WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE - HOW TO CHOSE A PHOTOGRAPHER
CHOOSING THE RIGHT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
For your destination wedding in Thailand, Vietnam or beyond
Photography is the single most important investment you’ll make for your wedding. So choosing the right photographer is a big decision. There’s a lot of us out there, so how do you choose? There’s a lot to consider. This guide is set up to help you with your decision.
Some of the information below may seem obvious, some not. And some of it will hopefully answer questions you never knew you had. In the end, I hope this page will help guide you towards the photographer who is right for you.
The one who just feels right.
And if that photographer is me, then I really look forward to meeting you and making some incredible memories together.
• WHAT KIND OF WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER ARE YOU?
I'd call myself a documentary wedding photographer. Some people say wedding photojournalist, some say moment-driven photographer. What does that all mean? It means I concentrate on documenting the wedding day as it really happens, I don't create fake moments. I won't ask you to pretend to laugh or cry for a picture, and I will never ask you to kiss. Weddings are full of amazing emotion and real moments, and I'm there to capture them. Because I believe those are the pictures you will value in 30 years.
• WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE?
I have 15 years of experience as a working photojournalist in Southeast Asia. I have won World Press Photo and Sony World Photography Awards, photographing the Olympics, protests in Bangkok and the Australian Open. I've shot assignments for The New York Times and TIME Magazine. I bring all of that news and editorial photography experience to the weddings I shoot. I've also shot nearly 200 destination weddings over the past 10 years.
• WILL YOU ALSO SHOOT DETAILS AND FAMILY PORTRAITS?
Yes. I love making creative detail shots, and I know how important group photos of family are too. I do these at every wedding.
• DO YOU HAVE REFERENCES WE CAN CONTACT?
Absolutely. I have a list of past couples who will happily answer any questions you have about me and my work. Just contact me directly for more info.
• WHO MAKES YOUR ALBUMS?
You have a right to know if you'll be getting a handcrafted luxury product to pass on to your grandkids, or something cheaply made from a company like Blurb. I use Renaissance in the US, Dekora in Canada and Atkins in Australia. All are beautiful and built to last. Pricing includes free shipping worldwide.
• ARE YOU A MEMBER OF ANY WEDDING ORGANIZATIONS?
I am a proud member of Fearless Photographers, the best wedding photography directory in the world.
• WHAT ARE YOUR RATES?
The big question! Since I'm a destination wedding photographer, that will depend somewhat on your destination. Message me directly using the contact page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
• CAN WE SEE A FULL WEDDING?
I've made a few slideshows so you can see what a full wedding looks like. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the links.
• HOW DO WE BOOK YOU?
I'll need a 50% deposit and a signed agreement to reserve your date. Once that's done, your date is officially booked, and I'll start making my travel and coverage plans. The balance payment is due 30 days before the wedding day.
• HOW DO WE PAY?
I accept international bank transfers or Paypal.
• THEN WHAT HAPPENS?
Once you've booked your photography, I'm available to you anytime to help answer questions you may have about the rest of your wedding planning. Let me know who your wedding planner is so I can connect with them directly. It's great for me to get a copy of the run-sheet when we're about 2 weeks away from the wedding
• WHEN DO YOU ARRIVE AT OUR DESTINATION?
If I'm flying I'll always arrive at least a day before the wedding, sometimes earlier. This gives me a chance to scout locations, get a feel for the place and prepare.
• WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET SICK AND CAN'T MAKE IT?
Although this has never happened to me in 15 years of wedding and news photography, I understand that illness and accidents can happen at inopportune moments. I have a network of trusted photo-friends who I can call on if there's a last minute issue.
• WHEN DO WE MEET YOU?
We'll get a chance to meet in person the day before the wedding. If you're having a rehearsal in the late afternoon I'll be there. If not, I'll just come by your hotel and have a beer with you guys. This way you'll be a bit more comfortable with me and my camera the following day.
• WHEN DO YOU START?
I start when you start. Usually, that means when the bride starts hair/makeup. For weddings in the tropics, that's usually around 11am-12pm.
• WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CEREMONY?
Here's where I will step up and direct things a little. We'll want to do the family formal portraits right after the ceremony before anyone has the chance to wander off to the bar. Please nominate someone in your wedding party to be in charge of the group shot list, and we'll get this done in under 10 minutes, promise.
• THEN ITS TIME FOR DETAILS?
Absolutely. If details are important to you then this is one of the first things I'll concentrate on when I arrive - dress, rings, shoes, and any special details you want to be documented. I like to get these done first so that I can then concentrate on documenting the human emotions and connections for the rest of the day.
• WHEN ARE WE DOING PORTRAITS?
Now! Once we do the family formals, I'll take the couple off somewhere nearby for portraits. Depending on the schedule, we'll have anywhere between 20-40 minutes. We can include your wedding party for part of it, but I do prefer to spend more time making portraits with just the bride and groom at this time.
• WILL YOU PHOTOGRAPH THE GUYS GETTING READY?
Of course. If I'm shooting on my own, and you're all getting ready in the same villa or hotel, it's easy for me to go back and forth between the bride and groom's rooms. The boys usually only need about 30 minutes to get ready, so other than that I spend most of my time with the girls before the ceremony.
• AND THEN WE CAN GO GET A DRINK, RIGHT?
Once we wrap up the portraits we'll head back to the reception, and you'll often have a few moments to yourselves to freshen up and relax before the evening begins. During this time I'll shoot some details of the dinner and reception setup. During dinner, I will be nearby (eating too!) so that I am around for speeches and whatever else happens over the course of the meal. Then we usually move on to the cake cutting, first dance, bouquet toss.... but every couple seems to do these in a different way, if at all. Regardless, I'm on hand to document it.
• THE CEREMONY
I'll cover the ceremony from a few different angles, but my primary goal is to capture the emotional connection between the two of you as you exchange vows (keeping an eye on moms and dads as well!)
• I GUESS AT THIS POINT YOU'RE GETTING READY TO CALL IT A DAY?
Absolutely not. I like to stay late and photograph all the madness on the dancefloor. Those drunken party photos are just as much a part of your wedding story as the ceremony. Luckily, I'm pretty good at holding a beer in one hand and a camera in the other. I rarely leave a wedding before midnight, and so long as things are still happening that I think need to be included in your wedding story, I stick around.
• HOW MANY IMAGES DO YOU DELIVER?
Because every wedding is different, I don't offer a set number of images. For my standard packages, I'll generally deliver anywhere between 400-800 images. I don't hold back any good images - if there are 1200 that best tell your story, you get 1200.
• DO YOU MAKE BLACK AND WHITE IMAGES?
I generally deliver about 10% of a wedding collection in black and white.
• WHO EDITS THE IMAGES?
Me. I'm a big believer that editing is an important part of the photography process, and that I need to personally edit every image to ensure they hold up to my vision. I also personally edit every one of my second photographers' images.
• HOW AND WHEN DO WE GET OUR IMAGES?
Your first reveal will be an online slideshow, about 4-5 weeks after the wedding. Your full gallery will be available for download shortly after. You will be able to download both high and low-resolution files and be able to order professional prints directly from the gallery. At the same time, I will write a blog post on my website featuring my personal favorites.
• DO YOU OFFER ALBUMS?
Yes! What good are all these beautiful images just sitting on your computer? Your album is an essential part of your photography experience - its the one thing from your wedding that will be enjoyed by future generations. It's a family document you'll cherish through the years.