What should you expect from your wedding photography experience, and what do you get when you choose Zoe Larkin Photography as your wedding photographer?
I’ve written this short article to take you through the steps.
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.
After all, of all your wedding vendors, your photographer is the one who
- will hand you a tissue and pick the twigs out of your dress!
- will be right by you for 8 hours
- you will exchange the most emails with!
- will interact with your guests and the people closest to you.
- is making their art at your wedding.
- you’ll still be in communication with after the wedding. Gallery delivery, print sales, album design… not to mention photographing life’s next milestones.
What should I be looking for in a wedding photographer?
Everyone’s a little different in what they’re seeking! So this is a general guide. In an ideal world we’d all have Jose Villa photograph our wedding and be done with it.
There are many variables but some key considerations are:
Price can give you clues as to quality and experience photographer. The average price for a wedding photographer in San Francisco is just over $3,900 (2017 figures). Make sure you find out exactly what is included.
Consistency 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.
Anyone can see that some photographers’ portfolios have technical ability, sharp images, well-timed moments, beautiful composition, skilled understanding of light and overall cohesion as a curated body of work.
How many couples do you see in the portfolio? Is there mention of how long the photographer has been in business? A less experienced photographer may charge less to build their portfolio vs. one who is in demand.
Do you see a dated style or a fresh, timeless style? And on top of that, be wary of overly-trendy styles that will date quickly!
Semi-pro togs make great work and have low rates as they don’t depend on it as their sole income. Just be careful as they may not have the same insurances, licenses and liability protection should the worst happen.
Are they prompt responding to your inquiry and your follow-up emails? Successful photographers are out of the office 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.
Photographers are usually super excited about sharing their work! Nobody wants a photographer that’s simply going through the motions on your wedding day because they’re sooooo over weddings!
Attention to detail
I like it when a company I’m going to do business with has a user-friendly, active 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 wedding photography experience involves! You make a shortlist of photographers that are in your budget and whose work you love!
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. I want to learn what’s important to you. It’s about making sure that what I offer and what you expect are aligned. If it isn’t, that’s totally fine and I’d be happy to give you some recommendations for other photographers!
I do not have any packages but favor an a la carte model. This means that couples choose what is important to them. Also there is less chance of haggling over the contents of the package which can get messy. The initial outlay may be lower, but it’s assumed you may choose to add on items as your budget and needs dictate.
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 decisions when you’ve just got engaged. You won’t actually know what you’ll need come wedding day – but don’t want to miss the ‘package deal’.
If you have any questions about pricing, please let me know. I’m always happy to have an honest and open conversation about money.
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 idea is for you to get comfortable and relaxed. We’ll chat and learn about each other. You probably won’t have a ton figured out about your actual wedding yet, beyond the venue and date, which is fine.
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 if you want to go ahead! The article linked below covers the number one question I get asked!
After the meeting
You will let me know in your own time if you feel good about the next steps. Please be aware that dates are on a first-come, first-served basis but I’m usually able to let couples know if a conflicting inquiry looks to be moving forward.
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 about the wedding photography experience. Or maybe you want to give it a little time before making a decision.
Planning often happens in fits and starts, so I totally get it! You might also want to take a peek at my contract which I’m happy to provide for you as part of the decision-making process.
I also have a dedicated FAQ one-pager for my contract so you can get the summarized version.
Locking it in
To finalize your wedding photography arrangements I will need two things.
1) your signed contract and 2) your reservation fee.
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.
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, bank transfer and is most often done online.
I am happy to decrease the amount required for the reservation to 30% if the value of your photography is over about $2,500.
Planning 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.
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. I recommend this for all types of weddings – even City Hall!
For more about what’s included in your wedding photography experience, please check out my info + pricing guide. To give you a brief overview, you’ll get at least 50 – 65 edited images per hour of photography and a beautiful online gallery to view them in.
From the gallery you can also purchase prints, share with others, download images and more besides. You’ll also have a print release for personal usage.
I will help plan your day and give you input and information should you require. Whether or not you have a wedding planner, there will be much that I’ll need to collaborate with you (or your planner) on regarding the photography-related aspects.