So this is an extensive list of various questions i've received in person, in text messages, on phone calls or in Facebook messages. Some of this may seem trivial, myopic or weird, but these are the questions i've been asked. Sometime's people don't want to ask these questions as well so I figured this would be the best way to convey answers to some of the thoughts you may have had. Everything i've written on this page also keeps my meetings much easier. It means that when someone sets up a meeting with me they are just meeting me to see how we vibe and also check out a few photos and albums.
How far out should I book my wedding date
The earlier the better. I have people that have booked me as far as three years out and as late as a few weeks out. First come first serve, although if we’re still working out the details I won’t pass off your date to someone else during that process. I regularly have around a dozen dates that I have to turn away because of late bookings.
How much to shoot my wedding?
This is the most common question. I regularly get an inquiry by e-mail asking "What are your rates" "How much to shoot my wedding". I would really like to tell everyone that they should just get my single package that I list. But really it depends on a number of different variables. Where you're getting married, how many people, what you're looking for in a package, are you both getting ready fairly close to each other, how big is the bridal party. It all depends. I really try and work with each couple to reach a price that's fair to the bridal couple and fair to me.
WE'RE INTERESTED IN BOOKING YOU AT THE LAST SECOND BECAUSE OUR PHOTOGRAPHER BAILED ON US AT THE LAST SECOND
So a few times a year I run into this horror story that people are living. A month away from the wedding I get a call, an e-mail or Facebook message. Our photographer bailed on us, we're interested in you, do you have our date open. If I do have your date open i'm always going to want to help you out. It's the same process as if you booked me a year out. I'm going to sit and meet with you and figure out exactly what you're looking for in a wedding package and then we go from there.
We just sent you an e-mail asking about price
So the most common e-mail messages I get are "I'm getting married at Beautiful Acres Farm in Townington, how much to shoot my wedding?" or "Hi, how much for your wedding package our wedding date is 5/18/2020?". A hundred percent of the time i'm not going to write back a quote off the top of my head. I'm always going to respond and ask you a time to set up a phone call to talk about your wedding for a moment and also set up a meeting at my office. Often times i'll give you a quote over the phone, but I first have to hear a bit more about your wedding and what you're looking for in a package. When I get an e-mail asking about price as their opening statement then they've probably copy and pasted the same e-mail to a half dozen other photographers.
What's the process for meeting with you
First either call me or contact me via my website's contract page. We can work together to figure out an optimal time to meet at my office in West Boylston (339 West Boylston Street, West Boylston, MA) above Gerardo's Italian Bakery. Either bride or groom or both can attend the meeting. I'll show you a more expanded view of my portfolio and also show you a complete wedding. We go over albums briefly and a walkthrough of your wedding day. It's a thirty minute to forty minute meeting.
What does the contract cover
In ten years I have never had to use my contract in any legal sense. The contract basically signifies that we have an agreement and it spells out that agreement. The contract basically says that you uphold your end and I uphold my end. The contract will also let you know price and package. Click here to see a sample contract.
we've had the meeting with you, now what
After the meeting I will type up a contract and send that off with some notes and a template that will include the details of our meeting. Beyond that I don't follow up until I hear back from you. Sometimes when someone is meeting with me they have also been in the process of talking with other wedding photographers. To make everything a bit more streamlined and less confrontational I don't repeatedly follow up after sending the post meeting e-mail. This way if you decided not go with me there is no conversation of "Mike, we decided to go with...". I've found it to be a slam-dunk for everyone to leave the ball in the bridal couple's court and hope we hit it out of the park in our meeting. All kidding aside, following the meeting you will get all the information in an e-mail within a day or so. You will have a contract with all the details ready to review, print, sign and mail to me to book your day.
What's the album consist of, main, parent, brag book
All albums are hand-made lay flat custom albums made to be beautiful and durable. Lay flat means that the pages aren't bowed in the middle and the image stretches from one corner of the page to the next. Your wedding album, parent books and brag book allow for twenty pages which translates to thirty to forty photos. The main aspect of these books are to tell the story of your wedding day. I do have information about upgrades to the albums if you are interested. You can change the size, color and page counts of any album. Wedding albums are ten by ten, parent albums are eight by eight and the brag book is six by six inches. Parent albums make great presents to give after your wedding date at some point. The brag book comes with engagement shoots and is exactly what it sounds like, for you to brag about your engagement. I also offer an eleven by fourteen album, contact me for more details on upgrading.
Why is the deposit only $100
There’s a few reasons I only ask for a hundred dollar retainer. One reason being a wedding is expensive and booking everything can be very expensive. When you meet with vendor after vendor you find out some want a few dollars and others may want eighty percent. I find that everyone can easily come up with a hundred dollars to book me. The most important part for me is having the actual date reserved. Another benefit for me is figuring out final payment information for my bridal couples. I just have to subtract a hundred dollars off the total amount due when payment comes due in most cases. In the event that a bridal couple has to cancel then they are not losing out on hundreds of dollars. I’ve had couples reschedule or cancel a date and it wouldn’t be very proper of me to keep lets say thirty percent of the final fee, but a hundred dollars seems reasonable. A hundred dollars would basically account for my holding of that date, e-mails, phone calls, meeting with you, paperwork and possibly losing out on other people who may want to have booked that date.
Do you do payment plans
Weddings cost a lot, no lie. I don't expect everyone to have all the money up front, everyone has different sized wallets. I'm very flexible on payments because I know i'll get paid eventually, whether it's before, at or after the wedding. My focus is covering your wedding regardless of payment.
When do we tell you all the details about our wedding
To keep myself sane and also not mess anything up because this is high stakes, I get all of your details a week or two prior to your wedding from you filling out my wedding worksheet form on my website. Small details change between the booking date and your wedding date so it's much easier for the bridal couple to not have to refollow up with me every few weeks or months to correct any inaccuracies.
What is next day weddings
I have more information about that here. But to sum that up quickly it’s a team of photographers, myself a second shooter and two photo editors who work throughout the day to get a finished product for you. It’s really next day completion for customers who are interested in a more high end boutique service.
I love shooting gay & lesbian weddings and have lots of experience doing this. I have lots of experience because every wedding I shoot is two people who love each other getting married.
Do you shoot arabic, Indian, Chinese or other cultural weddings
I have shot many different cultural weddings and it’s always a treat. I love the experience as well as something thats a bit different from my normal. I am familiar with tea ceremonies, honey tastings and also Indian weddings. It's also very beneficial to be able to add these beautiful ceremonies to my portfolio so more included to always say yes to these weddings.
Do you shoot justice of the peace weddings at city hall
Yes. These weddings tend to be a bit more simple and quick which means that the typical pricing I have for a full day of weddings don't apply. I'm more than happy to travel to whichever town hall or city hall to shoot this ceremony and a photo session following it. Price depends upon location, time and what different amenities you're looking to include.
Do you shoot proposals
Do you want that special moment when you propose captured? You obviously might tip your hand if your lady sees me hanging around so we do it very discreetly. So we can set up a scenario where you can be in an area where I can secretly get photos of you proposing and afterwards disappear or go right into an engagement session. I have many zoom lenses and telephoto lens and am happy to blend in or hide to get these amazing moments. The price of a proposal shoot is $350.
How many pictures do I receive
Every wedding is different. Some weddings provide more opportunities for photos and some a bit less. If I have a Catholic wedding with an hour and a half ceremony that means I can take a lot more photos during the ceremony. I do have a number though that I can quote, seven hundred to twelve hundred photos is usually around the number I deliver.
Do you travel for weddings
So this is a question that is asked and can either be one thing or the other. I have people who specifically contact me asking this and they'll say we're getting married in Boston which is an hour away, that's more than okay. I consider anything that puts me more than two and a half hours away traveling. After that two and a half hour travel time I really prefer to get a hotel for the night because a wedding is pretty draining and I always like to have the backup process completed as soon as possible. Travel fees are usually a bit of gas money and a local hotel. If you're interested in booking me for a destination wedding i've written more about that below.
Do you do destination weddings
Yes I do. This typically means traveling by plane more than a few states away from Massachusetts or to another country. I have a passport and I have lots of gear ready to travel abroad or domestically. Charges vary depending on location. If you're getting married overseas i'm more then happy to take a forced vacation for the price of doing some work and whatever the difference in the package is. So if you book me for thirty five hundred and my travel costs are a thousand to get over the pond then I just deduct that from my profits and we keep your package price at thirty five hundred. I appreciate beautiful and exotic locations so much that I'll roll the cost in. So if you've booked somewhere tropical like the Bahamas or Mexico then some resorts may actually provide a photographer / include one with your package but you really need to see a full wedding from these photographers. Often these photographers are just a simple employee who gets asked to take photos that day. It also helps when you have someone who speaks the same language as you and has spent more than a few minutes with you prior. Contact me to set up a meeting.
Do you shoot multiple weddings in a single day
No, because if one ran late then it would effect the other and it’s too important a day to mess around. I would much rather concentrate on one wedding and get that amazing review from a bride and groom. I also like shooting from start to finish with weddings because I don’t believe in a six hour wedding day. There’s too much to capture and you can’t rush a wedding.
How many pictures do you take at a wedding
Because a wedding is a one shot deal I can’t take any chances. I take as many photos as I can. Usually that means anywhere from three thousand to four thousand photos. Now thats not what you end up with. I shoot that many photos due to the fact that this is a once in a lifetime even and we can't go back and recreate your wedding if I miss anything, so it's much easier to just capture a little bit of everything. If theres special moments then I will usually take three or four photos of that moment because I expect that one out of those photos will be a little bit crisper than the others. There is a whole photo triage that I run through to get down to the photos that I actually edit.
Do I give you a list of shots you want
Yes and No. When I have a list of shots that a bride wants that typically means some of the other shots aren’t as important. Some bride's lists will literally list shots such as "Bride and father walking down isle, first kiss, first dance" These are moments i'll be getting regardless. Sometimes the bride and groom don’t realize some important shots that they haven’t even thought of. So my methodology when shooting a wedding is to get all of the important moments as they unfold. I make sure to get everything I can on a wedding day that way there's no regrets afterwards on both sides. If there's something creative that you have in mind though I encourage you to write that down and let me know. Maybe you want a photo of the groomsmen wearing T-Rex inflatable costumes chasing you following the wedding? In that case let me know ;).
What if we have some difficult family or guests
I am more than happy to listen to your Aunt's stories about Florida or trade camera advice with your little cousin. What I do is roll with the punches. I've never had to deal with anyone too terrible at a wedding. If you think you have an unbearable family member or friend that may get in the way during the day, have no fear. I'm more than happy to stand my ground and make sure that you get amazing photos. I have no problem telling someone who's standing in the middle of the aisle with an Ipad Pro to sit down.
Can you provide referrals
I'm more than happy to give referrals. I also have some testimonials posted on my website of past brides & grooms and other clients. I will usually just give out an e-mail address for the past brides and grooms as it is not that intrusive.
We're on a budget
I totally get that. I'll never put someone out because of money. I really do want to help everyone. I'm human and not entirely money focused in all circumstances. If you're getting married at an Elks lodge or similar place and you have sixty people coming then I want to help you out. I do want to let you know that every bride and groom tells me this and then only later to find out their having their wedding at a top floor hotel in Boston with three hundred people. If you don't need a full days coverage or aren't interested in an album then let's cut that out. I am however fair to myself as well when it comes to negotiating with those on a budget. I have to make sure I'm not giving away my services entirely for free. Wedding photography isn't just showing up, taking photos and going home and uploading them. It's insurance, assurances, skill, equipment, knowledge, dependability, follow through, editing. You really do get what you pay for.
We only need six hours of coverage, can you do that
I have written about six hour wedding coverage here. I really do suggest a full package as a wedding is not a repeatable event. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, no do overs. I don't book by hours typically because sometimes things don't happen on schedule, travel time, people eating. There's a lot of time where I won't be taking photos because of the previous listed statement. The more time we all have together, the more photos you'll get. In the event that you do want to have me stay longer then we have to potentially discuss money during your wedding day which to me always feels a bit out of spirit for the day. I've heard plenty of stories of regret when it comes to wedding photography and not spending money on it. When it comes down to leaving a wedding after six hours i'm certainly going to feel a little bit of regret knowing that you're missing some beautiful photos or chose not to get getting ready photos. I really do want to make sure you have the best experience possible.
How much would it be to just cover a ceremony
Prices vary for coverage for just a ceremony. There's a number of factors involved. How long is the ceremony, location, family photos and formal photos following the ceremony. When you factor in an hour drive each way plus whatever time the ceremony lasts and time to shoot formal photos you really should just go all in and get full coverage. Additionally any wedding date I book means I cannot book another that day. I don't have any wiggle room in my policy. If I decided to shoot two weddings in a day that means I can't provide complete coverage to another wedding. If your wedding is around two clock for only an hour that means that I would have to leave another wedding to come and shoot your wedding and then miss a chunk of that first wedding and then make it back to the other wedding and hope nothing memorable has happened. I also have to hope that no one runs long or starts late if I shoot two weddings in a day. Even if I booked two weddings that were only an hour that would be that I might have to rush from Providence to New Hampshire and hope everything was on time. A wedding day always has a few hiccups and is not a day to try and multitask with two.
Why do you only have one package listed
I have one package listed with everything a typical bride and groom would want or need. Over the years i’ve been able to see what brides look for in a package and i’ve put that together in a single package. I do customize this package if need be. But what happens when I have three package model is the temptation to mix and match. Then I have to revert to an a la cart model and the savings disappear for the bride and groom.
Why do we need a second photographer
A second photographer can provide more vantage points and more photos. This means that if a groom is getting ready a town or two over then a second photographer makes sense. If you have under a hundred people you may not need a second photographer. I also have the option of having a female photographer as well as a male photographer .
How do you choose a second photographer
I use several wedding photographers who have similar levels of equipment. I don't use warm bodies for photographers. I depend on the second shooters to produce images that I can use. They are also wedding photographers that I uses I also shoot for as well when I don't have my own weddings booked.
Do YOU use assistants
I don't use assistants because it's much more important to me to have someone who is able to take photos in a pinch. I only use experienced second photographers. I also don't think a wedding should be a teachable place to educate an assistant on everything I need them to do. Shooting a wedding can be a very technical thing and I can't rely on a non photographer to set up something for me or even change batteries on a flash if they can't reset it.
We want to trim somethings out of our package
Every wedding is a little different and I understand that you may not need a second photographer or that you’re not interested in having an album. That’s totally fine and I’m willing to adjust everything to fit every bride and groom. There are a few constants that I always include in a wedding, engagement shoot, full day, online gallery. This is what I believe is essential to any wedding day. The engagement shoot is for us to get to know each other a bit better and walk through a few poses and what not. The online gallery is for you to download the photos, order, share or make a list of favorites. A full day for wedding is also essential. You may think you’re saving a little bit of money by trimming some hours but really you’re missing out on lots of memories. I don’t ever want to have a bride and groom have regrets about photos that could have happened.
We're not interested in formal photography
I get this a lot believe it or not. The formal photos are the photos that you will be hanging up and that your parents are expecting. These are the group photos of your bridal party, parts of your family and also just the bride and groom. We can always get more creative in this area. Honestly the better the photos are the more weddings I book so I really do want to get the best photos for you and me.
Do you have any referral bonuses
Sometimes I have some very enthusiastic bride and grooms. They really appreciate my photography or we’ve gotten along really well during the meeting or engagement shoot. Regardless I get sent business from future brides and grooms so I love to do referral bonuses. If you get in contact with me and confirm who you’ve sent me before your wedding then we can upgrade your album, include a canvas or a separate family session for a future date.
What if we don't want the ENGAGEMENT shoot
The engagement shoot doesn't cost anything when paired with a wedding package. This is really a time for us to bond, get to know each other so that i'm not a stranger coming to hang out with you on your wedding day. This is also a great time to get photos of you and your soon to be hubby. You can use these photos for RSVP, save the dates or just really nice Christmas cards. But during an engagement shoot we basically take a walk, hang out and work through a few basic poses that we will do on your wedding day.
CAN YOU TENTATIVELY SAVE OUR DATE WHILE WE DECIDE
Of course I'll try and attempt to save your date. I will pepper that statement with a slight caveat. I'll never do any high pressure sales tactics such as calling and saying that someone else wants your date unless that was absolutely true. However if it's been more than a week or two or if our meeting keeps getting pushed back then I may assume you're not very interested. If you contacted me a month ago by e-mail or a random text message/facebook message and set up a meeting three weeks from now I can't stop someone from booking your date before then. I only wright someones wedding date down in my master list once they have given me a deposit and a signed contract. I am always going to have to go with the bride & groom in front of me saying that they want to hire me verses someone who possibly might hire me.
When should i schedule my engagement shoot
I don't require much advance notification for engagement shoots. That means if you're flexible then we can do your shoot within a few days to a week of that phone call. Just a simple phone call. It's really best to do this on the fly. We don't have to plan a day too far away. This also allows our shoot to benefit from amazing weather. If it's snowing and you wanted snowflakes in your photos or if you were interested in a sunrise photo we can do it. I leave the ball in your court as far as scheduling goes for the engagement shoot. In the event that your wedding sneaks up too fast then we can substitute your engagement shoot for a trash the dress shoot or a one year anniversary session.
We'll have our engagement shoot on saturday at 11 o'clock
Because most weddings are on Friday, Saturday and Sunday these days can be somewhat tough for scheduling engagement sessions. When possible I can do them on these days. The best time for engagement sessions are usually early mornings or late afternoons. The lower the sun is in the sky, the more we can control exactly how the photo comes out. It's much easier if it's not around noon. If you want to get an awesome engagement shoot then use it as an awesome excuse for a day off of work. Most weekday mornings or afternoons are open for engagement sessions.
We are awkward as hell in photos and suck at posing
Believe it or not most people don't have regular sessions with a professional photographer. It may feel weird to be the center of attention and there's going to be a lot of that on your wedding day. Part of the engagement session is to work through a few basic poses and keep it as simple as possible so we can get awesome photos of you on your wedding day and keep you on schedule. The poses can be as simple as sitting somewhere and talking to your fiancé or taking a slow walk down a path. When it comes to closer quarters I show you some simple things. Again the engagement shoot is to get over any fear of awkwardness that you may think you have.
What should I wear to my engagement shoot
What you wear to your shoot will definitely have an impact on how they come out. I suggest no logos and the big thing is to match each other. When I say match each other I don't mean the same exact outfit. What I mean is that the outfits compliment each other. If you went out to a club you wouldn't wear PJ's and the the other person wears a flight suit. Sunday's best or church clothes always look good. If one of you decides to wear a flannel then the other might wear something that looks good with that too. Perhaps your lady wears some cowboy boots? Google engagement shoots and cycle right over to the images section to get an idea of what everyone else wears.
Where are we allowed to get our engagement photos done
We can do the engagement shoot anywhere you choose. I try not to put any limits on where and when. If a beach on the Cape has special meaning to you then i’m more than happy to go out there and do the session there. We’ll mostly be strolling around, stopping occasionally to do photos. The farther away you want to do the engagement shoot the more varied my portfolio gets which is a win-win.
How long does an engagement session take
Engagement sessions don’t have a real time limit. Most are anywhere from an hour to two hours. It’s a very relaxed photo shoot. We’re getting to know each other and we’re working through a few poses. Most of the poses are very simple. I try not to complicate things by suggesting forty five degree angles while arching your back and leaning to your right. I might ask you to stop and focus on each other and have a little conversation followed by a kiss.
How long does it take to get the engagement photos back
Depending on my current workload the photos can take a few days to a week or two. I really love getting your photos back to you as soon as I can. After the photos are shot it’s a process of sorting, editing and uploading. The photos are shared on a gallery within my secondary website IShotYourWedding.com
What happens if you get sick
I've never missed a wedding due to illness. I would still show up and shoot a wedding regardless of how I feel that day. A wedding is important and I can always take another day to be sick. I do have other photographers that I can call in an emergency though. I would never leave anyone high and dry.
What happens if you have an accident and can't make it to the wedding
I’m fully prepared to take an Uber, Lyft, taxi, hitchhiking, personal helicopter. I have thought about this a few times. Basically i’m ready to do whatever it takes to get to your wedding. It’s only more bragging rights if I show up to your wedding after major adversity.
What if there's inclement weather on our wedding date
If it’s snowing then we’ll get beautiful photos of you in the snow. If it’s raining I have umbrellas and we’ll get beautiful photos of you outside. I have shot a wedding in a hurricane and lots of rainy weddings besides that. I’m not going to promise that you will stay completely dry but I am going to promise you that we’re going to still get your some amazing photos regardless.
do you need a schedule of our wedding day
I ask you all the important details prior to your wedding. I have you fill out my wedding worksheet the week of your wedding. I am always going with the flow of the wedding day. If there are times when you are running a bit behind i'll make up the difference elsewhere as far as photos go. I've done thirteen different groups of people, organized and photo taken several minutes before it rains. I'm more than happy to yell at everyone during formal photos to keep time. If I run behind on my photo schedule then that means i'm now leaning on the venue and DJ's schedule. So I always make my best effort to keep everyones schedule by speeding up if needed.
The Make-up person, florist, hair stylist want to know when you’ll be doing photos.
This is to reaffirm what I wrote up above. I’m on your time, your schedule. I’ll make the photos happen no matter what time I have. If you’re planning a first look then we’ll only need an hour or so, that’s providing you want photos of the entire bridal party and not just the two of you.
What if there's poor lighting at the ceremony tonight or reception
I have very good equipment. My camera is great in low light and the lenses I have selected to have in my kit are made to handle low light. I also have plenty of lighting equipment to make sure you have the best quality photos. A huge part of what you get when you hire me is someone who troubleshoots like a mad man.
What if it's dark out when we do formal photos
I have the equipment to make photos happen wherever. I’ll usually have an area scoped out to shoot whether it’s inside or outside. My main goal is always getting you the beautiful photos that will be hanging on your wall. Sometime’s the most beautiful photos are before, during or after sunset. Some of the best photos from your wedding can actually happen once it gets dark.
What if we have questions for you before the wedding
I pride myself on being very accessible to every bride. Some will book with me and I'll see them for the engagement shoot, follow up with them before the wedding, shoot a wedding, deliver photos and that's my only point of contact with them. Others have lots of questions and we talk via text messages, e-mails and phone calls a lot. Either way i'm there for you, whether it's a little bit or a lot. I don't have typical office hours so I really will answer most messages late into the night.
Can you provide a sign in book
I do offer sign in books. Most of the time when you purchase a sign in book it can be elegant but plain, beautiful but impersonal. My sign in book will include beautiful photos of the bridal couple from your engagement or from earlier times in your relationship. You provide me with the photos and I will design a sign in book that you’ll want to revisit. No lines to keep inside of either, I want to make sure that everyone can include a beautiful message in their own space. Drawn out hearts, beautiful well wishing and memories to reflect on. Upgrades are also available in addition to having the same level of quality as your wedding albums. Just shoot me a message for a quote on ordering a sign in book.
What time do you show up
I start my day when you start your day. That means when you are getting your hair and make-up done I start. It’s always best for me to be there from the start so I can start getting some detail shots and also get to know everyone.
How long do you need for photos
It all depends on the time we have between ceremony and reception. If you give me twenty minutes to do all of the formal photos with the bridal party, family and just the two of you then I can do it. If you give me forty minutes I can do it even better.
Can you recreate all these photos I found on pinterest
When you see some of those magical photos in a Google image search or on Pinterest they aren't always as simple as you might think. Some are very arranged, planned, sometimes not even from a real wedding.. a photo shoot. Some of the photos are very easy to do though, but when you plan those twenty images to capture you have to account for gathering everyone for them, arranging everyone and taking multiple photos and then doing the next one and the next one. I'm more then happy to do this but during your wedding you'll realize that it's not always practice to stop your wedding to do an hour and a half of fun photos. The best thing I can suggest is think of a few fun poses or ideas you want to roll with and let the rest happen naturally. If you're a fun couple and your friends rock then we'll end up with something even better!
How does the photo booth work
A Snap N Flash photo booth is always a great addition to any wedding. This gives your guests something to do besides sitting, socializing or dancing. It’s a great souvenir for anyone who attends your wedding. The booth is set up somewhere in your reception or outside the reception. All of the guests who go inside the booth get their own copy of the photo as well. The bride and groom have the option of getting a book or just sticking with digital copies. If you have selected this as a part of your package then all you have to do is call them, book your wedding date and work out all the details of time and place and I take care of the payment.
We want to get photos with everyone
The best time to get photos with all of your guests would be during the reception. A receiving line following the wedding is typically hugs and handshakes and mashed faces into each others shoulders. During a reception the bride and groom will typically visit all of the tables and say hi to guests individually. We can either do a photo of you with the entire table and that is the quickest route to photos with everyone. We set up the photo, take it and while you're wrapping up and saying thank you to everyone i'm at the next table arranging everyone into a group for the photo and then we repeat the process. If you want to do photos with individuals or couple then that's possible as well. I'm your photographer for the day so anything goes.
How do we get fun photos at weddings
Having fun photos at your wedding really depends on you. I can have a dozen ideas of fun things to do but it really rests on you to follow through with these crazy ideas. Some of them will work, some of them will not. But the quickest way to not get fun wedding photos is to shoot down ideas or say no. Jumping photos, American gothic, zombie, dapping, magazine cover, funny poses, lifting the bride in the air. If you're in a good mood, relaxed and ready to have fun at your wedding then it's going to show in all the photos.
What time do you stay until
I stay until the last dance. There’s lots to cover at a wedding reception. That can be photos of couples at tables to everyone out of the dance floor and also bouquet toss and whatever other events you have planned throughout the reception. I always communicate with the bride and groom before I pack up.
Do you need a meal at the wedding
I don’t require a meal at a wedding but it’s always nice to get one. I just need to know before hand so that I can plan to get a meal locally or bring a lunch. When everyone is eating I can’t do any photos so this is usually a time when I break for a little bit. Cake is optional as well.
Where do you eat during the reception
Most venues will dictate where I eat if I have not been given a seat at a round table with guests. Some venues will have separate table for vendors, dj, band, whomever. Typically when people are eating, i'm eating too. I never take photos of people eating. If I am placed outside the reception hall then I am not responsible for any photos missed. If you're worried about any special or funny moments that may happen while the food is being served then reserve a spot for me in the reception hall.
Can we buy you a drink at the wedding
Believe it or not I get this question enough that I wanted to add this to my frequently asked questions page. Everyone loves to tell me how informal their wedding is and offer me beer, wine or a shot. I never drink while I work or following a wedding. After a wedding my focus is to backup your photos and get home to do another backup. I will however accept Diet Coke at any point during your wedding. It's my favorite soda.
What do YOU wear for attire
I usually wear a black button up shirt or long sleeve black shirt or sweater with no logo and black pants. I wear black sneakers because I am running at points, crouching, balancing on different things. I was regularly destroying three pairs of dress shoes a year and also I wasn’t comfortable. I’m the only one that comes to your wedding that isn’t in any photos. My goal is to be comfortable and unnoticed during your wedding.
What's your backup process
During the wedding I backup your photos to my MacBook and retire whatever memory card to my backpack. After the wedding all of the photos are backed up to an external hard drive. The hard drive, MacBook and memory cards are kept in different parts of my equipment bags. There are no do overs when it comes to these images so you have to treat them very carefully.
Is it okay to tip
It's always okay to tip. If you think i've gone above and beyond for your wedding then I totally welcome tips. There are times when I show up early and stay late and it's nice to be recognized. It's always nice for my assistants or second shooters as well to receive a little bit extra. Most wedding coverage is for six to eight hours but I usually do eight to twelve hours. This is all up to you of course.
how long will it take until i receive my photos
Following a wedding I always send a dozen or so photos to the bride and groom. The editing process takes a little bit of time and depending on my wedding workload I return photos in under a month. I have a mental clock going after your wedding and i'm pretty focused on making sure everyone gets their photos on time. I do want to mention that in some rare circumstances it may take five weeks total to get your photos. I've heard the stories of photographers taking months and a year or so to return the photos and I could never do that to anyone. I believe in doing a good job and getting those referrals.
What's your editing process for after the weddings
So I get this question occasionally, usually every few years. Because I take four thousand photos does not mean that you will get four thousand photos or three thousand or two thousand. I am only giving you the best of the best photos because my name, my image, my reputation is attached to each one of those photos. I would never give a blurry photo or bad composition or unflattering photo. This is not up for debate what so ever. My weddings do receive anywhere from seven hundred to twelve hundred photos give or take. So after the backup process following the wedding I usually build previews for all of the photos and then I start sorting through the photos. I either accept or reject the photos and the rejected ones are removed. I go from the first photo to the last photo one by one at least several times repeating this process. After the sorting process is the editing process. Once all the photos are edited they are uploaded to a custom online gallery.
Are all the images photoshopped
I do not photoshop any images. I do what is called adjusting the photos. I shoot in a format called RAW. This means i’m working with a twenty five megabit file. I’m adjusting brightness, contrast, profile correction, saturation, color temperature, sharpness. I’m also cropping in on certain photos. I don’t include blemish removal or applying filters to photos. Each image is gone through one by one and adjusted.
Do you do blemish removal
This is a little bit more involved in the editing process. I typically don’t do blemish removal. On a wedding day the bride is wearing makeup to look her best and i’m not usually asked to do this. If there’s is a special reason to do blemish removal for a bride or a member of the family I am of course always helpful in this aspect.
Can you photoshop eyes on my aunt
When I take a group photo I usually take three to five photos. The main thing i’m looking for is the bride and groom looking their best. The second thing I look for is everyone smiling, eyes open and no weird expressions. Every once and awhile i’ll end up with a photo where one of your family members happened to have their eyes closed and then that leads to the inevitable question of “Can you photoshop eyes on so and so”. I don’t photoshop arms skinnier or add eyes to peoples photos. You are more then welcome to add a set of eyes if you would like but I personally do not have the time or proper skill level to do something like that.
How does the online gallery work
IShotYourWedding.com is an online gallery where you can view, download, order and share your photos. I post your engagement and wedding photos here. You are always welcome to share this with your guests so that you’re not in charge of e-mailing individual photos to friends and family. Your photos will typically remain on this website for up to a year after the wedding date. I also provide packs of a hundred cards with a link to the website for a small fee, these are good to include in your thank you cards.
How do the rights to the photo work
We both share the rights. I share the rights so that you may print wherever you would like afterward. I’m not going to sell your image to anyone but I will use it in my marketing on social media or print. The only request I have in my contract is that you may not sell your photo or submit it for publication without written consultation and consent. All images may be duplicated and used for personal use.
Tell me more about the flash drive
The flash drives I use are custom wooden flash drives cut with my logo. These have magnetic tops which hold the top on. The size of data the flash drive holds depends on your needs. If you have seven gigabytes of data you’ll probably end up with a eight gigabyte flash drive and if you have more you’ll end up with a larger flash drive. These flash drives are not for the purpose of ordering photos at Walgreens, Walmart, Shell gas station. They are for putting in a safety deposit box or safe.
When will my flash drive arrive
The most important thing for me to do is get your photos to you. This is done through the online gallery within four to five weeks. The flash drive is usually a few months after that. The flash drive isn't for you to go to CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart or Shell Gas station to get prints made. This is for the safekeeping of your wedding photos, computers die and your photos shouldn't go down with the ship. Most often the flash drives are batched together from other brides and grooms and all shipped out at once.
How much for an extra flash drive
The flash drives aren’t ones that you would pick up at a store. They are custom ordered flash drives and typically ordered in bulk. So ordering a single flash drive is $40. If you are ordering an extra flash drive after your initial wedding year then additional charges may apply for reprocessing of your wedding photos.
Can we order prints through you
Yes you can order prints through the online gallery that you initial get your photos from. I would suggest using NationsPhotoLab.com to order any prints. It’s what I personally use when I order prints. I honestly don't feel very good if i'm trying to sell someone an eight by ten print at twenty dollars when I know you can hop online and find it for two dollars. So to get rid of any yucky feelings like that I just pass on my provider to you. I would rather be a friend verse a middle man trying to get a few extra dollars from a bride and groom.
Can we order a canvas through you
Yes. I have an excellent company that I use and regularly have deals to get your large canvases throughout the year. I sometimes get special deals though that aren't available to the general public. But in case you don't want to wait for the deals and order directly then visit CGProPrints.com
How do we design the album
You select the photos and I design the album. This will negate e-mails, phone calls, endless proofs and back and forth text messages. I had to include this in my frequently asked questions because I have had those late night phone calls, texts and emails of "Can you move the photo from this page to page six and move the image from page two to ten". I had to rant for a moment to get my point across. My goal is making the album as beautiful as possible. I design several dozen albums every year and design the book to tell the story of your wedding day. This means the getting ready photos are grouped together, wedding ceremony grouped together and so on. Large group photos sometimes encompass two pages to showcase all your friends and family's beautiful faces and the most beautiful photos from your wedding day are highlighted in larger formats in the book. The back end of the software to edit the albums is not adjustable by customers at the moment. Here’s more information on the ordering an album.
How do we leave a review
I love reviews. These help bring new brides and grooms to me. You can find me on the Knot, WeddingWire, Google and Facebook as far as reviews go. Click here for a list of all the reviews.
How do we tag you on social media or give credit on photos
(https://www.Facebook.com/unitymikephoto) My facebook business page. You should be able to find me by typing @unitymike while in Facebook. You can also tag me by name as well @Mike Hendrickson (https://www.facebook.com/unitymike). If you’re tagging me on instagram whether in your story or your feed then @unitymike. Beyond that if you’re just crediting me for a photo and don’t want to make a link to my page then you can credit me as unitymike.com wedding photography or unitymike photo or unitymike photography. Please don’t credit me as unity mike or Michael unity, that’s just weird. If all else fails then just credit me with unitymike.com.
Do you have backup equipment
My equipment is something i'm very proud of. I have three camera bodies and eleven lenses. I'm prepared for any situation. I also have about a dozen memory cards for a wedding and also multiple flashes and strobes as well. I take the responsibility of shooting someone's wedding very seriously. I also have my equipment serviced regularly and I'm always upgrading. I love having a huge offering of equipment to get different shots for your wedding.
What do you have for equipment
I have a Canon 5D MKIV & Canon 5D MKIII & Canon EOS-M3. 22mm 2.0, 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.2, 85mm 1.2, 100mm 2.8, 135mm, 200mm 1.8, 16-35 2.8 II, 8-15 4.0, 70-200 2.8 II, 90mm TS-E 2.8 and additional six flash guns, two Einstein strobes and every little accessory you could think of. Each wedding season I upgrade equipment or purchase new equipment. I affectionally have what is called Gear Acquisition Syndrome, so i'm always on the hunt for new tools. I wrote a blog detailing a bit more about my gear here.
can we be your facebook friend
Believe it or not I am friends with pretty much all of my brides and grooms on Facebook. It allows a little bit more informal communication and also builds up a little bit of a friendship prior to the wedding. This means better photos because after a few months of seeing my food posts or travel photos and a few likes there and there we get to know each other a bit better. So a wedding vendor isn't showing up to your wedding, now it's your Facebook friend Mike. This has allowed me to get to know brides and grooms a bit better before the wedding as well. @UNITYMIKE Friend request me! I'm also on Instagram @UNITYMIKE
If you're unavailable for our wedding date who would you recommend
I have several people I can recommend if I am not able to shoot your wedding. Feel free to contact me with any questions and I can pair you with someone that can meet your needs and wants.
Do you do videography
I do not do any videography. I occasionally will tinker for my own purposes but a wedding is not a place for me to learn how to do video. I highly recommend using Shawn Pacheco cinematography. I've worked with him on a number of weddings. Make sure to mention me when booking... he buys me a Venti Starbucks Cafe Mocha with no whip every single time someone books with him; kidding.
Do you have insurance
Yes. I have liability and also insurance on my equipment. If my equipment is stolen I can have it replaced that week. I also have Canon Professional Services where I can borrow equipment and also have access to other local shops where I can rent or purchase equipment on the fly. This is a big thing to look for when hiring a photographer. Beyond that I have the capital and cashflow to repurchase equipment on the fly if need be.
How many weddings do you shoot a year
I shoot around thirty weddings a year in addition to other photography sessions, projects, events, consultant work and development. Thirty wedding dates means thirty meetings, sixty or more phone calls, thirty engagement shoots in addition to the weddings and processing for all of the weddings.
Why are all wedding photographers expensive
As a photographer we all have to put a price on what we do. There is a lot of factors that influence our price which I will list out. Office space, computers, software, data backup, cameras & lenses, maintenance, lens rentals, subscriptions to professional services for online galleries, video production, marketing, advertising, development, travel, gear insurance, processing time, clothes, bags & storage. I have countless hours developing my craft and also building infrastructure for my business to run as smoothly as possible. Besides all the material things you're really paying for a professional to show up and not mess anything up. You really do get what you pay for. If your friend with a Canon Rebel wants to shoot your wedding that's exactly what the photos may look like. If you have someone who is willing to shoot your wedding for five hundred dollars then that's exactly what you'll end up with.
How long have I been shooting weddings
I've been shooting weddings for over ten years now. I really do like shooting weddings. It's exciting because it's a day of technical trouble shooting as well as working with many different personalities, locations and situations. All this while expressing yourself artistically, capturing memories and rolling with the punches. As a photographer you shoot different things like landscapes, parties, food, people, action; this is just a place to take all of those aspects and roll them into one day.
Why do you shoot weddings
I love shooting weddings because the challenge it presents. Every wedding is a little bit different and has it's own difficulties which is fun to work through. Some weddings are easy and others not so much but I have all the equipment to deal with any situation and the knowledge to implement everything. A wedding is also a marathon of shooting quality photos under pressure which presents technical and creative challenges. A wedding photographer is a rare creature when it comes to other photographers due to the fact that we have hours upon hours of problem solving lighting issues, posing, finding beautiful moments and places as well as being a wall flower while doing most of this.
Do you do anything else for work?
I'm a full-time photography but I also do a number of other things besides wedding photography. Headshots, family sessions, the occasional infant shoot. I dabble with web design, basically helping people streamline their websites and some SEO work. I do consultant work for businesses and other photographers and branding / image work. Because i've spent so much time on my own business i've learned a few things here and there about marketing and infrastructure that can be easily applied to many other businesses. I also love helping get other photographers up on their feet making money doing something they love.
Do you do other types of photography
If you follow me on Instagram @unitymike you can see everything I do. I love shooting a little bit of everything. It's all a challenge and it's very rewarding. Landscapes are fun for the fact of traveling to far away places and not having to ask anyone to pose a certain way. I love food photography because of the margin of error. You can't blame the food if you didn't get the shot or say afterwards that the food moved and that's why you didn't get the shot. I really appreciate new food experiences as well so it's an excuse to visit bakeries, restaurants and other fine establishments. I have some friends that explore abandoned buildings and I sometimes tag along. I think it's interesting seeing and experiencing these forgotten places. Street photography is documenting urban landscapes with people as the subject primarily. This is fun and challenging due to the fact of getting natural expressions by sneaking some photos in addition to flat out taking strangers photos in front of them.
Could we get the RAW files
For those of you who aren't familiar with this, these are files that are typically around twenty five megabytes vs the traditional five megabyte jpeg file. They are CR2 or DNG files and are processed by Photoshop or Lightroom. Once you open the file with a select program you adjust the exposure, temperature, profile correction, crop, saturation, contrast, sharpness, noise reduction and a dozen other settings to paint the final photo. They are essentially unedited files, plain & flat images. Think of it like a cake without any decorations, frosting or distinctive shape. For those who feel initiated into the field of photography and willing to learn. These files require a larger flash drive to transport as well as a fee of an additional thousand dollars. The reason behind this is i'm giving you edited photos with my name attached to them essentially. These photos are not to be confused with the high resolution copies of the photos which are finished, processed jpeg files.
Do we need a print release for the photos
No you do not, with that being said... Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, Shell Gas station (the last one was a joke) might be sticklers to their store policies. I will never suggest that you go to any of the above places to make your prints. I would suggest a real lab that does it correctly over a ten dollar an hour employee pushing a button and a general knowledge of fixing a paper jam. The fact that you have a flash drive full of high resolution images should lend to the truth that you paid for the images and can do whatever you would like with them. I also don't want to be the middle man taking my cut off every print either which is why I suggest NationsPhotoLab.com, MeridianPro.com, CGProPrints.com for prints, metal & canvases.
What if I lose the photos a few years down the road
If you lose the photos at any point I will always have a backup of the photos. After two years though I do go through all of my photos and remove the edits of the photos and retain just the unedited RAW files. This means there is a small fee to make new edits to the photos. This takes time and additional I give a new flash drive with this fee. I do want to also mention that over time I do remove a small portion from each wedding, this may be photos of center pieces or additional outtakes of photos. I always want to make sure i’m not leaving any of my brides and grooms high and dry when it comes to recovering memories. I know not all wedding photographers will offer a service like this but I really think this is important because accidents happen, computers die, tragedy strikes. I hope to be there someday if anything happens with a precious memory in hand.
Do you have a military discount
Yes I do. Just provide me with a valid military ID or DD Form 214 to receive 10% off your package. We offer this discount to all active duty military personnel, reserve or National Guard members, and veterans, plus their spouses or significant others. The discount is not transferable to other family members. Thank you for your service.
our photos aren't on your gallery page anymore
I leave up photos for as long as possible but as newer shoots happen the older ones get pushed out. When I say the older ones I don't mean two or three months, it's typically six months to a year. The gallery is for you to initially download photos, share with friends and family and also make your selections for your album. If it's been over a year and you need your wedding photos again that usually means that i'm going to have to reprocess them, a slight fee incurs.
We never received our album
After each wedding or corresponding shoot I upload the photos and notify you that they are ready for viewing and also selecting your favorites. I don't do much hand holding in this part of the process for two reasons. Some brides and grooms take a few days or weeks to select their favorites and the other end of the spectrum is the people who take over a year. The other part of this is I get busy and unless I see a message saying that we've selected our favorites or you've called me to say you've selected your favorites I won't know. I do detail this in the contract.
Can you help me with my photography business
Part of wedding photography or photography in general is paying it back or paying it forward. I always try to help out other photographers with my insights and knowledge. I can't take you on shoots however or do one on one time with you because i'm usually working on something. This means if you want my time unfortunately you have to compensate me. This doesn't mean a few hundred dollars, this just means whatever is affordable to you. More typically I don't mind being taken out for a coffee and laying down some information for you.
do you edit other photographers photos
I occasionally have a bride & groom who's wedding who I did not shoot who ask me to re-edit their wedding photos. Unless I have the explicit consent from the original photographer I cannot edit their photos. In this circumstance you're having me re-edit photos most likely due to unhappiness with the original photographers work. You may be on bad terms with them due to this disagreement in quality, so to avoid any legal issues I would need in writing from the original photographer consent and if possible I would need the RAW image files. Pricing on these re-edits all depend on the amount of photos and would require a custom quote upon further review.
We're a wedding venue and would love to have a few photos from a past wedding you shot
I'm always more than happy to give out photos to venues or other vendors that have been present at the wedding. All I ask is that you give me photo credit somewhere. It's always nice to have a referral as well. But please contact me via my contact page and let me know the date of the wedding and i'll send you over a link to that wedding if it was in the past year or if not I can send you a selection of photos from that particular wedding or other weddings at the venue.
We sent you a text message / facebook message or e-mail and never heard back
Occasionally during the year I get a huge workload and am unable to follow messages. If you've send me an e-mail asking me a single question i'll usually respond. If it's a text message i'm still pretty good about responding. But I do have a large amount of people across many platforms that send me a single question and sometimes I will be answering these questions during a quick minute at a wedding or while working on photos. Because of the nature of this business i'll usually respond most hours of the day but if I don't then feel free to call me at: 508-471-0069.
We missed a photo that I wanted to do, can you photoshop these five people out and add these other two people
I apologize for any slight complaining that this may convey. I’m always going to make my best effort to get as many special moments as possible. In the event that we do miss one of these photos I can’t manifest it into existence or photoshop together a photo to replicate what you’re looking for. If there’s a moment you want captured then grab me for it. If there’s a group of people you want a photo of then get those people together and i’ll do my best to capture it. I’ve found that if you miss a single photo no matter what the photo was then that will be the most important photo that the person wanted. I can’t remove people from photos or add other people to photos or change out peoples smiles or arm positioning or make it snow or create sunshine. This is not in my skill set as a wedding photographer. You are welcome to take my photos to a graphic artist who does work like this. These kind of adjustments are entirely different than what I do as a wedding photographer. I’ve learned my lesson again and again that If you do a favor and adjust one photo which could take an hour or two that everyone is grateful but… can you do these other three photos.
I am human
I want to remind everyone that like you I am also human. Every once and awhile I have people that may tend to forget this. If I don't respond to an e-mail quick enough or a wedding takes an extra week or an album is taking a whole to ship... I'm human. During certain times of the year I have larger than normal workloads. I'm always going to do my best to make everyone happy. If I don't follow up with you, text me, if I'm a little bit late, wait, if I type out a huge run-on sentence then forgive the absence of the MLA format. I'm very accessible, phone, e-mail, text messages, Facebook, , LinkedIn (probably not so much LinkedIn). If there is a problem then just give me a ring and talk to me and i’ll do my best to correct it.
How does a family portrait work
Family sessions are $500 and are done on location, I bring the studio to you. This means you can get your family together in one place and have it be a little more relaxed and organized. There is no car pooling from multiple locations to a studio or cramped conditions. Locations can range from your own backyard to a local park or the beach. The sessions range from one to two hours and can include whatever outfit changes you would like. You can do whatever breakdowns of family units. Extended family, immediate family, just the cousins, just the boys, girls, parents, grandparents. The best time for these shoots are either early mornings or late afternoons due to more favorable light in addition to studio lights that I bring. Each session includes an online gallery for your family to download all of the photos. Download cards are available so that your family isn't reliant on one person e-mailing everyones photos out. One six by six album is also included with each additional book being $100. Book and schedule your family session for a date that's favorable to you. Contact me.
Senior portrait sessions are $500. On location wherever you would like from the beach, backyard, forest, city or a mix. We allow multiple outfits and a more relaxed tone than a studio normally might. We walk around, hang out and take photos that your teenager will actually want to show off. We also have a multitude of different lenses which will mean we can get everything from a creamy blurred out background to funny fisheye photos and anything in-between. I think most of us remember our senior portraits by visiting a local studio and positioning our wrist or hand at a dirty five degree angle and tilting our head while arching our back or any unnatural poses that you could dream of. Think of this as a more boutique approach to something that might otherwise be a complete bother to a teenager. Here's the best part of all this, there is no choosing one, two or three photos for print and uncharges for different sizes, you get everything. Anything that came out good, you get. We give you all the photos because we believe that by giving you that little bit extra and a great experience we're going to see referrals verses an extra fifty dollars from you via upselling you on prints. The more photos you have, the more likely everyone will both find images you love. Also included is an online gallery to view, share, download and even order prints directly. One six by six album is also included with each additional book being $100. You will use the gallery to select your favorites for your album. Book and schedule your senior session for a date that's favorable to you.
I can be on call for you in most circumstances for a birth. That means that I visit your hospital room or wherever the baby is being born and capture some journalistic and posed journalistic photos. We may have cellphones or a DSLR to capture these special days but maybe you want something a little more special and have everyone in the photo. The rates differ on these shoots ranging from $300-$700. Depending on the time of year and availability.Because births are not always planned I will typically visit once the baby is born and a specific time is planned. If I visit during the time of birth and am put on a holding pattern waiting for the action happen then the rate slightly goes up. All birth-day photos will include a flash drive and online gallery and processing within a few days with initial dozen photos being sent the day of for you to share ASAP. Contact me to find out more about booking.
I have lots of people who approach me for different types of photo shoots. The most I do is set up a date or do a follow up message. I don't chase anyone down for a photoshoot. If you contact me about a family shoot or portrait I will typically follow up once. If you set up a date for a shoot and bail then most of the times I leave the ball in your court. I do this for a few reasons. Sometime's people's financial situation changes or maybe they loose interest in the idea of a photoshoot for whatever reason. I have lots of weddings and engagement shoots throughout the year as well as other commercial work so I really only follow up with those who are interested in having a shoot. If you bail or don't e-mail, call or text me then I can assume that this shoot isn't that important to you.
Unless i'm shooting a wedding I don't ask for a deposit. I want to make this process as easy as possible. Most shoots won't even require a contract. Our e-mail correspondence should suffice for a record of our agreement and dealings with each other. It's much easier to uncomplicated the booking process with a handshake and gentlemen's agreement then a written contract and back and fourth to take some photos of you or your family. Commercial contracts that are looking for a specific assignment completed will require a contract.