Answers to the most popular questions you may have concerning your wedding photography.
"When should I book my wedding photographer?" There’s no way to say this without making it sound like a sales pitch, but the honest answer is as soon as you decide on the one you want. Wedding photographers are usually one of the first things which a bride & groom book once they confirm their venue and it’s not uncommon for them to be booked 2 or 3 years in advance. The longest booking I have had, so far, is three years and seven months from the wedding date.
"I’ve got a friend who owns a good digital camera and they’ve offered to shoot my wedding for a fraction of the cost of a professional - and he can get a book of my photos printed on the internet. Why should I pay more?" With the increasingly cheap price of entry-point digital SLR cameras (DSLRs) this is a very common question. If your friend is all that you can afford, then that’s the person you should book. However, you should be aware that along with the reduced fees come certain compromises. First of all, a professional will have more than one camera body - just in case something goes wrong - even new cameras can break or be dropped. At KSG Photography, I make a point of bringing a minimum of four cameras and two complete sets of lenses to every wedding. This may seem like overkill, but if it can go wrong - it WILL go wrong and the true professional will be prepared for any eventuality. In addition, a professional will have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance to provide you with some peace of mind in case anything does go wrong. An increasing number of venues nowadays also ask for proof of insurance before allowing wedding suppliers onto their premises. A professional wedding photographer will have experience of dealing with the fast-paced events of a wedding (believe me, it will fly past) in all weather conditions and in a wide variety of venues and will be able to operate calmly when under pressure. They will be able to operate their camera as if it is an extension of their eye and will make subtle changes without even thinking about it - you don’t want to stand around on your wedding day while someone tries to figure out how to set their camera, do you? When it comes to having your storybook printed, I only use Graphistudio, in Italy, who hand-craft the most exquisite books and albums in the World. They create these to your specification from a choice of over 40 million different options, so your book will be as unique as you are. Not all storybooks are created equal.
"But don’t you charge a lot of money for just one days work?" Yes - if it were only one days worth of work. On your wedding day, you’ll see me for anything up to twelve hours. You may also see me for a couple of hours during a pre-wedding shoot, delivering your proofs and, eventually, your wedding storybook. What you won’t see are the hours spent scouting your venue for the best locations for your shots, or checking the course of the sun throughout your day (yes, we have an app for that), to make sure we use the light to get you the best results possible. If your venue is near the sea, I’ll know the tide timings too - just in case. You certainly won’t see me cleaning my cameras & lenses, charging batteries and packing bags the day before your wedding and you don’t want to know how many hours will be spent downloading, cataloguing and editing your photographs before you finally get to see your proofs. And it doesn’t stop there, as I will spend more time designing your storybook or album, before sending the design to be hand-crafted in Italy. Once it’s delivered, I will carry out a final inspection before delivering it to you, personally. Your wedding will result in the region of 40-60 hours of work and that’s before looking at the costs of those hand-crafted books, travelling etc.
"Will you negotiate your rates or offer a discount?" No. My fees are set to reflect the quality of the end product which I produce. I am not the cheapest wedding photographer out there, nor am I the most expensive. However, just as I don’t haggle over my fees, the great news is that I won’t compromise the quality of service which you will receive.
“What about a discount if our wedding is during the week or outside the ’normal’ wedding season?” Irrespective of whether your wedding is on a Tuesday in December or a Saturday in July, my costs for books, fuel etc. will, unfortunately, still be the same and I will still carry out the same amount of preparation and work for you.
"How far will you travel for my wedding?" How far do you need me to travel for your wedding? I’m based in Ayrshire, on the West coast of Scotland and have photographed weddings and ceremonies as far away as France, Italy and the Black Sea coast in Eastern Europe. Closer to home, I have experience of photographing at some of Scotland and Englands most prestigious venues as well. If you want me to photograph your wedding, I will be there - it’s as simple as that (although there may be an additional charge for travel out-with Ayrshire and I may need to arrange accommodation if your venue is a greater distance away).
“What if you haven’t shot at our venue before?” There are positives and potential negatives involved when a photographer shoots a new venue. A photographer who regularly shoots the same venue will usually have a set routine which they follow at every wedding and they’ll know the venue well. This can also lead to every bride receiving the same shots, with the same poses, as every other bride. With a new venue, within reasonable travelling distance, I always have a good look around on my own weeks before your wedding (if your venue is further away, I will research it as much as possible - although I will usually travel to these venues on the day before a wedding to allow me plenty of time for a recce) Even the venues which I shoot at regularly will hold different images for every bride. Not every shot will work for every bride, and it’s my job to find the ones which work for you irrespective of whether it’s a new venue or not.
"I don’t look good in photos - will you airbrush me?" YOU don’t look good in photos? Why do you think I spend my life hiding BEHIND a camera? Most people don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, which is why I usually suggest a pre-wedding shoot a few weeks before your wedding. This gives us a chance to chat about any final details and plans for the day as well as giving you the opportunity to learn a few simple poses to help you relax and look great on your wedding day. The biggest differences between a snapshot and a professional photograph where you look great are in the way the couple are lit and posed. My view on ‘airbrushing’ is that if something is a permanent part of you it stays, but if it’s a temporary thing, then I will do my best to hide or remove it. Every single couple who have had a pre-wedding shoot tell me that it really made a difference and, having seen the results before the wedding, it helped them to trust me and relax on the day (although, most brides tell me that the groom suddenly starts practising some of the poses every time they pass a mirror - sorry, but I can’t help you with that one :) )
"If I want to book you, what’s the next step?” To secure your date, all that I need is a signed contract and a booking fee, which is non-refundable. As soon as I have both of these I will stop taking any enquiries for your date. Without them, I am unable to hold any dates. Booking fees for weddings within eighteen months is set at 50% of the total fee, and £300 for weddings which are more than eighteen months away. Your balance isn’t due until eight weeks before your wedding.
“Once I book you, what happens next?” If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram, I would love it if you add me as I find that they are perfect for keeping in touch with my brides and grooms. I regularly post new shots on all of these sites and they’re great for sharing ideas with each other. Usually, by the time your wedding day arrives, we know each other very well and the rapport that is essential to getting great shots is already there between us. As soon as you've booked me, I will begin planning for your wedding day. This includes checking where the sun will be throughout the day, to ensure we get the best light for your shots (I know this one may sound strange, but great light is the key to any successful shot and it's my job to ensure that we get the most out of it). Approximately twelve weeks before your wedding I will be in touch to arrange your pre-wedding posing tutorial shoot (if one has been booked) and discuss where we’re going and what we’ll do. Two weeks before the ceremony, I would really appreciate a list of any group shots or ‘must-haves’ you would like. This is a very personal thing and every bride is different - I’ve been given lists of anywhere between one and twenty-eight groups (remember - more group shots = less time for bridal portraits of you both, but it’s your day so it’s all up to you)
“What if we cancel our wedding?” First and foremost you need to tell all your suppliers, including me. This should be done in writing and at the earliest opportunity. If the wedding date is within eight weeks the whole amount will have to be paid, as it's highly likely that I will have turned down other bookings for the same date. If you are cancelling in order to reschedule, then hopefully we can just move the date and nothing will be lost.
“We have a lot of friends who like taking photos with their phones and iPads. Do you have a problem with this?” Ask any professional wedding photographer how many times he/she has had someone stand at their shoulder trying to get the same shot as them and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to count. It’s the 21st century and smartphones and tablets are everywhere, so it’s natural that they will come out at your wedding. My view is this: I am a supplier - your guests are your friends and family, so they have more right to be there than I do. However, you will be spending your hard-earned money to ensure that I deliver great shots of your wedding. Whilst I don’t mind your guests ‘shadowing’ me or taking photographs, I may ask them to switch their flashes off or move slightly if I believe that they are going to compromise my ability to do my job fully. For the amateur photographers among your guests, I have no problem - as long as you are happy - with setting up a nice shot of you both, so they can all get a great shot.
“One of our friends mentioned having an ‘un-plugged’ wedding. What is that?” An un-plugged wedding is the complete opposite of the wedding I’ve described above. Guests are usually asked, on behalf of the bride & groom, to either refrain from taking photographs or (more commonly) to have a complete ban on sharing any photographs on social network sites until the following day or after the first dance. This prevents your evening guests from seeing your dress before they arrive, so it keeps that WOW factor for when they arrive. At unplugged weddings, I will usually have one or two bridal portraits edited and ready to post on Twitter or Facebook once your first dance is finished. This has the added bonus of ensuring that the very first public photograph of you both is a professional one.
“Do we need to arrange a meal for you?” You don’t have to, but it would be really appreciated if I'm covering the whole day. If you do decide to feed the big bald guy with the cameras, I prefer to eat away from you and your guests, if that’s alright? It’s nothing personal, but it allows me time to edit those photos for Twitter I mentioned earlier - very few wedding guests take kindly to a laptop or iPad sitting on their table as I work away in silence. Let them enjoy their meal ;)
“Why should we choose you as our wedding photographer?” Great question! The simple answer is that some of the brides reading this shouldn’t book me. Now, please, don’t take that the wrong way - let me explain. The wedding photography market is huge and, as I have already mentioned, there are photographers for every budget. But there’s more to it than that. There are also a huge range of shooting styles too! For every bride, there’s a perfect photographer and I would prefer a bride to choose me because she believes that’s who I am - her perfect wedding photographer. My style is based on traditional photographic techniques - having started with film way back in 1991 (I started VERY early, ahem…) I had to learn to get the shot right ‘in-camera’, but modern digital technology is a far too valuable tool to be ignored, so I utilise modern techniques as well. My aim is to tell the complete story of your wedding day, from those candid shots which no-one sees me taking to any formal groups you may want. But my biggest focus (no pun intended - honestly) is capturing the romance and love of a couple who want to show the world how much they care for each other. For the brides who believe that I am their perfect wedding photographer I will give nothing less than 100% from the minute you book me. I will gladly be there when you fancy a quick chat about some ideas you’ve got, or to discuss that wee surprise you’ve arranged for him. I will let my OCD run riot in the planning stages for you as I ask for those small photos of everyone in your bridal party - so I know who I’m looking for when I need them in a photo (you’d be amazed how much time this saves on the day) For my brides I will do whatever it takes to create something special for you - even if that means wading waist-deep into the sea, climbing trees and walls, falling into ponds or kicking mud all over you (okay, that last one was a Trash The Dress shoot - but it was for one of my brides). No, I don’t want every bride to book me, but for the ones who do I promise to ‘make a fraction of a second… last a lifetime'