Many of our customers have wanted us to provide information which they can refer to others seeking a wedding photographer. Some of our customers have told us they were misinformed by other photographers about digitally mastered images on DVDs and other issues during their interviews with other photographers before they chose us. We hope those issues and more are clarified here.
page provides some insights about some of the various ways wedding photographers set-up and conduct their businesses. There is a lot of plain factual information which makes for some very dry reading. The information here is suggested reading for the person who will be paying for wedding photography services. There are some photographers who are upset with us for addressing many of these consumer concerns. So you don't have to take our word for it . . . many of the issues we address here can be found when you type "photographer consumer complaints" and similar intuitive phrases in popular search engines. Of course, we also just want to "get the facts straight" here publicly concerning things some photographers are saying to brides privately during consultations.
Why is professional wedding photography so expensive?
Answer: If all a photographer did was stand around and push a button
on a camera strictly on the Wedding Day and charge thousands of
dollars, that would definitely be very expensive. However, there
is a lot more work and time involved than that.
fast majority of brides in our market area are paying an average
of $2,500.00+ for their wedding photography coverage and the package
(excluding videography) they select through established and reputable
professional photographers. When a photographer accepts a smaller
wedding, the photographer is losing money. In the case of Wedding
Photographics, we also include engagement and bridal portrait sessions.
We also include the digitally mastered JPEGs from both sessions
AND from the Wedding Day. We shoot around 800+ images of most weddings
and guarantee in the wedding photography contract to provide 400 to 700
of the best to the Bride on designer photo DVDs. We spend a LOT
of time METICULOUSLY digitally processing all these images so they
will produce professional quality photographic prints which
rival medium format NEGATIVE film photographs. Of
course, the reason we don't shoot medium format film is so you have
all the advantages of digital (See Gallery
16 and Cutting Edge for a few digital advantages). We spend an average of 40 hours per
client! Breaks down like this: About 2 hours for initial consultation,
4 hours shooting engagement & bridal sessions, 4 hours processing
and burning designer photo DVDs of engagement & bridal sessions.
About 1 hour telephone/e-mail customer service. Within one month
before the Wedding Day we provide a "Pre-Wedding Day Consultation"
for about 1 hour. Another 1.5 hours designing, printing and framing
the signature mat. For the Wedding Day we provide up to eight hours
coverage which means 8 hours for each photographer. We then spend
about 15 hours custom processing all these files in Photoshop CS3
and other photo editing software and creating special effects etc.
About 8 hours post-production processing of the video in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. The Bride & Groom DVD album contains two designer photo DVDs
of 400+ (usually a lot more) digitally mastered images. We believe
as the years go by any album(s) we produce for you will become cherished
family heirlooms which will be passed down through family generations
for years to come and which are truly worth the investment.
We know we have to compete
for your printing and album business since you can take your photo DVDs
anywhere to have printed at regular photo finishing
prices around town. So we have specially priced those services for you. After you have viewed your photos on your DVDs, the bride may then
choose a custom designed album with photographs she
personally selects which best tells her Wedding Day Story. Naturally, John & Cherry will make your custom
designed album available to you at a very special
price to complete your package.
Why don't you take the final payment for your wedding photography
services on the Wedding Day or even at the time of photo package
Answer: I use to do that. The reason why I and most other wedding photographers
require the full payment at least a week in advance is to simply
make sure we get paid. On Wedding Photography Contracts, it is the
photographers who are legally obligated to provide a variety of
services and products. The only obligation of the client is to pay
the photographer. It has been the unfortunate experience of many
photographers that when they expect payment on the Wedding Day....they
are simply handed a bad check or no payment at all. Sadly, many
people feel that the photographer has the films and all the photographs
and therefore some clients will take their time to pay the photographer
the remaining balance when it is convenient for them. No business
can operate like that. Printing costs hundreds of dollars per wedding.
When a photographer has one wedding each weekend back to back, that
photographer can easily have a lot of money tied up in photographs.
That is no way to reward a talented and creative professional who
has invested thousands of dollars in equipment and time establishing
a legitimate business. You are assured that any such professional
with so much invested in their business will do everything they
can to fulfill their obligations of the Wedding Photography Contract.
In the case of Wedding Photographics, our business license information
is provided, we are PayPal Verified, we are members of the Better
Business Bureau and you even know where we live since we operate
a home-based studio.
has also been the experience of many photographers that when the
Wedding Day is cancelled for whatever reason, the photographer is
the last to be told...if told at all. Since some clients don't feel
they have any obligation to inform the photographer, they don't.
Especially since they are losing their non-refundable reservation
deposit anyway. This problem is resolved by simply requiring the
client to pay the remaining balance one month before the Wedding
Day. If not paid, the photographer will not photograph the Wedding. We consider non-payment of the remaining balance one month before
the Wedding Day as cancellation by the Client. (It can be very
inconvenient and time consuming to travel over 150 miles one way
to a wedding you were not told was cancelled).
some people will tell their photographer the wedding was cancelled
when it really wasn't. When the photographer doesn't show for the
wedding, they demand the non-refundable reservation deposit be returned
to them. (We've heard some customers do this in an attempt to get back their
reservation deposit which otherwise is non-refundable and have a
amateur friend shoot their wedding). This is why photographers require
in the contract that they are informed in writing of a cancellation.
But as explained previously, even when a cancellation is legitimate,
there is little incentive for some clients to take the time and
trouble to inform the photographer....especially in writing. This
problem is also resolved by simply requiring the client to pay the
remaining balance one month before the Wedding Day. Again, if this
payment has not been made, this puts the photographer on notice
client has in fact cancelled the wedding photography services.
(PDF 10.27MB download)
5-page checklist serves multiple purposes. It's main purpose
is a tool for communication - helping the bride & photographer
determine a plan to help insure the Wedding Day events are
properly covered - especially when some weddings consist of
simultaneous activities at different locations and the bride
needs to prioritize the photographs which are important to
her. Also, not all weddings are Christian weddings. There
are many different kinds of religious and cultural wedding
ceremonies, rituals and celebrations. The checklist serves
as a starting point for the bride communicating her particular
needs to her photographer. Professional wedding photographers
use a wedding photography checklist for these reasons and
we photograph the entire Wedding Day, it is only necessary
to indicate the shots which are NOT desired. Using this checklist
does not mean your Wedding Photographics photographers will
be fumbling around with your checklist papers on your Wedding
Day. We only have to memorize the shots which you must have
and the rest are shot as your special day unfolds.
is very important the photographer you consider hiring to
photograph your Wedding Day uses a wedding photography checklist
or similar tool to help him or her to know the shots which
are very important to YOU. It will
do you little good to hire a talented photographer who insists
on shooting a lot of shots you simply do not want or missing
shots he/she just doesn't know you may want or even possible
to be shot. (Example: Relationship shots. An older couple
may share some special history and these two are married to
other people. How would the photographer know to get these
two different family members and put them together for a special
portrait just for you. Also war veterans. There are many group
shots such as these and others that a photographer must be
Since you provide the high resolution custom processed photo-quality
images on DVDs, what incentive do you have to do a great job since
your customers can take their photo DVDs somewhere else to get photographs?
With all due respect, most all other photographers for years have
charged a profit on selling the photographs. So they do a great
job so their customers will order more photographs.
Answer: As a service business we are building a reputation for providing
high quality wedding photography. We do everything we can to insure
the absolute complete satisfaction of our clients so they will provide
us great word of mouth referrals. This is the life-blood of most
businesses and our wedding photography business especially. Furthermore,
we know our customers can take their photo DVDs to their favorite
labs for printing. We have to compete for their printing business!
We do this by offering professional printing and assembly in professional
wedding albums at very special pricing. Unless we provide great
wedding photography, our customers will not order any albums from
us and we will not get the referrals we NEED for new customers. Most other photographers on the other hand,
can (and often do) charge outrageously high prices for photographs
and albums since they keep the images and copyright to themselves.
I just don't feel that is an ethical way to treat my customers.
I would rather compete for my customers business every step of the
way - this helps insure them of better quality service and products.
It also challenges me to always provide the best at the most competitive
and fair price as determined by the market. If this is a wrong marketing
philosophy and strategy, I don't want to be right. By the way, 80% of our new customers are from referrals by past
customers. Our BBB Complaint Free Certificate shown above is
great evidence of this. This is our 2nd consecutive year of receiving the BBB Complaint Free Certificate. We also offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. We are not aware of any other photographer in our markets who has a verifiable complaint free record and a 100% satisfaction guarantee to their customers.
I've heard that DVDs don't hold data but for about 3 years or so
at best. What good is it for you to provide your customers with
DVDs of high resolution digitally mastered images when they won't
be any good in a few years?
Answer: The problem of longevity is nothing new in photography. If not properly processed AND properly handled, the photographic prints photographers have been giving to their portrait and wedding clients WILL change color and/or fade in a few years! You may have already noticed the vast majority of photographers do NOT guarantee the longevity of the photographs they provide. This is not surprising since most photographers do not process the photographs themselves AND considering that the display/storage conditions also directly effect the longevity of photographs. Why assume responsibility for the longevity of photographs when most photographers know that their customers may not be providing proper display and storage care for them? Also the same problem exists with film negatives. We recommend that our wedding customers copy their DVDs every year. But we think the best solution is to pay our $100 production fee for an "Archival Gold DVD TIF Package". In this case, all the Wedding Day images are burned as TIF instead of JPEGs onto archival Gold DVD-R discs. This package usually consists of around 12 DVDs because each TIF image averages around 35MB in size but TIF are more stable than JPEGs and being burned to archival gold DVD provides the wedding customer the very best longer term image storage available at this time.
How long after my engagement and bridal portrait sessions are shot
will I have to wait until my designer DVD of digitally mastered photos
Answer: Our first priority is to schedule consultations and engagement &
bridal portrait sessions at our clients convenience. When you schedule
an engagement or bridal portrait session with us, the time we spend
shooting your session takes us away from the post-production work
on the previous engagement and bridal portrait sessions we've already
shot. We have to put the post-production work of previous sessions
on temporary hold like this because of our customers various schedules.
If we refused to schedule the next engagement or bridal portrait
session until we got all post-production work done to previous sessions,
it would become even more difficult to work with the various schedules
of our customers. It is especially more difficult to coordinate
the engagement sessions when they consist of two people who need
their schedules to coincide - we must take advantage of the opportunity
. . . as soon as it occurs. We contact every customer
as soon as their images are ready.
Do you accept credit cards?
Answer: Yes. All major credit/debit cards accepted on-line only through
PayPal. Currently set-up to accept on-line payment of reservation
deposit on my Contact page. The remaining balance on wedding photography
package and for our digital lab services can be provided in an email
link to PayPal when you prefer to make the payment with your credit/debit
Do you shoot with a digital camera?
Answer: Yes. Our primary digital cameras are Canon 5D 13 megapixel (12.8
megapixel to be exact). We no longer
offer film wedding photography.
Do you charge travel expenses?
Answer: Yes. Based on two photographers traveling together in ONE vehicle:
We do NOT charge travel expenses for weddings located within 150
miles of our studio. For weddings over 150 miles one-way from our
studio, we charge $0.65 per mile after the first 150 miles (this
charge covers our round trip. See Standard IRS Mile Rates for more info. Our $0.65 a mile to pay for the roundtrip is lower than the standard IRS mile rate of $0.48.5 per mile for every mile of the entire trip plus the $0.65 per mile one-way includes our time as well as return trip). Distance from our studio to any wedding
location is decided by MapQuest. Client pays for
one-night hotel stay for wedding locations which are 150 miles away
from our studio. We usually arrange our hotel accommodations on
the day of the REHEARSAL for weddings over 150 miles from Chattanooga.
For this reason the rehearsal must be the day before the Wedding
Day. Several reasons for this. At the rehearsal we have the opportunity
to meet and learn who everyone is, scout the location for various
poses and simply learn our way around large locations. But perhaps
most importantly, since we do live in an imperfect world, we would
rather our car breakdown on our way to a distant rehearsal than
for our car to breakdown on our way to the Wedding Day! We also
provide our own meals. If you need two photographers each having
their own vehicle for transportation, you will be responsible for
paying extra traveling expenses. (For example, bride is preparing
with bridesmaids at one location and the groom is prepping at a
different location and you need simultaneous photographic coverage
at these different locations). If you need two photographers with
independent transportation, this will also mean you will be responsible
for travel expenses of one of the photographers even if your wedding
location is within 150 miles of our studio.
Do you have a studio?
Answer: Yes. We operate a home-based full service digital wedding studio specializing exclusively
in wedding photography and providing high end engagement and bridal portraiture. We have several canvas, muslin
and cloth backgrounds and use a variety of studio flash - key, fill,
background, hair and special effects flashes and offer hundreds of digital backgrounds of your choice.
How are you attired when photographing a wedding?
Answer: We wear business suits. Medium gray, dark gray or black so we don't
clash with the colors of the wedding. If client wants me to wear
a tuxedo, they provide that for me in the appropriate color and
When do you require the wedding photography checklist to be turned
in to you?
Answer: At least two weeks before your Wedding Day. The perfect time is
when you schedule your "Pre-Wedding Day Consultation"
with us. This gives the photographer some time to express any photographic
concerns or make alternate plans to help insure the desired shots
can be achieved. The wedding photography checklist is a GUIDE to
help your photographer to know which shots are most important to
you. The shots cannot be guaranteed since all the desired shots
are not always possible for reasons beyond the control of the photographer
and the client. No two brides and no two weddings are exactly the
How long before the Ceremony do you recommend to start shooting
on the Wedding Day?
Answer: We have shot over 800 weddings over the years....and almost always...for
various reasons beyond their control....people run late. Considering
this, I highly recommend telling everyone to be READY for photography
2 HOURS before the Ceremony. When everyone makes it on time and
is READY for pictures 2 hours before the Ceremony, this helps insure
the photographer has the time which is necessary to properly and
artistically pose the groups and other shots. This also helps to
keep the photographer from having to get these shots during the
reception when everyone would have a more enjoyable time if they
didn't have to pose for photographs. I've NEVER had a bride regret
getting all her bridal party and family group shots FINISHED before
the Ceremony. This helps insure you will get the PROFESSIONAL QUALITY
photographs you are paying for and still have time to enjoy the
reception. Also, scheduling the Wedding Ceremony early in the afternoon
can help insure the best looking outdoor photography. Shooting at
night time, even with flash, leaves the background in the photographs
dark - which never looks as good as outdoor photographs with sunlight
illuminating the background. We recommend all participants in
the wedding party be ready for photography 3
hours or more before the Ceremony for larger weddings.
What if flash is not allowed during the Ceremony?
Answer: There are several options. First, we can shoot at higher film speed
settings. This can enable us to get properly exposed images in low
light levels. But if there is strong ceiling lights shining down
from above the subject(s) head, this can produce darkened eye sockets
and shadows under the nose and over the forehead cast by the subject(s)
hair. Also, depending on the kind of artificial lighting illuminating
the Ceremony, the color in the photographs may or may not be flattering
(even when shooting with the best white balance setting because
of mixed lighting). A second option is to simply re-stage the major
Ceremony events. This usually only takes about 5 to 10 minutes and
flash will be used to insure proper exposure and color in the photographs.
Another use of re-staging the major Ceremony events is at locations
when the photographer cannot get positioned for the proper composition
in the photographs. It can truly be best to re-stage the Ceremony
so the photographer won't be forced to move so closely in and around
the wedding party during the actual Ceremony. This can be a major
distraction and take away from the guests enjoyment of the Ceremony.
Since we started offering video services, we can include that in
our strategy as well. Almost the entire wedding ceremony may be
shot during the actual ceremony for journalistic video images so
that the only thing left for us to do is only re-enact a few events
for close-up shots and better angles for still photography.
Why is the Reservation Deposit non-refundable?
Answer: Most all established professional photographers have a non-refundable
reservation deposit. This compensates them for the time they spend
meeting with the prospective bride and producing the contract. It
also provides them some compensation for the loss of a wedding they
could have photographed if the bride cancels or reschedules her
wedding on another day. Also, in the case of Wedding Photographics,
it compensates for the free engagement/bridal portrait sessions
we provide with every wedding photography package. If the Reservation
Deposit were not non-refundable, it would be very easy for people
to book us just to get a free engagement/bridal portrait session
and then "cancel" so they could get their deposit back....and
still have a free engagement/bridal portrait session in their hands.
Since that would not be fair, this is another one of the reasons
why the Reservation Deposit is non-refundable.
I live some distance from Chattanooga but I am having my wedding
in Chattanooga. How do I get my wedding photography package after
Answer: Since we provide our clients the option to pick up their entire
wedding package at the studio, we have to charge shipping expenses
for those clients which choose to have their packages shipped to
them. We will calculate shipping cost and you provide us the funds
to ship to you using the carrier of your choice. If you prefer,
you can pay us the shipping cost via PayPal email link we send to
you. We cannot be held responsible for wedding photography packages
which get lost or damaged by a carrier. Of course, you will also
pay for insurance. In the event your package does get lost or completely
damaged, we will use our back-up DVDs of all your photographs to
re-create your package again.
What do you recommend about wearing make-up from a photography standpoint?
People come in many tone and complexion variations. Some people
have allergies to some kinds of make-up and some people wear special
make-up to cover up birthmarks etc. I can't recommend any particular
brand and I certainly don't want to personally provide a bride some
kind of make-up on her Wedding Day that she may have an allergic
reaction to! If it has been a long time since you have had portraits
made or if you haven't had any portraits made with the make-up you
currently wear, this might be a good reason to schedule an engagement
and/or bridal portrait session with us. I can't predict what the
results will be with various make-ups on any particular person.
I can suggest that whatever make-up and lipstick you wear be sure
it doesn't make your lips and face shiny. This is especially important
when you have hired us to shoot a lot of photojournalistic candids
in which there is no time to be touching up. For more posed and
formal photographs, you must be ready for photography at the agreed
upon time so there will be time for you to retouch make-up, adjust
jewelry and other things to help get perfect photographs. Also bear
in mind that some reflection off the skin is NECESSARY as it helps
show shape and dimension of faces. Without such reflection, faces
would simply look unnatural. A lot of photographs cannot be taken
in a very short period of time and every one of them be "perfect".
(This is why model photographers with professional make-up artists
still shoot hundreds of shots during a single model shoot). I don't
think I can emphasize enough just how important it is to be READY
for photography at at the appointed time before the Ceremony. I
provide digital photo-retouching when desired in the form of custom
Do you recommend the services of a wedding planner?
Answer: YES! We highly recommend the services of a PROFESSIONAL wedding
planner for any wedding no matter how big or small. Oftentimes when
there is no professional wedding planner, the bride looks for guidance
from the other wedding vendors she has hired...and most of the time
we are all too busy doing the other jobs the bride hired us to do.
Wedding planner services is the job of a professional wedding planner
- not the photographer, caterer, florist or anyone else who is already
busy working hard to provide the professional quality they were
hired to provide.
Do you have a back-up photographer in case you can't make it?
Answer: Yes. We have several assistants and back-up photographers available.
John and Cherry are the main photographers for every wedding we are booked for.
We shoot all weddings together. Many photographers claim to have a back-up photographer...but don't!
Make sure the photographer you select has a back-up photographer
just in case something happens at the last minute to prevent him
or her from making it to your wedding. Print the PDF below to help
insure you find a trustworthy photographer for your Wedding Day.
Do you use back-up photography equipment?
Answer: Yes. We have various spare equipment items we carry with us to every
wedding. In fact, we will be happy to show our back-up equipment
to you during your no-obligation appointment with us. We highly
recommend when you are interviewing photographers that you insist
on seeing the photographer's back-up equipment. There are some photographers
who say they have back-up equipment and, unfortunately, they really
don't.Every year we hear from
upset brides who call us at the last minute because they just found
out from the photographer they had booked that the camera gear is
messed up and there is no back-up equipment to photograph the wedding
and no back-up photographer!Truth is, when you select a photographer who does not have a studio,
the business expenses associated with a successful business operation
and thousands of dollars in photography equipment, display frames
and more, it is easy for that photographer NOT to be dedicated to
the wedding photography business . . . and your Wedding Day! When
such a photographer is not dedicated to the wedding
photography business, it can be very easy for him/her to simply
give up your Wedding Day by saying their equipment is not functioning
so they can go do something else professional or personal instead. NOTE: We even found a Nikonian Forum user who expressed resentment for us pointing out the underlined fact above. Here again, you don't have to take our word for it that these are real consumer concerns. Simply type "wedding photographer consumer complaints" and other intuitive phrases in your favorite search engines to see for yourself. Even in the November 2007 issue of Money magazine you will find an article, "We Never Got Our Wedding Photos!" All I can say is that consumer protection and consumer issues are real. Cherry and I work long and hard to make sure our customers receive the very best services and great fairly priced photography. So we just want to make sure brides know there are consumer issues to consider when selecting photographers. We invite all Nikonian Forum and Pictage Forum users to contact us about anything posted on this page. If there is something incorrect or which can be better worded, we will do so.
you are someone who has never paid for anything wedding,
you may be in for a big surprise. ALL wedding vendors
are not only paid to provide a variety of products
and/or services, but also on a particular
date and time. When a wedding vendor accepts
the responsibility of providing on that particular
date and time and therefore cannot provide their products/services
to someone else, the vendor MUST be paid a non-refundable
deposit in case for any reason the wedding does not
happen. All established pro photographers must have
the same policy in order to make a living. In and
around Chattanooga, most wedding venues, churches,
caterers and photographers have non-refundable fees
of $1,000 to $2,000+
know it can be a heart-wrenching thought if you were
to find out at the last minute the wedding will not
take place. It's a no-win situation. But it wouldn't
be fair to all the wedding vendors to lose all their
income for that date and time when the wedding they
were booked for suddenly doesn't happen at no fault
of their own. But at least from your photographer
you would probably have your engagement and bridal
portraits still to enjoy and nothing from the other
High-end wedding photographers offer studio bridal portraiture.
Please protect yourself
and ensure you have an established and professional
photographer for your Wedding Day by making sure the
issues described below are addressed in the Wedding
meeting with prospective photographers you are considering
to photograph your Wedding Day, there are certain questions
you should ask and receive definitive answers or even PROOF. That's right, even proof. It
is your Wedding Day and you have every right in the
world to make sure you select a competent, trustworthy
and talented photographer. Please keep all these things
in mind when interviewing wedding photographers.
may print the Photographer Interview Questions form
below to take with you when interviewing wedding photographers.
"An informed consumer is a good consumer" - unknown
is not our purpose to talk badly about
any photographers. Absolutely no photographers
will ever be mentioned by name here. There are
two goals of this Consumer Alert.
The first is to inform and educate consumers what
to look out for in their search for a professional
wedding photographer. Most bridal magazines and wedding planning booksstrongly encourage their
readers to ask these questions and get answers.
Why? There really are photographers out there you must avoid. Sometimes even tell their readers to make sure
these things are spelled out in wedding photography
contracts. This information
helps keep some photographers from taking advantage
of consumer's lack of knowledge & experience
about professional photography. As
a result, more photographers are challenged to
offer more competitive pricing and better quality
work, services and products. This fulfills the
second purpose of this Consumer Alert: Raising
the bar of professional wedding photography by providing you, the consumer, with knowledge and the workings of the professional wedding photography industry for your benefit.
Does the photographer have back-up equipment? Is the
back-up camera the same kind of camera or a different
kind of camera?
Ask the photographer to SHOW his or her photography equipment to you. Hiring a photographer to shoot
with medium format film but then shows up on your Wedding
Day shooting with a small 35mm film camera is not the
same thing. We recently heard of a bride who didn't
have a wedding photographer because the photographer
she hired said his equipment was down and he had NO
back-up equipment. Wedding
Photographics uses Canon EOS 5D 12.8 megapixel cameras
as our main cameras and Canon EOS 20D 8.2 megapixel
digital cameras for supplementary color and black &
white journalistic photography. We will happily show
all our equipment to you during your no obligation appointment
Unfortunately, many digital
photographers are shooting with only 6 to 8 megapixel
digital cameras which do NOT produce professional medium
format film-resolution quality photographs. Also this
lower megapixel range reduces cropping, tilting and
other composition changes the Bride may want to
apply since such changes will quickly DEGRADE 6-8 megapixel
image quality. See Gallery
63 for more details. In our photo RAW workflow,
we can achieve the best color and more from our 12.8 megapixel RAW images to bring out
the subtle nuances and High Quality images necessary
for medium formatNEGATIVE film-quality resolution photographs (See Bibble). There are numerous
reasons your wedding photographer team should be shooting
megapixel cameras and shooting RAW format. (Magazine style page design for example where panoramic across 11x14 albums measure 14"x22" which is the same amount of enlargement as a 16"x20" inside an album! Also the higher megapixel count provides more photo manipulation options especially for magazine style design). Also visit Gallery 16 to see more reasons digital photography shot in the RAW format is better than film photography.
6 to 8 megapixel digital cameras are ideal for journalistic
black & white since increased noise or grain compliments
traditional journalistic style photography and for supplementary
photography by an additional photographer.
Does the photographer have a back-up photographer?
Tell the photographer you want to MEET the back-up photographer.
This will confirm whether or not there really is a back-up
photographer and it will give you a chance to make sure
you like the back-up photographer's work. Many wedding
photographers do NOT actually
have a back-up photographer... and this means the Bride
will not get professional photography
of her Wedding Day if the photographer she hires can't
make it. So photographers who actually do have back-up
photographers will have absolutely no problem providing
you CONTACT INFORMATION for their back-up photographers.
Wedding planners always have a back-up plan just in
case of certain contingencies. Most brides have a back-up
plan or "Plan B" just in case of something.
Even some photographers will expect you to have a plan
B. So there is nothing
wrong with making sure your photographer has a plan
B. Especially if you are paying that photographer a
Premium Price for his/her services he or she should
prove to you they have back-up equipment and back-up
photographers just in case! Wedding
Photographics has several associate photographers available.
Is the wedding photographer you are considering a member
of the Better Business Bureau?
This is our 2nd Consecutive year of receiving the BBB Complaint Free Certificate.
As a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) the
photographer has agreed to operate his/her business
according to higher standards. Also if there is a problem,
you can file a complaint to the BBB who will investigate
the member and will assure a remedy. There is a BBB
office in Chattanooga where you can walk-in and talk
directly with a real person. The photography associations
and organizations that many photographers belong to
do NOT provide this kind of service
to the customers of photographers nor do they have any
legal power. Also, before accepting our membership into the BBB,
a BBB representative visited with us at our studio, confirmed our business license and years in business. Some critics of the BBB point out that the BBB has
no legal power to resolve complaints against a company
for consumers. However, our wedding photography contract
with our clients does give the BBB authority to resolve
complaints - whether we agree with their resolution
or not. Wedding Photographics is a member of the
Better Business Bureau and participates in the BBB On-Line
Reliability Program. Many photographers and portrait
studios choose not to join the Better Business Bureau
in their community because of their history of customer
complaints. The main reason for the BBB as well as other
independent CONSUMER PROTECTION organizations is to
help protect consumers. For these reasons, Wedding Photographics
is proud to be a member in excellent standing with the
Better Business Bureau of Chattanooga. You may click
the icon below to visit the BBB website for our business
Does the photographer have general liability insurance
Some wedding locations require a "Certificate of
Liability Insurance" from photographers before
they will allow the photographer on the premises to
work. Wedding Photographics has general liability insurance
coverage through the Columbia Insurance Group policy
#BOPTN32653 and we provide a Certificate of Liability
Insurance when required by your wedding and/or reception
How long will I have to wait before I receive my wedding
photography package after my Wedding Day?
During the 23 years Cherry and I have been photographing
weddings together, we have heard stories from brides'
relatives and friends of waiting for OVER A YEAR for
their wedding packages. Some of them still had not received
their packages even after a year! Make sure a deadline
or delivery date is in the wedding photography contract.
This is so important!
Do I get the negatives?
The vast majority of photographers will NOT under any
circumstances provide you the negatives or photo-quality
digital files. Wedding Photographics provides a minimum
of 400+ digitally mastered photo files on DVDs to our
clients. We also provide copyright releases so our clients
may have photographs printed from their photo DVDs at
the digital labs of their choice. While many photographers
keep the high resolution photo-quality images so they
may charge you outrageously for any additional photographs
you want to order, we are willing to compete for your
business. We know you can take your designer photo DVDs
of photo-quality wedding images to any lab and have
photographs printed. So we offer upscale bride and parents
albums which are available only through professional photographers - and at very special prices to complete your wedding package.
Since we specialize exclusively in wedding photography,
it is easier for us to pass savings on to you for wedding
photography products and services at lower prices.
Do I get all the photo-quality images on CD when digital
photographer shoots my Wedding Day?
This is a tricky one. While some digital photographers
may provide you all the high-resolution images on CD,
this does NOT mean they are "PHOTO-quality".
Digital image files need to be processed in photoshop
for color tweaking, burning-in, dodging, exposure adjustments
etc., to produce actual photo-quality images which rival
professional NEGATIVE film quality photographs. (Again, see Bibble. Some photographers would have you believe that shooting RAW and custom processing is only for less skilled photographers who have trouble with proper JPEG capture. The truth is custom processed RAW files and the resulting JPEGs are SUPERIOR to JPEGs created in camera - hands down). Highlights
- especially in the bride's white wedding dress are
usually lacking detail in the unprocessed digital images
of less experienced photographers. So you need to make
sure in the wedding photography contract whether
the photographer is providing you the digital files
processed or unprocessed. You might specifically ask
the photographer if the files are being provided on
CD just as they were created by the camera or if the
photographer will have them processed for maximum image
quality. Wedding Photographics provides digitally mastered
image files on photo DVD with our two photographer full-coverage
of every Wedding Day we photograph. Please,
don't assume you are getting digitally mastered image
files when the photographer is actually referring to
unprocessed digital files for the lower price he/she
quotes you. There is a very big difference in quality.You will also have to
pay photo labs more to have them correct the images
for you and if they were shot by a less experienced
photographer, the images may NOT be correctable to actual
professional standards. On the 42" high definition
monitor in our studio, you may carefully inspect all
the images we provide to you on your designer photo
DVDs to be sure they are professional quality before
you leave our studio.
Does the photographer have a studio location?
This makes it more convenient to conduct business with
the photographer instead of having to meet the photographer
at some public location. When you don't have a physical
location for a photographer, it is easier for that photographer
to operate a fly-by-night business. Some people starting
a photography business are honest and sincere. But if
they don't have a studio location and a lot of money
invested in equipment, studio displays and other expenses
associated with an established business operation, it
can be very easy for them NOT to be dedicated to the
photography business . . . . . and to your Wedding Day!
You don't need to discover on your Wedding Day that
you are without a photographer and all the money you
paid has also disappeared. Also, a photographer with
a studio can provide you with beautiful engagement and
bridal portraits when the weather outside doesn't permit
or if you just prefer studio portraits. Wedding Photographics has a digital wedding studio of approximately
550 square feet from which we conduct business.
Is the photographer a "destination" photographer?
Is the photographer priced a lot higher than most of
the other photographers in the same market?
wedding photographers offer studio bridal portraiture to better serve our customers during hot, humid or rainy days, help keep the wedding gown clean and to simply provide our customers more benefits.
A growing number of photographers who enjoy traveling
are happy to take on wedding assignments to exotic locations
all over the United States and abroad. These are "destination"
photographers. What to be careful
of are those photographers who would have you believe
that their work is in such demand that is the reason
they have become destination photographers. The
truth is many of these photographers work is not much
if any better than other local photographers. If their
work was better and not over-priced, they would be booked
as much as a year or more in advance by local brides.
They would be too busy locally to accept only a few if any destination
wedding assignments. So I'm simply cautioning you here
to be careful of any photographer who emphasizes
he or she has many weddings abroad. Chances
are they are OVER-PRICED and this is one
of the reasons they are trying to find work outside
their local market. Don't believe the hype. They want
you to pay more for their services based on the "image"
or "brand" they try to get you to believe
they represent. Actually, why should you pay more
for their "brand" if they don't even have
a studio? When a photographer does not have a studio,
that is LESS service & convenience they have to
offer you. Then on top of this, they normally provide
only one photographer coverage, charge extra when the
reception is at a different location than the Ceremony,
charge extra for engagement and bridal portrait sessions
(sometimes don't even offer a bridal session) and the
list goes on. Full service wedding photographers automatically provide engagement and bridal portrait sessions for all the photographic reasons detailed on our Engagement & Bridal page.
cannot hide over-priced talent charges
in a DVD only package. So many require
you to purchase an album package in advance
even when they have not yet even photographed
your Wedding Day.
priced photographers are able to sell
DVD only packages for what their photography/photoshop talent
alone is actually worth. Photographers
with over-priced talent fees can't sell
DVD only packages.
are some photographers who charge a minimum of $4,000
to $5,000+ to photograph a wedding and those photographers
are NOT even certified by the Professional
Photographers of America association, they
have never won any prestigious photographic
awards nor did they study/learn photography
while working for an established or renown photographer.
But yet they still expect to obligate you to some $4,000-$5,000+
album package before you have seen any of the photographs
they have shot of your own Wedding Day. Some of them
also don't offer their customers the benefits of a studio. From your more expensive service providers, you should
expect to see the best CREDENTIALS and be provided more
BENEFITS TO YOU. This is true of all professional service
providers and is especially true of wedding photographers.
A wedding photographer can be the most expensive wedding
vendor of the day. It
is only natural to expect more expensive photographers
to have a long resume of credentials and other facts
listed to objectively distinguish themselves from
less expensive photographers as part of marketing their
skills & talents. If the photographer you are
considering does not present you such a resume and IF
the work is not much IF any better than other photographers
in the same market, why should you pay them two to three
times what other photographers are charging?
Method: Many photographers feel that since
there are other wedding vendors who may charge thousands
of dollars for flowers on the Wedding Day or for food
and drink for hundreds of guests, that the photographer
should also get paid a minimum of thousands of dollars.
Those photographers reason that their photography "art"
will last forever while a vast array of flowers, food
and drinks for 100+ people, musicians etc., will last
only a few hours. So those photographers want brides
to pay a PERCENTAGE of the bride's total Wedding Day
budget - especially when they have wedding album
packages to sell and want more profit to actually put
in their pockets. (Many wedding photographers
who choose to sell their work in album packages to make
it more saleable and/or to hide their over-priced talent
fees are under pressure to seek percentages of a bride's total wedding budget to offset the expense
of the wedding album packaging). However, that pricing
method is seriously flawed. When a bride has spent a
lot for a vast array of flowers, that usually provides
the photographer a beautiful backdrop against which
the photographs will appear more pleasing. It helps
the photographer. Why penalize the bride with a higher
photography price just because she spent more money
on flowers? Wouldn't it be strange for a plumber to
go into a house and charge $80 for unclogging a drain
for a $100,000 house but charge $400 for unclogging
the same kind of drain in a $500,000 house? A baker
charging $1,100 for a beautiful bride's cake has nothing
to do with photography, yet based on percentage (30%), the photographer "should" charge you another $330 for photography just because of the price of the cake? Sounds silly to me. Doesn't that to you?
(Of course, pictures in an album only last so long - they
are not "forever". More and more
brides are demanding high resolution photo-quality wedding
photography on DVDs knowing they can have new pics and
albums done again as the years go by or when albums
get damaged or lost. It is also very useful for the bride to have the hi-res photo-quality images when the photographer may relocate to another state, retire or simply go out of business).
is photographers who use album
packaging who need to "sell up"
brides for percentages of the bride's total Wedding Day budget. Knowing
that most album package photographers have that
strategy, there are now photo labs on the band
wagon which charge photographers MEMBERSHIP FEES
and COMMISSIONS per consumer web orders and for
other lab services to get their bigger piece of
the photographer's pie. All
of this driving up the cost of pro wedding photography
even higher among photographers who force album packages on their customers. Album packaging has truly become an expensive
service in order for photographers to make their
work more saleable and to demand higher talent
fees. Exceptionally talented wedding photographers
who price their talent fairly on DVD alone packages
can get off that money hungry machine.
professionals know the method for determining fair market
price for one's talent/work is based on several different
factors such as the median income of their market, pricing
of competitors, the target demographic, the quality
service and quality of the work and other factors which
I consider confidential. It may be a widely accepted
tradition and custom to provide a 20% tip at a restaurant, but to say a photographer
is entitled to receive some flat percentage of a bride's
total wedding budget is not based on many different
years of experience & skills.
education & training, certifications and other
and style of work.
service before, during and after the Wedding Day as
verified through past customer testimonials, described
in the wedding contract and confirmed by third party
organizations such as the BBB.
amount of photo equipment that was needed to properly
photograph the particular Wedding Day.
Whether one photographer or multiple photographers
were required certainly effects pricing.
photographer who declares they "deserve" some
percentage of the bride's total wedding day budget is
ignoring all the above statements of FACTS. Not all
photographers and other wedding vendors are the same
and provide the same attention to detail, quality and
customer service. As you interview with wedding photographers,
you will see that it is photographers who force some album package on you who usually talk about percentages of your total Wedding Day budget in an effort to get
you to pay more for their services. DVD wedding photographers on the other hand simply sell
their photography & photoshop talent itself in a DVD package.
We publicly post our bookings on our website to simply be honest and straight forward about our bookings. Some photographers want you to think they are in high demand so they will not post their small number of bookings. Don't believe their promotional hype and pay them more than what they are really worth.
point about pricing method? Don't let a photographer
ask you how much you pay other wedding vendors in a
sad attempt to lay a guilt trip on you. Just because
you may pay $3,000 for a bridal gown and $4,500 for
a beautiful array of flowers doesn't mean your photographer
should demand $7,500 for photography. There are photographers,
just like there are people in other lines of work, who
will apply every tactic and high pressure sales techniques
to get you to over-pay them for their work. I would
like to recommend that you take your time. Interview
several wedding photographers. Then thoughtfully consider
everything about each photographer to help make the
this: There are talented and hard-working
photographers who have studios and lots of samples to
show you which they have accumulated over YEARS of faithful
and professional service to their local community. They
are deserving of your consideration. They will do
a great job for you and provide you a great value in
professional wedding photography.
of a Feather: Over-priced
photographers who are already booked will tend to refer
brides to other over-priced photographers for sake of
the status quo. It's bad for their business to refer
brides to other photographers they recognize as professional
and talented but who are fairly priced. This practice
results in their artificially inflating the minimum
price for wedding photography in their market.
Don't let a small group of "networked" photographers
get away with this (they are really just a group of
people who want to force inflated prices for their work
and they sometimes refer only to other photographers who simply use the same photo lab). These are also the same reasons we do not refer brides to other photographers unless they first refer brides to us - we know which photographers are networked with others. So to get
yourself a FAIR sampling of wedding photographers to
interview, don't ask any photographer who they recommend.
Instead, use a search engine to bring up a list of various
photographers on the internet. This way you may first
conveniently check their websites and then make a list
of those who you might like to interview with in person.
happens when you don't have two photographers
or a photographer with an assistant? Often when a photographer is shooting a
wedding alone, the photographer will take
charge of you, a wedding guest(s) or family
member(s) to make photography assistants!
These photographers will often expect you
and others to know how to work as assistants
and fluff the bride's dress, semi-pose people
and more. Than maybe try to blame you later
if the photographs don't look acceptable.If
you don't want this to happen, make sure
if you hire one photographer he/she has
an assistant and tell them you will not
allow yourself and your guests to become
assistants if that photographer shows up
without an assistant. SPECIAL
A photographer who routinely works without
an assistant is also most likely a photographer
without any back-up photographers. Make sure
your photographer can provide NAMES
and contact information for alleged back-up photographers in case
he or she can't make it on your Wedding
other photographers will NOT allow your family and guests
to take snapshots on your Wedding Day. Wedding Photographics
has no rules against this but we do highly recommend
that we be the only people you allow to take photographs
on your Wedding Day.
other photographers charge $250 and more for an engagement
portrait session and charge again for a bridal portrait
session. Wedding Photographics provides you an engagement
and bridal portrait session with your wedding photography
package. Also, your engagement session may include a
favorite pet. We will also shoot at two different outdoor
locations for your engagement session and two different
locations for your bridal session when desired. The
bridal portrait session may include the flower girl(s)
as well as the maid or matron of honor. If your hair
and/or make-up for your bridal session is less than
perfect, we will provide you another bridal portrait
session at no charge.
are almost assured a photographer or studio
which says they "specialize" in wedding photography is over-priced when they also provide a wide variety of
other photography services. They MUST provide
other photography services in order to generate
adequate income since their wedding photography
is over-priced. If wedding photography were
their FAIRLY PRICED specialty . . . they would be too busy providing wedding
photography services to provide any other
photography since wedding photography is
The flip side of this are those photographers
and studios who generate the bulk of their
income from general portraiture during the
week and so they can
afford to purposely over-price wedding photography
services for those willing to pay.
Photographers & studios who generate
the bulk of their income from general portraiture
during the week also often consider shooting
a wedding over the weekend to be "over-time"
and their price for some album package usually
has these charges already included.
who really do specialize in wedding photography
and who are talented and not over-priced
are full-time professional wedding photography
specialists. We really enjoy what we do
and have no reason to over-price our work.
Weddings are all we photograph and our equipment,
studio and most everything else about us
is geared towards benefiting our wedding
clients. Contrary to what one might
expect, established wedding photography
specialists provide great quality work at
reasonable prices. Wedding specialists do
not charge over-time for shooting weekend
weddings because that is business as usual
so we take certain weekdays off from work.
John is a full-time wedding photography