be able to select your images and proof your design online if you’d like to have a say on how it all looks. Or, if you don’t have the time, you can entrust me to produce an album myself, selecting the images and laying out the spreads.
A quick guide (without pricing information) is available at the link below.
Thank you for reading and I hope this overview was helpful. Feel free to bookmark to come back to it during your wedding photography experience with Zoe Larkin Photography. If you haven’t reached out yet, I can’t wait to hear from you and let you know if we’re available on your wedding date!
Check out my ultimate list of wedding planning resources linked below to help you every aspect of planning your wedding
Want to be an A++ wedding photography client? For those that insist on going the extra mile, I’ve a special guide just for you : )