Why should I hire a wedding photographer if all my guests will be taking pictures?
This is a pretty common question that I see floating around the boards on wedding planning sites, and one that I totally understand! Weddings are expensive, plain and simple. If you're working within a budget that's tighter than your pants after Thanksgiving dinner (which was definitely me when I was planning my wedding!), it can feel impossible at times to have the wedding you want without selling a kidney. So, hiring a photographer often ends up on the list of things to cut. When everyone and their mom has a cell phone camera, is it really worth it to pay someone to take more pictures?
I'll be totally honest - that completely depends on your situation and what you want for your wedding. If you're having a low–key celebration and you're perfectly happy with collecting photos from your guests, hiring a pro might not be for you. On the other hand, if you want tons of pictures from the moment you start getting ready until the last dance at your reception, hiring a dedicated wedding photographer is a great idea.
I think the biggest advantage of using a pro is that it gives you peace of mind. You can trust that your photographer has everything under control. We know when to go for the shot -- and when not to, which can be equally as important! We understand the inner workings of our cameras, and that every situation requires a different approach that's more than just pressing a button. Most importantly, we are there to work for you. We'll show up at the crack of dawn to take photos at your hair appointment, if that makes you happy. If you point out something you'd love a photo of, we'll make sure you get it.
This is in no way intended to insult any of your favorite shutterbugs -- if you have a bunch of friends or family members who take amazing photos and are willing to do so at your wedding, then lucky you! The choice is absolutely yours to make, so do what will mesh best with your big day.
How will I receive my photos? Do I get digital copies or actual prints?
Every client receives a flash drive with high-resolution jpeg files of all photos, and certain photography packages do include prints or albums. Every package also includes an online gallery to share with friends and family. From within this gallery, you'll be able to purchase professional quality prints and other photo products; however, you're never obligated to buy prints from me! You're more than welcome to have prints or any other photo products made wherever you choose. That said, if you're interested in creating a package that includes prints or albums just let me know. I'm more than happy to work with you and make sure you get exactly what you need!
Do you edit the photos?
Absolutely! Every image is carefully retouched in order to provide you with a beautiful final product. This includes color correction and other minor touch-ups. I always like to let brides know that almost everything (stains/spots on the dress, skin blemishes, sunburns, etc.) can be fixed in Photoshop. I have plenty of experience with photo editing, and I'll make sure that your photos look perfect before you ever see them.
Do you provide a copyright release?
I retain the actual copyrights to all photos, meaning that they may only be printed or used in any way with my written permission. However, you will receive a print permission form, allowing you to have your photos printed at any photo lab. Basically, you're free to use your photos as you please - as long as you do not sell them or claim them as your own work. Do make sure that if you take your images to a photo lab for printing that you bring your print permission form with you, since labs are prohibited by law from printing professional photos without the photographer's written permission.
How long does it take to get my pictures?
Weddings involve a LOT of photos! Each wedding is different; for example, there will probably be significantly fewer photos from an intimate ceremony with family and close friends than from a huge, 300-guest party! Depending on the details of your wedding, you can expect to receive your flash drive by mail within 8-12 weeks. This allows plenty of time for all of your photos to be professionally retouched and perfected. Of course, I'll keep you updated on the process, and make every effort to have the photos ready as soon as possible without sacrificing their quality.
For portrait sessions, you should receive your flash drive in 3-4 weeks. For non-wedding events, you will be given an estimate based on the size and type of event. Prints, albums, or other photo products may take longer than the standard turnaround time, and you will receive an estimated date of delivery for these products at the time of ordering.
Do you travel? How far?
I am happy to travel wherever you need! However, events or sessions taking place more than 40 miles outside of Duluth, GA will incur additional travel costs. The additional fee is calculated based on the current IRS mileage rate for business travel (click here to view). If an overnight stay is required, the client is responsible for a fee covering reasonable overnight accommodations, in addition to any mileage charged.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out with photography?
Take time to learn the basics. Learn all you can about exposure, composition, and color. Practice using light in new and creative ways, and don't underestimate how the small details can take a photo from good enough to incredible. That said, don't just focus on the technical side of photography. Bring your camera everywhere you go, and never stop taking pictures. If you see something that makes you react, with happiness, heartbreak, curiosity... photograph it. Capture every moment that touches you. Most of all, remember that you'll never be finished learning - and that's a wonderful thing!