Today I wanted to explain a little more about the process of actually booking your wedding photography and what you should expect to happen in the lead up to and beyond your big day. Sometimes after booking your suppliers it can feel a bit odd, especially if you book over a year in advance as most likely you have had to part with a little bit of money to hold your date and then well, nothing really happens for a long time. Hopefully this post explaining what happens at each step up to and after your wedding if you book with me should put and worries at ease.
Usually you would have stumbled across my website, facebook page or even found me in more obscure ways such as through pinterest or instagram. Maybe you were referred by a friend, or met me at a wedding fair. Either way if you like my work, enjoy my style of photography and are keen to see if I’m available to photograph your wedding day the first step is to get in touch via the contact form on my website. Here you’ll find me interrogating/asking you lots of questions about your wedding day. This is because…
1. I’m nosey
2. I love to know a little more about what you have planned and
3. I want to work with couples who get me, like my work and are excited to work with me.
When the little ‘bing’ of my inbox goes off and I click through to see its a new enquiry I get really excited. I adore my job, and when I get incredible wedding enquiries falling into my inbox almost daily it makes me very happy indeed. After you have enquired the first thing I’ll do is to check I still have your wedding date available. I get booked up on average about 10-12 months in advance for weddings, so there really is no such thing as being too organised when it comes to your wedding day. If I’m not free I’ll send you a list of photographers who I would hand on my heart recommend to capture the big day. If the date is still available though I’ll email you back with some more information about pricing, perhaps a link to a wedding that I have shot at your venue before and some other bits of usual information. I also like to see if you’d like to meet up and chat face to face, as this is how you can really decide if you like me and my work.
Dates go fast and if someone else enquires about the same date I operate a ‘first come first served’ rule. So if you;re serious about booking lets get together and have a chat…
In the near future I plan to invite you to my home where you can be covered in puppy kisses from Tagg in my new studio space. Here we can sit and talk surrounded by my work. However, until our house move is complete (is moving house more or less stressful than planning a wedding?!?!) I currently am very happy to come and visit you at home armed with sample albums and slideshows. If you’re not local to me in Colchester then we can always use Skype or meet at a reasonable half-way point (usually a pub!) to go over details.
During the consultation (which usually lasts about an hour) we’ll most probably talk about how you met, your wedding plans, I’ll probably managed to get the conversation around to dogs… but the point is we’ll get the chance to get to know each other better! I’ll be on hand to answer any questions, go over pricing and terms and conditions. What I will never do though is force you to make a decision about booking there and then. Booking your photographer is serious busienss so please feel free to go away, have a chat and think about things. Before we say goodbye I always leave you with a pack of information that contains all of the details you will need in order to secure your wedding date with me. You’ll also get a copy of my magazine which contains lots of pretty pictures, and should answer any questions you may have. I’ll usually hold your date for a week following our meeting, and if I haven’t heard from you by then I’ll get in touch to see if you are still interested. As mentioned before, dates do go fast, so if I have another enquiry for your date I’ll need to know if you want to book quite sharpish!!
Booking Your Date
If you do decide I’m the photographer for you, the next step is to pay a ‘save the date fee’ this fee secures your wedding date and will guarantee I’ll be there to shoot your wedding. The ‘save the date fee’ is currently £250 and is non-refundable. The rest of your balance will then be due on the 1st of the month prior to your wedding day (i.e – all weddings in June are payable on the 1st of May). I do offer the opportunity to pay for your photography in instalments too, so if spreading the cost over a number of months will help you just let me know and we’ll arrange it. As well as your save the date fee, I’ll also require you to return and sign your wedding agreement. This document (included in the pack of information I left with you at your consultation) will go over all of the terms and conditions of booking me as your photographer including what would happen if I was ill, you have to cancel the wedding, and how you can use your images. It’s a really important document (and I realise reading these things are boring!) but it protects us both, and without it I cannot secure your wedding day.
Once the boring paperwork is done you’ll receive a confirmation letter to make everything official and then we’ll start thinking about the fun stuff!
Along The Way
Once you have booked me as your photographer, keep an eye on your letterbox. I like to spoil my wedding couples with little surprises along the way, so if you change address please keep me updated! (Both before and after the wedding!)
I include engagement shoots with all of my full day wedding photography packages. If you book a mini package you can always add one onto your collection and I’ll always advise that you do. Engagement shoots are a really great way of having a practice run in front of the camera before your wedding day. It’s most likely you’ve never been through this experience before, and the last time you really had professional pictures taken was probably when you were in school! (you know what I’m talking about, those cheesy head shots that still sit your parents mantlepiece… I used to do that for a job! I definitely remember how awkward it was!) I promise you that by having an engagement shoot you’ll not only be put at ease way before the big day, but you’ll get to see how I work, and see the results beforehand which means you’ll fully understand what I was doing when I put you in that “pose”. For more engagement shoot information head over here.
I like to book your engagement shoot in at least 3 months before your wedding, as that leaves plenty of time to get things ready if you plan to purchase guestbooks or signature frames. If though, you would like your engagement shoot much sooner just send me an email and we’ll book you in right away!
1 Month Before The Wedding
By now you should have paid your final payment (I always send out a reminder email around 2 weeks before this is due) so now its time to start thinking about filling in your wedding day checklist (included in the pack of information I left with you at the consultation). This checklist will become my schedule for the day and will contain all the important information I will need such as venue addresses (triple check them!), important peoples phone numbers, the timeline for the day and a list of group photographs that you will have requested. Getting this back to me 1 month before the wedding ensures we have plenty of time to check things over, and I can offer you advice on where we can save time/re-order things for a better flow on the day. Once this is all settled I bet you start feeling like things are getting real!!
3 Days Before The Wedding
3 days before the wedding I’ll drop you another email just to let you know all is ok my end. I’ll remind you what time I plan to arrive and just check that nothing has changed from the schedule we made.
The Wedding Day
Because we’ve been so super organised you basically wont have to worry about me at all. Depending on what package you booked I’ll either be there from when you get ready until about 30 minutes after the first dance or a selection of either 4 or 6 hours if you booked a mini package. But you can just get married, drink, chat, dance, laugh and you know… be a newlywed!! I’ll have timings all under control so you can just relax and enjoy yourselves.
I’ll make sure I come and say goodbye before I leave and I’ll remind you that there will be a sneak peek image showing up on facebook for you a couple of days after the wedding.
2 – 3 Days After Your Wedding
On the next working day after your wedding (usually a Monday for weekend weddings or the day after for weekday weddings) I’ll pick one photograph from your wedding day and share this on my blog and facebook page as your sneak peek. You can tag yourselves in this and enjoy it until the rest of your images are ready to view, which i promise wont be long but you’ll be far too busy sunning yourselves on honeymoon anyway!
4 Weeks After Your Wedding
Your wedding images will be ready to view. To get you really excited I always end out a slideshow of your wedding day highlights first and then two days later you will receive the link to view all of your wedding images in your very own online gallery. Once you’ve had a peruse all I’ll need you to do is to confirm your home address so I can send you out your USB which will contain all of the high resolution photos and also the same images in low resolution for you to use online. The online gallery contains an option to purchase prints, wall art and fun things like key-rings so you and your guests can order away to your hearts content (You’ll receive 20% off for the first 2 weeks). You may also choose to purchase an album, so we’ll work on your design and get that printed for you (usually this takes 6 weeks).
At this time I’ll also send you a link to leave me a testimonial, these are really helpful for recommending other newly engaged couples to book with me, so if you have the time I always appreciate this.
12 Months After Your Wedding
I’ll be back in touch just to remind you that I am no longer responsible for your wedding images. In this email I’ll give you some advice about backing up your images so that you’ll never lose them as your online gallery will expire. If you didn’t order an album after your wedding I’ll also remind you in this email as its a nice anniversary present to yourselves! Lastly I’ll encourage you to let me know what you’ve been up to so you can take part in my ‘One Year On’ blog series.
*sob* I’m always sad to see my couples go, but by this stage there just isn’t anything left for me to do! However I’m always on hand if you fancy a shoot once you start your new family 😉